February Newsletter 2013

From The Director

Last month was full of surprises! The month started out with colds and eventually turned into the flu for many staff and children, including myself. Another exciting event was the adoption of our newest member to the preschool, a bunny that the children have affectionately named, “Cupcake”. One of the parents told me she had found the bunny at Live Oak Park and that it needed a home. Of course, I asked Mother Julie and the rest is history.  It has been many years since our last bunny died and it is lovely to have a pet for the school. The benefits that children learn when caring, feeding and playing with the bunny are numerous. We will begin potty training him this month, but it looks like he is beginning to get used to us and learning to do it on his own.

Chinese New year begins Sunday, February 10 this year. The celebration usually lasts for 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival.   Families give gifts of tangerines and oranges. Children dress in their best clothes and use their best manners. New Years presents are beautiful red envelopes filled with “Lucky Money” to buy holiday treats. Families spend time cleaning their homes, eating a special dinner, playing games and singing and listening to stories. There is a parade featuring a Dragonhead with a long cloth attached to the back with children dancing and weaving through crowds of people. We try to celebrate as many of these traditions as possible. The children will clean toys with us, make lanterns, make a dragonhead and have a special luncheon. The luncheon is scheduled for February 11 at 11:30 a.m. After lunch, all children will participate in the dragon parade on the bike path.  We ask parents to help provide some lunch items. Everyone is invited to attend and join in the celebration. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Last month, I purchased some new teaching materials to use in the Pre-Kindergarten, Ms. Kim’s class. It involves a method called Tray Tasking.  The method was developed by Victoria Folds, Ed.D. She is a NAEYC validator and mentor. Tray Tasking teaches parents and educators how to engage children in activities that promote whole body preparation for reading and writing skills while having fun. Children use common household items in new ways that lead to strengthened eye and hand coordination for future reading and writing success. A child manipulates the items organized on a tray using movements that require them to engage their eyes, arms and hands in left-to-right and top-to-bottom directions—the same directions used for reading and writing. The tray arrangements promote respect for materials and orderliness in a child’s world, and reinforces that there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place.   Ms. Kim and I will begin using these methods with the children next week. Please let me know if you would like to see the new curricula. The children will be evaluated on these activities and results will be shared with parents at the next parent teacher conference.

The church is having upcoming events that you and your families are invited to attend. The Church will have their annual Rummage Sale on Friday, February 9 at 8am-2pm. They always have such good stuff .Please come and find some new treasures. Also on Tuesday, February 12, the church is hosting a Pancake supper for the season of Lent.The menu includes: Pancakes, Sausage, Fruit, juice and coffee. The children can participate in an art project making Mardi Gras masks.  You may sign up if you want to on the purple sheet on the clipboard on the sign-in desk.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Ms. Marie

From The Assistant Director

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Year of Snake! I hope the New Year brings health and good fortune for all! In February we will have a Chinese New Year Luncheon and parade. The children always have fun marching around the bike path with the dragon made out of a cardboard box. They bang their instruments loudly and shout “Gung HayFat Choy!” We will also be having Valentine parties in the classrooms on Valentine’s Day. The children enjoy giving Valentine cards to their friends. Each child may bring a box of valentine cards to school on the day of the party. The Valentine theme offers an opportunity for the teachers and the children to talk about friendship and how important it is to treat our friends kindness and with respect.

In January, many of our children and some of the staff were sick. Here at school we teach the children to use a tissue to blow their nose and to cover their coughs and sneezes with the inside part of their arm. We have them wash their hands after doing this. Please practice these hygiene habits at home to help reinforce them with the children.

The children in the preschool are working each day learning the names of their friends, teachers, and objects in their environment. One fun way to teach children names of things is to point things out while driving in the car or while at a store or restaurant. We also practice our manners like saying “Good Morning” when we arrive at school and “Goodbye” when we leave. The children are getting good at remembering to say “please” and “thank you”. Teaching these skills is an ongoing process that takes some time to learn. Practicing every day helps a lot.

In closing, I would like to tell everyone how happy we are with our new preschool pet, the bunny named Cupcake. You are all welcome to look at him and say hi to him when you pass in the hallway. One of our students, Jasper and his Mommy donated Cupcake to us. We asked the children to tell us some names for the bunny and we wrote them down. Ms. Marie had Jasper pick a name out of a bowl and the winner was Cupcake! It was one of our Seahorse friends that came up with the name. I wish everyone a great month.

Ms. Rita

Calendar Of Events

Groundhog Day                                            February 2

Chinese New Year Luncheon                     February 11

Valentine’s Day                                            February 14

President’s Day (School Open)                  February 18

From The Butterflies

In the month of January the children have really loved reading a new book called, “Over the Rainbow”. It has beautiful pictures and has the famous song “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. The children request it all the time and recently I have been reading it to them practically every day before they nap. Their favorite songs right now are “ABC” and “This Little Light of Mine”.

We recently got a new rabbit for the school. His name is “Cupcake”. He is just so sweet and the children love him. The children are great with him and know how to be very quiet and handle him gently. Most of my class has started potty training and are doing a phenomenal job. Your children are all so fun and so charming. I can’t wait to see what next month is going to hold for us!

The month of February, I will be working with the children on cooperation, sharing and communication.    Instead of screaming “mine!~ when another child takes a toy away, I ask them to say “Please give it back” or if a child has a toy another child wants instead of grabbing or yelling at the child say  “Can I have a turn?”. I will play “Tea Party” with the children in the house this month. I am hoping that they will begin to use manners,  and acquire more language skills as I model for them and play with them.

