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March 2024

 

Whole School News

 

This month’s space theme has been out of this world!  The children have enjoyed playing with the space puzzles and books, playing in the moonsand; making spacey pictures, creating each planet and pretending to live on each one.  We began the theme with the Sun; and it is a star, with 8 “orbiting” planets, it gives us heat, light, and life! Then, we discussed two new planets each week (beginning with Mercury, and ending with Neptune).   We followed up our fun “planet facts” with “planet painting”; adding planets to our Solar System mobiles, posters and books.  The prekers also enjoyed playing our “orbit game” . . . one child would stand in the middle of the circle and be the sun, another child would “orbit” the sun (while holding “Mercury”, “Venus” etc.).  Each week, we added two more planets, until the final week, when we had 9 children (the sun and its 8 planets) playing the game while the rest of the children sang the “Solar System” song . . . or until a fresh teacher ran through the middle of the “solar system” as a shooting star.   Each child has worked very hard. . . they will be very excited to hang them up at home! We had a blast with the Solar System theme!  The children would love to see themselves in the photos I email home!

 

Preschool News:

Your Preschoolers have been out of this world!  Seriously, we have been visiting the planets and the sun in our solar system each day.  We learned so much this month and had much fun with all of our reading and learning during small group time in regards to the solar system.  Each week we learned fun facts about the planets, followed by painting each planet and the sun and then adding each to our spectacular Space project.  We had fun with Aliens and Rocket Ships too!

 

We also spent the month talking about our new Color (Green), new Shape (Oval), new Number (7) and our new Month (March). We talked about our new Season, Spring, and what signs we might soon see outside and how, for now, we will still need to dress warmly on cold days, but with any luck we will not need any snow pants!!!

 

We read many books this month, one in particular was Little blue and little yellow by Leo Lionni.  We then incorporated 2 art/science projects with the lesson learned in the story.  Blue and Yellow mixed together make GREEN.  We used yellow balloons and yellow paint along with blue balloons and blue paint.  We used the balloons and gently tapped them into the paint and then gently tapped each color onto paper, making gorgeous Shamrocks for our St Patrick's Day activity or to create Aliens and rocketships for our Space Project. 

 

Be very proud of your children, they are wonderful little people and are working so hard.  We are amazed and very proud of them.

 

 

Pre-K News:

We have been so busy this month!  The Pre-K children have worked hard and have completed the letters T, U , V , W, and X.  We learned about what lines are needed to write each letter as well as what sound each letter makes.  

 

Our Questions of the Week this month were:

"Do you like Tacos?"

"Do you like Video Games?"

“Do you like Watermelon?”

The Pre-K children have been practicing writing their names again this month as they have in the past few months.  

 

Our “alphabet workout” song is coming along quite nicely!! We practice several times a week, and the words, combined with the dance, are reinforcing our year-long letter work fabulously!

 

Here’s the link so your students can PLEASE practice at home:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE-ljfAmZis

 

We experimented with the colors yellow and blue. . . making a new color!  We also made much poofy paint, to create our planet models. .  making poofy paint was a fun “chemical reaction” science experiment!  We also played “sink/float” and “hypothesized” about what would happen with each item. . . would it sink or float???

 

We have been working with numbers this month through our daily calendar work as well as with number games.   Your children are learning to factor, simple math, and “more than, less than” concepts.   Our students are gaining a wonderful grasp of the calendar.  Please try to have the school calendar available for them to use every day. . . and practice, practice, practice. . . . makes progress.

 

Stay tuned for our April push up challenge!!!!

 

Coming Up:

April will begin by introducing us to the process of growing a plant. We will learn about the 6 steps to growing a plant, 1. a vase, 2. soil, 3. seeds, 4. water, 5. sun, 6. time. 

 

We will be spending more time outside; planting, catching worms, and snakes and going on nature walks. 

 

Soon, it will be time to apply sun screen and a sprits of bug spray before the children arrive to school.  I feel I am on a never-ending quest for the best sunscreen.  I’ve recently found: Seventh Generation Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, it has a really high zinc oxide content.  BUG SPRAY, even a spritz over clothes will create a barrier protecting your youngsters from ticks.  I like to make my own bugspracy, a combo of witchhazel and “bug blend” essential oils by organics infusion.com.

 

Here’s a little more info on lyme disease: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html

 

SAVE THE DATE:

Wednesday, May 22nd, 6:00 Rockland High School 52 MacKinlay Way, Rockland, MA 02370 for our End of the Year Show! 

 

 

Alphabet Party!!!

