In the last five weeks your children have made a great transition into daily school routines and separating from you.
It is a treat to see each personality emerge as the school environment becomes familiar and the children become more comfortable with us and the routines.
The theme of the first three weeks was “the farm”. We had farm beads (cow, horse, goat, cat, tractor, duck, etc. beads) to string, plastic farm ‘eggs’ to open close and match two sides, some large farm animal cards, farm related books, and small vinyl representations and cards to match, just to name some of the activities. Farm songs such as “Old mac Donald had a Farm” will never retire and be sung year around.
The next two weeks ‘wild animals’ replaced the “farm” theme. Activities that reflect this theme are small vinyl replica’s of wild animals to name, sort, hang and match, language cards to look at and post into slots which is a perfect fine motor activity for toddler hands. At group time we thumped our chest like a gorilla, and wriggle our hips like a crocodile, along with Eric Carle’s book, From Head to Toe. I love how many of the children anticipate group time by sitting down early when I start singing the clean-up song.
The color of the month September was yellow: that meant lots of yellow paint and a basket with yellow objects. In the number drop box we had #1. The children were able to explore the symbol (1), the quantity (1 peg), and the combination of the two by using the drop box. The drop box will have a new number each month (1-9), but there is always another ‘math’ or ‘number work’ to be found in the class, during September there was a clock puzzle.
It is exciting to use the planning day to create a total make over of the activities! On Friday we revamped the classroom with fall/pumpkin/dress-up/cats/bats/spiders and friendly ‘spooky’ things. This is one of my favorite themes of the year in part because so much orange brings a sense of fall as the weather cools and leaves start to drop.
The toddler curriculum primarily follows the toddler’s need for order in rhythms and rituals of the day. The routines and rituals ground the children. Within a few days they know what to expect and when, even though the activities change. The toddlers don’t go exactly by the clock, but they know what comes next. So when snack has been prepared, they are ready for the plates even if it is not yet 10 AM. We love this about the children. Because the routines are the same, and based on inner needs of toddlers, there is little guessing work, and we can easily see if someone is out of sorts, not behaving as usual, feeling tired or unwell.
Making snack with the toddlers is also transformative work. The children who wish to help put an apron on, wash their hands in the bathroom, and if they remember what they were wanting to do, they sit down with a small cutting board and start chopping pieces of fruit or vegetables. We encourage the children to put the cut fruit in the bowl for snack time, and to delay eating is not easy, especially for the young ones. As the children become older they begin to understand the task better and chopping fruit or vegetables becomes more efficient, and many learn to delay gratification.
After snack, we open the deck where there is always an easel for gross motor painting or chalking and a sensorial bin. At the easel we started using yellow paint, and painting tools are traded out regularly.
The sensorial bin had rice with small containers and scoops to have been replaced by water. The work stays the same until interest wanes. The rest of the work on the deck are manipulative activities such as puzzles, posting, hammering pegs, etc.
- Please label or initial all clothes/diapers and personal items that come to school. Labeling will make all of our lives easier. It will help us to quickly get things back to the rightful owner. Between all the busy work of the morning things do get mixed up at times.
- We welcome any spice jars with lids for special projects such as herbal smelling jars.
- Currently we’re collecting all glass jars for our “Healthy Halloween” project in Johanson Park on October 25, 4-6 PM. Please bring any clean jar to school. Don’t worry about getting the labels off. Volunteers and I will have a label-removing party on Saturday afternoon, October 24. Let me know if you’d like to join the party. 🙂
- If your child needs a vaccine, see if you can schedule it for the end of the day and perhaps the end of the week. Children sometimes run a low grade (or high) fever after getting a vaccine, sometimes they might be mildly cranky or more tired than usual, have a loss of appetite, and experience tenderness in the area where the shot was given. It may be nicer for them if they can be home with you and for you to keep a close eye on possible fluctuating symptoms.
- Please let me know if you can help me repair some materials. Some wooden toys need gluing and some are in need of a handy carpenter to fix up.
- If you’d like to take a turn making play-dough for our class, let me know. It takes 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1-3 Tbs cooking oil, 1 Tbs cream of tartar, and 2 cups of water (optional is food coloring). Mix all ingredients over medium heat and stir constantly. When a ball begins to form take it off the stove, knead it for a few minutes, and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
- Drop off logistics: The toddler school day starts at 8:45AM. Early morning care is from 8-8:45AM. Now that the year has been well established, we project to get to the playground shortly before 8:45 so we can start welcoming you and your children there. We will gladly get your child out of the car during this period. Just pull up to the playground gate.
- Regular pick-up times are 11:30-11:45, 12:50-13:00, 2:50-3:00, 3:50-4:00, and anytime before 5:30 depending for which time you signed up. Of course you can always come early.
Loving the cooler weather, please check out the jacket-flip video!