Dear Little Stars Families,

Can you believe we are completing our seventh week of school? Your dear Little Stars have so seamlessly acclimated to their new classroom and teachers – you might think they had been attending for months! I love to visit and see how happily and easily they follow the day’s routines and move through their transitions. For example, when they are finished with their lunches, the children know to pack up their lunch box (some with a teacher’s help) and carry it to the sand table, then proceed to get ready for nap time. And these Little Stars are doing it!

The establishment of consistent routines and structures in the classroom foster 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 the Little Stars are having such a great time playing – building train tracks and block structures, scooping and pouring sand in the sand table, pounding and rolling play dough, and painting at the easel. It is a very joyful room, and I savor every moment when I can visit.

The teachers have begun the year with a strong emphasis on building classroom community by helping the children get to know each other. The teachers play different name games and sing a number of “name” songs throughout the day – at circle times (“Who Came to School Today” is a favorite), at snack time, and at good-bye. And the teachers constantly speak to the children about one another, pointing out to them who else is playing with them in an area or eating with them at snack or lunch. All these games, songs, and discussions help a child see herself/himself as a member of a group, which is a foundational piece of creating community.

With the arrival of fall, the teachers have recently begun an autumn curriculum. They have talked about fall at circle time, sung autumn-related songs (“Acorn Brown”), and read fall books, including “Fall is Not Easy” by Marty Kellogg, “When the Leaf Blows In” by Steve Metzger, and “Leaves” by David Ezra Stein. Last week the Little Stars took an autumn walk together. Along the way the Little Stars observed and collected leaves, which they then used to make collages. First, they made individual collages by placing the leaves on sticky contact paper (adhered to red construction paper – see them on the wall by the circle area). On another day they made a group leaf collage by brushing glue onto their painted red mural (on butcher paper) and then pressing leaves onto the glue. Please take a look at this collage on the wall outside the classroom, along with the photos that document the Little Stars’ process of collecting, gluing, and pressing. The Little Stars also made fall color prints by dipping plastic cups into red, yellow, green, brown, and orange paint, then pressing the cups onto white paper to make prints. Please take a look at these prints on the wall above the sand table – so interesting to see the individual approaches.

And finally, Monday’s music class – Music with Brian – has been going beautifully. The children have been singing and marching and moving about, and enjoying Brian very much. A fun time for all!

That’s it for now. Hope you can all make it to Curriculum Night tomorrow night: Thursday, October 22, at 6:00pm.