Dear Bears Families,

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving holiday, it is only fitting that the Bears have been focusing on Family as a curriculum theme. They have read several family books including “Love is a Family” by Roma Downey, a sensitive book about how families have many different configurations but are all unified by their love for one another; “The Family Book” by Todd Parr, a vibrant book that celebrates the diversity of families; and “The Great Big Book of Families” by Mary Hoffman (pictures by Ros Asquith), a joyful book that also explores the many different make-ups of families. They have also had many discussions following these books, including one about the ways we show love to our family and another in which the Bears named the different members of their families. The Bears have also made family portraits using crayons and white card-stock paper. These delightful portraits will be displayed soon – be sure to look for them. And along with this theme the children have learned a new song – “Who are the People in Your Family” – which they enjoy singing at circle and throughout the day.

Thanksgiving itself has been the subject of books and discussions in the Bears Room this week. On Monday the Bears read “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” by Chief Jake Swamp (illustrated by Erwin Printup), a quietly reverential book of thanks to our natural world, adapted for children from the Iroquois Nation’s Thanksgiving Address. Afterwards the Bears talked about what they are thankful for, with family figuring prominently. Please see the chart of responses in the circle area. They also read the charming “A Turkey for Thanksgiving” by Eve Bunting (illustrated by Diane de Groat) – it had the children on the edge of their circle mats – and then talked about what they were going to do for the holiday weekend.

The Bears have been engaging in many new and different art activities these past few weeks. You may have seen the teachers working with them to make body tracings. The children are now “spray painting” their tracings – these will be up soon for us all to enjoy. They also recently made string paintings by dipping individual pieces of twine into blue, red, purple, or orange paint, then placing the twine pieces on one half of a piece of paper. Once the children had their twine placed just so, they folded the blank side of the paper on top of the twine, pressed down, opened up the paper, and removed the twine. The results are colorful, symmetrical pictures – please take time to view them on the far wall of the circle area. The children also made monoprints this week. First they chose orange, blue, green, or yellow tempera paint to be dolloped onto a cookie sheet. Then the children took a sponge roller and rolled out the paint to cover the sheet. Next they used their index finger to draw a picture into the paint, carefully placed a piece of card-stock paper over the cookie sheet, pressed down on the paper, then peeled off the paper from the sheet. The results are monoprints of their finger-drawn pictures.

And finally, I just want to thank you all again for helping to make International Food Day such a success. Your family posters were wonderful – the children (and parents) learned so much about each other and they continue to enjoy looking at them. And the lunch foods were amazing – it was so lovely to see the Bears eating at their banquet table and trying all the different foods from their classmates. The Bears teachers have put up some photos on the back of the easels – please be sure to take a look. It was truly a special day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday,