Monthly Archives: November 30, 2018

The Sunflowers are busy like the Macacbees

The children have been very busy getting ready for Chanukah.  Learning the story of how King Antiyocus did not want the Jewish people to practice their religion anymore and how he and his army went into the Temple and tried to destroy it; and  how Judah the Macabee and his brothers took a small army and surprised King Antiyocus and his army and defeated them reclaiming the Temple and their religion. When the Jews went to clean up the Temple they found only one vile of oil to light the Menorah.  To everyone’s amazement, the oil lasted eight days thus giving us the holiday of Chanukah.  The children have spent the week practicing the brachot we say when we light the chanukiyah.  Knowing that on the first night we say three brachot and the rest of the nights we say two. Singing Chanukah songs is of course a favorite activity of ours. Throughout the week, the children have been busy preparing some beautiful Chanukah decorations that they are looking forward to sharing with their families. Watching the children work with different ways to decorate their dreidels was remarkable. They used glue in a couple different ways and used the dexterity in their fingers to be able to peel off the back of stickers, and dot paint. When all the decorating was finished the children strung their dreidels together. We were hoping that we would be able to spin our dreidels like the Jewish people did to hide their Torah learning from  King Antiyocus, but since we were not able to, we hope you will string it up in your houses.


The children used watercolors to paint a special Chanukah keepsake. […]

By |November 30, 2018|

Gan Tziporim Build and Play the Hanukkah Way

We pulled out another variation of a magnet building toy, a magnetic stick and ball construction toy.  These building toys are open-ended and offer opportunities for creative building ideas, problem solving, engineering three-dimensional shapes, as well as building letters, numbers and a multitude of designs.  Sometimes the children work on their own, but often enjoy collaborating and building on each other’s ideas.


One of the class’s major endeavors this week involved the construction of an individual hanukkiah for each child.  Our good friend, Mr. Bob, helped out again with this project. The children are enjoying their wood building experiences and becoming proficient in the use of tools.  Mr. Bob prepared the wood for the base,  brought the materials to class and guided the children in hammering into place the wooden piece for the shamash.  He left the proper screws and Phillips head screwdrivers for the children to screw on the candle holders.  One more step was needed prior to installing the candle holders – decorating the base.  We mixed acrylic paint (blue, red, and silver) with oil in a tub, and swirled it around to create interesting designs.  The children then dipped their hanukkiah bases into the paint. We explained that we wanted to include oil into the process to remind us about the miracle of the oil in our story of Hanukkah. When dry, the children placed the candle holders on the small holes that Bob had marked off, placed the screw on the hole and then began the process of screwing the candle holder securely into place.  Of course they had to repeat the process nine times!  This was quite a commitment.  But it was all so worth it!  This particular project was created […]

By |November 30, 2018|

We Light the Chanukiot — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

We continued to experience Chanukah throughout the week, putting the finishing touches on our Chanukiot. The children can’t wait to bring them home. We chose to make this particular Chanukiah so that the children can play with it all week long and “light” along with you every night. Please note: regular candles are not recommended for use with this Chanukiah.


A Chanukah matching game reinforced the names of the major symbols of the festival and marked the first time we introduced the concept of matching. We also read several Chanukah books including “Where Is Baby’s Dreidel?” and “Chanukah Bugs.” We also dug for dreidels and candles in the sand table.


We took time indoors for reading Clifford books and outdoors for outdoor fun.

With best wishes for a Shabbat Shalom and Chag Chanukah Sameach filled with light and joy,

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie


By |November 30, 2018|

Chanukah O Chanukah — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Chanukah O Chanukah come light the menorah….

Entranced. That’s what the children are with all things Chanukah: the Chanukiah, the candles, the dreidels. And that was just on Monday!

The Chanukah curriculum is designed to bring the holiday to life for the children through multi-sensory experiences and good old-fashioned play. We began by sharing a very simple version of the Chanukah story. We then showed the children a few different Chanukiot and candles. We explained that we light one candle every night for eight nights (or until there are no more candle holders). They couldn’t wait to practice putting the candles in the Chanukiot themselves.


