Traveling, Trees, and ABC’s in Gan Tziporim

Every morning we review the current parashah, Lech Lecha. The children have demonstrated their understanding and retention of the parashah through their ability to retell the story. With very little prompting, they can recall the names of Abraham and Sarah, Canaan, and Mitzrayim and other pertinent details. They also continued to want to dress up as Abraham and Sarah and snack in their tent.

We brought into the classroom two bins loaded with beans, lentils, and popping corn. For young children, their senses are the most familiar and basic way to explore, process, and understand new information. Their senses are used to collect data and then formulate answers to their own questions. Playing with the beans helps them with language, social, and dramatic play skills as they negotiate with one another to share “tools”, create stories, and build dialogue. Small and large motor skills are utilized as the children think of new ways to use the materials (beans). It has also proven to be quite calming. The children made “cups of tea” and added “honey”. They measured how many beans could be poured from one container to another, and a literacy project emerged as they decided to create menus for the foods they were cooking and serving.


The children continued with the tree project, painting the twigs and the roots of the tree. Once dry, we were able attach the twigs to the branches of the tree and hang all the beautiful leaves the children painted. The roots were attached to the bottom of the tree.


English and Hebrew literacy skills continued through the week.  The children practice holding their writing utensils properly.  They focused writing on particular points on their HWT practice sheets […]

By |October 19, 2018|

Two by Two in Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Our week dedicated to the story of Noach and his ark concluded in grand fashion as the children peeled their own bananas in preparation for their special Shabbat snack — a banana “ark” filled with animal crackers (which marched two by two right into the children’s mouths.)

We completed our ark mural with the children selecting, naming, peeling, and placing animal stickers on the ark.  The children also created their own arks out of popsicle sticks. All of these fine motor strengthening activities used different mediums to bring the Noach story to life. The ark mural will remain in the the classroom to reinforce the names and sounds of different animals. The ark project was an exercise in fine motor and spatial skills. The edible arks utilized the senses of taste, sight, and smell.


Balance was also the theme of a new gross motor activity in the indoor play area. We laid colored tape on the floor and invited the children to try to follow the line, first walking and then jumping. The line angled under a table, which the children discovered they could follow by crawling. We also made a choo-choo train (the children loved making the “chug-a-lug” and “toot toot” sounds). Hide-and-seek became a new favorite in the playground.

As always, we concluded the week with Shabbat in the Shul with Rabbi Mischel. Ethan and Elisheva were our Shabbat Ema and Abba.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous Shabbat.

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie

By |October 19, 2018|

Ding Ding Ding the Fire Truck is Here in the Sunflowers

The children were so happy to see the fire truck.  The Livingston Fire Department came to visit us at IBECC this week. The fire chief told the entire school all about fire safety.  When the fire chief was finished he showed the children all the different parts of the truck, he also put on his mask that he uses when he is putting out a fire to show the children that even-though he may look and sound scary, he is not. Like your mom’s, dad’s, teacher’s, policeman, a fireman is a friend too. When the fire chief was finished talking, the children enjoyed touching all the different parts of the fire truck.

The children were so happy to meet Morah Jill. Morah Jill is our wonderful music teacher. The children enjoyed singing  all of Morah Jill’s  songs.  Some were new and some the children knew. Some of the songs the children were able to use props; like scarfs and fruits. When it was time to clean up the props, the children did in such a helpful way. Morah Jill was so impressed with how nicely the children followed directions.  Morah Jill also said that she can not wait to come back next week.  Neither can the children.

It is always an amazing week when you can begin and end your week with a song. Shabbat in the shul with Rabbi Mischel is always a treat.

Have a Shabbat Shalom

Morah Pam and Morah Aimee


By |October 19, 2018|

Oceans Away in the Sunflowers

It is oceans away in the Sunflowers.  The children were mesmerized as Noah’s Ark magically appeared on the wall. They sat there quietly as Morah Pam, with the help of  an overhead projector,  traced a picture of the ark on the wall.  The children then enjoyed dot painting the ark. The ark of course needs a place to sail, so the children then painted an ocean with their hands.  Getting  messy with the paint was so much fun.

