February 2020 News!
Whole School News
February has introduced us to so many new lessons; dental health, the February pink heart, the number 6, the letters (and sounds of) R,S & T and asking questions! This months’ science project lasted 4 days! We began with four bright white hard-boiled eggs. . . . We soaked one egg in each of the following: water, red gatorade, orange juice, and coke . . . . We “hypothesized” about what would happen to each beautiful white egg! We checked our eggs every day! Ask your resident dental health expert what happened to the eggs! (You can show them the emailed photos!) I must tell you, Artistic Dentistry LOVES our eggsperiment; and, in the past, have posted our “results” pictures in their office! In the past, they’ve informed us that all sports drinks have too much sugar and acid; that wears away enamel on our young athletes teeth. They have recommended that all children drink only water or milk; to further save their teeth from cavities. The dentist also hates gummy candy that stick to the teeth. Nancy, from Artistic Dentistry was with us on February 26th and February 27th; I was so proud of our great students who were. . . . kind, safe, respectful, first time listeners and optimists. . . as they took in her presentation.
The children had a blast going on toothbrush hunts around the classrooms. Us teachers enjoyed showing our young students our own cavities, and discussed all the ways to prevent them from happening: brushing, flossing, and making healthy teeth food and drink choices. Some good “dental health” children’s books are:
Throw your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth traditions from around the world
Show me your smile! A visit t the Dentist (Dora the Explorer)
Open Wide: Tooth school inside
What do the Fairies Do With All Those Teeth?
How Many Teeth? (Let’s read and find out science 1)
Hello Reader: Make way for tooth decay (level 3)
Food for Healthy Teeth
Thank you so much for giving the school-made toothpaste a try!! A quick note about the floss. . . . even if your youngster isn’t perfectly flossing in between each tooth, don’t fret; the habit they are developing will serve them well down the road, and nurturing that lifelong healthy habit is far more important than the current day in day out “flossing success”.
Just a quick note on our “social” lessons. . . we continue to build upon and add to the lessons/expectations that we’ve been working on since September. We are enjoying awesome success with eye contact, reciprocal greetings, relevant reciprocal language, using someone’s name to get their attention before speaking. . . and always practicing the school do’s. The next “social” lesson we will be cultivating is the art of conversation . . . . . don’t roll your eyes! Some children are simply born “gifted” socially. . . they ask awesome questions, have an innate awareness of what is appropriate to discuss, compliment others, and possess a wonderful ease in making connections. Others . . . need a little support. So how can we school our youngsters on how to connect and or behave socially??? A little back-story first. . . . Your little ones are used to me asking them many questions, every day; but I purposefully ask them two questions every single time they come to school: 1. what was for breakfast, and 2. what was your favorite part of school today? The purpose of the “same” questions, is multifold, but boiled down it creates an opportunity for them to think back in the not to distant past, recall and then formulate a detailed response (not a one word answer) . . . (exercising that brain). I like the second question best because we have a shared “brief” history, so I can help prompt them along with reminders of the days events, as need be. By the time our preschoolers are in pre-k, the responses are detailed and fantastic! Currently, all they are used to my “2 questions” and answering them beautifully . . . this week, I’ve added a third question. . . after they respond I am asking. . . “don’t you want to ask me what I had for breakfast” . . . and “aren’t you interested in what my favorite part of the day was?” Their faces were pretty adorable, and they really did eagerly return the invited “relevant question”. My goal in adding the “3rd question” is to nurture a curious mind. . . teach them how to express interest in another . . . . and that they are capable of making a connecting. I am very mindful of how I am answering their “prompted” question. . . again, modeling what I hope to get from them. . . my responses are shortish, positive, specific, and sometimes I will tell them how something made me feel. I hope you find this helpful! If your little one starts “returning” questions, praise, praise, praise them!!! Oooo. . . often before we start an activity, another question I tend to ask your little ones A LOT because it sparks much thought is, “what do you think?” Again, this question creates an opportunity for them to “hypothesize” or better yet solve a problem independently. Good Luck!
This was a really busy and really quick month! We began talking about our new color (pink), shape (heart), number (6) and month (February). We continued talking about the weather and season and the importance of dressing warm to keep our bodies safe and healthy. We talked about the order in which our outerwear goes on, snow pants, boots, jackets, hats and mittens. We continue to find Harmony each morning and talk about her school reminders. The preschoolers have been amazing with using the two hand rule and contributing during small group time. Even our quietest of friends are eager to show off their big brains and answer questions, it is so rewarding when everyone feels comfort and peace and begins to join in.
We spent the first two weeks talking about Valentines Day, being a good friend and our upcoming friendship party. We talked about how 2 curved lines and 2 slant lines form a heart and had fun using wooden shapes to build a heart. We also drew air hearts with our pointer fingers. We also talked about how to keep our teeth healthy. We asked who brushed their teeth last night, who brushed this morning and maybe even flossed? We talked about healthy foods and drinks. We read 'The Tooth Book' by Dr. Seuss and 'Show Me Your Smile! A Visit to the Dentist' by Christine Ricci.
February was a short month in Pre-K, but a very busy one! We have worked hard and had lots of fun!
