This week, JCDS celebrated Pride together as a community as well as in individual classrooms, learning about its history and marking Pride Month in our own unique way on Rosh Chodesh.

Teachers and students first laid a foundation of historical knowledge, each grade at its own level. Gan Nitzan read the book “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” about the creation of the rainbow flag from its beginnings in 1978. They enjoyed both its message of love and pride, and the beautiful illustrations.

In the second grade classroom, students watched a video, “Pride Explained for Kids,” on what Pride Month is and the history behind it, including the Stonewall riots. The class discussed the term “LGBTQ+” and connected it to the books on gender identity they read this year, and then did a read-aloud of the book “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.” The class talked about what they believe people are communicating to the world when they display a rainbow flag at their home or business. Students then created their own flags that conveyed a message they each want to communicate to the world. All the flags will be displayed outside the classroom for everyone to see and enjoy.

In the fourth grade, students learned about the history of Pride at a deeper level, talking about Stonewall and the trans folks of color who led a protest that turned into the first-ever Pride. The class discussed the acronym LGBTQ+ and students asked thoughtful questions about the different terms, most of which were already familiar to them from their fall unit about identity. They hope to read more Pride-themed books in their remaining time together this month.

On Thursday the celebration culminated with Rosh Chodesh t’fillah dedicated to Pride Month, taking an already joyful day to the next level with an exuberant Hallel service.

Students were encouraged to wear the colors of the rainbow, and middle school students Alanna and Kayla led the school in a joyful, musical Hallel service to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the holiness of all human beings made b’telezm elohim, in God’s image. The prayer of Hallel seemed particularly relevant and meaningful in the context of the gratitude and joy of Pride Month. With enriched understanding of LGBTQ+ history, students came together with an appreciation of how far LGBTQ+ rights have come in our country and everything they hope can be accomplished in the future.

Shira Deener is head of school at JCDS.

The School Sparks blog appears periodically by various writers among the JCDS educational team. Learn more about JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School.

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