Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Curriculum Newsletter

Dear Parents,

This semester we have been working to support the teaching and learning in the classroom. Before we have our break next week we’d like to take the time to highlight the important developmental and learning achievements the children have made since our start in January. We work hard to ensure our explorations align with the TS Gold Objectives.  

On Mondays and Wednesdays with Ms. Nulph, the children have been exploring and comparing texture through use of different materials. The children have been manipulating textures like sticky slime, rough sand paper, and soft faux fur.  Through these explorations the children develop their comparative skills, fine motor skills, problem solving, and communication skills. We have explored how the material’s texture may influence how it interacts with the world through our Sticky Mosaic Mural exploration too. In the upcoming sessions, we will continue exploring different textures while working on comparing what we have worked with as well as encouraging use of expressive vocabulary.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays with Ms. Lee, the children have been exploring how to create new colors. We have been mixing colored playdough, painting with water colors, and blending colors in bags. The children are beginning to recognize how mixing different combinations of red, blue and yellow creates new colors. As the children explore they are developing their fine motor skills, expanding vocabulary, solving problems, making connections and building relationships. Upon our return from break, we will continue to focus on the development of these skills as we encourage color matching and sorting.

You can support their learning in relationship to these activities by pointing out colors in everyday things.  If your family loves book reading, Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh teaches color-mixing and the idea of color change. When there’s a car driving by or when they are playing with toys, ask them to notice the colors. You can even ask them to sort toys as a way to clean up or have them sort their clothes. These are all fun ways to encourage your children to think about colors. In supporting our experiences with texture, try to encourage vocabulary through introducing different textured items and asking how they think it feels. We have had children say items were sticky, soft, and even scratchy! Even walking through a store or park can present many different materials to feel and investigate as well as present a good opportunity to describe in conversation what the materials are like.

We also would like to invite you to come to curriculum night on Wednesday, April 12th between 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM. Here you will meet with us and see more of the learning that has been taking place this year. This is a great opportunity to stay engaged with your child’s learning so we encourage you to stop by.

We look forward to seeing you there. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Kind Regards,

Ms. Nulph & Ms. Lee

Friday, February 10, 2017

February News

Dear Families,

February has already started and we are so busy in our classroom!  Ms. Nalph and Ms, Lee are starting to teach more lessons on the days they are with us and have really seemed to get to know the children pretty quickly.  At this point in the term they are looking at different kinds of textures and how different substances mix together.  We are excited to see where these ideas progress to as the semester moves along.  We have also been very excited about dancing and moving our bodies in different ways, testing our different objects as the Lazy Susan spins, and reading!

We also have been enjoying the weather outside a little this winter.  It has been fun to see the children experience snow, and try to walk around the playground in their snow pants!  Just a reminder that we do go outside typically if the wind chill is above 20 degrees, so please make sure to bring the necessary outside gear.  We know that this time of year colds and runny noses run rampant because we are stuck inside a lot, but just know if you feel your child is well enough to come to school, they should be able to participate in all parts of the day, including going outside.

February 14th is Valentine’s Day.  Some parents have been asking if we do anything special in our room and we do not.  If you would like to bring in Valentines that day we will make sure they are placed in each child’s cubby.  We have 10 children scheduled each day and we do have allergies in our classroom so bubbles, playdough, etc. are preferred as opposed to chocolate or candy if you would like to do something.  We are on Spring Break from February 27-March 3rd so the building will be closed that week. 

The Scholastic Book Fair will be at the ECEC the week after Spring Break.  Books of all kinds will be on sale – it will be exciting to see the front of our building transform into a bookstore!
As always, please do not hesitate if you have any questions, comments, or concerns!  Have a great day!

Catie Stone & Becca Petee

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ms. Nulph

Dear Parents,

My name is Kari-Jean Nulph and I will be interning in Catie Stone and Becca Petee’s classroom this semester.  I will be in the classroom Mondays from 8am to 4pm and Wednesdays from 8am to 3:30pm.  This December is when I will be graduating from University of Michigan Dearborn with a major in Early Childhood Education and minors in Integrated Science and Language Arts.
The journey so far in my educational career has given me the opportunity to work with many age groups from the ECEC toddler classrooms all the way up to sixth grade middle school classrooms.  I have worked as staff at the Early Childhood Education Center before as well and enjoy working with the young children there.
I am a senior at the university and enjoy spending time with family as well as my pets.  When I am not working on school work I am volunteering with my rescue group, Taylor Animal Shelter Kats & K9’s.  I look forward to getting to know your children and how they learn along with gaining experience in lesson planning within the classroom.