And what’s even better than putting candles in the Chanukiah? Making your very own so that you can perform the mitzvah of lighting “candles” at home. (We are substituting crayons for candles. We had the children make a Chanukiah that they can play with and enjoy. Candles should not be used with the Chanukiah.)

We began by dumping, much to the children’s delight, blocks of different colors and shapes on the table. The idea was that each child would freely free choose any eight blocks (of the same size) they wanted, as well as a taller one for the shamash and put them on their tray. (Decision making, shape sorting, and color recognition.) They would then choose the actual “candle” holder (tops from those delicious fruit pouches you send in their lunches) and glue it on to the block (fine motor development).

We thought we would work with one or two children at a time, but intrigued by what was going on, we found ourselves with a full table. While waiting for their turn to work with the Morahs (patience, patience), the others loaded […]

By |November 28, 2018|

Gan Tziporim Celebrate and Prepare for 2 Great Holidays

As the oldest class in our school, Gan Tziporim was given the task to decorate the tables for the Thanksgiving Feast.  Children in this age group are developmentally able to draw recognizable pictures – such as people and houses and trees.  The children were happy to be given this honor and responsibility.  They spent a lot of time working on their creations.

When it was time for the feast, the children were excited to wear their beautiful, beaded headbands.  Most of them were willing to try all of the foods each of the classes prepared and especially enjoyed their own soup. They also loved learning and singing many of the Thanksgiving songs we had been practicing for the last few weeks.  We sang: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land;  Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow;  A Turkey Sat on a Backyard Fence and He Sang a Sad, Sad Tune; and The Mayflower Sailed Over the Ocean,complete with hand motions. They had learned so well, that they were able to sing many of the songs without requiring an adult to lead them. They all had a very pleasant time.

Later in the day, the children acted out the Thanksgiving story, Mousekins Thanksgiving by Edna Miller.  They all chose different forest animals to portray – mousekin, owl, woodpecker, squirrel, hare, and turkey. Acting is a great vehicle for self-expression, for acquiring confidence, and for learning to be comfortable speaking in front of a group of people. It also helps one put him/herself in the shoes of another and learn empathy.  We intend to present the children with other opportunities to act out stories. One possibility is the story of Hanukkah.

We jumped from Thanksgiving right into Hanukkah!  The […]

By |November 28, 2018|

Another Thanksgiving Celebrated in the Sunflowers

We hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your children shared all the songs that they enjoyed learning and singing in class as well as retelling you the Thanksgiving story.  When teaching the Thanksgiving story, the children were amazed at how far the Pilgrims had to travel (sail) on the Mayflower before arriving at Plymouth.  The children also could not believe that the Pilgrims had to learn how to grow their food instead of being able to go to the grocery store to buy it.  The children were thankful that the Native Americans were there to teach the Pilgrims how to farm and harvest their food.

The children enjoyed learning how different the Pilgrims and Native Americans were from just a simple thing as the way they dressed.  They were very creative while they made their own Native American clothing and their Pilgrim hats.  Hopefully your child wore them to your Thanksgiving tables.  Before we broke for the Thanksgiving holiday, all the students came together for a school wide feast.  The Three’s contributions were cornbread and cookies that they made from scratch.  The children had a blast baking with Morah Aimee, singing some Thanksgiving songs with all our friends while sharing a meal consisting of yummy vegetable soups made by the Pre-Kers and cranberry relish made by the Butterflies.  Our cornbread and cookies, and of course since it was Wednesday, PIZZA were so delicious.  The children had a wonderful time eating with all their friends. Hopefully, we will be able to do this again soon.


The children came back to school all excited to share their Thanksgiving stories with us.  The children love celebrating holidays so much that when we told them that […]

By |November 27, 2018|

Preparing for Thanksgiving with Gan Tziporim

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here!  Time passes quickly when one is experiencing a positive learning and social environment.  From the time the children arrive in the morning until the time they leave, everyone (including the Morahs) is involved in happy, purposeful activity.  The children enjoy being together so much and collaborate incredibly well.  They share ideas and work out most issues relatively quickly.  The pictures that are posted really tell the story.  Though the children built the Mayflower a week ago or so,  they were not done with it.  They continued to build and rebuild it, adding to it and refining their work.  Our friend, Bob, had visited last week to do some repairs on our sukkah/tent.  He needed to glue and clamp two pieces of wood that had split. The children incorporated Bob’s clamp, which he had left for them to use and explore some more, in addition to the usual tools.  They found new pieces of wood/laminate which had been donated to us, which they incorporated into the main structure of the ship.  Toy animals and people became the passengers.  This went on for several days, with the structure being left overnight to return to (and fiddle with) the next day.


