October 2019 News!

WHOLE SCHOOL NEWS:

October has been so much FUN!!!!  The children are accepting school as “their” time and “their” place, and the support from home has been outstanding.  THANK YOU! 

October has introduced us to so much!!!  Circle meetings are in full swing now, and the children have been doing a super job.  We use a multisensory approach during this time, and throughout the day; infusing age appropriate academics into flexibly structured playtime.  At the large group circle meeting the children learn about the seasons, months of the year, days of the week, numbers, colors, shapes, and their jobs.  The jobs rotate daily, and each child will get several turns being each type of helper.  The children are working hard and also learning how to tend to a group safely and respectfully.

October has introduced the shape, triangle and the color orange; orange is fun as it lends itself to many color experiments.  At every opportunity we became scientists and mixed red and yellow paint, watercolor, shaving cream, or play-dough to create the color ORANGE!  We celebrate the number 2 in October!  The “number helper” job adds the numbers to the number board every morning and leads that part of the meeting.  We have discussed the letters and letter sounds A-H; have you noticed the children touching their faces while doing their letter sounds?  Our “phonic  rap brings awareness to the parts of the mouth that create the sound for each letter.

Octobers’ themes were fire safety, the season of autumn, and Halloween safety.  The children took fire safety very seriously.  We learned our 911 song, discussed fire dangers, talked about where we sometimes see fire and who is in charge of it, what to do if you find a “fire maker” (lighter/matches), discussed smoke, the importance of smoke detectors, and then finished the unit with firefighters, a visit from the fire department, and many fire drills.  We read the book Fireman Small; repeatedly, throughout the month to reinforce the fire safety theme and build familiarity with this books rhythmic language.  Repeatedly reading aloud (the same book), while using fun/goofy voices, using your finger to point to the words as you read and finding details in the pictures are some keys for building early literacy skills.

Don’t forget to check those smoke and carbon monoxide detectors batteries, when you change your clocks back this coming Sunday!!!  We were fortunate to have the Hanover Fire Department make one stop here at Harmony!!  Kudos to you!  The fire department made sure to let Miss Robin know that the children at Harmony were so well behaved that they thoroughly enjoyed their visit!!!  I am so thankful to them for making the time to show us their trucks, teach us about their job, and making our students feel special!  Make sure to see the fire safety photos sent home via email. The children are growing familiar with hearing the smoke detector and learning to evacuate safely. . it’s important to practice your evacuation plan at home too! 

 

Halloween safety is FUN!!  We carved two pumpkins; an optimist and a scary pessimist!  The children are experts at the steps to carving a pumpkin:  1. Clean the pumpkin 2. Have Mom/Dad cut the top off 3. Scoop out the pumpkin guts 4. Pick the face you want to make 5. Have Mom/Dad carve the face 6. Put the light inside the pumpkin 7. Put the top back on. Our pumpkins came out really great! The children had fun watching our plays of how to appropriately and safety “trick or treat”!!!  We pretended to cross the street, walk on the sidewalk (while using a flashlight), and knocking on the doors our parents said was okay!!!  Be safe.  Not to be a buzz kill, but there is an article by the Massachusetts Dental Society about Halloween attached to the end of this new letter!

 

Preschool News:

Our Pre Schoolers have been very busy throughout the month of October. We began talking about our new Color (Orange), new Shape (Triangle), new Number (2) and last but not least our new Month (October). We talk about the season and the weather and what we are noticing outside. We talk about needing coats, mittens and hats, as it gets colder. We also look each morning for our Harmony Angel to see where she may be hiding! She is a great reminder to be Kind, Respectful, Safe, First Time Listeners and Optimists. We have also been working hard at using the Two Hand Rule at our small group time to either answer a question or to let others know we have something to say. We began reading a book this month during our small group time too. The children all turn on their looking eyes and listening ears, turn off their talking mouth and put on their still bodies. We began by reading 'The Way I Feel' written and illustrated by Janan Cain. It was a nice opportunity to address some feelings that we may have when we get dropped off at school in the morning or throughout our day. I think it was very helpful for everyone. Each morning we end our small group time by discussing free choice time and the art/science projects going on that morning. We also have been talking about scissors and how to hold them, followed by using them during free choice time. The children are learning to put their thumb in the little hole and their fingers in the big hole and to always chomp away from themselves. You should be finding orange triangles in their backpacks.

 

We spent the first two weeks preparing for our visit from the Hanover Fire Department. We spent time talking about fire safety at school and at home. We even had homework! The children were reminded that while the Fire Dept. was visiting, we should remember all of Harmony Angels school rules. They remembered and the visit was awesome. They were all Great Students. We read 'Curious George and the Firefighters'.

 

We also had a visit by the school photographer, and Harmony Angel was talked about again, especially our Optimistic smiles! We practiced alot and it showed.

