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, December 21, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

December 21, 2012
8 Tevet, 5773

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

We have had another very eventful week at school. Here are the highlights of what occured this week.

Sonsory Activities:
-We had a lot of sensory activities this week in the kitah.
-Play dough
-sticky foam
-ceramic clay in the play yard
-making sculptures out of our old play dough
- glueing different materials like feathers, craft sticks and pipe cleaners.

-We are enjoying a new songbook called "Pete the Cat". Pete wears white shoes that he loves. They change color depending on what he steps in. Pete is a cool cat, he does not mind one bit.
- We have been singing Frere Jacques in French and English. One child came to school singing it and now we all know the words.

-One day the geshem/rain made it so that the play yard was all wet and we played indoors instead. We played in the social hall with our large cardboard boxes, our tunnel and the kid's chairs that live in the social hall. We ran around and we also read some good books.

-Like most Monday's, we had Havdallah with Malka and the Nevonim in the sanctuary.
- Some of the kids showed interest in measuring their height again on our height chart that is still hanging on our wall from the beginning of the schoool year. We noticed that the children have grown taller!

-The children helped with the process of making a documentation board for Channukah. They helped decorate the poster with snips of paper or paper that they ripped into small pieces. We then put a frame around each photograph. When we return from our break, we plan to make more. The documentation board is now posted in the hallway outside of our kitah.

- We talked about how Anna will not be joining us on Friday because she will be flying to Israel. We talked about how Collin (who has been volunteering and subbing at our school since last year) will be teaching in the kitah with Ofra on Friday.
-We had a really pleasant time with Collin.

We wish you all a wonderful winter break.
L'hitraot for now.
Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

December 21. 2012
Tevet 8 5773
Dear Nevonim Parents,
We had a very cold, cozy and emotional week as we all (parents and teachers especially) appreciated the love that we have. In the kitah, we explored winter themes, talking about signs of winter. On Monday, we did an experiment where we put water in a bag in the freezer to see what would happen, on Tuesday, we added salt and food coloring to see what would occur to the great chunk of ice we created. We also spelled the word for winter in Hebrew (Choref) with our bodies, using Aleph Bet Yoga. On Tuesday, Melita sang with us, we made playdough, we played Mr. Fox outside and we made art with tissue paper, water and glue to illustrate a winter book called "Bearymore". We also had the great fun of popping corn in honor of a winter book we read called "The Bear Snores On." On Wednesday, Menachem came to the kitah wrapped in a pink blanket that covered his face to teach us abou the parashah "V'yigash" when Joseph meets his brothers again, but they do not recognize him. We practiced looking into each others' eyes as a way to recognize each other. We also made oatmeal which was a warm treat on a cold day. In small groups, we started weaving and leaarning Hebrew games. On Thursday, we did wintery glitter watercolors, we learned and acted out the song "Yonatan Ha'Katan", a song about a boy who climbs a tree, looking for chicks, and ends up with a hole in his pants instead. All week we read lots of winter tales by Jan Brett
Today, we played Jewish twister, used fabric pens on fabric to make a variety of things. Also today we reintroduced our old friend "Shabbatasaurus" who is a plastic dinosaur that connects school to home, by visiting each child for one Shabbat. The families celebrate Shabbat as they normally do in their households and write, draw or photograph their experiences in a notebook which also accompanies the dinosaurt. The next week, the dinosaur comes back to class and we read aloud its adventures during circle time. Children love this act of sharing school and home. We started with A and will work our way through the alphabet so that every child will get a turn (we promise!) Thursday, was a good day to explore fire and the sun since it was Orange/Yellow Day, and today was a very cozy Pajama Day.
Also all week a theme emerged about space and space travel. We built airplanes and space shuttles out of bristle blocks, put thme in a space museum, gave tours, and one day had a shuttle mission to freezing Neptune (our truly cold play yard), another day to Mars, Mercury, the Moon, Uranus, Venus and Saturn. We researched the planets on the computer, printed out space maps, and acted out the solar system, and the planet's rotations at circle (just in case you were looking for some themes to explore over winter break!)
Shabbat Shalom! Have a great, safe and happy vacation until we meet again next year.
Nevonim Teachers,
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Monday, December 17, 2012

