What is the dynamic tripod?

by Kim Sodano

How children learn to grip their pencils will help them with the fine movements needed for writing. There are other ways to grip a writing utensil but the dynamic tripod grip has traditionally been preferred. A Dynamic tripod grasp should be established by ages 4 1/2-6 years-old.

13022501The dynamic tripod grip is holding your pencil, pen, marker or crayon resting against the middle finger while the thumb and index finger control it. It is the most efficient way to hold the writing utensil for legibility and writing endurance. Other grasp patterns can result in writer’s cramp, improper letter formation and decreased writing speed.

One of my favorite ways to encourage a dynamic tripod grip, and what we have been using in class, is having the kids hold cotton balls, marker caps or small corks in the ring and pinky fingers for stabilization.
13022503Many of our activities and manpulatives (cutting, play dough, Lego’s etc.) encourage hand strength and fine motor skills, which also help with writing development.

A great source that provides helpful tips for kids to developing their dynamic tripod grasp can be found here.

Asthma-Friendly School

by Jennifer Landrieu

The North Branch Reformed Church Preschool is pursuing a certification to become an “Asthma-Friendly School.” This is a relatively new program through the American Lung Association, with only one school nationwide who has attained certification.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that our Preschool is already doing so many of the things required for certification. Our staff is trained in Child CPR and First Aid, our building is a non-smoking facility, our rooms are cleaned professionally when the children are not in attendance, we keep the windows closed when the landscapers are cutting the lawn, and so much more!

Several of our staff have children of their own who have asthma, so we understand first-hand the challenges of preventing, identifying, and treating an asthma attack.

We’d be happy to speak with you about how to keep your child’s asthma under control while they’re at our Preschool.

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Jennifer Landrieu

Mmmmmm… is there a better smell than Chocolate Chip Cookies baking in the oven? I’m not sure!

Our children will soon welcome their dad’s to the Preschool on Father’s Saturday and they’re preparing for the big day by baking cookies to share. Some classes make Snickerdoodles, others make Oatmeal Raisin, some make Sugar Cookies, and others make Chocolate Chip Cookies.


No matter what’s baking in our kitchen, the North Branch Reformed Church Preschool smells DELICIOUS this week!

The children are learning to make lists, how to measure, discussing texture, comparing colors, and counting how many times they need to mix the batter. They’re learning to take turns and be patient while the cookies bake. Once they’re baked, the children can see how the heat of the oven changed the cookie batter.

What a fun way to learn about math and science!

Accommodating Allergies

by Jennifer Landrieu

The North Branch Reformed Church Preschool is proud to offer a nut-free, allergy safe school The number of children with food allergies is growing at an alarming rate and we see that first hand in our student population. Of our nearly 150 students, 24 of them have food related allergies.

Our entire facility is peanut-nut-free to keep our students safe and we have an approved list of snacks that parents can bring in for our daily snack. Any child with a food allergy is encouraged to bring in cupcakes or other treats to be frozen for when we celebrate birthdays with homemade treats.

We keep individual bags with Children’s Benadryl and EpiPens in a locked drawer in the Preschool Office. Our staff is trained and certified to identify allergic reactions and how to administer these medications, if needed.

We just found a great “Nut-Free” snack – SKEETER SNACKS! You can find their information at www.skeetersnacks.com. We’ve found them at Costco and ShopRite. They created Skeeter Snacks because peanut and tree nut allergies are the most common, fastest growing, and among the most dangerous and permanent of allergies. They’re really tasty, too!

New iPads!

by Jennifer Landrieu

The North Branch Reformed Church Preschool teachers were surprised by our PTO President and Vice-President at our December meeting with the gift of TWO NEW IPADS and an ITUNES GIFT CARD to be used in our classrooms.

The PTO’s (Parent Teacher Organization) goal this year was to help add technology to our program. They run several fundraisers throughout the course of each school year to help fund their annual goals – Fall Family Festival, Barnes and Noble Bookfair, Plant and Flower Sale, and the Preschool Yearbook. Other PTO purchases have included a digital camera, library of Scholastic videos, playground equipment, Zinko-Tek Blocks, books, and more!

Our students already enjoy computers and listening centers (books on cd) in their classes and now they’re having fun getting to use the new “apps” on the iPads!

Thanks PTO!

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