The past two weeks in Shteelim, we have concluded our (Sh’mitah -Release) theme, celebrated with our families at the Exploration and Celebration, packed up our space, had new adventures in our newly empty space, worked hard to finish our memory sefarim (books), revisited some of our favorite explorations from the year and brainstormed advice we would want to give to next year’s Shteelim.
The memory sefarim (books) children brought home this week were came out of a collaborative process of remembering each theme and holiday past, and choosing the photos to best represent our favorite parts from that time. Children worked together to choose the photos, and on each page were able to write about what was most memorable to them from that part of the year – what they loved, what they learned, what they were proud of. We reflected on the most important things we learned in each theme and in this year as a whole. Learning the aleph bet and learning new Hebrew words was an accomplishment many children were proud of as they reflected on the year.
After finishing this culminating project and celebrating with our families on Sunday, we spent the week revisiting some of well-loved explorations in Shteelim, and laughing a lot with each other.
This week we also got a chance to make recommendations and a list of the best things about Shteelim for the incoming Shteelim of 5776. Very good friends, mischakim, and acting out plays were some of the things Shteelim thought that future kindergarteners had to look forward to.
One of the things that struck me most in our last weeks together was the incredible bond we’ve built between many of the children in Shteelim, and the love and care they have for one another. One of the ways that this communal affection has come across most on a daily basis is in the frequent hugs that children request from each other, and in the regular pile of hugs that happens at Shirah/Tefillah (Singing/Prayer) among Shteelim at the end of the day. For me it is always a joy to hear children request hugs from each other, and to see them pile together atop a lap at the end of the day. As this affection for each other has grown throughout the year, so too has children’s listening to each other’s ideas during conversations, and willingness to change their own actions on account of how it affects the group. I will so miss being able to witness this caring between Shteelim
It was truly amazing to learn and grow with Shteelim this year. They are a special group of children with a unique bond, and I can’t wait to see how Shteelim continue to grow together in the future.