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, March 13, 2020

HaShavuah March 13, 2020

HaShavuah March 13, 2020 Adar 17, 5780 Wow what a week we have had! It has been filled with lots of Purim celebration, a visit from firefighters and lots of talk about keeping our bodies healthy. Our Purim celebration included a costume parade around the school and out onto the street with many parents in costume joining us. Then Judy led us in song and a Purim bunny hop dance in the courtyard. After a hamantaschen snack we had a fun and festive music circle with Lior. Later in the day, many of us went to listen to the megillah and see the Purimspiel. On Thursday we had a great surprise visit from Berkeley Fire Department because they were delivering emergency equipment to the synagogue through an organization called Berkeley Ready. We got to see their giant hook and ladder truck and take a photo with the fire fighters. At Ma'agal Shabbat Moses and Miriam were joined by Aaron who explained that his attachment to the golden calf was how children might feel about a stuffed animal. This is our last Ma'agal together for a few weeks, but keep your eye out for a visit from Rabbi Chai and friends on your computer! In Nevonim, we decorated our kitah to look like a palace. We made hamantaschen. We enjoyed the Purim parade and lots of facepaint and costumes. Ofra did art with us. In Nachshonim, we made groggers. We got our room ready for Purim. We practiced Purim songs.

Friday, March 6, 2020

HaShavuah March 6, 2020

HaShavuah March 6, 2020 Adar 10, 5780 This week has been full of Purim and Handwashing! The teachers have been super vigilant about handwashing - reinforcing best practices and talking about why it is important, as well as spraying toys and surfaces twice a day. We had visits this week from Lior, Rabbi Chai, and Melita and of course, we sang lots of Purim songs. In the afternoon on Thursday we also had an awesome visit from the 4th/5th grade class of Edah afterschool program with Yafit (former Netivot Shalom Preschool emah). The older children led songs with our children including a wacky Edah original, they led a mask-making activity, read stories and left us with delicious shalach manot treats. Thank you Edah! We are thinking about making this a regular partnership and having them come to visit more often - it was lovely to see the two age groups interact. In Ma'agal Shabbat, not only did Moshe and Miriam dress up for Purim, they also taught us that in this week's Torah portion Tetsaveh, God also gets a costume, in the form of the Mishkan. In Nevonim, we had a fun music circle with Reef's abba Lior. We made groggers with rice. We made individual megillot. We made Purple Purim Bread. We made a tiny town with rainbow tape and toy people. We made pinch pots with Ofra for planting seeds and growing things. We had much fun doing face painting with Elizabeth. We made a giant Purim sign. We played with sensory beads and called them mermaid eggs. We had a circle where we learned about germs and hand-washing and played a game with a giant face and beanbags to learn what part of our faces not to touch to stay healthy. In Nachshonim, we made Purim decorations. We read and interacted with the Megillah and Judy made us all laugh with her funny storytelling. We did face painting and heard Purim stories. We made playdough and we all took turns mixing, pouring and adding some fun. We also had fun building Shushan, the town where the Purim story takes place.

Friday, February 28, 2020

HaShavuah February 28, 2020

HaShavuah February 28, 2020 Adar 3, 5780 It is time to rejoice - we are now in the month of Adar! We had a great week full of Purim fun and learning. On March 10th (Purim day) we will have our morning costume parade at 9:15, and music with Lior at 12:30, so save the date! There will also be other programming at Netivot Shalom (see below). We had great attendance at Sharon's talk on Wednesday - a big Todah Rabah to her for volunteering to give a very helpful and informative presentation, which is remarkably similar to the preschool's philosophy about creating independence and resilience in children. Thank you also to Laurie for organizing the food. In Ma'agal Shabbat we also talked about lost objects and how its is a mitzvah to return something to its owner. Moshe and Miriam taught us about this week's Torah portion Terumah which details the building of the Mishkan. We looked closely at the Mishkan in the sanctuary and noticed all its colors - blue, gold, purple and white, and that parts of it are made of wood. We also sang a Purim song to begin this holiday of silliness! In Nevonim we made playdough with beet powder. We cut open seed packets and soaked the seeds in water. We made purple sweet potato bread. We made a tropical rainforest jungle habitat. We have been learning about Purim through books, puppetry and grogger-making. We have been trying on different masks and using them to tell the Purim story. Once again we made blue rice (from blue butterfly pea flowers) and beans, only this time it turned out very blue and the children ate it with delight! On Thursday we celebrated Judah's 5th birthday with a special snack and his ema Liora entertained us with the story of his birth. In Nachshonim, we made hamantaschen out of loose parts and we made a paper collage. We talked more about triangles and circles and learned about Purim by reading Purim books with Judy. We made hamantaschen starter kits: we made strawberry jam and practiced our pouring skills by mixing dry ingredients into bags. We made groggers (noisemakers) and we were introduced to the people in the Purim story.

