Hanukkah is approaching! It’s a time for yummy fried foods, cozy family get-togethers, lighting the menorah, and a yearly visit to your child’s school to explain Hanukkah.
Here are a few tips and resources for helping give a preschool, elementary or middle school classroom a crash course in Hanukkah!
A Quick Refresher
First, prepare yourself by brushing up on the Hanukkah story and traditions.
In one sentence, Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple after it was taken back from the Greeks in the 2nd century BCE.
You can skim over My Jewish Learning’s Hanukkah 101 page or watch this video from BimBam that is a humorous take on Hanukkah geared towards adults and young adults.
For 5 and under:
For Pre-K-Kindergarten (3-5 years):
Children in this age group understand what it means to be brave like the Maccabees. Encourage kids to talk about times that they've been brave, whether by talking to a new friend, going to the dentist, or getting back on their bike after they've fallen down.
For Big Kids (6+):
Hanukkah celebrates liberation from oppression, and reminds us of the importance of freedom of religion. It also teaches us to fight back when people's rights are taken away. For children ages 7 and up, Hanukkah provides a jumping off point to discussions about freedom of expression and current events.
Discussion questions might include:
“What makes freedom important for all people?”
“How can a small group make a difference?”