Monthly Archives: February 20, 2019

Purim at Gan Tziporim

It is always enjoyable to watch how the children react to new materials /playthings being brought into the classroom.  Having learned about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and completed miniature log cabins, the children welcomed the newly introduced Lincoln Logs building toy.  Since the logs have grooves that require them to be lined up perfectly in order to fit and stay together, this toy requires patience and perseverance and a different creative process to build a structure.

We like to bring literacy into our classroom utilizing a variety of means.  We have added word cards to our arsenal.  There are pictures of common things from nature (rabbit, puddle, butterfly) with the printed upper-case word beside it.  These were placed on a table with a basket of colored pencils.  The children are naturally curious and came to try their hand at writing the words.  We have also put out word cards connected to the holiday of Purim – the four mitzvot: tzedakah, shalach manot, reading the Megillah, and preparing the seudah; as well as grogger, mask, king, queen, hamentash, etc.

Many things took place this week connected with Purim.  We read and looked at several books connected to the holiday.  We read, It’s Purim Time, by Latifa Berry Kropf.  The children really liked this book because it contains photos of a PreK class doing the same things we do to prepare for and celebrate Purim.  We also looked at the book. Esther’s Story, by Diane Wolkstein.  The illustrations in the book depicted the clothing worn in ancient Persia in a more realistic way.  The attire of Queens and Kings is not like the Disney versions seen by many of the children.  The children had great fun dressing […]

By |February 20, 2019|

Purim is Coming! ~ Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

This week we are continuing to read Dr. Seuss books in preparation for our Dr. Seuss birthday party on March 1 (more details to follow). The One Fish Two Fish book is a big hit. We have also invited The Cat in the Hat to join us at circle time

When the children came in on Wednesday they noticed something new in our classroom — a story on the wall! The Story of Purim will be just one of the many ways the children will learn about about the holiday. After seeing the silly king with the crown on his head, they decided to crown themselves and their friends.

And what preschool day would be complete without Ring Around the Rosie?

The children enjoyed spraying with water and uses sponges to clean the paint. They really to use their muscles.

By |February 20, 2019|

“Let’s hear it for Morah Jill” in the Sunflowers

The children were so excited to be able to spend some special music time with Morah Jill this week. Singing our “HELLO” song is a great way to start as we continue to sing and dance with Morah Jill. This week Morah Jill had everyone singing songs about snow. The children moved to the music holding silver tinsel, shaking it up and down like snow falling from the sky. Morah Jill brought out some of her special friends — penguins. The children picked which penguin they liked best. The big one (gadol) or the small one (katan). Most of the children liked the katan. Music ended with the kids dancing and shaking a tambourine along with getting to play three different chimes.

Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction about an early spring has not happened so far, as everyone stayed home Tuesday due to snow and ice. After a delayed opening on Wednesday all the children returned to school and enjoyed playing together. One of the fun games everyone enjoyed playing was the giant connect four. Though they may not know how to play the game correctly, all the children had fun taking turns placing the checkers on the slots. Thank you to the Einalhori family for donating this interesting game.

Morah Debra introduced the Sunflowers to BLACK MAGIC. The children were given toothpicks and shown how to scratch the black off the paper to find the rainbow underneath. It was a fun adventure for the children. They were able to make their own pictures.

The children have worked long and hard on their unit of Jan Brett’s THE MITTEN. They are so excited to have completed it and cannot wait to bring it home to show their families. This […]

By |February 15, 2019|

We Are Strong! — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

We are continuing to strengthen our muscles and develop our core with fun exercise in our classroom.

The children noticed there was a lot of ice on the ground when they returned to school on Wednesday. We had some sensory fun (with a little science thrown in) when we touched the ice. Was it warm like our baths or cold like ice cream? Definitely cold and crunchy!

With President’s Day just a few days away, we decided to see what happens when we roll crayons over “Mr. Abe” and “Mr. George.” Magic! The children were amazed to see circles the size of the coins appear on the paper. This was also the first time the children used their fine motor skills to manipulate an object in this way.

