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, May 31, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshonim


Shalom Nachshonim Families,

I did not get a chance to send you Hashavuah last week, so we have a lot to share with you! Here are some of the best things that happened over the last few weeks. 
 
On Monday couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Kaila's birthday. Ima Jenni came in and we all worked together to make guacamole for snack to celebrate.
- After watching Kaila make her birthday crown, the children were inspired to make crowns too. Several children made them out of paper.

Tzva'im/ Colors  
-We have been playing a really wonderful matching game. We have been using pieces of colored yarn that we tie on to the wrist of a child. Then the child looks for a toy with a matching color.
-To continue our explorations of colors, we have been singing some of favorite songs about colors at circle time in both Hebrew and English.
- We mixed paints from primary colors and we made a painty mess on the table while we made art.
-Bubbles, chalk and balls in the courtyard!
- Since craft sticks are still the biggest craze, we are keeping sticks with names written on them (we call them "name sticks") in a blue cup for the children to find whenever they please. They can search for their stick by recognizing their name on their own.
- On Monday last week, we took a trip into the sanctuary to see the Torah, then we played with the balls in the courtyard.
- We have been playing with the magnet tiles in the kitah and in the social hall.
- We planted some of the plants we had rooting in the kitah. The Kalanchoi and Wandering Jew plants are now enjoying the sun out in the play yard. 
-We had more excellent visits from Melita and Cheryl!
- We went on a field trip this last Thursday to Strawberry Creek Park. We played on the play structure and used the giant slide. We then walked over to the basketball courts and ran around. After that we walked across the street to the community garden where Ofra has a garden plot. We ate parsley, we looked at the beehives, and we enjoyed the plant life.
-On Monday of this week, we had the company of Rina who was subbing for Anna. The children are familiar with Rina because Rina takes care of Anna's baby Liah and they both join us for pretend Shabbat every week. 
- We cooked French toast this Thursday morning for our snack. 
- We brought back our song book called "Driving My Tractor" and we have been listening to the disk.
- At circle time this week we have used our special glove and Velcro animals for the songs "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" and "Five Little Ducks".
- The children have been enjoying being traced out in the play yard and courtyard with chalk, or geer in Hebrew. After we trace a child, we have been writing their name on it.
Lunchtime activities while we sit at the table.
-For several weeks now, the children have enjoyed calling "Mousy" as we sit and eat. We started telling "mousy" stories and now they are requested every day at lunchtime. The children usually participate and help us make the story up as we go.
- We have been playing the opposite game at lunch. Where the teachers asked the children about the opposite of a word and the children respond. 
-We have brought down several stories with a mouse character to continue the interest in mice.
-We have also brought down a few books about opposites. 

We are looking forward to next week with more learning and play.
Ofra and Anna 

HaShavuah - Nevonim

Hashavuah
May 31, 2013
5773

Dear Nevonim Parents,

As the end of the year approaches, we have been managing to really appreciate the structure and flow of our days.  We didn't have Melita Tueday because she has chicken pox!  On Wednesday, we learned Torah from Menachem, about the parashah of the scouts who went ahead to Canaan and came back with news about giant grapes.  We did Drama with Cheryl as we explored what it is like to share with others.  On Thursday we went to the park to meet with the Shu Ren preschool again.

In the kitah, some of us made collages, some made fabric wings, some made mosaics.  We played lots of card games and guessing games - the new favorites are opposites and rhyming games which are both great for literacy.  We have started talking about B'Derech and how many of our kitah will be moving on to kinergarden.  Next week, we will be exploring this fully, as some children have expressed the changes that are coming and seem to want to talk more about it.  We have also been opening our door a lot when Nachshonim is playing outside, so that new bonds are being formed with the children who will be in Nevonim next year, older and the new younger ones.  It is very nice to see new friendships develop.

Today was very exciting for us as Boris needed to take an emergency trip to the rat veterinarian.   The children were fascinated and wanted all the details about the upper respiratory infection that Boris has - we learned that he got a shot of antibiotics, and that he will need to rest in a quieter place for the next 10 days as he takes more medicine so he will be having a playdate at Ofra's house until he is ready to come back to the kitah.  It was great to see so much compassion in the children.  We are glad that we voted to bring Boris back!

