Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable winter break! Welcome 2023! Below I have included our best attempts at a family holiday picture! lol!

            

As we enter into the new year, I am preparing for my return to the classroom! My first day back will be next Wednesday, January 18th.  During this period of transition, I share many of the first day jitters we all feel, both the children and grownups, as we part ways each morning with our children.  I remind myself, as I do my students, that once you dive into the fun you are doing in the moment, you will have adventures and stories to share once you arrive back home!

In years past, including last year, for the winter months our class boarded our pretend plane and traveled to China to learn all about Chinese New Year.  I love this unit and the many opportunities it provides us to learn about other cultures and traditions around the world.  This year we will be traveling a bit further…. into outer space!

Our class will be boarding a rocket ship this year, as we learn more about our solar system, our planet, and the sun and the moon.  We will discuss what it means to be an explorer, ask questions, and find answers!  Why can you still see the moon during the day? Why do we have night and day? Why is it darker in the winter here? Where does the sun go at night?  Why does the sun shine but it is still cold? why does the moon sometimes look like a fingernail? We will also read a variety of books including nonfiction, folktales, and just for fun fiction! And don’t worry…. we will cycle back to our Chinese New Year Unit next year if you missed it last year!

           

Please find below some December classroom pictures! I will also be sending out our monthly classroom Newsletters once again, so be sure to check out your child’s folder for it next week!

                   

      

Into November!

Thanksgiving Break is nearly upon us!  Our class has been sharing and learning about each others’ families, traditions, and communities as well as the holidays that some of our friends celebrate, including the American Holiday of Thanksgiving.  This has given us an opportunity to discuss different people and things that are important to us, what we are thankful for, and ways we can show our gratitude.  Students helped to decorate our turkey bulletin board with some feathers depicting what we are thankful for.

 

We have also been learning about food groups and making healthy food selections using the “On My Plate” guide (some of you may remember the older version called “The Food Pyramid.”)  Food also plays an important role in many different cultures and traditions, and often specific foods are associated with different holidays and traditions as well.  Are there foods that hold important meaning in your family? Are there certain foods you only eat, or like to eat, at different times of the year or to mark different events? Do you have a special food/treat your family might like to share with the class?  We would love for you to return our parent survey and hear from any families who may be interested in visiting our classroom to share a tradition that is important to you and your child during the months of November, December, and January!

 

One thing many of us are grateful for is the beautiful land around the school that offers us so many opportunities to be outdoors and play and explore.  I have included a few pictures of some of our outdoor adventures from the last few weeks.

And a few other pictures from the last few weeks to enjoy below too! Including a few from Book Character Day!

 

Veterans Day

Veterans’ Day Weekend hopefully afforded all of you moments of reflection, as well as relaxation with your families and communities!  As we reflect on the sacrifices made by those in service and their families, we also reflect on all the wonderful things we love and cherish that those service members are protecting.  Please find below a link to a Jack Hartman video that we all enjoyed singing and dancing along to.  We also created some beautiful Thank You cards that students are welcome to share with their families or community.

October Happenings

October has been a month filled with fun and changes! The leaves are all turning over, providing new playscapes to run and jump in.  The forest is also full of changes, as the spaces we explore prepare for winter.  Our nature collections have provided for fun activities, art, and imaginative play.  In the process, students are making connections about the changing seasons of New England, how temperature effects our environment, people, and animals, and how plants, people, and animals plan and adapt to these changes.  Our Forest Fridays and time spent outside is so much more than “just play” as children begin to ask questions…. “How are the animals not cold?”  “Why do some birds stay the winter?” “Let’s use these leaves to keep warm!” Can you think of other animals who might use the leaves to stay warm? What else might you use in the forest if you were an animal to prepare for winter? How do people prepare for the winter? Why do the trees shed their leaves?

Please enjoy a few photos below from some of our October explorations!  We look forward to posting a few more after our upcoming book character day!

Also looking ahead to November and December…. We look forward to our upcoming social studies unit on celebrating traditions, communities, families, and learning more about each other as we share “All About Me.” More details to come! We also have a really fun and exciting science unit on Space to look forward to!

 

 

 

 

Welcome Baby Pipere Evelyn Paré

We are pleased to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Pipere!  She surprised us by arriving earlier than expected, when I went into labor Tuesday night. She arrived Wednesday morning at 4:37 at 7lbs 6oz and 20 inches long.

While I am out on maternity leave, the amazing Ms. Martha will lead the room! We have been working together for ten years, and she is an experienced paraprofessional for many more years before she came to LES too! Please reach out to Martha with any questions or concerns in my absence. I look forward to returning to the class in January!

 

Welcome to the new School Year!

Welcome Early Childhood Families! Each month I will be adding updates on our class happenings.  Please enjoy some pictures below of our first two Forest Friday Adventures!

January in the ECA Room!

This month we finished up our study of the human body and shifted our focus to the New Years Celebrations within our community.  We asked “What does it mean to make a resolution” and thought about what our goals may be for the new year.  Our classroom birthday cakes with the months of the year helped our understanding of what a new calendar year means and “how” birthdays happen each year because the months of the year happen in a never ending circle.  Families, communities, and cultures celebrate the New Year in different ways.  How does your family mark the new year?  This month we are taking a deeper look at the celebration and traditions of Chines New Year/ Lunar New Year.  This holiday is based on the Lunar cycle rather than the calendar year, and thus lands on a different day each year.

