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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hashavuim - Nevonim

September 16-18 and 23-25
12-14 and 19-21 Tishri
Shalom Kulam,
These two weeks of Sukkot were full, full, full weeks! 
Sukkot & Simchat Torah
We ate lunch in the shul sukkah before and during Sukkot.  When we ate lunch during Sukkot we learned and recited the bracha for dwelling in the sukkah.  We made decorations for the shul sukkah.  We made decorations for the shul sukkah IN the shul sukkah.  We danced in the Shul sukkah.
We took a Sukkah Stroll, visiting congregant Reba 's sukkah and our Shirlee's sukkah as well.  Afterwards we played at Charlie Dorr  park.  A big thank you to the parent volunteers who made this possible: Melissa (Lilit's Ima), Daniel (Asher's Aba), and Jess (Hadas' Ima). 
Melita sang Sukkot and Sukkot themed songs with us. 
We talked about the Torah, sang songs about the Torah, held special children's Torahs, unrolled one of these miniature Torahs.  Then we visited the Torah in the sanctuary, opening the curtain to see the Aron HaKodesh, and then opening the Aron HaKodesh to see the Torahs with their rimmonim.
After visiting the Torah we continued on to the shul sukkah where we watched Rabbi Creditor and many congregants performing the Hakafot for Hoshannah Rabbah.  Rabbi Creditor commented that it was wonderful to have the little ones, hakatanim, visiting and watching the big ones, hagedolim, while they sang the Hallal prayers that include the lines "hakatanim im hagedolim."
We made a pretend sukkah.
We have been reading many books about Sukkot and Simchat Torah, including: Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast, Bubbe Isabella and the Sukkot Cake, The Vanishing Gourds, and Sammy Spider's First Sukkot and First Simchat Torah.
Family and G-d's Love
To ease the children's transition and in keeping with the spirit of Yom Kippur's recitation of God's thirteen attributes, we have been reading many classic picture books celebrating parental love.  These include:  The Kissing Hand, I'll Always Love You, Love You Forever, Mama Do You Love Me, Guess How Much I Love You, and Runaway Bunny.
We also practiced the middah of Gemilut Chasadim recently when the children voted to share the leftover muffins we made in class with the Nachshonim rather than eat them ourselves.
We also finished up our discussion of Yom Kippur by sharing a Jewish version of the First Nations' story about the two wolves who live inside each of us.  Who wins, Saba, the yetzer hara or the yetzer hatov?  The one you feed, child.
And since I didn't mention it last week, the most popular Yamim Noraim picture books have been Tashlich at Turtle Rock and Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride.
Special Activities
It was right after Yom Kippur when the classroom pet, Boris the Rat died.  We talked about his death at circle time, taking time to answer the children's questions in an age appropriate manner.  Later we said a prayer for him at our closing circle.
Every Week
Every week the Nachshonim join us in our kitah for Havdallah!
Every week Rabbi Creditor comes to visit our classroom.  For Sukkot, he sang a song of peace with us (Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu).  The week before sukkot he taught us the blessing song for studying Torah.  Each week he talks with the children about Torah.  We also learned the Shehechiyanu.  I must say the children were truly adorable singing the Ameins!
Chag Sameach v' Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirley, and William

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fwd: Jonah Lived in the Belly of the Whale

Jenni Mangel asked that I email the lyrics I created for our Pretend Shabbat Torah learning this week.  So here they are, sing them to the tune of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine, as those of us who were at Pretend Shabbat did on Friday.
He left the town of Nineveh
In a boat with many sails
Jonah taught us all he learned
in the belly of the whale
Jonah lived in the belly of the whale
the belly of the whale
the belly of the whale(repeat)
Jonah ran away from home
but it was to no avail
he was thrown beneath the waves
into the belly of the whale

Let's be friends and have some fun
Jonah taught us to live as one
in this land we all can play

(if you were present at Pretend Shabbat you know this last chorus needs some work, on Friday we sang: "We all live in this land beneath the sun," etc but I prefer "We all play having fun beneath the sun" or even better "We all play sharing love with everyone" or "showing love to everyone" or showering love on everyone" or "sharing love is lots of fun" for now let's go with:)

sharing love with everyone
new chorus:
We all play sharing love with everyone
sharing love with everyone
sharing love with everyone

(final bridge lyrics remain as in the original song except the last line)

And we live a life of ease
Every one of us (every one of us) has all we need (has all we need)
Sky of blue (sky of blue) and sea of green (sea of green)
sharing love with everyone
new chorus:
We all play sharing love with everyone
sharing love with everyone
sharing love with everyone
(of course just continuing to sing "We all live in the belly of the whale," etc. as the chorus is the most natural thing to do, and from an adult point of view has some existential poetic truth to it, a truth which perhaps encourages us to be friends and live as one.)


Friday, September 13, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah/this week.
September 13, 2013
9 Tishre 5774

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

We have had a wonderful first two weeks of school. It's been nice getting to know your children and seeing them get to know each other. We have been involved in many exciting activities. Here are the highlights ...

