Have your third, fourth, and fifth graders been talking about the amazing Sukkat Shalom (shelter of peace) that they designed?
As part of our beginning of the year community building in Anafim v’Alonim (“Branches” for third and fourth grades and “Oak Trees” for fifth grade) and in connection with the Sukkot (Booths) holiday, children explored this text from the Hashkivenu prayer:
וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ
Ufeiros aleinu sukkat shlomekhah
Spread over us your shelter of peace
We started by imagining individual peaceful moments. Children drew about reading in their beds, hiking in settings, and playing with their pets. Children then worked with partners to design models of sukkot (booths) that took their ideas about peace and translated them into physical items like soft blankets, fancy adornments, and representations of nature. Finally, this week children worked together to design a full size Sukkat Shalom (Shelter of peace) that represents each of them. The sukkat shalom features soft blankets and pillows to feel cozy, books because so many children love reading, natural materials, ribbons and fancy artifacts, tissue paper flowers for decoration, and so many hidden treasures.
This year, our sukkat shalom will not only provide children with a place to take a break and find some inner peace, but it also serves as a physical reminder of our capacity to collaborate and the peace and good-will we wish each other this year.