Everyone in Garinim is really coming out of their shell this week! We are continuing to practice our friends’ names at circle time and have also started to practice saying good morning in English, Hebrew, or American Sign Language when we greet one another. Eventually, we will practice saying this to one friend at a time, and reciprocating, as we get more comfortable with it!
Some highlights that the children have really enjoyed this week have been polishing the leaves on our live plants—this one is fantastic because it has a lot of materials that the children must bring to their work space separately, and requires a good deal of coordination to work the spray bottle—and exploring the sandpaper letters. Sandpaper letters are a special Montessori material that allow the child to develop the muscle memory of how each letter feels while they associate it with the sound the letter makes. The children have access to a set made up of the first letter of the name of each child in the class, and have been enjoying finding the letter that their name begins with and saying the sound. They will continue more meaningful work with the sandpaper letters in the 3/4 classrooms next year!
Mid week, we had a group presentation on our peace corner and how to use some of the materials there. Next to our bookshelf in a quiet area of the room there is a plush dog bed that is the perfect size for a two year old to lounge in, just one at a time. The children also have access to a pillow, a basket of fidget toys, and some ‘breathing boards,’ which were the main feature of the presentation. It’s a grooved plastic board that the child can trace with one finger. They’re encouraged to take a deep breath in for one stroke, then out for the next, but even just tracing it helps to slow their mind and body and promote calmness. We discussed times we might need to take a break in the peace corner, like when we feel tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Many children have already given it a try and really enjoyed it!
Looking forward to next week, we are excited to start getting our hands busy and messy making lots of Sukkot decorations!
What a busy week we have had! The children painted whales and glued pieces of paper to a whale cut out in preparation for Yom Kippur. We discussed how Jonah could always learn from his mistakes, i.e. cleaning up our toys, saying please and thank you and possibly even sharing our toys. The children used watercolor paints repeating the colors red, blue and yellow (in Hebrew too) to create wrapping paper for our Shabbat Box that will go home with a different family in a few weeks.
In our sensory bin we have different colored blue tissue paper for the children to tear, along with a few whales and boats.
We practiced being kind to our classmates and we read, “Sammy Spider's First Yom Kippur”.
This week was also so exciting because we made challah! The children added the ingredients to a large bowl and cracked or crushed a few eggs in the process. They loved watching the yeast rise before we added it to the flour. Thursday we baked our challot to enjoy eating on Friday, yom shishi.
This week was full of fun activities. We talked about the upcoming season of Fall and read books about that as well. Also, we talk about the Color Wheel. Last week was the color Red in the classroom and this week was the color Yellow. Next week will be Blue. The children were told that primary colors can be mixed together to make other colors. This week we had different mediums like gluing and cutting on a line. The scissor lesson was shown and when demonstrated the kiddos were told that their thumb must always pretend to hit the ceiling.
We talked about the upcoming Holiday of Yom kippur. We read a story about it and discussed why we celebrate Yom Kippur. We had a fun art activity involving decorating a large whale. The children used glue to adhere tissue paper, glitter and sequins to their whale.
On Thursday, we celebrated Lily's 4th birthday . Lily walked around the sun four times during our Montessori Celebration. We had a yummy treat that was given to the class and read a special book that was donated to us about Kindness. It was very special.
On Friday, we went down to the Chapel and sang songs with Morah Lana. We talked about the upcoming Holiday of Yom Kippur. There was a very big whale to grab the attention of the children. :)
Have a nice weekend.
What a wonderful start to the Jewish New Year. We hope you all had a lovely and meaningful holiday weekend together. We got right back into it on Monday. We enjoyed listening to the book New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland. This story is about a young child that is getting ready to go with his family down to the pier to perform Tashlich, throw away his sins from this past year and ask for forgiveness. Leading up to this ceremony he creates a list of things he would like to apologize for and seeks out the people he feels he has hurt to say sorry. This book was a perfect introduction to Tashlich for our children, especially as we are starting a new school year and starting over with a clean slate. We then marched to our water (a bowl filled with water on the other side of the classroom) and tore little pieces of paper to represent our sins (arguing, not listening, not sharing) and threw them into the water. We also thought of ways to try harder this year.
