In the Cahal kindergarten class at HANC in West Hempstead, the children are learning about the chagim through multisensory experiences. For Rosh Hashanah, they examined a variety of apples, sorting them visually by color, feeling their round or elongated shape, and listening for the crunchiness of their sound while enjoying the taste of their first bites. To prepare for Yom Kippur the children listened to music — Barney’s song and Kol Nidrei chazzanus — in order to appreciate the tone of the day by making the appropriate happy or serious faces to demonstrate their appreciation of the solemnity of this day.
For Sukkos, the children embarked on a neighborhood walk that encompassed many sights, sounds, feelings, and tastes of the approaching chag. First stop was the lulav and esrog store where Mrs. Lilienthal presented the arba’ah minim to the children, allowing them to feel the bumpy esrogim and shake the hard, tall lulavim. She explained how each of the species corresponds to a part of our body by its shape, as well as how each reminds us of a particular type of Jew by its taste and smell.
Leaving the store, the children were led on a special hunt to find as many different sukkahs as they could and identify the various materials from which the walls were made — plastic, canvas, or wood. They also checked out the schach of each to ensure it was kosher in its thickness. A favorite sukkah stop was at Morah Harris’s house where they got to taste the delicious snack treats and play a game to identify the various fruits and vegetables suspended from the schach above them.
Last stop was the Young Israel of West Hempstead to experience Simchas Torah. The children helped to take a sefer Torah out of the Aron Kodesh by opening the paroches and singing. Then the sefer Torah was unrolled on the shulchan and each child was lifted up to see the beautiful ksav of the alef bet that they will be learning this year. After the Torah was rerolled, the children circled the bimah and danced hakafos around it as they followed the Torah back to its special place, ending a wonderful morning and a true hands-on learning experience. Wishing everyone a shanah tovah and chag sameiach!