The Susim class told the story of Hanukkah using puppets that they handcrafted out of recycled items. They have been working hard since September on their writing and we are thrilled to share their incredible version of the Hanukkah miracle.
Here is a tried and true cooked play dough recipe that you can try while we are all at home. If the play dough feels crumbly while you are kneading it, add some oil to your hands while you work it.
If you don't have food coloring you can add liquid watercolor or just leave it white! Your kids will love it no matter what.
We had a great week in Art and the students had a wonderful time exploring their projects.
Mish- Mish, Kofim, Goorim , Dagim and JC Gan Katan: “Teddy Bear Shabbat”
In anticipation of the Teddy Bear Picnic Thursday, students worked on collages exploring tacky glue, collage material and shabbat shapes.
They really took their time and created some wonderful pieces.
Susim, Dubim: "Light and Shadow Mobiles “- Students constructed hanging sculptures that we hope to hang and explore with flash lights this week. Recycled materials, paper plates and pipe cleaners were utilized to fabricate the mobiles. The students explored the material and used scissors and hole punchers as need with some assistance. They really had to work with their hands and coordinate threading and twisting. They demonstrated a feeling of pride and confidence post assembly .
Kaplan students made some magnificent hanukkiyot with Susan's guidance.
The students worked on their Thanksgiving Center pieces over the last two art classes. We discussed what a sculpture is and how it differs from two dimensional art work. Our projects had two parts- painting elements to construct with and then building our sculptures.
Susim, Dubim, and Dagim:
Students painted and collaged elements and then assembled and built with clay.
Mish-Mish, Kofim, Goorim and JC Gan Katan:
Students explore crayon, tracing, water color , collaging and building with Model Magic.
Susim, Dubim, Goorim, Dagim: These classes worked on a “Friends” Water Color and Crayon project. It was so wonderful to work with the students and listen to their comments and reactions to their work.
Mish-Mish and Kofim- These classes worked on “Lions of the Synagogue “ projects, a study in Yellow and used brushes and crayons to work the paint and glue.
Reciting nursery rhymes is an ideal way to teach pre-literacy to preschoolers. In a few short verses, they demonstrate rhyming words, alliteration, letter and sound recognition and story telling as well as a whole host of educational concepts.
Recently the children heard Little Boy Blue. They listened to it twice and then were shown prompts so that they were able to help recite the rhyme. To encourage their ability to recognize rhyming words, the prompts were mixed up so that horn and corn were exchanged, sleep and sheep, and I and cry. The children thought this was hilarious. The older ones immediately identified these words as rhyming.
Then the play. Four stations were placed around the room to highlight certain literacy skills.
At the first station there were cardboard horns and corn. Some of the kids pretended to play the horn, others pretended to eat it and vice versa. This encouraged the use of rhyme.
The second station had the letter B (Boy Blue) with different textures. The younger kids were touching them, rearranging them and learning to identify the actual letter, while the older ones traced the letter with their hands. This group were also given paper and pencils in case they wanted to try writing. Many did and were excited to show off their skills.
The third station was a sensory table filled with corn and wooden B's. The kids got to handle the letter and physically feel its shape. This was good for all ages. Again the younger kids were able to identify the letter while the older were aided in writing it.
Lastly and most educational was the hay block. Several lessons were demonstrated at this station. Blue cardboard boys in different sizes were provided. The kids placed them under the hay, on top of the hay, next to the hay, learning about directional prepositions. They also lined the boys in rows. There was the little one, big one, bigger one and biggest one. Finally the oldest group started play acting using the cardboard boys as brothers and creating story lines.
By setting up the stations, the kids were learning some important pre literacy skills. Each age group was able to take something different and educational from the experience, all done through fun and play.
Our school has a long standing Shabbat Pak program. Shana Lee, our wonderful coordinator, puts together a "Shabbat in a bag" kit with everything from candles and challah to a CD with Shabbat songs. Every child in the preschool has a turn taking the Shabbat Pak home and celebrating with family and friends (sometimes two or more families with Shabbat Paks get together for dinner!).
Here is the Shabbat Pak experience from a non-Jewish family:
giuliana's first shabbat dinner
After sharing our first Shabbat dinner with our oldest daughter, Adriana, during her first year at Kaplan in Miss Nora's class; we were all very excited to share the experience with Giuliana.
For the meal we chose a wonderful Chicken in White Wine recipe from The New Jewish Table (written by Daddy's friends and owners of the Equinox Restaurant in Washington, DC). Daddy got home later than expected, so its was a bit of a rush to prepare the meal and set the table before sundown, but we managed.
Like her sister before her, Giuliana helped out preparing the ingredients (a lot less than for Adriana's Osso Buco meal). She did well and was able to get back to tickle-time with her sister while dinner finished cooking.
A little iPod and kitchen game later, Daddy called everyone to the table. Mammy had set the table nicely, with the challah covered, grape juice poured and the candles ready. Meanwhile, Adriana had sneaked into Daddy's spot at the head of the table.
We followed the Shabbat blessings in the folder point by point; blessing the girls, the wine and the bread. The blessings came in a combination of Hebrew and English, and we recited them as best we could, with Adriana and Giuliani repeating after Daddy and participating in every step.
After dinner we read the Shabbat story and sang the Dinosaur song, which was Adriana's favorite a few years ago. Giuliana knew the song the best thanks to her practice with Rabbi.
At the end, it was Giuliana's turn to pick her favorite part of Shabbat dinner, and she said "the wine". She loved the story and the song, but raising the kiddush cup following the blessing and drinking the "wine" was #1.
as told by Renata Lee
Sukkot is perhaps the Jewish Holiday that best suits the preschooler mind. It is, like Passover, a reminder of the Exodus; but it also celebrates the very concrete experience of the harvest. At this time of the year, in the East Coast many farms open their orchards to the public and most of our students experience apple picking first hand. Sukkot expands this experience and gives it more depth.
Building and decorating a sukkah is perhaps the most exciting part of the holiday. Every child makes something to decorate the sukkah, and the process involves much more the actual creating of a craft project. Along the way we explore foods that come from plants, we separate fruits from nuts and seeds, we taste and smell new things and marvel at the amazing bounty that is offered us.
And of course the sukkah is a fascinating place in itself, so it comes up in their play and different representation pop up in every classroom. Some groups made small for their dolls, others built them with blocks, and yet others made them big enough to get inside! But every group worked hard at figuring out what worked and what didn't work, all of them had to negotiate and come up with creative solutions.
During the whole festival we are also learning about our identity and the traditions that make up our Jewish experience. Shana, our Jewish Education Specialist, visits every classroom, bringing the lulav (and how perfect is a holiday that provides a preschool child with something to shake in every direction!) and the etrog to all of us and helping us better understand the meaning of the holiday. We are lucky to have our backyard sukkah where we can have snack to fulfill the mitzvah, and Rabbi Scheinberg's songs bring a true sense of joy and celebration.