5 Day Update

Love is in the air in the 5-day classes. The children have been cutting, tracing and beading hearts.

The Post Office in the Blue Room has been busy! The children loved making and mailing Valentine’s cards for their friends and family.

It was a special treat for the children to walk to the mailbox and mail their special Valentine they made for their families.

In January, the 5-Day talked about winter, hibernating animals and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Thank you for sending in the blocks of wood.  Construction is a big activity in the Blue Room and will continue to be as we explore the story of The Three Little Pigs in its many variations.

The 5 Day teachers

RED ROOM UPDATE

The Red Room is full of love!

The children have been playing matching and counting games with hearts of different sizes and colors. Valentine BINGO is a matching game that is fun and teaches the children about horizontal and vertical as they fill their spots on the card. Furthering their counting skills, the children have counted hearts, putting them in the heart containers labeled with specific numbers.

Using tweezers to move small plastic valentines into a valentine shaped ice cube container has been an intriguing way to strengthen small muscles, count and improve hand eye coordination.  The children loved making heart cookies with red playdoh. Finger painting, painting valentines at the easel, and cutting and making valentines using all types of materials filled the Red Room with lots of love.

Thank you to all of the parents who volunteered their time to make Valentines such a wonderful day.  The children loved the party.

As we are beginning to count the weeks left of winter, we are still wishing for just one more snow.

Please be sure that your child has a change of clothes at school that fits and that is appropriate for the weather in case he or she has an accident.

Thank you, as always, for all of your support.

Fondly,
Blanche, Debbie and Jelena

 

TMO Monday-Tuesday Update

The TMO class is happy to be back in their routine!

The cold weather and snow made the classroom into a winter wonderland with a "snowstorm" in the classroom using torn up paper pieces. They had fun plowing the snow with a small broom and dustpan.

The children have painted snowflakes using many different methods - brush, sponges, marble rolling, and hand prints. They have played in the kinetic sand pouring and scooping and have made snowmen with sand.

The children are using their words so much more, they are participating in music - singing and using hand motions. They love using the scarves as they sing and dance.

With Valentine's has come talk about pink and red and hearts. Our mornings are busy and full of work. We are all happy to spend our mornings together!

Purple 2 Day Class Update

After wrapping up our celebration of winter with hibernation and penguins, we have moved on to talking about families and love and Valentine’s day.

In dramatic play, we have a laundry room which gets a lot of use!  

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We love our new playground!  

So much growth is happening right now!  In short: 

• Movement from parallel play to associative play

• Showing empathy 

• Mindful breathing (without calling it that) to help settle down and control emotions.

(More on each of these below if you want to dig deeper.)

Thank you for entrusting us with the care and teaching of your children!  Every day is a pleasure and an adventure.

Sarah & Amy

• Movement from parallel play to associative play

The children are just now beginning to engage with one another, realizing that they have friendships and asking one another to play.  This is the shift from parallel (solitary but side-by-side) play to associative play.  

• Showing empathy
When the children upset each other or hurt each other, rather than asking them to say they are sorry, which they may not be, we ask them to check on their friend by asking, "Are you ok?”  This shifts their thinking into an empathetic stance. The difference is amazing.

 Mindful breathing (without calling it that) to help settle down and control emotions
We have been modeling mindful breathing (slow inhale followed by slightly longer exhale) when tantrums begin to try to distract and calm the child.  It works!  We say, Breathe with me and model a few slow breaths, then tell the child to use his/her words.  At our last staff meeting, Sara Waechter showed us “Rainbow breathing” which we will show the children this week.  Arms up in a rainbow arc on the first inhale - keep them up for the first exhale - slowly inhale again - arms come down in a rainbow arc on the second exhale.  Try it at home too!

Purple Room 3 Day Class Update

After wrapping up our celebration of winter with penguins, we have moved on to talking about families and love and Valentine’s day.  

In dramatic play, we have a laundry room which gets a lot of use!  

We love our new playground!  The children are using the not-yet-assembled cozy dome for a gopher style pop-up game.

So much growth is happening right now!  In short: 

 

• Movement from parallel play to associative play

• Showing empathy 

• Mindful breathing (without calling it that) to help settle down and control emotions

• “Reading” to each other

(More on each of these below if you want to dig deeper.)

Thank you for entrusting us with the care and teaching of your children!  Every day is a pleasure and an adventure.

Sarah & Amy

• Movement from parallel play to associative play

The children are now fully engaging with one another, realizing that they have friendships and asking one another to play.  This is the movement from parallel (solitary but side-by-side) play to associative play.  

• Showing empathy
When the children upset each other or hurt each other, rather than asking them to say they are sorry, which they may not be, we ask them to check on their friend by asking, "Are you ok?”  This shifts their thinking into an empathetic stance.  Last week, at circle, we discussed a range of scenarios which could lead them to check on a friend.  If your friend is sad, you could ask, “Are you ok?  You seem sad, would you like to play with me?”  I was amazed at how well they understood and immediately implemented this.  Everyone at circle turned to another, without prompting, and asked if he/she was ok.  Throughout the morning I witnessed further appropriate implementation.  It was fabulous!

