Wednesday, March 26, 2014

hagada and seder

Here is the Hagada I printed out this year.  There's not much to it.  I made it so they can color in the Hebrew letters.  I made some spaces for them to practice writing (script or print) and left room to color or to cut things out and paste them.  We use construction paper to cut matzas and karpas and maror etc.  I'm doing this because I've been hired to teach it.  For my own kids, I do nothing to prepare for Seder.  (Nothing with them [unless they request].  I do think about each child on his or her level and how to engage them best at the Seder.)

As a rule, Ari prefers that our preschool children walk into the Seder knowing nothing or as little as possible.  He prefers to do as much teaching as possible that night, and if they don't know the story yet, he wants it to be for the first time at the Seder.  He doesn't want them to know the order of what is coming.  He wants the strange order and strange things to be a surprise.  He wants those things to get the children to ask, to engage them, to get them interested and questioning.

He does not want the Seder to be about children telling what they learned.  He wants to do "והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא," to tell his children on that day the story of what happened.  


  1. My mother (long time reader ;) asks:
    I love ari's and your way of doing the seder with the children...but I imagine as time goes on, the older ones remember from one year to the next, especially because of the 2 nights. didn't sarah and chana remember things from year to year? even elazar?

    1. even if elazar remembers, we still don't review it with him beforehand and all assimilation of the material is done the night of.

      yes, the girls do remember more from year to year, but we still try to spend the bulk of the seder telling them the story on their level. there are always new aspects or approaches and we spend some time thinking about what aspect of the story will interest each one or what to focus on and how.

      in practice, we focus on each child, divvying them up among us and taking turns, and when everyone runs out of steam we zip through the hagada. as the girls have grown older, they are more participatory and ask questions about the hagada. we do the meal very quickly, with only one course, and are usually done eating and back doing the rest of the seder in short order.