Children's House Newsletter, December 2013

Happy Hanukkah! I hope that everyone had a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving! I had a nice trip to Rochester, NY with my children to see my family on Thanksgiving for the first time in many years. I am grateful for my family at home as well as all of my CVMS family. I am blessed with a fantastic administrator, wonderful staff, delightful children and supportive parents, so thank you to you all.

We started November off with a very special visit from some animals from Curious Creatures shared with us by Justin and his mom. The children had a chance to see, touch and learn about some animals including a chinchilla, tortoise, tree frog, hedgehog, rabbit, and even an alligator. So let me extend a huge thank you to Diane Shieh for this wonderful event.

We learned about Diwali which was celebrated November 3 through November 7. Many of the children pin punched India, made flags and colored their own rangoli designs. The afternoon children also made their own diya (candle). Ms. Parna performed some traditional Indian dances for the children while wearing a beautiful sari. As always it was a wonderful experience for the children and the staff alike.

Ms. Jamie has been teaching the children some Chinese at circle times and the children have really been enjoying learning words and songs. I have also been teaching the children sign language as well. We have worked on the alphabet, many words and we have been signing the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? By Eric Carle

We studied the Pilgrims, the Mayflower and the Native Americans in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. We discussed how the Pilgrims were grateful for the help of the natives and reflected on the things that we are grateful for. The children were able to make native pouches, native head bands, a native stick game, pilgrim hats and horn boards. The afternoon children also made their own wigwams after we discussed how differently the pilgrims and natives lived.

The children explored many items on our science shelf including feathers, different kinds of bird nests, bee and wasp nests and insects.  They’ve sorted animals by whether they live on land, water or are able to fly. We considered how animals adapt in the winter and have learned about migration and hibernation. We are discovering many of the animals of North America. We have also examined the temperate forests in North America and the animals that live in that biome. We will continue our study of North America and the various biomes in the coming weeks and through the new year!

The kindergarten children did a great job with their Thanksgiving feast for their parents. They prepared a turkey harvest stew that they then served to their parents in the evening just as the pilgrim children served their parents. Then they performed “The First Thanksgiving” and “Pilgrim, Pilgrim”. All of the children in the class made their own butter by shaking heavy cream in a jar. They realized that it takes a long time and considerable effort to make butter but I hope your children shared a taste with you.

We were all very excited to come back to school on Monday with many new works to explore. The holiday season is upon us and with it come many crafts, songs, books, fun activities and a chance to reflect on giving and peace in our community and the world. In this spirit of giving we are still collecting non-perishable food items in the Basket of Hope and continue our discussions in the classroom of helping others. We have been able to donate quite a bit so far but we will continue with the collection until the school break.  We started this week by learning about Hanukkah and we will discuss Christmas in the coming weeks. The children have enjoyed playing with dreidels and adding a candle to the menorah daily. The children are also busy making ornaments for our holiday tree from metal insets and pin punching paper to make the classroom even more beautiful.

Our last day of school before the vacation will be Friday, December 20. This will be a full day of school with aftercare available. This year we would like to invite you to come to the classroom and make a special craft with your child.  You may stop in anytime during the day and spend some special time with your child at school before vacation.

Ms. Carla