Happenings from the MWF 203 class!

by Janice Davenhall

MWF- 203 KitchenOur class greeted 2015, by singing goodbye to December 2014 and hello to January 2015. As we read the book Calendar, we talked about what occurs in each of the 12 months and who in our class has a birthday in that month of the year. Everyone made a 2015 calendar and to personalize each one’s calendar, we highlighted their special day and month (their birthdays). On our birthday graph, each child placed a square in their birth month row and we discovered that the month of May had the most birthdays. Our class is very enthusiastic when singing our month-a-rena song (a song that names the months of the year accompanied by the motions of the Macarena).

MWF- 203 FlagOne of our winter projects was making matching mittens. After cutting mittens, each child chose 5 shapes to place on one mitten and replicated the placement of those shapes on the other mitten. Our colorful mittens decorated the walls at Barnes & Noble for our book fair and in Fellowship Hall for Preschool Sunday. In our classroom, we had fun matching mittens and in our book, A Pair of Socks, we matched pairs of socks.

MWF- 203 ColoringEach day, during circle time, we add another numeral to our day chart. Last week, we reached the numeral 50 and celebrated our 50th day of school. We sang a “50 days of school” song. To celebrate, the class decorated paper hats and glued on the numeral 50. We created an American flag, with each child placing stars on the flag’s blue portion, representing our 50 states. Some of us enjoyed assembling a floor puzzle of the United States and others played with 50 small pieces of fruit in the dramatic play area. At snack time, as we counted together, each child removed 50 small pretzel sticks from their individual pretzel bag.

MWF- 203 PretzelsThe last day of the month is Fathers’ Saturday. Each child made a paper shirt and designed an original tie to place on it. Inside the shirt, the Dads will find some interesting facts about themselves. We also made a cookie snack for our dads to enjoy. We followed a recipe, measured and mixed the ingredients (noting how the mixture changed with the addition of each ingredient) and then dropped spoonfuls of the batter on the cookie sheets to make some delicious chocolate chip cookies.

All of the classes were busy making decorations for Fellowship Hall for Football Friday and Fathers’ Saturday. Our class cut and laced footballs and decorated Super Bowl pennants.

Football Friday in gym class was great fun for all. After a football theme warm-up, everyone had the opportunity to toss a football to a partner, to throw footballs into a ring target, and to toss footballs into a board target.

Each month to highlight our color and shape of the month, we use that color and shape on our name tags. This month our black and white rectangle name tags contain our birth month and day. Every month, our class is eager to learn the Spanish name for that month’s color by singing our Spanish color song.

Our days are very busy, filled with play and discovery. Many classroom conversations and learning experiences occur from simple observations, comments or questions from the children.MWF 203 Hats

Fake Snow

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

We haven’t seen a lot of the white stuff this year, so here’s your chance to make it!

You will need:

  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Tin Foil

In the bowl, put desired amount of baking soda, then add water. Mix until you get desired consistency. Cover with tin foil and put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

A great book to read with this activity is Snow by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman.

Literacy in Early Childhood

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

This week I spent some time with the MOMS Club of Bridgewater West discussing how to help your child LOVE reading! We talked about what children hear and see in their daily environments and how parents can encourage their children’s abilities through simple activities every day.

How do you pass along a love of reading and support literacy in early childhood?

  • Read to, with, and around your child.
    – read to them every day, help them read, let them see you read
  • Read it again, and again, and again… and again!!
    – repetition helps children make connections to text
  • Read it and experience it together.
    – read about animals and visit the zoo, read about the butterfly life cycle and hatch butterflies (The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a great one for Preschoolers!)
  • Use your child’s name.
    – sing it, write it, discuss the letters in it, get a CD with your child’s name incorporated into songs
  • Play with puppets!
    – have conversations, act out scenarios, sing songs, rhyme words
  • Write.
    – make paper and writing utensils available, encourage them to write stories about their pictures
  • Talk about letters.
    – identify, trace, create, and say them
  • Talk about it.
    – talk about everything – what you see, hear, experience, your child will learn about language from listening to you

2015-2016 Registration

Tours Begin on January 20th

New families are asked to schedule a tour by calling Mrs. Landrieu in the Preschool Office at 908-725-2326. Tours are offered on most days at 9:30am and 10:30am.

Registration is done in person on a first come, first served basis beginning on the days specified below:

  • Monday, January 12th: Church members
  • Wednesday, January 14th: Currently enrolled students
  • Thursday, January 15th: Siblings of currently or previously attending students
  • Friday, January 16th: Registration opens to the public

Registration information and forms can be found here.