We also have been excited by the news of the birth of William's daughter, Caya (pronounced Chaya) Sophia Levwood , who was born on Saturday May 25th at 5:35 am, weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces!  We talked about what her name means as we sang "Am Yisrael Chai" at circle. We have continued reading books about adoption and babies as the topic emerges.

We hope you have a great weekend!  Shabbat Shalom!

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

HaShavuah - Nevonim

Hashavuah
May 24, 2013
15 Sivan 5773

Dear Nevonim Parents,
 
We explored chickens, falcons, hawks,eagles and even pigeons this week. We researched them on the computer. We made collages using Ansel Adams photos and other images.  We created large mural art for decorating the upstairs of Netivot Shalom.  We played animal charades.  We learned about animal mishpachot, and talked about our own mishpachot, using Hebrew words of course!  We talked about adoption as it was an emergent theme in our kitah and we will be reading lots of books about this topic next week also.  This week the children really loved "A Mother for Choco."
 
We did drama with Cheryl about the theme of mishpachah; we sang with Melita, and we had a joint field trip to the park with Shu Ren's preschool (this will happen next Thursday also). Menachem came to teach us about this week's parashah which describes the seven-branched menorah.
 
We also have a new volunteer in our kitah also named Ruth! We have started building with small legos.  Some of us have been playing secret agent, while some have been birds of all kinds.

All in all, it has been a very sweet week.
 
Shabbat Shalom,
 
Nevonim Teachers,
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee

Tikkun Olam opportunity for our families

Thanks to Deb Fink at Tehiyah for sharing this information with us.
 
For folks who live near North Berkeley BART:

I recently signed up to be a Neighborhood Food Donor and want to spread the word about this great project.  It's an opportunity to engage in meaningful tikkun olam (repairing the world) that impacts the local community in an on-going way.  Better yet, it's super convenient and easy to involve children!

Go to: www.berkeleyfoodproject.org to read about the Berkeley Neighborhood Food Project.  They bring you a bag once every two months, you fill it up with items from their grocery list, and they pick it up from your porch.  It is then distributed by the food pantry housed by Friends Church at Sacramento and Cedar. They supply food 3 times per week to hungry families and elders in Berkeley/Albany.

You can sign up online and/or contact the Neighborhood Coordinator if you have questions: Judy Grether at jkgrether@gmail.com

 



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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Note from Cheryl Eccles, our Drama/Movement Specialist

Dear Netivot Shalom Preschool Families:

My name is Cheryl Eccles and I am honored to be sharing my Creative Drama/Dance program at Netivot Shalom Preschool through the first Wednesday of June. I grew up acting, and taught drama to elementary students throughout high school and college. I went on to"grown-up-type jobs" for many years, and in the past eight years have had the fortune to return to my passion as a creative drama/dance instructor. I have been teaching at three other preschools in Berkeley and Oakland and have also taught at Berkeley Playhouse. As part of my training, I've participated in the California Institute of Dance Learning Summer Institute Advanced Program for the past six summers. I've also taken courses at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alameda Arts Alliance Council, Pan Improvisational Theatre, Luna Dance Institute (LDI), Shawl Anderson, and Cal Shakes, and have facilitated fellow teaching artists in a lesson study at LDI. Our three children are Temple Sinai Preschool"graduates" and are currently in the Berkeley Public Schools.

I am delighted to spend 25 minutes once every week for eight weeks with your children to sing, dance, be silly and use our imagination to act out story dramas. In collaboration with the amazing NSP staff, I am infusing a few Jewish values in my program including Derech Eretz (Common Courtesy), Kehilah (Community), Shomrei Adamah (Guardian of the Earth) and Mitzvah (Commandment). I will bring these values to life through dance, music and story dramatization. We also have focused on a couple of Jewish holidays including Yom Ha'atzma'ot and Shavuot.

