Hello beautiful MPS families!
Spring has sprung and while we may still be having some rain, the temperatures have risen and we have had some absolutely lovely days outdoors. In fact, right before spring break, it felt like we actually had several days of summer where we just lived outside pretty much all day. I can see the children feeling so happy that they are not so cold. And the same can be said for the grown ups. It is a relief to put my heavy winter coat in the back of the closet and pull out my rain shell.
Because we will be spending more time outside and we will have more sunny days, please remember to sunscreen your children when appropriate. And still make sure they have rain jackets for our drizzly days.
Thank you again to all of you for the work you put into this year’s auction. It was a very successful night. Our leadership team put in so much time to make sure things ran smoothly. I hope you are all giving each other some extra high fives.
Also last month, we hosted Anna Hoye for a week as our artist in residence. What a great experience the children had learning about and making cyanotypes with Anna and her assistant Chris. The children’s art is now displayed in the classroom, along with the all school collaboration – our own take on Van Gogh’s Starry Night. For those of you asking what is to become of that beautiful representation of the children’s work, we have decided to auction it off later this month when we hold our On-Line Auction. Sonya will fill you in more on the details there. But it will be coming up mid month. Be sure to share the information and links with your family and friends so that we can conclude our auction events on a high note.
Quite a few things are happening this month at the school both in the classroom and with the greater adult membership.
Because spring is here, we are of course planting seeds both indoors and out and presenting the children an invitation to learn about how plants grow from seed to maturity. This week we have been painting and decorating some flower pots that will eventually come home for Mother’s Day with some herbs planted in them.
I will be getting caterpillars into the classroom so we can also watch them grow and then begin their metamorphosis into painted lady butterflies. Towards the end of the month we will be setting up our incubator and starting to grow some baby chicks. It is a 21 day process so that is a lot of waiting for the kids but we will have many related books and projects to help them keep up with what is happening inside those shells. Once they hatch, we will plan to keep them in a brooder in the classroom for a week to 10 days.
We always need some folks who want to adopt some baby chicks! Please let me know if you or a friend or family member has raising a backyard flock of hens on their to do list.
Some extra fun and messy painting projects are on the horizon as well. Foot painting, splatter painting, and pendulum painting are on the agenda. These are group projects and lots and lots of fun. The pendulum painting is a follow up to the children’s experience using the wrecking ball to knock down the boxes in the classroom. The path described by a pendulum is so much easier to begin to understand when you can see it physically in front of you in living color! And the works created using this technique are really lovely.
The 4’s class and the pre-k class will be dissecting owl pellets with me sometime in the next two months. Super interesting project to do with little ones and always so many things to learn.
Here are some other things to note for this month.
MPS NIGHT AT BAMBUZA VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT! April 9th at their South Waterfront location on Bond Avenue. Take a day off from cooking enjoy some delicious Vietnamese food. Bambuza is donating 35% of the total sales on the 9th to our school. Don’t forget, we still need some volunteers to help out on that day at the restaurant.
NO SCHOOL on April 11th and 12th. These are our spring in-service days. I will be holding parent teacher conferences on the 11th, 12th and Saturday the 13th. Look for sign up sheets in the cubby room. Conferences are not required but if you would like a chance to come in and talk about your child’s growth and development, school placement for next year if you are leaving us, or any parenting or family challenges, grab a spot on the sign ups that works for you. As always let me know if you want a conference and need an alternate date.
Also we are hoping that on April 11th and 12th one of our bathrooms will be remodeled for accessibility. I am awaiting final confirmation but after many discussions and negotiations with our landlords, we have been cleared to make changes to the bathroom to remove as many physical barriers as possible.
This project has been quite a learning opportunity for us. With assistance from Ryan Murray (dad to Sylas in the 4s class) and Greer Goodmonson (mom to Lincoln and Graham in the 4s class), we learned about how the American’s with Disabilities Act applies to our situation. In our initial negotiations, our landlords denied our request for modifications and would not grant us permission to take in on on our own. We learned that our landlords have a religious exemption and are not required to make accommodations for accessibility. We also learned that even though we are tenants and do not own the building, the ADA does apply to us. We are required to make reasonable accommodations and our landlord should not impede us from doing so. With that knowledge, and an understanding from Greer about what we can do with the space, we were able to convince our landlords to allow us to proceed. I am thrilled that we will finally have a space that makes it possible for all of our families to participate more fully in our classroom.
It is the left hand, double stalled bathroom we will modify. The scope of the project will include widening a door opening to a full three feet. The door will open to the inside. One toilet will be removed and sealed over. The existing partitions will be removed and replaced, with another three foot door that opens to the inside. This will allow room to a wheelchair to enter both the bathroom and the stall with enough room to maneuver. Three different grab/safety bars will be installed as well.
If the dates for this work change we will let you know. But keep your fingers crossed that it gets done as scheduled.
SPRING WORK PARTY is Saturday, April 13th from 10am to 1pm. I don’t have that long of a to do list so I imagine we will finish early. Watch for more information from Joel Bennett (dad to Emma, 4s class).
Our last GENERAL MEETING of this school year is Thursday, April 18th. As always, social time is at 6:30pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm. We are required to have a quorum present in order to elect a co-president and to approve the operating budget for the 2019 -2020 school year.
And finally, every year Multnomah Playschool participates in the National Screen Free Week which is promoted by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Screen Free Week is April 29th through May 5th. We have an all school party on Tuesday evening, April 30th. In addition to a potluck, we will have Red Yarn in to perform and some fun projects for the kids. I will write to you separately on the goals of screen free week and the reasons we encourage each of you to make an honest assessment of the role that screen based entertainment plays in the life of your children. We keep it fun in the classroom but do try to get the children thinking for themselves about what they watch and how much of their time they spend in a passive experience and the burden of mass marketing to our children.
May will be our last full month of school. During the month of May, we always have Bike Day. I am bringing it up early so that you can be prepared for it. I can’t tell you a date yet because I have to watch the weather and make a best guess on good day. I will try to give you at least one full week’s notice.
On bike day, we create a bike path and lots of fun things to do in the upper parking lot. We block it off for the kids. Everyone is to bring a riding device. A tricycle, a bike – with or without training wheels depending on skill level, a scoot bike, a scooter – anything goes. Each child will also be required to wear a bike helmet before they can get on and ride. So check your backyards and garages and make sure your child has something they can safely ride and maneuver and a helmet that fits.
On bike day, you bring your kid and their bike to school as usual. Once we have everyone checked in, we head up to the upper parking lot and spend our whole day riding, decorating our bikes, taking them through the bike wash, playing music, blowing bubbles and having snack under a canopy. It is always a highlight of the year and something that most of our kids remember for a long time.
If you do not have something your child can ride, reach out to your classmates. It is not uncommon that some folks have multiple bikes/scooters, etc that you could borrow if needed.
Also, it is always helpful to have some extra parents on hand to assist us in keeping everyone safe and happy! So once I post the date, see if you can make it in and enjoy a super fun experience with us.
That’s it for me. I have to tell you I am cracking up at the moment because we are having a downpour of epic proportions right now at my house. The sound is deafening. I can only imagine if this is happening at the school those peas that we planted Monday and Tuesday are probably floating away. Good thing I bought extra seed packets!