HaShavuah - Nevonim


December 14, 2012
Tevet 1 5773

Dear Nevonim Parents,

Sorry for the lateness - it was so busy last week that this didn't go out in time! We had an action-packed week of Chanukkah. On Monday during our family celebration, we made wooden chanukiyot, played dreidel bingo, did science experiments with flame, made Maccabee and soldier costumes, and performed our Chanukkah play. Tuesday, we had Pink and Purple Day which was a big hit and has really helped these colors be appreciated by all our kitah. To honor other colors, we would like to make this Thursday (Dec. 20) yellow and orange day - so wear those colors if you have them! Tuesday we also sang Chanukkah songs with Melita and later in the day invited Shu Ren's Chinese language immersion children to join us in the sanctuary to celebrate Chanukkah with us. Menachem joined us and sang and taught about the holiday; we performed our play again, and one of the Shu Ren classes sang us a song in Chinese that the teacher wrote about Hanukkah to the tune of Dreidel! It was great fun, and we all sang songs together as well. Wednesday, we performed the play a third time for Tobie and William! We made art by melting colored candles onto plain white candles for several days. We also had our own "sticky art lab" by making window collages on sticky paper. We made a wonderful group mural created by dipping dreidels in paint and then spinning them on a giant piece of paper. On Wednesday we also went on a field trip to Helios Corner to visit with the residents including Gary who comes to our kitah every Monday. The Helios staff prepared art projects for us, we sang Chanukkah songs for them, and we brought dreidels to share. Menachem came to the kitah on Thursday to teach us about last week's parashah. He stood on a chair to show us how Joseph saw himself as a leader who is bowed down to in his dreams. Also on Thursday, Nora came to read books to us in the kitah - our favorite was a very funny book called Stuck! On Friday we played a dreidel shape game at circle and sent home lanterns that some of the children made.

We also wanted to let you know about a very helpful book we have been reading and referring to a lot in class. It is called "How Full is Your Bucket?" and teaches about being kind to others as a way to feel better about yourself, and how when you feel good yourself, you are more likely to be nice. It has a great message that really works!

It was a fun week.

Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee
Lauren Kindorf
Preschool Director
Congregation Netivot Shalom
1316 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
phone: 510/549.9447 ext. 110

HaShavua'im - Nachshonim

December 17, 2012
4 Tevet, 5773

Shalom Nachshonim Families,
I apologize for the delay in getting Hashavuah out the last couple of weeks. Here are the highlights of the last two weeks.

Dec. 3 - Dec. 7
-At snack time, we had a visitor. A fly! We had a discussion about how flies are not dangerous and do not sting. We then retrieved our basket full of small plastic bugs and our bug flash cards with images of various critters.
-We sang every song we know about bugs, insects and spiders.
-The children used the toy bugs in creative ways. They put them in pots and pans and on plates, and imprinted them into play dough.

-We continued to play with our huge cardboard boxes.

-The children grew an interest in sevivonim/dreidels that began with a Channukah story that we read. We then took some sevivonim out of the closet to see what they look like and how they work.
-We sang Hannukah songs in both Hebrew and English to prepare us for the coming of the holiday.
- We made a trek to the Nevonim kitah to collect our three Channukiot. We also got a box of Channukah candles and the children played with them.
-We read the story of Channukah. We talked about how the Jews in the story of Channukah used oil to light their Menorah. We found one of our floating wicks that burn on oil and we had a chance to see how that works. We discussed how the candles we use at Channukah are usually made of wax.

-We went up to Lauren's office to retrieve a book. We saw her big blue guitar so we brought it down to the kitah, tuned it and strummed together.

-On Tuesday we played in the social hall because it was wet outside. We went upstairs to Lisa's office to let her know that we would be makiing some noise in the social hall below and we shut her door for her. On our way Down, we discovered a GIANT channukiah that lives near the window.

Dec 10 - Dec 14 (Last week) The week of Channukah!
-On Monday we had a small gathering in the kitah to celebrate Channukah. We decorated wooden spinning tops and played with sevivion. We also had special visitors of of grandparents and parents.
-We lit the Channukiah at school.
-We observed the candles getting smaller as they melted.
-We also discussed and covered safety rules when there is an open flame.
-We were invited to see the Channukah play that the Nevonim were practicing.
-We did an experiment with oil and water in bottles to see how they interact with each other. We observed that no matter how much we shake it up, the oil always rises to the top.

-We filled our paint jars with colors that we mixed from primary colors.
-We grabbed some primary color paddles from our closet. (As you can tell, we have a closet full of wonders!). When one color is placed on another we can see what color the two mixed together makes.

- We found two squeeze bottles that are prefect for watering our plants.

