Dear Rainbow Families,

It has been a wonderful start to the school year with the Rainbows busily engaged in the classroom, forging relationships with teachers and classmates, and learning the structure and routines of the school day. The Rainbow teachers place a strong emphasis on establishing consistent classroom routines and structures from the get-go so as to foster a sense of security in the 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 tremendously in all the areas of the room: the blocks, manipulatives, dramatic play, art, sand table, science, and writing table. It is such a pleasure to pop into the Rainbow Room and see the children engrossed in their play – building block towers, finger-painting (and waving their paint-covered hands at me), painting at the easel, and engaging in a variety of scenarios in the dramatic play area. And aside from setting up these consistent days, the teachers have also been helping the Rainbows learn these new routines and expectations through reading books together and engaging in follow-up discussions. Some of these books have included “We Love School” by Marilyn Janovitz and the delightfully mischievous “David Goes to School” by David Shannon, out of which the Rainbows discussed what NOT to do in the classroom. 🙂 Please check out the charts posted on the classroom walls that list the children’s replies to the various questions posed about school.

The Rainbow teachers also make a concerted effort each year to be sure that the classroom reflects – and is truly owned by – the children. As you look around the room, please notice all the places you find the children’s art work, names, and discussion charts. Another piece of this ownership is the calendar of “special days” created by the Rainbow children. Each Rainbow comes up with an idea for a special day, and the teachers schedule them across the year. Parents – we need your help to fulfill these special days as they require assistance from home. This month our remaining special days are:

Monday, October 19 – “Bring a Train to School” Day

Wednesday, October 28 – “Bring a Book to School” Day

Please be sure to mark this day on your calendars at home! And if you forget, the calendar is posted on the bulletin board just inside the classroom door.

Another curriculum area for the Rainbows has been the beginning of fall. The Rainbows have discussed how we know autumn has arrived and read such books as the thoughtful “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” by Julia Rawlinson (pictures by Tiphanie Beeke) and “The Little Yellow Leaf” by Carin Berger, a sensitive and beautifully illustrated book about a leaf’s reluctance to face the changing seasons. Another lovely fall book read by the Rainbows is “Leaves” by David Ezra Stein, about a bear experiencing his first autumn and the ensuing confusion of seeing leaves fall to the ground. Some autumn art activities have included painting an autumn tree at the easel (many of these paintings are displayed high on the walls around the classroom); making leaf, apple and acorn prints with tempera paint and cookie cutters (displayed on the closet doors); finger-painting with autumn colors (orange, yellow, green, red) and using one’s fingers as brushes; and drawing pictures of “Me on an Autumn Day” using oil pastels on construction paper, then dictating what she/he is doing (with the words written to the side): “picking up leaves,” “jumping on a leaf pile,” and “looking at leaves.” These pictures are displayed on the far wall by the art table. The Rainbows have also made their own class tree by painting a brown trunk and branches and gluing their collected leaves on it, along with leaves that they have decorated with eyes and mouths. And of course, the Rainbows have been observing the beginning of autumn during their walks outside, looking at the changing leaf colors and the leaves falling to the ground.

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 Rainbows. 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.

And finally, a reminder that Curriculum Night is next Thursday, October 22, at 6:00 PM. There will be no childcare at Curriculum 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.

Thanks for reading!