As we prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday at school, in addition to enhancing the social studies and science areas of the classroom, we looked toward ways to teach and model gratitude and acceptance. For example, our older classes are hosting younger children as guests in their classrooms as a way of reinforcing the important value of hachnasat orchim, the Jewish value of hospitality. Our four year olds visited a toddler class to perform a “concert” of their gratitude song. Even our very youngest children are learning how to say thank you in other languages. It is a Jewish tradition to give thanks one hundred times a day. Walking down the hallway, members of our community from children to parents to staff have posted their “attitude of gratitude,” a good place to begin with the concept of appreciation.
We also are aware that gratitude is not a one day theme or curricular unit. We are tasked with teaching many ways of being aware and expressions of thanks throughout our year in all parts of our days at school.