If you are a nature lover, the holiday of Sukkot is tailor made for you.  Sukkot a harvest holiday, began this past Wednesday evening October 4th and will continue for 7 days through next Wednesday October 11th.  Click here or here for more information about this week long festival.

One of the ritual objects used to celebrate Sukkot is the unit of 4 species all grown in Israel, the Arbeh Mineem in Hebrew, called the Lulav and Etrog. The Torah commands us to use these four plants for “rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days” the four species are the Etrog (a citron), the myrtle, the willow, and the palm frond. Although there are several interpretations for what they symbolize, for young children they are a tangible reminder that sukkot is a time to celebrate the harvest and what we can get from the earth to help us survive.  They also provide the opportunity to help children develop a love of the natural world. The Lulav and Etrog are not just for looking at. On each day other than Shabbat, we are to take the Lulav and Etrog in our hands, recite the blessing and shake it in all directions to indicate that God is everywhere.

Nature is a perfect integrator. The experience of bringing nature into our interactions particularly with young children, gives us a shared language and an opportunity to nurture this essential foundation which makes us and them feel more connected, to each other, to the world and to their sense of self.

Our teaching teams have carefully crafted an experiential curriculum for engaging your child in the joyous celebration of Sukkot and its connections to nature. They will be exploring, blessing, shaking the lulav, and experiencing.

Aren’t planning to have a Sukkah, Lulav/Etrog, or celebrate Sukkot at home?

For those of you who were able to join us this morning, we hope you enjoyed TCEE “taste” of Sukkot Breakfast. For those of you who were not able to be here, no worries, you are invited to come tomorrow October 7th for Tot Shabbat at 11:15 a.m. There will be Sukkot crafts with Morah Rhona and singing with Josh Cohen in the Temple Sukkah followed by a Shabbat Kiddush luncheon! Enjoy using your five senses to listen to the soft breeze, to smell the evergreen boughs overhead (roof of the Sukkah), to feel the warmth of the sunlight filtering through the boughs, and to see the colors of the leaves.

Resent research has been able to correlate time spent outdoors with young children’s healthy growth in all of the developmental areas (cognitive, social emotional, gross motor, fine motor, executive function, and problem solving). Among the many organizations who are advocates for increasing time spent outdoors, The National Association for Education of Young Children provides a variety of resource articles for families. One such article is 10 Ideas to Get Your Child Exploring Outdoors 

Take the challenge and turn off your electronic devices. Carve out an hour or two to try one of the ideas from the NAEYC article, from the Sukkot resource link above, or just go to a park or for a walk. No entertainment necessary! Let nature do its magic. And know that you are doing something to support your child’s healthy development.