Dear Bears Families,
It has been a wonderful start to the new school year. The Bears have been busily engaged in the classroom, forging relationships with teachers and classmates, and learning the structures and routines of the day. The teachers, in turn, have been working diligently to establish consistent classroom routines and structures as this consistency fosters a sense of security in our children, which in turn frees up their creativity and play. In other words, when a child doesn’t have to think/worry about what is coming next or negotiate an erratic environment, she/he can play freely and comfortably. And this play has been taking off! I love to pop into the Bears Room and watch the children building towers in the block area, pounding play dough and goop, painting at the easels, scooping and pouring at the sand table, and dressing up in jackets and hats as they “go off to work” in the dramatic play area. A very joyful room!
The Bears have been busy getting to know – and learning more and more about – each other through the Bears Room “All About Me” curriculum. The Bears have been reading several books with this focus, with follow-up discussions and charts. One book, “I Can, Can You?” by Carol Adorjan with pictures by Miriam Nerlove, was followed by a discussion of “What can you do?”, with the teachers writing down the children’s recounting of their latest accomplishments (see the chart in the circle area). The Bears have also read “Marvelous Me: Inside and Out” by Lisa Bullard, which details the ways the endearing protagonist is like other children as well as his unique, special qualities; “We are All Alike, We are All Different” by Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergarten, which celebrates the multitude of differences in our society; and the delightful “I Like Myself” by Karen Beaumont with pictures by David Catrow. This last book was followed by the teachers asking each child to look in a mirror and describe her/himself, with the teachers then taking an individual photo and writing down the response. Please keep an eye out for this display.
The Bears have written their very own “All About Me” books (displayed in the block area) in which they have written their names and shared their ages, favorite colors, favorite foods, and the things they like to do for fun. They even made their book covers by drawing their faces with markers then painting them with watercolors. Aside from their books, the Bears have made faces by taking circle paper cut-outs and gluing on buttons, googly eyes, and pom-poms. Please see these displayed in the hall. They also made an “All About Me” face snack by using cut bananas, cherry tomatoes, and apple slices for the facial features. And some “All About Me” songs enjoyed by the Bears include “I am Special,” “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” and “Mi Cuerpo Hace Musica” (“My body makes music”).
*Important – please send in your family photo if you have not done so already! The Bears love to look at one another’s photos on the family house display.
The Bears have also been engrossed in a Fall curriculum, talking together about ways we know it is autumn and observing for themselves the change of season during their daily walks to the playground with the leaves changing color and dropping from the trees. They have made leaf prints using paper tube rolls pinched into leaf shapes, then dipping the rolls into paint and pressing them onto paper. They also made fall trees by gluing a brown construction paper rectangle to a piece of paper, then gluing on tissue paper squares of red, orange, yellow, and green for leaves. Some fall books read by the Bears include the very silly “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves” by Lucille Calandro with pictures by Jared Lee; the tenderly-written and illustrated “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” by Julia Rawlinson with pictures by Tiphanie Beeke; and the whimsical “When the Leaf Blew In” by Steve Metzger with pictures by Kellie Lewis. Along with fall, the Bears have been focusing on apple season, singing “Five Little Apples” and “Worms in the Apple Tree,” cooking apple fritters (lots of measuring and mixing!) and eating them for snack, and making red play dough mixed with cinnamon, which they used to make their very own pretend apple pies.
And finally, the children have been so enjoying Music with Brian and Yoga with Jovan. Brian has been engaging the children with an array of children’s songs, and Jovan’s playful and energetic approach to yoga continues to captivate our Bears. She even had them “apple-picking” the other day! Please be sure to check with the teachers which day and time your child is slotted for yoga to ensure a punctual arrival for class.
Some final notes:
1) To keep families up to date with daily activities, the Bears teachers jot down a few highlights of the day on a white paper pinned to the bulletin board inside the classroom. Be sure to check it out when you pick up your child – or ask your sitter to check and pass the news on to you.
2) Curriculum Night – Curriculum Night is tomorrow: Wednesday, October 15, at 6:00 PM. There will be no childcare that night as the teachers attend and present in all three rooms simultaneously. I’m sorry if this is inconvenient, but hope you can make arrangements to attend this informative event. Curriculum Night lasts about 1 hour or so.
Hope to see you tomorrow night!