If your child is new to our school, you might consider enrolling them in our Spring Session of Little Lambs: An Introduction to Preschool Class! A special adult (parent, grandparent) attends the hour class with the student and participates in free play activities, circle time, projects, and snack. Registration for Little Lambs begins on Friday, March 6th. Information on Little Lambs can be found here.

We look forward to offering your child a quality early childhood education at North Branch Reformed Church Preschool!

Christmas Eve

North Branch Reformed Church (NBRC) in Bridgewater New Jersey welcomes all to our Christmas Eve servicesWe pray that you are enjoying a peaceful Advent Season as we look ahead to the celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Many of you have your own churches with whom you’ll be spending this time, but, we want you to know that there will always be room for you at the Inn here at NBRC!

Our Christmas Eve service schedule is above, and please feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who doesn’t have a place to be this Christmas.

Merry Christmas from all of us!

The Christmas Story

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Christmas Manager

And there were, in the same country,
shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for,
behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

– Luke 2:8-14

Advent ChainThe wreaths are hung, we’re cutting loops off of our Advent Chains, the Pastors have read the students the story of Christ’s birth, we’re singing songs in preparation for our Christmas pageant, and there’s an overall excitement at the Preschool this December. Children will soon be creating handmade gifts for their parents and may choose to take an ornament off of our “Giving Tree” which benefits local families in need.

If you’re looking for a few great Christ-centered Christmas books to read with your little one, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas by Antonie Schneider
  • A Child was Born: A First Nativity Book by Grace Maccarone
  • The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer
  • The Christmas Story with Ruth J Morehead’s Holly Babes
  • The First Night by B. G. Hennessy
  • Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Jane Chapman and Karma Wilson

Greetings from 5-Day in Room 202

Kim Sodano & Dotty Mooney

stalkcornFor the month of November, Mrs. Sodano and Mrs. Mooney’s 4 year old 5 day class has been focusing on Thanksgiving and its true meaning “Giving Thanks”. We discussed and read many books about being thankful and created a corn stalk displaying all the reasons why our students are thankful. Each child had the opportunity to create an ear of corn to add to our stalk displaying what they are thankful for. Using an actual ear of corn, the kids rolled out three different colors onto paper, creating a really fun design while enhancing their tactile awareness, as well as their coordination and hand strength. They then cut out the painted paper into the shape of an ear of corn. The kids were excited to have their corn displayed and were very interested to see what their friends were thankful for.

CornucopiaSince one of our letters of the week was “C” this month and to add to our Thanksgiving theme, we decided the kids would learn about and make a cornucopia to reinforce the letter sound with a picture connection. First, they learned a cornucopia was used by the Pilgrims to gather food for their Thanksgiving feast and then we showed them some images of actual cornucopias. To start the project, they finger painted with brown paint mixed with salt to give the cornucopia texture and enhance their tactile awareness. When dry, they cut it out into the horn shape of a cornucopia. At a center they were asked to cut out healthy food pictures from magazines which helped their fine motor skills and hand strength, and glued them down along with some leaves, to the large opening of the cornucopia.List

We loved incorporating music in our day to celebrate Thanksgiving as well. We sang songs about big fat turkeys, as we imitate how they walk and make their gobble, gobble sounds. We also sang a song about turkeys running away from people trying to catch them on Thanksgiving Day. They had to listen for key words to initiate hand movements and run in place. These songs were fun but they’re also great listening activities that incorporated spatial awareness and gross motor skills.

Growing A Self

I have a great story for you, from my friend Bonnie.

A young child in her family has been learning toilet control. She wanted to wear her big girl panties for a recent restaurant visit.
Her mom reminded her that would mean she had to tell her when she needed to use the bathroom.

Just as the family was ordering, Allie announced she had to use the bathroom. There was the frantic dash, during which Allie held on. As she sat on the toilet, she looked up at her mom and said, “I got older.”

We see our children growing, developing new skills and abilities. Grandparents and others who don’t see them on a daily basis are often surprised by the leaps and bounds they take. But this is a great example of a child herself recognizing her changed capacity.

We don’t think of young children as being very self-conscious or self-aware. We know it of teenagers, spending hours and hours with journals, staring into mirrors, talking just to hear themselves talk. But this example shows us that Allie was able to think about herself and what she knew how to do, and to assess herself as older because of her newly demonstrated ability.

