‘This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.’
It’s a tradition for our Early Childhood Center’s 4s and 5s children to act as mentors to the younger students — they are “the big kids” after all. This year’s graduating Leevloov class took that role very seriously, finding creative new ways to fulfill their obligations despite the limitations on gathering with other classrooms.
They couldn’t drop in on other classes to chat, so they built a schoolwide mailbox — and rigged up a tube phone that connected to the next-door classroom. “Looking at the blocks gives me an idea: we can use longies out the window to Kleepa,” said one little engineer. “Maybe we can connect all these tubes and connect them from our classroom to their classroom,” agreed another.
When the older students learned from the Zraeem teachers that their class didn’t know how to use scissors yet, Leevloov announced: “We can teach your friends how to cut with scissors.” Since in-person instruction in the fine art of scissor-wielding was off-limits, Leevlov created a series of pre-recorded videos and online classes to teach their younger friends.
And while parties weren’t allowed, Leevloov decided it was their civic duty to celebrate our new president’s inauguration. Having experienced last year’s lockdown and witnessed the power of video conferencing technology, they brought the festivities onto Zoom. Knowing their responsibilities extend beyond the classroom, the children even took it upon themselves to write a letter to the incoming president of the United States to welcome him into office.
“Even at your young ages, you have the power to impact the future for generations to come,” President Joe Biden wrote in response to the children. “Throughout your lives, remain curious, creative, and fearless.”
“You were determined to create community this year despite the things we couldn’t do,” our ECC’s director, Miriam Kalmar, told the Leevloov class at their graduation. “You’ve grown, developed, and blossomed and now you are ready to branch out. I know you will continue to flourish wherever you are, but I hope you always remember that you have a home here at Stephen Wise — rooted in wonder, inquiry and Jewish values.”
Photos by our ECC Teachers.