The Latest from BZBI

Looking Back on Autumn 2018

BZBI Preschool Highlights September-December 2018

December 21, 2018

“Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game…”

Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”

Our children and teachers have been busy experiencing the learning that comes with each season, holiday, and encounter with friends, materials, and questions. Of course, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah was a focus in all of our classrooms at the start of the school year. All of our classes enjoyed studies about Autumn and they were all able to spend a lot of time outdoors so that they could experience the seasonal changes in our neighborhood.  We celebrate Havdalah and Shabbat weekly, we had a beautiful Family Shabbat, and we celebrated Hanukkah in every classroom and as a school. The children look forward to their weekly Music Class with Ms. Lori and their weekly or bi-weekly Hebrew Class with Morah Dorit. We are truly captured in a carousel of time and wonder!

Here are some of the highlights of each classroom’s learning journey from September through December 2018.

The Yellow Room experienced the colors, scents, and materials of Autumn on their daily walks to the park and around our neighborhood. They also learned about Shape and Color through art experiences in the style of Matisse and Kandinsky, and through conversations embedded into their daily experiences. They love to read with their teachers, sing and dance, and spend time in the Gross Motor Area climbing, sliding, building, and running! Of course, transportation, animals, and babies are a popular topic with our Yellow Room friends. Everyone enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah and lighting the candles in their classroom. They have settled in beautifully to the school year and it is so wonderful to see their friendships developing and how caring they are of one an another.

The Green Room participated in many investigations about Autumn and the Chaggim. They studied pumpkins, measured with pumpkins, and collected leaves. They also focused on transportation using their enhanced Transportation Center. They painted highways, raced vehicles, and sent cars down ramps. The Green Room children love to play in the Dramatic Play Area, explore art materials, and engage in a variety of sensory activities, including sand, play dough, foam, and finger-painting. They love to play in the gross motor space and recently started to spend time building with the Imagination Playground©. They sing and dance everyday and they love to go on a “bear hunt.” Friendships have blossomed and the classroom is full of joy and energy!

The Blue Room has been very busy since the first day they entered into their classroom. The children and teachers ventured outside every day to experience nature and the seasonal changes at the park and in our neighborhood. They enjoyed snack and stories in the sukkah. They had a large pumpkin patch in their classroom and extensive leaf collection that inspired many different studies. The children hypothesized what was inside a pumpkin and counted the seeds. They filled a large pumpkin with soil and planted the pumpkin seeds and were amazed to see that the seeds sprouted and grew quite long. When finished with each study, they recorded their findings.  The Blue Room also discussed their families, pets, and where they live. They did an in-depth study about Hanukkah, light, and different types of Hanukkiot (menorahs).

The Red Room started off their school year with discussions and experiences based on the Chaggim. They created beautiful decorations for the sukkah and enjoyed spending time there during snack and Hebew class. Their interests quickly lead into studies about Self-Portraits and Restaurants. They studied comtemporay artists and how they depict themselves through art. This inspired wonderful self-portraits. Their dramatic play scenarios often centered around preparing food and influenced their study about restaurants. They transformed their Dramatic Play Area into a restaurant and invited a “restrauntor” to visit their classroom. This study will continue after the Winter Break. A few children were very interested in “how things work” so they spend some time taking things apart and using small tools. This led to an introduction to hammering activities. The children spend a lot of time building with wooden blocks and Magna-tiles. When they return they will be incorporate building and construction into their studies, too.

Literacy, math, science, and motor skills are embedded into their learning on a daily basis and through their in-depth studies. The children are focused, inspired, and motivated in their learning. Teachers and children work closely to co-construct learning.

The children in the Violet Room are always busy with in-depth studies that incorporate creativity, math, science, literacy, and pre-writing skills, and dramatic play. They did a wonderful study about sunflowers and autumn. They focused on the story of creation, the concept of light and darkness, and had many conversations about mitzvot, and how they can be part of “building a better world.” The children participated in a mitzvah project and prepared breakfast bags for older adults in partnership with Jewish Federation. They explored Hanukkah through stories, songs, light investigations, and they made Hanukkiot. Each day the Violet Room starts their day with “Modeh Ani” and share what they are thankful for. They welcomed a new friend from Israel in November and displayed their kindness and generosity as they helped him to settle into their classroom. They love to put on shows for each other, to sing and dance, and to tell amazing stories. Their creativity and intelligence shines brightly in everything that they do. Their teachers are so inspired by their ideas and interests!

You can also view photographs from our teacher’s Professional Development Days, our Parent/Teacher Exchange Night, and photographs of Ketubot (contracts) that each teaching team composed following a session that focused on team building, shared goals, and reflective practice below!

Following a professional development session on Team Building the teaching teams were asked to develop a Ketubah for their team that spoke to their team values. They learned about the history of a ketubah (marriage contract), the decorative qualities of ketubot,  and how they can use this concept to create a contract for their team. The result were beautiful, thoughtful, and reflective of their team’s shared values.