That is all for now. We are looking forward to another week here at school.
Shavuah Tov
Ofra and Anna

Monday, December 10, 2012

HaShavuah - Nevonim

December 7, 2012
23 Kislev 5773
Dear Nevonim Parents,
We have had a fun-filled week of Hanukkah learning. All week we have been singing Hanukkah songs (including with Melita), reading Hanukkah books: favorites have included "Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins" and the "Golem's Latkes". We made chanukiyah paintings over several days and many children wrote the words in Hebrew and English. On Monday we lit a candle in the dark to see why light is so important and special this time of year. Also over several days, we made many tie dye paper towel art which we are turning into stained glass for windows and shades for candles so we can make a giant chanukiyah out of them. We started writing our own Hanukkah play (which some of you willl see on Monday if you come to the classroom for our 9-10:00 family event). We rehearsed the play several times, so it should be good! On Thursday in circle we played an imaginary ball game and then an imaginary latke game. We made a giant cardboard chanukiyah for our wall. We counted out how many candles we need for all 8 nights of Hanukkah and discovered that it is 44! Today in circle, we heard the Hanukkah story again but with a feltboard to illustrate it.
We also did Havdalah with Nachshonim. Menachem came in on Wednesday to teach us this week and next week's parashot both of which are about Joseph the Dreamer. We learned how not everyone understood his dreams - you can check out more detail on the video link that Menachem sent. Conveniently for us, Menachem was wearing a very handsome, pink shirt that day because we have been talking a lot in class about how pink and purple are not just colors for girls (since we have been hearing a good deal of teasing to the contrary). In honor of this color diversity and to avoid stereotypies (in Berkeley?), we are officially making next Tuesday "Pink and Purple Day". We are encouraging children and teachers to wear pink or purple if they have or can borrow it, or we will provide pink and purple paper crowns so that we can all celebrate these colors. We learned an interesting fact today by observing our rat Boris (who is a boy); he seeks out and prefers pink above all other colors. We also read a book by Kevin Henkes, Morris and Chloris, But Mostly Delores" which features a mouse named Boris and always addresses gender stereotyping of children's activities.
We also have read a fabulous book several times this week called "How Full is Your Bucket/" which addresses why people are sometimes unkind to each other and how it fills us up more to be treated kindly and to be kind.
It was a good week with rain, twin birthdays and a busy holiday coming up!
Chag Sameach, Shabbat Shalom,
Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Monday, December 3, 2012

HaShavuah - Nevonim

Hashavuah She'avar
December 3, 2012
19 Kislev, 5773

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

We had a very busy week last week, we would love to share our excitement with you.

-Netivot Shalom Preschool has adopted Borris, he is an extremely friendly black rat. On Monday last week, Borris stayed in our classroom. Borris will be living in the big kitah with the Nevonim and the guinea pigs will be living with us in the small kitah.

-We continue with our favorite song books. They seem to be quite popular. What tends to happen is that a child will pick a song book, bring it to a teacher, and then the children find instruments to play along as we sing.

String Instruments
- At circle time, we had a discussion about the strings of the guitar. We observed and listened to how the tone that a string makes depends on how tight it is.
-We then stretched a rubber band to see that it also makes a noise.
- On Tuesday we used small cardboard boxes and stretched rubber bands on them to make pretend guitars that make noise when strummed.
-"I've Been Working on the Railroad" has been an extremely popular book selection. There is the part in the book about "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah, strumming on the old banjo". That someone might be Laney's Ima Pamela! Pamela brought in her banjo to share with us. She let the kids strum and listen to the tones of the banjo. It was pretty neat to see a real one. Todah for the learning experience Ima Pamela!

- We also had a pleasant visit from Ima Jenni, Kaila's Ima. She came into the kitah to play and read and experience the day with us. In fact, she got to experience the band that forms when we sing from song books. Todah for your company Jenni!

-Wednesday was a very rainy day so we spent some time in the social hall. We used our balance beams in the social hall for the first time. We also put on our raincoats and went out to the courtyard to play and run in the rain.

- At circle time, we held a discussion about hard toys versus soft toys and how hard toys should not be thrown in the classroom because it is not safe. We covered that we can throw balls all we want outside in the play yard.

-The teachers provided the children with three large cardboard boxes and the kids enjoyed jumping in an out of them and filling them up with things. One box was so big it held five children and one teacher!

- We had a special activity that was provided to us by Irene, who is Naomi's grandmother (Naomi is a student in our Nevonim kitah). Savta Irene is a botanist and she brought us kalanchoe plants and we planted them in pots. Each pot is labeled with a name, another way for us to practice name recognition every time we water our plants.

-Some of the children got very excited about the art that had been placed in their cubbies to take home and chose to hang some of them on the wall.

That is all for last week, we will keep you posted about our activities this week in the near future.

Shavuah Tov/ Have a good week
Ofra and Anna