After having discussed the Lenape tribe and the Wampanoag tribe, we looked at some patterns the native tribes used and also their pictograph symbols. When European explorers arrived in America, Native Americans did not communicate through writing as we know it. Instead, they told stories (oral histories) and created pictures and symbols.  The children created a lovely gift to be used on their family’s Thanksgiving […]

By |November 20, 2018|

Happy Thanksgiving from Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

The severity of last week’s snowstorm took many of us by surprise, including us Morahs, whose 10-minute commutes stretched more than seven hours. We hope you fared better.

There’s always an upside. Asher, Daniela, and Aryeh told us how much fun playing in the snow. The snow play continued on Monday, turning into a terrific sensory experience: touching (Elisheva – cold!), stomping, and crunching. They were fascinated that they could make the snow turn different colors by drawing on it with chalk.

After rereading “The Story of the Pilgrims,” we again talked about how how family and friends get together on Thanksgiving for a big dinner. We talked about how our school is like a big family. We matched food eaten at the feast in the book with foods on the Thanksgiving dinner chart. The children recognized corn, carrots, peas, and the live turkey.

Our contribution to the schoolwide Thanksgiving feast was the cranberry relish. Snack time was transformed into a taste testing of cranberry sauce, pineapple, and mandarin oranges. Dovid, Elisheva, and Aryeh liked the cranberry sauce and Ethan, Asher, and Mazali the oranges. The children then took turns adding the ingredients to the bowl and mixing.

Your children are very proud of their Thanksgiving headdresses. These headdresses mark the first time we worked on a project over several days. This is a testament to your children’s increasing ability to complete a multi-step process. The project involved the use of different textures and materials which the children chose for themselves.

If you look closely you’ll see the wood letters spell out your child’s name. After showing them what their name looks like and saying the letters out loud, the children had free rein as to […]

By |November 20, 2018|

It’s Been a “Corny” Week — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

One of the many things that make IBECC unique is its philosophy of following the children where they go. After making the cake for Asher’s family last week, we observed the children playing with the small amount of  flour left on the table. We thought, “why not?” and poured a generous amount of flour on the table. (You might have noticed your child came home a bit dusty on Friday). Four or five pairs of hands coated in flour swirling and swishing. Ethan said the flour looked like snow and David decided to do some taste testing. What fun!


Over the past few weeks we noticed the children had so much energy after snack to sit for circle/davening time. We decided to change it up and meet first thing in the morning. Joining us is “Shira,” who welcomes the children to the carpet. The children love our new puppet friend and are so engaged. WE love that we can adapt our schedules to meet the children’s needs. This group learning time fosters language and communication skills. It is wonderful to be at the point of development with the children where they are sharing stories and songs with each other.

With an eye toward Thanksgiving, we began our discussion about the people who are part of the Thanksgiving story by creating an abridged version of The Story of the Pilgrims by Katherine Ross and reading it to the children. We also started to talk about the food we eat on the holiday, beginning with corn. The children held it and took a sniff. Elisheva said it was cold (we had just taken it out of the refrigerator.) We then painted with […]

By |November 15, 2018|

The Sunflowers are the Newest Monets and Rembrandts

The children have been fortunate to experience different types of art with Morah Debra. Morah Debra introduced them to painting with many different kinds of “brushes”.  They used cotton balls to dot the paint onto the paper, wrapped pipe cleaners around pine cones and used them to paint on the paper.  The children also showed off their artistic ability using other objects such as brissel blocks and wood blocks.


The children are looking forward to making cornbread for our Thanksgiving feast.  It is amazing how they  enjoy learning about the history and different customs of Thanksgiving.

Looking forward to seeing all the parents at the Back to School Night Thursday night.

Morah Pam, Morah Aimee, And Morah Debra

By |November 14, 2018|