Monthly Archives: December 31, 2018

Parsha and Nature Seamlessly Blend in Gan Tziporim

Take a look and see how in reference to the Parshah of the week, Va’eira, which tells of the plagues (HaMakot) that Hashem used to punish Pharaoh and the Egyptian people, and our daily nature explorations, our lives are fully integrated with Torah and natural learning. It was so interesting to observe each day how when we were focused on the Parsha, the children incorporated information about other studies we were exploring, and as we spent time outdoors and working in our classrooms on hibernation and other inquiries, the children were bringing in their Jewish knowledge to our explorations. This is a seamless integration of learning.

We visited our outdoor classroom to see how things were looking since we last visited.  The sun was out and the temperature was moderate, so the children were happy to explore.  After reading the Parshah, we had discussed the obligation for the Jewish slaves to make bricks out of clay and straw to build Egyptian cities. We found an excellent video that showed a man making bricks and building with them in approximately the same primitive way as it had been done in Egypt.  When we went to the outdoor classroom, our children amazed us by building with pieces of log and mud from the garden!  They had extrapolated what they had seen on the video to their own environment and with the materials at hand.

We decided to take the brick-making further by bringing in plaster powder. The children felt the texture of the dry powder. Next, they added water, mixing it together. Finally, they poured the mixture into two rectangular plastic forms.  Within an hour the plaster had hardened. Creating […]

By |December 31, 2018|

Books, Babies, and Colors — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

Thank you to Ethan and the entire Sternberg family for gifting Brain Flakes to our class. This alternative to blocks is a construction toy that lets imaginations run wild. The discs clip together and then pull apart. Right now the class is enjoying taking them apart and sorting them.

Our cozy corner has been busy.  The way the children tenderly wrap their “babies” in blankets is a tribute to the love they feel at home. And everyone knows of Baby Becca, Aryeh’s real-life baby sister. The corner includes our bookshelf, and  the children can increasingly be found “reading” on the comfy green carpet and around the room.

Speaking of books, the children are insistent that snack and lunch time include story time. In keeping with our winter theme, this week we read The Snowy Day. Because we have been talking about mittens, we introduced a mitten matching game designed to foster color recognition.

As a companion to the game, each child decorated a (paper) mitten. The children chose the color of construction paper they wanted to use (we said the name of the color together), and the type of glue brush and textures to add to their mitten. As much as possible, we give the children freedom to make their own decisions, which is so important for their development.

And, there’s nothing like a crisp winter day for some outdoor fun.

Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie


By |December 28, 2018|

Gan Tziporim Learn “What Animals Do in Winter”

We have been talking about the winter and the weather conditions which occur.  We learned about the seasons from the book How do we know it is winter? by Molly Aloian.  The book introduced the idea that in the place that we live, there are four times of year where the weather and nature around us changes.  The book pointed out that there is a pattern to the seasons since they keep repeating.  Uriel made the connection that this is like a pattern you make with colors – red, blue, red, blue. Since winter is the coldest season, we asked the children what kinds of clothes they would need to wear?  Lauren and Lieba noted that they wear hats and gloves and scarves and jackets. A part of the book discussed the different ways that animals deal with the cold weather.  That led to more discussion and an exploration of animal behavior in the wintertime.

Many library books were brought to school about a vast array of animals – bats, frogs, salamanders, butterflies, and a variety of mammals – squirrels, chipmunks, skunks. The children learned that animals do one of three things –  adapt, hibernate or migrate.  We watched several videos on this topic on our new IPads including one about frogs. We first read A Frog’s Life Cycle by Mary R. Dunn.  It explained how the frog grows and develops and also how it freezes in cold temperatures and thaws when spring arrives. It was fascinating!

The children had a great time building caves and animal dens in which to hibernate  They needed to plan, problem and collaborate in order to build their structures.  They also enjoyed acting out animals migrating – bats, birds, and […]

By |December 28, 2018|

“Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” with the Sunflowers?

The talk of WINTER  is a constant in the Sunflower’s classroom.  The children know that there are four seasons. FALL,WINTER,SPRING, and SUMMER. All the children share with us how they love the winter season.  In our morning conversation, the children went around the circle and said what they liked best about winter.  Playing in the snow, making snow angels, sledding, and building a snowman were the top favorites.  We then made an invisible snowman in our circle describing what the eyes, nose, mouth, and arms were made out of, along with what color the snowman’s hat and scarf were. The children then started “gathering the snow” in their hands into a “snowball”  then “rolling the snowball until it was big enough to make each part of the snowman”, while the real snowman that we made dried in the Art Studio. To create each of the three tiers of the snowman the children used items with different textures.  After Zachary’s father came to read a book to the Sunflowers, he joined the class in watching  it snow in our classroom.  The children and Zachary’s father loved spreading the snow around on the” ground.”  The snow was made out of one of our favorite things, shaving cream.  The children like how the shaving cream feels; it is almost like snow, but not as cold. Making our “snowflakes” out of doilies and crinoline was another way the children enjoyed creating a wintery vision in our classroom.


We can not wait for more mom’s and dad’s to come and read and spend some time in our classroom.  Please contact the Morot via email to set up a time.

Morah Aimee taught the children some amazing poems about winter […]

By |December 27, 2018|

Shabbat With the Rabbi

Every week ends with our favorite time: Shabbat with the Rabbi. Sometimes we sing in the shul together and sometimes downstairs in the preschool, but every time, the Rabbi brings his guitar. We love to sing Shabbat songs with Rabbi Mischel.

