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.
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, October 18, 2019
HaShavuah October 18, 2019 Tishrei 19, 5780 We spent all week focused on Sukkot - we ate snack and lunch in the Sukkah, we made decorations and we had lots of fun. On Wednesday night, as many of you know, we had a great Preschool Dinner in the Sukkah - Thanks again to Miranda and Jeremy for organizing, Alexandra for her leadership, Rabbi Chai and Elizheva for their teaching and everyone who helped set up and clean up! On Friday both classes ate lunch together in the Sukkah. Then we even had Ma'agal Shabbat in the Sukkah. Miriam and Moshe shook the Lulav and we all said the blessings for sitting in the Sukkah and for shaking the Lulav. In Nevonim, our Sukkot learning continued with a Sukkah stroll to Judy's sukkah! We made the brachah on the 4 species, sang Ufros Aleynu about the Sukkah of Peace, enjoyed a special snack, and even saw bamboo and a lulav on the walk over. In the kitah we made a mini-Sukkah from cardboard. The mysterious dragon Garlock visited our classroom and left us stickers and sparkles. We had a lot of fun making art and decorating our faces with his gifts. A magical unicorn named "Luna" brought us some unicorn goo (really oobleck) and we loved playing with the rainbow mess! In Nachshonim we played in the sukkah and learned about the lulav and etrog. We painted lots of sukkah decorations which are hung up in the Sukkah. We have been really enjoying the easel in the classroom. We read stories about Sukkot. We made challah.
Friday, October 11, 2019
HaShavuah October 11, 2019 Tishrei 12 5780 We learned about Yom Kippur, took a break for Yom Kippur, and then started having Sukkot fun - singing songs with Melita and making decorations with Judy. At Ma'agal Shabbat Moses and Miriam talked to us about "scach", the very hard to say word which is the plant covering for a sukkah. We said a S'hichiyanau prayer including one for Aurora's first Shabbat with us. We also sent a big r'fuah shleimah to our friend Ari who had surgery today. We remembered how we sent one to Noah a few weeks ago and now he is healed! In Nevonim, we read a "Yum Kippur" story. We did Sukkot puzzles and chose Sukkot books for our library. We read a book about "Rude Vegetables" and kindness. Then we cut open several seed packests and began sprouting our own "root" vegetables. We made a long paper chain for the Sukkah. We sang a song about the 4 species - Arba Minim. We learned about the Lulav and Etrog and we began the K'ton'ton Sukkot story. We made sun prints with Elizabeth. We chose which part of the kitah we will protect and take care of this week, as we are all shomrim, guardians, of the class. We did a rainbow scarf/dragon/Sukkot dance around the shul! We happily welcomed our new classmate Aurora! Today, ema Danielle came to talk to us about her job as a nurse. She gave the children tongue depressers and stickers. Everyone showed a lot of kavod and said thank you to her for coming. We have been practicing our empathy with our friend "Trashy the Raccoon" puppet. In the afternoon, some of us have been reading books and practicing our letters in bookclub with Khaled. In Nachshonim we made paper chains to put in our Sukkah. We did Havdalah. We read Sukkot books. We made playdough. We played a lot with our friends in the yard, the social hall, the courtyard and our classroom! We are all getting really good at taking turns and listening to each other's words.
Friday, October 4, 2019
HaShavuah October 4, 2019 Tishrei 6 5780 We had a very short, but a very full, week of learning. Melita taught us a new Yom Kippur song, along with many old favorites. At Ma'agal Shabbat, Moses talked to us about how sad he was not to be able to enter the land of Israel, and how sometimes we all get disappointed, but then he and Miriam shared lots of hugs. In Nevonim, we went on a field trip to Strawberry Creek Park to practice Tashlich. We talked about what we want to let go of. We threw those things into the creek. Some of the things we threw including hitting each other. After that we had fun in the park. Thanks to ema Danielle for joining us. We heard the story of the Ziz and how "sorry" is the hardest words. We wrote "I'm sorry" cards and learned the Hebrew word, selichah. We looked at the white Torahs and used a cool apple-peeling machine! We soaked beans that we cooked and ate the next day. We used spray foam to build structures with foam blocks. In Nachshonim we read a Tashlich story and sang our holiday songs and heard Tekiya Gedolah. We practiced hugs when we wanted to help a friend, saying "are you ok?" We also had a lot of fun outside with our new shovels in the sandbox.
Friday, September 27, 2019
HaShavuah September 27, 2019 27 Elul 5779 This is our last Friday of 5779, and somehow fittingly our power went out at Netivot Shalom for about an hour - we had lots of fun with natural light and flashlights! A big thanks to Judy who let us bake our challot in the kosher oven at her house. We celebrated the World's birthday, sang holiday songs, dipped apples in honey, listened to the shofar, and had a festive week. At Ma'agal Shabbat, Rabbi and Moshe and Miriam had us all stand up for use to understand this week's Torah portion Nitzavim which means those who are standing because Moses tells the Israelites that God's covenant is for them and all the generations who will follow. We had a fabulous week going into more exploration of Rosh HaShanah. In the Nevonim class we made art inspired by honey, pollen, honeycomb and bees. We baked and decorated individual honey cakes with Judy. Our friend Peter Wahrhaftig came to blow the shofar with us- he is a professional tuba player and boy can he blow the shofar! We went on a tzedakah walk and we found 3 coin boxes and 1 food barrel! On Thursday Judy led a wonderful Rosh HaShanah Seder with lots of symbolic fruits and vegetables. We did a scavenger hunt in the shul for a gift left by a dragon this weekend - it was dragon fruit ! We found a basket of purple dragon fruits in the courtyard - they were purple and sweet inside! We celebrated Rafi’s 4th birthday. We made yellow (turmeric) and pink (beet powder) banana pancakes. The kids loved both colors, but decided that pink were best! We made sculptures out of model magic. We had a pool party/water slide. We filled up bottles of water and splashed one another. We took care not to get any water in anyone's eyes. Everyone had so much fun and respected the rules. We built a sand castle after the water party. All the kids worked together, building, negotiating and decorating the castle. They built a moat around it and made rivers of water coming out of the moat. In Nachshonim, we joined our friends in Nevonim to hear Peter blow the shofar. We did Havdalah with Judy. We had lots of bee and honey play, and read two books about bees, including one about Israeli bees. We also read about apples and honey. We made honey cake and ate it. We made pancakes. We practiced blowing our pretend shofars. We played with zebras in green playdough. We sang songs using finger puppets on gloves - 5 green speckled frogs and 5 little monkeys. We went on a walk to the sanctuary and looked at the Torahs dressed in white.