The children have worked hard all year, learning their alphabet and alphabet sounds. .  . . . . . and we want to paaaarrrty!  We’ll be partying hard on April 11th and 12th, just before April vacation.  A very cute idea. . . . . . if you are interested. . . . would be to either dress your child in a t-shirt with their favorite letter on it. . . . or, better yet, make a “favorite letter” t-shirt. . . . .

 

 

Harmony Graduates are coming back!!!!

The graduates of last years class will be here May 15st and May 16th to share their Kindergarten experiences with our pre-k class!!!!!!

 

 

 

Thank Yous

Thank you very much for your continued support!  The papertowels are a huge help! 

 

 

House Keeping  

I am hearing beautiful manners from my students.  You should be very proud of your little ones.  I am complimented on your children’s manners and behavior by every professional and non-professional that come for a classroom visit!! 

 

 

 

Child Development Ditty 101:

 

Harmony Family Preschool

Behavior Management Plan

 

Philosophy:  As parents and teachers our goal is to positively guide our children from infancy to adulthood; helping them develop into positive, independent, problem-solving, adults.

 

1.  The first step:  understanding the child: socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically.  Behavior is a choice; and often misunderstood.

a.         The behavior a child chooses in any environment, with any given stimuli is most often

                        1.         Satisfying a need, or

                        2.         Attention getting

b.         As a child ages, caregivers must respect and balance the child’s needs with age appropriate expectations of behavior.

 

For example:  a young child who has a very high need to move cannot be expected to keep their body still for any length of time; that would be setting the stage for this child to satisfy their need negatively.  As parents, we can adjust our expectations and plan for this child’s needs accordingly.  However, as this child ages, we also need to increase our expectations and teach the child how to positively, safely, and respectfully, satisfy their need to move; because by the time that child is age 6 he/she will be expected to sit for almost 4 hours a day, in the first grade.  Therefore, the first step to creating a behavior management plan is to balance your child’s needs with age appropriate expectations.  (Food for thought:  do you expect enough from your child?  Do you expect too much?  It is helpful to have a book that outlines what you should expect from your child, a good one is The American Academy of Pediatrics: Caring for your Baby and Young Child, birth to age 5, by Dr. Steven P. Shelov)

  1. Discipline= to teach.  As teachers and parents we strive to guide our children towards desired behavior.  Please don't confuse "punish" with discipline. . .  to punish means TO HURT. . . .   to discipline, means to TEACH. . . one strips away safety/respect/and dignity. . . the other enlightens/grows/and expands knowledge. 

  2. There are three main types of behavior management styles

    1. Authoritarian (dictator, order with no freedom)

    2. Permissive (freedom without order, unlimited choices, always needing to make the child happy, and rescuing)

    3. Democratic or positive guidance (freedom within order, limited choices). 

 

 

Positive Guidance at Harmony:  At school, we practice positive guidance.  Any “undesirable” behavior is a “teachable” moment.  Here are some contributing factors that create a “positive guidance” environment:

A        Predictable Schedule:  knowing what is “usually” going to happen next is very comforting to children and eliminates many potential behavior issues.  The children know that they will have the opportunity to run during outside time or indoor movement; and that it would be an unsafe choice to run during any other time of the school day.

B         Model Desired Behavior:  We follow the same rules that we expect the children to follow; we don’t run in the classroom. . . . unless it’s outside time or indoor movement time.

C         Praise, Encourage, and Empathize with desired behavior.  “Thank you for safely walking in the classroom, I know it can be a hard rule to follow.”

D        Crystal Clear Rules/Positively Enforced:  At school the rules are simple:  we are safe, kind, and respectful. . . . no exceptions.  If a child makes an unsafe choice, we offer a positive correction.  For example:  “be safe, walk please,” instead of “how many times have I asked you not to run in the classroom.”  The first example uses much less words, communicates clearly, and we (teachers) don’t feel used up at the end of the day.

E         Give Information!!!:  If the positive correction doesn’t stop the running, then we give the child more information.  “We need you to walk in order to keep you and everyone else safe; if we run, you could trip, bump your head and get hurt OR bump into one of your friends and then you would both get hurt”.

F         Choices & Consequences:  If giving information doesn’t stop the running, then we need to let the runner know that he/she has a choice. . . . they can either “stop the running Or sit until they choose to be safe and walk in the classroom”.

G.        Consistency/Follow Through:  If our budding young runner is persistent in their dangerous choice (and limit testing) we will need to follow through with the consequence and he/she will be asked to sit until they are ready to make a safer choice.

