Dear Little Stars Families,

The Little Stars are continuing to enjoy the Transportation Curriculum in their room. Before the deep freeze descended on us, the Little Stars teachers made an effort to take the children out on walks to see the vehicles and traffic in our neighborhood. One day they went to the 67/69 bus stop on 7th Avenue at Berkeley. There they talked about the numbers at the bus stop and what they mean, watched how (and listened as) the bus pulled in and discharged and collected passengers, and also watched for other vehicles passing by, including a tractor trailer with its many wheels. Afterwards they enjoyed a “wheel” snack back in the classroom – mini-bagels with cream cheese – and discussed wheels: what shape is a wheel and what has wheels, with such answers as cars, buses, and fire trucks. Another day the Little Stars walked over to Union Street to see the fire station (we are hoping for a longer visit there soon) and Dixon’s Bike Shop with its wonderful mural of bicycles. They also saw a UPS truck and a Smart Car, which were very exciting. On the way back they chatted with Maggie, our crossing guard friend at 6th Avenue and Lincoln, who spoke to them about safe street crossing, pedestrian traffic lights with the walking figure and the red hand, and vehicle traffic lights of red, yellow, and green.

Some terrific new books the Little Stars have read include “Freight Train” – written and illustrated by Donald Crews (former Collective grandparent!) – a book that truly gives a child the experience of watching a freight train roll by with its evocative language and vivid imagery; “In the City,” which shows all types of vehicles (cars, trucks, bicycles) traveling through the city; and “Cars and Trucks” by Gallimard Jeunesse and Claude Delafosse, which has flaps to lift to see what lies under the hoods of cars and trucks. Art activities have included making vehicle prints with cookie cutters shaped like cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, trucks, and sailboats. (You can see these on the closet doors.) The Little Stars each selected the cookie cutters they wanted to use, pressed them individually into a plate of paint, and then pressed them onto a white piece of paper. To encourage a “sharp” print, the teachers instructed the children to lift the cookie cutter after pressing in order to see the vehicle print left behind. The Little Stars also made a group vehicle collage (displayed over the sand table) by selecting cut-out pictures of bikes, cars, etc., and pressing them onto a clear piece of contact paper. Music also continues to permeate the Little Stars Room with a new Spanish song becoming a favorite: “Vuela Como Mariposa” (Fly Like a Butterfly).

That’s it for now. Stay warm this weekend – and we’ll see you next week,