Friday, February 21, 2020

HaShavuah Feburary 21, 2020

HaShavuah February 21, 2020 Shevat 26, 5780 Last week we celebrated Tu B'Shevat and this week we have started learning about Purim. Melita, Rabbi Chai and Lior all came to sing with us. This week at Ma'agal Shabbat we practiced Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests) as we had quite a few visitors including Judah's grandparents to help celebrate his upcoming 5th birthday. Moshe and Miriam talked to us about this week's Torah Portion, Mishpatim, which is all about laws and rules. We discussed what rules we have at preschool: two very important ones are "being nice" (Raina) and 'having fun!" We also sang and danced to a silly Purim song and started thinking about our costumes. In Nevonim last week, we had a huge Tu B'Shevat Seder where we tasted lots of foods including the Seven Species - wheat, barley, grape, pomegranates, fig, olive (oil), and date (honey) (Deuteronomy 8:8). We made a 3-dimensional tree with Ofra, and another one with Caitlin. We had a tree appreciation dance and celebrated Tu B'Shevat all week. This week we made blue rice (with natural blue butterfly pea flowers) and beans. We made a rain forest habitat with plants and plastic animals. We made delicious mango and coconut granola with Elizabeth. We also made yummy banana apple bread with Caitlin. We did watercolor artwork inspired by the book "The Dot." From the Torah portion Mishpatim we talked about laws of caring for others' belongings. We began planting seeds in anticipation of spring. First we added nutrients to the soil including worm poop! We looked at the calendar to see when Purim is (March 10), and we connected circle and triangle shapes with Haman and hamantaschen as we began exploring Purim. Friday we had a special treat because Michael (abba of Noah and Navah) brought in a great science exploration project, complete with labcoats for us to wear. Each child got to mix a little baking soda and vinegar in a cup and use their eyes to see, ears to hear, and nose to smell. Then we collectively poured these substances together to make a giant volcano to which we kept adding more vinegar to keep it erupting. Then we wondered if we could capture the bubbles, so we put balloons with baking soda in them over vinegar in bottles. When we shook the baking soda into the bottles, the ballons filled up! Then we took the balloons to play with in the social hall and noticed that they were heavier than regular balloons. Great science learning for all of us! Todah Michael. In Nachshonim last week, we made a treescape and a tree creation project using found tree objects and playdough. We had a Tub B'Shevat Seder. We sampled fruits from Israel after we did Havdalah and Tzedakah. We used pastels and made mountains after discussing what mountains are. We read stories with Judy about Moses getting the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai. We did stamps and sponge painting. We read the baby owl book. We worked on cutting with scissors, we did lots of new puzzles and we enjoyed a sensory project with seashells. This week we have been exploring colors and we made a rainbow collage. Inspired by the conference teachers went to last week, we had a loose parts art project. We have been doing animal puzzles and playing animal matching and identification games. We did a nature object and playdough project. We did a crayon and paper-cutting art project. We started talking about Purim and hamantaschen and what we would like to put inside them. We explored circles and triangles and connected the triangle shape (m'shulash) to the Purim story.

Friday, February 7, 2020

HaShavuah February 7, 2020

HaShavuah February 7, 2020 Shevat 12, 5780 This week we have been exploring trees and plants in anticipation of Tu B'Shevat next week. In the Torah portion this week we have been learning about crossing the Red Sea. We sang lots of tree songs with Melita - we became seeds that grew into trees. At Ma'agal Shabbat we discussed with Moshe, Miriam and Nachshon puppets how to cross the Red Sea - the children had a lot of great suggestions such as a boat or a tunnel, but in the end the sea split and we made it to freedom and we rejoiced! Then we sang "It is a Tree of Life" for Tu B'Shevat. In Nevonim, we created a small world forest habitat with natural materials and toy animals. We created an arctic habitat with real ice and water. We loved sliding our penguins and seals down the slippery ice blocks. We talked about habitats, evaporation and prehistoric arctic animals. In honor of Tu B'Shevat we decorated posters of trees of Israel. We learned a new word Alon which means tree. We read lots of books about trees. We hunted for tree parts. We were inspired by the book "Unlikely Animal Friendships" and our animal rescue ice play and we created our own animal sanctuary. We had a Citrus Club and studied all the types of citrus that are in season right now. We cut, tasted and displayed many kinds. For this week's Torah portion B'Shalach we made art about crossing the sea and we created a tableau of toy figures crossing the sea. We prepared ourselves for the journey by putting on belts and headbands (from the Torah portion) and then we celebrated that we are free! We also read Hanan haGanan, a marvelous Israeli book about trees. In Nachshonim, we had fun with sticky foam and bark exploration. We decorated leaves for our kitah in order to celebrate Tu B'Shevat. We had a special snack of toast, sun butter, bananas and local honey to celebrate what nature gives us. We painted birthday cards for the trees using branches and leaves. We sang happy birthday to the trees and gave them our cards. Yom Huledet Sameach La'Etz!

