Gan Tziporim

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|

Cooperative Learning in Gan Tziporim

The children started learning a new letter this week, the letter “Cc”.  It is a fairly easy letter to write and all of the children were able to execute it with no difficulty.  Since the lower case “c” is the same (except for size) to the upper case “C”,  there is no problem with recognition.  The children also worked on sound recognition.  They identified the pictures on a worksheet that had the initial “C” sound – cup, candy, comb, camera, etc.  Most of the children could understand the initial sound difference between words such as cap and ball.  Practice identifying “C” words at home would be beneficial.


The children also had practice with the Hebrew alef bet.  They learned the letter “hey” and learned its sound by saying the words: hadas – myrtle; har – mountain; and Havdalah.  Pictures were pasted on the sheet with the large “hey” and the children found the matching words and cut and pasted them next to the correct picture. This exercise gives practice with vocabulary as well as letter sound.


Working with clay is a good sensory/fine motor activity as well as a great creative outlet.  The children were able to create whatever came to their minds using both soft clay and also adding to pieces they had created several months ago (beads, pipe cleaners and styrofoam were also part of these pieces).  There were free form pieces as well as tea pots, tea cups and challah.


The children spend a great deal of free play time building with blocks.  They are constantly adding to and refining the stories connected to the block building.  We have continued with our study of animals in winter and the children have taken this theme […]

By |February 5, 2019|

Gan Tziporim Celebrate Lieba’s Fifth Birthday!

We celebrated Lieba’s fifth birthday this week.  As is our custom, the children all helped decorate a lovely box for her in which to keep her trinkets.  They cut up and glued beautiful printed napkins onto the cover and sides of the wooden box.  Then we modge podged the box to a glossy shine – so pretty!


We decided to bake cupcakes as the special treat to celebrate Lieba’s birthday.  Lieba requested chocolate cupcakes and we also decided to bake vanilla cupcakes for those children that preferred that flavor.  Lieba poured in the cake mix and then added oil, water, and eggs for each batter.  She was super careful to examine all of the eggs for blood spots before adding them to the mixes.  Then all the children took turns mixing the two batters.

Lieba also requested that we play the game Bluebird, Bluebird because all the children laugh when they follow each other around the circle.  We thank Lieba’s family for reading the entertaining book which they brought us for a class gift.


Some of the girls enjoyed building a house with blocks for the family of dolls that they were playing with. They created a unique design and even included a little corral for their horses and other pets.


The children worked on the Hebrew letter Dalet.  They cut and glued the pictures of the words beginning with the initial Dalet sound: devorah – bee; delet – door; and dag – fish (which amused them to hear since it sounds like the English, dog).


We encourage the children to write in their journals.  They draw a picture and then dictate a story to go along with the illustration.  Lia drew a charming picture of a flower that a […]

By |January 31, 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|

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|

Gan Tziporim Learn “What Animals Do in Winter”

We have been talking about the winter and the weather conditions which occur.  We learned about the seasons from the book How do we know it is winter? by Molly Aloian.  The book introduced the idea that in the place that we live, there are four times of year where the weather and nature around us changes.  The book pointed out that there is a pattern to the seasons since they keep repeating.  Uriel made the connection that this is like a pattern you make with colors – red, blue, red, blue. Since winter is the coldest season, we asked the children what kinds of clothes they would need to wear?  Lauren and Lieba noted that they wear hats and gloves and scarves and jackets. A part of the book discussed the different ways that animals deal with the cold weather.  That led to more discussion and an exploration of animal behavior in the wintertime.

Many library books were brought to school about a vast array of animals – bats, frogs, salamanders, butterflies, and a variety of mammals – squirrels, chipmunks, skunks. The children learned that animals do one of three things –  adapt, hibernate or migrate.  We watched several videos on this topic on our new IPads including one about frogs. We first read A Frog’s Life Cycle by Mary R. Dunn.  It explained how the frog grows and develops and also how it freezes in cold temperatures and thaws when spring arrives. It was fascinating!

The children had a great time building caves and animal dens in which to hibernate  They needed to plan, problem and collaborate in order to build their structures.  They also enjoyed acting out animals migrating – bats, birds, and […]

By |December 28, 2018|

Winter is Here in Gan Tziporim

Winter has finally arrived. We have had a little taste of it with the cold weather and even some snow flurries. Since there wasn’t enough snow to bring into our classroom, we decided we wanted to make our own snowy world. So we took out many different types of white materials that we have and got started making a winter collage

Feeling the different textures encouraged us to use descriptive words and to compare things to how snow and ice feel. What things are cold like snow? What things are sharp and bumpy like ice and frozen snowballs? What things are malleable and moldable like snow? What things can you use to build a snowman?

