I’m often asked what my family is reading and what music we listen to that is kid friendly. Since I’m so often asked, I thought I would put it all in one place that can be shared.
What do we listen to? Honestly, not a lot of music! Some of our most listened to are:
Caspar Babypants- If you’re of a certain age, you may remember a song called Millions of Peaches...the frontman is now a kid’s artist, and not an awful one either. His songs are catchy and fun. He has some very silly ones (Our favorites are Helicopter, Bad Blue Jay, and Run Baby Run), as well as a couple of night time music and some Beatles covers.
The Okee Dokee Brothers- We were introduced to these guys from another parent when my oldest was in the preschool here years ago, and we’ve continued to enjoy them! So much so, that we went on a road trip last fall to hear them play live and pick up their most recent album! They fall on the folk/bluegrass spectrum. Their four big albums all have wonderful back stories to them: hiking the Appalachian Trail, canoeing down the Mississippi, spending time on a ranch, and spending time in Canada in the winter. From each of these experiences they created an album of songs to match.
Super Simple Songs- They have a lot of nursery rhymes, learning songs, and catchy songs for really young kids. One of our favorites is Do You Like Broccoli?
And that’s about it music wise! (Occasionally we get sucked into JoJo Siwa or Kidz Bob, but I try to limit that for my own sanity!)
Now, we don’t just drive around in silence. We tend to listen to a lot of audio books and most of all podcasts! I’ve always listened to podcasts, but I never really thought of finding any for my kids. A friend told me about What If World, a storytelling podcast for kids, and we were hooked! Podcasts will often guest star one each other’s show, so it’s easy to find more (and more and more…) Some of our favorites are:
What If World- Mr. Eric is the host of this wonderful world of stories. Every episode he answers kids that questions that children sent in. But these aren’t your run of the mill questions, these are “what if…” questions. “What if the lion and the elephant met up for spaghetti.” was the question in a recent episode. Mr. Eric takes these questions and weaves them into a story with a crazy cast of characters that he has created.
Story Pirates- This is another story telling podcast. In this one there is a band of Pirates that sail in a magical ship and have adventures. That part is just one part of the podcast, the other part are the stories that children send in. The Story Pirates take these stories and act them out, or write a song about it. The music aspect is so popular that they’ve created a few albums of them.
Wow in the World- Mindy and Guy Raz (yes, Guy Raz of Ted Talks and NPR) check out a science related topic every episode. This is far from a boring sit down lecture though. From getting stuck in a giant nose, to time travel, to making Guy Raz pretend to be different animals (all in the name of science, of course) Wow in the World makes science fun and interesting.
Pants on Fire- We all know the rhyme, but in this game show podcast they ask a kid to pick the expert from the liar. It’s an interesting listen and it’s fun to try to guess who the expert is and who is making stuff up as they go. Sometimes the one host can make some jokes that are meant for older kids, but everyone in my family enjoys it. (Gen-Z has a bunch of good ones, we also listen to The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian sometimes)
Noodle Loaf and Ear Snacks- These two are geared towards the youngest kids. They’re full of silly songs and jokes and are around 10-15 minutes long.
Be Calm on Ah-way Island- This is a great bedtime or quiet time one. They tell calm and meditative stories. The narrator's voices are so soothing!
Do you have a favorite I’ve missed? Please let me know in the comments!
These first few weeks have flown by, and the children in the Preschool 2 class have noticed, and begun to show an interest in the cycle of the year. They’re noting that birthdays are coming up, the seasons are starting to change, and that there are holidays coming. While they have a daily meeting where they share a calendar, it was difficult for them to envision all of these changes and important dates on a ‘flat’ calendar. Along with their teachers, they have created a 3D calendar using a lazy susan and photos. This calendar has become a way for them to see what’s next, and a way for them to mark time in a meaningful way.
How wonderful that this interest has coincided with Rosh Hashanah! Rosh Hashanah is often referred to as the birthday of the world, and the beginning of a 10 day period of reflection for Jewish people that ends on Yom Kippur, the day of repentance.
As we prepare for the holidays, we use this opportunity to talk about the symbols of Roshahah with the children. The links will take you to some of the songs that we have been singing together:
Yom Kippur is a more somber day. Called the Day of Atonement, it is a chance for Jews to repent and ask for forgiveness from God and from others that they may have wronged. With the children, it’s an opportunity to talk about saying “I’m sorry” when they’ve done something that may have hurt another person, or made them feel angry and sad. We talk about how we can make things better in these situations beyond just saying sorry.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time that we teach the children (and to be honest, we all need a reminder about this) that it’s okay to make mistakes and that everyone does, but we can always ask for forgiveness and make things right.
Have a wonderful and sweet new year!
Over the summer our Early Learning Center Leadership team decided that the Jewish values that we had chosen in 2011 when we started our Reggio journey, didn’t necessarily define who we are now, in the 2018-19 school year. After meeting with Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt, we came up with eleven items, three phrases and eight Hebrew words, that we thought would best define our school.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll share with you how we see these values playing out in our school. We also invite you to share with us examples of these that you see happening in our classrooms and with the children
I apologize for the gap in posting time, the past few months have been quite a journey for our community. We went from Rosh Hashana, to Simchat Torah, celebrating with one another, but missing almost a month of school. As soon as we got back into the groove, the Tree of Life shooting happened and we were turned upside down as we tried to deal with a lot of questions, emotions and feelings. And then suddenly it was November and we had a Thanksgiving program to put together and another week out of classes. Don’t blink, because by the time you finish reading this, it’s probably going to be December and the winter holidays will be upon us.
