December 2014 SFF Newsletter

Director’s Message

CHILDREN’S GADGETS: SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS – I just read an extensive article on tips for helping children use technology effectively and safely. The article also included a few applications that might work for our children’s age group:

PBS Kids by PBS Kids: Provides videos from over a dozen PBS KIDS television programs, including Curious George, Dinosaur Train, SUPER WHY!, and Sesame Street; Ages 5 and under.

Wheels on the Bus by Kids Games Club: Teaches musical concepts, with an emphasis on popular children’s songs; Ages 5 and under.

Rail Maze by Spooky House Studios UG: Enables children to build their own railroad, while also problem solving; Ages 4+.


  • To all the parents who worked during our Saturday clean-up on November 1 – Yvonne Onyike (chair), Gary Ellis, Julia Gallu, Isabell Adenauer, Haeyoung Harper, Hasina Mizell, JR Rice, Stacey Bosshardt, Chip Yeakey, Dana Rysankova, Anne Hawke, Emilie Cassou, Jean-Louis Racine, Lauren Sun, & Obie Diener.
  • To all the parents who volunteered in the classroom so that teachers might attend the NAEYC conference in Dallas – Will Hughes, Ann-Marie Mason, Nicole Else-Quest, Heather Tatton-Harris, JR Rice, & Stacey Bosshardt.


  • November 4-8, Sabina Zeffler, Makai Kellogg and I attended the NAEYC conference in Dallas. Below please review the sessions we attended, and feel free to ask us any questions you want about what we learned. We’ll also be sharing with the other teachers.
  • November 7, Cyana Chamberlain attended the Mid-Atlantic Early Childhood Association conference at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda.
  • On November 18, all the teachers received training by Sensational Kids on “Sensory Processing & Classroom Performance.”

AUCTION – Many thanks to auction co-chairs Kari Diener & Gi An as well as solicitations chair Alice Dei-Sheldon. Our chairs were very brave this year to try so many new things – a new venue (the first non-hotel in many years); our own caterer and beer and wine bar; a new data base with an on-line catalogue (and their requirement that items be “bundled”), registration, bidding, and checkout. Obviously some of these new efforts were more successful than others. We will be reviewing all of them and making decisions about which ones we will keep and which ones discard next year. The venue was beautiful, even though there was no elevator and the room for our live auction was on the small side. We had very good attendance. Thanks to all the parents who solicited, worked on committees, and attended and bid.

APPLICATIONS TO INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS – If you are applying your child to an independent school, please have the teacher recommendation forms to us by December 23 in order to guarantee that we will get them in by the deadline.

GOOD-BYE – Chloe Souchaud, in the Blue Room, will be leaving us. She has a medical condition which precludes her attending school at this point. (It is by no means contagious, by the way.) I’m sure her family would appreciate any reaching out folks would want to do – to offer support.



DRAMATIC PLAY is central to children’s healthy development and learning during the preschool years. Our Dramatic Play area is extremely popular and we are able to observe the QH-children pretending to become someone or something different from themselves and make up situations and actions that go along with the role they choose on a daily basis. We can hear them negotiate roles, agree on a topic, and cooperate to portray different situations. Watching a child pretending to, for example, talk on the phone to the doctor about her/his sick child gives us a little glimpse into what amazing observers children are themselves. They are trying to make sense of their environment and find their place in the world. They do that by watching people around them at home, in school and their larger community and also through books and media. Often we can see them recreate life experiences, sometimes trying to cope with, for example, their fears by acting out roles and situations that worry them. For example a child that anticipates going to his/her check-up at the doctor’s office can pretend to be the doctor. By assuming this role, the child can switch from feeling out of control to being in charge.

Children want to feel powerful and they create “powerful” situations for themselves where they can make up the rules. At the same time acting out “powerful roles” can be used as a representational way to question the concept of fairness, “goodness”, “badness” and even death. More boys than girls predominantly engage in superhero play, and vise versa more girls than boys engage in the princess play. “They are both a special type of fantasy play that often pretends to be “media characters” imbued with extraordinary beauty/abilities.” (Boyd 1997). In QH children constantly act out stories around a variety of “powerful” themes.

We keep ongoing records of what actually goes on in these scenarios, and it is important to us to guide all the pretend princesses, monsters, moms, dads, sisters, babies, dogs and cats to expand their range of behavior and attitudes involved into their play and help them develop their own unique imagination further. Research shows that children who engage in dramatic play tend to demonstrate more empathy towards others because they have tried out being someone else for a while. They develop the skills to express feelings, cooperate with peers and control impulses. “Drama links “language in movement” with spoken language, creating a bridge between physical world and spoken word. Moreover, it introduces young minds to “as if”- symbolic thinking, the intellectual foundation for problem solving, social learning, and even reading.” (The Dramatic Difference, Victoria Brown and Sarah Pleydell).

During the school year we will offer lots of additional types of drama activities in the classroom – creative movement, puppetry, hand-play, pantomime, and improvisation, choosing roles and settings with props, as well as acting out the children’s own simple story plots.

What can you do at home to support your child’s development? You can encourage the same kind of pretend play at home that we do at school, simply by playing with your child and providing some simple props. A sheet over the table creates a house or a hideout or cave. A large empty cardboard box can become almost anything – a pirate ship, a doghouse, a castle or a train. The nice thing about dramatic play is that it requires only your imagination and some time. Additionally you can read stories together and involve your child in acting out different parts of their favorite story. You can help to extend or change a known story or even create your own plot together. Set rules before the play starts. This is a great time to introduce taking turns with leading and following the story and learning how to take on different perspectives in the game. Introduce new ways of playing – because even monsters and bad guys have a home and a parent and have to eat…

The different areas in our classroom are the primary setting in which children learn. Each area is purposefully set up with educational objects, toys and supplies that we rotate on a regular basis. We welcome any donations like recycling materials to build with or props for playhouse, but ask you kindly to limit the toys your child brings to school each day.

