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 how this play has been taking off 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, pounding play dough and clay, finger-painting (and waving their paint-covered hands at me), painting at the easel, and diapering and caring for their babies 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 “Going to School” by Barbara Taylor Cook with pictures by Nicola Smee, and the delightfully mischievous “David Goes to School” by David Shannon, out of which the Rainbows discussed what NOT to do in the classroom. 🙂

Along with learning about the routines and structures of school, the children have also been busy getting to know – and learning more and more about – each other through their “Friends” curriculum. The Rainbows have been reading several books with this focus, with follow-up discussions and charts, including “A Rainbow of Friends” by P.K. Hallinan, which celebrates all the different kinds of friends we can have; and the classic “Will I Have a Friend?” by Miriam Cohen with pictures by Lillian Hoban, a tender book about making friends in a new classroom. Check out the Rainbows’ chart with the children’s replies to what they like to do in the classroom with their friends.

The Rainbows 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 special day is:

Thursday, October 23 – “Bring a Bagel from Home” 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 delightful “Fall” by Nuria Roca 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. The beautiful illustrations in “Leaves” inspired the Rainbows to create their own fall tree pictures using thin black markers and orange, yellow, green, red, and brown watercolors. Please check these pictures out. The Rainbows have also made leaf rubbings by using leaves, paper, and oil pastels; leaf prints by dipping cookie cutters in paint (with words from the children about how they know it’s fall – displayed on the closet doors); and leaf people by selecting a leaf and gluing on strips of construction paper for arms and legs, googly eyes, and yarn for hair.

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. 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.

And finally, a reminder that Curriculum Night is tomorrow: Wednesday, October 15, 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 – and hope to see you tomorrow night!