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January Newsletter

From the Desk of the Principal:

It’s hard to believe that it is 2016. The year has flown by and we are excited about all of the changes we have seen, the biggest of which is the use of the new Tadpoles program at Chesterbrook. We are thrilled with the feedback from both parents and teachers and look forward to discovering expanding uses for this great tool.  Below you can read about all of the specific learning experiences that happened throughout our school in December.

We wish everyone a safe and happy new year and are grateful as always, to have you as part  of our Chesterbrook family.

  • Mary Kay Stern


Check out what’s happening in…

Infant A:  This month in Infant A, Ms. Jamere and Ms. Aly have been reading Pat the Bunny and encouraging the babies to explore the textures and sounds included in the story. The babies have also been listening to holiday music and using instruments to participate in new songs! Our Infant A children were also able to investigate “edible hot chocolate play dough”. They were able to squeeze and squish the play dough working on their grasping and other fine motor skills!

Infant B: This month, Infant B children have been exploring winter! They have used various materials including paint, yarn, paper towel rolls and felt to work on fine motor skills and discover differences in texture. Infant B babies continue to participate in songs and finger plays and some of us are starting to mimic hand motions in songs!

Toddlers: Our Toddler class has been learning about winter holidays and the winter season. They have been singing songs like “Frosty the Snowman” and naming clothing worn in cold weather including, hat, jacket, gloves etc. Toddlers have done projects independently and working as a group to create winter themed creations! Working on a group art project is a great way to promote social skills growth and patience.

Beginners: This month in Beginners, the children have been participating in sensory experiences related to the winter season. They created hot coco paint and peppermint paint using paint colors, shaving cream, hot coco and peppermint. Beginners worked on their fine motor skills using clothes pins to pick up “snow” in the sensory table. Beginners also enjoyed having “mystery guest” parent readers this month! Thank you to all who were able to participate!

Intermediates: Our Intermediates learned about Dinosaurs this month! They read dinosaur books, graphed their favorite dinosaurs and participated in a dinosaur egg experiment to determine the effects of warm and cold water on the dinosaur eggs (dinosaur toys frozen inside water balloons.) Intermediates were scientists again as they learned about winter and created snow using baking soda and water! They explored the concept of melting and participated in a sink and float experiment to determine which classroom objects would sink and which would float.

Pre-K 1: This month the students in Pre-K 1 learned about holidays around the world including Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah. They discussed differing traditions and differing family make-ups. They continued to build on their language and literacy skills including forming letters and making letter-sound relationship connections.

Pre-K 2: Pre-K 2 has also been learning about holidays around the world. They have used a globe to begin to understand that there are various places in the world with varied traditions, customs and cultures. They have also been utilizing their Post Office dramatic play center where they are able to gather packages and write letters and postcards to be “mailed.”

School-Wide Events:

This month our Pre-K 1 and Pre-K 2 students were treated to a special visit from the fourth graders at Chesterbrook Academy Elementary school. They read a Gingerbread Man story and created a craft with our students. Our children even got to meet the Chesterbrook Academy lion mascot!

As a part of our Character Education and citizenship curriculum goals, our school also participated in a Pajama Drive. As a school, we donated 52 pairs of pajamas and Scholastic donates one book with every pair! They have been distributed to families in need in our community.


Important Dates:

Friday, January 1st – New Year’s Day, School Closed

Monday, January 11th – Winter Session of Makin’Music starts (see front desk for enrollment details)

Saturday, January 23rd – Open House 10 am- 1 pm

Tuesday, January 26th – Tooth Buddy Show 11 am


From the Education Department:

The Value of Visual Art Activities for Your Preschooler

Visual art experiences help children develop skills such as critical thinking, self-expression, problem-solving, communication and collaboration. Our teachers focus on process-based art education, in which the experience of creating art is valued over the end product.

In our classrooms, teachers integrate art into many aspects of our Links to Learning curriculum. After reading a book about polar bears, teachers might ask students to create their own polar bears using sponges, paint, markers and paper. They encourage students to talk about their art, providing a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary, particularly words related to colors, shapes,textures, and emotions.

Our students are also exposed to and inspired by famous artwork. In order to cultivate that fascination, we discuss famous artists and art works and ask students to create replicas of well-known paintings and sculptures. For example, after learning about Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, teachers mimic the activity in the classroom. They tape paper underneath tables, and students practice painting a masterpiece while lying down.

Below are visual art activities you and your child can do at home, as well as recommended reading.

At Home:

  • Provide your child with finger paint, a large piece of paper and a smock. Let him create a masterpiece. Talk about how the paint feels and what colors and shapes he creates on the paper.
  • Start a journal with your child. Have him draw a picture of something that happened during the day. Avoid giving direction. Instead of saying “Draw a picture of your teacher and classmates,” encourage him to experiment using different colored markers or crayons. If age appropriate, ask your child to write a few words to describe the picture.
  • Give your child a piece of paper and a box of crayons or markers. Show him how to use the materials to make dots, lines and swirls on the paper. Let him take over and have fun. Encourage conversation about your child’s art by saying, “Tell me about what you made” or “I see you used a lot of blue in your picture. Why did you choose that color?”
  • Ask your child to decorate a sign for his bedroom door using various art materials. Have him write his name on the sign.

Recommended Reading:

  • The Dot by Peter Reynolds
  • Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
  • Art by Patrick McDonnell
  • Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
  • Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

It is wonderful to share the joy that children naturally take in using art materials.  Giving children extra opportunities to connect art to the world around them, contributes to happiness and future success in elementary school and beyond.

– Lauren Starnes, PhD – Director of Early Childhood Education


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