We have been learning about the joyous festival of Rosh Hashanah over the past few weeks. We realise that young children learn best through interactive and hands-on experiences, where they can use all their senses and a variety of mediums. With this in mind, we expose the children to learning in many different ways. Several experiences were provided enabling the children to use different languages to represent their knowledge and understanding about this special Chag.
A still life experience was set up which included different apples and honey. The children were invited to look closely at the apples and draw their observations.
A sorting, counting and fine-motor experience was set up in the shape of a beehive. The children used tweezers to place balls of nectar in the hive.
At another table an assortment of materials were provided to make bee puppets, using cellophane, sticks, paper and pipe cleaners. Some children worked on a collaborative mixed media piece, where literacy was included, others were invited to use loose parts to represent bees.
Before they created, the children were encouraged to draw their ideas and then refer to it, while making their representation using the loose parts. They produced amazing results.
Zach: We eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah.
Noam: I made one red apple, a green apple and yellow honey on my card.
James S: We eat honey and apples so we can have a sweet New Year.
Jack: You dip apples in honey, and you eat round challah.
Xander: It is a Jewish festival where everyone comes together, and you dip apples in honey for a sweet New Year and sing songs.
Michael: We spend the holidays with our family.
Thank you to Lucy Romain for baking a delicious honey cake to enjoy on Friday at our Rosh Hashanah celebrations.
The children have been engaging in reflective discussions, from sharing what they already know about Rosh Hashanah, to learning from each other’s comments and stories. One of the main themes we have been focusing on, has been thinking about “acting in the best way that you know”. We reflected about the Jewish year that is coming to an end and thought about what we want to do better at. We discussed how we all make the wrong choice sometimes and how these become good opportunities for us to learn from these moments.
We wondered what it means when we say, “the shofar sounds and wakes up our minds”.
Raphael: To think about doing the best things we’ve ever done.
Claudia: Be nice to our friends.
Sam: It tells us to think about the bad stuff and to have a better year.
Hugo: To act in the best way we can.
Mia: To do the best things we can.
Michael: For the whole new year to be good.
Raphael L: We think about the last year and what we can do better in the new year.
To evoke the children’s thinking, we showed a video clip of shofar blowing. We asked the children to share what they could see.
Freddy: Rosh Hashanah.
Noah E: It happens at the end of Rosh Hashanah….the shofar. It made a funny sound.
Freddy: The Shofar is like this shape.
Educator: Why do we blow the shofar?
Noah E: It wakes up our brain.
Educator: What do you think the shofar is made of?
Freddy: It is made of shell.
Noah E: It’s made out of wood.
Ella: From a branch.
Charlie: From the stem of a flower.
Lexi: It came from Israel.
Ziggy: It’s an ear from a reindeer.
Joshua: From a ram.
Ziggy: A ram is a type of sheep…a male, a female or a kid.
The children have engaged in an exploration about bees. We watched a fascinating video about bees gathering pollen. We learned that bees are actually covered in millions of hairs and that they have baskets on their legs, which they use to carry the pollen. They use the pollen to make bee bread to feed the worker bees.
The children have been creating their own bees using paper and pens. It has been interesting to observe how their work has evolved as their understanding of bees and their behaviour has increased.
Raphael: The bees collect nectar and then they flew back to their hives to make it.
Adi: I saw honey and nectar; the nectar was on the bee’s legs. I did not know that a bee had a stinger.
Extending on our learning for Rosh Hashanah, we invited a beekeeper to come to Kornmehl last week Thursday. Gavin Smith is clearly passionate about bees but more than that he was able to share his passion and knowledge with us in a way that was fun and interactive.
Gavin came in his beekeeper suit and explained to us the differences between European bees and Native bees. Gavin taught us how bees gather nectar, make wax and form it into cells into which they lay their eggs. We learnt about how he uses a smoker to distract the bees when he gathers the honey from the hives. He explained how you can tell the difference between a male and female bee; the male has huge eyes which he uses to search for the queen bee.
We learnt about the medicinal properties of propolis for healing the stings. We also learnt that bees hate the smell of bananas and that the best way to remove a sting is to scratch it off with your nails. He spoke about putting ice, vinegar, garlic, onion, orange or lemons on the sting to neutralise the poison.
Post box visits
Last week, the Seashell, Starfish and Dolphin groups walked to the post box on Clovelly Road to post their special Rosh Hashanah cards to their families to wish them a Shanah Tovah. The children were very excited to pop their cards in the post box.
We discussed what we put on the envelope, and how the postman knows which house to deliver the card to. We also had a look at a You Tube clip which explained the journey of our mail and how it gets from one place to another. On the clip we saw all the different machines that are used to sort through the mail. The children all put their address label and stamp on their cards. We hope families enjoyed the excitement of receiving their cards in the post and opening them together with their child.
Harriet: The mailman or the mail girl will get our letters and it will have our address on it, so it goes home. My mum and I always check the name.
