Look who came to visit the Sunflowers!

In the Sunflowers Classroom we have been fortunate to have some wonderful visitors. Ms. Sharon Kessel from the Eye of Hope came with her dog Quill. Quill is training to become a seeing eye dog. We explained to the children that not everyone is able to see. Quill and other dogs help these people get around. Ms. Kessel showed us what BRAILLE is. It is special raised dots that represent each letter in the alphabet so a vision impaired person can read. The vision impaired also use a walking stick to help them get around. Seeing eye dogs like Quill learn to follow commands and to feel out the environment to make sure it safe for the person. At the end, all of the children enjoyed petting Quill. This was a wonderful experience for everyone.

Thank you to Daniella in the Toddler Class for celebrating her birthday with the entire school. Her family brought in UNCLE JOHN’S PUPPET SHOW. The children were entertained with a magic show followed by a fantastic puppet show. In the magic show, the children saw Uncle John pull a rabbit out of his hat, a card trick, after ripping up tissue paper he made it turn into a hat. Uncle John made a drawing board come alive. He drew a face on a white board and then made it move. This was the favorite trick. The puppet show was made up of puppets from our favorite children’s TV shows. Ernie and Bert and The Count from Sesame Street, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Bob the Builder to name a few. The children enjoyed singing all of their favorite songs; WHEELS ON THE BUS, IF […]

By |January 18, 2019|

Trees, Puppets, and Vacation in the Toddlers

The children had a taste — literally — of Tu B’Shevat, as they sampled dried figs, raisins, and apricots. Elisheva, Aryeh, and Dovid love liked the apricots and (almost) everyone enjoyed their raisins. We played “pin the fruit” on the tree as another way to celebrate the holiday.

Each child also made their own tree, which incorporated natural materials in the design. This free-form project honed fine motor skills as well as decision making and personal expression as each child decided where to glue the branches and the number and colors of the flowers. We hope you enjoy it when celebrating Tu B’Shevat at home.

Thank you to the Goldenthal family for hosting Uncle John’s Puppet Show in honor of Daniela’s 3rd birthday. The entire school shrieked with laughter at the antics of Sesame Street puppets and were astounded by card tricks and a rabbit jumping out of a hat.

Daniela was delighted with the treasure box our class made for her. When asked what she would put in it, she excitedly said “new treasures.”

Thank you to Elisheva and the Herrera family for our delicious healthy snack of clementines and peaches.

It’s hard to believe that vacation marks the halfway point of the school year. The childrens’ growth — physical, emotional, and social — is remarkable. We hope that you all have a wonderful vacation during which many new memories are made.

Thank you for sharing your children with us.

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie

By |January 15, 2019|

Gan Tziporim are getting ready for Tu B’Shvat

The children are reviewing the Hebrew letters they have learned so far and are creating a book which will eventually include all the letters they will learn this year.  So far they have reviewed aleph and bet and also some words that begin with these letters – for bet we have balone (balloon), bayit (house), and bahnahnah (banana).  The children have also been asking to write in their journals.  Besides some of their own ideas for stories, we have been guiding them by asking them to draw a self-portrait and then answering questions about themselves.  They have provided their full names, where they live, age, who they live with, eye and hair color, and favorite foods and toys. It will be fun to check these journals out in several years to learn who they were at age four and five.
 We don’t know if the children are experimenting with height or were influenced by the pictures and fantasy play about Rapunzel that has been very popular in our class! They usually build structures with the blocks that are lower and spread out but now there is this tower.  They understood that there was a limit with how tall the structure would be before it would topple over.  Great math/physics problems.  
Quill, the seeing eye puppy came for a visit.  Her trainer explained all about blind people and how they have a need for help in getting around.  The dogs are highly trained to ignore […]

By |January 13, 2019|

Quill Comes to Visit — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

The highlight of our week was meeting and petting Quill, a beautiful seeing eye puppy fostered by Sharon Kessel. In preparation for his visit, we talked about how some dogs are helpers for people whose eyes don’t work very well. (When Ethan heard the word “helper,” he said, “like the rabbi.”)  We also read Spot Goes to the Circus.
Not only did the children have the opportunity to pet him (the fur was soft), they were also able to see and touch a harness and cane. It was a truly memorable experience that brought doing mitzvot to life.
We continued our focus on Tu B’Shevat. Every day we sang “Happy Birthday Dear Trees.” We began making our own trees using natural materials and loose parts. The wood chips and tree stump figured prominently in our free play.
And finally, we returned to the Exploration Room to investigate its newest addition- an engaging hands on activity board created with love by the ingenious Sheina Herrara, mother of Shalom Nissim and Elisheva. This amazing activity board represents what the Exploration Room is all about: the opportunity for the children to examine by touch, sight, and sound the use of every day objects. Thank you, Sheina, for this invaluable addition to IBEEC.
Elisheva was Shabbat Ema and Aryeh was Shabbat Abba. The dinosaur once again came to visit as well as some animals on their way to shul.
Wishing you a peaceful and joyous Shabbat.
Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie

By |January 13, 2019|

We’ve got rhythm…We’ve got music… Who could ask for anything more! in the Sunflowers

The Sunflowers love for music is marvelous.  The children just can’t get enough of it.   The class was fortunate to have Zachary’s mom come play her guitar for us.  The children gladly sang along and followed the hand motions to some of their favorites.  IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT, OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM, SHAKE OUR SILLIES OUT  to name a few.  After singing our favorites, the children then learned a new song. It’s called MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS  by Bob Dylan.  Morah Debra held the book up and turned the pages showing off the beautiful illustrations as Zachary’s mom sang the song.  It was an amazing experience watching the class sit with bated breath for what the next animal to get a name would be.


