Thursday, March 26, 2015

Helping children bloom.

Preschool is a special place.  Our preschool is a particularly special place.
We provide a place where children can grow and bloom.
We create an environment in which the children are encouraged to act, explore and become engaged with learning materials and the different personalities of their classmates.
Friendships are created through trial and error.
The morahs at The Gan help mediate conflicts.
The children are guided in conversations which require listening and taking turns speaking.
Each child is given the opportunity to say what happened and how it made them feel.
The next step is for each child to make a request for a resolution.
More often than not, after the children have been assisted in the conversation,  the initial conflict is forgotten and a new happier conversation begins.
With practice, the children eventually solve problems on their own.
Anton: No Isaac you can't touch those.
Isaac: But I want to play too. There are enough.
Anton: You played already, I am now.
Isaac: You aren't using these.
Anton: Ok you can use those, but I am using these and I don't want you to put water in them.
Isaac: Ok and then we can trade.
Judah: Olivia can I have some cars.
Olivia: NO.
Judah: But I want the cars and you drove them through your tunnel so you can be done.
Olivia: I am still playing with them.
Judah: How many more minutes until I can have some?
Olivia: 7.
Judah: Ok, 7 minutes.
With practice, the invitations and declines become smoother and more kind.
The communication creates and develops friendships.
In this supportive and safe environment, these young children can experiment with the many different roles and behavior choices to discover what causes the most positive outcome.
Not surprisingly, the children become more interested in offering  help to their friends and creating moments of sharing.
Abigail: I will help you Matan.
Natan: Judah, you name card is out on the floor.
Judah: Well that's ok. 
Natan: You wouldn't want someone to slip and fall on it.
Judah: Well you are right. Ok.
A small portion of our mitzvah tree is proof of the kind acts in the classroom

Admists all this social learning, our  hands on learning materials are designed to foster and engage developing minds.
As we prepare for Passover, we are taking this week to perform a few Passover inspired science experiments.
We are asking:
Why was the matzah flat?
Eliana: They had to leave Egypt so fast and they didn't have time to cook the bread.
How is matzah different from challah?
Eliana: Challah has many ingredients. They didn't have time to mix it all.
Morah Katie: Which recipe does the _______ belong in?
Judah: Challah!
Morah Katie: Water?
Eliana: Challah and matzah
Morah Katie:  Oil?
Natan: Challah
Morah Katie: Sugar? 
Anton: Challah 
Morah Katie: Flour?
Judah: Matzah
Natan: And Challah!
Morah Katie: Challah also needs yeast to make it rise and become big and fluffy. We are going to do an experiment.  Yeast creates energy. 
Take a deep breath in (IN) and breathe out (out). We breathe in oxygen, and breathe out carbon dioxide.  
Yeast eats up the sugar in a bread recipe AND gets creates carbon dioxide! 
It is the carbon dioxide that creates the bubbles in the dough  before it gets baked. 
The yeasts gets cooked away in the oven, leaving the fluffy soft baked bread. 
Morah Stephanie created a video to document our experiment.

We will learn more about water and the Passover story next week, to prepare for that exciting part we have a few water experiments in the classroom.
Water is important for living. It waters plants and keeps us healthy.
Is there anything else unique about water?
Judah: When I pour it (water) in the box it becomes a rectangle.
When I pour it in the jar it becomes round.
Isaac: The water filled the whole jar.
I thought the legos filled the whole jar 
and then the water covered and filled in all the empty spots.
 Sink and Float experiments.
Natan: The sponge soaked up so much water and it made it sink.
Water drops like to stay together.
How many water drops can fit on a coin before the water rolls off?
Natan: I think 9.
Amelia: Natan thinks 9, I do too.
After a few trials, we discovered we could consistently put 19 drops of water on 1 penny.

We could fit 21 drops of water on a nickel.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pesach ba, Passover is coming!

Mimi: Look Morah Katie I wrote Pesach!
(phonetically) there is the P, there is the "ay" there is the "s" there is the "o" and the "k"!

Morah Tzivie read us a story about a Shabbat table transforming itself into a table ready for a Passover meal.
We listened as Morah Tzivie explained why we eat such interesting foods at the seder.
We were very concerned about mean King Pharaoh and the hard working Jewish people.
The Jewish people were working so hard, with no time for family or sharing; they were so sad.
They prayed to Hashem. 
Hashem sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go.
Pharaoh would say:
Finally after 10 plagues King Pharaoh let the Jewish people leave Egypt.
We are enjoying preparing for this special holiday.
Matan is preparing for when he eats real crunchy matzah.
Sroli: It is like we are in Egypt and we have to keep building. 
But we need to make the points of the pyramid.
Natan: We can use triangles.
Judah: Yeah we are working so hard. And Pharaoh won't let us go.
Sroli: But finally he does and we are free.
What is wrong with this table?
Natan: No challah at Pesach! This table is mixed up!
Sroli: Unless it is Shabbat, then no matzah or maror!
The children decided it should be a Seder dinner 
and made the appropriate changes to the very mixed up table.
 Thursday we discovered that Sally and Billy had come to visit.
Sally: MY! Why is this table looking so special? Is it Shabbat already?
Kids:NO! Its Thursday! AND It's not a Shabbat table!
Abigail: It's a Pesach table!
Billy: A what table? 
Abigail: A seder table.
Billy: How is it different from Shabbat?
Natan: Matzah! 
Eliana: The matzah is crunchy!
Abigail: We don't eat challah.
Sally: Why do we eat matzah, it looks flat.
Natan: To remember the Jewish people.
Billy: I remember the Jewish people when I eat fluffy challah.
Eliana: The king made them work so hard. 
Abigail: For a long long time.
Eliana: He kept changing his mind, yes go, no stay. 
They didn't have time to make anything but flour and water. 
Abigail: So crunchy matzah!
Sally: What about all the other interesting food I see?  
What is that reddish food, it looks like there are chopped apples?
Abigail: Apples and nuts. 
Natan: The heavy bricks.
Eliana: The Jewish People had to keep building for the king.
Abigail: They (Jewish People) carried bricks on THEIR BACKS! So Hard!
 Billy: I see celery, I love celery.
Abigail: You dip it in salty water, it reminds us of the tears we cry.
Eliana: They didn't have time for anything.
Sally: I think I understand, but why are there 4 cups of wine?
Eliana: They leave it (Egypt), the king says go finally and they go out to the desert.
Abigail: So we are so happy. 

 Abigail: OH the frogs are all over the place!
 Morah Katie: Olivia your dinner table looks so special.
Olivia: It's a holiday 
and you know they babies have to be comfortable
 so they are sitting on pillows.
Abigail: The baby is at the Pesach dinner.
Abigail: I drew my own seder plate. 
This is the lettuce and this is the chicken bone 
and this is the bitter maror.