Our delayed opening on Wednesday turned into a school party as all the children gathered in the indoor play space as they arrived. This provided a wonderful opportunity for our class to play with all of the children in the other classes. It was very sweet observing the 3s and 4s watch protectively over our Butterfly class.  The new mega-size Connect Four was a big hit! Thank you to Asher’s family for donating it.

We often talk about how The Exploration Room provides endless opportunities for the children to use different senses as they manipulate, observe, and play with a wide variety of loose parts. This week we brought the Exploration Room into our class.

Shabbat Shalom!
Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie

By |February 14, 2019|

Gan Tziporim Learn About Some Special Presidents

After reading the book about Abraham Lincoln, we watched a video that told about his early life as well as what led to his presidency.  The children learned that he lived in a log cabin and only had one year of formal schooling. We had several photos of real log cabins in the classroom. The children remembered when they were in our outdoor classroom how they took the logs we have there and built with them using the mud we found. They also enjoyed building structures with Lincoln Logs. So we decided it would be fun for the children to create their own mini versions in the classroom.  This was another chance to explore how things are built. We explained that during the time Abe Lincoln grew up, they did not have the kind of tools we have today and had to build houses with the tools and materials available. Since there were vast woodlands in Illinois, it was faster and easier to build houses from logs.  We even have a small log in our classroom for the children to see.  The children used a small cardboard box and glued on plain wooden popsicle sticks.  They cut out a door and windows from repurposed coffee cup holders and glued these on as well.  Last, they cut out a picture of Abraham Lincoln and glued him to their cabins.  The fine motor skills and cutting ability of the children are quite good.  When you see the cabin, check out how closely they cut out Lincoln’s picture.
The children continued with the letter “Cc”; practicing forming the letter and identifying the words that begin with the initial “C” sound.  This culminated with a small project using a cut-out of […]

By |February 14, 2019|

Presidents and Feeling Well in Gan Tziporim

It was lovely making music with Morah Jill.  The children had such a good time singing and dancing and acting out the winter songs she brought for them. They pretended to be snowflakes dancing all around –  slowly and then faster.  The tambourines were exciting to use, to keep rhythm to a Purim song (which is coming in a few weeks)

President’s Day is next week.  An accessible way to convey who Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were to the children, is to show them the portraits of these great men on our currency.  We made a sorting activity using quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies.  The children would see and become acquainted with the presidents’ on these coins.  We also showed them how they appear on the one and five dollar bills.  Since it is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday this week, we read a child-friendly biography of his life, Abe Lincoln’s Hat, by Martha Brenner.  A true fact – Abraham Lincoln kept important paper’s in his hat so that he wouldn’t forget them.

Several of the children used the wooden blocks and figures to act out the story of people visiting the doctor.  Some people had broken limbs.  Others came with colds and fevers.  The animals were included in the ministrations.  The patients were admitted to the clinic and given beds to lay on and recuperate.  “Pillows” were obtained from the soft aleph-bet chart hanging behind them.

By |February 13, 2019|

Two “Ps”– President’s Day and Purim — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

Thank you to Ethan and his family for sending in the delicious healthy snack for this week. The kids loved it!!

This week we completed our snowman project, which involved matching colors, gluing, the use of velcro, and dressing our snowmen, which incorporated identification of parts of our bodies. The children are proud of their snowmen and look forward to sharing them with you.

We then began our focus on two “Ps” — President’s Day and Purim. As President’s Day is an abstract concept for children this age, we decided to bring it to life by examining quarters and the pennies we put in our tzedekah box every day. We looked at both sides and the children noticed each coin had a man on one side. We explained to the children that they were very good men who helped a lot of people.

Morah Jill taught us a Purim song and introduced us to a chime bar.

More to come later this week.

