Congregation Netivot Shalom Preschool seeks to create a stimulating and enriching educational environment for each and every child.
We are devoted to helping children learn socialization skills, building their self-confidence and teaching them the preliminary skills to explore and experience the world independently from their parents.
In addition, we seek to ignite a spark in each child to lay claim to her or his Jewish heritage and commit him or her to a lifetime passion for learning.

Friday, January 18, 2019

HaShavuah January 18, 2018

HaShavuah January 18, 2018 12 Shevat 5779 What a busy week we had! Tu Be'Shevat was everywhere! We celebrated trees and taking care of our planet all week, following the value of Bal Tascheet - Do Not Destroy. Melita sang rain and tree songs with us. We had a lot of illnesses among the teaching staff, so special thanks to our awesome sub Chen who joined us almost every day to help out. Elizabeth and Sonya have also been working extra to help out. Here's to good health, Briut, to everyone. At Ma'agal Shabbat, Miriam and Moses (with the help of Rabbi Chai) helped lead the Israelite children through the water (under tallitot held by adults) as they danced their way to freedom! In Nevonim we had a wonderful Tu B'Shevat Seder led by Judy. Many parents joined us as we celebrated all four kinds of tree fruit - fruits with an exterior that is good to eat and a interior that is not, fruits with an interior that is good to eat and an exterior that is not, fruits with an exterior and an interior that are good to eat, and fruits with an exterior and an interior that are not good to eat for humans but good for other animals. We also drank grape juice, pomegranate juice and a wheat beverage, and said a Shehechiyanu on a fruit new to many of us, guava. We also planted parsley that we hope will be ready for Pesah. We made pancakes with berries for snack. We created an "under the sea" sensory table outside with salt water, rocks, shells, sand and sea creatures since this week's Torah portion, Yitro, includes the parting of the Red Sea. Lior led another fabulous music class. We also took apart some electronics to study what was inside of them. Happy Birthday this Monday to Liev who turns 4! In Nachshonim we made playdough, we painted with tempera. Sonya was with us much of the week. Anna cam back and told lots of stories about Costa Rica. We talked about Tu B'Shevat, the Birthday of the Trees. We sang songs and told stories about trees.

Friday, January 11, 2019

HaShavuah January 11, 2019 5 Shevat 5779 Happy New Year and welcome back to school. We have all been happy to see each other this week, and to welcome some new friends. In the Nachshonim class we were thrilled to meet Miri, Ari and Nadav, all of whom have quickly become part of the kitah! And in the Nevonim class we welcomed a new substitute teacher, Maor's Ema Chen. The holiday of Tu B'Shevat is fast approaching (January 21st this year) and so we are focusing a lot on trees and on the Jewish value of Bal Tashcheet - Do not Destroy. Melita came to visit both classes and sing Tu B'Shevat songs. Rabbi Chai led Ma'agal Shabbat and Moshe rejoined us since we are now in Exodus, and Pharoah the Grouch also made an appearance. In Nachshonim, we are experimenting with water since it is so important to trees. We compared drawing with wet chalk and dry chalk. We made collages using pompoms, paper and feathers and lots of glue on construction paper. We celebrated the rain this week with lots of rain play outside. We had lots of water play in the sensory table. We are having one of our favorite teachers, Sonya, join our class for the next few days because Anna is away. In Nevonim, we spent a good deal of time and energy planting new plants in our yard. We planted turmeric, garlic and ginger and we are sprouting a sweet potato. We also read several versions of Stone Soup (including the PJ Library Bone Button Borscht), and then, thanks to many helpful parent contributions, we spent several days making our own Stone Soup which was truly delicioius. New words that we learned in Hebrew were zera-seed, shoresh-root, geza-trunk, and anaf-branch. Chen (Maor's Ema) read us a book in Hebrew about geshem, rain. Outside we also made "leaf soup" which was not quite as tasty as the stone soup.. On Friday we has special help from Team Clean-up (Teo, Shaya, Ayelet, Miriam and Alexandra, and Noah for sweeping the yard!) On Tuesday, at 9:45 the Nevonim class will be having their own Tu B'Shevat Seder - Parents are welcome to join! In the afternoons in addition to calm relaxation time, we also had dance parties including "Watch Me Whip!" Nene, Dance basics of the 8-count and parachute play.

