From the Principal’s Office
What Is A Mother?
A mother is someone to shelter and guide us,
To love us, whatever we do,
With a warm understanding and infinite patience
And wonderful gentleness, too.
How often a mother means swift reassurance
In soothing our small, childish fears,
How tenderly mothers watch over their children
And treasure them all through the years!
The heart of a mother is full of forgiveness
For any mistake, big or small,
And generous always in helping her family,
Whose needs she has placed above all.
A mother can utter a word of compassion
And make all our cares fall away,
She can brighten a home with the sound of her laughter
And make life delightful and gay.
A mother possesses incredible wisdom
And wonderful insight and skill –
In each human heart is that one special corner
Which only a mother can fill!
By Katherine Nelson Davis
Calendar of Events
May Day May 1, 2019
St. Jude Trike-a-Thon May 3, 2019
Star Wars Day May 4, 2019 May the “Fourth” Be With You
Cinco de Mayo May 5, 2019
Parent Orientation May 6, 2019
Muffins w/ Mom, May 10, 2019
Mother’s Day Luncheon,
Mom & Me Tea
Mother’s Day May 12, 2019
Armed Forces Day May 18, 2019
Memorial Day Chesterbrook Academy CLOSED May 27, 2019
Catawba County Schools CLOSED May 27, 2019
For Parents and Teachers
Behavior Communicates Needs
In her Exchange article, “Addressing Children’s Challenging Behavior “ (January, 2011), Mary Gersten observes…
“All behavior has a reason, even if sometimes the reason is not a good one. Behaviors are strategies we use to draw attention to our needs. Children act out if they feel their needs (e.g. for affection, comfort , or security) aren’t being met. They are not mature enough to tell us in words which needs these are. The worst thing an adult can do is to ignore a child’s request for help (which is what the behavior is for), or to be afraid of an outburst. By dismissing the child, or giving into his demands without examining them, we are failing to acknowledge his feelings, and are not offering genuine support in helping him communicate his needs in a way that will get them met. Children look to adults for guidance in how to behave; we allow them to have their feelings in a safe environment, and prevent them from hurting themselves or others.”
Summer Camp Enrollment
Summer Camp begins for all children in the Intermediate A & B, Pre-K, and Pre-K 2 classrooms on Monday, June 17, 2019. We have many wonderful activities planned, many special guests scheduled, and great craft and cooking projects each week for all of the children involved in Summer Camp. Your tuition amount remains the same until July 1st however activity fees will be added each week June 17th–August 23rd.
$12 per week per child
*Includes all meals, picnic lunches, special event fees, etc…
All payments are due on Friday preceding each week. A $25.00 late payment fee is assessed after 12 noon Monday, no exceptions!
To avoid a late fee, make your payment online through the Parent Portal, pay over the phone with credit/debit card, or consider signing up for Electronic Funds Transfer as a back-up. With EFT, if for some reason you forget to make a payment before 12 noon Monday (i.e. your child was out sick, you went out-of-town, etc..) your payment would be made electronically late Monday evening and you would not be charged a late fee.
From the Education Department
Learning Through Sign
When we think of sign language, we often think of the deaf and hearing impaired community. Research is showing, however, that learning to communicate through sign language has immense benefit for children. As more research is supporting teaching early learners through a developmental continuum of oral language skills, phonological awareness skills, and then moving into print knowledge, sign language is finding its place amongst the developing skills (Edmunds and Krupinski, 2004). So why should we teach sign language to early learners and what benefit does it have?
Sign language offers a multi-modality approach to communication. We know that there is a growing body of research which supports the fact that children learn best through not just ‘hearing’ information, but by interacting with the information through all of the senses. In other words, the more senses a child engages in a learning experience, the better the chance that the information will be retained in his or her memory. No longer is it acceptable to merely “tell” the information; Students are encouraged to “say it,” “see it,” “hear it,” “move it,” etc. as applicable. Sign language facilitates the “movement” of language (Hutinger, 2001).
