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, July 19, 2013

HaShavuah - Summer Fun 2

Shalom Kulam,

So much happened in these second two weeks of our summer session.  Last session we had a Maisy book and a Pigeon book and both were very popular with the children.  So this session we gathered up all of our Maisy and Pigeon books, close to twenty in all I think, and put them in the classroom.  By the end of the first week this led to the collaborative creation of Pigeon book of our own, with many of the children contributing a page to the book.  A Maisy book was also started and pages added to that book throughout the second week.  I still remember from my own childhood when I first discovered what the alphabet was for and dictated my first story to my mother.  Is there a better way to develop a child's emerging literacy than to share with them the discovery that by writing stories can be preserved from one moment to the next, v'dor l'dor (and from generation to generation).

Last session some of the children began creating their own language but this sessions focus has been more musical with children making up their own songs and singing them back to each other, line by line in a call and response style.  Children (and teachers!) also make music with drums, guitars, shakers, and tambourines.  Our favorite songs? "Down by the Bay," which included making up our own original silly rhymes, and Rabbi Menachem's "Shabbat Shalom" niggun to the melody of "David Melech Yisrael."  

We had pretend picnics on multiple days and even a picnic lunch outside this past Thursday at lunchtime.  
Elaborate houses for animal figurines have been made, children have played family and animal family, both with figurines and themselves as the family members.  Some children even played hide and seek with the animal figurines, directing each other to the hiding places saying "Cold!," "Super Cold!," "Warmer, warmer ..." and "Boiling!"  We learned the names of sea creatures in Hebrew, including "kelev yam (seal)," "sus yam (walrus)," and "susan yam (sea horse)." 
We made a giant mural, added glycerin to our paint, made vehicles of various sorts out of bristle blocks, painted on black paper for Tisha B'Av, and glued glittering gold onto another mural.

Speaking of Tisha B'Av and gold, the children heard the story of the Golden Calf this week during circle and we discussed other kinds of "golden calves" like hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, and not sharing instead of following G-d's rules for living a life of chesed and nedivut.

Some children made dreidels out of magnet tiles which broke open when spun, revealing the animals placed inside.  Magnet tiles were also used to make elaborate cities, buildings, homes and hiding places.  

Food from our dress up area was sold and shared throughout the classroom.  Then when we made new playdough, in a color variously described by the children as "pink," "orange," "salmon," or "sunset," this playdough was also made into food of all kinds for sharing with our friends and teachers. 

There was also dancing, dentistry, painting, paper cutouts, soccer, sticky foam, falcons, chalk (outside on the concrete and the play structure, and chalk (inside on black paper).  Oh, and an ohel (tent)! 
 Shabbat Shalom,
William, Ruth, and Caitlin

Lauren Kindorf
Preschool Director
Congregation Netivot Shalom
1316 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
phone: 510/549.9447 ext. 110

Monday, July 8, 2013

HaShavuah - SUMMER FUN! - Session 1


June 24-28 and July 1-5
Tammuz 16-20 & 23-28
Shalom Summer Families,

The summer session is off to a fabulous start these first two weeks.  We began by having the Nevonim children welcome the Nachshonim into the classroom.  We took advantage of having Ofra in the kitah these first two weeks to ease the transition.  Our circle times have been a mixture of introducing the Nachshonim to Nevonim routines and including Nachshonim routines (songs, etc.) to ease the transition for Nachshonim children.  Early in the first week we also divided the children into small mixed aged "teams," encouraging each team of 2-3 children to decide together what they wanted to play.
Highlights of the first week included artistic expression like the enormous drip painting that covered both tables, which we later added more paint to with paintbrushes, and elaborate sidewalk chalk art in the drizzing rain, which makes the colors of the chalk more vibrant!  
Pretend Play
Several of the children have young siblings and joined each other taking care of their babies. Corrugated cardboard tubes when discovered by the children became costumes, turning them into robots and transformers.  The robots had families and the children's vivid imaginations extended the transformers extended well beyond the Optimus Prime to include transforming into dirt, then flowers, etc.  This was likely inspired by A Grand Old Tree, a wonderful book that was shared at circle time which introduced the children to the life cycle of a tree and its ecological importance for neighboring inhabitants.  You might also ask your children about Chu's Day. 
Sensory Play and Motor Development
 And of course we had so much fun with our new water table, paper cutouts, soccer, and playdoh.

During week two we followed up on projects and themes from week one. 
There was more caring for babies.  We decided to together to rip up our drip painting.  First the children enjoyed throwing the shredded pieces of paper over their heads while singing "Mazal Tov v' Siman Tov!"  After that uproarious fun it was time to collage some of the shreds onto butcher paper.  Our chalk art extended until it covered the entire play structure.  In week one a story about sailboats had inspired magnet tile sailboats so in week two we built on this interest exploring more about sailboats, introducing the children to other kinds of boats (rowboats, ocean liners, motorboats, canoes, and kayaks).  We brought in picture books featuring boats, including classics like Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon, and sang songs about boats.  By the end of the week airplanes were also being included in the children's play.
New things emerging in the second week included children creating their own language together, much animal play (especially popular were falcons and honey badgers) and burying various items in various substances, like trucks in the sand, and animals in playdoh.  There was also a lot of fishing going on.

We said goodbye (for the summer) to Ofra and Caitlin.  We look forward to welcoming Ruth into our Summer Fun for the next four weeks.
William, Ofra, and Caitlin