Friday, December 21, 2018

HaShavuah December 21

HaShavuah December 21, 2018 13 Tevet 5779 Today at Ma'agal Shabbat, Rabbi Chai taught us about blessings and told the story of Jacob blessing the sons of Joseph in this week's Torah portion Vayechi. We talked about how we bless each other. In Nachshonim we had a cymbals parade. We mixed paints and worked on the easel, using large and small motor skills. We explored foam paint in the sensory table. We had lots of fun with train tracks, building and rebuilding! We made collages using feathers, corks, glue and stickers. We "cooked" sticky foam. Ruth spent one morning with us. In Nevonim, we have increasingly been taking our older children out on adventures, one day to the park with Angelina and one day on a walk with Tati. Tuesday Lior (Reef's Dad) came and led an amazing music session with special instruments from India and Japan. He told us to listen to our hearts while he played the instruments. We planted our baby succulents. We included plants from the garden in our Havdallah circle to be our spices, besamim. We practiced our small motor skills with sewing cards, and free-form weaving. We had a lot of fun with marching bands outside. We had a lovely goo bye snack with Eitan and his family on Thursday. We explored foam paint and shaving cream and eye droppers to make our own foam paint.

Friday, December 14, 2018

HaShavuah December 14

HaShavuah December 14, 2018 6 Tevet 5779 Hanukkah is over and we have been settling down all week to non-holiday learning and play. We have also been enjoying the beautiful weather outside. Rabbi Chai and Melita both came to visit our classes to sing with us. We had a lovely Ma'agal Shabbat and learned a new Shabbat song about greeting each other. We are practicing Chesed as much as we can! In Nevonim we began focusing on Gardening - we planted nasturtium seeds (z'raim) - we are beginning to make connections between nature and the Jewish yearly cycle. We tested our large motor skills on the Ninja line, sometimes it is a spider web and sometimes it is just a fun way to climb. We explored art with 3d tiny balls collage. We also did lots of painting, using our fingers for mixing. We ate papaya and studied the seeds closely now that we are looking more at how things grow. We played many rounds of magic statue garden, as we became clay taking different shapes. In Nachshonim we built with soft blocks and used shaving cream as the mortar. We had great tactile and sensory fun with oobleck. We climbed the web outside. We had plenty of parties with our new tea set. We used small cookie cutters to make shapes in playdough. We invited Nevonim friends for lunch almost every day. We have come up with a new name for our new hamster, Oggy from the Hebrew word for hamster, oger

Friday, December 7, 2018

HaShavuah December 7

HaShavuah December 7, 218 29 Kislev 5779 We have had a lovely week of Hanukkah festivities. One of our own Hanukkah miracles was the reappearance of Otzar the Hamster, so now we are blessed with two hamster which is doubly fun for all of us. Another joyful event was the very successful Netivot Hanukkah party which so many of our families participated in - latkes, dreidel, activities and music were appreciated by all! We also danced and sang with Melita with Chanukah songs of course. In keeping with the joy of the holiday we are beginning to explore the Jewish value of Chesed (lovingkindness) - this is something we emphasize all year long, but we are really expressing it this month. At Ma'agal Shabbat Rabbi Chai talked about Joseph and his dreams and we danced to Hanukkah music. Maor and his family were the Shabbat Mishpachah. In Nevonim we lit the chanukiyah together every day. We explored the history of Hanukkah and the rededication of the Temple by making Chanukah medallions similar to Maccabbee coins from the Revolt. We first crafted a salt dough which we rolled out and cut into Magen David shapes. We lit a giant hanukiyah and all shared in the beauty of the lights on a very dark and rainy day. We explored reflected light by putting CDs in the sun and creating rainbows of light. We explored the medium of wax by melting candles and dripping the wax onto paper and onto water. We explored oil shemen of all kinds as we learned about the oil lasting eight days. On Thursday we had a fabulous sun-filled field trip to Strawberry Creek Park. On Friday we talked about chesed and we could all be kind to each other. In Nachshonim we played with a giant piece of wax, heating it and watching it melt, chiseling it. We explored light and darkness with flashlights. We experimented with shining the light on Anna's eyes and seeing her pupils change! We brought the light table into our kitah and used colored plastic blocks to see the difference between opaque and clear. We built a tent out of a giant parachute and huddled and played inside it on a very rainy day. We did more candle exploration by dripping wax into water, dipping the candle in water and then trying to light it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

