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.

Monday, November 25, 2013

HaShuvuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah She'avar/ Last week
November 25, 2013
22 Kislev, 5774
Shalom Nachshonim Families,
Last week was another exciting week of learning and fun. We are getting ready for Channukah.
-On Monday we observed and compared different kinds of candles. Shabbat candles, Chanukkah candles, beeswax candles and havdallah candles.
-After comparing candles on Monday morning we lit some of them. We drew the curtains and turned out the light so we could enjoy the light they gave off. We even kept them lit during snack time.
-For the rest of the week, we ate snack and lunch by candlelight.
-On Tuesday we did a candle wax dripping project. We lit candles and held him over a big bowl of water. We watched how the wax melts and drips down into the bowl
-We observed that the candles we light get smaller and smaller as they burn and eventually they are gone.
-We talked about how the wax melts when it gets hot.
-We have been singing Hanukkah songs in both English and Ivrit/Hebrew. Songs such as "Chanukkah, oh Chanukkah". "Sevivon, sov sov sov"(Dreidel, spin spin spin), "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel". "Maoz Tzur", "Chanukiah Li Yesh" (I have a channukiah), "Ner Li" (My candle).

-We have been singing "Apples and Bananas" at lunch. "Ooples and Banoonoos"

-We were gifted some baby kolanchoe plants form Savta/grandma Irene who is a friend of ours. We put dirt in planters and planted them. We will water them and watch them grow.

-We have new large sponges for outdoor play. We had them in our kitah for a day or so, then we took them outside to use with our water table. 
-On Thursday we cooked pancakes. We sweetened them with the pomegranate syrup that Caitlin made with the afternoon crowd. They turned out delicious.
-We continue to take field trips through the building. We make stops to see the giant Channukiah that lives upstairs and the library. Every time we are in the library, we have a look at the Torah and the children always ask to sing "Torah, Torah, Torah".

-On Friday we noticed that our neighbors from the Berkeley School were practicing a musical performance in the social hall, our kids had the chance to be their audience as we watched them practice.

-We had a lot of fun last week playing with the fallen leaves in the play yard. 
We are happy that a new week has begun. Stay tuned, we will let you know about our activities this week in the near future.
Shavuah Tov
Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

November 18-22, 2013
15-19 Kislev 5774
Shalom Kulam,
Emergent Curriculum
This week some children made signs expressing their feelings of love and anger which we talked about at circle.
The children had rainy day fun, running outside in the rain, letting drops fall on them and laughing, and using the rain water to wash or "paint" the play structure.
Tape and sticks were used to in many projects this week.  Yeah creativity!

The children also taped circles and cards to their hands as shields, mittens, and other inventions.  Yeah creativity!
Jewish Curriculum
The children spun dreidels for fun and to make art!
The children became dreidels, dancing and spinning and falling down to fun exciting music!
The children made chanukiyot with their bodies!
The children made chanukiyot out of quick-drying clay!  Next week we will paint them and them take them home!
The children made lots of candles from sticks, using markers or tin foil to decorate them.
We told the Chanukah story! And we read lots of Chanukah-themed stories, including "How Do Dinosaurs Celebrate Chanukah?" and "Hanukkah Mice."
And we sang many Chanukah songs, like "I Have a Little Dreidel," "Sevivon," and "Chanukah O Chanukah."
Every Week

Every week we have a cooking project!  This week me made latkes!  We ate them with applesauce, sour cream, and pomegranate sauce (made by the children a couple weeks ago with pomegranates picked from our very own pomegranate trees). Mmmm, yum!
Every Friday we sing a short song about spreading Shabbat peace throughout the whole world!
When Rabbi Menachem came to the kitah to talk about the parsha he talked about dreams!
Every week the children make an individual challah.  We also make two challot for Pretend Shabbat, in shapes inspired by the week's Torah portion, this week's shapes: a Chanukiah and a rainbow coat, both in living color!

Thanksgivukkah is right around the corner! OMG!  Say it again, TOMG (Thanksgivukkah OMG)!

Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirlee, and William

Saturday, November 16, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

November 15, 2013
12 Kislev, 5774

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

It was really great to have a chance to check in with all of you this past Monday at our conferences. It is definitely a special day for us, not just because we get to hang out with adults, but we really enjoy sharing with you.

This week we continued exploring fire fighters and engines. Since we have been talking about fire and fire safety, we have this great transition and convergence of topics of interest as we begin to talk about Channukah and explore candles, flames, light, etc... 
Here are the highlights of our week:

Fire Safety
-On Tuesday we had another fire drill and we practiced our safety skills in the case of an emergency. 
-We read "Maisy Drives the Fire Truck" and the book about Fire engines after our fire drill.
-The children played with an old watering hose that has been cut into shorter lengths. We pretended to put out fires.

-We have Channukah materials in the kitah. We have a couple of books on the shelf, Channukiot/Menoras and sevivonim/Dreidels.
-We sang Channukah songs with Menachem when he came to visit us on Wednesday.
-A group of children joined Ofra and we collected all of the Channukiot we have in the Channukah box. 
-We are singing Channukah songs in Hebrew and English
-Of course we went upstairs to look at the giant Channukiah again. We also get to see University Avenue from a higher vantage point and that is always exciting for us. 
-We counted the arms of the channukiah and we pointed out the tall Shamash.

-The children have been "signing-in" with their photographs when the enter the kitah.

- We now have the forest animals to play with in the kitah.

-Melita came this week to our music session with a djembe drum.

-On Wednesday we prepared pizzas that we ate at snack time.

-Ofra brought in some red leaves that she had found on her way to school. The children played with them in combination with play dough and now they sit in our science area. 

Play yard activities
-We have new watering cans for us to play with outside. 
-We have been reading lots of books outside.
- The children have been hiding under the reading blanket.

We look forward to sharing more with you next week.
Shabbat Shalom
Ofra and Anna  

Friday, November 15, 2013

HaShavuah - Nevonim

November 11-15, 2013
8-12 Kislev 5774
Shalom Kulam,

Emergent Curriculum
This week we took our field trip to BART!!!  We walked to the North Berkeley BART where we met with the station manager who answered our questions about the trains.  Then we boarded the BART and headed towards the Richmond station.  After viewing a beautiful mural at the Richmond station we re-boarded, this time in the front train where we could watch the train's driver.  After returning to the North Berkeley station we walked to Berkeley Way Mini-Park where we played for awhile before returning to Netivot.  What a wonderful adventure!  A big thanks to Omi Carol (Hadas), Abba Leeor (Lilit), Abba Warren (Kira), and Ima Pamela (Laney) for accompanying us as chaperones!
Inside the kitah this week, magnet tiles continue to be transformed into BART trains!

Magnet tiles also become transformed into a house boat!

The children turned the play structure into a plane and traveled to Los Angeles!
As you can see transportation is a fascination of the children's so we support their exploration in every way we can!
Dress up also continues to be a vehicle for exploration.  Whether it's dressing up in a pink tutu and lady bug wings, painting faces to become Yaakov, a Vampire Princess, or a jaguar, or being someone's pet, pet owner, child, parent, or even pet parent, there is no end to the possibilities of who children can pretend to be as they become more and more who they are!
Jewish Curriculum
When we talked about this week's parsha, the focus was on the different ways that Yaakov made peace with his brother Esav.  At circle the children acted out Yaakonv's dividing of his possessions, his giving of gifts to Esav, and his humble bowing before Esav.  Yaakov saved the wrestling for that mysterious midnight figure on the banks of the river the night before.  We love to wrestle in the kitah but we reserve it for special times, with special rules, on a mat in the play yard.  When Yaakov, now Yisrael, did reunite with his brother, whom he had betrayed years earlier, it was a joyous reconciliation with a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek.
We also began our exploration of Channukah this week, talking about the holiday and playing Chanukkah music throughout the week.

