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 “bricks”  and building with mud extended the children’s exposure to the world of building things and the variety of ways to do so.

 

 

We continue to build on our knowledge about the many different ways that animals survive the winter. Morah Yafit and Ezra observed a squirrel eating what looked like a piece of bread. Several pictures were taken of the squirrel as he munched away. This was a perfect way to introduce the children to the gray squirrels that live around our neighborhoods and find out what they do for the winter.  We started by reading, Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep, by April Pulley Sayre. This book is written in a rhyming format, so it is both informative and a good literacy source. Over the next few days we also read, North American Animals – Gray Squirrels, by Christina Leaf, and In My Backyard – Squirrels, by Lindsy J. O’Brien.

The children learned many facts about squirrels;
*there are over 200 squirrel species with a variety of colors
*a squirrels nest is called a drey
*that gray squirrels hide away many nuts and seeds for winter consumption
*about animal predators
*how they use their tails to balance and to communicate
and many more interesting facts.  Some species of squirrels adapt to the cold winters while others hibernate.

We recently read and discussed the information in the books: A Salamander’s Life by John Himmelman; Not a Bug to be Found: Insects in Winter by Linda Glaser; A Frog’s Life Cycle by Mary R. Dunn; and Frogs, Toads, and Turtles by Diane L. Burns.  Within the same species there can be different ways the animal uses to survive the winter temperatures; some frogs and turtles bury themselves under a carpet of leaves and others stay at the bottom of ponds and rivers.  The children worked on an art/science project to portray a habitat of a frog or toad. They were provided with a sheet of sandpaper on which to leave a clay frog or turtle which they had crafted. When dry, this “scene” will be covered with the water (blue plastic wrap) of a pond or river.  Our thoughts also turned to the frogs of the second Makah in the Book of Exodus. The children could think about frogs taking residence by the hundreds or thousands in the homes and streets of Mitzrayim.

Between the frogs in nature and the rest of the plagues they learned about, the children in  Gan Tziporim decided to paint the entire plexiglass board hanging on a wall in the Art Room, the color red.  They love acting out the stories they learn. You can guess how they are primed and ready to take on the story of Passover and the holiday is still a few months away!!

And here come the frogs!!

We continue to build on our knowledge about the many different ways that animals survive the winter.  We recently read and discussed the information in the books: A Salamander’s Life by John Himmelman; Not a Bug to be Found: Insects in Winter by Linda Glaser; A Frog’s Life Cycle by Mary R. Dunn; and Frogs, Toads, and Turtles by Diane L. Burns.  Within the same species there can be different ways the animal uses to survive the winter temperatures; some frogs and turtles bury themselves under a carpet of leaves and others stay at the bottom of ponds and rivers.  The children worked on an art/science project to portray a habitat of a frog or toad.  They were provided with a sheet of sandpaper on which to leave a clay frog or turtle which they had crafted. When dry, this “scene” will be covered with the water (blue plastic wrap) of a pond or river.  Our thoughts also turned to the frogs of the second Makah in the Book of Exodus.  The children could think about frogs taking residence by the hundreds or thousands in the homes and streets of Mitzrayim,

Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Yafit and Morah Fran