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 30, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

March 30, 2012
7 Nissan, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

Shabbat Shalom to everyone. Here are the highlights of our week here at
Netivot Shalom Preschool.

- We continue our discussions and learning about Peasach. We have been
reading books, telling stories, looking at pictures, and having puppet
shows .
-We have been talking a lot about Moses' trek through the desert for 40
years. Tobie brought in a book to share with us at circle time. It is a
book about the deserts of Israel. Now we have a sense of what the desert
might have looked like for the Jews during that time.
- We got to hear Melita tell us the story of Pesach as well. Of course
Melita's version had songs.
- We have been talking about what it means to have been a slave back then.
- We have been talking about bricks and mortar and we learned that the
choreset we eat a Pesach represents the mortar used by slaves for building.
-We have been singing Ma Nishtana,
- We cooked Matza brei on Thursday. The children enjoyed making it and
eating it.

- On Monday and Tuesday, we washed our baby dolls in plastic bins. We
have been talking a lot about babies in the kitah both because of Anna's
ever growing tummy and baby Moses.

- We continue our creative activities with various art materials at our
table in the kitah as well as outside in the play yard. Glue has been
quite popular.
- The children occupied themselves with chalk out in the play yard for
at least 30 minutes. The children were layering different colors of
chalk and rubbing them in together with their hands. Then some children
were making the chalk disappear with water. Some children put their
hands in the wet chalk till they were covered, walked over to a dry and
clean spot on the cement and made hand prints.

-We celebrated Aya's fourth birthday on Monday. We ate yogurt parfaits
at snack time to celebrate. Mazal Tov!

- We have a new selection of dress-up clothes in our dramatic play
corner. We also have a couple larger, more complicated puzzles that we
have never used before. One of them is a Seder plate puzzle. It has 24

-We baked challah on Friday of course.

Next week should be very exciting as we prepare for Pesach. We hope
everyone has a pleasant weekend.

Shabbat Shalom
Ofra v'Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

March 30, 2012
7 Nissan 5772

Dear Nevonim Parents,

We had another great week of Pesah learning and fun. We started the
week by completing our desert sand sculptures (which are really salt and
chalk) and we thought they turned out beautifully. We learned a new
desert song in Hebrew. We read several books about new babies and we
talked about spring as the season for new things in nature. We did more
yoga with Sara and Leslie - we all became Israelites crossing from Egypt
through the Red Sea to Canaan, but since we have been talking about
disabilities, each group of 3 children had one child tie a scarf around
a leg which he/she then could not walk on so the children had to learn
to give and accept help to make it to safety. It was fun and
educational, but we did lose a few Israelites along the way! After this
we took a very windy walk to the library to hear more books from Nora.
On Wednesday, we read the "Littlest Frog" and talked about the plagues
and Pharoah "hardening" his heart. We also played with our many toy
frogs and sang "When Pharaoh Awoke in His Bed". Rabbi Shalom taught us
Dayeneu and we talked about the Pesah foods we eat on the Seder table
and what they represent.

In small groups, we did Aleph Bet Yoga, we played Red Light/Green Light
and we started making a fan which resulted in the very exciting
situation of Caitlin cutting her finger and needing stitches - this led
to a flurry of medical related interest which we will continue with next
week. Together we made pickles which we will eat next week as the
kitchen will be closed for Passover. Thursday was an awesomely fun day
as we all loaded up into cars and drove to Tilden. Thank you so much to
all the parent drivers and non-drivers who brought the plethora of
carseats and boosters! At Tilden we were so lucky to have clear skies
and a great naturalist named Ranger James. He led us on an amphibian
walk to several manmade ponds - we saw a rough-skinned newt, a
California newt, a salamander, frog eggs/tadpoles, and we heard many
frogs. We also saw deer, turtles, ducks and many banana slugs. After
we walked back to the nature center as is if we were these animals, we
had a picnic and then fed lots of celery to the Little Farm animals -
cows, goats, sheep (there were many baby lambs), ducks, geese and two
very sleepy pigs.

Today, Shabbatasaurus goes home with Ziporah and thus has visited every
house in the kitah! Thanks for all your hospitality and fun reports
back. Wild Thing will be done making the rounds in a few weeks.

