Dear Little Stars Families,
Can you believe we are completing our sixth 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 snack, the children know to pick up their placemats, carry them to the trashcan to scrape off any leftovers, place the mats in the basket on the sand table, and then go sit on the carpet and look at books. And these Little Stars are doing it! (Some with reminders, of course.)
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 drawing with crayons and markers. 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.
Another emphasis in the school day has been colors. The teachers started with yellow, red, and blue, then moved into mixing yellow and blue, then red and blue. The Little Stars have made play dough and goop of these colors, finger-painted, made collages, hand-printed cloths (which will be used to cover shelves when they are “closed”), painted at the easel, cooked colorful foods (yellow corn on the cob!), and even painted (and glittered) their “little stars,” which are hanging from the ceiling in the rug area.
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 “Leaves are Falling”), and read fall books, including “Leaves” by David Ezra Stein. This week the Little Stars took an autumn walk together up St. Johns Place to 8th Avenue, across to Union Street, then back down and across 7th Avenue. Along the way the Little Stars observed and collected leaves, which they are using to make collages. And brown is the color of the week, with the Little Stars making brown play dough and using brown paint.
Another exciting development in the Little Stars room is the use of the side yard for late morning play. Weather permitting, the Little Stars teachers hope to use the side yard every day before lunch as an outdoor time for large motor activities – running, scootering on ride-on cars and tricycles, climbing, and sliding. It is a sight to behold, watching the Little Stars walk carefully up and down the steps on their way to the side yard and singing “We’re walking down/up the stairs” to the tune of “Heigh Ho The Dairy-o” as the teachers vigilantly make sure each child is safe. **If you have any old ride-on cars or tricycles to donate, we’d be happy to add them to our collection!
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. Please be sure to check the white board just outside the classroom door each day to get details of the Little Stars day. And I will be sending out these longer updates each month to delve more deeply into the curriculum.
P.S. Please remember to have your child wash her/his hands when arriving at school each day. We are trying our best to minimize the spread of germs, and hand-washing is one of the most effective methods. Thanks!!
P.P.S. Hope you can all make it to Curriculum Night: Wednesday, October 15, at 6:00pm.