A Note From Noah

Please join us Thursday, February 15th, 6:00-7:00PM for an evening of learning together with your teachers and fellow parents. I hope to see you there; please RSVP here.
That evening, you are invited to think and learn with your teachers as they share with you their year-long study, through our “Peer Learning Cycle,” which has revolved around the question, What does social justice look like through the eyes and voices of young children? Our intention with this question is to learn from the children how social justice is felt in their world, in their peer culture – how child-notions of social justice reverberate through their play, thoughts, and conversations.
Very often, we adults remain mired in the omniscient role we create for ourselves, and see scenarios such as conflict and inequality as teachable moments for our children – who we of course so desperately want to grow up to be fair and kind, generous and compassionate. We think deeply about just the right way to talk to our children about homelessness; we make sure they share their toys because it is the right thing to do; we remind them to be grateful for what they have and tell them how happy it will make other children if we donate toys and books to those who need them.
Yet, in that role (which is all well and good!), we all too often forget to pause and listen to our children, to learn from them what they already know and think about these topics. Pausing and listening, learning from your children, is what the Peer Learning Cycle has asked our teachers to do this year. On February 15th, they will be sharing with you the context of their conversations this year, and invite you to join those conversations. The evening will not be a polished, shiny presentation with ready-made answers and take-homeable strategies. The evening is designed for you to engage in thinking about this topic with us, and to make transparent our own exploration of your children’s perspective on notions such as fairness, equity, and justice. We do not have answers, we simply have thoughts; we would like to share them with you and ask that you come ready to share your thoughts as well.
We are, to be honest, a bit nervous about this. This is a new format of evening for us, asking you to join our conversation rather than present to you our work. Likewise, as trained teachers, it is always a funny feeling to not be exploring how to teach children but rather be studying how to learn from them. To that end, I wanted to share a few quotes from our teachers to get you in our mindset:
This pushes us to have different perspectives on our children, it really makes us think deeply.
It asks a lot of parents to think like this – think critically about the children – it’s not a typical way for parents to think about their children.
We’re trained to be product-based but this there is nothing to “show” – there’s no final product.
I hope to see you here on February 15th to join the conversation, think critically, and find different perspectives on your children.  Please make sure to RSVP here. (Our teachers have been doing this work in pods of two teaching teams; your conversation on 15th will be with your classroom teachers and their “pod-mates” along with parents from that class as well. The pods are Rooms 1 & 8, 2 & 3; 4 & 6; 5 & 7)
Additionally, we will be spending Monday, January 29th together as a staff, for our professional development day, further stimulating our thoughts on social justice, by examining the intersection of Jewish identity, immigration experience, and American culture.
Our staff will begin the day at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, exploring the Jewish immigration experience surrounding the Holocaust; we will then spend the second half of the day at the Tenement Museum’s new exhibit, Under One Roof, examining three successive generations of immigrants to the same neighborhood (Jewish, Puerto Rican, Chinese). These experiences will impact our own understanding of social justice, our pedagogy around this topic, and our interpretation of your children’s voices on social justice.
With Martin Luther King, Jr., Day approaching on Monday, you are also invited to come by the JCC for a plethora of opportunities to get involved in tikkun olam projects and activist work, as we all strive to make the world a more just and fair place.  Please look here to see what will be happening at JCC Manhattan over the next few days as it relates to social justice.
Shabbat shalom,

School notices:
Emergence Alert System and Out of Town contacts: As a follow-up to our Parents Association meeting last night regarding emergency planning for your family, we want to remind you to enroll in our school text alert system. This system will only be used in cases of emergency, such as evacuation. To enroll, please click here. It was also suggested by the consultants last night that each child has an out-of-town emergence contact listed on their authorized pick-up list. To add additional contacts, please update your child's SchoolDoc account or reach out to Linda. Please know that your child's safety is, as always, our very first priority. If you have any feedback or questions on the system, please do not hesitate to reach out to Tara.
Monday, January 15th: School closed for MLK Day
Living Legacy: Harlem School of the Arts: Join the resident ensemble of Harlem School of the Arts' theater department for an exploration of dance, drumming, storytelling, and song with a West African aesthetic. This performance piece features many elements of performance as it traces the cultural and creative history of the African American experience, dating from the Middle Passage to contemporary times. This program contains intense content and is appropriate for families with children ages 5 and up.  

Limited space available. First-come first-served along with all of our R&R Saturday afternoon programming! Sat, Jan 13, 3-4 pm, Free! For more info, click here