Sign language is seemingly a ‘natural’ form of communication for humans. Not only have anthropologists found that numerous indigenous cultures historically have and continue to use sign to communicate, a 2003 study found that infants can remember signs as early as 6 months and can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words by 8 months of age (Glarion, 2003). Furthermore, infants and toddlers exhibit less behaviors of frustration when they are able to communicate their preverbal needs and wants with their parents or caregivers (Acredolo and Goodwyn, 2009).
Sign language strengthens overall language skills. When we speak and process language, we primarily use the left side of our brain. Processing of movement and non-verbal communication is primarily done, however, through the use of the right side of our brain. By engaging in both spoken language and sign language, children have been shown to exhibit as much as a 17% higher test performance on language and reasoning tests than children who were not exposed to sign language (Daniels, 2001).
Lastly, sign language increases overall vocabulary and thus early reading skills. Vocabulary skills are the earliest stages to reading development. When hearing children learn to communicate in sign language, they are increasing and reinforcing vocabulary as they slowly become bilingual. Even in the learning of a select number of signs, children are able to review existing and acquire new vocabulary. Research shows that young children who have greater exposure to words, along with opportunities to use and comprehend those words, will develop stronger literacy skills later on in life (Hart & Risley, 1999). Moreover, many signs, including the sign language alphabet, look like the word they mean. For example, the letter “y” is formed by holding up the thumb and pinky of one hand and the sign for “car” is two hands grasping an imaginary steering wheel. This visual/kinesthetic representation helps children understand and remember letters and words. Furthermore, these additional symbolic cues can help children bridge the abstract word to a tangible concept, further strengthening vocabulary skills (Dennis & Azpiri, 2005).
Lauren Starnes, PhD
Former Director of Early Childhood Education
25 Ways to be a Loving Parent
Everyday, you show your children in dozens of way how you feel about them. Here are some new suggestions—from serious to silly— to show your kids how much you love them.
Help your child with their schoolwork. Giggle together-share silly knock-knock jokes. Bury a family time capsule and dig it up five years later. Have a backward dinner—serve dessert first! Look through your family photo albums together. Ask your child to draw a portrait of your family and then frame it. Schedule regular family meetings where everyone gets to share their opinion. Start a once a season parent/child date night complete with dinner and a movie. Give your child the gift of culture—take them to a museum, symphony, or play. Start a collection together (anything from coins to seashells will work). Take family walks after dinner. Sit down at the table together to eat meals. Give your child choices about what to wear, eat, do, etc… Set realistic rules and expectations and make sure your child understands them. Be a good role model. Find time each day to talk one-on-one with your child. Praise and encourage your child daily. Give your children age-appropriate responsibilities. Put a funny note in their lunch box. Stick to your rules and be fair. Be patient! Let them know when you catch them being good. Tell them how thankful you are that they are your children. Trust your child and let them know you respect them. Hug your child every day.
Girls and Block Play
January 30, 2012
“The experiences of childhood directly, consciously or unconsciously, affect our parenting styles, the character of our children, and the direction of societies.” Michael Lerner from Parenting and Its Distortions
“While block pay is essential for both boys’ and girls’ social, cognitive, language, and motor development, girls do not engage in block play as frequently as boys. This situation can be attributed to the socialization process –children learn societal expectations for behavior and materials for both boys and girls-lack of experience for girls with blocks, and attitudes of peers that cause girls to feel unwelcome in the block center. There are important differences in the way boys and girls play with blocks; girls use blocks to create an extension of their place in the world, whereas boys are often more intent on the creation of structures and the innovative use of materials. Teachers need to be supportive and encouraging of girls to increase participation in the block center and to use diverse strategies to insure that girls gain the important skills that are associated with block play.”
