The first night of Hanukkah was a little hectic; I was running late getting home from work, the kids were a little wild, and my husband was somewhat stressed from the challenges of having gone back to school as a nontraditional college student.
But in the midst of the chaos, in my possession I had a valuable tool: printouts of the Hanukkah blessings, created in Boardmaker by Gateways special education teacher Rebecca Redner.
Our kids, Joshua (aged 5, PDD-NOS, Gateways Sunday Program student) and Eva (aged almost-3, developmentally typical), thought that these printouts were awesome. They didn’t quite get the following along part the first night, and they were a little confused by not having the third blessing (Shehecheyanu) on the second night. But these didn’t matter, because, thanks to the printouts, both of them could participate. Joshua was able to read the transliterations and translations and see how they related to the whimsical graphics, and Eva was able to look at the graphics and match them to the sung words. Saba and Granna joined us for the weekend, and the children shared the Boardmaker blessings with them as well. Each evening, it’s been difficult to get them to let go of the sheets and put them away; they want to read them over and over again.
The truth is, both of our children love Gateways. Joshua has huge amounts of fun with Shanna and Miriam and his volunteer Max, who always greets me after class and tells me about the morning. Eva frequently tries to appropriate Joshua’s Gateways art projects, and every Sunday, when I bring Joshua to Gateways, Eva insists on coming with me, saying with great pride: “MY Hebrew school!”
– Rachel S.