Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

Celebrating Hanukkah Under the Pines

It’s the holiday season for many families and November 28 marked the beginning of the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. To commemorate the holiday, Lower School teachers organized an array of classroom activities and projects for students to learn more about the history, traditions, and stories associated with the eight-day holiday.

Grade 1 teacher Beth Messina 1996 began her presentation by placing menorahs on desks and asking students in both classes “what is Hanukkah” and “why do people celebrate it.” Students eagerly raised their hands and answered the questions. Mrs. Messina continued detailing the background history, the importance of the menorah lamp and oil, and how it came to be observed for eight nights. The lesson ended with students enjoying latkes with applesauce or sour cream, the traditional food of the holiday.

“It’s nice to be able to have the shared moment with the students and teach them something new about a different holiday and its traditions,” said Mrs. Messina.

Other Lower School classes spent time learning about the holiday as well.

Students in Heather Robinson’s Preschool/PreKindergarten class read books and watched videos before crafting their own menorahs out of wood, paint, and tissue paper. Past parent Karen Schimelman, mother of Grade 4 teacher Emily Schimelman 2002, zoomed into the class to read a Hanukkah story and taught students how to play the dreidal game. Each student was sent home with a small bag of gelt (chocolate coins) and a dreidal with directions on how to play. 

Jenna Gabriel’s Kindergarten class made dreidal and menorah drawings with art teacher Sue Bennet 1973 and constructed Stars of David out of popsicle sticks.

Hamden Hall Country Day School

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Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.