Happy Chanukah — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

On Monday we welcomed the newest member of our class, Dahlia Glatt. For the Glatt family, it is a homecoming as Dahlia’s two older sisters also attended IBECC. The children have been very sweet and are happy to have another friend join us.

Our Chanukah celebration has been non-stop. We made a chanukiah for our class and painted it using many different kinds of brushes. Each day we are counting the number of candles to add to the Chanukiah.

There were so many special things to do this week. A jumping dreidel on a parachute and a singing Chanukah bear were just two of the highlights of music with Morah Jill. And who knew oil comes from an olive? The children were watching Rabbi Rosenblum intently as he helped them to squeeze the juice from the olives. Their eyes were filled with wonder as they watched the oil spin in the centrifuge. It whirled just like a dreidel!!! And when he opened the test tubes they were amazed as he poured the oil into the Chanukiah and lit it!

To help the children understand the joy in giving, as well as receiving presents, we baked cookies sent home in time for Shabbos Chanukah on plates the children decorated themselves. The children had a great time oiling the cooking pan and mixing the batter. We also presented a cookie platter to Karen, one of Suburban Torah’s amazing office staff.


Without a doubt, though, the highlight of the week was the Chanukah party. Having all of you with us was very special.


Wishing you a joyous Shabbos Chanukah.

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie


By |December 7, 2018|

We Light the Chanukiot — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

We continued to experience Chanukah throughout the week, putting the finishing touches on our Chanukiot. The children can’t wait to bring them home. We chose to make this particular Chanukiah so that the children can play with it all week long and “light” along with you every night. Please note: regular candles are not recommended for use with this Chanukiah.


A Chanukah matching game reinforced the names of the major symbols of the festival and marked the first time we introduced the concept of matching. We also read several Chanukah books including “Where Is Baby’s Dreidel?” and “Chanukah Bugs.” We also dug for dreidels and candles in the sand table.


We took time indoors for reading Clifford books and outdoors for outdoor fun.

With best wishes for a Shabbat Shalom and Chag Chanukah Sameach filled with light and joy,

Morah Sherry and Morah Blimie


By |November 30, 2018|

Chanukah O Chanukah — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Chanukah O Chanukah come light the menorah….

Entranced. That’s what the children are with all things Chanukah: the Chanukiah, the candles, the dreidels. And that was just on Monday!

The Chanukah curriculum is designed to bring the holiday to life for the children through multi-sensory experiences and good old-fashioned play. We began by sharing a very simple version of the Chanukah story. We then showed the children a few different Chanukiot and candles. We explained that we light one candle every night for eight nights (or until there are no more candle holders). They couldn’t wait to practice putting the candles in the Chanukiot themselves.


And what’s even better than putting candles in the Chanukiah? Making your very own so that you can perform the mitzvah of lighting “candles” at home. (We are substituting crayons for candles. We had the children make a Chanukiah that they can play with and enjoy. Candles should not be used with the Chanukiah.)

We began by dumping, much to the children’s delight, blocks of different colors and shapes on the table. The idea was that each child would freely free choose any eight blocks (of the same size) they wanted, as well as a taller one for the shamash and put them on their tray. (Decision making, shape sorting, and color recognition.) They would then choose the actual “candle” holder (tops from those delicious fruit pouches you send in their lunches) and glue it on to the block (fine motor development).

We thought we would work with one or two children at a time, but intrigued by what was going on, we found ourselves with a full table. While waiting for their turn to work with the Morahs (patience, patience), the others loaded […]

By |November 28, 2018|

Happy Thanksgiving from Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

The severity of last week’s snowstorm took many of us by surprise, including us Morahs, whose 10-minute commutes stretched more than seven hours. We hope you fared better.

There’s always an upside. Asher, Daniela, and Aryeh told us how much fun playing in the snow. The snow play continued on Monday, turning into a terrific sensory experience: touching (Elisheva – cold!), stomping, and crunching. They were fascinated that they could make the snow turn different colors by drawing on it with chalk.

After rereading “The Story of the Pilgrims,” we again talked about how how family and friends get together on Thanksgiving for a big dinner. We talked about how our school is like a big family. We matched food eaten at the feast in the book with foods on the Thanksgiving dinner chart. The children recognized corn, carrots, peas, and the live turkey.