 

Our class loves looking at maps and globes and we identified where the USA and Massachusetts is, as well as where China is.  Although it is winter time in the USA right now, in China this time of year is Spring, and their festival is sometimes also referred to as The Spring Festival. This created many great questions and wonderings about seasons, about why there is a difference on one side of the globe from the other, about what determines day and night (“Does the moon disappear at night? Why can you see the moon during the day, but not the sun still at night?”) and many other questions about where other countries and states are on the globe.  I love their curiosity!  I will be hunting down some books on planets and space and additional maps for them to explore!  If you have any old maps/atlases, we would love to borrow them!

Chinese New Year lands on February first this year and is the year of the Tiger.  In preparation for our weekly “travels to China” our class worked on packing our pretend suitcases (thinking about what we might need on a trip for different conditions) and worked together to help decorate and prepare our pretend airplane for the weekly flights.  So far we have flown to see the rice fields and how rice is grown and harvested. We also tired out using chopsticks and everyone took a pair home.  Our schedule has shifted a bit due to being out of school, but we look forward to exploring writing, traditional New Years foods, New Year traditions, parades, dress, the zodiac, and more! Our pretend center has shifted to a restaurant and the class has enjoyed preparing food for each other from a variety of Chinese Restaurant Menus donated to the class.  In years past we have also hosted a dragon parade for the school, but I am holding off on mentioning this yet in case it is not possible this year.

 

We are also very excited that our sliding hill is open! Students have done a wonderful job navigating their surroundings to be mindful of others, sharing and taking turns, coming up with creative ways to traverse up and sown the hill, trying new things, taking healthy risks, finding their bravery and sense of adventure, and working and playing together!  I LOVE watching them on the sledding hill!

 

Other Fun classroom happenings! Looking forward to returning back to the building now that our burst pipe is fixed! The kids are learning so much from each other every day! I am excited to see how much our bulbs have sprouted in our absence (new life for the new year) and to jump back in on a Wednesday (my favorite day!) with a return to YOGA, math games, and learning letters with Echo the owl!

 

 

Virtual Author and Illustrator visit with Ms. Rivers! We even tried out creating some directed drawings with her! They were so proud!  Thank you Ms. Rivers for helping to make this happen!

 

December Forest Fridays

Due to hunting season this month, we were unable to venture out into the woods. This did not stop us from finding other creative ways to be with nature outside on Fridays!

Here are some pictures from our face creations made with found natural items

 

We collected pine cones around our campus and brought them back to our classroom to create tasty treats for the birds and squirrels.  We also explored many books about birds and squirrels and how they prepare for the change from fall to winter.

We went on a stick hunt and created jingle sticks with our finds! Another great activity for fine motor, hand-eye-coordination, patience, and helping each other out!  Our completed jingle sticks quickly became magic wands, swords, walking sticks, instruments, and so many other creative play ideas!

 

 

December in the Classroom!

This December’s Winter Wonderland theme had us discussing and exploring the change of seasons from fall to winter.  What can we observe happening with the weather? The temperature? What changes can we observe happening to the trees? Why does it snow in winter? What is snow made out of? How does the change of the season change how we prepare for the school day and being outside? How do the animals prepare?  Many of these questions were also an important part of our discussions on Forest Fridays and will continue to be a focus into January!  This December was a bit warmer, but we are excited for all of the wonderful activities and changes that will come as winter progresses!  Here are a few pictures of some our snow theme activities.

This December we also explored what a folktale is, with a focus on various Gingerbread Folktales.  Did you know that different versions of the folktale The Gingerbread Man (or other Runaway Foods) can be found in almost every country around the world? With some versions going back many hundreds of years! We also looked at modern versions of the tale as well as new creative stories that feature runaway foods.  Our pretend center was transformed into a gingerbread house that students helped to decorate, and featured gingerbread playdough for us to play with.  We also decided that our gingerbread house would not include a wicked old lady, like in Hansel and Gretel, lol!   Before heading off for the winter break, we also created our own mini versions of gingerbread houses to take home! Deliciously creative way to work on fine motor (pincer grasp), problem solving, engineering, patience, perseverance, taking turns, hand-eye-coordination, and pride in a job well done!

This winter we will continue to explore families, communities, traditions, and identity.  We were thrilled to have Ezra, his sister Rose, and their mom Kate join us outside to teach us all about their Family Tradition of celebrating St Lucia Day in December.  Thank you for helping us to learn more about each other and celebrate the many different ways we are all alike and different!

 

 

 

 

The Big Orange Splot

“My house is me, and I am it, and it looks like all my Dreams!”  We read together the book “The Big Orange Splot” by Daniel Manus Pinkwater and reflected on how our differences make us uniquely ourselves. Students then created their own dream houses, to reflect their dreams and personalities.

Some students mentioned an episode of Bluey on Disney Plus that has a dream house.  If you are interested in viewing it, its season 2, episode “escape.”

Another great read aloud about creative dream houses is “If I Built a House” by EB White or another title called “If I built a car” by the same author.

This is a wonderful project to each do as a family and make a neighborhood on the fridge! Conversational skills, creativity, fine motor, reading, and celebrating and respecting our unique interests!