- On Monday morning, we found a spider in our dramatic play area. We observed it for a while before we set it free outside
- We mixed our own easel paints from primary colors.
- We cleaned the guinea pigs cage on Monday and again on Friday. Some of the children assisted in the process.
- We have been spending lots of time getting to know each other through play, mealtimes, and circle time.
- Each day at circle we  pretend to wake up and then sing Mode Ani
- At each meal, we talk about what we are going to eat and say the proper brachah.
- We have been practicing washing our hands, a skill we will need to use a lot at school.
- We have been singing some great songs together. Open, Shut Them. Transportation, What a Fascination. Baby Beluga. Shalom Chaverim. And Hashafan Hakatan ( the little rabbit)
-We have a great selection of books in our library. The Carrot Seed. My Truck Is Stuck. Maisy Drives the Bus. Maisy Takes a Bath. Thank You Bear. 10 Shirim Rishonim (first 10songs)
-The children made Q-tip paintings and oil pastel drawings this week. We have framed and hung our Q-tip paintings near our meal tables.
-We have had lots of visitors this week in the kitah(classrroom).
              On Tuesday Melita came for a music lesson with her guitar. We will see Melita every Tuesday and sing songs with her.
              Rabbi Creditor also came to visit and will continue doing so on a weekly basis.
              We also had a special visit from Nora the librarian who came to read books with us and sing some sweet songs.
-On Friday we baked challah and we decorated our challah bags out in the play yard. We had our first pretend Shabbat together outside in the courtyard.

We look forward to more excitement and learning next week!
Shabbat Shalom

Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

September 9-10 and 16-20
28-29 elul and 9-13 tishri
Shalom kulam,
We introduced our daily t'filot, which we sing everday at circle time.  We begin with Modah Ani, then sing a Elohai Neshama chant, followed by Mah Tovu.  We also have a Boker Tov song that gives the children a chance to greet each other each day.  This song also includes singing Boker Tov to many other things as well, giving us the opportunity to introduce Hebrew vocabulary in the context of circle time throughout the week.  In the middle of circle time we have other songs and activities.  These weeks this time included multiple Rosh HaShanah shirim/songs, the story of Jonah and the Whale (or big fish, as it were).  Each day we finish circle by reciting the shema.  We have a few ways of reciting the shema, including a version that includes sign language.  Often a child will volunteer to lead this recitation and choose which version we will perform that day.  This fun introduction to davening happens every single day!
Yamim Noraim
In addition to singing Rosh HaShanah songs we had also had many other activities for HaYamim Noraim. 
We had shofarot in the kitah.  Some of these were mishpachah/family shofarot which were brought in for day.  Many of the children are quite accomplished at blowing the shofar.  These children were teaching other children how to blow the shofar.  We learned are the different shofar calls (tekiah, truah, shevarim, and tekiah gedolah) and even the children who can't yet blow a shofar practiced these calls with their voices.  We even told shofar dinosaur stories.
We had an apple tasting and each child chose which kind of apple they most like to eat (red, yellow, green).  Then we dipped apples in honey for a sweet new year.  If that wasn't sweet enough, we made honey cake muffins also (big thanks to Ima Jess Login for volunteering to help with this activity). 
We also have many books in the kitah about Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. 
Finally, we took a field trip yesterday,Thursday, to Strawberry Creek where we performed tashlikh before playing in the park.  The children also heard a strong princess and rabbi tashlikh story. 
The children received bandaid stamps for Yom Kippur. 
Every Week
Every week in the kitah we have a variety of options available for the children to explore their fine and gross motor development, emerging literacy (including pretend play), artistic creativity, emerging math skills, and sensory development.  This week these included sponge painting on huge rimmonim/pomegranate shaped paper, making a huge group mural, sticky foam, playdoh, beading, magnet tiles, blocks, railroad tracks, playing a memory game, easel painting, making sukkot decorations outside in our play yard, running, jumping, climbing, dancing, and more.  There was also a lot of children taking care babies, which utilizes developing fine motor skills as well as empathy and caring.  
Special Activities
The children were introduced to Melita, our guest music teacher, who comes once each week, and Nora the Librarian who visits our kitah once a month.
Shanah Tovah u'Metukah,
Ruth, Shirley, and William

Monday, September 9, 2013

Parent Workshop - this Friday!

Parenting Workshop

Sponsored by JCC East Bay, Congregation Netivot Shalom and PJ Library


Transitions: Making it Work for Your Children and You

With Jill Shugart, MA, MFT

This workshop will focus on Separation and the Transition from home to school: how to ease the way for both children and parents; separation styles for children; tactics for good goodbyes; what to do when there are difficulties with separation; how to manage the adjustment period. 

For more than 25 years, Jill has been helping individuals, parents and couples build more satisfying lives. Jill's work as a psychotherapist; marriage and family therapist; preschool director; parenting consultant; and parenting workshop leader provide significant assistance to people and organizations.

Friday, Sept. 13   9:30-10:30am (Coffee beginning @ 9)

JCC East Bay, Berkeley Branch