We want to remind everyone to start bringing back their books from last
year which document each child's time at Netivot Shalom Preschool - we
are ready, unbelievably, to start filling them again with this year's
happenings! Next week Colin will be in every day subbing for Ruth.

Have a great weekend,

Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Friday, March 23, 2012

Raise our voices in song!

Dear Preschool Families,

Rabbi Menachem is inviting all of our children to sing on his next album, titled "Modeh Ani!" Claudia Valas, a member of our shul, is producing a wonderful CD that she asked Rabbi Menachem to create, and he suggested that we invite the Preschool kids to sing along with the title track, YES, "Modeh Ani!" We need to get permission from parents for their child to be on the recording, which will take place sometime after Pesach during school hours (the recording engineer is coming with equipment to CNS!).

During the next week, your children's teachers will ask you to sign the "release waiver" which we will need  in order to include your child's wonderful voice in this project. This cd will be sold at a discount to CNS Preschool families when it's released!!


HaShavuah - Nevonim - March 23

March 23, 2012
29 Adar 5772

Dear Nevonim Parents,

As this week brought the true start of spring, we have been talking
about Pesah's spring symbols, its story and traditions. We read several
books about new babies (since we also have quite a few of those in our
families!) In learning about Egypt, we have been talking about the
desert, its climate and its animals. We made desert sand paintings and
had Shirlee tell us a desert story. We tasted matzah for snack with
butter one day and "sabras" cactus afikomen many times. We read "Sammy
the Spider's First Passover."

We have been talking a lot about "Hachnasat Orchim" (welcoming guests)
as we have had several guests to our kitah this week. On Monday we
welcomed Willa Mamet who brought with her wood and the mezuzot that she
makes from them. It was very exciting. We read "Mezuzah on the Door"
in preparation and will be making our own mezuzot soon. Melita came as
always on Tuesday. We also had Sarah and Lesley come and do Passover
animal yoga with children. They became frogs and locusts as well as
many other animals. We learned important lessons about slowing our
bodies down, and being patient. We have been reading books about
peoples' differences and disabilities. Rabbi Shalom came into the kitah
on Wednesday and taught us about Pesah, including the song "Avadim
Hayinu" (We were slaves in Egypt)..

In small groups this week we did a science experiment putting out a
flame with baking soda and vinegar. We wrestled in pairs with safety
rules (as a way to appease some necessary large motor aggressive play).
We checked on our plants. We have also been practicing our skills as a
kehillah (a community) by discussing and voting on several issues. One
of the Jewish values is"Kol Yisrael aravim zeh l'zeh (All Israel is
responsible one to another.) For example, on Tuesday we voted on
whether to go to the park or not. 10 children wanted to and 8 didn't so
we split up and had one group go and one stay. At other times, we vote
on which song to sing or story to hear and we go with a majority rule
with very few complaints!

A reminder that next Thursday is our field trip. We have all the forms
and enough drivers but we will need car seats or boosters. We will send
out an email on Monday listing who is driving whom so we can
coordinate. Drivers, don't forget your forms for Lauren. Also, you can
send your children with lettuce and celery for the little farm that day.
Have a great weekend.

Nevonim Teachers,

Cailtin, Ruth and Shirlee

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

March 23, 2012
29 Adar, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families!

Here it is again, all the exciting things that went on in our kitah this

- We have been very inspired to create a lot of art this week. We did
some drawing with oil pastels, finger painting, collaging and sculptures.

- We had some very large lemons in our science area that were gifted to
us from Alexander and his family, he has a lemon tree in his yard. On
Friday we took them out to play yard and worked on making lemonade
outdoors. We sliced and juiced the lemons, added water and honey, and we
had lemonade with our lunch.

- We got to have a very close look at a snail. It was brought in by one
of the children in the morning and it spent the morning in the kitah
with us. After talking about where snails need to live to survive, we
brought it out to the play yard and set it free, off it went very slowly.

- We have a cardboard box in the kitah that is just the right size for a

- Cacao in the sensory table, it smells like chocolate.

- This week we have had several oportunities to say She'chianu when we
did something new for the first time. We said it for holding the guinea
pigs for the first time, getting cheese in a lunch box for the first
time, and the first time making the decision to skip circle time in
order to extend our time with art projects.

