Welcome to all our returning and new families! Week 1 is in the books – separation tears are dried and we are on to the serious business of picking the brains of the amazing little people entrusted to our care. Many thanks to Steph, Phyllis, Mary, Ryan, and Catherine and all our student staff for their hard work getting school ready for another great year:) We will be open for visitors & observers in a couple weeks –
Two of our families planned and shared activities with our children to celebrate Chinese New Year’s this week. They helped the children make delicious dumplings, and did a fun and informative presentation. We loved the short video that showed the monster, Nian, trying to invade the city! The legend is that the only way to get the monster out was with: loud noises (drums), fire( firecrackers) and the color red. That’s how these Chinese New Year customs came to be. Thank you so much, Vivian and Jingwen for planning this and to the parents who came and helped!
Received notification of successful NAEYC re-accreditation today with nearly perfect scores! We are so happy and thankful to everyone who helped us with this as it is truly a team effort!
What a great first day back (so far!) – 4/5K teachers decided we needed some ramp-type material to add to the block center but instead of buying from a supply house, they went “DIY” and let the children have most of the control over the process. They bought stock cove-molding and put it on the picnic table, telling the children we needed to cut it in 1, 2, or 3 foot lengths. Ms. Mary asked how we could measure it. Tessa suggested her arm; Tanner suggested a ruler and then went to get one; Max suggested a tape measure and then went to the office to ask to borrow one. They used all three methods for measuring but settled on the tape measure for all but the 1 ft. lengths. The children measured and marked (mostly) and then watched Ms. Mary use the circular saw to cut them.
Then they took the cut pieces to the sand table and the children are using sandpaper to smooth the ends. When they are done we will move to the block center – the children are VERY proud of this work.
Today is our Thanksgiving celebration – the children have been busy making the food, decorations, and talking about what the holiday means to us. Seashells (2’s) snapped beans, always a good fine motor activity and they like to listen for the “snap.” Sunflowers (3’s) made pumpkin muffins, which requires following a recipe and calling on lots of math concepts – following an algorithm [the recipe], sorting, measuring, one-to-one correspondence, counting, collaborating and taking turns AND watching the clock once they are in the oven. Butterflies (4/5K) peel and make applesauce, using the “old fashioned” peeler, which they think is the best gadget ever – and, not so easy as it looks to operate; they figure out how many children are in school, count out one apple for each child, and then peel and cut them into chunks for the big pot. We like to encourage families to involve kids in cooking activities for lots of reasons, as academic concepts aside these kinds of activities especially when connected to happy experiences with family, stay with children for all their lives. Later today we have lots of parents and relatives coming to help us set up and EAT!
Oh my, it’s that bestest, funnest day ever, again – how did the year go by so quickly as I thought we just did this? The ECDC kids showed up in their scariest, most beautifullest, or most powerfullest garb today (parents and teachers, too) and we were off on our annual prance around campus to show off. Lots of people came out, even a campus tour group of prospective families & students – hope they had as much fun as we did. Thanks to our parents who were so generous with their time and talents – the snack treats seem to get healthier and more creative every year!
We are keeping December 8 as a non-attendance day for children, even though the university is now using that day as a storm make-up day, as we need that day to schedule parent-teacher conferences. You will hear more about making appointments from your child’s teacher.
Yesterday and today, some of the children in the Butterfly (4/5K) class have also been building a very large structure they call the “Safety Service” and/or the “Rescue Service.” I asked Tessa and Isabel to explain what they were doing and they told me that it was a very high, high tide – it would go up to the animals’ head or over them, so they needed to make a place where they would be safe after being rescued and could be treated for injuries. As you can see from the photo, it has many compartments, that have been constructed to keep water out and to provide a safe spot to stay in; for example, in the “manatee cage” (small chamber at due west [left] of photo, a place for hurt manatees to be treated) “there is a tiny, tiny, hole just in the top so that the water cannot get in – the whole thing is like a hotel, with lots of rooms so people can come and go in and out (notice the fireplace) when they go to find animals and bring them to the safety place.” The blocks at the bottom with blue centers are steps coming up out of the water for the animals to use. The snakes on the top are there because we saw images on TV of poisonous snakes swimming in flood waters as officials were warning people to stay out of it – but the children said they needed a safe place too, so they wouldn’t drown or bother people.
We’ve been back to school for 3 days since the extreme rains and flooding that came to our community. We’ve noticed the children processing this experience in many different ways.
Twos: On Tuesday, most of our two’s were very “out of sorts” – they seemed a bit disoriented, cried a lot, and wanted “mama.” We think they were definitely transferring/communicating feelings of anxiety and stress their families experienced in what was a very frightening time for many as they saw water rising in their yards, streets, or even homes.
The threes wanted to talk about it (non-stop), so they have been having conversations during morning meetings. Some of the things we have heard: “I couldn’t get across the sidewalk because my boots were too little – The water was a little bit high on the road and the sidewalk – I went on a kayak in a field that was a circle – There was water in the garage from the hole – My mommy had an umbrella – I paddled in a lake in my backyard – Across the neighborhood there was a lot of water – There was lots of water in the road – and, There was water in the road and it was THIS BIG!”
4/5K have been drawing water-themed pictures in their journals, including this one from Harrison that says it all – BIG, BIG clouds hovering over us small humans (I had to cut/paste the figure to get it all on one frame) –
As usual, the children provide us with all the information we need for considering how to meet their needs at this time and address their questions and interests. We just have to pay attention.
One of our VERY FAVORITE things during Summer I session is the last fire drill of the year, when Fireman Tim (Agee) comes with the pumper truck and the kids get to squirt water out of the hose. We are so fortunate to be able to work with Tim, as he really knows how to help small children understand the seriousness of preparations without being scary, and the kids always try very hard to do a good job. After the drill and water fun, he read a book to everyone that one of the children brought in about fire safety. Thanks again to another one of our campus “rock stars.”