What Parent’s and Teachers Have Been Waiting For – A Critical Hashkafic Resource for Speaking with our Kids
by Sandy Eller
With adults and children alike reeling from the impact of recent happenings, the creators of the first ever social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for the Orthodox Jewish community have released a resource booklet for educators and parents on addressing difficult current events with children.
Darcheinu, a division of Amudim, is making the booklet available to the public at no charge as a supplementary component to its comprehensive SEL curriculum for 5th through 12th graders which addresses emotions, communications, bullying and friendships, among other topics. The booklet is part of Darcheinu’s continues mission of providing ongoing support to students by responding to events as they occur.
“We see ourselves as a resource for schools in the realm of children’s social and emotional health,” explained Darcheinu program director Shira Berkowitz. “We know that children all over the world are talking and are struggling with this. With our children being faced with multiple incidents within a relatively short period of time, we felt that these general guidelines could be used in other circumstances as well, because we all need to know what to say to kids and what not to say.”
Darcheinu program consultant and curriculum editor Rabbi Yisroel Grossberg explained that many educators believed that their students were unaware of the difficult situation until they overheard them discussing it during recess. Finding themselves facing an uncomfortable issue that had to be addressed, some reached out to Darcheinu for guidance.
“Baruch Hashem, there was a time when students would be told that they were in trouble for talking about those things, but this situation affected young kids in particular and they heard their own parents discussing it behind closed doors,” said Rabbi Grossberg. “We don’t have the luxury of not addressing this, so we rushed to put together a resource that would take sensitivities into account so that we could deliver something that yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs would be comfortable with.”
The first segment of the booklet, titled “Discussing Delicate Current Events with our Children – Strategies and Hashkafa,” was sent last week to more than four dozen participating schools that utilize the Darcheinu curriculum. Multiple principals who appreciated its clear, concise guidance contacted Darcheinu with positive feedback and the full booklet is now available for free download to all schools, as well as parents, at www.darcheinu.org .
Program coordinator and curriculum writer Rabbi Avi Landa noted that providing children with the tools to make sense of the world around them is a critical component of the Darcheinu curriculum, which is endorsed by the Vaad Roshei HaYeshiva of Torah Umesorah and operates under the guidance of HaRav Hillel David Shlit’a and HaRav Elya Brudny Shlit’a.
“It is vital that we give our rabbeim and our teachers the resources to properly answer these questions,” said Rabbi Landa. “The Darcheinu curriculum provides a platform for teachers to be able to build skills with our students from the ground up, allowing them to healthily cope with and grow in life. This booklet is just one example of a supplemental resource outside of the curriculum where Darcheinu is there to help educators and parents alike to properly teach, inspire and guide our children.”
For more information on Darcheinu and to download “Discussing Delicate Current Events with Our Children – Strategies and Hashkafa”, visit them online at www.darcheinu.org