 

The last two weeks we spent talking about Halloween. Again, Harmony Angel to the rescue. She reminds us that even on Halloween, while out and about we should be Kind, Respectful, Safe, First Time Listeners and Optimists! The children had the opportunity to tell us about their costumes and how they themselves will be Kind, Respectful, Safe, First Time Listeners and Optimists. I know they will be great and all will have a good time! We read 'Curious George Goes to a Costume Party’.

 

We continue to work on self-help skills; tending to belongings, putting on coats, using the bathroom independently, and packing up after snack.

 

I am so proud of all my little pre schoolers, hope you are proud of yours!

Miss Robin

 

 

Pre-K News:

October has been a wonderful month in Pre-K!  We have been very busy and have had lots of fun!  The children are amazing us by working so hard to be "great students".  We continue to talk about how important it is as a Pre-Kindergartener to be a first time listener.

 

This month we completed work on the letters D, E, F, G and H; learning each letters sound as well as learning about the lines and/or curves needed to form each letter.  The Pre-K children are doing well with making the letter to sound connection!

  We have used various materials to form the letters we have worked on.  For each letter we learn about, the children have a turn using our Handwriting Without Tears wooden blocks to make the letter.  We used clay to make clay C's.  For D, we worked together, each child using a small dropper to paint Drip Drop D's. While learning about the letter E, we made Elastic E's on peg boards; the letter F. . . “feather F’s” and finally, Golden Glitter G’s!!!!  

 

We continue to build upon self-help skills. The children are making progress, independently unpacking their belongings in the morning and packing up at the end of the day.  We encourage them to try zip their jackets and backpacks and expect them to clean up after snack.  They are so proud when they accomplish these tasks by themselves!  Many of our preKers have such strong self-help skills, that we are asking them to guide the preschoolers along with their self help skill development.

 

The Pre-K children have been working on our Pre-K Alphabet Book this month.  

The children use their bodies (straight or curvy), to form each letter we learn about. I take a photo for the book and add a page containing each child's favorite word beginning with that letter.  When we complete the alphabet each child will have a turn to bring the alphabet book home to share with their family.  

 

 

The Pre-Kers start each day with “morning work”.  They begin by making “estimates” and guessing how many items are in an “estimating jar”.  This seems like purely a game, but is stimulating for young brains to develop numbers sense by looking at items and begin making a relevant estimate.  Included in morning work, is the “mystery” can, using their sense to guess what is inside the can. . . something that begins with the letter of the week. . . by the sound, is it heavy. . . are there more than one. . . .what would make sense??  We reveal the amount in the estimating jar and the item in the mystery can on Thursday and Friday.  After “morning work”, the children work out (lately we have been learning the “git up” dance), then calendar work, letter music, letter tray and a quick art project related to the letter.  PreK morning is PACKED!

 

I am very proud of what "great student" behavior the Pre-Kers have been showing me!  They are learning a lot and are working hard...and it shows!

We have had a great month!

My best, Miss Holly

 

 

Coming Up:

November will be all about “Thanksgiving”.  Our “Thanksgiving story”, takes place hundreds of years ago, way before our Moms and Dads were born, and is about a group of people called “pilgrims” who left their mean king in search of a better life.  They boarded a boat, named the Mayflower, sailed across a huge ocean and landed in Plymouth, long before there were any houses or streets. . . . or Targets. . . . only woods.  Thankfully, there were Native People already here, who taught the Pilgrims how to grow food and make teepees!!  The two groups were so thankful for each other; they celebrated being together, and named that first celebration “Thanksgiving”.  We continue to celebrate being thankful, with the holiday “Thanksgiving”.  What will you be this Thanksgiving?? A Pilgrim or a Native Person?? A wonderful family outing that would GREATLY support our curriculum would be a trip to Plimouth Plantation or the Mayflower!  Reading Suggestions that we love are:

            Today I Feel Silly, by Jamie Le Curtis

            It’s Okay to be Different, by Todd Parr

            Wonderful You, by Marianne Richmond

            Incredible You, by Dr. Wayne Dyer

            Unstoppable Me, by Dr. Wayne Dyer

            Your Skin & Mine, by Paul Showers

            A Potluck Alphabet Feast, by Crescent Dragonwagon

            The Story of Thanksgiving, by Nancy J. Skarmeas

            The Berenstain Bears And the Prize Pumpkin, by Stan & Jan Berestain

            Thanksgiving With Me, by Margaret Willey

 

   House Keeping  

  • ENROLLMENT:  “In school” enrollment for 2020-2021 school year will be Monday November 4th thru Wednesday November 13th.  Enrolling will save a spot for your child, next year. There is a $40 enrollment fee per family.  A non-refundable one-month deposit will be due February 1st 2020, and is wholly applied towards the September tuition. 