So far, we have completed work on the letters A-T. We learn each letter's sound and the lines required to make each letter. The children are doing a great job with their work on the alphabet, recognizing each letter and its sound.
During the week of Valentine's Day we made friendship bracelets for our friends. The children's names were hidden around the classroom for each to find. (They were instructed to not find their own name.) When they found a name we asked them to read it, and that name was the friend they would make a bracelet for.
We have been practicing writing our names again this month. We will practice each week for the remainder of the school year.
In keeping with our February theme of Dental Health Month, the Pre-K children have been enjoying our Hide and Seek toothbrush game! I hide toothbrushes around the classroom for the children to find. We hunt for them and then count them to make sure we found them all (some are extremely well hidden and tricky to find!). Aside from counting them individually and in groups of fives and tens, we also sort them by color and size. The children learn a lot from this toothbrush game!
It has been a fun month!
March is all about Our Solar System!!!
The classrooms are going to make huge transformations over the next 4 weeks. We will not send much theme related art work home; as we like to decorate the classrooms with the children’s art . . . Our school will look very “spacy” when we get done! Our puzzles, books, sensory tables, music, movement and art will be all about the Our Solar System. Our “solar system” song is priceless. . . . . I cannot wait for you to hear your little ones singing it. . It’s a scream! During this unit, I LOVE to make a space ship out of a huge box. . . but don’t have any big ones this year. . . . if you happen to have one will you please save it for me and I can pick it up????
Thank you for the paper-towel and hand soap; we use these up so quickly!
Thank you for the Friendship party donations, I am very proud of how thankful each student was for each and every valentine they received!!
We are almost done with the alphabet, we have 6 letters left; and 7 short weeks between now and April vacation!!!! I’d love to work towards an alphabet party the week before April vacation . . . the children have been working very hard learning their letters, letter sounds, and letter lines! The past alphabet parties have been a big hit! I’m still hearing about it from previous years participants. . . . I hope we don’t disappoint! In the past, the children have decorated t-shirts with their favorite letter on it. During the alphabet party, we look forward to revealing the last letter. . . . but it HIDES! They won’t find Z until they are somewhere at your house! I am going to sneak the letter Z to you. . . . your mission will be to hide it in a place they regularly check. Get as creative at you like. . . (tape it to the inside of a closet door, a stairway, or even the underside of the toilet seat J ) on the party day, they will be coming home feeling disappointed that the letter Z was NOT found. . . . wait until you see their reaction when they find it at their house!!!!
The weather changes so quickly it is most helpful for us to be ready for anything. If your child wears shoes to school, it is helpful to continue packing their boots to keep their feet warm and dry. They love going outside with their friends!
I will be reaching out to the Center School to organize our end of the year show. The date will firm up within the month of March and I will forward email confirmation. (pencil 3/21 and 3/22 into your calendar) This is an evening event at the Hanover Center School Auditorium. The children do a short performance, on stage, and receive their “Harmony Books” on this evening. . . . . it is a special night. There will be an additional fee for the end of the year show. The price will be $20 per family, due May1st. The price covers the costs of the auditorium and equipment rentals for the evening.
If you call during school, and we do not answer the phone, please do not worry! We generally do not answer the phone, and interrupt our day unless one of us is readily available. . . we do check the answering machine as soon as one of us can break away from the classrooms.
Child Development Ditty 101:
Fine and Gross Motor Development
This is a big one; and I’ve consolidated much. Two very important things to consider here are: one, all children experience their own individual rate of development in all areas of “themselves”, and two, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one hour of physical activity per day (broken up over several intervals, but totaling at least an hour per day). The following website is very informative: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/staying_fit/exercise.html#
Fine motor: essentially means “hand muscles”. At school, we provide a plethora of opportunities to develop hand strength (puzzles, cutting, play dough, putty, finger painting, building manipulatives, drawing, dressing, droppers, clothes pins pinching, etc.)
Gross motor: is a child’s large muscle development. Some children have a high need to move, and are physically very strong while others are less interested in movement. For our “high movers”, our challenge is to teach them how to safely satisfy their needs. For our children who would prefer not to move, we work to find any physical activity that they do enjoy, and make that choice available at every possible opportunity. Creating the “movement opportunity” and making it fun can be a challenge during these winter months. Being active, doesn’t have to be structured, having the children “help” shovel snow, garden, push and pull things around the yard all count as being active. . . my all time favorite activity for young children is going to the beach. . . the deep sand creates an uneven walking surface forcing them to stabilize their core, and work their leg muscles, digging in sand is awesome for those fingers (not to mention the sensory input), digging holes and jumping in an out of them. . . finding heavy rocks and making piles .. . it’s a whole body workout for the littles! (even in the winter).
Physically, children develop from their core, then out to their limbs; strong core translates into strong arms and legs, which lead to strong hands and feet. . . a strong student body is important. Stong children have more stamina in the classroom. I am not confusing “strong” with athletic. . . . one can be strong and not have to be engaged in a sport.
I hope you find this helpful. I am wanting to bring into your awareness the importance of supporting the whole child: physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally; one “part” isn’t more important than the other but each ones development is interconnected and dependent on the other, and essential to support as day by day, our children continually grow into strong, smart, problem solving, friendly, happy adults.