 

I hope you find this outline helpful.  Behavior is cyclical.  It helps to remember three things 1. that children are inherently egocentric and scientific, testing the limits of their world; and 2. being mindful of the very short time they have been in the world and finding the balance between encouraging them to do for themselves and 3. that they often need direction and opportunities to behave well.  The only part of behavior management that we truly have control over is our reaction, to it.

 

The following is a list of adult actions and attitudes that are helpful in working with children.

  1. Sit down whenever possible while supervising.

  2. Use a low, quiet voice; enunciate clearly.

  3. Use language that the child can understand, help the child learn the meaning of the words by using examples. . . “push on bell” means little to a child who doesn’t know what “push” means.. . show him.

  4. Do not give too many suggestions at once; a young child does not have control over his memory.  Adults should be expected to repeat their directions.

  5. Be relaxed

  6. Be CONSISTENT.  Do NOT tell a child one ting one day and another the next day.

  7. Display confidence in yourself when suggesting that children do something that is important to do.  Make clear-cut distinction between requests in which the child has a choice of action and commands to which you expect complete compliance.

  8. When children are working or playing well, do not interfere. . . .just observe.

  9. Show No favoritism

  10. Avoid talking about the child in his presence, unless giving compliments!

  11.   Be patient.  Children need time to develop and improve GRADUALLY.

  12. Look for what is right with the child INSTEAD of looking for problems.  Build upon their strengths!

  13. Before giving a direction, gain the child’s attention and eye contact.

  14. Be sure you are reasonable and fair in your requirement; then see that the direction is carried out.

  15. Do not make demands in anger.

  16. Avoid conflicts and forcing an issue as much as possible.  A little ingenuity often makes a situation go smoothly.  The child needs to establish a pattern of happy rather than one of negative refusal.

  17. Don’t use tricks or BRIBES as a means of gaining compliance.

  18. Do not make misbehaving exciting.

  19. Praise the type of behavior you wish continued.  Success is the best reinforcement possible.

  20. Allow the child to learn by experiment.  Help him only when it is necessary to avoid failure and discouragement.  Encourage him to find out for himself.

  21. Gradually withdraw your physical and verbal help as the child progresses towards independence.

  22. Let each child grow and proceed at his/her own rate.  Each child experiences their own unique path of development!!!!

  23. Love and respect each child as he/she is UNIQUE.  Observe and notice their “uniqueness” and remember their “sameness”, this will give you a foundation for what you do with and for him.

  24. Know what to expect from your child as he/she ages. . . you must expect more from your child as he/she ages. . . lowering expectations also lowers a child’s potential.

 

Definitions:

 

Personality:    the complex and collective set of characteristics that distinguish an individual.

 

Behavior:        the manner in which someone reacts to the environment, the manner of conducting oneself, to do things a certain way

 

Punish:             to hurt

 

Discipline:       to teach

 

Additional Resources:

  • How to talk so Kids will listen  and  How to listen so Kids will Talk both written by, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.

  • Siblings without Rivalry,  Faber & Mazlish.

  • Setting Limits, Robert MacKenzie, Ed.D.

  • Positive Discipline, Jane Nelson, Ed.D.

  • 1-2-3 Magic, Thomas Phelan, Ph.D.

  • Yardsticks, Children Ages 4-14:  A Resource for Parents & Teachers, by Chip Wood.

  • The Promise of Proactive Parenting, Lynne Reeves Griffin RN, Med.

 

Additionally, the following is a list of adult actions that influence youth leaders:

(received from Bayview Associates: Growing Young Leaders Training, Feb. 2009)

  • Be truthful

  • Grow optimsits!  Demand they tell you three good things that happened to them every day!

  • Squash pessimism

  • Encourage differences

  • Be trusting and trustworthy

  • Promote challenges and high standards

  • Expose them to opportunities – no matter what!

  • No judges!

  • Believe in them wholeheartedly

  • Make room for mistakes

  • Confront perfectionism . . .promote PROGRESS

  • Model the way

  • Offer autonomy and allow it to be earned and maintained . . . this one is huge. . . and the payback is tremendous when you find yourself with principled teenagers!!!!

  • Accept their weaknesses and promote their strengths

  • Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate accomplishments

  • Listen closely, without distractions

  • Allow students to be the experts, when appropriate

  • Provide ample chances to practice leadership

  • Advocate for their ideas and promote their triumphs

  • Humility, humor, hopefulness

  • Relate to their reality

  • Be creative and innovative

  • Give respect – earn respect

  • Patience . . . .pausing a beat. . . practicing patience almost always leads to kindness. . .

  • Don’t’ do for your children what they can do for themselves (this is one of my personal favorites, and the one I re-assess often as my children and expectations of them age. . . . think car payments and cell phone bills down the road!!!    ) good luck!

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