Dear Bears Families,

Spring and planting continue to be major foci in the Bears Room. Recently the children read “How A Seed Grows” by Helene J. Jordan (beautifully illustrated by Loretta Krupinski), a book that clearly and simply explains the growth process of a seed, then went into their small groups and planted red kidney beans and lima beans together in a jar. These seeds have been very carefully tended and regularly watered by the Bears, and now there are beanstalks growing! Please take a look over at the windowsill. Another wonderful book read by the Bears recently is “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, which gorgeously depicts the life cycle of a seed while celebrating the triumph of the smallest one. The Bears also read sections of  “Seeds and How They Grow” by Harold Tennenbaum, then each glued a seed to a piece of paper and drew a picture with crayons of what they would like their seed to grow into. You can check these drawings out in the block area. And on two long pieces of white paper the Bears made tulip prints by dipping plastic forks into trays of paint (red, purple, orange, and pink), pressing them onto the white paper, then dipping their fingertips into green paint and gently spreading the paint to make stems. These panels are displayed on the closet doors.

The spring trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was a big hit last week. The children were terrific walkers, entering at the Eastern Parkway gate and then running across the long, grassy section of the Osborne Garden. They then took the staircase down to the lilacs, turned, and had a wonderful time walking though the Cherry Esplanade and observing the cherry trees at full-bloom. This was especially meaningful as the Bears had recently painted their own cherry tree. From there the Bears walked to the “stick house,” which they visited, and then walked over to the Lily Pool Terrace where they saw the displays of tulips and all their beautiful colors – again, very meaningful after having made tulip prints. From there they meandered back to the Eastern Parkway Entrance and headed back to the Collective, happy, excited, and tuckered out.

Some other recent art activities in the Bears include print-making, done by pouring paint (pink, blue, or yellow) onto a cookie tray, rolling it smooth with a paint roller, using one’s finger to draw a picture in the paint, placing a piece of white paper over the tray, then peeling it off to create the print. The Bears have also made ephemeral pictures together by placing different colored finger paint between long pieces of clear plastic, then using their fingers on top of the plastic to draw, write, and mix the paint together. And have you noticed the Kindness Tree displayed in the circle area? Acts of kindness by individual Bears are recorded on paper blossoms and added to the tree – please keep a watch for more blossoms!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: With warm, sunny weather upon us, children need to wear proper footwear for outdoor play to prevent slipping, stubbed toes, etc. Footwear needs to fit properly and close snugly over the foot, and any sandals must be closed-toe. Also, no crocs! And please remember to apply sunscreen in the morning – and do remember to replenish your child’s supply of extra clothes with warm weather clothes. And please label all your child’s belongings!

Finally, thank you so much for attending the Parent-Teacher Conferences this week. We find it so helpful to have stretches of uninterrupted time to discuss more deeply your child’s growth and experiences here at school. Hope you have found it helpful, too.