Every Week
This week Melita brought a djembe drum to the kitah.  She sang many Channukah songs with us including: Chanukkah O Chanukkah," "Five Little Latkes," "The Dreidel Song" (I made it out of ... air, snow, bread, sand, wood, crocodile, etc.), "The Spinning Song," and "Sevivon Sov Sov Sov."
When Rabbi Menachem came to the kitah to talk about the parsha he shared a story from his own life about an argument with a friend over a slide when he was a boy and a joyous reunion that happened many years later, just like the argument and reconciliation of Yaakov and Esav!
Every week we have a cooking project!  Past projects have included: french toast, pancakes, and macaroni and cheese!  This week the children made popovers!  Thanks to Ima Jess for coming each week to help with these projects!
Every day we recite the Sh'ma, often with sign language!

Every week the children make an individual challah.  We also make two challot for Pretend Shabbat, in shapes inspired by the week's Torah portion, this week's shapes: a peace sign and a heart symbolizing the reunion of Yaakov and Esav.
A big thank you from all of us teachers for the wonderful parent-teacher conferences this week!
Thank you for entrusting us with your greatest treasures!
Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirlee, and William

Friday, November 8, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah/ This Week
November 8, 2013
5 Kislev 5774

Shalom Nachshonim Families. 

We have had a very pleasant week full of fun activities. Here are the highlights of our week that we would love to share with you. 
-We had Havdallah on Monday in the dark again with our Nevonim friends. 
-On most days, after lunch, we head out of the kitah and go to the court yard, the social hall, on a field trip through the building, or even to the play yard. During a short field trip through the building this week, the children stopped to look at the Torah upstairs in the Library. When we returned to the kitah, the teachers pulled out our miniature Torahs that we keep in the closet. We had a close look at our miniature Torahs saw how they rolled up like a scroll.

-My children have shown in interest in looking at the gigantic channukiah that lives upstairs. Since Channukah is comingsoon, there is a big chance we will probably continue to check it out upstairs.

-Twice this week we found ripe pomegranates on our trees out in the yard. We shared them after lunch time. 
Tzvaim/colors continued...
-We made a new communal painting using toy cars as our painting tools and we made tracks on the butcher paper.
- We did an experiment this week by mixing primary colors of paints in water with the help of droppers and made new hues. We started with the three primary colors and after mixing colors with water, we ended up with the full color spectrum, a rainbow! We even tried mixing all three of the primary colors together and we watched how it made the color brown. 
- After our "color signs" had the paper ripped off, we made a new set with cardboard and wood glue that will be much more durable. The children helped match the colored stick with the colorful words that we wrote on the cardboard. 
-The colorful yarn is still a big hit. When the children can't find the yard in the art area, they ask us for more. The children can let us know what color they want and we snip a length of it for them. 

-We continued to talk about fire engines and firefighters. At circle time, we read about fire trucks and looked closely at a picture of the firefighter with his helmet his special mask and his special clothes. It is important for children to know that fire fighters come to help people with all that gear on and their face covered, it could be a bit frightening to find a fire fighter looking like that if you do not expect it. 
-We now have two documentation boards in the kitah. One with photographs of the kids creating our communal painting and the other is of the kids making play dough. We have been collecting quotes from the children that we have written down down on these boards. Please come on in and have a look at them!

-The children helped decorate a large poster board that will be used for a third classroom documentation board. We tore up bits of colorful paper and adhered them to the board with glue sticks. We will be at attaching the photographs next week and we will hang it in the hallway for everyone to enjoy. It will be a documentation board of outdoor play yard activities.
We look forward to spending time with your children again next week! We also look forward to spending time with their parents at our conferences on Monday!
Shabbat Shalom, have a wonderful weekend.
Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

November 4-8, 2013
1-5 Kislev 5774
Shalom Kulam,

Emergent Curriculum
Following up on the children's constructions of BART trains with magnet tiles, we will be taking a field trip to ride BART on Thursday from 10-noon.

Following up on the children's love of dancing we read Angelina Ballerina books this week.