-We have had several mealtime conversations about having babies in our
bellies, conversations inspired by Anna and her growing tummy.

Pesach is coming up!
- We read another Pesach book at circle time. We told the story and
talked about the ten plagues. We also talked about Chametz and things on
the Seder plate.
-We ate matza for snack on Thursday. Then we pulled out an Afikomen
cover, put a pretend matza inside (a piece of cardboard with the word
"Afikomen" written on it in big letters) and we are practicing hiding
the afikomen and searching for it.
-We read "Miriam and Her Brother Moses". It was nice to hear this story
with a picture book because we have been telling the story with puppets
at circle time and this was a bit different.

We are looking forward to more explorations and Pesach activities next week.

Shabbat Shalom
Ofra v'Anna

Friday, March 16, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

March 16, 2012
22 Adar, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

Another week of learning and fun has passed. Here is what we were up to in the kitah this week.

- We mentioned that there is a holiday coming up and that there is a story that goes with the holiday of Pesach. We have told the Purim story numerous times and it seems that the children really enjoy hearing stories about the holidays. Immediately, the children requested to hear the Pesach story.
-At circle time on Monday, Anna and Ofra told the story of Pesach, beginning wtih baby Moses and how his mother made his basket comfortable and waterproof.
-At circle time on Tuesday, we discussed Pesach some more. We talked about how the afikonen is hidden and the must be found during the Pesach Seder.
-We also talked about Moses and his life when he grew up and how he requested from Pharoah "Let my people go!", and how the Jews in Egypt didn't have time let their bread rise so they quickly baked their Matza and were off.
-From our closet we pulled out a sack of small multicultural people stuffies. The dolls are small and they fit nicely into our small baskets. They are our  baby Moseses.

- Ooblek

- We had a rain walk, or more like a rain run, on Tuesday in the courtyard. We spend a short time outdoors in the rain running from one end of the courtyard and  back many times.

- We are swapping the art on the walls with new pieces of art made by the children.

- The teachers had a very productive staff development day on Thursday. We have posted what we were up to on the exit door near the nevonim kitah. Please have a look and you can see how we are working on our professional development.

-We have been reading "In The Night Kitchen" by Maurice Sendak a lot. It is has been a favorite this week.

-We made Challah of course!

Shabbat Shalom
Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

March 16, 2012
Adar 22 5772

Dear Nevonim Parents,

We have had a very wet week. We had several fun days in the social hall
with the parachute and other large motor skill indoor activities. Today
some of us took a rainy day walk. In the kitah we made collages from
bookcovers. We did a play about Caitlin stealing a puppy - we had parts
for bailiffs, guards, police, lawyers and a judge. We concluded that
stealing is wrong because of the ten commandments, but Caitlin did not
hurt the animals and thus respected "bal tashchit". We sang with
Melita. Some of us conducted a science experiment with chalk and water
and developed our own hypothesis. We made family chains "sharsharot"
from foil and yarn. Colin and the children have been busy repairing the
new wall in the mishkan. We also acted out, read, and listened to two
different recordings of Peter and the Wolf.

The children can all recognize the different instruments now - violin,
drums, flute, etc.. We mixed up chalk and salt for a sand sculpture
since we have started talking about Pesah and what Egypt looks like. We
made a model of Egypt at circle and started telling the story from the
Torah. We are impressed with how much your children already know! We
heard a story about Elijah's cup. We read "Nachshon the Brave" which is
based on a Pesah midrash about being brave, and having faith in order to
be free and face one's fears. We also read "Miriam and her Brother
Moses" which tells the Pesah story from Miriam's perspective (with input
from fish in the River Nile.) In anticipation of our radishes growing
for Pesah, we tasted a giant daikon as well as kohlrabi.

The children made a thank you book to acknowledge Menachem's ten years
of being a Rabbi. We want to thank the parents for letting us have a
great day of learning on Wednesday. Some of the results of our
discussion about ourselves as professioanl Jewish Early Childhood
Education are posted as a web near the Nevonim classroom.

Thank you to all who have volunteered to drive for our field trip on the
29th. We may still need a few more. We will let you know.