My overall goals for this program are for the children to have a deeper understanding of basic dance/movement skills to help empower them with the ability to control their bodies, improve motor skills, control of direction, speed and energy. Also I'd like for them to develop character traits with gestures, voices, emotions, and movement in our stories. We develop skills to safely move around the room and around other children by utilizing our bubble spaces, stop/go games, as well as exploring the space around us—high/low, under/over, big/small, and fast/slow.

Each week I read a picture book and then the children act out this story taking on different roles. We incorporate Jewish holiday celebrations and Jewish teachings with story, song and scene work. Some of the stories we bring to life include A Duck So Small (Derech Eretz), Who Said Moo? (Kehilah), Sadie and the Big Mountain (Shavuot), Old Bear (Mishpochah and Mitzvot), Teeras Cham, Ma'as'e B'chamisha Balonim (Israeli stories read by teachers in Nachshonim) and The Great Kapok Tree (Shomrei Adamah). The children act out the stories using simple props, voices, gestures, and movements while utilizing the room as their stage.

The children's ability to have a keen understanding of their body and their relationship to others blends beautifully with their discovery of themselves through acting and dancing. Thank you again for offering me the opportunity to learn and play with your children. Feel free to contact me with any questions/comments/concerns at cheryl@ecclesinc.com

With Gratitude,

Cheryl Eccles

Monday, May 13, 2013

HaShuvuah - Nevonim

Hashavuah
May 10, 2013
1 Sivan 4773
 
Dear Nevonim Parents,
 
We continued this week talking about dogs and tzar baalei chayim. Specifically, we had a class discussion about Boris and how we need to make him more comfortable and safe in the kitah. We wrote up a list of rules, voted on whether to bring him back (13 yeses) and found a new calmer spot for him in the kitah. We learned that in Deuteronomy it says that you should feed your animals before you feed yourself. So now before snack, we check in with each other whether Boris got fed.
 
We have begun our discussion of Shavuot. We read "No Rules for Michael" and talked about the Ten Commandments. We read the "Littlest Mountain" and talked about the Commandments being given on Mt. Sinai. On Wednesday with Cheryl, we read a Shavuot story ("Sadie and the Big Mountain"), acted it out and talked about the holiday. We made our own mini Torah scrolls one day, and added Hebrew letters to it another day.
 
On Sunday, we started building our pretend Kotel outside. A special thanks to Noa's Nana Terri for envisioning this and making it happen. We put many of the bricks up on Thursday. As we were preparing to build our "Temple" wall, Menachem taught us the song "Yibaneh HaMikdash". He also taught us about the parashah this week that begins the new book by the same name "B'Midbar."

We also sang with Melita and heard stories from Nora. One new book that we loved was "Dreaming Up" which shows how children's building with toys can inspire and lead to great, actual architectural buildings.
 
We have been talking about puppets, making puppets, and putting on puppet shows - including one we wrote that had the animals in the story receive the 10 Commandments. This interest culminated in the wonderful production of "Dirah L'Haskir" that we saw today. Thanks to Jess (the Emah of Hadas in Nachshonim) for arranging this for us, and for helping in our kitah today! The story has the message of getting along with your neighbors and not being judgemental, so at lunch today we rearranged the lunchboxes to mix up who usually sits with whom - it was good to see new relationships. Speaking of which, we even had a child initiated pretend wedding this week and the marriage appears to have lasted all week! Mazel Tov - it has been a fun way to talk about families.
 
Finally, we wanted to let you know that Rabbi Kelman will be coming into the kitah on Monday morning to show us the Torah and his scribe skills. He will come in at 9:15 so we hope that you can get there on time in order to partake in this great experience.
 
Shabbat Shalom,
 
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

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashavuah
May 10, 2013
1 Sivan 5773

Shalom Nachshonim families,
We have had a very busy week, with lots of visitors and special activities. Here are the highlights of the week in the kitah.

