Last night, I went to a fundraiser for my children's day school. I had been helping out all week and had run out of the house soon after Shabbos to help it get set up.
This morning, I was sitting with my three year old when he asked "Mommy, how was the party?"
"Very nice, a lot of people gave tzedaka"
"That's nice, we also give tzedaka in my school. We put it in something called a PUSHka. Did you put it in a pushka?"
He begins to sing the song "When the pushka comes around, we shake it up and down. Give, give tzedaka with a smile" with gusto. He pauses and looks at me with a wrinkled brow. "Mommy, did you give your tzedaka with a smile?"
"Yes, yes I did dear"
He smiles, very proud that his mother knows how to act appropriately in Mitzva situations. "How many dollars were there?" (It was just Chanukah, so he knows about dollars now after getting some gelt from some nice relatives)
"Thousands of dollars of tzedaka, honey"
"Hmm." He pauses. "That's a lot of dollars. We also have dollars of tzedaka in my school. I'm happy you gave tzedaka. I like giving tzedaka too."
We hug, and he runs off to play tzedaka with pretzel sticks and a cup.
Day School education starts at age 5. Yet there are so many beautiful moments of Torah learning that occur before that time. As preschoolers, our children are first experiencing the richness of life. A Jewish preschool exposes them to the values by which we lead our lives so that they can share in our most precious moments.