Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our letter of the week is "O". We have had an "accidental" number of the week, "8".
We discovered that an Octagon has 8 sides and Octopuses have 8 legs! Connections are everywhere!

At group time we said a chant about olives in an olive tree:
"Way up high in the olive tree I saw 5 fives smiling at me,
so I shook that tree as hard as I could!
Down came an olive! mm mmm good!"

We begin the chant at 5 and chant our way down to 0, I always ask the children,
"Where did the olives (or apples or cherries....) go?" and they respond "We ate them!"

We had olives for snack and they were a HUGE hit. As we ate our way through the container of olives, it was not lost on the children that we began with a lot and ended up with zero,
Morah Katie: Where did all the olives go?
The Children: We ate them!

For a child to refine his/her small motor control, they need to have a quiet and calm body.
Large, full body movements can assist this process.
This is one reason why movement is encouraged in the classroom, from balancing on a string of yarn to sweeping up scraps of paper.
Large, involved movement allows the child the opportunity to refine his/her gross motor and fine motor skills, as well as test and expand his/her capabilities.

Kian took out all the red and blue rods and created a maze.

The big movements of walking through the classroom with the rods reinforce his gross motor control. Walking slowly through the maze reinforces his balance and concentration

Levi and Daniel are exploring what happens when you add the red and blue rods together.
They collect and gather to add.
They record their answers.
The movement involved allows their active minds to stay engaged and challenged.

I would like to begin a sharing circle on thursdays. This provides the children a chance to share something unique and special to them. Each child will be given the opportunity to explain why the object is special; their friends will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Thank you for continuing to make a not e of the mitzvahs your child is doing at home, combined with the ones written about at school, our tree is delightfully pear heavy!

Have a pleasant weekend.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It has been a very fruitful week at The Gan.
Our mitzvah tree has begun to bloom and produce fruit. It is so exciting to see the fruits of the children's kind and helpful acts appear on the tree, as well as bring smiles to the faces of their parents and friends. We have used our "helping hands" to create the leaves of the tree. We have talked about how our helping hands, and kind acts create the "fruit". Mitzvah after mitzvah are being made, and I have no doubt our tree will be plentiful with mitzvah fruit in no time.

Morah Katie: How can we grow more fruit for our tree?
Levi: Mitzvahs!
Morah Katie: What are some things we can do?
Kian: Help
Daniel: Tzedakah!
Morah Katie: We can use our hand prints to make the leaves of our tree, what are hands for?
Dena: Helping!
Morah Katie: How do our helping hands make for more fruit?
Levi: Helping is a mitzvah!

Our letter of the week was "b", we made banana's and balloons; and ate banana's, blueberries and biscuits for snack.

Sorting and patterning are important skills for preschool aged children.
These skills develops logical thinking. As the children recognize and create patterns they begin to see relationships and understand how things work.
The ability to see connections and make predictions are skills used in both math and writing/reading.

Monday, January 10, 2011

This week we began to learn about the parts of the tree.
We began talking about the roots:

Morah Katie: What part of the tree gathers the water from the ground?
Levi: The roots
Morah Katie:Where would we look to find the roots?
Dena: In the mud
Tori: Under the ground

We talked about the trunk of the tree, and how it supports the branches and leaves.

We used our handprints to create the protective bark on our tree.

We created branches on our tree and looked at the bare tree outside. We compared how the bare branches look like the roots, an upside down tree.

One of the benefits of having a mixed age classroom is the variety of ages and abilities. It is almost guaranteed that each child will have the opportunity to help another.
Daniel knows that Noam likes the numeral cards, Daniel is helping Noam learn "1".
The older children have opportunities to be leaders, and the younger children have role models to look up too. The children learn to work together forming a community, appreciating what they all have to offer.

The children are looking forward to Shabbat dinner with their preschool friends and families. We have been singing songs to share and creating keepsakes to keep after dinner.

Our letter of the week was “n”, we made Necklaces with Nine beads. It was an exciting discovery to realize we were creating Napkin rings for Shabbat dinner.

I have enjoyed having the opportunity to meet and talk with you about your children. If we have not yet had an opportunity, I am happy to schedule a time to meet.

See you all tomorrow at 5:30!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I hope everyone had a delightful winter break.

It has been a great first week back. A good sign that the class is coming together and the children are forming a community is the abundance of giggles, high fives and smiles.

The children have jumped right back into the classroom routine and are engaged and active.

The children are doing a good job washing their hands first thing when they come into the classroom. We have altered the classic “ABC” song to help them wash their hands long enough to be “germ free." Ask them to share it with you.

We had the honor of celebrating 2 of our friend’s birthdays.

Our new 3 year olds: Kian and Noah

Next week we will begin learning about Tu B’Sheva, the "New Year for Trees" celebrated on the Jewish calendar. We will explore the growth and development of trees, as well as growing some plants of our own.

A few reminders:

· warm coats, if it is not raining we do try to play outside for a bit each day

· a few coins for tzedakah

· if you have not already scheduled a time to meet with me, I am happy to meet after school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or in the evenings on Tuesday or Thursday – I look forward to chatting with you about your child/ren.