Yad B’Yad is a mentor program at Academies @ GBDS where fifth and sixth graders are partnered with pre-k and kindergarten children. Now in its second year, Yad B’Yad are weekly thematic lessons in immersive Hebrew language, which are infused with hands-on engaging activities, including crafts and holiday celebrations. These classroom visits encourage the older students to form special bonds with the younger children that extend beyond classroom walls. The children find social, emotional as well as spiritual connections that will truly be authentic and strong for years to come.
This past week the children partnered together to bake hamantaschen and sing songs in honor of Purim. Evidence of the success of the Yad B’Yad program is apparent by the smiles on the faces of the buddies when they see each other, the feedback from the parents and the blossoming of both the younger and older children.
The program was created by Susan Scher, early childhood director and Sarit Ginzburg, Judaic studies coordinator at Academies @GBDS. Scher came up with the idea when she was looking for a way to connect the early childhood students with the greater school community. “One of the highlights of our school are the opportunities for older children to develop leadership skills,” added Scher. “We want all of our students to feel empowered to exhibit social and leadership skills, and subsequently develop confidence within the school setting, as well as in the greater community.”