So then we decided to paint a snow masterpiece. We enjoyed using different strokes and brushes and adding different decorations.

Then we decided to hang up our artwork and name it. You can visit our snowy displays in our art galleries in the lobby and in our classroom.

When we went outdoors we made an interesting observation. The ice outside melted the yeladim were very excited to play with the water.

Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Yafit and Morah Fran

By |December 21, 2018|

Gan Tziporim Getting Ready for Winter

We love mixing!! We love making things!! So we decided to make play dough! All that measuring and observing what happens, seeing the changes. Science and math alive int eh classroom! Stem at it’s best. And the turn taking and the team building!!

And then we get to play with it!! The children get so creative! Play dough is very forgiving in more ways than one. If you make a mistake you can always start again. This is a message we share with the children all the time. We can always try again. And the sky is the limit with what we can create!

We were so excited to see the snow outside so we decided to make our own.

Spraying, pouring, mixing and squishing.

It felt so cool!

When we went outside to see the real snow, it was exciting. We could dance in it and open our mouths to taste it but since there was not that much snow, we didn’t get to wet.

Next, we went to check on our garden. Guess what!! The Yeladim found ice in the garden! They collected the ice so we could observe what will happened to the ice.

We went into the class and make our own ice. When we asked the children how to make it they responded, “Water and the freezer!!” So smart!

This week we are focusing on another great letter, the letter ” I “. Morah Lilli read the book  Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni. The yeladim knew so many words that begin with the letter I. How funny that this was the week that we found Ice! 

By |December 17, 2018|

Cozy Homes for Everyone in Gan Tziporim

(Guest writer. Morah Fran is so much better!! Thank you Morah Yafit for helping me to share what your students are doing.)

Thank you to our special guest, Morah Lilli! We love you! Thank you for being here with us!!

Well, it’s cold outside! And this makes us think about how warm it is inside, and what do animals do because they don’t have warm cozy homes as we do.

Ever our builders, Gan Tziporim got right to work this week making houses for the animals that are safe for the winter. The children really enjoy their collaborative method of learning. And they are really good at it. They speak to each other respectively, taking turns listening to each other and finding solutions to whatever arises. These skills are important as we go through life.

And as these friends have been together for the past few years, they have really bonded. When it comes time to birthdays, they truly enjoy celebrating their friends. They honor their friends by creating a beautiful gift to honor this special day and to remember their special friendship. This week the children celebrated their friend Lauren as she turned five by creating this beautiful keepsake box for her special things. Happy Birthday, Lauren!! We love you!!

And the party really got started baking as they baked a cake for Lauren’s birthday. Delish!

Lot’s of learning! Morah Lilli was so impressed with how well the children are recognizing letters and writing their names- first and last!!

And with how much Hebrew they speak with Morah Yafit!

Thank you for coming last night!!

Shabbat Shalom!!

By |December 14, 2018|

Chanukah Fun in Gan Tziporim

What better way to celebrate the true spirit of Chanukah than to share gifts with the people in our community.  Our school invited several people from our community to visit our classes this week; they included our office staff Miss Karen and Miss Cindy, and some members of Livingston’s Police Department and Fire Department.  Our class gave Miss Cindy a lovely Chanukah plate filled with the cookies they had baked this week.  She was delighted to receive the gift and our appreciation for what she contributes to our community.  She explained to the children how she helps dispense the money to buy the things our school needs.  She then helped the children “light” the Chanukiah and shared her cookies with the children.  Everyone was happy with that!  We also had a visit from two police officers, Officer Kevin and Officer Joy.  It is really great that they and other members of the Police Department have come to visit our school.  It helps the children to feel more comfortable with them.

We continued working on the letter “Hh”,  familiarizing the children with the initial phonetic sound as well as practicing writing both the upper and lower case letters.

The open-ended toys, such as the magnetic rods and balls and wooden blocks allow the children to use their imaginations to create all sorts of real and fantastical creations; a magic wand, a sailing ship, a flower, or a variety of shapes.

Besides providing the ability to create all sorts of things, the wooden blocks foster a great deal of collaborative play.  The Lauren and Emily started building a clinic for the people figures, helping heal their many ailments.  This then evolved into building beds for the figures […]

By |December 7, 2018|