- On Monday Shirlee brought her dog Daisy to school. We watched her perform tricks and we got to pet her too.
-On Monday we pulled out the dress up bin and the stuffed animal bin. The kids had a chance to choose the ones they wanted to use in the kitah.
-Ofra brought her Ukulele to school and the kids strummed on it and sang songs with Ofra.
- On Monday we read about Laney's experience with Baby Owl at her house.
- We conducted an experiment where we put half of our play dough in the freezer and the other half in the microwave. We explored the differences in texture and temperature.
- We brought the magnet tiles from the Nevonim kitah into our kitah for some building fun.
- On Wednesday we made hummus with the garbanzo beans we soaked and cooked earlier this week.
- We had our usual visit from Melita for music and Cheryl for drama class this week.
- On Thursday morning we had a special visit from Rabbi Menachem. We pretended the carpet was a sandy desert and he told us the story of Shavuot. He also sang with us and we had a very pleasant time.
-We had a second visitor on Thursday. Nora came to read us some of her favorite library books.
-We got to see a wonderful puppet show on Friday based on the classic Israeli children's book called "Dira L'haskeer" (Room For Rent). The puppeteers were dynamic and engaging and our Nachshonim enjoyed it very much. Thank you Jess for helping set this up. The teachers enjoyed it too.
- We have been reading "Ma'as'e B'chamisha Balonim" (the Tale of Five Balloons), a classic Israeli Children's book that was written and illustrated by the same woman who wrote "Teeras Cham". We used our felt board set that goes with the story. We also read it during drama class with Cheryl and we then acted out being balloons that pop.
- Some other books we currently have in the shelf are: "Put Me In The Zoo", " Yo! Yes?" By Chris Raschka, "The Sleepy Alphabet", an animal book in Hebrew, "We Are In A Book" by Mo Willems, and "I Can Help" by David Hyde Costello.

We are looking forward to more fun activities next week.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ofra and Anna



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

Monday, May 6, 2013

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Hashvua'im

May 6, 2013

26 iyar, 5773

 

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

We would like to fill you in on the highlights of the last couple of weeks in the kitah.

 

Teeras Cham continued
-We continue to read "Teeras Cham"/Hot Corn. We have been using our felt board pieces to tell the story.
- On Thursday a couple weeks ago we cooked corn pancakes with our food processor and electric skillet. We were inspired by the book "Teeras Cham" /Hot Corn to eat corn for snack.
- We pulled out our decorative corn from the closet for us to look at in the science area.
- Last week, on Wednesday at circle time we acted out "Teeras Cham" by letting the kids play the instruments that the characters in the story play. Then we marched through the kitah singing the song. "Bim Bam Bam! Teeras Cham! Teeras Cham! Bim Bam Bam!"

The last couple of weeks, we have had some of our favorite books in our reading corner.

-Caps For Sale.

-Where's My Teddy

-Teeras Cham

-"Lefamim"/Sometimes

-Duck on a Bike.
- Owl Tried to Sleep

 

-On Tuesday and Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, we played with Ooblek in the morning. The children played with dinosaurs in the Ooblek.
- We had visits from Melita on Tuesdays for a music lesson.
- On Wednesdays we had a visit from Cheryl for drama class. We acted out a story about animals that live on a very large tree in the rain forest. We also acted out a story about sea creatures. Some of the other things we do are sing and act out the songs, and lots of movement activities.

-Our children are very excited about our craft sticks. They have been popular since September, but now they are the biggest craze.

-We have pulled out the height chart we made in the fall. We stuck it back on the wall and we are measuring ourselves again to see how much the children have grown since the school year began.

- We made some finger paintings and drawings last week.
- Cheryl and the children acted out Humpty Dumpty in our drama clas onWednesday. Lauren then brought down a very large book with nursery rhymes and pictures for us to enjoy.
- We were sure to water our indoor and outdoor plants last week when the weather was so warm.
- We have been talking a lot about using inside voices at lunchtime and in the kitah.
- We have been telling stories at lunch and the children have been helping make them up as we go
- We took a field trip on Thursday last week. On our way over to Charlie Dor park, we walked by Tobie's house and she came out to greet us. We had a nice time climbing on the structure and the giant rocks and playing in the sand. We also checked out the construction trucks and workers on Addison Street that are working on the water pipes underground.

 

Shavuah Tov/ Have a lovely week

Ofra and Anna



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