Helping Children Thrive: Community Guidelines

Guidelines for All Community Members

Children learn through observation and, thus, all of the adults in our community play a vital role in educating our children and forming their impressions about tefillah and Jewish communal life. In this spirit, we offer the following guidelines for adults to consider in their interactions with children.

  • Treat children with respect at all times. Please refrain from making assumptions about children’s behavior and intentions. Our children do not need to feel unfairly reprimanded by any adult in the community.
  • We encourage adults to intervene if unsupervised children are engaging in behavior that is not in keeping with our communal values or is unsafe, and to follow up with their caregiver(s).
  • Adults should be prepared to see and hear children in the main service and to welcome their presence even if their behavior doesn’t always match an ideal sense of decorum.
  • Those responsible for scheduling and planning special programming for the KH & SZ communities are asked to consider families’ needs vis-a-vis timing and menus, and look to parents or staff for support.

Guidelines for Parents & Caregivers

If applicable, please discuss relevant guidelines and expectations with your older children.

  • Children are invited into the main service at any time. While we do not expect that young children will be completely silent, if a child becomes disruptive, we ask parents to take them out so as not to detract from the davening experience for others. Specific times when we ask parents to be particularly sensitive to noise are during the Torah reading and the D’var Torah. Children may use soft toys in the room.
  • Parents accompanying children at children’s activities or into main services should ensure their own behavior is not disruptive to the activity or services. Please do not chat in the back of main services, or in the hallway immediately outside of the main services, while kids are playing. 
  • If older children are dropped off for child care or programming, parents are asked to check in on their children over the course of davening.
  • Children are invited but not required to participate in programming for their age group. However, they will be discouraged from participating in programming with another age group because they are more likely to distract others. Exceptions include children at transitional ages who may naturally belong in a younger or older group, and children with young siblings who will be with their parents in the youngest kids’ room.
  • Children are discouraged from using the hallways for gym-like play. Movement activities are offered for younger children so as to create opportunities for energetic play. Older children (ages 9+) can choose to be in a separate room, or to be with their parents in the main service.
  • Parents should talk with their children about respectful use of space at Schechter Manhattan, in classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms. Under no circumstances may children destroy the school’s property or materials, and children should refrain from using any school materials. If families are bringing toys or games from home, please make sure that they are Shabbat friendly and won’t be potentially damaging to the classrooms. 
  • Please ask other children’s families about their food and kashrut policies – what is allowed or not allowed – before offering that child something you brought from home.
  • If an immediate conflict arises with a staff member, please talk to them respectfully and privately about the issue and then bring it to the attention of the parent team. If you have concerns about the content or design of children’s activities or tefillot, please also bring them to the attention of the parent team.
  • Children are not allowed in the closet where KH/SZ supplies are stored, which is accessible through the room for young children.
  • Parents are asked to supervise their children when taking food from the kiddush table, attending to hygiene and the amount of food they take.

Return to Kids’ Programming overview.

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