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie

By |February 11, 2019|

“OH I WISH I WAS A DOGGY WITH A BONE” in the Sunflowers

The children are enjoying the addition of learning songs that go with the letters in the alphabet, which will help with letter recognition during circle time.  This week we are learning the letters C and D. Each week we will be adding one or two new letters.  We will also be adding songs to help the children strengthen their knowledge of their colors.  This week the children chose the color PURPLE.

“OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM…”  The children have just begun a unit on farm animals.  Everyone enjoyed singing the song and picking an animal to add to the song.  All the sunflowers are excited to make their own farm filled with animals.  The first animal was a cow.  Sheep and pig will be next.

The children enjoyed fulfilling the mitzvah of HACHNASOT ORCHIM by welcoming the Little Beginners into our classroom for some free play and songs on the carpet.  Morah Aimee led a fun sing – a – long where all the children participated, especially with the hand motions. THE WHEELS ON THE BUS  and  IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT are always a favorite.  For those Sunflowers who have a sibling in the Little Beginners class, it was wonderful to see how much love they have for their siblings.

Shabbat with Morah Aimee was so much fun.  Singing all of our favorite songs and of course dancing is always a blast.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.

Morah Pam, Morah Aimee, and Morah Debra


By |February 8, 2019|

Gan Tziporim Prepares for Purim

We talked to the children about the new month of Adar that started this week.  We had sung a song with the Rabbi on Monday, about Adar being the happy month.  Now we explained that the holiday of Purim takes place during this month and that it is a very lively and happy celebration.  Next, we took out some Purim decorations and saw that we could transform our sukkah into the castle of Shushan.  The children were happy and excited to decorate our sukkah structure with beautiful pieces of material.  They all chose what they wanted to put onto the sukkah, and where they wanted it.  Morah Deborah (from the Three’s class) had come to help our class and showed the children how to make flowers out of the pink gauzy material.  Ella wanted our structure to look like a chuppah and it does bear a resemblance to one.

The Hebrew letter, Vav, was introduced this week.  The children learned the new vocabulary for this letter:  vered – rose; varod – pink; vilon – curtain.  They are accumulating pages for their Hebrew Aleph Bet book.

The children continue to add pictures and dictation to their journals. We encourage them to use their imaginations to tell their stories and to also think about the things that are happening in their lives and to use those ideas to write stories.

Two new games were presented to our class this week- a giant wooden Connect Four game and a large Tic-Tac-Toe mat, and also a set of giant wooden dice. The children found new uses for parts of the tow games. They very much enjoy acting out scenes with the wood blocks and the people figures. They added the giant […]

By |February 7, 2019|

We Are Very Strong! — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

This week has been very busy.

We had lots of sensory fun. At the sand table, we observed how the children are getting more proficient in using a wide variety of sand tools and pouring sand from cup to cup or into bottles, which helps to develop eye-hand coordination.

We have also incorporated muscle strengthening activities into our play on a daily basis. In preparation for Parent-Teacher conferences, the children squeezed frosting tubes to decorate the cake they had made for their parents.

In the upstairs play space (social hall), they balanced on alef bet foam blocks, “pushed” the wall, scooted on scooters, and gave their friends rides on the parachute, which helps to develop upper body and leg muscles.


In all of our play, we identify the colors we are learning. Red, green, blue, and yellow frosting on our cake and rainbow sprinkles to top things off. In the “throw the bean bag into the bucket” game (another eye-hand coordination exercise), the children identified the color of each bean bag. And, of course, we named the colors of the parachute.

And finally, we formally introduced the concept of doing mitzvot. We talked about mitzvot we can do at school — sharing toys, helping a friend to feel better if they get a boo-boo (hugs), giving tzedekah, and celebrating Shabbat. Each time a child does a mitzvah, we acknowledge it by saying “what a mitzvah you did by sharing that toy” or “what a mitzvah boy/girl you are for helping your friend feel better.” We will soon begin the practice of sending “You Did a Mitzvah” notes home for your children to share with you.

Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Shabbat,

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie


By |February 7, 2019|