The children started a unit on transportation.  Keeping in the Noah’s Ark theme, we began in the water with boats. The children were asked if they knew names any boats.  the children listed taxi boats, sailboats, and giant boats.  The  Morot said that giant boats are called ships.  The Morot also told the children that there are small boats too. A canoe and raft are just a couple of small boats that we talked about.  The children made there own rafts.  They are excited to make a canoe too.  Morah Aimee taught the children to sing “Row Row Row Your Boat” while rocking back and forth with a friend to mimic the swaying motion of a boat. The children had such an amazing time singing and swaying that they didn’t want to stop.

We are enjoying your children so much!!

Morah Pam and Morah Aimee

By |October 18, 2018|

Gan Tziporim Walk to Canaan

Gan Tziporim was so excited to welcome back, Morah Jill!  She injects such enthusiasm into her songs and the presentation of them.  There were songs about  “What falls in the Fall?  Leaves fall in the Fall. Down, down, down, down, down”; and also about the fruit that grows on trees.  This was really a good segue for us since we are starting to discuss the differences between fruits and vegetables, classifying them, and learning about how they grow.  We placed a sweet potato in a glass bowl with some water and the children will keep an eye on it.  We hope it grows!  We read the book, Vegetables in the Garden – A First Discovery Book, by Pascale de Bourgoing and Gallimard Jeunesse.  So far we read about root vegetables – potatoes, carrots, radishes, celeriac, beets, onions, leeks, and turnips.

Using a fun medium, shaving cream, the children got to decorate fall leaves in yet another way.  We filled a plastic bin with the shaving cream and then the children squired in fall tones of liquid watercolor paint.  They then used the wooden end of a paintbrush to swirl the colors around in the shaving cream.  The next step was to press into this mixture a cardstock leaf cutout and then, using a miniature spatula, scrape the shaving cream/watercolor mixture off of the leaf.  What was left behind was a beautiful marbleized effect!  Wait till you see our classroom tree.

We are off and running and learning about so many things!  This week we wanted to bring the parashah, Lech Lecha, to life for the […]

By |October 17, 2018|

All Things Animal — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Monday’s weather was conducive to our theme of the week: Noach and his teva (ark).

To introduce the story, we talked about how Hashem makes it rain. Then we explained to the children how Hashem asked a kind man named Noach to build a boat for all the animals because it was going to rain for many, many days. We read All Aboard Noah’s Ark, a beautifully illustrated touch-and-feel book that depicts all of the animals Noach invited into the ark.

The story came to life for the children as they played with two different toy arks. We named the animals as the children happily alternated putting them in and then taking them out of the Arks in various combinations. We began work on our Ark mural, and even created our own table ark in the indoor play space. We’ll continue experiencing the Noach story through a variety of sensory experiences throughout the week.


We introduced a new activity: sorting, an early math skill that also develops eye-hand coordination and differentiation between size, shape, and texture. The children loved sorting rocks, sea shells, and  squares in cardboard and plastic egg cartons and spent quite a long time engaged in this low-tech learning activity.

This group of children loves music of any kind. On Monday we had our first music class with “Miss (Morah) Jill,” a truly gifted educator. She had the children clapping, marching, and giggling. We are very fortunate that she will be with us twice a month.


On Tuesday we had a visit from the fire truck, courtesy of the Livingston Fire Department. The children were so excited when we told them the fire truck was coming. We talked about […]

By |October 17, 2018|

Gan Tziporim is learning to write letters

Added to all the other wonderful things our students have been learning, is something special to prepare them for kindergarten (and their future lives) – writing their letters.  This week we have launched the Handwriting Without Tears program (HWT).  This will eventually be used in conjunction with a phonics element.  The children will learn to write their letters as well as the phonetic sound of the letters.  This week the children worked on the proper grip for holding a writing utensil.  They were instructed to “scribble” on specific items on their papers; for instance they were  asked to color the stars on one sheet and to color the fireworks on another sheet.  Questions were asked about the pictures as well (colors of stars, have they seen fireworks, etc).  Next week will include discussion of colors and shapes.  Each lesson builds up to a readiness to write the lines and curves necessary for proper formation of letters.

