A new grandparent pottery program has come to Epstein Hillel School, an independent Jewish day school in Marblehead. Every Friday for four weeks since March 3, a group of grandparents has come to the school to make pottery, before having snacks with their grandchildren as a way for them to bond.
“As a school we think of ourselves as a community and that we’re not just teaching the children, but that we want this to be a place for the families and the parents and, by extension, also the grandparents,” Head of School Amy Gold said.
This program, she said, was a great opportunity to use the school’s innovation center in a new way. The innovation center has a pottery room with a kiln and another room with 3D printers, Mac desktop computers, vinyl cutters, and more.
The program also allows grandparents to see where their grandchildren go to school everyday.
“It was just nice that we could offer them a treat to be with their grandchildren and have a little snack with them and start to build community amongst the grandparent population too,” Gold said. “So I think the more the grandparents get to know each other, they feel connected to the school and just want to be a part of it.”
The program has been a big hit at the school and it’s something that they want to continue doing, Epstein Hillel School Marketing & Communications Manager Tamar Skowronski said.
Jewish Studies, Israel, and Hebrew teacher Miri Sharon is running the program because she went to art school from middle school through college.
While the children don’t get to do the actual pottery with their grandparents, Skowronski said, they come in and have snacks together while the grandparents share the work they did that day. The students do have opportunities to do pottery in an after-school pottery club that is extremely popular, she added.
“That multi-generational programming is good for everyone,” Skowronski said. “They’re interacting in this safe space that feels like home to them, the school is really like a home to both the students and their families.”
Gold said Epstein Hillel School is thinking of other ways to involve the grandparents along with the pottery program and their annual Generations Day.
“We’re thinking about for the future maybe doing some sort of grandparent book club,” she said.
Nava Hod of Swampscott, a grandparent to fourth-grader Sivan Hod, was in the pottery room Friday making a Seder plate for Passover. According to Chabad.org, the Seder plate is the “focal point of the proceedings” for the first night of Passover.
She said the program is a nice way for her to spend more time with Sivan.
“I love the school, I love how my granddaughter loves it, and when they come in they bring a treat for grandmas and I love it even more,” Nava said.
Fourth-grader Piper Desmettre of Marblehead said the best part of the program for her is getting extra hugs from her grandmother Lisa Rydzewski, also of Marblehead.
“I get to see her beautiful work,” Desmettre said.