On Tuesday Morah Wendy retold the story of Jonah and the Whale. The children were quite focused on the retelling and really enjoyed the story. An unconventional way of painting was introduced, putting little puddles of paint onto their whale and then using a straw to blow the paint to spread it out. The children had a lot of fun with this activity throughout our work times this week. We also got to go to visit the gym for a little trial gym class. We are so excited to start our weekly gym class next week with Coach Oren.
Wednesday brought an introduction to sound pouches and sandpaper letters. The children had the chance to explore the ‘s’ sound pouch as well as feel the sandpaper letter for s. We also were so lucky to have another chance to make challah this week. The children that braided last week were the ones to make the dough this week. The children loved measuring and mixing all the ingredients in the bowl and especially loved checking on it at lunch to see how much the dough had grown.
Thursday was another busy day. We braided our dough (again like a nice round crown), worked more on our whales, and enjoyed the different work in our classroom. We also had music class with Morah Dawn. She brought a couple more musical notes with her and we have now added the whole note, half note and quarter note to our repertoire. Ask your child if they know what a whole note says (watermelon), half note (hold), and quarter note (ta). She then asked them to think about what their favorite note and saying is out of the 3 so they can share it at the next class.
Friday we welcomed Shabbat down in the chapel. Morah Lana led us in some songs and then we marched with our Torahs before settling in for her show. This week she focused on Jonah and the Whale. The children were completely entranced by her story as they watched all the props tell the story. The children especially loved her giant whale that came and saved Jonah. Back in the classroom we enjoyed our challah and grape juice along with songs and blessings. Have a wonderful weekend and a safe and easy fast for all those that observe.
We’re back at school after Rosh Hashanah, ready to reflect on what we did in the past; all that is good and what we can improve on. A whole new year begins… We learned about Tashlich and on Wednesday morning accompanied the third and fourth graders, along with some of the seventh and eighth graders, to the pond at the Halprin’s house up the street from Ezra. All the way there and then en route back to school we sang:
To Tashlich we will go,
To tashlich we will go,
To throw away our aveirot (offences/ things we can improve upon)
To Tashlich we will go!
We shared in the program with the older Ezra students and then thought about what we could do better next time, (silently or aloud) and threw tiny pieces of a twig into the pond. (Breadcrumbs, the traditional offering, are not healthy for the ducks and fish, and we’re learning about doing what’s right for our world.) This was taken pretty seriously by Keshet kids, they did say things out loud, and perhaps this should not be stated here, but …‘I will behave better for my babysitter next time’ and ‘I will say Thank You’ ‘I will be nicer to my brother’ were standing beside us :)
We practiced Avinu Malkeinu and watched a rendition by a South African little boy, which got the children giggling (probably not the correct response?!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giro9krNpZE
Part of our social/ emotional learning presents itself organically throughout the week and we always include this wherever we can. This week’s pre-Yom Kippur story of Jonah and the big fish (or whale) presented opportunities for such discussion. We spoke about listening to our friends and parents (and teachers;) and respecting one another, being kind and helpful, using our words to talk about our feelings especially in conflict situations (instead of using our hands). Ask your child if Jonah listened, where he was asked to go, and why was he asked to go (to Nineveh). Most chose to make a Jonah and the whale collage -enjoy. This was a nice introduction to the peace rose (or right now our peace Lily) we practiced and role played with made up and real scenarios. It is a way for us to talk out conflicts that may happen throughout our days. If something occurs where a child feels hurt, that child invites the other child involved to sit together. They each take turns speaking their truth while holding the peace rose. While one child speaks the other listens. It’s a beautiful way for us to begin to be accountable for our actions, practice listening and try to be better in the future (which is much more helpful than a simple ‘I’m sorry’ in which we may not have clarity of what we did). A big social/ emotional week!
We continue our practice for Hashem Sheli, and are so excited to welcome you next week! We are starting to play a version of Go Fish with Hebrew letters, identifying the symbols and sounds as well as a Hebrew letter memory game and bingo. These are great ways to get students to recognize the Hebrew letters with repetition and peer collaboration.
On Thursday we celebrated Davie’s 5th birthday with his mom and dad. The Montessori birthday celebration is such a special tradition. This was our first one of this school year and as such was new to most of the students, everyone was involved and interested and then we got to enjoy delicious cupcakes!
See this week’s pictures here