 

  • Open enrollment to the public will begin  Thursday, November 14th. 

 

 

  • It’s nearly flu season.  To teach the children how to stay healthy, we are constantly talking about the importance of hand washing, “tissue” nose wiping, and “elbow” cough catching.  Hand washing, washes the germs off of our hands before we eat.  Nose wiping catches the germs in the tissue instead of spreading them on our hands.  (We wash hands after tissue wiping our noses)  And catching coughs into the inner elbow puts germs into our elbow instead of our touching hands.  Each behavior stops the spread of germs and saves us from getting sick.  Thank you!!

 

 

  • Children VIP:  The children will take turns being the VIP (very important person).  Over the next several months, you will receive a blank book in your students backpack, to be completed together with your child, a week prior to their VIP turn. Thank you!

 

  • Please keep your child’s doctors/immunizations records up to date; with every “well visit” be sure to provide Harmony with a copy of your pediatricians school form.  The student records are open for state inspection on any given day, and each form is valid for 1 year.

 

  • Reminder:  tuition is due on the first of the PRIOR month! 

 

  • “R” Stamps:  The children have their right hand stamped with an “R” each time they come to school; so they know which hand is their “right” to cover their heart with when they sing God Bless America (their “left” stays by their side) J.

 

 

THANK YOUS:

  • Open House was a great time!  Thank you for coming out.  The children looked so proud to show off their school.

 

  • Thank you for all of the donations that made our Halloween parties so much fun!!!!  Seriously, every detail of each party was awesome; right down to the adorable napkins!  Thank you for making our time so special!

  • Thank you to all of our Halloween party volunteers!!!!  It made “trick or treating” time extra special!! The pictures are a riot!

  • Thank you to our October volunteer “Ghost” feet cleaner, Shauna!

  • Thank you to our Parent Liaisons for planning our trip to the Farm!!

  • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the donations of paper towels, toilet paper and hand soap!!!  We go through these supplies at an exponential rate. 

 

Child Development Ditty 101:  The Emotional Child

Last month, the “ditty” was about how important it is to think about the whole child; emotionally, socially, cognitively, and physically (both gross and fine motor), and their interrelatedness.  This month, I’d like to expand on the emotional piece of a young child. 

A newborn is capable of “feeling” only a handful of need-based emotions, some examples: feeling hungry or full, being tired or rested, and feeling uncomfortable or comfortable.  In just two short years, a child’s capacity to “feel” grows from a handful to almost the full spectrum of human emotions.  The difficulty is, their brains don’t have the experience, the skills or the development, to “manage” the rush of newly acquired emotions; and very often misbehave or tantrum in response to these “feelings”.   Hence, the misunderstood “terrible twos”. 

At school, we work to create an emotional climate that encourages and supports mutual cooperation, respect, trust, and acceptance; examples of this work are:  maintaining a predictable (but sometimes flexible) schedule, CLEARLY AND REPEATEDLY communicating/defining acceptable behavior choices, positively reinforcing/celebrating desired behaviors, and relationship building (ie: making a connection).

 

When a child is experiencing a negative emotion (and reacting negatively), we try to help the children identify what they are feeling.  We begin by saying, “you look” (whatever it looks like they are feeling).   Many times, they aren’t even aware of why they are feeling badly; instead of exploring the why, in the moment, we work on building skills to manage the emotion positively.  For example, we may explain to an unhappy child that, “it’s okay to be sad, but it isn’t okay to scream while you are upset.” Then, we brainstorm about what their choices are for managing that feeling, right now.  After some practice of identifying what they are feeling, the children, together with a teacher, start to explore the “why” a negative feeling emerges.  For example, a child who is saddened by the transition from home to school, will discover, with teacher support, how to manage that sadness by choosing to be sad successfully (ie not screaming) and then learning how to make themselves less sad, and eventually happy by choosing to do something that makes them happy.  These are the beginnings of strong coping skills!

 

It is very much all of our role, collectively, to help our young students develop positive attitudes, and we do this by beinging interested in the child, modeling positive behavior, being respectful of each other, consistently expecting positive behavior, and focusing on the positive.  Even when the whole class is “happy” we joke about the different “feeling faces” (some pictures are of actual students) that are posted all around the classroom; and ask the children what they think each child is feeling by looking at their face.  Then we ask the children, what could’ve happened to make the child feel like that; what could they do to make themselves feel better?  It’s an opportunity, during a happy moment, to speculate and maybe, begin to realize that other people have negative feelings too; and begin the journey of expanding their innately egocentric horizons.

 

Lastly, it is very important to reflect on our expectations as care givers. . . are we expecting too little from our children emotionally. . . . and are we incrementally increasing our expectations as our children age?  They love being a part of the brainstorming/problem solving process, and are wonderful in helping each other!!!   I hope you find this information helpful

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