Friday, September 20, 2019
HaShavuah September 20, 2019 Elul 20 5779 We have been having a lot of fun in the classrooms, getting ready for Rosh HaShanah and enjoying new and old friends. We all sang with Melita this week. In Ma'agal Shabbat, Rabbi Chai taught us about Selichot as puppets Miriam and Moses made amends with each other. She blew the shofar and then we all left the sanctuary to go to the streets withW a poster that the children made that says Thank You Earth in solidarity with today's Climate Strike. In the Nevonim class we made tzedakah boxes. We made a giant Shanah Tovah card with a beehive design. We tasted different apples and voted on which type tasted bast. The theme of dragons has emerged in children's play, and so we have included that in our curriculum. We did a movement/imagination activity where we learned about "dragon breathing" and we became dragons who flew around the shul. We transformed dress up into a tiger/dragon den. We had an ice skating party with ooblek. We had a fancy tea party. We decorated a tablecloth and made tea with herbs from our garden. We listened to Abiyoyo in a cozy fort that we made out of pillows and mats. We made fizzy ice cubes and played with them on white butcher paper. We observed the primary colors combine into secondary colors. We talked about reactions and rainbows! We made a poster to show how we feel about taking care of the earth, both because Rosh HaShanah is the birthday of the world and to use in today's Climate Strike. In the Nachshonim class, we learned the Apples and Honey song. We went on a tzedakah walk through the hallway and the offices. We played a lot outside and talked about how much we love the earth!
Friday, September 13, 2019
HaShavuah September 13, 2019 13 Elul 5779 This second week of school has been busy for everyone! We forgot to thank Reef's abba, Lior, for the great music circle he did last week - it was a great treat for everyone! This week and last week Melita came to sing with both classes on Thursday, and started singing Rosh HaShanah songs with us. Both classes enjoyed the new pink outdoor kitchen addition that was donated to us by a CNS preschool alumna, Ricky! Lots of mud pies and cakes have been baked this week. We took advantage of the beautiful weather with lots of sand and water play. In Ma'agal Shabbat, we heard the shofar, and then learned from Moses and Miriam about the Jewish mitzvah of returning a lost object to its owner. We also gave a blessing to Noah to wish him an easy time with his tonsillectomy on Monday. We said S'Hechiyanu prayers for all the new things this week. We also welcomed back our teacher Zahava who will be helping us out in the afternoons. In the Nevonim class after Havdalah we compared a siddur (a daily prayerbook) to a machzor (holiday prayer book). We began making our own, full of wishes and drawings for the New Year. We learned about things we can recycle. We have been doing lots of Jewish holiday puzzles. We cut up sour apples form Judy's yard and we made apple prints for Rosh HaShanah. We made our own magic moon sand from the sand in our sandbox. We pretended to be blind mice and explored a giant jackfruit with smell, sound and touch. We guessed what color it would be inside (It was delicious). We mixed flour and water so we can make challah with yeast from our environment. We made a sensory obstacle course in the sand box with rope, leaves, wet sand, and logs. We leraned aobut how pineapples grow from their crowns, we put the crown of the pineapple we had for snack into water. We soaked black beans overnight and cooked them for snack. In the Nachshonim class, we are learning how to pass the Besamim around for Havdalah. When Judy asked the children to guess what was in the box of matches she shook, Nadav said, "teeth." When Judy asked the children what happened to the candle after it was extinguished, David said, "it broke." We explored a Machzor/Holiday Prayer Book, and picutres of shofarot and round challah. We also looked closely at the inside of an apple and saw....seeds! (and a star). We made apple prints from the apple. We learned the word for apple in Hebrew, tapuach. We also had an apple parade, looking for round shapes in the building. We even had an apple tasting, trying different colored apples.
Friday, September 6, 2019
HaShavuah September 6, 2019 6 Elul 5779 We had a wonderful first week of school! We were so happy to welcome all our old friends back and meet our brand new friends - Amalie, Ariel, David, Isaac, Kiren, Navah, and Sam. It was also the first week for our newest teacher Khaled who was welcomed warmly by all the children. The whole school and the synagogue are all gearing up for the High Holidays so much of our play and learning this week was about Rosh HaShanah. In our first Ma'agal Shabbat of the year, Rabbi Chai blew the shofar for us and her puppets Miriam and Moses helped explain that is our way of waking up for a new year. In the Nevonim class we celebrated Havdalah, moving from Shabbat into our first week. We made B'samim/herb bundles, taking the fragrance of Shabbat's peace into the days ahead. We used sage and thyme from our garden! We explored shofar sounds and made our own play shofars. We created a purple landscape with red, blue and silver watercolor ice cubes. We made pita pizza for snack. We played an imagination/gross motor movement game where we built an obstacle course and traveled through it to get to the "orchard". We filled baskets with apples (for Rosh HaShanah) and delivered them to friends. We mixed soil and filled pots with dirt so we can grow some vegetables in our kitah. We explored rainbows by making collages with glue and arcs cut out of colored construction paper. We practiced our scissor skills by giving a pretend dog a haircut! The dog's "hair" was made of yarn. We helped fill the sandbox with new sand for a new year (even finding some toys hidden from last year). We made rainbow oobleck on the water-table top. We put it on the ground and all the children took off their shoes and went "ice skating" on the oobleck. Everyone slipped and fell a few times, we were all covered in paint and all of the children laughed and screamed with joy! Related to Elul, אני לדודי ודודי לי (I am my beloved and my beloved is mine) we took a survey of some of the people who work in this building and we asked them what they thought friendship is. Pam said, "it's compassion, being kind to yourself and to each other". Elisheva said,"it's when you trust someone with your heart and your feelings". She showed us a way to use our hands in a gesture that means friendship, with one hand holding our friend's hand and the other hand on our heart. Ruth said friendship is listening. In the Nachshonim classroom, we learned about Havdalah, transitioning into a New Year! We smelled herbs (b'samim) from our garden. We learned a Shavuah Tov dance that Judy learned from her Dad! We explored shofars, their sounds and shapes. We read books about Rosh HaShanah and the shofar. We talked about friendship and the month of Elul. We read a story "How to Two", emphasizing sharing and including. We all had fun getting to know each other and the new routines of preschool.
