UnionTemple has formed an exciting partnership with The PJ Library, an award-winning Jewish family engagement program created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The PJ Library offers free, high-quality Jewish books and music to families raising Jewish children ages six months through eight years. Harold Grinspoon, a successful real estate entrepreneur, was inspired by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to create PJ Library as a way to strengthen the identities of Jewish families and to serve as an outreach vehicle for synagogues and Jewish organizations. We are fortunate to be the first PJ Library program in Brownstone Brooklyn!
The PJ Library Program at UnionTemple launched in November 2011 with a goal of signing up 200 children. We quickly exceeded that and have almost reached our new goal of 300 children -- in just 3 months! Our kickoff event was a Chanukah Concert in December, featuring a puppet show and singalong with Ora Fruchter, the talented sister of our beloved Yoshie, and her Yellow Sneaker colleagues. About 30 families enjoyed singing, dancing, munching on sufganyot, and gathering together to celebrate the holiday. Check your mailboxes in the next month for a mailing from PJ Library, with a free sample book and information on how to sign up. Please pass this packet on to any friends or family members with young children who could benefit from this gift. It’s a wonderful way for parents to introduce their children to the rich array of Jewish traditions, values and customs in a fun and age-appropriate way.
Our next steps are to invite PJ Library families to learn about UnionTemple and find ways to engage them in our community. To that end, we are planning a Pajama Party on Sunday, April 1 from 4:00-6:00pm at the Temple. We need volunteers to help make this event a big success! If you are interested, please email Kimberly Lisi at Kimberly@utpreschool.org.
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Abuzz with Spring
Spring is in the air and the preschool is abuzz. All of our classes are busy talking about the spring, exploring the area around the school and enjoying the friendships that they have forged over the long winter months.
The Chickadees, Montana Vasquez-Grinnell's two class, have enjoyed learning about the seasons, and now that we're entering spring they have been talking a lot about what is happening around us! The children are discussing the trees, the flowers, and the fact that they get to be outside more. They have a lot of books out about spring coming, and they are going to do pro-jects to celebrate the cherry blossoms, and create a budding tree for their bulletin board. The Chickadees recently watercolor painted the number 3, since so many children have/or will turn 3 this year in school. They have a lot of counting books out as well, and will do some cooking projects along with art projects to practice their counting skills!
The Robins, Tomomi Iwamoto's three class have been making pictures and writing messages for Jax, one of the Robins. Jax who is away with his family will be celebrating his birthday next week. After discussing what they might draw for him, the class launched into a discussion about how letters are sent. They read a book called The Jolly Postman and saw how letters are often enclosed in an envelope with the address of the person getting the mail and a stamp on the cor-ner. They told the kids that the teachers will go to the post office where there are people who will deliver Jax's mail. They discussed how mail is transported by vehicle and that mail carriers bring our letters safely to the right person. The Robins worked hard and made beautiful drawings for Jax. They were pretty excited about it and many of them thought that Jax would be happy or surprised when he gets the mail. The class discussion on mail led to an idea of making their own blue mailbox to use in their classroom. Whenever the children make a picture for Jax or each other, they can put it into the blue mail box to be "delivered."
The Sparrows, Natalie Roth's threes class, have sprung into spring demonstrating amazing growth as individuals and as a group. They have become a tight knit group who are eager to help one another with advice or a helping hand. We see new friendships forming every day and are thrilled at the empathy displayed in the classroom. The Sparrows were engrossed in our Passover unit and are continuing to incorporate the story into their play. They continue to set "traps" for Pharaoh with blocks and building material and have come up with elaborate plans to help the Jewish people escape slavery in Egypt. Their imaginations and creativity is truly remarkable. Recently, the Sparrows have been grabbed by the idea that March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb", despite the cold March we had. They have been craving more complex stories and have loved the doctor Seuss books (especially Yertle the Tur-tle) and spin off fairy tales like The Gingerbread Girl. They have been borrowing many books from the 4s to satisfy the growing Sparrows thirst for literature.
The Puffin class, Catie Vignona's four class, has just be-gun a unit on transportation. They started by brainstorm-ing a list together of different forms of transportation and then the children each took a turn rewriting at least one
form of transportation in their own writing. They are continu-ing to practice their letters and handwriting. Their growth and enthusiasm around this activity clearly exemplifies how much progress has been made from the beginning of the year! The Puffins also made traffic lights- and talked about what each color means. Another exciting project last week was painting with the wheels of their toy cars, which was very exciting and enjoyed by all. The class is planning to make life size vehicle that the kids can fit in from donated pieces of cardboard and cardboard boxes.
The Hummingbirds, Pam Apple's four class, are working on a firefighter unit. Two big upcoming events are a trip to the local fire house and a visit by a firefighter. The firefighter is the husband of Caitlin Mullin, Pam's assistant teacher. Fire-fighter Chris, will be visiting the Hummingbird and Puffin classrooms complete with his bunker gear, to talk to the chil-dren about fire safety. The Hummingbirds have been dis-cussing Stop, Drop, and Roll and the importance of never touching a fire. They will be conducting a science experi-ment involving a glass bottle placed over a flame, demon-strating how a fire can be extinguished when there is no oxy-gen (air) to feed it. They will use the demonstration to illus-trate that if you come in contact with fire by dropping to the floor, you take the air out of the fire. The Hummingbirds have also been singing "I am a firefighter" and reading books Daisy the Fire Dog, Firefighter, and Firefighting Ma-chines. The children will also be creating their own class-room fire truck that they will be painting and decorating.
-Susan Sporer, Director
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