Following up on the children's exploration of tseva'im/colors we read the book Mouse Paint at circle b'Ivrit/in Hebrew.
Following up on the children's exploration of different kinds of families Caitlin told the story of Tango, the penguin with two dads. 
Some of the other activities emerging from the children's play this week have included:
-painting with our hands!
-using magnet tiles on our light board!
-using marbles on our light board!
-building with marbles and magnet tiles!
-building machines out of legos that help with clean up!
The children are not only caring for babies using baby dolls, they are now also pretending to be babies so other children can care for them.

Jewish Curriculum
When we talked about this week's parsha, borrowing again from Rabbi Alan Lew z'l, we made our spines into Jacob's ladder.  When breathing in the angels go up the ladder.  When breathing out the angels travel down the ladder.  This has proven to be very successful for calming children when they are wound up.  You might try it at home.
We also talked about Yaakov's statement that "God is in this place."  How did he know?  Many children raised their hands to answer the question, What does God look like (inspired by the book of the same name by Karen and Lawrence Kushner)?  Their answers are on display b'kitah/in the classroom.
The children are still having fun playing with our new pretend Shabbat set!
Every Week
Every week we sing Elohai Neshama.  In past week's we have used a melody from Rabbi Tirzah Firestone.  This week we learned a new melody from Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller.
Each week are circle time we are learning a new song from children's music giant Ella Jenkins. This week's song is a call and response called "Tah Boo," with sounds that aren't words.
Melita also sang a song from Ella Jenkins this week.  She also sang songs with us about the alphabet, aleph bet, animals, and transportation (see BART trains above).  
We had Havdalah in the dark again with Nachshonim!
Every day we recite the Sh'ma, often with sign language!
Every week the children make an individual challah.  We also make two challot for Pretend Shabbat, in shapes inspired by the week's Torah portion, this week's shapes: Jacob's ladder and a rock, either the one beneath his head while dreaming or the one removed from the mouth of the well, your choice.  Notice that by giving you two choices to choose from I am using a tried and true technique that works fabulously with children as well as with adults!
Rabbi Menachem did not come to visit us this week because we went on a field trip to Helios Corner, a nearby senior center.  A big thanks to Ima Jess (Hadas) and Ima Laura (Noa) for accompanying us.
A big thank you also to Ima Jenni (Kaila) for helping out with an art project this week.
At circle time this week the children met Noam, a puppet from Israel who only knows Ivrit/Hebrew. Each child had a chance to tell their name to Noam and to give her a hug!  We look forward to more visits from Noam!
Classic children's books in the kitah this week: Alexander, Angelina Ballerina, and Maisy!
Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirlee, and William

Monday, November 4, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshohim (a bit out of sequence)

Hashvua'im/ The Last Two Weeks
October 18, 2013
14 Cheshvan, 5774

Shalom Nachshonim families,

We have had a very eventful couple of weeks. We are thrilled to share with you the excitement that occurred in our kitah. 

Last Week in the Nachshonim Kitah:
-We had Havdallah with the children in the Nevonim kitah to greet the new week. 

-Last Wednesday we made play dough from scratch and we decided to make it the color orange.
-We have been singing songs about colors at circle time. We have been singing "Orange is a Carrot" and "Purple Grapes,  Purple Plum", both songs that use flashcards with pictures.

-Last Thursday the children cooked pancakes. They helped measure and count all the ingredients and we enjoyed them at snacktime.

-We noticed that there are no more worms in our worm composting bin! Ofra picked a few worms up from her community garden. We put them in a container and took some time to observe them, we then placed the few she brought into the bin in hopes that they will reproduce.
-We have been feeding them our food scraps.

-We continue to sing/read "I've Been Working on the Railroad"
-We learned a new  song about trains in Hebrew "He'ne Rakevet"/Here is a train. The song is about how it moves with wheels.
-We have pulled out our play wheels from the outdoor shed and the children are rolling them in the play yard.
-We had our first earthquake drill last week. We now know what to do to keep same in an emergency situation.
This Week in the Nachshonim Kitah:
-We have made a height chart on the wall With a large sheet of paper. The children take off their shoes and we use the book on the head technique to make a line on the chart at their height. We will revisit our height chart at the end of the year to see how much we've grown. 