Raphael: The mums or dads or Montefiore people will get a delivery out of the letterbox.
Ana: It goes into the postbox, then into a tunnel, then into our family.
Xander: Our letter will go to the station where the postman works and then to the Montefiore
Hugo: They are going to be so happy because my dad always wanted a delivery.
James S: Someone collects the mail out of a post box and carries it in a big bag.
Ethan: The postman takes it to the people’s homes.
We discussed that this year, we are not only sending a card to our family for Rosh Hashanah, but also to an elderly person from the Montefiore. We wondered how these people may feel when they receive their card with a special message, even when they don’t know who sent it. This act of kindness is a way of teaching the children about community participation.
Claudia: It’s nice to give to other people, because I’m giving and doing a mitzvah to people.
Cleo: It’s nice to give it to the old people because they’ll like it. We want to wish them a Happy New Year. I’ll feel happy, so they still get to celebrate.
Juliette: Because they are old, and they will like it and because they can’t make their own. I feel happy because I’m doing something nice for other people.
Xander: Happy, because I made a card, and they know I put my effort into it very hard.
Hugo: Happy, because they’ve actually never got a letter. We never order mail. We only order packages!
We have also been very busy making Sukkah decorations to help the residents of Montefiore decorate their Sukkah. We hope that their Sukkah will look beautiful, and colourful and will help to create a positive energy in their Sukkah. We are looking forward to seeing photos after the holidays of their decorated Sukkah. We are so excited that the Kornmehl children have been able to participate in so many acts of kindness during this month of Ellul and beyond. A time to create an awareness of Tikkun Olam in our youngest citizens, while connecting with our wider community at the same time.
Our native garden
Earlier in the year the Pre-school applied for a Woolworths Landcare Grant, which we received in Term 2. Since then, we have been waiting for the weather to warm up, so that we could begin this exciting project with the children and families in the Pre-school. The aim of our project is to create a native garden by involving the children in the design, selection of plants and the planting in the garden, as well as caring for the plants. The children will spend time observing and visiting the space as they begin to understand the connection and relationship between local species and their habitats. They will gain an understanding of the needs of local native wildlife, appreciating the diversity and biodiversity of native species and how to support, protect and help them thrive. The children will also learn how to tally and record the presence of insects attracted to the garden over time and use Apps to identify different creatures.
We have spent time the past two weeks looking closely at some of the native plants that we will be planting in the garden. We looked at the shapes of the leaves, the smell of the plants and the children had many other comments and questions as they looked closely with magnifying glasses and spent time representing their observations using black textas.
Lexi: This one is grass; it is different to this one with round leaves.
Benjamin: It has spikes on it.
Charlie: Beautiful flowers.|
Rose: The leaves go up.
Charlie: I love the smell.
The children spent time in the native garden space raking the leaves and placing these into the compost bin. The involvement and excitement of the children was wonderful to observe, as they worked through the process of what they needed to do and how they were going to get the leaves to the compost bin.
The fun continued as some children sanded the log cuttings with sandpaper and others sat around watching the tap and pipes be installed by Greg the plumber for the watering system. We also enjoyed watching the Year 9 children come down to install our irrigation system for the native garden, under the supervision of Joseph Peacock. We are so grateful to be able to collaborate with our Emanuel School community on this project too. It takes a community to create a garden….
Many wonderful parent helpers have come in over the past two weeks to help. Many thanks to them all. It was great to see so many children in all three groups eager to take part in the many different jobs to help get our native garden up and running.
We dug up the soil and added native potting mix and the worm castings from Benjamin’s home. We sanded and took the bark off the tree stumps and began to bury and place the stepping-stones, ready to begin planting.
Our plants have all come from Indigigrow in La Perouse. We have planted so many beautiful plants to awaken our senses and to learn about what they can provide for us over the coming months. These include lemon myrtle, cut leaf mint bush, creeping saltbush, lemon scented Darwina, native Thyme, Karkalla, Midyim Berry, native violets, Dianella, candy stripe, native climbers, Grevillea and Muntries.
We are very excited to see how our garden is going to flourish under our tender care.
Thank you to Colin and Gavin from the maintenance team for all their help and support to establish this beautiful space in our garden.
Sadly, we had to bid farewell last week to our special; educator Jo Sank. Jo has been with the Pre-school since 2016 and we are all going to miss her gentle, warm and caring ways and the love and energy she brought to the Pre-school. We wish Jo everything of the best for the future.
We wish a very happy birthday to Amelie Gavshon (4) Ethan Lewis (4) and Marlene Einfeld, as well as to Noa Hamor (4), and to our educators Renee Schneider, Janice Eliovson and Anita Weinberger, who will celebrate their birthdays in the holidays.
We wish all our Kornmehl families a Shanah Tovah U Metuka – a sweet and happy New Year and well over the fast.
We also wish you all a Chag Sukkot Sameach