Educating our children in the richness of their past,
the diversity of their present and the possibilities for their future.

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Nature as Our Classroom
  • Early Childhood
  • Judaic Studies
  • Reggio Emilia-Inspired Learning

In preparation for Tu BiShvat, JK students have been putting a strong emphasis on nature in the classroom. Teachers set out a provocation of dried flowers, leaves, rocks, and tree bark, and students explored these items using magnifying glasses along with their senses of touch and smell. They noticed the petals easily detached from the stems and they began to grind them up with the rocks. Students asked if they could add water to the petals and exclaimed that the water-petal mixture looked like paint, which led to painting experiment using a variety of materials.

Taking advantage of the giant outdoor "freezer" during this last cold spell, teachers put trays of water filled with natural treasures outside to freeze them. Once they froze, students were challenged with the task of getting the items out. Their various ideas included using droppers of warm water, scraping the ice with different tools, and smashing the ice using wooden dowels. They found that when used at different times throughout the process, each of these methods proved to be successful.

Students have also demonstrated a great interest in building ramps. They have been working together to build ramps, tunnels, and different pathways to roll marbles and balls. Students are especially excited about an ice luge they created and observed the contrast between how marbles roll down ice and how they roll down wooden ramps. Working together to build ramps has encouraged the children to listen to each other's ideas, make compromises, and handle frustration when things don't go as planned.