Friday, January 31, 2020

HaShavuah January 31, 2020

HaShavuah January 31, 2020 Shevat 5, 5780 This week we happily welcomed back teacher Judy who had been away. We are now in the month of Shevat and so we have eagerly begun our exploration of Tu B'Shevat (the birthday of the trees). Melita and Rabbi Chai each visited both kitot and we sang songs and prayers. We are sending lots of R'fuah Shleimah wishes to moms Tatiana and Danielle and wish them both speedy recoveries! In Ma'agal Shabbat, Pharaoh and Moshe puppets caught us up on the on-going struggle to let the Jews go free - finally Pharoah said yes! In Nevonim, we painted with toy cars and trucks, then had a "car wash" to clean them. We explored the coral reef using images from the projector. We began talking about Tu B'Shevat at circle time. We played with animals in a forest habitat that we created with natural found materials like wood, flowers, and rocks. We made a pond with real blue water and a meadow made of real clover. We discussed which animals would be found in each habitat in real life. Some of us made earthquakes and tsunamis that changed our habitats. We used magnifying glasses to examine leaves and branches from trees. We read books about Tu B'Shevat. We discussed the part of the Torah portion where Moses says "Let my people go!" and Pharoah finally says yes. In Nachshonim, we did fingerpainting. We have been working on serving our own snack and practicing fine motor skills. We made pumpkin muffins and practiced taking turns. We read books about trees with Judy becuase Tu B'Shevat is coming! We had a dance party. We gave tzedakah. We started a night sky paint because we have been talking about darkness (one of the plagues). We created a sensory animal habitat and discussed the names for the different parts of the tree. We sang "Tu B'Shevat Higiyah, Zman ha'ilanot" a popular song this time of year, celebrating the arrival of the birthday of the trees. We have been seeing many friendships developing in our kitah - lots of examples of children showing real chesed (lovingkindness) to each other.

Friday, January 24, 2020

HaShavuah January 24, 2020

HaShavuah January 24, 2020 Tevet 27, 5780 This week we continued exploring the Exodus story. Melita came to sing with us and we had art class with Ofra - she is headed off to Israel so we will have a few weeks without her. At Ma'agal Shabbat puppet Moshe and puppet Pharoah (really Oscar the Grouch) acted out a little of this week's Torah portion for us singing, "Let My People Go." Afterwards, the children joined in for another round of "Bang, Bang, Dig, Dig!" After candlelighting, Rabbi Chai asked the children how they could bring light into the world. Itamar said, "by giving love", Raina said, "by giving hugs, and kisses." We had an exciting morning today because the smoke alarm went off while we were baking challah (luckily there was no fire and the challot turned out fine!), but it meant the Berkeley Fire Department came out to make sure all was safe which was very exciting. Teachers and children did a perfect job exiting the building and practicing fire safety, and then had the treat of giving fire fighters high fives when we thanked them. Judah said, "it was a great day!" In Nevonim, we had a tea party with chamomile tea! We made fabric collages. We did clay work with Ofra. We pretended to be archaeologists and used brushes to reveal dinosaurs and shells that were buried in the sandbox. We made fossils by printing shells and leaves into playdough. We made oatmeal and granola. We have been doing large scale sand building in the sandbox with lots of cooperative work, somewhat the way Hebrew slaves built things for Pharoah, but we did it willingly! In Nachshonim, we worked on a coloring project and practiced cleaning up during transitions - this group is great at "nikayon" (clean up). We used sticky foam as a fun sensory activity. We focused on teamwork and used fixing books as a project to practice skills with tape and cutting with scissors - it was also good practice doing tikkun olam (repairing the world). We began avocado exploration - making guacamole by also using teamwork and cooperation to cook together. We talked about how we are all "mensches" when we help each other.