Next week, we have some special visitors to our kitah. Willa Mamet, a
congregant and a mezuzah artist, will be coming on Monday to demonstrate
her wood skills. On Tuesday, we will have Leslie Gordon (also a
congregant) and her caregiver Sara come teach animal yoga with the
children. They will come for the next three weeks. We all be talking
about people with disabilities in preparation for this, as most of
you may know Leslie has cerebral palsy and is in a wheel chair.

We hope you have a great weekend - it will no doubt be a wet one!

Nevonim Teachers.

Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Monday, March 12, 2012


“When the month of Adar arrives we increase our joy!”

Trout Fishing in America comes to Berkeley!
Wednesday March 14 6:30pm
@ Netivot Shalom

DINNER for purchase beginning at 5:15pm

Purchase discount Concert Tickets in advance -
$10/adult, $6/under 13, $30/family maximum

Tickets at the door: $12/adult, $8/under 13

Trout Fishing in America is "music for people who take their fun seriously!"  Bass player Keith Grimwood and guitarist Ezra Idlet, together, are Trout Fishing in America. They’ve been playing music together since the 1970s, when they met up in Texas in a folk rock band. In 1979, Trout Fishing was born, and now, 15 albums and four Grammy nominations later, Keith and Ezra still get up every day looking forward to playing music together.

HaShavuah - Nevonim

Friday, March 9, 2012
15 Adar 5772

Dear Nevonim Parents,

We went full speed this week celebrating Purim. We made our own
hamantaschen dough on Monday (gluten free and regular which was pink!).
We rolled, cut and filled the hamantaschen on Wednesday and baked them.
On Tuesday, we sang Purim songs with Melita. On Wednesday, Rabbi Shalom
came and read us a story called the Purim Surprise which had the theme
of including others and feeling welcomed in the Jewish community. On
Wednesday also, we wrapped raisins in cellophane and made hamantaschen
shaped baskets to hold all our misloach manot. On Thursday we had our
parade, delivered mishloach manot and had a fun carnival in the social
hall with bowling, face painting, Haman bean bag toss and bubbles.
Thank you to all the parents who came to help. At circle, the teachers
put on a purimspiel with puppets which excited the children so much that
they then made a puppet theater for us to use in the kitah. We also
read a book called Cakes and Miracles about a blind boy who is able to
see in his mind and create fabulous shaped hamantaschen.

We introduced a new microscope this week which we are excited to use
with all our budding scientists.
We sang a Shehechiyanu for Adiel upon becoming a big brother again!

We hope your weekend was peaceful and quiet after a very busy few days!

Nevonim Teachers,
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Friday, March 9, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

March 9, 2012
15 Adar, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families,
We have had a really exciting week at school, Purim has been on our
minds and we had are really great Purim holiday.

- Out in the play yard on Monday, we set up a mirror on a table and the
children were able to paint their own faces however they pleased. Some
children painted their friends faces.
- The anticipation for hamentaschen and costumes was rising all week
long. We talked a lot about our preparations for a Purim parade, a
carnival, and sending mishloach manot.
-We have been enjoying various games with our groggers at circle time.
We called out many different names of people we know, but we waited to
shake our groggers only when we heard Haman's name. A second game we
played was where we shook our groggers very quitely and gradually got
louder and louder. Then the loudest! We then gradually got quiter and
quiter until our groggers were silent.
-We baked oznei Haman (which translates to Haman's ears)/Hamentaschen
- We decorated paper plates that we used to package our mishloach manot.
-We had our Purim parade! We paraded through the building, visiting
people in their offices and through the library during morning Minyan.
-Immediately after the parade, we had our Purim carnival! We played
games in our social. Games, costumes, bubbles, facepainting, dancing!

- Havdallah with Malka! It has been a long time since we had Malka come
in and lead Havdallah with the Nachshonim and the Nevonim together.

- The guinea pigs were in our kitah four out of five days this week. We
love feeding them. They have very big appetites
-On Tuesday and on Friday we changed the bedding in the guinnea pig cage
to be sure that they have a home that is clean and nice

- Ooblek!!

-We made challah of course.

Shabbat Shalom
Ofra and Anna