5 DAY CLASSROOMS UPDATE

In preparation for Easter the children explored egg dying using both artificial and natural dyes.  The colors from the beets, coffee, turmeric, blueberries and red cabbage were subtle and lovely, and the children always love the bright commercial dyes.  Thanks to the teachers, all the eggs were hard boiled and ready for both dying and peeling. The children, using their small finger muscles, peeled the hard boiled eggs and then enjoyed a healthy snack.

A new material, modeling clay, was added to the Green room selection, for children to create birds’ nests filled with eggs.  Clay is fun, creative and requires a harder touch than play dough, again, building those muscles for holding pencils and strong grips.

In conjunction with talk about eggs and what comes from eggs came a classroom wide emphasis on farms.  (Where else would we find eggs?) We were excited to have a visit from the Teeny Tiny Farm last week to give the children an opportunity to touch, feel and listen to a host of very small farm animals.

Now we are counting down with excitement for our seventeen eggs to hatch April 30th in the incubator in the Blue room. We have had fun making chick life cycle flip books. In addition, we have used eggs to watch the process of osmosis. Can dyed water slide through an egg shell? Check out 3 Insanely Cool Egg Experiments - Playdough To Plato to find out!

Next week, we will celebrate Earth Day all week long! Please send in recyclable materials.

Your 5 Day Teachers,
Marcie Moyer, Laura Nelson, Whitney Thouron and Paige Archer

TODDLER 2 DAY UPDATE

Spring is always a wonderful season in the Purple room.  With talk of Easter, bunnies, dragons, gardens, carrots and frogs, we’re enjoying every minute.

We talked about Easter with both its serious and it playful side.  In the lighter vein, there were eggs and bunnies in artwork, in fine motor activities and in the sensory bins.  Thank you to the Stringers and Drummonds for hosting our class Easter Egg Hunts!  

Following Easter we have had dinosaur adventures, construction sensory play, pretend gardening and seed planting.  Our radish seeds are an inch tall!

There’s a “market” in the kitchen area in which the children love to pretend they are buying and selling fruits and vegetables.  The cash register provides wonderful pretend play opportunities.

Continuing this year’s class endeavor to create the animals in Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, we used sponges and green paint to create the paper which will become "Green Frog”.  Check out our walls for the latest addition.

Please apply sunscreen each morning.  We will eek out as much time outdoors as we can in the coming weeks and want to be sure those tender skins are protected.  

4/26 – Spirit Day, wear purple or your SSP T shirt
4/26 – Spirit Night for families at the Westwood Club, 5:30-7:30
5/22 - Last Day - Class Picnic for Toddler 2
5/24 – Last Day – Class Picnic for Toddler 3

 

TMO Monday-Tuesday Update

I enjoyed meeting with everyone at conferences. It's so nice to be able to share the pictures of your children at play and talk about how much your children have grown.

Everyone is happy to be at school and back in our routine. The children have been really enjoying playing dress up, painting and playing in our big box house. They especially liked painting the house with  brushes and rollers.

We are looking forward to warmer weather and planting and will be getting caterpillars soon.  Watching caterpillars go through the stages to turn into butterflies is fascinating for both the adults and the children. It's a wonderful way to end the year.

Thank you for sharing your children with us every week. We are blessed to spend our mornings with them.
Leslie and Christine

RED ROOM Update

The Red room is having a great time exploring the farm with all of its equipment, plants and animals! The children are loving mimicking the sounds of the animals. Another of the activities the children are enjoying is decorating barns using a variety of materials, then sticking farm animals inside.

At the tray table children are sorting and counting animals and matching colored pig tails with similarly colored pig bottoms.  They are painting pigs in the mud with marbles and making cow head bands. Playing with farm animals in the mud then washing them off with tooth brushes in soapy water has been a particular favorite.  Experiencing the texture of “mud”, made with cornstarch and brown paint, is a new feeling, enhanced by having  plastic pigs to roll in the mixture - such great sensory experiences.

The Teeny Tiny Farm will be visiting the school Thursday, April 12th.  The children will be able to see and touch a variety of farm animals!

Thank you as always for all of your support and for sharing your children with us.

Fondly,

Blanche, Debbie and Jelena

Conferences and Easter holiday reminders

Reminders:

Tomorrow is Parent/Teacher Conference day for the TMO Wednesday, Thursday/Friday, Toddler 3 Day, Red Room and 5 Day classrooms.

Child care will be available either in the movement room or playground depending on weather. Suggested fee is $5 per family.