-Ana found a baby avocado that fell from a tree outside. We cut it open to have a look inside and compared it to a large avocado that wasn't Ofra's lunch.

-On Tuesday morning, Anna switched all of the toys on our shelves so we have a new selection of things to play with.

-We had a lovely visit from our friend Ruth who will be stopping by on a weekly basis to visit us. We had a nice time getting to know her.

-We also had our usual visits from Melita with her guitar and Rabbi creditor with his guitar

-We keep adding more food in the worm bin in hopes that they reproduce.

Tzva'im/colors continued...
-A very exciting thing happened when a CD was sitting upside down on the windowsill in the sun came shining down on it. It reflected off the disc and made a reflection of a rainbow on the ceiling. We then walked over to the Nevonim kitah to borrow the "science area CDs" that they had on their windowsill. Now we can hold them and create rainbows all over the room whenever the sun comes shining in.
-The children did a lot of paintings this week.
-The children are still excited about playing with various colors of yarn. Including snipping them with scissors.

-We played in the social hall and the court yard a few times this week after lunch.

-a child found a spider in the kitah on Thursday morning. We kept it in a cup for a few minutes to observe it, then we set it free outside.
-On Friday, we found another spider! It was out in the play yard.
-After both of these incidences, we sang the itsy-bitsy spider several times in Hebrew and English.
We are looking forward to continuing our explorations of colors next week.
Shabbat Shalom
Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Ha'shvua'im/The Two Weeks
October 4, 2013
1 Kislev, 5774

Shalom Nachshonim Families,
The last two weeks in the kitah/classroom have been enjoyable and engaging. We would love to share with all of you what we have been up to the last two weeks.
The First Week:
We can't continue to explore colors!
-We have been exploring the nature of primary colors when we mix them together. On Monday we painted with red and blue finger paint watched how it made the color purple when we mixed them together.
-On Tuesday we painted with blue and yellow finger paint and we saw how we were able to make green
-On Tuesday, at circle time, we read "Little Blue and Little Yellow" bye Leo Lioni and read about how they became green when they hugged each other.
-On Wednesday we finger painted with red and yellow and we watched how the color orange was made.
-We read fantastic book called mouse paint. The three mice find three jars of pain which happened to be the primary colors. They get inside the jars of paint and change colors. Then they dance around in puddles of other colors and they make new colors. We have little mice finger puppets to go with the story and we used him at circle time and throughout the day at playtime.
-We have some excellent books about colors from the public library and our school library.
Pete The Cat (a big hit in the kitah) is a great book that has a CD to go with it. Pete has white shoes and they change color when he steps and different things. 
Mouse Paint
Dogs Colorful Day
Color Dance 
The Deep Blue Sea
What Color is Your Underwear?
-We didn't find any worms in the worm bin again. We will try bringing some worms again for another try.
-On Thursday we explored our building. We walked upstairs and visited people in their offices. The children got excited about the stairs and they climbed up and down for at least 10 minutes.
-We cut long pieces of yarn to play with. We then played a color matching game at circle time when we picked up a colored yarn and the children found blocks with the same matching colors.