Parents: Please check your child’s clothes cubby for weather appropriate extra clothing.

Happy Holidays to all of the QH-families. We hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends, and are looking forward to see you back in the New Year!

Thanks for all your support!
The QH teachers



This school year is going by fast! The Rainbows have now been in their new classroom for a few months and the many changes that have been occurring, physically, socially, and cognitively, are amazing to witness. The Rainbow Room team has gotten to know the children quite well. The children love to share stories about their families as well as their personal interests. The children will continue to learn and grow as they engage in various activities and explore the world around them.

Beginning next month, we will be introducing a new and important part of our program, the Family of the Week. Each family is encouraged to sign up and come in at least once or twice during their week. Research demonstrates that when families become involved in their child’s education and school community, the more successful the child will be. Please come in and share what makes your family unique. The children love hearing about their classmates’ families and are very proud of their own.

During your family week, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, extended family, and even pets come in the classroom to spend time with the whole class. Here are some examples of what you can do:
-cook/make a snack with the children
-read a story at morning circle
-join children for lunch or snack
-share a special talent/hobby/interest
-describe bedtime or other special rituals
-share culture through clothing, food, dance, music, religious celebration, etc -share special information and traditions about your hometown
-show pictures from a trip and tell stories of your travels
There are also many other options. Feel free to discuss with teachers on ways to make activities developmentally appropriate, scheduling times, etc. It’s important that whatever you decide to do, it is an activity you and your family are actually interested in so that the children can feed off of your enthusiasm.

Thank you,
The Rainbow Room Team



Holidays are the perfect time to enjoy cooking with your children. The Green Room has been cooking every other week, (usually on Wednesdays). It is a great activity and the children enjoy it. Cooking offers many opportunities for growth and development and is great activity for the classroom as well as at home. According to Rosalind Charlesworth and Karen K. Lind authors of the book Math and Science for Young Children: “Cooking provides…children with practical applications of science and math. When someone is cooking the child can measure the ingredients, observe them as they change form during cooking (or mixing), and taste the final product.”

Growing Minds – a program of Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project in the article, Cooking with Preschool Children Farm to Preschool presents some of the Developmental Goals of Cooking:

Cooking to Promote Development and Learning
Cooking is not only a fun, engaging activity for children, but one that has been used for years as an important teaching and development tool for all ages.

Social-Emotional Development – Hands-on cooking activities help children develop pride and confidence in their skills and abilities. The act of following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve.

Physical Development – Chopping, squeezing, spreading, and mixing are all cooking skills that help develop a child’s small muscle control and eye-hand coordination. It’s impossible to separate hands-on cooking activities from physical development for young children.

Cognitive Development – Cooking inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations. Additionally, cooking offers authentic opportunities for students to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting. As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions.

Language Development – With its own vocabulary, cooking is a great opportunity for language development. Take advantage of opportunities for children to match pictures to words and articulate questions inspired by their new experiences.

The Green Room children also have been using their cooking experiences for dramatic play episodes.

Please feel free to share a recipe you enjoy cooking with your child.



As much as we hate to admit it, Winter is on it’s way and we have already been hit with several very cold days. For some of you, this may be your child’s first time in school and as you know, being in school is one of the main ways germs circulate in communities. It happens every year around the same time, a few children get sick and before you know it, teachers and students from different classrooms start getting sick as well. The average healthy child gets sick (has a cold) between 6-10 times a year. It’s impossible to keep children from getting ill, especially in this environment but there are ways we can prevent some illnesses and now is the perfect time to revisit some of these ways. I read several articles that talked about what we can do as a community to help fight these germs.

Proper hand washing is essential for keep the germs away.It is best to wash hands whenever coming in from outside and before meal time (and of course after using the bathroom). School aged children touch a lot of different things throughout the day and they tend to put their hands in there mouths a lot. Teaching children the proper hand washing routine can make a big difference. Remember to have them wash hands using warm water and soap for at least 25 seconds. To keep them engaged in this activity try singing a quick song such and “Twinkle twinkle” or “ABC’s”

Teaching children how to cover a cough or sneeze is also important for cutting down germs. A tissue isn’t always present during these times and children don’t naturally think to cover up when they need to cough or sneeze. It’s preferred to teach children to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm or their sleeve, but if nothing else at least with their hands (which would require immediate hand washing). Germs are less likely to survive when they are smothered as opposed to being in the open air.

Lastly, it’s important to pay close attention to the signs and symptoms of your child. Although there’s not much that can be done about a common cold, sometimes medical attention is needed if symptoms continue for extended periods of time. If your child is ill, the best way to keep them from getting sicker and from spreading the germs is to keep them home for a few days to help build them back to good health.

With that said, just because your child stays home doesn’t mean they will stay in the bed all day. Here are a few fun suggestions to do with your child on a sick day at home to help beat the boredom.
-create a fort,pirate cave, or tent using pillows, sheets, and blankets
-prepare a sick day boredom beater basket which includes, puzzles, low maintenance arts and crafts
-make frozen pops using juice
-make sock puppets using old socks and markers