With the holiday of Tu B’Shevat just around the corner, the topic of trees has returned for us. We began the week singing songs about Tu B’Shevat with Morah Jill.  She had the children use colorful scarves to emulate trees “dancing” and blowing in the breeze. Songs about the holiday were sung in the English and Hebrew versions.
Since we had spent a lot of time learning about fruits and vegetables, this was a good opportunity to inform the children about the practice of eating dried fruits during Tu B’Shevat in Israel. We discussed how we are now able to get most fruits that we would like to eat at any time of the year.  Air transport from other countries is easier and there are seasonal differences too. But years ago this wasn’t possible and even today in Israel, during the winter months, many fruits are not available and Israel does not import them like we do here in the U.S.  So dried fruits were introduced instead. They are very popular in Israel. We brought in raisins, dried cranberries, and dates.  The raisins were the most popular with the children.  We will be bringing in some other dried fruits during the next few days.  The children recited the shehecheyanu blessing over the dried fruits.
In Israel, at this time, the almond tree is blooming.  We printed up pictures of the almond tree in bloom, with its beautiful pink blossoms.  We also had pictures of the almond as it looks on the tree and also with its hard shell and out of the shell.  And we were able to show videos of the almond tree as it looks in Israel.  As a culmination to learning about this beautiful tree, the children painted pictures of it at the easel.  They painted really lovely pictures which you will be able to view in the lobby.
In contrast to the blooming almond tree, the children learned about conifers – evergreen trees.  These trees continuously grow their “leaves” which are needle-shaped, even during the cold winter. We were able to look at pictures of a variety of evergreen trees and also their pine cones and berries.  We also viewed a video discussing the differences between the deciduous tree (with falling leaves) and coniferous trees (evergreens). Then the children put together a little printed booklet about evergreens.  They used their scissors to cut the pages of the booklet and then stapled the little booklet together.