In the spring each year, we retell the story of the Hebrew people's exodus from Egypt. We tell of how baby Moshe (Moses) began his life in the river Nile to grow into a Prince of Egypt and later a leader of the Hebrew people as he challenged King Pharoah on Hashem's behalf to lead his people from oppression.
The story comes to life at Giving Tree through dramatic play, sensory explorations, story telling and the creation of Passover items such as the seder plate, afikomen bag and stories.
Take a look at some of our explorations:
Matzah Factory- Rabbi Schusterman brings the Matzah Factory to life each year. Matzah is made by combining flour and water together to form a dough. Next the dough is rolled flat and poked full of holes so that the dough will not rise when baked.
With the experience of making matzah fresh in our minds, we added in several dramatic play elements to repeat the experience both inside and outside of the classroom. Additionally, we took story telling to the next level in our light studio and classroom explorations of the ten plagues and Baby Moshe!
Cooking projects are also a part of our Passover explorations. Charoset (spiced apple mixture), tasting of bitter herbs/greens provide us with a small sampling of the Passover seder offerings.
Constructing the great pyramids using various manipulatives is a fun way to learn 3 dimensional shapes, engineering, spacial awareness and team work!
The holiday would not be complete without the creation of Passover projects such as seder plates, pillows, matzah covers/afikomen bags, Passover cards and the planting of bitter herbs. Additionally, each classroom created books exploring Passover. Katon- Colors of Passover, Maon- Shapes of Passover, Peuton- Numbers of Passover and Ganon- Alphabet of Passover.
On Purim, we retell the story of Queen Esther and Mordechai who saved the Jewish people from an evil plot by a man named, Haman in ancient Persia. This day is a celebration to commemorate the salvation of the Jewish people. We explore the story in various ways as well as Purim themes that include kings and queens, topsy-turvy and more!
One tradition is to create a jelly filled triangle shaped cookie called a Hamentashen. Each class had the opportunity to make chocolate chip and strawberry hamentashen to share with their families!
Retelling the Purim story is explored through role playing, dramatic play, puppetry, felt boards and through a dynamic interactive megillah reading with Rabbi Schusterman!
In the Purim story, Queen Esther resides in a palace. So of course we must explore castle building both inside of the classroom and in our Art Atelier! Sand castles using kinetic sand, shaving cream mortar and foam blocks, and 2 dimensional renderings are just a few of the ways we construct our castles.
Other explorations include an obstacle course, carnival style games and pool noodle horse races! Let's not forget the creation of mishloach manot baskets, masks, crowns and groggers!
Lastly, we visited the Light Studio to explore bedazzled crowns with loose parts, shadow puppets, black light art in the castle, Purim story puppetry and a noise-tastic megillah reading with instruments!
Tu B'Shvat is the New Year for the trees.. It is the date from which we calculate the age of trees which is important as we must make sure a tree is ready to be harvested at the appropriate time.
Tu B'Shvat takes place on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat and marks the beginning of the growing season for trees in Israel. Trees are starting to blossom there at this time. (Almond tree first.)
The classes at Giving Tree explored the Almond tree- Ha'Shkediya Porachat in Hebrew- though various invitations of loose parts and art.
Another way that we learn about Tub'shvat is through our sense of taste! There are seven special species, "Shivat Haminim" for which Israel is famous: Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
Each class was able to taste grapes, dried figs and dates, kalamata olives and investigated a pomegrante!
Chanukah is a time of wonder and discovery in the Giving Tree classrooms. We explore light, viscosity using oil and water experiements, force and gravity with spinning dreidels and explore the story of the brave Maccabees who restored the temple after the Greek army had destroyed it. The holiday of Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days as a miracle occured in the temple- a small jug of oil, enough for only one day, lasted for 8 days and nights!
The symbols of Chanukah are the chanukiah- menorah, dreidels, and foods cooked in oil like donuts or potato latkes! In each classroom, the children recreated some or all of these items.
Chanukah is also known as the Festival of Lights! We explored various forms of light in the light studio with Chanukah themed invitations.
Here are some of our other explorations that include the number 1-8, loose parts, sensory exploration, art and music and movement.
Passover is a busy time in the Early Childhood. As the holiday is based around the retelling of the exodus from Egypt, you will find many explorations that are centered around story telling, dramatic play and interactive play opportunities. Common themes include Baby Moses, frogs, 10 plagues, matzah, construction/pyramids, music and puppetry. The children explored Passover activities both inside and outside of the classroom with a plethora of activities available in the Light Studio.
In the Light Studio, children could swim in the River Nile and save Baby Moshe or bake their own matzah at the Matzah Factory. Or they could take a frog for a dip in the frog pond or recreate Monet’s Waterlilies using loose parts on the light table! If that wasn't enough... they could experience engineering as they recreate 2d and 3d replicas of the Great Pyramids or even host their own Passover seder in the Light Studio cottage.
We continued the fun with various food experiences throughout the week. Children tasted hard boiled eggs, recreated one of the 10 plagues using raisins, soy nut butter and celery (Bugs on a Log), made charoset- a sweet mixture of apples, cinnamon and grape juice and baked matzah from scratch with Rabbi Schusterman and the Matzah Factory!
Each class also offered various activities within their classroom. Take a look at the pictures below to view more or visit our classroom blogs located under the CLASSROOMS tab at the top of the page.
Mrs. Alethia Minlaff, Director: you can reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org