Parent Information

During the summer of 2011, we were fortunate to receive the gift of a birdfeeder from Mr. Hal Stein, a member of Shaare Tefila Congregation.

Once school began Mr. Stein, who requested that the children call him Zaide (grandpa in Yiddush), came to teach the Bumblebee class about birds. He showed us pictures of local birds and we discussed what we noticed. He built us a beautiful birdfeeder and we learned about birdseed. We were all so interested in learning more about birds!bird2

We excitedly went outside and helped Zaide install our beautiful birdfeeder right outside of our classroom window. He even included a special piece on the birdfeeder pole to keep squirrels out of the feeder.

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As our property had been a construction zone, Zaide was unsure when or even if birds would find the feeder, as they had probably been avoiding the noisy area for many years. For days we anxiously watched out of our classroom window hoping to see birds eating at our feeder. We looked at the bird pictures and used binoculars in hopes of seeing and identifying a bird.bird4

Finally, Juncos and Sparrows came to our feeder! We took notes and drew pictures of our observations. We love observing the birds outside of our window. Soon we could identify many of the birds we were seeing. “Look -a tufted titmouse!” “Now there's a black-capped chickadee!” “Oh, the red-winged blackbird is back!”

bird5To take our exploration further, we talked more about the lives of birds. The Morot asked the children what they wanted to learn about birds. One of the children asked, “Where do the birds go when they are not at our bird feeder?” Another child added, “Do they have their own homes?” So, we showed the class photos of different types of bird houses. We examined the pictures, discussed the similarities and differences, and drew pictures of our observations. We learned that although many birds live in nests, some live in the ground, some dig into the tree and others live on the side of cliffs. One child noticed, “Wherever the birds live, they make sure that the door to their house is only big enough for them - not for animals that might eat them.” Another child asked, “Where do they get the rope to make a nest?” Next, we used found objects and created a birdhouse for the classroom.

bird6We also placed shredded paper, twine, feathers, ceramic eggs and Audubon society plush birds in the sensory table, as well as additional “nesting” material around the classroom. We talked about how the birds fly around looking for material to make their nest. The children spent several days designing scenarios for the birds to fly around the room, adding more materials from around the room to the sensory table and imagining the birds living there. One child, looking at the sensory table, noticed, “Our {plush} birds have all the stuff they need to make a nest - but how do they MAKE the nest? This isn't a nice nest.”

bird7So we began learning about weaving. We created a loom in the classroom and the children took the same materials that had been in the sensory table and began to weave them together. “We're just like the birds!” a child exclaimed.

Although we are no longer focused on the birds in our class, they remain constant companions who bring us joy each day.