We will have a Chinese New Year celebration on February 11th with a nice meal and a parade. Valentine’s Day is on the 14th and we will have a class party. Please bring in six Valentine cards with your child’s name written on it. The children will have an opportunity to pass them to each classmate at circle time. One rule we have at our school is that we cannot bring candy,but fruit chews are acceptable.

Ms. Alison

From The Dragonflies

Gung Hay Fat Choy!   Happy Chinese New Year! I wish everyone  a prosperous and good year. This month we are celebrating Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. We will have a Chinese New Year luncheon and parade. We will listen to a story called “Round is a Mooncake.” This picture book teaches about shapes and explains the cultural significance of the objects in the book such as: lanterns, rice bowls, and dim sum. On Thursday, February 14, we will have our Valentine’s Day party at 9:15 am in our class. We will also exchange Valentines after the party. Please bring in 10 Valentine cards with your child’s name on them. Please do not send candy to school.

This month’s themes are Around the World, Valentine’s Day, and friendship. We will learn how to be kind to one another. I will encourage the children to find a partner to do puzzles with, a partner to walk with, and  to help friends clean up their toys. I will also show different pictures of emotions to the children so they can identify them. We will continue working on expressing our feelings in appropriate ways. If your child is angry, he or she can express it without hurting other people. Some examples to express anger in a safe way are: punching soft pillows, hitting a drum, or expressing the anger verbally.

In January, the children have practiced their gross motor skills through these activities such as: pedaling a tricycle, jumping, climbing, and running. Also, the children have learned their colors and how to sort different objects by their colors.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ms. Frannie

From The Seahorses

In January, we studied winter and artic animals through science activities like playing with ice in a plastic tub and the sensory exploration of Insta-Snow, which looks just like real snow and even gets cold when water is added.The children learned about cold weather animals like polar bears, penguins, and we discussed which animals hibernate in the winter.  We also learned about Health Workers like veterinarians and nurses.  We talked about how we can stay healthy by eating nutritious food and keeping our hands clean.  As we foster healthy habits at school, please encourage your children at home as well.Healthy bodies encourage healthy minds.

The school adopted a bunny and we named him Cupcake.  We are all learning about him and how to care for him.  Once he has adapted to his new home and to the children, we will offer you families a chance to take him home for the weekend.   The children are all very excited about this!

February is a month filled with exciting learning opportunities and three fun themes: Around the World, Chinese New Year and Valentines Day.The Seahorse will be learning a social studies lesson about where we live and where other family members live.  The class will hear a story called FlatStanley by Jeff Brown.  The story is a fictional tale about a little boy named Stanley who becomes flat and slips into mailboxes and travels all over the world.  The story theme is carried over into a wonderful project.  Ms. Beth and Ms. Debbie give each child in the class a paper Flat Stanley to take home and mail to family members in other locations.

During our theme Around the World, the children will learn about poetry from other lands in a book called Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O’Connell George and hear about other places in Miroslav Sasek’s books such as This is Paris.  The children will continue to develop cognitive skills by connecting these concepts and bringing them to life through art projects like our own watercolor museum and origami animals as well as different songs and dances from all around the world.During our Around the World theme, we also tie in the concept of Friendship, and what it means to be a friend.We will read stories about friendship such as Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan and Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett.  The children will participate in team work by doing puzzles together and making collages.

Chinese New Year is Sunday, February 10.  We will read books on Chinese Year such as My First Chinese New Yearby Karen Katz.  The book tells about traditions of the New Year.  We will make paper lanterns and headbands to wear in our parade.  The children will also help us sweep out the old year from our classroom with small brooms as we get ready for Year of the Snake.

We hope to see you at our Valentine’s Day party on Thursday, February 14.  Each child may bring 16 valentine cards to pass out to their friends.  Please do not send candy.In closing, we would like to ask parents to label their child’s jackets and sweaters with their child’s name or initials.  It really helps us identify whom they belong to.

Thank You,

Ms. Beth, Ms. Debbie, Ms. Anjali

From The Dolphins

In January we had so much fun learning about winter.  We learned about snow, ice, and rain.We pretended to ice skate using some long wooden blocks to glide along the carpet.  We dressed up in hats, scarves, and gloves in our dramatic play area.  We played with real ice cubes in a plastic tub and added toy polar bears and seals and pretended we were in the Artic.   When we lined up to go outside or to the lunchroom we waddled like penguins.  At nap time we pretended we were hibernating like some animals do during the winter. The Dolphins have been enjoying making many winter art projects such as snowmen, snowflakes, and a cold weather clothes mobile.  The children like to cut and trace and glue their projects together.  They also like to draw pictures free hand and using stencils.  These activities help develop their fine motor skills, which prepares them for learning to write.

In February our letters of the month will be P, Q, R, and S. Our themes will be friendship, Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day.  We will also discuss President’s Day and learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.We will learn about Chinese New Year and enjoy a yummy lunch and have a parade after. For our Valentine’s Day party your child may bring in 12 valentine cards for their friends.  Please have them sign their names on them.Pre-K class is doing a lot better with their social skills such as listening to one another, following directions, and using their words to express themselves.  One of the games we play to help promote social skills is called “Who am I?” To play this game I choose a child to sit in a chair with their back toward us so they cannot see.  Then I choose a child from the group and they say something to the child in the chair and that child has to listen very carefully to guess who the talking child is.Another game we play is listening lotto.  It comes with a cassette of different noises like animal sounds, telephones ringing, lawn motor sounds, etc.  The children get to guess what the sounds are and match them to a picture on the cards in front of them.  It is really fun.

I hope everyone has a nice month.

Ms. Kim