One topic that always seems to come up around this time of year is gratitude and how can we help our children be grateful and thankful. This is especially timely since many of us celebrate gift giving holidays in the winter time, and children (and adults too) can get caught up in the ‘more stuff’ mindset. How can you help your child during these times and throughout the year?
Here are some resources so that you can read more about gratitude and young children:
10 Ways to Raise a Grateful Kid
8 Ways to Teach Kids Gratitude
Here are some groups and organizations that you can help out with donations:
Foster Love (I only linked their donation page, but they have a bag drive going on through December 15)
Play it Forward Pittsburgh (They are collecting donations now and through December 12. They encourage entire families, including children, to volunteer!)
North Hills Community Outreach (They have a variety of programs and volunteer opportunities)
Each year the start of our preschool year coincides with the celebration of Rosh
Hashanah, the beginning of a ten day period of reflection and introspection that
ends with Yom Kippur, the solemn day of repentance. We want to share with you
some of the ways in which your children will be learning about these holidays.
During these High Holy Days, Jews reflect on the previous year and plan for the
New Year. Rosh Hashanah is referred to as the birthday of the world, and in
preschool we relate Rosh Hashanah to the fresh, new start of school and to the
children’s birthdays which cycle around each year, marking the beginning of a new
age and new experiences for them. One of the symbols of Rosh Hashanah that is
introduced is the shofar or ram’s horn. The children will listen to Rabbi Weisblatt
blow the shofar and will try to imitate the different sounds: loud and soft, long and
short. It is customary during Rosh Hashanah to wish friends and family a sweet or
good new year (“Shana Tovah”). The sweetness of the New Year is celebrated by
eating honey cake and apples dipped in honey. During Rosh Hashanah challah is
baked in a round shape with raisins on top, the round shape symbolizing the cycle
of the year. We will also be sharing these foods in our classrooms.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a day when Jews ask forgiveness for
wrongs committed against God and others. In preschool we talk about saying “I’m
sorry” when we have hurt someone else, made them feel angry or sad. And we
practice good ways to handle our disagreements and make others feel better. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur teach the children that everyone makes mistakes, and that we will always have the opportunity to learn to do better.
A few of the songs the children will be singing:
Dip the Apples (Clementine)
Dip the apples in the honey
Blow the shofar loud and clear
Shana Tovah, Shana Tovah
Have a happy sweet New Year.
Apples and Honey
Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah
Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah
For a good, good year,
For a sweet, sweet year.
Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah.
I Like to Hear the Shofar Blast
I like to hear the shofar blast
Sometimes slow and sometimes fast!
I like to hear the shofar blast
Happy, happy, happy new year!
3. T‘ru-ah ----
Wishing you a happy and sweet new
Sara, Sandy, Shelley, Jennifer,
Jeanne, Morgan, Jill, and Bonnie
When my kids and I went for a walk yesterday we crunched through some fallen leaves. The grocery store is filled with mums and pumpkins, the air is getting cooler (or it was for a few days there), and the back to school sales are over...all signs that fall is coming. Along with fall come some very big transitions for children, namely going to school and heading off without mom and dad, some for the first time. It can be a hard time for them, and us parents too. With the first day of classes at Temple Ohav Shalom Center for Early Learning happening in a few days, I wanted to share some strategies to make your child’s (and your) transition a little easier.
We’ve got this, parents! We are excited to get to know you and your children and are looking forward to a great year of learning, exploring, and having fun.
It's hard to believe that summer is almost over! That means it's just about time to head back to school. Hear at Temple Ohav Shalom Center for Early Learning, the teachers have been busy. Recently, they had a staff meeting to begin to get ready for the new year, talking about their ideas and hopes for their classrooms and the children they will be with. They have also been working together in each of their classrooms, rearranging furniture, organizing materials and making plans for the very first days of school. We are looking forward to seeing everyone on the first day, but before then we have a couple events planned. First is a play date on the the playground, which will give families old and new a chance to meet one another and explore our outdoor spaces. The second is a Parent and Teacher Meet and Greet, which will give parents and care givers a chance to meet and talk with their child's classroom teachers. If you are enrolled already, check your inboxes for more information on these events.
See you soon!
We all look forward to those special days throughout the year when parents and grandparents come into the center to create, explore, and discover together with their children. This year we began our Thanksgiving celebration in the sanctuary where the children sang favorite songs for their families. Later in the classrooms families enjoyed special snacks prepared by the children and shared in the children’s daily experiences of paint, collage, clay, blocks, stories, and pretending!
A family potluck dinner of favorite family recipes was held to celebrate Sukkot and the Thanksgiving season. Watercolor papers prepared by the children were used by parents to trace the children’s hands and add messages of gratitude. Handprint leaves from all the families are now hanging outside the classrooms on our tree of gratitude.
This fall, as we began a new school year, parents were asked to share their hopes and dreams for their children by writing their wishes on a ribbon that would become part of a school-wide art project. In the studio the children constructed beaded wires and added their own hopes and dreams to the project. We hope that these dreams will become part of the early childhood experience at Ohav Shalom.