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, June 29, 2012


June 29, 2012
9 Tamuz, 5772
Shalom Netivot Shalom Families,
This week has been busy and exciting. Here are the highlights of our week
-At the beginning of the week, the children were included in deciding what foods we want to eat for the week and we made our snack schedule together.
- The childern singing "Jonah Lived in the Belly of a Whale" led to a discussion of what goes in our bellies.
-We read three Jewish stories that all related to feeding the poor. The first on is "Bagels from Benny".
- We read the Jewish folk tale "The Bitter and the Sweet". The story was about a begger who is not Jewish who comes to a Jewish neighborhood during Pesach. He is told that everyone opens their doors during Pesach and he will be able to receive some food for his hungry belly. At the seder, the begger leaves after he tasted the bitter herbs at the Seder because he did not like the flavor. Not only did we learn about the the flavors of bitter and sweet, but also about showing hospitality and feeding the poor.
- One child brought in a book to share at school of Jewish stories. We read one in which a child is rewarded by God for giving food to a hungry woman even when he and his family are in need of food themselves.
- After we read "The Bitter and the Sweet", we talked about bitter and sweet foods we like. Many children mentioned that chocolate is a sweet food they like to eat. William talked about how chocolate comes from a bean that is actually bitter.
- On Thursday, Ofra brought in cacao beans, We cracked open the husks with a mortar and pestle and removed the bean. We crushed them up with the mortar and pestle, we smelled it, and we tasted the raw unsweetened cacao. The children tasted small amounts and most of them seemed to enjoy the flavor. We will continue tasting different foods with different flavors next week.
-We remembered playing with the cacao mulch in our sensory table in the past and we got to see that the mulch is made from the husks of the cacao.
-We ate bagels and bananas for snack and we talked about "B" words. Some of the children mentioned words like "bouncing", "boundary" and "bracha".
- We are discussing the different brachot that are said for different kinds of foods.
- A moth who was no longer alive was found. We observed it under our large magnifying glass. A couple days later, a bee was found and we also had a close look at it under the magnifying glass.
- Ooblek on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Before lunch on Thursday, we discussed the proper way to wash your hands and we practiced by pretending together and singing the hand washing song.
- We have been using our toy binoculars from the science area. Ofra brought in a pair of real binoculars from home for the children to see the strong magnification of the real binoculars.
- We had a very special visit from Stephanie Trammel (Liam's Imah). She came in to tell us the story of last week's Torah portion. She laid out a piece of yellow felt and it became the midbar/desert. She had a miniature mishkan and miniatures of all the objects that the Israelites used to get close to G-d when they were in the desert such as a menorah, a place to light incense, a place to wash hands before entering the mishkan, and pretend people that made up the twelve tribes of Israel. Steaphanie was kind enough to let us borrow the materials she brought and now we can and explore them some more next week.
We are looking forward to another fun week. See you then.
L'hitraot v'Shabbat Shalom
Ofra and William

Monday, June 11, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah She'avar
June 11, 2012
21 Sivan, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

I would like to inform all of you about our eventful week last week.
Here are the highlights:

- On Monday, we wnt outdoors to play but we decided that the weather was
not the most pleasant. We then moved ourselves to the social hall where
we had indoor activities.

- We celebrated Alexander's 3rd Birthday!

- On Tuesday we used "Nature Print Paper" that was gifted to us by a
parent. When you place objects on the paper and place it in the sun for
a couple of minutes, the paper picks up a print of the shadow. We have
begun framing the prints we made.

- We have a couple of great musical instrument books. One is an
informative book about different instruments. One page shows an array of
various string instruments like the violin, viola, cello and bass. The
bass instrument is so big it doesn't event fit on the page in our book.
Another book we have in our reading corner is "Zin Zin Zin, a Violin",
about musicians, instruments and orchestras.
-Colin brought in his guitar and played some melodies for us and with
the children. He talked about the parts of the guitar, the head, neck
and body. He also strummed for us in different styles. We sang a slow
melodic version of ABC's and then Colin made up some words to a blues
tune he played for us.

-In the past couple of weeks, there have been a few times when the
children made a "volcano" in the sandbox by making a large pile of sand.
On Wednesday we used play dough to make a volcano mountain. We mixed
baking soda and vinegar in the hole in the top of our volcano and
watched the reaction that occurs, it was exciting to see the volcano erupt.

- We made a large communal painting on Wednesday.

- A child brought in a rubber band one day. We discovered that the band
can be stretched and plucked like a guitar and it makes a sound much
like a guitar.

- We put rubber bands around small boxes and lids and made our very
own string instruments.
- We also used the rubber bands for our geo-boards. Various shapes can
be made by stretching the rubber bands over the pegs in the board.