 

Mindful breathing (without calling it that) to help settle down and control emotions
We have been modeling mindful breathing (slow inhale followed by slightly longer exhale) when tantrums begin to try to distract and calm the child.  It works!  We say, Breathe with me and model a few slow breaths, then tell the child to use his/her words.  At our last staff meeting, Sara Waechter showed us “Rainbow breathing” which we tried on Thursday.  Arms up in a rainbow arc on the first inhale - keep them up for the first exhale - slow inhale again - arms come down in a rainbow arc on the second exhale.  They loved it.  Try it at home!

“Reading” to each other
If you don’t own this book yet, you should get it! 

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Gorgeous Day on the New Playground!

There are times when all the stars are in alignment.  Saturday was definitely one of those days! 

It was an extraordinarily beautiful day in January.  We had chili and mac and cheese aplenty for all who came to the Chilly Chili Cook off.  The children loved exploring the rejuvenated playground. And, despite, the judge’s not picking my chili, we had an expert, impartial judge who was kind enough to take time away from Tarrant’s West to choose the winner. (Thank you, as well to Frances Santarella, Max’s mom and Tarrant’s West owner, who made it possible!)

Congratulations to Rich Markowitz for winning the grand prize - a fabulous set of Wolf cookware - with his Bison chili. (Thank you, Marc Ayscue and Ferguson Enterprises for donating the grand prize).  Kay Tyler took home the prize for number one best macaroni and cheese.  Congratulations, Kay!

Susan Taliaferro, Advisory Board member and playground planner, cut the ribbon, officially opening our new and improved renovated playground.  The money to accomplish the renovation has been made possible by the SSP Parents’ Council.  With Kari Hyman and Annie Turner leading the events, the entire preschool Parents’ Council has worked hard to raise funds with the Chilly Chili Cook Off and Trunk or Treat.  Both events have been hugely successful in the FUNd raising department.  Thanks to each of you who baked cookies, brought chili, moved tables and extension cords or sold tickets.  Our wonderful SSP families supported this event in so many ways!

Your efforts will continue to make a huge difference for the children!  Look for more features to be added in the next month or two. 

The next event on the horizon is Spirit Night in late April or early May.  See you there!

 

Thursday-Friday Classroom - TMO Update

The Thursday/Friday TMO classroom has been transformed into a winter wonderland.  In the art center, the children have painted snowflakes and covered their construction paper with “snow” paint.  They’ve had fun making their own snowman, using small, medium and large white circles then topping their creation with a fancy hat.  We talked about the different size circles and other positional words such as top, bottom, side etc.  Look for their snowmen hanging in the classroom. 

During this month we added the light table to our classroom.  This has been a wonderful and fun way for the children to explore the transparent colored blocks on the table and see the light shine through.   We’ve also been using our colored boxes to sort objects by color. 

During circle time, we had a “snowfall”   with bits of white paper.  The children had fun scooping and pouring the paper into dump trucks, and sweeping the “snow” into dustpans.  We have enjoyed reading books such as What Snowmen Do at Night by Caralyn Buehner, Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Eric Carle and The Mitten by Jan Brett. 

Dressing the felt snowman, again and again and again, has been a favorite activity for all.  The children have put on eyes, a carrot nose, mouth, hat, buttons and arms.  We have also made snowmen out of play dough!  Those small muscles have been busy!

Our outside time has been extra fun with all of the new playground equipment.  The children are giving their large muscles a good workout as well. 

During the month of February, we will be talking about Valentine’s Day and the color red.  As always, thank you for sharing your little ones with us. 

Christine and Liz

Wednesday Classroom - Toddler Morning Out Update

The TMO classroom has been transformed into a winter wonderland.  The children have had fun painting snowflakes, painting “snow” on paper and gluing different sized circles on paper to make their own snowman. 

When the light table was added to the classroom the children truly enjoyed building on it with the wooden blocks with translucent centers.  This has been a fun way to explore light and recognize colors.  

During circle time, we had a “snowfall” with bits of white paper.  The children plowed the snow with the trucks, filled dump trucks with “snow” and had fun sweeping it with a broom into dustpans.  Reading books about snow such as “The Mitten” by Jan Brett and “What Snowmen Do at Night” by Caralyn Buehner has again emphasized the winter concepts.  

With the transformation of the playground, the children have had lots of opportunities to develop their large muscles.  The climbing wall and train have become some of their favorite activities. 

During the month of February, we will be talking about Valentine’s Day and different kinds of animals that live in cold climates. 

GET YOUR CONTRACTS IN NOW!!!

We are so grateful for your family's presence here, and the community’s interest in St. Stephen’s Preschool.  Our perspective class lists are long!

Contracts for 2018-2019 were due January 23.  To those of you who have already returned your contracts, many thanks!  For those of you who have not yet returned yours, please get your contract to us, or contact us by Monday.