This advice comes from Barb Tokarz, writing in “Block Play; It’s Not Just for Boys Anymore”, which serves as the basis for the Exchange Out of the Box Training Kit by the same name. In the article, she offers a number of ways to include children in block play.
It may look to parents like preschool is all about playing, but in fact, Harvard researchers have found some long-lasting educational benefits. Although parental involvement and education is often the main influence on a child’s school success, researchers say early childhood education matters, too.
Researchers followed 1400 children in Chicago for 25 years and found that preschool graduates typically had stronger language, math, and socialization skills when they entered kindergarten compared with classmates who did not attend preschool. The study looked at educational achievement, socioeconomic status, health, and crime. Results demonstrated consistent benefits for children who began preschool at age 3 or 4 verses those children who began kindergarten when older and especially for males and children of high school drop outs. As the children became adults, they completed more years of schooling and attained better-paying jobs. In fact, research found that by age 28, the former preschool students had higher educational levels, income, socioeconomic status, and rate of health insurance coverage and lower rates of substance abuse and legal problems than the kindergarten students.
Resources: Thrivent Magazine www.sciencemag.org
Building Your Child’s Sense of Family Belonging
Relationships with family members play an important role as children begin to develop a sense of self. When they feel a sense of identity and belonging within their own families, children are better able to grow emotionally, make friends, and appreciate and accept the diversity of others.
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, it’s a great time to share activities that celebrate the importance of family.
Below are age appropriate activities that we implement in the classroom, as well as activities you can do with your child at home.
In the classroom: Teachers use baby sign language to help children identify and eventually verbalize names for their family members. When parents enter the classroom, teachers say, “Look! Here’s mommy, “ while also signing “mommy.” They work with parents to learn specific names used at home, and then use those names in the classroom.
At home: Use baby sign language as you come across names of family members in books and songs. To sign “mommy,” tap your thumb on your chin repeatedly. To sign “daddy,” tap your thumb on your forehead repeatedly. Remember to say the word aloud as you sign.
Recommended reading: Spot Loves His Mommy by Eric Hill, Are You my Mother? by PD Eastman
BEGINNERS (ages 2-3):
In the classroom: By age two, children begin to learn the names of extended family members, such as grandmother, uncle and cousin. They practice using these words as they talk about their families. After sorting stuffed animals by type, teachers might say, “This is the horse’s family. He has a big family. Who’s in your family?”
At home: Give your child play dough and encourage him to create the members of his family. Afterward, ask him to count and name them. This activity helps him conceptualize that multiple people make up his entire family and gives you insight into what family means to your child at his particular point in development.
Recommended reading: On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott, Oonga Boonga by Frieda Wishinsky
INTERMEDIATES (ages 3-4):
In the classroom: As children read stories about diverse families, teachers encourage them to share unique details about their own families. For example, teachers might ask, “Who has a sister?” or “Who has a pet?” Afterward, students create charts with the information.
At home: Have each member of your family make a thumbprint using finger paint on a piece of paper side by side. Then, ask your child to compare the various sizes, and guess which thumbprint belongs to each person. As they talk about their family members, they begin to appreciate what makes their family unique.
Recommended reading: Clifford’s Family by Norman Bridwell, What Mommies Do Best and What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff
PRE-K/PRE-K 2 (ages 4-5):
In the classroom: Our older preschoolers begin to understand that their parents have more than one role. Family members are invited to visit and talk to the class about their roles inside and outside of the home. Students are encouraged to write and draw their family members in the different roles they serve. For example, “Mommy is a doctor.”
At home: Go on an uninterrupted family outing with your child. Try to avoid checking work emails or answering unimportant phone calls. Afterward, ask your child to write about his favorite parts of the day in his journal.
Recommended reading: Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? by Eric Carle, The Napping House by Audrey Wood
All of our schools will be celebrating families in really fun ways this Mother’s Day season, and we hope that you do too!
– Lauren Starnes, PhD – former Director of Early Childhood Education