Thursday, August 15, 2019
HaShavuah August 16, 2019 15 Av 5779 We had another very calm and lovely week of learning and fun in the hot days. We were so happy to reunite with Vinnie and Miriam and see how they grew over the summer! We are also very sad to say goodbye to Maor, Jonah, Miri and Lenny. We wish them all well and hope to see them back sometime for a visit! We also had the fun of saying hello (but now goodbye) to Miriam who joined us for the last week of Summer Fun. Khaled, who is our new afternoon teacher, came to join us for a few visits and was a big hit with all. All week we experimented with mixing cornmeal and watercolors to create "rainbow ponds." Our frogs loved splashing around in them. Because of the heat, we froze cubes of watercolors mixed with baking soda. We dissolved the cubes using eyedroppers filled with vinegar. We called it, "Rainbow Volcano Art." We celebrated Raina's 4th Birthday with a visit and a special snack from her family! We had a rainbow pool party. We turned the slide into a water slide and looked for rainbows in the water. We chose which part of the kitah we would protect and guard for the week. We layered oil and powder onto cellulose paper taped to the table. We spritzed our new spray watercolors over the mixture. Then we practiced writing letters and numbers with our fingers. It was very slippery! We played outside in the water table with rainbow watercolor ice cubes and tiny animals. The frogs were ice skating on the cubes. We played with the hose outside while it was super hot. Almost everyone got soaked We looked for rainbows in the mist from the hose. We made pizza for snack one day, and we had a special snack from Miri's family for her last day today.
Friday, August 9, 2019
August 9, 2019 8 Av 5779 This week at Summer Fun we were excited to welcome Reef back from her trip to Israel. We had a space parade where we pretended to be animals like space bears and space unicorns. We made plantain planets and coconut rice with blast off bears. We made space inspired art with metallic spray paint. We made space rocks for a beautiful sensory space garden lined with foil. We developed our fine motor skills by using eyedroppers to color the rocks silver, blue and gold. We made cosmic coconut pancakes. We used silver paint to make galaxy marble paintings. Our favorite toy frogs got frozen on a mission to an icy planet. We rescued them by applying coarse salt and squeezing water on them and observing the reaction. We all pretended to be different planets and acted out the solar system. We made pita bread for snack and for Shabbat. We played the sensory table filled with "space wood chips." Today was Liev's last day at Netivot Shalom Preschool and at Ma'agal Shabbat we honored him and wished him well. Moses and Miriam taught us about the Torah portion and how relevant it was to our being sad to say goodbye. In it Moses finds out that he does not get to go to the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the dessert. We talked about we all get sad or disappointed sometimes and what we do to move on. As Aryeh said, "we all have problems." We will be saying more goodbyes next week because it is our last week of Summer Fun!
Friday, August 2, 2019
HaShavuah August 2, 2019 1 Av 5779 This week was a great reflection of what emergent curriculum is all about. Last week many children expressed interest in outer space, rockets and planets so this week teachers were prepared to create curriculum based on this emerging theme. We transformed dress up and the loft into a space station. We made buttons for the control panels, and we made planets out of coffee filters, and we used kitchen accessories as space helmets. We visited many mysterious planets and collected samples to study further in our space station. We read many books, fiction and non-fiction, about astronauts and outer space. We also traveled in our spaceship to put out fires on other planets. We called ourselves "The Space Firefighter." We used coffee filters and watercolors to create art inspired by stars and planets. We made ice cubes out of baking soda and watercolors. We used eyedroppers to sprinkle the cubes with vinegar. We called them "Fizzy Cubes." We continued our discussions around guardianship and chose what part of the kitah we want to protect. We began "Gratitude Month." We discussed gratitude at circle time and practiced saying "thank you" in many languages including Todah in Hebrew of course. We played with bubbles in the yard. We practiced "keeping safe bubble space" while we ran around popping bubbles. We germinated basil seeds and planted them in our garden. The basil seeds were very squishy! We've been taking turns being the "Guardian of the Plants," watering, weeding and guiding the plants onto the trellis we made. We transformed into space tigers and flew our space cave/den to planet "Toyland." Some of us got the chance to explore new installations in the Nachshonim room. We were happy to have Rafi's older sister Eliana and Maor's older brother Michael join us for visits this week. Rabbi Chai is away so Ruth led Ma'agal Shabbat with some Torah help from an old friend, Shabbatasaurus. We talked about what it meant to take an oath, and we all took an oath to show Kavod to each other. We also learned what it meant to have a city where refugees could go. We started Ma'agal Shabbat with a booked Bim and Bom and ended it with the Shabbat Shuffle.
Friday, July 26, 2019
HaShavuah July 26, 2019 23 Tamuz 5779 Our fourth week of camp was lovely and filled with fun. We were thrilled to welcome back Noga (and Anna) and hear about their time in Israel. We cut open seed packets for a few new additions to our garden! We developed our fine motor skills by gluing pop out art with paintbrushes. We enacted "magic statue garden" - starting as lumps of clay, then transforming into statues that dance at night, and change shapes. We played a guessing game at circle with a melon. We froze watercolors in ice cube trays and then created ice cube art by sliding and melting our cubes across paper. We made yucca (cassava) and cheese buns called "chipas". A wonderful visitor (Khaled, Caitlin's partner) brought a whole jackfruit for us to eat and study. It weighed 25 pounds! It was covered by a cloth when it first arrived, we touched, smelled and listened to it. We hypothesized about what it could be, then we made a cinema with chairs and observed it being cut open. Then we had a taste test. Most of the children loved it and agreed that it tasted like bubblegum (in fact it is used as the flavor for Juicy Fruit gum). At Ma'agal Shabbat, Rabbi Chai and Moses and Miriam talked to us about times we feel that thing are unfair and how the daughters of Zelophehad felt that way in this week's Torah portion about how land was inherited. We also had a cameo appearance of Pharoah and the Torah.