If your family would like to apply for financial aid, please contact the office to get an application.  Financial aid applications are due when your contract is returned.

Know we want your child to return.  Once you’re part of the SSP community, you’re always a part of this community!  Let us hear from you.

RED ROOM UPDATE

In conjunction with our discussion of winter, we are learning about Hibernation. What animals hibernate and why do they do this? What do these animals eat? Where do they hibernate? What keeps them warm? Bears are one of the many animals that hibernate. Bear related art and games are all around the Red Room. The children are decorating black and brown bears with various materials giving different textures.  They are using sponges to paint bears and are painting polar bears with a glue and shaving cream mixture. Because some bears live in caves, the children are making different caves using supplies from our art center.

There is a “Hibernation Box” on the science shelf filled with materials representing snow and animals that can hide in a variety of homes. The children enjoy dramatic play with these animals as they act out hibernation. The light table is also filled with winter animals that move through sand leaving their tracks behind.

The children can play color matching bear games which involves sorting and patterning as well as a counting game using bears.  They are enjoying bear books including: Don't Wake Up The Bear, Bear Snores On, Copy Me, Copy Cub, Hibernation Station, and Big Bear, Little Bear.

Our song about Hibernation is sung to the tune of "Alloutte":

Hibernation, time for hibernation
Hibernation, time to go to sleep.
In the winter, where's the bear?
Sleeping in its log or lair.
Where's the bear? Log or lair, ohhhhhhh!

We will repeat the song with other animals including a frog sleeping by a pond, a snake in the mud beneath a lake and a bat in a cave.

Pajama Day was so much fun. The children enjoyed a special bear snack with hot chocolate or apple cider. Their special animals had fun making choices and ended the day with a long nap!

We will conclude our unit on hibernation with a guest speaker from the Nature Club Thursday, February 1st.  Be on the lookout for a special animal house that your child will bring home.

PRESCHOOL OFFERS SPEECH AND HEARING SCREENINGS

Do you wonder if your child’s articulation is on target?    Parents are always good at understanding their own child, but there may be times when you wonder if the way your child speaks is intelligible to others or if his/her sweet mispronunciations will last forever.   Put these concerns to rest with a speech and hearing screening.

On January 23 & 24,  trained specialists from the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center will come to St. Stephen’s Preschool to screen any children whose parents desire it.  The teachers will also encourage parents to participate should they think it would benefit the child.  The cost is minimal, $30, but should a family not be able to afford the cost of a screening, please contact the office.

For most children, no speech work is suggested.  For those children who have speech delays, speech therapy can be a simple fix.  Speech therapy can make a huge difference in a child’s confidence, in his/her sociability and may even give him/her a head start in reading.  Catching speech issues early is a gift.

Please complete the permission slips sent to you via email and return before testing if you would like to have your child receive this service.

Chilly Chili Cook-off

Keep Calm, and Cook On . . .

because the Parent's Council is excited to announce that Executive Chef Danny Kelly from Richmond's favorite restaurant Tarrant's Westwill be the guest judge at the upcoming

Chilly Chili Cook-Off! 

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Bring your best Chili (standard crock-pot size) and Mac 'n Cheese (large casserole dish/standard crock-pot) 

and see if you have what it takes to WIN! 

First place chili will receive a 10-piece Wolf cookware set--worth over $1000! 

First place mac will win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Purchase tickets and submit your entries TODAY! 

Allez Cuisine! 

New Year, New Beginnings & Important Dates

We hope everyone had a safe and happy start to the new year.  It's been a little unusual with the crazy weather and school schedule.

Thanks for everyone’s cooperation during the snow and ice.  By now you know that we follow the schools nearest us, St. Bridgett’s, St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s closing schedule.  If two of the three schools are closed, we are closed.  Conversely, if two of the three are open (or not announced “closed”) then we are open.

Your teachers will email and/or text you if school is closed and our closing will be posted on Channel 6 if we are closed. Please make sure all contact information is correct and updated.

The phone system at the church is being replaced this month. Until that happens, we are unable to receive voice mails.  We apologize for the inconvenience, and eagerly await the new system!

New Five Day Students

We are delighted to welcome two new students, Lennox Hightower and Max Santarella, to our  five day students.  They joined after Thanksgiving and are learning the ropes rapidly.  Please join us in welcoming their families to our SSP community.

Important Dates:

January 15:  Martin Luther King Day   - School closed

January 16:  Vision Screening (for Pre-Kindergarten students)  - more information to follow

January 16 -17:  Toddler 2 Day Classes meet

January 18-19:  Toddler 3 day classes meet

January 18:  Hibernation Day – All classes wear pajamas to school (if the child would like)

January 23-24: Hearing and Speech Screening - more information to follow

January 27:  Chilly Chili Cook-off  11:00-1:00

February 7:  Staff meeting, No lunch bunch

February 9:  Professional Development Day – School closed

February 14:  Red Day

February 19:  Presidents’ Day - School closed

February 28:  Staff Meeting, No lunch bunch