What a great way to get ready for Shabbat!

By |December 21, 2018|

Paint and Play Dough Fun — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

Painting has recently become a favorite activity. This week we donned our smocks and created colorful freestyle art. Painting is wonderful in so many ways: it’s a wonderful sensory experience and helps to develop fine motor skills, color recognition, and creative expression. The children love to experiment with different implements and textures,  and of course, their hands.


Another sensory experience: we made play dough using Morah Yafit’s recipe. In keeping with our winter theme, the flour was “snow” and the salt bits of “ice.” The texture is wonderful. The children literally couldn’t wait to dig their hands on in. How did it feel? Warm, soft, squishy. White like snow. The children made mitten hand prints and snowflakes. And, of course, plenty of patting and rolling out the dough.

Fun in the indoor play area. What better way to roll a big bouncy ball than with your friends?


Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie



By |December 21, 2018|

Winter is Here in Gan Tziporim

Winter has finally arrived. We have had a little taste of it with the cold weather and even some snow flurries. Since there wasn’t enough snow to bring into our classroom, we decided we wanted to make our own snowy world. So we took out many different types of white materials that we have and got started making a winter collage

Feeling the different textures encouraged us to use descriptive words and to compare things to how snow and ice feel. What things are cold like snow? What things are sharp and bumpy like ice and frozen snowballs? What things are malleable and moldable like snow? What things can you use to build a snowman?

So then we decided to paint a snow masterpiece. We enjoyed using different strokes and brushes and adding different decorations.

Then we decided to hang up our artwork and name it. You can visit our snowy displays in our art galleries in the lobby and in our classroom.

When we went outdoors we made an interesting observation. The ice outside melted the yeladim were very excited to play with the water.

Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Yafit and Morah Fran

By |December 21, 2018|

“Snow” Cookies and Scooters — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

Our exploration of winter continues. The children dug for snowballs and snowflakes in the sand table and had an icy treat for snack. We sang winter songs with Morah Jill.

Every day we bundle up and play outside. With many of the children now wearing mittens (or gloves), it was only appropriate that we read The Mitten by Jan Brett. We then decided it would be fun to create our own mittens. Since the children love working with play dough, our mittens will be dough based. Morah Yafit gave us a new recipe that we are making this week.


The children love to bake and are becoming more confident with measuring, adding in, and mixing the ingredients. On Tuesday, we joined the 3s and made “snow” cookies, courtesy of confectioner’s sugar the children sifted themselves. Yum.



Whether outdoors or indoors, the children engage in gross motor play every day. Teamwork (and a lot of squealing), played a big part in the children’s scooter play. It was fascinating to watch the children figure out how to hold hands and scoot in unison, and is evidence of their growing ability to engage in group, rather than parallel, play.




By |December 20, 2018|

We went to the zoo zoo zoo. How about you you you? The Sunflowers

The Sunflowers started their week off with a trip to the zoo.  Morah Jill came with her caravan of animals.  There were lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, zebras and more. Every child was offered a different finger puppet and were encouraged to march around the room singing “WE’RE GOING TO THE ZOO ZOO ZOO HOW ABOUT YOU YOU YOU.” Morah Jill had different verses to the song where the children fed the animals, played with the animals ,and ended with putting the animals to sleep. In between each verse the children would sing “WE’RE GOING TO THE ZOO ZOO ZOO HOW ABOUT YOU YOU YOU”  while marching round the room. The children were mesmerized by the keyboard that Morah Jill brought in instead of her guitar. The keyboard was so big and had so many different buttons on it.  Morah  Jill explained that the buttons are called keys. There are black keys and white keys for which you can play different notes. The children were also able to take a turn beating on a small drum.  Music ended with the children getting to use a very special parachute.  Morah Jill helped the children raise and lower the parachute until finally a special surprised popped out of the hole in the middle of the parachute.          

As we continue our unit on winter which will officially begin on Friday, December 21, we thought we would invite the Toddlers into our classroom and bake snowball cookies together.  Everyone had a wonderful time mixing all the ingredients together to make the dough.  Rolling the dough between our fingers to form the cookies is always fun.  The children could not wait for the cookies to come out of the oven […]

By |December 20, 2018|

Gan Tziporim Getting Ready for Winter

We love mixing!! We love making things!! So we decided to make play dough! All that measuring and observing what happens, seeing the changes. Science and math alive int eh classroom! Stem at it’s best. And the turn taking and the team building!!

And then we get to play with it!! The children get so creative! Play dough is very forgiving in more ways than one. If you make a mistake you can always start again. This is a message we share with the children all the time. We can always try again. And the sky is the limit with what we can create!

We were so excited to see the snow outside so we decided to make our own.

Spraying, pouring, mixing and squishing.

It felt so cool!

When we went outside to see the real snow, it was exciting. We could dance in it and open our mouths to taste it but since there was not that much snow, we didn’t get to wet.

Next, we went to check on our garden. Guess what!! The Yeladim found ice in the garden! They collected the ice so we could observe what will happened to the ice.

We went into the class and make our own ice. When we asked the children how to make it they responded, “Water and the freezer!!” So smart!

This week we are focusing on another great letter, the letter ” I “. Morah Lilli read the book  Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni. The yeladim knew so many words that begin with the letter I. How funny that this was the week that we found Ice! 

By |December 17, 2018|