Friday, July 19, 2019
HaShavuah July 19, 2019 16 Tamuz 5779 We had another great week of Summer Fun. We welcomed back friends Jonah, Maor and Lenny, and were thrilled to meet our new friends Roger and Waylon, whose family (parents Danielle and Ross, and new baby sister Miriam) has just moved to Berkeley. Roger will be in the Nevonim class next year and Waylon in the Nachshonim class. This week we also have to say L'hitraot to Shaya, Teo, Ayelet and teacher Angelina - we know they will all stay in touch! In class we cut celery and put it in the leftover watercolors from our radish color matching game - we watched how the celery absorbed the paint and changed colors (osmosis). The children initiated another color matching game using the celery instead of radishes. We played with bubbles in the water table. We built a dinosaur small world using stamps, play dough, tissue paper and yard clippings. We practiced our fine motor skills by stringing beads. We investigated beets and purple sweet potatoes and discussed their similarities and differences - we added lemon juice to the sweet potatoes to make a magenta treat. We mashed avocados one day for snack, and the sweet potatoes another day. We learned how to "pretend yell" so we can use inside voices and express ourselves. We did an art project with baking soda, vinegar and watercolors. We called it "Fizzy Art." We played hopscotch by rolling a numbered block like a dice and jumping the number. We celebrated Ayelet's 5th Birthday! Rabbi Chai led a Ma'agal Shabbat with lots of Shehechiyanu's for new friends, new journeys and a new baby Galia (Maor's sister)! Rabbi Chai told us this week's Torah portion as a very funny story about Balak and Balaam and a talking donkey. Balak asks Balaam to curse the Israelites, but he ends up blessing them instead so we talked about nice words that we can say to one another. We ended our Torah learning by singing "Mah Tovu" which is what Balaam said when he saw the Israelites camping together, "How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel."
Friday, July 12, 2019
HaShavuah July 12, 2019 9 Tamuz 5779 We had a second great week of Summer Fun, welcoming teachers Elizabeth and Jesse. Here are some highlights from our week: We made more lemonade. We built a complex train system with Jesse. We sprouted radish seeds to plant. We made spaceships out of magnet tiles and created a space station for docking our ships. We dyed clothespins to match different varieties of radishes. At circle time we sorted our radishes and then we played a matching game with our dyed clothepins. We made a frog city with magnet tiles. We built a "temple" with logs and wood outside. We examined the surface and inside different radishes. We made coconut rice for snack. We planed radish seeds. We observed construction workers building our new new shed in the yard. We added water, jasmine flowers and lemon slices together for scented water play. We continued the tradition started last week of going outside with a check-in - each child chooses a hug, a handshake, a high five or a thumbs up. We had a wonderful Ma'agal Shabbat led by Judah's Ema Liora. Todah Rabah for the prayers and the great story!
Friday, July 5, 2019
HaShavuah July 5, 2019 2 Tamuz 5779 We had a very sweet first week of Summer Fun. Since we have been talking about Shomrei Adamah (Guardians of the Earth) we discussed guardianship and made a chart to help us care for our kitah. We dyed quartz pebbles using turmeric, beet powder and wheatgrass. We created potions, baked goods and soup with our new mud kitchen outside. We created a tiny world using playdough, plastic insects, pinecones, stumps and the train set. We examined seeds and started seeds for our garden. We made a trellis for our peas to grow on. Some of the kids used a real hammer to help build the trellis. We made lemonade from an abundance of fresh lemons. We made our own challah dough from scratch. We discussed yeast, fungi and fermentation in relation to bread. We had a Ma'agal Shabbat in our kitah with an appearance by Shabbatasaurus. Rabbi Chai and Moses and Miriam talked to us about how great it is to be free, and how the world was created in 6 days, and we rest on the 7th.
Friday, June 7, 2019
HaShavuah June 7, 2019 4 Sivan 5779 Today marks our last Shabbat of this school year. We had an especially lovely Ma'agal Shabbat where Rabbi Chai said there is a blessing for the first time we do something, but not for the last. When she noted that for some of us it was the last Ma'agal Shabbat in the sanctuary, Ayelet said "this will always be my sanctuary." We celebrated both Miriam and Alexandra turning 5. Puppets Moshe and Miriam told us about their plans to stay up all night studying at a Tikkun Leil Shavuot and they led us in a round of "Torah Torah" and we counted to 48 since this is the 48th day of counting the Omer. We also sang with Melita on Thursday and we are happy she has her voice back! In Nevonim we also had the joy of Reef's Abba Lior singing with us. We geared up for Shavuot by studying the 10 Commandments and discussing "what are good rules for us? We created our own list of rules. We spent several days creating a delicious cheesecake. We even ground the wheat ourselves for the crust, and then made the cool green filling another day. Yum! We learned about Israel as the land flowing with milk and honey. We read the Book of Ruth. We explored vinegar and baking soda and then we erupted our volcano (of Mt. Sinai). We explored the value of tzedakah and decided to give the money we have collected this year to the woman who cleans our school and to the Berkeley Women's Drop In Shelter. In Nachshonim, we used tempera paint on giant paper. We used markers on clear plastic. We did salad spinner art outside. We used stamps on big paper. We had lots of fun in our outdoor kiddie pool. We played with blocks and play dough.
Friday, May 31, 2019
HaShavuah May 31, 2019 26 Iyar 5779 This week we have continued to focus on Chaverut (friendship) for the month of May. Both classes joined together for a special circle on Friday led by Elizheva, Youth and Family Education Direcor. She reminded us how we all sing and speak with our tongues, and how we get to choose to use kind words. The song she taught was in Hebrew and English. Here are the words: Elohai, n’tzor l’shoni meh-rah, us’fatai midabeir mirmah, My God, guard my tongue from all evil and my lips from speaking lies. May I think before I begin to speak, May my words be gentle and wise. On Thursday, Melita could not come because of illness so we wish her a r'fuah shleimah. Her friend, Jen Kantor, came to sing with us instead and she brought scarves and puppets which were both a lot of fun. In Ma'agal Shabbat we counted the Omer all the way up to 41. We also had a final run-through for the children's performance this Sunday, June 2nd at the 30th Anniversary event. In the Nevonim kitah, we began talking about Shavuot. We read "The Littlest Mountain" which is about humility. We also started talking about tzedakah, and what we want to do with the money we have collected all year. We read "The Best Place for a Penny" and "Tikkun Olam Ted". We planted carrot seeds, and used our own composted soil as we talked about Mt. Sinai in bloom. We made our own Mt. Sinai which is now a volcano that we will erupt next week. In honor of the Read-A-Thon we had several parents come read to us including Laurie Gold and Michael Tarle. In Nachshonim we had our class photo taken. Thank you to Judit Pap for volunteering her photography talents! We sorted bears, which was fun and a good way to understand numbers. We painted with water colors. Jonah's mother, Sheridan, read a few stories with us. We played with sticky foam and animals.