Classes will resume Wednesday. Please note the following schedule for TMO, Toddler 2 and 3 day classes:

Wed, April 4: Toddler 2 day class and TMO Wednesday classes meet
Thurs, April 5: Toddler 3 day and TMO M/ T classes meet
Fri, April 6: Toddler 3 day and TMO Th/F classes meet

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Easter holiday!

Condolences

Our heartfelt sympathy to these St. Stephen's families on the loss of their loved ones.

Purple Room family David, Karen and Abigail Schandal on the death of Karen's father, William E. Cox, "Joe" on Friday, March 16, 2018.

Yellow Room teacher, Marcie Moyer, on the death of her grandmother, Marcyne Jones, on March 17.

Red Room teacher, Blanche Bruns, on the death of her first cousin, Mary Fitzgerald Treta, Sunday, March 18.

 

 

Purple 3 Day Update

It’s been a busy time in the Purple Room. The children continue to be engaged in dramatic play actively using the kitchen area as a restaurant and creating tea parties and picnics. They’ve even made some flower arrangements.

The materials on the train table are ever changing and it’s always a favorite spot.  

Sensory opportunities abound in the Purple room.  Play dough and sensory bins using kinetic sand, beans and other materials provide tactile experiences.  

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After telling the story of the Three Little Pigs, we provided a tray with play dough and choices of straw, sticks or “bricks” along with three pigs and a wolf.

Your children love to be helpers.  We have a sweeper and brooms and dustpans.  They will help dry off playground equipment.  Last week one of the Big Day children asked to select the paint colors for the easel that day.  Perhaps a new tradition has begun!

We are revisiting Eric Carle with some mural painting in red.  Be on the lookout for Red Bird to land on our back wall soon!

We are talking about the seasons which is a big concept for the toddler mind.  Please be sure to notice with your child all the changes around us that signify Spring.  We point out as many things as we can during our time outdoors on the playground and when we take special walks to explore and observe.

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**Special request: we are out of baby wipes.  If your child is still in diapers, please send in an extra container (or two) of wipes to resupply us.  We could also use recycled water bottles and toilet paper rolls.** Thank you!

Warmly,
Sarah & Amy

Purple 2 Day Update

It’s been a busy time in the Purple Room. We celebrated Valentine’s day through art and card making and reading books about family and love to help the children understand what the holiday is about.

The children continue to be engaged in dramatic play actively using the kitchen area as a restaurant and creating tea parties and picnics.

The materials on the train table are ever changing and always a favorite spot.  

On rainy days we make sure to give the children plenty of active time in the movement room.  They enjoy trikes, scooters, a seesaw, cars, balls and anything else we can pull out to ensure some vigorous activity.

Sensory opportunities abound in the Purple room.  Play dough and sensory bins using kinetic sand, beans and other materials provide tactile experiences

Your children love to be helpers.  We have a sweeper and brooms and dustpans.  They will help dry off playground equipment.  Last week one of the Big Day children asked to select the paint colors for the easel that day.  Perhaps a new tradition has begun!

In movement, Preston uses a wide variety of activities including this one for balance and agility.

We are talking about the seasons which is a big concept for the toddler mind.  Please be sure to notice with your child all the changes around us that signify Spring.

**Special request: we are out of baby wipes.  If your child is still in diapers, please send in an extra container (or two) of wipes to resupply us.  We could also use recycled water bottles and toilet paper rolls.** Thank you!

Warmly,
Sarah & Amy

Extending Extended Day

In the fall of 2016, St. Stephen’s Preschool began an experiment.  We offered a class for a small group of  children 4.5 to 5.5 years old who could stay daily until 2 pm.  As one of the parents wrote, “Thank you for giving (my child) the opportunity to participate in the extended day program last year.  The program gave her an opportunity to focus on her academic skills, and I watched those skills steadily develop over the course of her final year at St. Stephen’s.  She has transitioned to Kindergarten seamlessly, and I truly feel that it would have been a greater hurdle for her had we not enrolled her in the extended day program.”

We are pleased to announce that we have added a second classroom for slightly younger children to have this experience next year.  In the fall, children who have turned 4 years old may participate in the extended day, a class similar to a Junior Kindergarten program, from Monday through Friday until 2 pm. These children will become part of a small afternoon class, with the same teachers and same classmates every day beginning at noon. The curriculum will be an extension of the morning concepts.  Extended Day children will be part of the same Enrichment classes available to all 3.5 to 5.5 year old's; they are already included in the Extended Dday fee.

For those who are not ready to commit to the daily Monday through Friday afternoon program, Lunch Bunch and Enrichment programs will still be available.

We’re excited about your response to our experiment in 2016 and anticipate this combination of Lunch Bunch, Enrichment and Extended Day opportunities will allow your child to find just the right fit for him/her at St. Stephen’s.

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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