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.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

HaShavu'a'im - Nachshonim

Hashvu'a'im/The two weeks
December 13, 2013
10 Tevet, 5774

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

We have a lot to share with all of you. The last two weeks have been eventful and fun. Here are the highlights of our last two weeks at gan/preschool.

Last week:

Channukah continued:
-We did a water and oil experiment in plastic water bottles. No matter how hard we shake the bottles, the oil won't mix with the water! 
-There is still an interest in lighting a candle and turning out the lights at meal times.
-We played with all kinds of things that spin, including dreidels, tops and gyroscopes. 

-We have hung all of the art we had made on black paper over the last few weeks on the wall near our meal tables. 

-Anna was out last week on Tuesday and we had  the pleasant company of Judith who was subbing and filling in.

-On Thursday we cooked "eggs in a hole" for snack.

-The children have been enjoying a new song book called "Gobble It Up" about how animals eat other animals. It comes with a CD.

- We now have our toy race cars in the kitah. 
-We have been using a very large cardboard tube as a tunnel to send the cars down. 
-We have been singing the song we know "Transportation, What a Fascination"
-We are playing with our transportation felt pieces on our felt board. The children have been singing the song and using the felt board without teachers leading the song. 

-We had a Wednesday visit from our friend Ruth

-We went on more field trips throughout the week up the stairs to see the Torahs and the Channukiah.

-Out in the play yard, we have been playing with our new fishing nets that Anna brought from the pet shop.

This Week:

-The songbook "Gobble It Up" has been requested numerous times this week. The CD was replayed many, many times. 

-From the library in Lauren's office, the teachers brought some of their "teacher favorites" to put in the book shelf such as "The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear", "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean" and "In the Night Kitchen" to name a few.

-We noticed that both "Gobble It Up" and "I'm the Biggest Thing In the Ocean" both have pictures of a whale eating a giant squid!

-We brought a very big box into the kitah and the children have been crawling in and out and simply hanging out in the box. With the flaps covering the opening it got very dark inside, so with the help of a teacher, a couple of windows were installed. The box became a car, a train, a train station...
-We cut out some circles from cardboard and the children have been using them in many ways. We sang "The Wheels on the Bus" and the circles became our steering wheels that go "left and right" and "beep, beep, beep".
-We brought out our wheels and we have been rolling them in the social hall.
-On Tuesday after lunch, we went on a very short and very exciting field trip out to the parking lot and we took some time to check out Anna's car. Some of the children climbed into the seats. Anna honked the horn on the steering wheel, and we also popped open the hood and talked about the engine inside.
-Doing that was so interesting, we did it again on Thursday!

-On Tuesday we had our monthly fire drill and we safely made our way outside.

-Wednesday after lunch, we went to the social hall to play with cars. Anna the the childern created a race track on the floor with masking tape.

-We cooked pancakes for snack on Thursday.

-We did lots of painting this week. Lots and lots of painting!

-We had our usual special visit from our friend Ruth who comes to play and spend time with us on Wednesday.

-In preparation for the PJ Havdallah event that is happening this Saturday night at Netivot Shalom (from 6:30-8pm), we had pajama day at school on Wednesday.

-We celebrated a birthday on Friday. Noah is now 3 years old! Mazal Tov! Noah brought in a special snack to share with his classmates for his birthday and we all enjoyed the blueberries he brought.

-Soon we will have a transition in our kitah after the winter break. Anna will no longer be joining us at school on Fridays. Caitlin, our beloved afternoon teacher, will be in the kitah with Ofra on Fridays. Children who stay for extended care in the afternoon are familiar with Caitlin. We are excited that we will have her company. She will join us next Friday when Anna is still there to get to know us and for us to get to know her before the transition happens.

We are looking forward to more learning and play next week.
Shabbat Shalom,
Ofra and Anna

Friday, December 13, 2013

HaShavuah - Nevonim

December 9-13, 2013
6-10 Tevet 5774
Shalom Kulam,
Emergent Curriculum
This week in the kitah can be summarized in one word: cats!
---This is a theme the teachers observed emerging last week.  We encouraged it by filling the kitah with books starring cats and dogs.  The children were thoroughly engaged in play centered around cats all week.  There was a half an hour or so in the middle of the week when I'm pretty certain every single child was pretending to be a cat!

There was another moment this week when eight children were crowded around the light board building with magnet tiles together!
The children are still putting on puppet shows!
They continue to make BART trains!  The children and Ruth created a book documenting the class filed trip on a BART train and some of the building of BART trains and stations in the kitah in the past weeks!
Jewish Curriculum
Children broke out into song spontaneously several times this week!  Their favorite things to sing?  Tefilot, brachot, and Shabbat songs!
Every Week
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: the twelve tribes and Yaakov's hands, crisscrossed in order to bless Yosef's second son before the first.
Whenever a child has a birthday we do special things in the kitah.  These included making a crown, decorating a chair and lifting the child up in the chair (if they want us to), lighting birthday candles on a playdoh cake and singing Happy Birthday in both English and Hebrew, and having a special snack provided by the child's family for our morning snack time.  This week we had a special treat when Pamela (Laney's Ima) came to the kitah to make the special birthday snack with the children.  Not only were the scones fun to make they were also delicious to eat!

Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirlee, and William

Saturday, December 7, 2013

HaShavuim - Nevonim

The Thanksgiv(ing and Chan)ukah Edition
November 25-27 and December 2-6, 2013
15-17 and 22-26 Kislev 5774
Shalom Kulam,

Emergent Curriculum
Dress up and pretend play in our kitchen and with babies has been so popular this year that we have rearranged our materials and acquired new materials in response to the children's interest.  Have you noticed?! ;-p

One of our new materials is a puppet theater!  The children have been making and watching each other's puppet shows everyday for the past two weeks!

Last week the children made a scarecrow! First a child made one with paper and tape. Then many children and a teacher, Caitlin, worked together to make a child-sized one!  Then she was planted outside in our play yard!

The children are making airplanes and rocket ships with sticks and tape, corks and tape, cardboard and tape.  They are also making phones and even computers from cardboard and tape!

The children are still making BART trains out of magnet tiles!

This week the children made leashes for dogs and cats!
One day this week the children went crazy for Peter and the Wolf, dressing up and enacting the entire story!

Children have also been drawing and writing on our dry erase board!

Jewish Curriculum

The children learned many Channukah songs these past two weeks, including Sevivon Sov Sov Sov, Ner Lee Ner Lee, and that one about banishing darkness.

The children had turns at circle time being dreidels and spinning together!

Molly came to our kitah and shared her dreidel costume at circle time!

The children used watercolors to paint the Chanukiyot they made last week from quick-drying clay!  William notes that this was the most developmentally appropriate chanukiyah project he has ever seen.  Unlike many chanukiyot projects which require adults to do must of the construction of the Chanukiyot, the children were able to do all the steps of making these chanukiyot all by themselves!

The children also decorated wooden dreidels with markers and tape!  Then they joyfully spun the dreidels, often dropping to the floor them from standing to make it even more exciting!

The first week on our cooking day we made latkes!  This past Wednesday we made apple cranberry sauce!

We had so many Channukkah books in the kitah!  I challenge you to bring in a Hanukah book that we didn't have on our bookshelf these past few weeks!

Every Week

Melita sang Hanukkah songs with us, including "Through My Window" and, in Ladhino, "Ocho Candelitas."  She also sang songs with us about being thankful, including "Mi Chamocha" and and an African call-and-response song.

There are many new documentation boards in the kitah, including one listing what the children are thankful for. 

In the kitah this week we talked about seeing family and friends we haven't seen in a long time for Thanksgiving and/or Chanukah, because of the reunion in this week's parsha of Yosef with his brothers and his father.  We also talked about many ways of giving tsedakah, like donating toys, pancakes, tools, and building houses for people, because of how Yosef stockpiled food and then shared it with people during a time of famine.

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 fat cow and a skinny cow.

We have started to use name cards so the children have many opportunities to see their names written, learning to recognize them and increasing their knowledge of and excitement about letters and reading!

Shabbat Shalom,
Ruth, Shirlee, and William

Monday, December 2, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah She'avar/ Last week
December 2, 2013
20 Kislev 5774

Shalom  Nachshonim Families!

Last week was short due the holiday, but we still had a chance to get a lot in! We hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and Channukah.
Here are the highlights of activities in the kitah last week:
Channukah activites:
-We brought out wooden spinning tops that the children were able to decorate with markers and oil pastels. 
-We have been playing with our gyrowheels. The wheels attach with magnets and roll on the metal bars of the part we hold.
-We have also been using our gyroscopes that spin fast. When it spins like that, the gyroscope does not fall and stays balanced until it slows down and falls. We are able to balance it on the tip of a pencil, on a taught string, and even on our finger.
-We keep lighting candles during our meal times. The children request to turn out the lights. We talk about fire safety when we have a flame on the table. We have also been talking a lot about the nature of candles that melt. We get to see the puddle of wax when the flame burns out. We have also, of course, been talking about Channukah. 
-At circle time last week, the children pretended to be dreidels and the the teachers spun them as we sang. 
-We had a very special Wednesday, with only four children in the kitah because of the holiday. The Nevonim children sent over an invitation for us to join them at lunch time. We shared the yard with them and we then joined them at the lunch table for a meal. 
-Together with the Nevonim children, we lit the Channukiah on Wedensday for the first night of Channukah. 

We are excited to be back at school with all of our friends. We look forward to sharing more with you at the end of this week. 
Feel free to come in and play with our gyroscopes and our gyrowheels!
Shavuah Tov,
Ofra and Anna