Friday, May 24, 2019
HaShavuah May 24, 2019 19 Iyar 5779 his week we celebrated Lag B'Omer with a park outing and picnic at Strawberry Creek Park. It was great to see our experienced field trip Nevonim children helping keep Nachshonim children safe, as this was their first outing. We practiced on Wednesday for the big walk to the park on Thursday. Lag B'Omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer and is traditionally celebrated with campfires, games and other outdoor activities. We had roasted potatoes and watermelon (avatiach) for snack to celebrate even more. In Ma'agal Shabbat we counted today's Omer which was 34 of course! We also practiced our two songs for the 30th Anniversary Celebration that we are hoping many preschoolers will come to! In Nevonim we did Lag B'Omer art with charcoal, fire colors (nasturtiums) and powder paint as we talked about bonfires. We learned the word for bonfire, medurah. We prepared roasted potatoes for our Lag B'Omer celebration. Because of the Read-A-Thon we have also been exploring books and how they are made. We learned how Jews are the People of the Book and we examined how books are made and sewn. We are trying to write our own classroom book. On Tuesday, we had three parents come to read to us, Liora, Judd and Judit. Todah Rabah to all of them. Judit read a yoga book and even brought her special yoga bear with her. In Nachshonim, even though we missed Anna all week, we enjoyed having Elizabeth and Chen join us in the kitah. Liora came to read to us one of her favorite PJ Library books "the Forever Garden" (and she is an expert on PJ Library books!) - Ari's abba Judd came to read us a construction book, and Barack's ema Amy read us our favorite author Mo Willems' book "I'm a Frog".
Friday, May 17, 2019
HaShavuah May 17, 2019 We had a lovely week of Chaverut (Friendship) and Kriah (Reading). Many parents came to join us. Melita has laryngitis so did not come, but we wish her r'fuah shleimah. At Ma'agal Shabbat we continued to count the Omer, today was day 27. We also practiced our song Mah Tovu for the 30 Anniversary party on June 2nd. In Nachshonim we had fun with new puzzles and books. We celebrated Rafael's 3rd Birthday. We did water color art. We looked at Oggy at circle time and moved him to a better cage. In Nevonim we planted barley as we continue to count the Omer. We also cooked and ate barley. We talked about how in ancient times people would count the barley and their blessings at the same time; we talked our gratitude and how we show this through tzedakah, using our blessings to help others. We made our own paintbrushes and painted with them. Naava's abba, Assaf, read to us at circle time in Hebrew, a wonderful book called Mitz Petal. Rafi's ema, Mira, read to us on Friday two great books Jamboree, and a book about watermelon seeds. In the afternoon, some of the older children took a walk to the West Branch Berkeley public library as we explore the theme of reading during this Read-A-Thon month of May.
Friday, May 10, 2019
HaShavuah May 10, 2019 4 Iyar 5779 The week started with a wonderful round of conferences. Thank you to all the teachers for their hard work and the parents for participating. Our focus all week was on Israel since Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, Israel Independence Day, took place on Thursday. In both classes children read lots of books about Israel, sang songs about Israel and enjoyed Israeli food. Rabbi Chai came to teach both classes a new song that we will be performing at the 30th anniversary on June 2nd. Some of us got to witness a scissor lift in the sanctuary as the very high light bulbs were changed. When the bulb in the Ner Tamid was changed. We talked about how the eternal light is a symbol that G-d is always with us, and Aryeh said with great reverence, "God is in the forklift!" We also notice the aleph on the Ner Tamid. At Ma'agal Shabbat we counted to 20 with Rabbi Chai and Moses and Miriam to mark the 20th day of the counting of the Omer. We also learned about Rabbi Hillel who stood on one foot and taught the whole Torah with one phrase, "treat people as you want to be treated". We all got up and stood on one foot to practice this. As our value for the month is Chaverut, this was especially relevant. In Nevonim, we made a group art project of a giant Israeli flag (proudly displayed in the hallway). We learned the word dehgel (flag) and saw how the design came from the tallit. We made a huge Israeli salad that we shared with Nachshonim. We started talking about the Read-A-thon and our goal of reading one hundred books! We read the book Press Here (and its sequel) in anticipation of our field trip on Thursday. Thank you to Felisa and Bella (Alexandra's grandma) for coming with us. We had a fabulous time, taking the bus and then being wowed for an hour by a high energy, interactive performance that we are still talking about. A few dots from the play are still showing up in our kitah, even making an appearance on Rafi S' and Alexandra's challah bag decoration! We also had a joint birthday celebration for Itamar and Reef, as well as a parade for Israel's birthday. In Nachshonim, in honor of Yom Ha'Atzmaut we made blue play dough. We glued blue stripes and triangles on paper in an exploration of the Israeli flag. We looked at the Israeli flag and compared it to the American one. We sang lots of Israel songs with Melita on Thursday.
Friday, May 3, 2019
HaShavuah May 3, 2019 28 Nisan 5779 It was a lovely reunion to see everyone back and refreshed after Passover vacation. The Jewish value we are emphasizing this month is appropriately enough Chaverut (friendship). We started off the week with a wonderful spring treat, thanks to Aryeh's mother (and grandmother); we released hundreds of ladybugs into our garden. We enjoyed having them crawl on our hands, seeing them fly away, and knowing that they will be helping our garden stay safe from aphids. We also learned the Hebrew word for ladybug (chilazon). We sang with Melita, using drums to sound like a heart beat, and singing lots of rainfall songs and kitty cat songs. During Ma'agal Shabbat, Moses and Miriam and Rabbi Chai helped us count to 13 since this is the 13th day of the counting of the Omer (marking the 50 days between Pesah and Shavuot). In Nevonim we have started counting the Omer ourselves every day using wheat stalks. We also tried using a mortar and pestle and a food processor to grind the wheat. We talked about threshing, winnowing and planting. We read lots of library books as we are gearing up for the May Read-A-thon. We enjoyed Abba Lior's visit to our class with his music, instruments and sense of fun. In Nachshonim, we did lots of gluing and we made salad spinner art. We hung some of our sand art on the walls. We had lots of water play. We went to join Nevonim to hear Lior (Reef's Abba) play music with us. We also ate a picnic lunch with Nevonim.
Friday, April 12, 2019
HaShavuah April 12, 2019 7 Nisan 5779 As this is the last Friday before Pesah, we are focused fully on this upcoming holiday. A reminder that we will be closed April 19th-26th for Pesah (that includes Friday the 19th!). Everyone enjoyed the spring weather this week as we had many outdoor picnics, water play and even an afternoon walk to the creek. Melita told us the Passover story through song. In Nevonim, we put great effort into making individual Afikomen holders for children to take home and use at their Seders. We played lots of Passover games, matching ones and story-telling ones. We perfected singing "Ma Nishtanah" and are excited to keep working on it next week! We had a fun outing to Strawberry Creek Park on Thursday. In Nachshonim we made new yellow (desert colored) playdough. We have been playing "basket black" as a way of cleaning up. We keep singing Pesach songs like "Mah Nishtanah" and "Dayenu" and telling the Pesach story.
