Many of you know that our school is up for our NAEYC re-accreditation this year, but what does this really entail? One aspect you know about is the family survey, and thank you to everyone who turned in your survey. Our teachers have been hard at work compiling their classroom portfolios. These document all aspects of the classroom: Relationships, Curriculum, Teaching, Assessment, Families, and Physical Environment. There are different standards in each category and our educators put together how they fulfill each criteria. We also do this for our over-all program. Jennifer, Maria, and Kara have been hard at work documenting how we fulfill different criteria in our program.
Outside of the portfolios we also make sure that our classrooms are at top level. S0 what can you do to help us during this process? One big help is washing your hands. We ask that you wash your hands when you enter the classroom (or use the hand sanitizer). Keep doing the great work of emptying your child’s lunchbox into the box in the refrigerator and keeping your child’s extra items in a vinyl bag. Please also make sure your strollers and carseats are placed in our stroller parking lot, Room 306.
We always work hard to make sure that this environment is the best it can be for you and your children, and the NAEYC process helps with this goal. Thank you for your support and help during this re-accreditation.
As Thanksgiving approaches we are teaching our students not only about the importance of being thankful, but also about the importance of giving to others. Throughout the year we talk about Mitzvah (or the plural Mitzvot) which are good deeds. Each week as we gather to celebrate Shabbat and we give to tzedakah (or charity). We pass around the tzedakah box and put coins in. These coins are collected and then given to an organization that helps others.
Need a crafty weekend idea? Create your own Tzedakah box out of any kind of container with a lid, then decorate away!
The Pre-K just started a special mitzvah project for Thanksgiving. They are collecting canned and dry goods to give to the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. They are collecting the following items:
100% fruit Juices
Laundry and dish detergents
We hope that you will take some time and talk with your children about the importance of giving to others. A big thanks to the Smuckler family who hosted an Ice Cream Sundae party where admission was a canned good item. Thank you in advance for taking time to contribute to this important project! The final day you can bring in items in November 20th.
Last week Morah Michelle’s class made pumpkin challah with Morah Julie and volunteer Lisa Steindel. They got to see the difference in the color of regular challah and pumpkin challah and also got to taste it. While the challah was rising we were able to take the bowl around to different classrooms so other students could also smell the pumpkin dough rising.
The above picture was posted in the Jewish Chronicle and some people have asked about this recipe. Morah Julie adapted the recipe from a popular Jewish cooking blog (Full Pumpkin Challah Recipe). Below you will find the list of the ingredients and some more images of our two-year-olds working on the challah. We also wanted to share with you some links about Cooking with kids. Cooking is a great activity to do with children. It begins to teach them measurement, reading skills, helps with fine motor skills, and even some basic science!
*Cooking with Kids (PBS)
*Cooking With Kids, Without Going Insane (Food Network)
*On Cooking with Kids (Epicurious)
Ingredients for Pumpkin Challah (from Shika in the Kitchen)
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water, divided
3 tbs white sugar
1 egg (white and yolk)
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup honey
2 tbs canola oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
Pinch of cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
7-9 cups all purpose baking flour
(Find all the instructions here)
We hope you spend some time in the upcoming holidays cooking and baking with your children. We love the fact that we can offer them the cooking experience here at Beth Shalom Early Learning Center! A big thank you to Cookie Elbling for purchasing the stove a few years ago, as you can see it gets lots of use!
As our school week comes to an end we have the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Shabbat together. What an amazing weekly experience that we get to participate in as a class and as a school! Each Friday we take time to welcome Shabbat together in a variety of ways.
At 10:30 a.m. we meet in Helfant Chapel as a school and sing with Morah Marina. We set the table for Shabbat. We bring the table cloth, flowers, candles, kiddush cup, and challah. Each class gets to take a turn bringing their special item up. We then say the blessings together. Each week we sing different songs, sometimes do dances, and at the end of each week we sing the Hatikvah (The National Anthem of Israel) and the Pre-K by the end of the year will know all the words! We finish the week singing “This Land Is Your Land” together.
Back in our classrooms later in the day we celebrate Shabbat together. Each classroom has their own way they welcome Shabbat. We often welcome it together with another classroom. We light the candles, eat challah, and give tzedakah. (Coins we put in a tzedakah box that we give to charity.) We often sing together as well.
You are always welcome to join us for our weekly celebration in the Helfant Chapel. It begins at 10:30 and we would love to see you there!
We hope that you have seen the science emails that we occasionally post on our blog. Every week Morah Elaine visits the 2s, 3s, and Pre-K to teach them a science lesson and then creates a fantastic email with what they learned. We then send these lessons to the parents of each classroom. We recently received this email from a parent. It is wonderful to be able to provide this kind of communication with the parents–and these kinds of lessons with our students. We hope you enjoy the science lessons too!
Please let Morah Elaine know how much these emails mean. I send them to all of our family and we look forward to them every week.
As my Mother-in-law said to me today, it’s like getting to be there. Tonight I talked to Theo about shapes and we pointed them out in some of his books. These emails and lessons from Morah Elaine help us continue at home what he’s learning at school; they really help to make important connections. We feel so grateful to get these each week, and so glad to see the amazing instruction Theo’s getting at Beth Shalom!