Last weekend was Family Exploration and Celebration at the Jewish Enrichment Center. Projects and artist statements were beautifully displayed, explorations were opened up, and joy shone out of faces everywhere.
In Anafim v’Alonim (“Branches” and “Oak Trees” for 4th-5th grade children), we are celebrating the moments of family connection where parents and children deeply engaged in ideas together. Children led these conversations by introducing their ideas about l’hitpalel (“to pray”) through their projects. It is clear that they take enormous pride in their work this theme, and for good reason. They cared about their projects and they wanted to bring their ideas to life. They took their time, asked for help when they needed it, bounced ideas off of peers, set goals, and made intentional choices to reach those goals. They worked hard, and their projects showcase their range of ideas, creativity, and individuality.
We are also celebrating the way that children’s ideas are continually evolving. Though the Winter theme is over, the thinking around l’hitpalel has only begun. Even as of Sunday, children were still developing, weighing, and changing their ideas. In our educational approach, learning does not look like children coming to a conclusion that they will hold on to forever. Rather, the learning is the ability to tackle a confusing and unknown concept with curiosity and openness, and to embrace the complexity within it. The process is the product.