Friday, April 5, 2019
HaShavuah April 5, 2019 29 Adar II We are now in the month of April, focusing on Derech Eretz . We have also started Pesah learning in both classrooms. We have been practicing with Rabbi Chai and Tati our "Bang, Bang, Dig, Dig" song for tomorrow's Preschool Shabbat. We also sang Passover songs with Melita and enjoyed a little more spring rain. In Nevonim, we have started learning the 4 questions for Pesach with hand movements. We have been making spring necklaces for the classroom and we made delicious (nut-free) charoset which children took home to enjoy before Pesach (as it is not kosher for Passover). We learned Hebrew words tamar (date) tapuach (apple), agas (pear) and teheynah (fig). We continued to reinforce the Pesah story in many different ways. In Nachshonim we explored many of the Ten Plagues: we made red oobleck to represent the blood in the Nile. We looked at the pupils in our eyes to see how they change size when we flash a light in the eye. We made communal paintings. We played with frogs jumping in playdough. We played with bugs in sticky foam. We heard the story of baby Moses and the women of his life (Yocheved, Miriam, Batia). We talked about how Moses asked Pharoah to let his people go and what happened next. We told the story of Nachshon (like our name!) who was first to cross the Sea of Reeds. We have been hiding our pretend Afikomen and looking for it.
Friday, March 29, 2019
HaShavuah March 29, 2019 22 Adar II We had a lovely week of talking about spring. We also had a very successful Picture Day - thank you to parent volunteers Leah Edelstein, Talia Nagar, Brenna Strauss, and Mira Goodman, and a huge thank you to Judit Pap for volunteering her talents. We all look forward to seeing the photos! For children who were not here or did not want their picture taken, we will be scheduling a make-up day and will let you know when it is. In Nevonim, we talked about Spring (Aviv). We have been watching our parsley sprout slowly and our wheat grass sprout amazingly quickly. We learned the Hebrew word for parsley (karpas), berries (tutim), blueberry (oochmaniah) and egg (beytzah). Judy talked about the connection between spring time and eggs. We studied eggs and other baby animals. Wednesday Reef's Abba Lior came to lead us in a fabulous music circle - he brought his drum, a big guitar ,and a tiny guitar (that makes a beautiful sound), and lots of percussion instruments for children to use. He mimicked a heart beat rhythm and we made rain on his big drum with our fingers. On Thursday Melita sang tree and fruit songs with us. We had strawberries for snack since it is a spring food and we created spring artwork for our door. We started practicing the first of the 4 questions in anticipation of our learning that begins next week. In Nachshonim we decorated bowls for ourselves since we have been pretending to be puppies. We had fun with playdough. We made tails for some of our puppy kids. We made leashes for our stuffy puppies. We made trains, pushed one another on chairs and played Scooby Doo in the social hall. We had lots of manipulative play - building with blocks and playing with trains.
Friday, March 22, 2019
HaShavuah March 22, 2019 15 Adar II 5779 What a fabulous week of Purim fun we had! Both classes created many projects and tried on many costumes and lots of facepaint. We celebrated together on Thursday with a parade around the building, singing and delivering Misloach Manot, then we all sang and danced together with Melita in the Sanctuary. In Ma'agal Shabbat Moses and Aaron (with the help of Rabbi Chai) talked to us about Leviticus and how it has a lot of laws and rules in it. In Nevonim, we made filling for Oznei Haman (hamantaschen), we learned about the Hebrew letter Taf - that starts the word for date/tamar, for apple/tapuach, for picture/t'munah, for potato/tapuach adamah. We made hamantaschen in a great frenzy of baking. A big Todah Rabah to Aliza Weiss for making the dough for us! We decorated and filled Misloach Manot bags to give to families and synagogue staff, and we planted wheat seeds. In the afternoon we had lots of large motor fun with the ninja line and wooden rollers and we made ephemeral art with glass squares and natural materials. In Nachshonim we finished making our groggers, filling them with beads and taping them. We practiced using them every time Haman's name is said. We painted our faces (and many other parts of our bodies...). We had great fun at the Purim parade.
Friday, March 15, 2019
HaShavuah March 15, 2019 8 Adar II 5779 In Nevonim we made megillah scrolls, we made crowns. We made groggers, ra'ashanim. We learned about the custom of making misloach manot and we made cards for our gift baskets. We learned about Purim tzedakah and we are making tzedakah boxes. We played outside with our new water dispenser (this way we can conserve water but still have ample water play). We made a small object museum inside the kitah and we made many things with large boxes outside. In Nachshonim we played with groggers and had lots of fun trying on different masks We started making groggers, decorating cups with paint, then we brushed some glue and added more decorations. We were very excited about making rainbows with reflections of CDs in the sun. We also explored using flashlights on the CDs and on other things like mirrors and wooden toys, to see if there's a reflection.
Friday, March 8, 2019
HaShavuah March 8, 2019 1 Adar II 5779 Rejoice we are in Adar (again)! With the new moon and the start of Adar II we are fully immersed in Purim fun and exploration. Melita taught us a lot of Purim songs (she will join us on Purim Day to lead our parade). Rabbi Chai taught us a song at Ma'agal Shabbat based on the Torah portion about when Jews were slaves in Egypt written by Shaya's aunt. The children will be practicing it for the next few weeks to perform at the Preschool Sponsored Kiddush April 6th. We will be sending parents the words and tune in the next few weeks. In Nevonim we also focused on self-care. We had our own "spa" week with oatmeal and coconut oil masques and hand massage one day, and cucumbers and foot massages another day. We learned the Hebrew word for mask, (mahsaycha) and we explored other kinds of masks for Purim, as well as face painting and costume wearing galore. We read many great books about Purim, as well as a fun book called "Ninja School" and one called "Piggies in the Puddle" since many of us like to be Ninjas and most of us love jumping in puddles - which we did a lot of this week! Since we are focusing on Shalom Ba'Kitah we have been working a lot with Feeling Cards and charts to help us have self-reflection and awareness of how we and others feel. Some of us also set up a museum of our own creations in the loft. We made a communal art project for the April 6th Kiddush using acrylic paints on canvas. We all enjoyed having Eliana, Rafi S.'s older sister, join us on Monday. Last week we celebrated Judah's 4th birthday and this week Noga's 4th birthday! In Nachshonim, we all loved having Jennaba's daughter Kaiya join us on Friday to help in the kitah. We did ephemeral art with natural materials. We found earthworms and a beetle under a log. We talked about the importance of worms and how they help loosen the soil which helps the plants. We did a lot of cutting and gluing. We made shapes with rubber bands on geo-boards. We made pancakes and everyone had a turn pouring and mixing. We sang "Yaldah Achat, Mitriayah Achat" (One Girl, One Umbrella) in the social hall (see the photo below).