We are looking forward to another week ahead of us.
Ofra and Colin

Friday, June 8, 2012

HaShavuah - Nevonim

June 8, 2012
18 Sivan 5772

Dear Nevonim Parents,
Whew!  It is hard to believe that this was the last full week of the school year, and what a full week (year) it was!  We started the week with rainy day walk - Geshem!  We played in the social hall.  We sang many songs including the ever requested Aleph Bet Vet.  We expanded our range this week by singing Where is Thumbkin? in Hebrew (the fingers are agudal, etzba, ama, kmitza and zert) if you want to continue the tradition. We also turned our favorite drama game Scooby Doo into a Hebrew song and we sang Mah Tov Hu as a round (Kanon in Hebrew).  We also played "I Spy" and "Shimon Omer" in Hebrew and we expanded our game of Gogoim to include many more mishmish pits.  As always, we sang with Melita and had fun, free nature time at the park. We have seen an explosion of writing Hebrew and English in the kitah and we have therefore been reinforcing this with lots of magnetic letters and signs.
We decided to give our tzedakah money to Jewish Family and Children's Service to help their Shabbat meal delivery program for houseband people - this is the same program that we have been decorating bags for all year.  A representative from the program will join us on Thursday of next week. Rabbi Shalom came to the kitah on Wednesday and sang Oseh Shalom BimRomav..  He aslo told us a story about a man who always said "this is for the best" no matter what happened to him.  He didn't have a place to stay, the wind blew out his lantern, a wild animal ate his rooster and his donkey ran away.  Instead of focusing on the negative, he appreciated how all these events actually ended up being a good thing as the town where he would have slept was robbed and he was safely protected by his "bad luck."   Today we took this a step further and talked about the value of being an  "adam sameach b'chelko" - someone who is happy with his/her lot.
We had another deep conversation this week (it has been a week for meaningful discussion) about how some of us are going to new schools, as we have had a lot of emotion in the kitah and want to acknowledge that change is happening.  We had our small
Wild Thing get bigger and move on to Kindergarten as he said goodbye to Shabbatasurus who will be in the Nevonim class next year.  The children asked Wild Thing how it felt and it was a very sweet moment.
We are asking the children what they want to eat and do for the last week - so we will be making pies for snack on Thursday - if anyone wants to come and help, we would love it.  Wednesday will also be tie dye and stripe day!
Have a Great Shabbat,
Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Monday, June 4, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah She'avar
June 4, 2012
14 Sivan, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

Here is an overview of the the activities that took place in the kitah
last week. We have been quite interested in the topic of instruments, in
particular string instruments.

-Colin and Ofra have both been bringing their string instruments to
school to play with the children and share with them.
- At circle time on Monday, we had a good look at both a guitar and an
ukulele. We discussed the differences we observed between the two in
size, sound, and amount of strings. We also talked about other string
instruments such as Colin's mandolin, a violin, a stand up bass and cello.
- A toy ukulele was found in the art room upstairs that now belongs to
us! We also pulled out our toy guitar from the closet so we now have two
string instruments to play with!
-We listened to "A Hen, A Chick, and A String Guitar" at circle time, a
song that goes along with a book.
-A few times this week, we found ourselves making music together, each
with our own instruments. One child said "Stop the music! I have an
idea! Let's make a band!

- We took a field trip on Tuesday to Berkeley Way Mini Park

-We played with ceramic clay out in the play yard.

- We have some new color paddles in the science area. They are
translucent, so when placed on top of each other, they create new
colors. We have sets of primary colors and sets of secondary colors.

-We have been enjoying our miniature doorway, with lock and key
included. The children are able to practice their fine motor skills
getting that door unlocked and opened and it allows for some creative
play. The mini door was one of Ofra's estate sale finds.

Hope you all have a lovely week
Ofra and Colin

HaShavuah - Nevonim

June 1, 2012
11 Sivan 5772
Dear Nevonim Parents,
We had a lovely warm week.  We started our week by sorting and counting the tzedakah money we have collected so far this year.  We divided the coins by color and size and then counted them.  The grand total (give or take a few) was $50.  We are discussing lots of meaningful ideas of where to contribute the money - which has allowed us to think back over the tzedakah projects we have been doing all year such as making bags for Jewish Children's and Family Service food delivery service for the elderly as well as our own baking and delivery to Helios Corner - also to help the elderly.  We are figuring how to donate our funds and our time over the next week.
Tuesday we sang with Melita and went to the park with Nachshonim.  We have been reading a few new PJ Library books this week, as they are always the most popular books we read.  A new favorite is the Shabbat Puppy which is a heartwarming story about how to find Shabbat Shalom and celebrates the relationship betweem a saba and his grandson who have a tradition of taking a Sabbath walk (with and without an unruly puppy).  We also read 5 Little Gefiltes which has a similar theme of a mother gefilte fish being reunited with her children who have wandered off - respect for the elderly hadarta p'nei zaken is a Jewish value we have been emphasizing.
We have been having a round of Hebrew games at lunch, circle and outside time.  One game we play is "Magic" which teaches counting and Hebrew as we take away objects (identified in Hebrew) which the children have to guess and identify what is missing. We have also been playing "gogoim" which is an Israeli game that uses pits from mishmishim (apricots) .  Today, since there was no challah dough we were able to make a sweet Shabbat treat of "mishmish" muffins to bring home.

One day we picked lots of our garden herbs and chopped them and made "Green Eggs" which were a big success (no ham of course!)  
We had fun observing the replanting of our etz rimon (pomegranate tree).  We spent hours in the warm sun washing our new building tubes which we can use to build structures.  We also worked with clay outside and made watercolor paints by recycling old markers.
At circle we heard several stories including the midrash of King Shlomo and the devorah (bee).  We also talked about tsar baalei chayim (taking care of all life forms) as Ruth told the true story of a wounded crow which she and her family brought to Lindsay Wildlife Museum to heal.  We are following the crow's progress.
As always, letters, words and numbers, both in English and Hebrew are integrated into all our learning, as our daily tefillot which are now led by the children themselves!
Shabbat Shalom.
Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee