Playgrounds

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

NBRC PlaygroundThe playground at the North Branch Reformed Church Preschool is a favorite spot for our students. During the school year, the children have 30 minutes to climb, swing, and slide each morning, and extra playtime in the afternoon class.

Playground2Our playground is 18,000 square feet, fully fenced, has areas of sun and shade, has 11 pieces of equipment, and has been approved by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector. In the last few years, the Preschool and PTO invested over $100,000 adding new equipment, fencing, and surfacing.

Our students love having fun with their friends on our playground!

Preschool Parent SurveyHere a few local playgrounds your child might have fun playing at:

Centers

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

It’s amazing how much our Preschoolers learn while “just” playing in centers!

In the Writing Center, a child…

Writing Center

  • Practices using various writing implements – pencils, crayons, markers, stencils, stamps, and rulers.
  • Creates stories with inventive spelling.
  • Learns to write from the top to bottom and left to right on a page.

In the Art Center, a child…

  • Has the opportunity to be creative.
  • Learns to make decisions by choosing different art materials.
  • Begins to learn shapes and colors.
  • Builds self-confidence.

When children work with puzzles, they learn…

Puzzles

  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Fine and Gross Motor Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Shape Recognition
  • Memory
  • Setting Small Goals

Through Dramatic Play, a child…

  • Pretends to cook and practices thanking God for food.
  • Pretends to be a family member and practices for a life of being part of a family.
  • Pretends to care for a doll and practices Bible teachings.
  • Pretends to play various roles with friends and practices for a lifetime of relationships.

In the Block Center, a child…

Blocks

  • Develops hand/eye coordination.
  • Develops a sense of balance.
  • Develops math concepts – number, size, shape, space, and weight.
  • Learns to share an area with others.
  • Uses imagination and creativity.
  • Works cooperatively with others.

Gross Motor Activities

by Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Gross motor refers to large muscles in our body (legs and arms), the same way that fine motor refers to small muscles in our body (hands). Running, jumping, leaping, and climbing are all fun activities you’ll see our Preschoolers participating in on a daily basis on our playground, in gym class, or in our indoor playground. Active play of any kind is important for a young child’s physical development.

13031502On our outdoor playground, the children…

  • pump their legs on the swings
  • run, skip, gallop, and leap
  • balance on our two balance beams
  • do pull-ups on our twirling bar
  • climb through the tunnels
  • go through our tire jungle gym
  • slide down our slides
  • bounce on our animal teeter-totter
  • pretend to take a ride in on our firetruck

In our indoor playground, the children…

  • climb a rock wall
  • slide down the slide
  • balance on the balance beam
  • climb up and down stairs
  • roll down the wedge
  • crawl through the tunnel

In our gym classes, the children…
13031501

  • participate in a warm-up song that stretches their muscles
  • learn basic sports skills and to follow multi-step directions
  • begin to practice catching with balloons
  • navigate an obstacle course

At home, your children can…

  • pedal on their tricycles
  • bounce, toss, and catch a ball
  • play hopscotch
  • practice using alternating feet going up and down stairs
  • dance
  • sing and move to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”

Butterflies in the Classroom (Part 3)

In the end, we will preserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught. (MTN, 2010)

13050301After our incredible experience at the Monarch Teacher Network workshop, we hunted for milkweed and eggs and brought them into our classrooms to bring the life cycle to life.

  • Science – Students made predictions and observed the different stages of the caterpillar using magnifying glasses.
  • Social Studies – They learned about geography using maps to show the journey of the butterfly. They learned about different cultures (Mexico) and how the people live, as well as their language.
  • Math – They made predictions about how many male and female butterflies would e-close (hatch) and graphed the results. They also learned about symmetry.
  • Language Arts – We incorporated books, learned new vocabulary, and wrote about the butterfly.
  • Gross Motor and Imaginative play – The children acted out the life cycle.
  • Art – The children used their imaginations to make their own butterflies in creative ways.
  • Fruit of the Spirit: Patience – As they calmly waited for each stage of the life cycle to happen the children learned the virtue of patience.

Bringing these beautiful butterflies into our classroom and incorporating important concepts was a wonderful, fun way to learn! Having these hands on experiences encouraged an understanding and a love for all creatures, big and small.

– Kim Sodano & Gerianne McGowan

Local Summer Fun

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Camp North Branch LogoIf you’re looking for some local summer fun, here are a few suggestions:

  • Attend CAMP NORTH BRANCH! There’s still room in Weeks 3 and 4.
  • Visit the birds at the Raptor Trust in Basking Ridge (donations accepted).
  • Take a nature walk or bike ride at Duke Farms in Hillsborough.
  • Ride a steam train at the Black River and Western Railroad in Flemington. (or visit Northlandz in Flemington – the largest model railroad museum)
  • Watch fireworks on the 4th of July from North Branch Park, Milltown Road, Bridgewater.
  • Go to a concert at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater most summer Sundays. Pack a picnic dinner!
  • See a drive-in movie at White Oak Park in Branchburg.
  • Feed the animals at Johnson Park on River Road in Piscataway. (Playgrounds, too.)
  • Spend the day at the beach at Round Valley Reservoir just off Route 22 in Hunterdon County.
  • Make your own frozen yogurt creation at Frozen Falls, mention NBRC Preschoool and 15% of your purchase will benefit the Preschool.
  • Chase the hot air balloons from the NJ Festival of Ballooning July 26-28th. The festival is at Solberg Airport in Readington.
  • Star gaze at the RVCC Planetarium and stay for a laser light show!

Preschool Parent Surveys

by Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Every Spring, our Preschool parents are asked to fill-out a survey to let us know how their year went. Here’s a sample of what they said:

About their overall experience:

  • Amazing – lots of fun, lots of learning, and tons of love!
  • Very caring teachers and staff – real family feeling.
  • She enjoyed every day! Always wanted to go to school.
  • NBRC is warm, welcoming, safe, and filled with caring people.
  • I cannot thank the Preschool enough for making our son feel safe at school due to all of his food allergies. You have all gone above and beyond to accommodate him. We are so grateful!
  • Terrific – I am amazed at some of the technology in the school.
  • We were very happy here! Will miss it!
  • Thanks for a great 4 years for both my daughters.
  • The last three years have been amazing! We couldn’t have asked for a better preschool experience! Thank you!!

About our facility:

  • Neat, clean, warm, inviting.
  • Facility is very clean and cheerful.
  • Very clean, organized, friendly.
  • Very friendly atmosphere, clean classrooms.

About whether their child was prepared for their next level of education:

  • Most definitely.
  • Completely! He definitely has the tools to succeed in K.
  • Well prepared – academic and social.
  • He has learned things that I don’t even know.
  • My child had a great year and is well prepared for Kindergarten next year.

About the communication between school and home:

  • Loved, loved, loved all the emails – felt very connected.
  • Open communication and well informed by director and teachers.
  • Very impressed and thankful for the email communication.
  • This was fantastic! Her teachers were always available.

About whether our program lived up to their expectations of why they chose our program over other programs:

  • It was better than I expected. Thank you.
  • This is such a loving, Christ-centered environment. Exactly why we decided this was the Preschool for us!
  • Great “feeling” at NBRC – great reputation as well.
  • Had a great year – highly recommend to others!
  • The staff is warm and caring. The education is appropriate and more than I expected. It is a very positive atmosphere. I like the fact that they learn about religion.

Wide Mouth Frog Play

By Tracey Wurmstitch

WMF-5Our extended Day is in session each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:3O until 2:00. After lunch and a short rest time the children participate in enrichment activities that include science, art and dramatic play.

This year the extended day class added preschool musical theatre to our curriculum and on Monday, June 3rd the class proudly presented the musical play The Wide Mouth Frog.

WMF-3 Sixteen four- and five-year-olds worked diligently for the five weeks leading up to the big day. The students made animal masks and scenery for the show. They used their best cutting, gluing and painting skills to bring animals to life and the jungle to Fellowship Hall.

WMF-2Each student was given a role in the show. The children all learned a dozen songs and the motions to go along with each song. They practiced a bit every day so that by show time lions, elephants, monkeys, frogs and a crocodile were ready to sing and hop their hearts out.

WMF-6The weeks of hard work paid off as the cast put on two amazing performances. The entire school enjoyed the morning show and family and friends attended the afternoon show. We are so very proud of all our performers.

The Extended Day Play was such a huge success that we are already thinking about next years show.

Original Works

by Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Someday I will be big
And gone upon my way,
But here’s my little handprint
To remind you of this day.

2013060701

We’re so creative here at the North Branch Reformed Church Preschool and we wanted to give our parents the opportunity to reproduce their child’s masterpieces so they could be shared with other family members, too.

The Preschool paired with Original Works to bring our handprint artwork to life on all sorts of items – iPhone covers, tote bags, nightlights, t-shirts, potholders, and more!

2013060702Our teachers decided to do handprint artwork this year. Our Little Lambs class made adorable “little lambs,” our three-year-old classes made land animals, our four-year-old classes made ocean animals, and our five-day class made butterflies. The children enjoyed the squishy feeling of having their hands and fingers painted and our parents really loved the projects.

Original Works is a PTO fundraiser and the proceeds of the sale went directly back into the Preschool.

We thank our fabulous volunteers to making this a fun fundraiser!

Journey of the Monarch Butterfly (Part 2)

by Kim Sodano & Gerianne McGowan

The story of the Monarch butterfly…an annual journey that spans a continent, three nations, and multiple generations of Monarchs…captures the hearts and minds of people of all ages.
(Journeys MTN, 2010)

13041102As we continued learning about the Monarch Butterfly’s life, we began to understand their inspirational journey to continue their life cycle…

Their complete metamorphosis:

  • egg
  • larvae
  • pupa
  • adult

In the fall the Monarchs east of the Rockies begin the long migration to Mexico for the winter.

As the spring comes to the U.S., the butterflies start their journey north following the milkweed growth. Monarch butterflies are completely dependent on milkweed. It is the only place they lay eggs and their entire diet.

Eggs are laid in the warmer southern climates. These butterflies emerge and continue their parents’ journey north. They arrive here in New Jersey in the mid to late spring when the milkweed is matured.

Continued

Hatching Chicks

by Karen Reinhart

13052401One of the surest signs of Spring at our preschool is the arrival of two large incubators and this year I volunteered to be one of the “Mother Hens”.

It was exciting as two dozen fertilized eggs arrived in our classroom and it was wonderful to see how patiently each of our students waited to gently put “their” egg into the incubator. The incubators were placed in two classrooms where all our school’s children came to visit the gestating eggs.

13052402We counted down the approximately 21 days until the chicks began to hatch and then the children got to watch as the baby chicks emerged from their shells. When the chicks were strong enough they moved to a special container where the children watched them grow and change daily.

Once the feathers began to appear, we bid good-bye to our flock so they could go live on a nearby farm. Then, the incubators returned to storage until next year…

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