In This Issue:

  1. MJDS Celebrates Pesach
  2. Tips for a Creative Seder
  3. Respect Freedom
  4. Pesach with the Shinshinim
  5. Photos from Pesach at MJDS
  6. MJDS Minds in Action Update
  7. Calendar Reminders

MJDS Celebrates Pesach

Preparing food for the Pesach celebration

Preparing food for the Pesach celebration

This year the Casa children created their own afikoman covers. They brought their Practical Life skills and creativity into focus as the older children sewed buttons onto the fabric and then sewed the two sides together, while the younger children decorated their afikoman bags with fabric paint. The children also had an opportunity to make charoset for the seder, and rid the classroom of chametz in an activity led by our Middle School students.

The students in kita Magen David enjoyed creating decorative Passover cards for their family, and took part in the entire process: they wrote meaningful and relevant messages in  both English and Hebrew, they wrote the address on the envelope and placed the stamped envelopes into the mail box. Hopefully their families have received their special surprise through the mail already.

The students have also taken part in preparations for the Passover Seder with remarkable enthusiasm. They volunteered to bring the various items of food and cooked, chopped, and prepared all the food. They particularly enjoyed preparing the delicious charoset, made with apples, carrot and dates. They carefully set up the tables, and took part in the cleanup.

The children have enjoyed celebrating Passover in other ways as well. Many of the students brought in items to share in the classroom, such as a special book, or a Seder plate. They have been happily singing songs and reading stories about Passover. At the end of the week, they took on the responsibility of giving the classroom and playground a special cleaning for Pesach.

Shalhevet has really had fun with Passover this year. The children have posted “Newspaper Articles” on the bulletin board regarding the alarming news of the Stubborn Pharaoh and frightening plagues. Articles on running bring to life the “Red Sea Crossing” and “Egyptian Fashions of the Day” are described and illustrated. Of course there are cartoons and opinions and all the things we love about newspapers.

On Wednesday children in Shalhevet and Rimon visited Baycrest Centre. Together with the senior resident they sang the Haggadah heartily, danced and had a ball. The seniors were thrilled and one offered to make a donation to our school because the children were so joyful and wonderful.

Bedikat Chametz

Bedikat Chametz

This week the Middle School wrapped up their leadership training by guiding the school in Bedikat Chametz. They organized an activity for each class and helped explain the history and value of this particular preparation for Passover. They also burned the leavened bread in a  pit in the parking lot for all of the other students to see. Afterwards they reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of their presentation so they continue to grow as leaders in the school.



Tips for a Creative Seder

There are 15 steps in the Seder. The word “Seder” means “order” and we follow the steps one by one in the Haggadah. The Seder can be seen in different ways. Historically it represents the passage from slavery to freedom. Spiritually it represents the transition from idolatry to monotheism. Physically it represents our journey from the Diaspora to the sacred precincts of Jerusalem.

Seder plates used in MJDS classrooms

Seder plates used in MJDS classrooms

This week the entire school took part in the experience of a Pesach Seder. Each class celebrated in a manner that was appropriate to their developmental stages. From our youngest to our oldest students, each child helped to decorate and set the community tables, blessed the food, asked the 4 questions, and finally tasted each of the items. You will love seeing this in today’s Photo Album.

 Make your Seder fun and meaningful! Here are some suggestions:

  • Create your own Haggadah
  • Children can make joke afikoman presents for all the guests.
  • Get your children to exercise their Practical Life skills: they can set the table, make place card for guests and decorate the room.
  • Have a job jar and each person picks a job: hand out the Haggadot, wash others’ hands, pour grape juice, clear the table, etc.
  • Create a different dynamic to the Seder.  Start the Seder in a different room like the living room or sitting on the floor.
  • With each step of the Haggadah, take the opportunity to reflect on the many transitions that you and your family have experienced on your own Jewish journeys

All of us at MJDS wish you
Chag Pesach Sameach!

Respect Freedom 

Selecting one's own work

Selecting one’s own work

At MJDS, freedom refers to an individual’s freedom of movement, freedom of choice and freedom to work. We strongly believe that these types of freedom are invaluable because they enable our students to explore, express themselves and connect to the world as they engage in the process of creating themselves.

 “Freedom is an essential element in a Montessori environment for two reasons. First it is only in an atmosphere of freedom that the child can reveal himself to us. Since the duty of the educator is to identify and aid the childs psychic development, he must have an opportunity to observe the child in as free and open environment as possible… Second if the child possesses within himself the pattern for his own development, this inner guide must be allowed to direct the childs growth.

Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method

Our toddler classroom is mindfully arranged so that the toddlers are encouraged to openly choose their material and easily experience the freedom of movement.  In gaining this kind of freedom in the class, the toddlers are willing to follow the guide in making more meaningful choices and enjoying learning.

Pesach with the Shinshinim

This week we wanted to focus on our experience in an Israeli Passover Seder, just the way we are used to in Israel.

First of all, an Israeli Seder is a VERY BIG event. Just like here, we invite everyone we know, and almost every year the whole family gathers in one house for a huge dinner followed by a lot of dish washing.

Secondly, an Israeli Seder is very loud – It’s not intentional, but whenever you put over 20 Israelis in the same place at the same time, it just happens (how else would you talk to someone on the other end of the table except by raising your voice).

So basically – an Israeli Seder is very Israeli, and although we are all in Canada, we wish you all to combine the two cultures together, and this year discover the perfect Seder for you!

We also brought a little Israeli music into the classrooms this week.

Photos of Pesach at MJDS

Kita Gefen starting their Pesach Seder

Kita Gefen starting their Pesach Seder

While you have a nice Pesach break, enjoy this week in photos.

MJDS Minds in Action Update

Ruben's victory at the Provincial Chess Championship

Ruben’s victory at the Provincial Chess Championship

In last week’s newsletter we celebrated Shea S and Ruben B’s silver medals in chess.  We are proud to announce that Sid B has also qualified for the Ontario Provincial Chess Championships to be held on Sunday April 13, 2014!

Ruben B, Sid B and Shea S all developed a love for chess in an MJDS after-school class run by their excellent teacher, Mr. S. All three students recently won medals at a qualifying tournament, which granted them an invitation for the Ontario Championships, where they will compete against children from across the province. Congratulations Ruben, Sid and Shea! And good luck on Sunday! We are very proud of you!


Calendar Reminders

April 12 – 23 : Passover Break
April 30: 2014 Class Pictures

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel