From the Desk of the Principal:
The sweet month of February is here. We will be celebrating Valentine’s in all our classrooms on Friday February 12. We will get class lists out to all in case you want to send in some Valentine’s in for your child’s classmates. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the parent survey. Your feedback is so important to us and we really appreciate hearing from you.
Just a reminder that we will be closed on Feb. 15 for our teacher in service day. This is a very valuable time of learning for our staff and I am sure you will see the evidence of our efforts in your child’s classroom environment.
Mary Kay Stern
Check out what’s happening in…
Infant A: Infant A students have gotten some new classmates and have been happy to welcome them to the class! The babies are working on tummy time, grasping toys and responding to their names. Some of our older Infant A babies are on the move, crawling and pulling themselves up to standing position!
Infant B: Infant B has felt the different textures of paint and cotton balls to create hot chocolate crafts! They are working on responding to the teachers through eye contact and sounds as the teachers sing and talk to them. Many of us have also started pulling up to standing position and walking! We are making big milestone achievements in Infant B!
Toddlers: Toddlers have been learning about farm animals! They have practiced crayon strokes across paper to color farm animals. They are working on identifying the animal names and matching them to their correct animal sounds. They are singing farm animal songs and learning about barns.
Beginners: Beginners have been learning about the weather. They have done sorting activities matching the colors of the rainbow and creating clouds, rain and lightning. They have been weather watchers, checking the weather every day. They change weather bear’s clothes at circle time to reflect the day’s weather.
Intermediates: Intermediates have been learning about hibernation. They learned about what kinds of animals hibernate and have done many crafts to create those animals! Intermediate students have also been making connections between letters and their sounds as they learn that the Bb sound is for Bear and Mm sound is for Mouse!
Pre-K 1: Pre-K 1 students have been learning about penguins, polar bears and other arctic animals. They participated in a blubber experiment and learned about how animals in the arctic stay warm. They used their spatial mathematics skills to use shape pieces to create and build arctic animals.
Pre-K 2: Pre-K 2 has also been learning about penguins! This month they practiced their math and writing skills by using goldfish to add and subtract! Pre-K 2 learned that penguins eat fish in the arctic. Students have been listening to and reading penguin stories and getting their creative juices flowing to write about what they would do if they were penguins!
Sunday, February 14th – Valentine’s Day
Monday, February 15th – SCHOOL CLOSED President’s Day/In-service Day for teachers
From the Education Department:
Helping Your Preschooler Develop
Positive Friendship Skills
Are you puzzled by some of your child’s social behaviors? Have you noticed that your toddler doesn’t interact with other children very often? Does your three-year-old get frustrated when a classmate won’t play with him? Will your four-year-old only play with her best friend?
These are all normal social behaviors for preschoolers. Learning how to develop friendships is a lifelong process. Children’s social behaviors evolve from smiling and cooing at others, to engaging in parallel play, to eventually forming friendships and playing together.
Below are ways we help develop friendships in the classroom, as well as ideas for you and your child to do at home.
In the classroom: Before they can communicate verbally, infants build connections by smiling, cooing and crying. By two months old, they might turn toward other infants, and by twelve months, they begin to imitate their peers. Teachers help facilitate this relationship by sitting infants near each other during activities such as story time and tummy time.
At home: Even though infants don’t really play with one another, they still benefit from “play dates” with other infants. Sit your infant face-to-face with another infant or in close proximity to an older sibling, and provide each child separate toys. Note when your infant watches the other child and what captures his attention.
Recommended reading: Friends by Helen Oxenbury and Let’s Play by Leo Lionni
TODDLERS (ages 1-2):
In the classroom: Many young children tend to engage in “parallel play.” They play near other children, but each child is doing something different. This is a natural phase of development. As children get older, they begin to enjoy more shared activities with their peers. For example, they might enjoy splashing their hands at the water table with others, looking at books while sitting close to a friend, and dancing to music with their classmates.
At home: Invite another parent and child to your home for a play date. Blocks, balls, dress up clothes and toy kitchen sets are great toys for children at this age. Don’t force them to play with each other. Instead, let the children decide on the level of interaction.
Recommended reading: Do You Want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle and I Can Share by Karen Katz
BEGINNERS (ages 2-3):
In the classroom: In the Beginner classroom, teachers refer to classmates as “friends.” Students learn about personal space and begin to practice good manners by saying please and thank you.
At home: Model positive behaviors while playing with your child. Say “I’m going to roll the ball to you. Can you please roll the ball back to me?” Afterward, say “Thank you. You are being a good friend.”
Recommended reading: How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? by Jane Yolen and Let’s be Friends by P. K. Hallinan
INTERMEDIATES (ages 3-4):
In the classroom: Between ages three and four, children attempt to understand social situations, but often do so from an egocentric point of view. They need adult guidance to help them navigate peer conflict and model appropriate friendship-making behaviors. Small group activities help children learn how to follow directions, take turns and develop friendships.
At home: Ask your child about their friends and what games they played together. If he says, “Andrew didn’t play with me today. He’s mean,” you could say, “Andrew may have wanted to play a different game today. Maybe you can play together tomorrow. What does Andrew like to play?”
Recommended reading: Just My Friend and Me by Mercer Mayer and Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney
PRE-K/PRE-K2 (ages 4-5)
In the classroom: Friendship in Pre-K and Pre-K2 is usually reciprocal and deliberate as children become more skilled in social interactions and look for peers with shared interests. Our character education program reinforces friendship making skills using songs, games, books and brain-builder activities to nurture skills such as collaboration, understanding feelings and resolving conflicts.
At home: Bring your child to events that include multiple children, such as birthday parties, or encourage your child to play a board game that requires multiple players. Ask him to introduce himself to the other children, or encourage him to play the game taking turns. If you notice frustration from your child, say, “In order to play the game, we all have to play together.”
Recommended reading: Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel and A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom
Don’t be concerned about the number of friends your child has, as it is more about quality than quantity. Each child will develop friendships at his own pace. What matters most is the development of social skills such as collaboration and problem-solving, which will help him transition into elementary school and beyond.
– Lauren Starnes, PhD – Director of Early Childhood Education