Self-concept comes from many sources. Earliest self-concept comes almost as a mirror reflection, regarding oneself through the eyes of those who surround us. Thus, for a young child, when her parents convey to her their love, caring and approval of her and her actions, she internalizes the view that she is a person capable of inspiring love and appreciation.

As Dorothy Briggs put it in the classic Your Childs Self-Esteem, the child comes to believe I am lovable and capable.

Of course, the opposite effect on self-esteem is noted when important adults convey the reverse message. Young children don’t evaluate the rightness or wrongness of the messages given them; they simply absorb them.

Later, as children move into other worlds, they receive feedback from other adults and peers. They tend to accept the messages that agree with the self-concept they have already formed, and ignore the feedback that is inconsistent with their self-image.

Thus an extremely negative teacher is often not so destructive to a child who already has a positive self-concept, but can be demoralizing to a child whose self-concept already was quite negative.

But Allie reminds us that young children are also active participants in creating their own self-imag

© Growing Child 2014.

Screen Time

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

We limit how much technology our kids use at home.
– Steve Jobs, Apple Founder, 2010

How much time do your children spend on screens each day? Screens are everywhere! I bet you have at least one TV in your house, maybe even one in your car. Do you have an iPad or tablet the children are allowed to use? Maybe a smart phone with a few kid apps on it? My dentist has a TV for the children to watch as they get their teeth cleaned and when we go out to dinner, there are often TV screens on the walls.

The more time a Preschooler spends on screen media the less they interact with peers and the less creative they are in their play. It’s been recommended that children ages 3-18 are limited to 2 hours of daily screen time, while children 2 and under should have NONE.

Children under age two may experience language and speech delays if they’re exposed to screens, while children in preschool through school aged may experience physical, behavioral, and mental health issues, including obesity, poor sleep habits, aggressive behavior, and attention disorders. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Screen time is a privilege in my house and my boys can earn time by completing their homework or chores. Preschoolers might earn their time by putting their toys away, listening the first time they’re requested to complete a task, or for being a good friend at school.

Here are a few apps that can help you manage your child’s screen time…
Screen Time App for Apple products (fee)
Screen Time App for Android products (fee)

Remembering that Preschoolers need face-to-face interactions, hands-on experiences, and lots of physical activity will help you plan their days so they can be their best.

Science Explorers

Science ExplorersScience is all around us. Science is a part of who we are and what we do. Young children have a natural curiosity for all things scientific and it is amazing to watch their minds grow and flourish during our experiments and scientific explorations.

In addition to an introduction to Chemistry and Life Sciences, our little Science Explorers are also expanding their mind in other areas. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Science strongly supports language and literacy as well. Children learn language through participation in meaningful, comprehensive language-based interactions. A science-based curriculum is rich in language use by both adults and children. Additionally, science demonstrations help children become comfortable in large group conversations.

sci3It is wonderful to be a first hand witness to their amazement when watching a chemical reaction for the first time. The children ask meaningful questions and interact with each other to discuss the experiment and develop substantial and well throughout conclusions. To hear the children still talking about the concepts learned with their families weeks later is remarkable.

Below are a few of the things we have done in Science Explorers:

  • Discovering what clouds are made of and how it rains is fascinating. We talked about how the clouds are made of little microscopic droplets of water and when they get too heavy/full of water, it falls down as rain. We illustrated this with a simple demonstration using a cup, shaving cream, water and food coloring. We also discussed four different types of clouds, made a diagram poster as well as a cloud viewfinder to help us identify what type of clouds are in the sky.
  • We explored how certain animals adapt to their surroundings by using camouflage. The children really took to this concept and loved the book about a lizard that changes his colors. Then we placed a paper lizard on a background of brightly colored and patterned paper and used crayons to match the colors of the paper to the lizard to make it “disappear”! The children really enjoyed exploring this topic and could be heard talking about camouflage for weeks afterwards.
  • Science Explorers

  • One of our favorite experiments in Science Explorers is when we explore chemical reactions with some simple items. We made “elephant toothpaste”, which is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, yeast, warm water and a little dish soap. When combined in the right amounts, it makes an amazing chemical reaction that looks like foaming toothpaste. We also explored what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. We put baking soda on a tray and the children learned to use mini pipettes to mix the acid and the base for another spectacular chemical reaction!
  • Another great preschool science class was our investigation into living and non-living things. We asked everyone think about what they need to live and grow. We concluded that all living things need food, water and air to live and grow. After reading a book about the subject, we used a chart to place pictures of living and non-living things in the correct category. Then the children were able to draw a picture of each of the categories in their own diagram.

These are just a few ways we teach the children about science in our everyday lives.

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