Dear Bears Families,

Winter has been the curriculum focus in the Bears Room these last several weeks – and how fortunate that the weather has cooperated! The Bears have read many fiction books about winter including “The Biggest, Best Snowman” by Margery Cuyler, about a little girl who builds a big snowman (and builds her self-confidence, too) with the help of her forest friends; “The Big Snow” by Jonathan Bean, about a little boy eagerly awaiting a big snowstorm; and “Is That You, Winter?” by Stephen Gammel, a whimsical story (with wonderfully original illustrations) about winter’s arrival. This last story was followed by a fun group discussion responding to the question “What do you want to say to Winter?” The Bears have also enjoyed their outdoor times in the snow: catching snowflakes on their tongues, observing snowflakes on black paper, making snow angels, and tossing snow on their friends. Winter art activities have also filled the Bears classroom as the children have made snow people by gluing cotton balls, buttons, opal glitter, pompoms, and pipe cleaners onto blue paper (these are displayed just outside the Bears door); created a winter tree (displayed by the cozy closet) by sponge-rolling blue paint on white butcher paper then painting a black tree on it and covering it with white snow, both painted on with a brush and spray-painted on with a spray bottle; drew pictures of “A Snowy Day” using oil pastels and white paint (these are in the block area); and made snowflakes out of cotton swabs, glue, glitter, and blue paper (displayed on the closet doors). Some winter songs the children have enjoyed singing include “Fine Little Snowman Fat,” “The Snowy Pokey” (with dancing), and “All Winter Long.” And on a couple of particularly cold days the children had their own cozy and fun times indoors, enjoying hot chocolate and warm bread and butter one day, and creating their own winter snowstorm in the classroom on another by using white streamers and opal glitter. The Bears then put on their jackets and delighted in this classroom “snowstorm,” making snow angels, pretending to ice skate, and having a snowball fight.

The Bears have also focused on the ways animals respond to and survive in winter. They have read “A Bed for the Winter” by Karen Wallace, and “Over and Under the Snow” by Kate Messner and beautifully-illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. They discussed how polar bears stay warm in the winter and conducted an experiment  by which they placed their hand in a plastic bag, put another bag filled with lard over their bag-covered hand, and then placed their hand into ice water. The Bears agreed that the “blubber” kept their hand warm. They also read “Goodbye Geese” by Nancy White Carlstrom (pictures by Ed Young), a poetic book that explores the seasonal changes of winter. The Bears followed this reading by responding to the intriguing question, “If you were Winter, what would you do?” Please see the children’s responses posted in the circle area. The Bears also read “When Winter Comes” by Robert Maass, then talked at circle time about how water freezes and melts. The teachers gave the children an ice cube to pass around, and as they passed it they watched and talked about the changes in the ice cube – words like “cold,” “wet,” “slippery,” “dripped,” “shiny,” “smaller,” and “square to round” were all mentioned. FYI – it took 3 1/2 complete circles of passing for the ice cube to melt.

IMPORTANT NEWS: we have a new student in the Bears Room, Natty Zinn. The Bears children have been wonderful in welcoming Natty to his new classroom. Please be sure to say hi to Natty’s parents, Jessa and Jeremiah, and welcome them to the Collective as well.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: the Collective will be closed on Wednesday, February 4 for Staff Development Day.

Have a wonderful weekend,


PS  Please remember to submit your auction donation ASAP. We so need these donations to raise funds for our Tuition Assistance program for the following school year.  The Tuition Assistance program is so critical in supporting the diversity within PSCCC, and we cannot overstate the importance of broad participation in this fundraising drive. Thank you!