Friday, March 1, 2019
HaShavuah March 1, 2019 24 Adar I 5779 Well we are in a new calendar month so we are now focusing on the value of Shalom BaKitah (Peace in the Classroom) - you can certainly expand it to be Shalom BaBayit (Peace at Home) or Shalom BaOlam (Peace in the World). Our focus on Purim is also getting stronger as we get closer to Adar II and Purim itself. Rabbi Chai came to both kitot to sing Purim songs with us, and we got to use instruments as noisemakers (ra'ashanim). At Ma'agal Shabbat, we also sang and danced to M'SheNichanas L'Adar which is a song we sing to enter the month of Adar with Joy. Rabbi Chai taught us about the Torah portion which explains all the details of the Mishkan so we looked around the Sanctuary to notice all the beautiful colors, objects and materials. On Thursday Melita came to sing with us and did a new call and response song about a bunny. In Nevonim, we looked at the morning prayer of zokef kefufim — straighten the bent. We talked about having flexibility in our bodies. So all week we explored flexibility - with Aleph Bet Yoga, with pipe cleaner art, with measuring tapes and rulers, and rubber band play. We read many new books with great excitement. We voted and our favorite was Danny the Lion. On Friday, a few of our children went to participate in Shabbat at Gan Shalom Preschool and they learned stories about strong women in the Torah. The rest of us stayed at CNS and read a Mezuzah on the Door and made our own mezuzot cases to take home. In Nachshonim, we explored magnets and what they stick to. We did Havdallah with the Nevonim. We used foam paint and we also wrote our names in it with a stick and our fingers. We practiced cutting with scissors. We kept practicing listening to our friends and teachers by using words to get what we want like "give it to me when you're done" and "I want a turn" and by using our voices and bodies to say "stop!" and I don't like it." We braided everybody's hair (and the challah). We made rainbows and rays of color on the ceiling by putting cds and colorful clear blocks to reflect the sunlight.
Friday, February 22, 2019
HaShavuah February 22, 2019 17 Adar I 5779 We had a nice week, celebrating Purim Katan on Tuesday with fun and silliness (since we have 2 Adars this year - the bigger Purim is March 21) that is why you will find colorful sprinkles in this week's challot. We also continued to explore the value of Kavod. We celebrated two birthdays this week - Rafi G. turned 5 and Barack turned 3! In the afternoon children made a sign to give to Aryeh's abba Josh who is an Oakland public school teacher. At Ma'agal Shabbat we also talked about kavod and sending our good thoughts to teachers, all of whom really deserve kavod! This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, is the story of the golden calf - its role was beautifully played by a cow puppet as Aharon and Moshe discussed how the calf cannot possibly be God. In Nevonim, we continued exploring the morning blessing of Malbish Arumim. We read "What Can You Do with Rebozo? a book about the versatile scarf/blanket from Mexico. We also looked at Torah fabrics such as a binder (chagurah) and a Torah cover (me'il Torah), as well as other Jewish fabrics like a challah cover and kipah. We started a new birthday tradition when we celebrated Rafi's birthday, acting out how it takes the earth a whole year to revolve around the sun, celebrating each year in a child's life. We also did a lot of puzzles this week. In Nachshonim we jumped and popped bubble wrap. We played limbo with a brown stick. We got a new shopping cart so we made a supermarket in the classroom. We had great fun playing with bubbles.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
HaShavuah February 14, 2019 9 Adar 1 5779 We had an awesome week of fun and learning about Kavod. We had fun rainy days this week and an especially cozy Pajama Day. Melita sang songs about animals and we all enjoyed playing with the new toy animals Rabbi Chai gave us. Rabbi Chai came to sing with us in our cozy classrooms and even came to dance with us in the social hall! In Nevonim we looked at the morning prayer "malbish arumim" thanking God for giving us clothing. We read "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" and did a play with fabric. We also read a "Pocket for Corduroy" and made pockets out of felt and put precious things in them. We had a hot cocoa party in the social hall for our very rainy Pajama Day. Today we decorated cookies thanks to Gabriel and Rafael's Imah Felisa. In Nachshonim we mixed paint and painted on long strips. We had lots of pushing and pulling of the wagon outside. We played with frogs and logs in the sensory table. We had tons of snuggles and cuddles on PJ day. We built a magna tile tunnel for Oggy - he went back and forth many times. We had fun with the parachute in the social hall.
Friday, February 8, 2019
HaShavuah February 8, 2019 3 Adar I 5779 It is time to rejoice because we are in the month of Adar, and this year we get the added joy of 2 months of Adar! We are all focusing on the value of Kavod - to other people, to nature, to our classroom and to our friends. At Ma'agal Shabbat, Rabbi Chai taught about the Torah portion Terumah - how the mishkan was built as a place to hear God. We talked about our own mishkan shalom in the Nevonim kitah. In Nachshonim we explored different colored skin tone markers and pictures of people who have different skin tones. We had great fun in the social hall when it was rainy. We took care of Oggy by filling up his water bottle, feeding him, and cleaning his cage. We made collages with people pictures. We decorated our body tracings and hung them on the wall. In Nevonim, we studied the morning blessing for appreciating sight, pokeach ivrim (opens up the blind). We made new play dough and created many things with it. We practiced shadow puppetry. We explored sea animals and books about sea animals. We made collages with cellophane, We celebrated Rosh Chodesh (the new month marked by the new moon) by making pita moons with date syrup. Next week we are having Pajama Day on Wednesday!