-The children continue to show interest in our baby dolls and set up mats for the babies and put them to bed, sometimes the children set the mats out for themselves to take a nap and they cover themselves with blankets.
The Second Week (Last week)
We explored colors even more!!
-We pulled our rainbow colored craft sticks from the cabinet for the children to play with and make art with.
-We played with the craft sticks and playdough together.
-Anna made us some "signs" with our rainbow craft sticks that say the name of the color in English and Ivrit/Hebrew.
-We made foot print paintings! Out in the play yard, the children stepped in paint (which were the primary colors) and they made a large painting by walking on the butcher paper.
-The children made drawings with colorful pastels on black paper.
-The children now have photographs on the sign-in door with their names on them. They can move their picture from one side of the poster "Babayit"/at home which has a picture of a house, to "B'gan"/at preschool, which has a picture of Ofra and Anna. All of this is with the help of velcro!
-On Monday, we had Havdallah with the Nevonim children in the dark! All of the curtains were drawn and the light was out and we had a chance to see the havdallah candle flames in a new light. 
-On Thursday we cooked French Toast for our snack.
-We have been opening the door between the play yard and the Nevonim kitah so that we can share the play yard and have a chance to get to know each other.
-We now have the fire station and wooden emergency vehicles in our classroom.
-We also brought down a book about fire trucks that has excellent pictures of fire fighters and their vehicles. 
We look forward to more exciting events and learning experiences this week. 
Shavuah Tov
Ofra and Anna

Friday, November 1, 2013

HaShavuah - Nevonim

October 28-November 1, 2013
24-28 Cheshvan 5774
Shalom Kulam,

Emergent Curriculum
The most fascinating activity emerging in the kitah this week has been the creation of BART trains with magnet tiles.  As the week progressed the children extended this idea by making BART tracks and tunnels out of wood blocks, making BART stations out of magnet tiles, and, with some assistance from the teachers, labeling both BART trains and stations.  We are hoping to extend the children's exploration with a classroom field trip to ride BART together during the school day.  If you are interested in volunteering for this field trip, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 14th, Email Ruth (
The library in the kitah/classroom now has due date stickers!
This week the children explored pretend play with different kinds of families.  For example, this week there was a family with a mom, a daughter, and two dads.  In this family some of the members of the family were royalty, others were not.
The children have been talking about tseivaim/colors.  The children whose first language is English have been using the Hebrew words for each color while the children whose first language is Hebrew have been using the English word for each color.  Some children also tied yarn of different colors together.  Originally the idea was to make a many-colored jump rope.  In the end the finished product was too long to be a jump rope.  It is now on display in the kitah.
Less interested in placing our pegboard pegs into pegboards, the children have been building tall stacks with them and balancing them in one hand.
We rocked out again this week to the sounds of The Macaroons.  Very little dancing this week, instead the children made a rock band with blocks as drums, keyboards, and guitar.
Jewish Curriculum
We talked about this week's parsha in which twins are born.  This is always more exciting when we have twins in the kitah.  We also talked about Yaakov/Jacob dressing up like Esav/Esau.  After relating this part of the parsha to the children during circle time we asked the children to share what they like to dress up as on their own.  We also talked about the names of the wells that Yizhak/Isaac dug and how these names point toward a model for how to resolve conflict, moving from acting out against others, to acknowledging your feelings, to pausing to think of the best way to proceed, and finally working with our friends to make an agreement that is good for everyone, on our own or with help from our teachers  (the first three steps in this process are discussed in relation to this parsha in Rabbi Alan Lew's book Be Still and Get Going).
The children noticed when we had guests in the classroom and prompted us to sing our welcome song, an Arabic welcome song from children's music giant Ella Jenkins, which we translated into Hebrew, "bruchim haba'im." We sang this song again this week to Nachshonim when they came to our class for Havdalah and also at circle time to Ima Jess, who volunteered again to help us with cooking, and congregant Ruth who also volunteered again this week.
The children are having fun playing with our new pretend Shabbat set!

Every Week
Every week we
-recite some tefilot/prayers at circle time.  This week we also sang "Good Morning Boker Tov Tov Tov." 
- study Torah with Rabbi Creditor we sing the bracha/blessing for studying Torah.
- have Havdallah with the Nachshonim.  This week we turned off the lights and pulled down the shades on the windows to make it feel more like Saturday night.
- the children make an individual challah.  We also make two challot for Pretend Shabbat, in shapes inspired by the week's Torah portion, this week a hand grabbing on to a heel in honor of Yaakov's birth and name.  The children also decorate the bags for their individual challot.

We practiced a fire drill and an earthquake safety drill this week.  We do this every month.
Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirley, and William