Morah Jill came to play with the Sunflowers this week.  Everyone enjoyed being able to use scarves and shakers as part of their music experience. Utilizing the entire space in the exploration room is always a blast whether we’re marching, following the leader, or this week being bunnies and having Morah jill catch us and give the children a “carrot”.  Each music class starts with the HELLO SONG followed by all the fun exciting songs Morah Jill brings with her.  This week’s songs were:






The beat goes on and on as the children were able to experience playing a […]

By |January 13, 2019|

Trees in Gan Tziporim

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 […]

By |January 10, 2019|

Birthdays — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

It’s been a busy week and it’s only Wednesday!

On Monday we celebrated Daniela’s 3rd birthday with cupcakes and a birthday crown, both of which the children made for their birthday friend. A great time was had by all.

Daniela’s birthday became the jumping off point for our exploration of Tu B’Shevat. We explained that just like we have birthdays, so do the trees. In Israel it is called Tu B’Shevat. We talked about how in Israel it is spring, but at home it is still cold.  We read The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. And It’s Tu B’Shevat by Edie Stoltz Zolkower, and talked about how birds and squirrels live in trees and that healthy foods, like nuts and fruits, grow on trees.

Tu B’Shevat was celebrated in music with Morah Jill. Wind blew through our branches (colorful scarves). Noticing how fascinated the children were with her keyboard, Morah Jill invited the children to take a closer look.

Can you guess what we found in the Exploration Room? That’s right—bugs! They looked even bigger when we used magnifying glasses to examine them. (Don’t worry! These bugs are from a Science Exploration kit. We are a very clean school!!)

And of course, we need our construction helmets when we build.

And, from last week — a spirited Shabbat sing-a-long led by Rabbi Mischel and our Shabbat party at which a dinosaur knocked at our door.

More to come later this week!

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie

By |January 10, 2019|

The Sunflowers Want to Know, Shall We Hibernate?

The Sunflowers have been having a wonderful time hearing all the different ways that animals hibernate through the different poems and songs that the Morot have shared with the class. Watching the excitement and enthusiasm on the children’s faces as they act them out has been amazing.  The children couldn’t wait to hear the next lyric.

Please feel free to ask your child to act out and recite and sing for you.  They may need some help with the words.


The children continued to have fun with the hibernation theme by building their own cave and hibernating inside of it until it was time to wake up (springtime).  We took the chairs from around our tables and unfolded a tablecloth and laid it over the chairs.

Morah Aimee took some of the Sunflowers into the Toddler’s classroom to share some of our winter poems and songs with them. Hearing the story of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”  for the first time was so much fun especially when the goats were able to trick the troll and crossover the bridge and eat the green grass.  The Toddlers truly enjoyed having Morah Aimee and the Sunflowers visit their classroom.  Of course, so did all of the Sunflowers.

The children continue to show off their dexterity by using their hands to string more buttons on the strings, picking up and sorting the pegs by color ( green, blue, red, and yellow) and then placing them in the corresponding color on the matching board, using their imagination to build cars, houses, a cave for the hibernating bears out of the design sticks, and had fun creating a city […]

By |January 4, 2019|

Fashion show, Shaving Cream, and Snow — Gan Parparim (Butterflies)

Collaboration and doing mitzvot are integral parts of the IBECC. When we asked the Gan Tziporim (4s) if they could help bring winter to life for our class, they readily agreed. The result: a fashion show of seasonal apparel. Lieba, Uriel, and Lauren, our winter models, were bundled up in heavy coats, hats, gloves, mittens, and boots. We pointed out that it is very cold in winter and we need to wear heavy clothes that cover our bodies, heads, feet, and hands. Lia and Simon were our summer models. Simon wore shorts and a t-shirt, and Lia wore a sundress, sunglasses, and flip-flops. We talked about how we can leave our arms, legs, and heads uncovered in summer because it is hot. Thank you Gan Tziporim for welcoming us to your classroom and doing a big mitzvah!

Next, we asked Morah Aimee if she could share two of the flannel boards she has created. Morah Aimee, joined by several of our friends from the Sunflowers (3s) watched, fascinated, as she made snowmen melt under the sun and bump their heads as they fell off the sled (a new take on Five Little Monkeys). Billy Goat Gruff also visited. Another big mitzvah!

We also had some indoor snow fun. The children loved shoveling and transferring “snow” (packing noodles) from one bucket to another using a variety of tools: spoons, shovels, rakes, and colanders. We noticed the buckets were blue and red. (Can you guess who is hiding under the red colander?) In the Art Studio, we dug our hands deep in (shaving cream) and enjoyed snow painting.

On Friday we baked cupcakes in honor of Daniela’s 3rd birthday, which we will celebrate […]

By |January 4, 2019|

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|