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High Holidays and Sukkoth

10/31/2019 09:37:01 PM


Ilana Friedman

Hello, Preschool Families ~

First off, logistics: Picture day went so smoothly. Thank you all for being there so promptly. Lesly took plenty of group shots as well as candids. She will share them soon, probably in about a week. My individual portraits were not as amazing and I only managed to get to a few children, but I tried!

Parent teacher conferences are coming up! 

We do not have school on Nov. 11.

Grand Friends Day is Nov. 26, 11a.m.-12p.m. All students are invited during this hour to bring a grandparent or other grown-up friend to school for a special program at preschool. We'll have classroom activities for the inter-generations to do as a team, like games, cooking, art, and gardening. This is a time for our children to share their school-world and connect our learning community to the Thanksgiving weekend of family gatherings. 

And now -- for what we've been up to at preschool!

A month has flown by! The High Holidays and Sukkoth filled our days with special activities.

photo credit Lesly Deschler Cannosi

Our sweet new year rolled in. We made apple sauce with honey. We buzzed our hand-made bees in search of pom-pom pollin to bring back to the hive, learning about where our harvest comes. Cantor Ellen shared songs and shofar blasts, and we pasted paper to create our own shofars. Celebrating the birthday inspired play dough birthday cakes in our sensory bin, where "happy birthday to mommy" was sung multiple times per day.

With an inwards turn for Yom Kippur, we played with cozy, warm, fuzzy, wool roving, shipped directly from the source -- Alvin's grandmother's sheep farm. A picture book about feisty prairie dogs who have loads of underground fun with fuzz from a tennis ball provoked great dress up with the roving. It is also a material for nest-making and will continue to weave through our explorations this year.

We celebrated Sukkoth, the harvest feast with Cantor Ellen, when she taught us song and movement about how to build a sukkah and about the symbols within the etrog and lulav.  We decorated our garden sukkah, painting leaves, printing them, and hanging them up. Friends nibbled basil and kale as we discovered dried out sunflowers and marigolds, and we found and saved the seeds inside of them. We even got a special delivery of flowers from Diana, that we explored and hung to dry.

The children's interest in jumping and making obstacle courses has shifted slightly to building high stools to climb up on and long balance beams and inclined planes. A stuffed animal red-winged black bird has visited the garden and landed in a high-up make believe nest, and has helped fuel engineering attempts up high as well as learning about the bird species - their call and the difference in feather color between males and females. Our neighbors shared their special feathered flock of young chickens, speaking of birds, and we're looking forward to seeing more of them when they make their way over for food scrap nibbles later this school year.

The abundance of pumpkins and spooky decorations around town this time of year perfectly coincides with class discussion about feelings and facial expressions. Using paper scraps and glue sticks to assemble jack-o-lantern faces has engaged the children's design sense, fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and social-emotional learning for the win! We read books about our different emotions, and we have puppet shows in which characters put words to feelings and resolve classroom problems in peaceful ways. The children build various facial expressions right now. The children are also beginning to use our Peace Corner, a quiet space specifically for taking a break in order to regain inner peace. 

We are slowly preparing to make a special elixir. Don't be surprised if your kids come home with hands smelling like orange or ginger or cinnamon! :-)

Looking forward to the week ahead, and remember on Halloween if your child wants to wear a little piece of a costume they may but no pressure! And no masks please. Cheers!

_ - _ - _ - _ - _

Late September, 2019

Hello, Preschool Families ~

First some key notes:

1) No school next week, Monday and Tuedsay Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 for Rosh Hashanah. Come join BHA for High Holiday programming, including an hour of Rosh Hashanah family time from 9-10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30!

2) There is also no school the following week on Oct. 9 for Yom Kippur.

3) There is also no school on Monday, Oct. 14 for Indigenous Peoples Day.

4) Thanks to our Laundry helpers, Hygiene Helpers, and End-Of-Week Closer-Uppers Romina, Jess Conway, Jen V-M, and Vanessa! Logistics are all the smoother 'cuz of you. :-) 

5) If you can sign up to help here's the link.

5) Thanks to Alvin's grandmother and her sheep. We have a huge bag of wool roving to play and create with. Due to an inundation of Rosh Hashanah crafts, we have not yet entered the roving realm completely. But we have started to get our feet wet, and we will soon make quite a splash.

Since I last wrote, the children have come together in many ways. They are learning the names of new friends, and they are addressing one another by name more and more. We've ventured out of the garden around the corner to our side yard several time, where we feed our food scraps to the neighbors' chickens and play on wheeled vehicles as well is in our log forest. Hide-and-Seek -- and figuring out the rules -- is a popular game out there. Creating obstacle courses, harvesting tomatoes, peppers, and gourds, and finger-painting have been garden-time focus point. We also have designated an observation tank for learning more about the small critters we find in the garden. 

Games outside relate to learning cooperation and participation in a group. Similarly classroom routines have rules that provide a comforting structure. Changing shoes is becoming a cinch. We almost always remember to hold onto the railing while walking on the stairs (you can help practice that on our way out the door during dismissal). Our snack time has become a time of calm and delightful conversation or a read-aloud, because we help each other remember to use quieter voices and to stay at the table. Table manners are a part of the collective consciousness. The children know the areas of our garden and classroom and are delighting in open-ended time to move through these spaces. 

In the classroom we have followed the children's interest in jumping, how we jump, and what animals jump. We subsequently explored the notion of personal space, and have been playing games to build the children's awareness and sense of security for their bodies. Snowball and Oatmeal, our rabbit puppets, have visited a few times to share scenarios in which they have problem-solved together - about when it's okay to hug someone else and about how to tell someone if you want what they have. 

We have also been learning about the birthday of the whole world, Rosh Hashanah, how we eat sweet things -- namely Apples and Honey -- for a sweet new year, and how we blow the shofar to awaken our attention to the amazing world we live in. The bumble bees on our sunflowers were a great entry point to learning about where honey comes from -- and now if only we could have a mini- stingless apiary in our school garden!

Please stay in touch if you have any questions or stories of how your child is adjusting to the new school year.

Meghan and Sasha and I are delighting in our group of your children,


Early September, 2019

Hello, preschool families ~ 

A few photos from our first three days show some of the play we've done together so far. The children have been exploring the garden, cooking sand muffins, making music by tapping pebbles and gems on various surfaces, talking with the sunflowers, watering the garden beds, hauling sand in wheelbarrows, spying for items on our scavenger hunt like a red tomato that we harvested, and creating a colorful petal collage. 


In the classroom, we've focused on shoe, hand-washing, and snack routines, experimented with circle time (I say experiment because it's going to be about striking the right balance for our diversely-aged children), and we've been exploring in all of the areas of the space. We teachers have noticed our children love:

-construction vehicles

-jumping and climbing

-making up funny words

-drawing with paint sticks, scratching into them, drawing with both hands at once

-role play with our barnyard animal figurines, flowers and pebbles!

-exploring shadow making with our flashlights


As we continue to get to know routines, school ways, and one another, we teachers will continue to observe children's interests, passions, and interactions. We will continue to focus on tools for peaceful communication.



-Please join our Sign Up to help with a couple of classroom chores.

-School begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 11:55.

We are looking forward to the week ahead with our wonderful group!

Ilana, Sasha, and Meghan

Wed, May 25 2022 24 Iyyar 5782