HaShavuah November 30

HaShavuah November 30, 2018 22 Kislev 5779 After making it through the bad air of last week, and then the rains, and then Thanksgiving, we have all felt a strong sense of togetherness at the school - truly a kehillah! With this joyful feeling we have jumped right into anticipating Chanukah with its emphasis on lights, love and miracles. We now have so many children at school that we are going back to having Melita stay for an hour on Thursdays, 9:30 with Nevonim, followed by 10:00 with Nachshonim so we had lots of extra room for dancing to fun Chanukah music! This week's festive Shabbat Ma'agal was led again by Lior - Todah Rabah! Instead of a Shabbat family we have a new tradition of Shabbat Helpers since our school is itself a family - this week it was Shaya, Teo and Rafi G. who were the designated leaders. In Nevonim we talked about Parshat Vayeshev and learned about Joseph's striped coat and his dreams, emphasizing the importance of sharing. We played with stripes and paper strips. We introduced Chanukah with an abundance of beautiful chanukiyot that children brought in from home. We spun dreidels. We played musical chairs with mats. We did Alef Bet Yoga with the letters on the dreidel (Nun, Gimel, Hey, Shin). Because of the rain, we looked for worms outside and fed them. We also enjoyed getting wet, making puddles and fishing objects out of them. In the afternoon we did a felt board of the book "Rain". Nevonim kids have been very excited about creating an enchanted forest in the classroom and we have begun this exploration. We also harvested our last pomegranate from the trees in the year and ate it with great gusto. Angelina was sitting inside watching this feast, when many children came in to spontaneously share their pomegranate seeds with her - it is wonderful to see this generosity happen so naturally. In Nachshonim we made new green playdough with Elizabeth. We explored citrus fruit - we compared parts of a pomelo, a grapefruit, an orange, a tangerine, a lemon and a lime. We checked out the peel, the segments, the little juicy parts of pulp and, of course, we sampled all the fruit in a citrus frenzy which carried over to snack time. We started talking about Chanukah, the miracle of the little pitcher of oil that lasted for 8 days and nights. We sang Chanukah songs about chanukiyot and dreidels (s'vivonim). We also looked at a chanukiyah, loaded it with candles and lit them. We looked at the flame and the dripping wax and we talked about safety. We looked at dreidels, we talked about the letters and we tried spinning them. We had a fire drill and now we all know how to keep safe. We also had great fun playing in the rain on Thursday!

HaShavuah November 16

HaShavuah November 16, 2018 8 Kislev 5779 This week saw lots of kehillah, community, as we all pulled together to make a hard situation better. Naturally we had lots of quality time in the social hall - so thank you to the Netivot staff as we played in earshot of offices. Melita came to sing with us and we especially enjoyed her song "Thanks A Lot" in the spirit of Thanksgiving and acknowledging everything that we are grateful for, especially as so many people have lost so much this fire season. Because we have been talking about babies in the Nevonim kitah, we are collecting baby supplies to donate to the Berkeley Women's shelter if you have extra diapers and other baby related products. In the Nevonim kitah we talked about the Torah portion Parashat Vayetzei; we made and studied ladders like in Jacob's dream. We learned the Hebrew word for ladder "Sulam" . We also talked about Yaakov meeting Rachel at the well and we built wells for different communities of animals (kehillot). Itamar sang a song for us about it called "El Ha Maayan"! On Thursday Yael's Imah Idit came in to talk to us about being the mother of twins (Nilli and Orly). The children asked a lot of very good questions about what it is like for twins, comparing it to Yaakov and Esav who were born to Rivka. In the afternoon many of the older children practiced their math and classification skills with sets of bugs and other insects - we then studied all the different interesting adaptations that insects have - most of whom live in communities and work together. In the Nachshonim kitah since we couldn't go outside, we used the social hall for big body play (running, balancing, throwing balls goofing and wrestling on the mats. We also had fun with pom poms by picking them up with grabbers and we had an art table. WE used chalk pastels on colored paper and on boards. We went through gallons of tempera paint- on big paper, on our bodies, and mixing colors ourselves!