The children also continued with the magnet letters and spelling out their names.  They are encouraged to name the letters in their names and then spell out their names.  For children who are easily able to accomplish this, they have been asked to spell out their classmates names.  This will allow them to learn different letters and also to sight read their friend’s names.  We are also singing a morning song which asks the children to identify their own name and the names of their friends.  The children also see everyone’s names on the birds they use to check in each morning.  A lot of literacy in going on in Gan Tziporim!

Every few days we have been introducing new materials to […]

By |October 12, 2018|

Creation Is a Work in Progress — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Our Creation adventure continued as we came to Day 2. We went outside to look up at the blue sky and also saw some white clouds.  Armed with blue paint and shaving cream, the children created their own version of the second day. We had assumed the children would love the feel of the shaving cream and the opportunity to spread it with their hands; actually it was quite the opposite — most of the children preferred to use paintbrushes — except when they were cleaning the table!

And, as the week came to a close, we Morahs realized that with 2 year olds, Creation lasts much longer than 7 days. The subject is so rich and the children so receptive that we have decided to follow the children’s interest and see where it goes. Noach and his Ark full of animals, however, will make an appearance next week.

The school has many excellent  play spaces. This week we changed it up a bit and sectioned off a safe area in the parking lot, which we filled with chalk, bubbles, balls, and a basketball hoop. Tree stump walking was a fun way to practice balance and promote self esteem. On rainy days we enjoyed getting our energy out as we rode bikes in the indoor play space.

The end of this first full week of school also saw the introduction of several new table toys. They provided practice in eye-hand coordination, design, and naming colors, whether used individually or in groups of two or three. These  activities will be an integral part of the school year.

On the 7th Day, Hashem rested. David and Elisheva were Shabbat Ema and […]

By |October 11, 2018|

Creating in the Sunflowers

The children have enjoyed learning Parshat Beraisheet and learning about the days of creation. The children are starting to really understand what Hashem created on each day and how each day is special. The children are also practicing how to say the days of the week in Hebrew.  All the children unanimously decided that the best day of the creation (week) is the seventh day; which we all know as SHABBAT.

Here we are making our own Beraishet Books:

The children enjoyed hearing about Noah and the tayva(ark), how Hashem told Noah that there will be a flood that will last 40 days and 40 nights.  They concentrated as they built their own tayva out of blocks and Lego.  Watching the children add the animals entering the tayva was remarkable.  Every child has their own unique imagination. We enjoyed watching them sort and group the animals and hearing them chatter about it with their friends.

Having Shabbat with Rabbi Mischel is always fun for the children as they sing and dance as the Rabbi plays his guitar.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.

Morah Pam and Morah Aimee

By |October 11, 2018|

Lots of Nature in Gan Tziporim

The week started with yet another celebration, but this time it was a birthday!  Simon is now four years old! Simon’s mom read a funny book about Mr. Tickle.  We sang happy birthday and then played 2 circle games – Uga Uga, Uga, an Israeli game about cake, and Bluebird, Bluebird Through My Window, a classic American preschool game. The children enjoyed the games very much.  Simon chose a lovely dinosaur floor puzzle as a class gift and the children decorated a special wooden box for treasures as a gift to Simon.  They cut and pasted beautifully patterned napkins which were then modge-podged onto the box.

The parshah this week is Noach, a very accessible one for children.  After discussing the story and the reasons behind the flood, the children were very open to the idea of building an ark  They were taken into the discovery room which is filled with all kinds of unique materials with which to create all manner of things.  They chose some pink styrofoam pieces and some larger cardboard and wooden pieces.  These were brought back to our classroom and the children set to work combining them with our wooden blocks and round log chips, to create their version of the great ark.  Noach and his family were added and of course all of those animals too!  This has been an ongoing project for the week.

Work continues on the class tree.  In the discovery room we found materials to fashion branches for the tree.  The children painted the cardboard pieces and when totally dry they will be […]

By |October 11, 2018|