DIRECTOR’S REPORT, DECEMBER 2015
- Julie Baron visited and observed at Georgetown Day School on November 5.
- Staci Bauer, Jackie Whiting & myself attended the annual conference for the Education of Young Children in Orlando November 18-21. Click here for a list of workshops we attended. Please look them over and ask us about them!
- After three years with us, Angel Richardson, 4-6 aide in the Green Room, has had to move on. She is in her senior year at Trinity and needs the time to work on classes. We wish her well. We are in the midst of interviewing for her position.
AUCTION – Many thanks to all of you who worked so hard and gave so generously at this year’s auction. With special thanks to Dorris Lin for chairing the event. Folks commented to me that it was the most sociable of events we’ve had in years. At this point, I think we may have hit our target. Yeah!
APPLICATION TO INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS – If you are applying your child to a private school for the fall of 2016, please get the teacher recommendation forms to us by December 23. Otherwise we cannot guarantee completion by the deadline. Thanks.
EXPANSION NEWS – Our architect met with us to go over more details on the drawings and design issues. Final drawings have been returned from review to the architect for changes. We met with our permits lawyers to make sure that we have everything in order for permission to move into our swing spaces during construction. We are finalizing our extended lease with the church for occupancy of the new spaces in the fall! See more details in the Board of Trustees minutes for the meeting of November 10.
QUAKER HOUSE DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER
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
RAINBOW ROOM DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER
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.
The Rainbow Room Team
GREEN ROOM DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER
Holidays are the perfect time to enjoy cooking with your children. Cooking together can be a delicious learning experience for children and their parents. Cooking offers many opportunities for growth and development and is great activity for the classroom as well as at home. Kids can develop science and math skills and small motor control, build self-confidence, explore their senses, and it encourages creativity.
- Develop science and math skills
According to Rosalind Charlesworth and Karen K. Lind in the book Math and Science for Young Children, “Cooking provides…children with practical applications of science and math”. By just observing in the kitchen while parents are cooking, a child can learn the different states of matter. When water is boiled it created steam (water vapor); when water is placed in the freezer, it turns into ice. When an egg is cooked, it becomes harder. Children can also learn measurements by helping put the ingredients into the mixing bowl. Furthermore, you can help your child home basic math skills by doing something as simple as counting eggs or pouring water into a measuring cup etc.
- Develop small motor control
Using cooking tools, such as shredders, graters, grinders, and melon ballers develops fine motor skills and add to a healthy self-concept.
- Build self-confidence
Realizing they can take part in and contribute to the adult world provides great satisfaction for children. This helps boost their self-esteem. Children love to show what they can do and working in the kitchen provides opportunities to gain a sense of accomplishment. If they helped making the pie crust, let them know that their help was important. You could name the pie or another dish after your child. Serve “Will’s Pie” or “Ella’s Salad” for dinner tonight. Even if the end results are not exactly what you expected, praise their efforts.
- Explore their senses
Kids learn by exploring with their senses and the kitchen is an ideal place to do that. Invite them to listen to the whir of the mixer, pound dough and watch it rise, smell it baking in the oven, and finally taste the warm bread fresh from the oven. If it smells good, looks appealing, and is easy to eat they may just be willing to try it!
- Encourages creativity
Allow children to make decisions, add extra features, and do as much of the work as possible. Praise youngsters for experimenting and making something different. For example, making a Happy Face Salad gives children the opportunity to be creative and unique.
***Happy Face Salad
(Ingredient per child)
- 1 pineapple ring
- 2 tablespoons cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup grated cheese
- 2 stuffed olives
- 8 raisins
Directions: Have each child assemble the pineapple ring on a plate. Then have them add a mound of cottage cheese in the center, grated cheese for hair, olives for eyes, and raisins for a mouth. Encourage the children to create different types of faces – happy, sad, excited, etc.
Throughout the month of December, the Green Room will be doing cooking activities together. Feel free to share with us your holiday recipes.
BLUE ROOM DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER
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