Our contribution to the schoolwide Thanksgiving feast was the cranberry relish. Snack time was transformed into a taste testing of cranberry sauce, pineapple, and mandarin oranges. Dovid, Elisheva, and Aryeh liked the cranberry sauce and Ethan, Asher, and Mazali the oranges. The children then took turns adding the ingredients to the bowl and mixing.

Your children are very proud of their Thanksgiving headdresses. These headdresses mark the first time we worked on a project over several days. This is a testament to your children’s increasing ability to complete a multi-step process. The project involved the use of different textures and materials which the children chose for themselves.

If you look closely you’ll see the wood letters spell out your child’s name. After showing them what their name looks like and saying the letters out loud, the children had free rein as to […]

By |November 20, 2018|

Doing What Comes Nature(ally) — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Asher is a big brother! Mazal Tov to the entire Aminoff family on the birth of a baby boy. We made a cake for his family to enjoy on Shabbat. We took turns greasing the pan and then flouring it, pouring in the cake mix, and stirring. We can’t wait to taste it!

The integration of natural materials and loose parts is a fundamental part of our Reggio-inspired preschool. Wood chips fulfill both categories. The addition of wooden arches opened up a world of possibilities.
It is so exciting for us, as teachers, to watch the children discover the magic of simple materials. Daniela, Dovid, and Asher stacked. Mazali made a garage for her cars using the wood chips. Aryeh and David figured out how to make a tunnel and then take a ride on it.  David also found a new use for the arch – a rocking chair! Perhaps there are some loose parts in your homes that will inspire your children!

Speaking of natural materials, we took advantage of the sun and warm(ish) weather to play outside. The children really enjoy digging (you can probably tell by their clothes) and they exhibit a sense of pride when they fill up their cups. On Thursday, the children poured the dirt into a ziploc bag and added acorn tops that they had collected. Next week we will have some squishy fun digging out the caps and using them to make a seasonal creation. Because there’s never too much dirt, we also visited the outdoor classroom, where the children engaged in impromptu water play.


We had a wonderful visit by Morah Aimee and some of the children in the 3s, who led a sing-a-long with our class. Some of […]

By |November 9, 2018|

Color Fun in Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

This week we will continue our exploration of red and green. On Monday, the children chose red and green objects and put them in a box. We are inviting small groups of children to feel and name the objects and their color. The box is available for the children to play with throughout the week.


The children are beginning to learn the songs that Morah Jill sings and had a great time moving their bodies while pretending to be leaves.


Each time we visit the Exploration Room, we offer the children different materials to play with.  On this visit, we turned on the overhead projector and placed a clear egg carton on top, which created a mosaic. The children took turns putting translucent colored chips in the egg carton cups and to their amazement, the colors appeared on the mosaic on the wall. Many of them walked up to the wall to touch the color and you could see they were trying to figure out how it got there. This activity involved fine motor development (putting the chips in the clear cups), color recognition, and imagination. The children also discovered they could make “snow” by pulling apart a piece of styrofoam. Then we “shoveled” the snow (using a broom and dustpan) off the table.


The Five Little Monkeys book is a favorite of the children; today a monkey came to visit while we were reading the story!


By |November 7, 2018|

Our Green Road — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

Thank you to Asher and his family for providing bananas for our healthy snack this week. And peeling bananas is a great fine motor activity!

This week we enjoyed a spirited music session with Morah Jill. We even used our Stop Lollipop. It’s clear that music really speaks to the children, and we encourage this appreciation through instrument play and background music throughout the day. Morah Jill is also going to share lyrics of the songs she sings so that we can incorporate them into our classroom songfests.

More stop practice. Many of the children are putting their hands up in the stop position when they see the sign. We introduced the color green by using the “go” side of the renamed “stop and go” lollipop. To reinforce recognition of these colors we read  Red Apple, Green Pear (Scholastic) and Elmos’s First Book of Colors (Sesame Street) and created a green road by dipping dump trucks (class favorites) in green paint. This activity elicited a lot of giggles (as well as green hands).

Speaking of colors, the children love our “magic rainbow rope” (they chose the name). This rope helps us safely cross the parking lot and street when we go to the playground.  It also promotes color recognition and teamwork, as the children help each other find a handle.

On Wednesday and Thursday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent as much time as possible outdoors.  The children colored with green chalk and became excavators as they dug up dirt and transferred it into cups, which required strong grips and balancing the cups.

We Morahs are looking forward to our professional development day. We know it […]

By |November 1, 2018|

We Welcome Guests to Our Tent — Gan Parparim (Toddlers)

By |October 25, 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|

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|