This entry is simply a question for YOU.
If you go to a synagogue with your kids, what programming do they offer on Shabbat morning? Please leave a comment here about the structure of the kid’s service, what you like about it, and what you don’t like about it, and any other info or advice.
Our synagogue is revamping its Saturday morning programming for little kids. We’re offering a Tot Shabbat every single Shabbat morning at 10:30. Right now, different leaders do totally different things each time.
I want a unified, structured program about 30 minutes long, and it has to contain these things: a format that loosely mimics the Shabbat liturgy in the main sanctuary (we’ll say the Shema, do the Torah procession, etc.); some songs, dancing, movement, play; and some kind of hands-on exploration of the week’s Torah portion, or Parsha. We are a Conservative shul, so we cannot use art materials or musical instruments, but we can do puppets, dress-up, stickers, and role-play.
I would love to hear about any service that WORKS: anything that keeps kids engaged.
Thanks very much!
I am actually looking for some guidance on this as well. Our synagogue is doing the same, and I have been put in charge of running the Tot Shabbat.
Eileen, in lieu of the community response we both want, the best resources I’ve found are from URJ (Reform). They publish an excellent manual, The Tot Shabbat Handbook. They also offer these pages online: 10 tips for medium and large congregations, written by Peter and Ellen Allard: (med) http://urj.org//learning/teacheducate/childhood/shabbat//?syspage=article&item_id=2396 (and large) http://urj.org//learning/teacheducate/childhood/shabbat//?
Several child-centered siddurim are available, and some come with cds so leaders can learn the songs first. A good example is “Shabbat B’Yachad,” published by EKS Publishing.