Friday, February 1, 2019
HaShavuah February 1, 2019 26 Shevat 5779 What a great week of learning and fun we had! The children came to school Monday morning and discovered the joy of new peepholes in the play yard fence - this has been a long-time coming vision of Anna's so that we can maintain security but still allow little ones to peek our when they hear a siren or a garbage truck go by -we have all had fun using the holes . Thanks to Ruth's husband Maurice for doing that and bringing us some new wooden spools to climb on and play with. Today we started talking a lot about Kavod - Respect whichi s the value we are focusing on this month, but really is a mainstay of every day at preschool - Kavod for each other, for our selves, our classroom, the earth. At Ma'agal Shabbat we learned about this week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, which is all about rules and laws and we talked about rules we have to keep people safe at our school. In Nevonim, we were all thrilled to welcome our new friend Naava who just moved here with her family from Israel. We are learning a lot of Hebrew from her, in particular the word for unicorn "chad keren"! We hope everyone will get a chance to welcome the Romm family into our community. The emergent themes and projects this week were inspired by the rains we just had. We found, rescued and studied bugs who appeared after the rain. We built an environment for a bug and found several California slim salamanders. We studied with Judy the seasonal blessings for thunder, rain and wind - Mashiv HaRuach: Jewish Prayer for Wind and Rain. It is included until Pesach, when a prayer similar to “Geshem,” meaning “Rain,” namely “Tal,” meaning “Dew,” is recited. This lesson inspired sensory play about wind and rain. We planted actual potatoes (tapuchei adamah) in the ground to get potato plants. We had great fun with clay outside and paper mache inside and are creating many different shapes. Our new favorite book is called "One." Several children were creating firetrucks and jungle trucks. In Nachshonim, we explored colored foam paint on the tables. We had a lot of fun experimenting with clay in the sensory table in the yard and some of us enjoyed putting it on our arms! We created communal art, starting with painting a mural one day, and gluing things to it the following day. We traced our body shapes on giant paper. We hung ome art on the wall in the kitah - come and see!
Friday, January 25, 2019
HaShavuah January 25, 2019 19 Shevat 5779 We are continuing with our theme of Bal Tascheet and looking at all different ways it applies to our school and our world. Many of us shared Tu b'Shevat stories and ideas and we all have been enjoying seeing sunshine in our yard, and seeing what has sprouted with all the rain. Melita sang with us on Thursday and Rabbi Chai led Ma'agal Shabbat, teaching us with Moshe and Miriam's help, about how God spoke and gave us the Ten Commandments. This week we also had lots of sick children whom we missed a lot - we wish them all a R'fuah Shleimah, especially our friend Jonah who had pneumonia. In Nevonim this week we planted more parsley and saw our garlic sprout. We started to sprout a new potato as well. We are drawing pictures of the plants we see growing in our classroom, for a "photo" album. We read the Lorax. We have been having great fun in the hammock in the yard. We also made delicious banana muffins one day that we enjoyed for snack the next. We have been talking about safety in the classroom and how to stick together. We experimented with powder paint. We celebrated two birthdays - Liev turned 4 and Gabriel turned 5! In Nachshonim we moved our sensory table inside and explored scooping and grabbing pompoms with lots of different small motor skill tools. We read a lot of books with songs like Dragon on the Doorstep and We all Go Travelling By. We listened to them and sang along with them many times. Sonya and Ruth came to play with us a few times, as did some of our Nevonim friends - what fun! We continue to do lots of drawings and paintings.
Friday, January 18, 2019
HaShavuah January 18, 2019 12 Shevat 5779 What a busy week we had! Tu Be'Shevat was everywhere! We celebrated trees and taking care of our planet all week, following the value of Bal Tascheet - Do Not Destroy. Melita sang rain and tree songs with us. We had a lot of illnesses among the teaching staff, so special thanks to our awesome sub Chen who joined us almost every day to help out. Elizabeth and Sonya have also been working extra to help out. Here's to good health, Briut, to everyone. At Ma'agal Shabbat, Miriam and Moses (with the help of Rabbi Chai) helped lead the Israelite children through the water (under tallitot held by adults) as they danced their way to freedom! In Nevonim we had a wonderful Tu B'Shevat Seder led by Judy. Many parents joined us as we celebrated all four kinds of tree fruit - fruits with an exterior that is good to eat and a interior that is not, fruits with an interior that is good to eat and an exterior that is not, fruits with an exterior and an interior that are good to eat, and fruits with an exterior and an interior that are not good to eat for humans but good for other animals. We also drank grape juice, pomegranate juice and a wheat beverage, and said a Shehechiyanu on a fruit new to many of us, guava. We also planted parsley that we hope will be ready for Pesah. We made pancakes with berries for snack. We created an "under the sea" sensory table outside with salt water, rocks, shells, sand and sea creatures since this week's Torah portion, Yitro, includes the parting of the Red Sea. Lior led another fabulous music class. We also took apart some electronics to study what was inside of them. Happy Birthday this Monday to Liev who turns 4! In Nachshonim we made playdough, we painted with tempera. Sonya was with us much of the week. Anna cam back and told lots of stories about Costa Rica. We talked about Tu B'Shevat, the Birthday of the Trees. We sang songs and told stories about trees.
Friday, January 11, 2019
HaShavuah January 11, 2019 5 Shevat 5779 Happy New Year and welcome back to school. We have all been happy to see each other this week, and to welcome some new friends. In the Nachshonim class we were thrilled to meet Miri, Ari and Nadav, all of whom have quickly become part of the kitah! And in the Nevonim class we welcomed a new substitute teacher, Maor's Ema Chen. The holiday of Tu B'Shevat is fast approaching (January 21st this year) and so we are focusing a lot on trees and on the Jewish value of Bal Tashcheet - Do not Destroy. Melita came to visit both classes and sing Tu B'Shevat songs. Rabbi Chai led Ma'agal Shabbat and Moshe rejoined us since we are now in Exodus, and Pharoah the Grouch also made an appearance. In Nachshonim, we are experimenting with water since it is so important to trees. We compared drawing with wet chalk and dry chalk. We made collages using pompoms, paper and feathers and lots of glue on construction paper. We celebrated the rain this week with lots of rain play outside. We had lots of water play in the sensory table. We are having one of our favorite teachers, Sonya, join our class for the next few days because Anna is away. In Nevonim, we spent a good deal of time and energy planting new plants in our yard. We planted turmeric, garlic and ginger and we are sprouting a sweet potato. We also read several versions of Stone Soup (including the PJ Library Bone Button Borscht), and then, thanks to many helpful parent contributions, we spent several days making our own Stone Soup which was truly delicioius. New words that we learned in Hebrew were zera-seed, shoresh-root, geza-trunk, and anaf-branch. Chen (Maor's Ema) read us a book in Hebrew about geshem, rain. Outside we also made "leaf soup" which was not quite as tasty as the stone soup.. On Friday we has special help from Team Clean-up (Teo, Shaya, Ayelet, Miriam and Alexandra, and Noah for sweeping the yard!) On Tuesday, at 9:45 the Nevonim class will be having their own Tu B'Shevat Seder - Parents are welcome to join! In the afternoons in addition to calm relaxation time, we also had dance parties including "Watch Me Whip!" Nene, Dance basics of the 8-count and parachute play.