Insights from a Preschool Teacher

post by Hillel Torah | Oct 17, 2023

There’s no way to really begin, so I’ll take you on a serene journey to my classroom, where I am a Morah to the youngest children in our school, three and four year olds. The room is fresh and bright and the children skip in, running into my arms for hugs, shouting gleefully to their friends, setting out their morning snack, and bounding over to the rug for our morning meeting. We start with Modeh Ani, thanking Hashem for a beautiful new day together. The boys stand up for the bracha on tzitzit – “loud and proud!” I remind them. The girls chant, “Amen!” The boys give their mini tzitzit a kiss. The girls recite their special bracha – thank you Hashem for making me exactly as I am – a profound statement, coming from pure, holy Jewish girls, from whom our lineage is passed down, generation to generation. We say Shema; one G-d – OUR G-d. On Monday and Thursday, we pass our little plush Torah around the class, as each student kisses the Torah, bringing another level of sanctity and meaning to our day.

Today was special, though. Today, after tefilla, we learned Parshat Bereshit, the first Parsha in all of the Torah; very possibly, the first Parsha that any of these very young children have ever experienced. I pause briefly before I start. The precious neshamot of Jewish children, learning Torah, maybe for the first time. My heart swells as I look around at their bright eyes, waiting for me to continue. “In the beginning,” I start, “Hashem created light and dark.” Something from nothing. תוהו ובהו- from chaos to order. In my classroom, the Torah gives the order – it gives the structure, the instruction, the experiential component – to everything we do. Thank you Hashem for giving me the opportunity to feel the daily joy of being Jewish, as I experience our traditions anew each day, preserving my excitement and wonder. I learn about who we are as Jews, through the eyes of young children. May Hashem turn the current chaos into order, and transition our people to a time of great redemption.

Shevy Pressburger

Hillel Torah Pre-Nursery Teacher