Dear MPS Families,
Here we are, knocking on October’s front door. With a month of school under our belts many of the children have found their groove and settled into the routines. The 4s Class? It is like they never left. We are seeing lots of energy and enthusiasm in their creative play and lots of friendships being built and expanded. They seem to love to play board games so most days we will have a game out for them along with the rest of the days activities. Their outside time is a split of enthusiastic trick sliding, hide and seek and elaborate play schemes with the dinosaurs in and around the sand pit. So much energy, so much joy.
The Pre-k Class is doing great. More than half of the kids have been with me for multiple years. They are doing an excellent job integrating and including the children who are new to the school and developing compassion and understanding for all the many different ways our brains work and how that influences how we feel and communicate with one another. This is a huge learning task for all of us and to be able to work on that level of understanding from an early age is truly a gift. As a group they have adapted to the change in routine that the Pre-k presents and seem eager to engage in many different ways. Some of them got started with us last spring, creating and writing books which we then shared at circle time. I offered that to them one time so far this year and now they are asking almost daily to ‘write a book’. The topics and titles are varied: Arctic World; The Book of Fruits and its sequel, The Book of Fruit Machines; The Book of Volcanos; and many others. Some of them are exactly what the title implies (2 blueberries, 4 plums, 5 strawberries, etc) and others are loosely affiliated with the title but serve as segues into the world of super heroes. Whatever they involve, the kids’ passion for their work is inspiring.
The youngest students in the school, our 3s Class, are really still settling in. While they have been in school for the same number of weeks as the other classes, they only attend 2 sessions per week so as of this report, they have only had five classroom days (by the time you receive this newsletter, they should be up to seven or eight days!) It is still a lot for them to process but I think they are doing well. Because I want a little extra support helping us settle them in this year, I have rearranged staff schedules so that Teacher Amanthus and Teacher Lisa will both be in the 3s class indefinitely. This means though that we have to get Amanthus a break on Tuesdays, so we are having Lisa take the lunch and play kids outside for the first half hour.
Be sure to let me know how your little one is responding to school, especially if they are showing any signs of increased stress at home (dysregulation, emotional volatility, increased toilet accidents or night wakings). We can set up a time to meet and talk about ways to support them.
October is my favorite month at the preschool. We still often have some warm days, though there is a touch of bite in the air too. The leaves get really busy with their display of amazing colors and then they fall down en masse covering our playground with a thick blanket. If it is dry we will pile them up at the base of the slide and let the kids slide down and then plop in the crunchy pile. What is better than that? Please note though that once we get a week or two into the month, we will be seeking weekly volunteers to come in and do leaf removal for us. They really pile up fast (a consequence of having our school in and amongst so many trees!) and when it rains they are slick and slippery.
The Flower Shop will replace the kitchen as our dramatic play theme soon. The kids loved it last year. Flower arranging and playing with aesthetics, making and delivering bouquets, writing cards to go with the flowers, wrapping the flowers up with paper and ribbons – there was so much going on. And the flower shop will morph into our indoor farmers market and pumpkin patch. Oranges, yellows, reds, browns, bronze and more are the colors that will dominate out art materials, as well as the displays in the classroom. And the theme of changing seasons will be everywhere.
While the older children like to talk about Halloween a lot, we don’t actually make a huge deal out of it in the classroom. Yes, we will do seasonal displays and some fun decorations. Yes we will read some sweet books and sing some pumpkin songs. But we do not have Halloween parties or wear costumes in class. They will have a chance to do that at the Harvest Party. We do however go for a hike on Halloween and I make a scavenger hunt for the kids with seasonal items. Just a really fun way to spend the day together and keep the energy that is sometimes too big for the classroom because of an exciting, stimulating, anticipated event, in the outdoors where it fits better. Look for details below.
Also this month I will be attending parent meeting for each class either in the evening or on a weekend. Check with your class rep for dates/times. These meetings are a great time to talk about what we are seeing emerge in the classroom: themes in play, relationships between children, strengths, challenges – the whole gamut. You will each get a chance to check in with a brief report on how your child is doing so far and any questions that have been on your mind. The best adult in the family to attend these meetings is the one who will do the bulk of the parent teaching shifts. If you are able to get a sitter, you are of course both welcome.
Here are the important dates to get into your calendar for October 2018:
- In-service Days/No School: October 11 and 12
- Board of Directors Meeting: October 11
- Anti Bias Class: October 12 and 13
- General Community Meeting: October 18
- Pumpkin Patch Field Trips: October 18 (for 3s and pre-k) and October 19 (4s class). See separate email for field trip information.
- Harvest Party (all school family event): October 26th (Friday) from 4:30 to 7pm
- Marshall Park Halloween Hike and Scavenger Hunt: October 30th (3s class) and October 31 (4s and Pre-k).
- School Pictures: 4s Class: Monday, October 15th
Pre-K Class: Monday, October 15th
3s Class: Tuesday, October 16th
If you remember the poster I put up at Orientation for the month of October, it was a busy schedule!
That’s about it for now. I hope you are all well and finding time to connect with your families and plan some fun fall activities.