Kari-Jean Nulph

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ms. Lee's Introduction

Dear Parents,  

Hello! My name is Alexis Lee and I am an intern in Mrs. Stone & Mrs. Petee’s classroom for the winter. I have spent the last week observing the classroom and getting to know your children. I am excited to spend the next twelve weeks getting to know your families. I will be in the classroom from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since I will be in classroom and seeing you throughout the upcoming weeks, I thought I would tell you about me. 

This is my second to last semester before completing my degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Michigan- Dearborn.
Over the last three years, I have worked with young children at the ECEC and other local educational centers and schools. Outside of school, I enjoy reading and spending time with family and friends. I travel often, and I especially look forward to my trip to Dubai this summer. 

My responsibilities in the class will gradually increase as the time goes on. I will be conducting both small and whole group lessons and activities. This winter will be full of learning, not only for the children but for me as well! If you have any questions, please direct them to Mrs. Stone & Mrs. Petee. 


Alexis Lee  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Our Transition to School

Our children began the school year in September with schedules that were full days as opposed to half days.  With this new style of schedule, all of our children participated in lunch/rest/every part of our school day.  The first few weeks were definitely a transition for the children, getting to know us, our classroom, and each other.  As the weeks progressed, we really began to notice a sense of belonging that each of the children had in the classroom and a sense of community that the children felt.  When new children come in each morning, everyone goes to the door to greet the children.  When children are picked up at the end of the day, all of the children run to the window at the front of the classroom to wave goodbye. 

We have also noticed that the children really are understanding the personalities of each other.  Many of our children have a special blanket from home that they bring to school as a rest time/comfort item.  The children recognize that and if they see another child’s blanket, they will bring it to the child to hold.  Some of our children even look for those comfort items for other children if they are upset.  The sense of empathy, handing another child something they know will help comfort them, is really incredible to see with such young children.  They are even able to identify each other in photos on the wall and around the classroom.

As the children have gotten comfortable with each other, they have also become very interested in exploring.  They explore the materials we have around the classroom, and have also begun to branch out to new materials we have brought into the room.  At the beginning of the school year, the children were very interested in popping bubbles, reading books, and moving around cars.  As the semester continued, the children became more confident with paint, drawing, and clay.

We brought different kinds of fruits in for the children to explore.  The children had the opportunity to feel the outside of a pumpkin.  We guessed at what could be inside, and upon opening it, noticed there were seeds and a gooey substance inside.  Some of the children were even brave enough to explore the seeds and goo with their hands, while others preferred to explore using tongs.
One of the teachers in our building brought in an Osage Orange from U of M’s campus.  The Osage Orange was green and bumpy, and the children enjoyed smelling it – there was a strong citrus smell.  Upon opening it, the children were able to feel the juices, the sticky texture, and were invited to explore it.  Some did not want to use their hands, so they were given tongs.

Painting, water movement, and texture explorations have been a large part of our semester so far.  Ms. Ali has been exploring the movement of water and sand as the children use different tools.  We also have two strategies students this term who are just starting to plan lessons.  One student is working with the children on bubbles, how they can be moved, and how they feel.  Our other student is working with the children on imprinting.   How do different materials make different prints in play dough and clay?

While thinking about all of these things the children were interested in, we noticed that the children were really exploring their surrounding environment and how they were able to have control over it and manipulate it.  Knowing this makes a lot of sense for the children in our room, especially based on their ages and how young children explore.

Around the room

The children in our room have been exposed to the scientific process this semester.  We utilized science tools to explore different kinds of fruits and seeds during the fall.  The children enjoyed dissecting the Osage Orange and the pumpkin.  We also have watched the seasons change as we have been outside – sometimes bringing different aspects of the changing seasons into the classroom.  We have utilized leaves, sticks, sand, and snow in various lessons this term.  The children have also been noticeably interested in the animals we have in our classroom – the gerbil and the hermit crab.  The children watch the gerbil eat, comment as he drinks, and talk about where he lives.  Some of the children help us to water the hermit crabs and enjoy watching them come out of their shells as they move around the tank.

The children in our room have become very aware of the identity board that is on our wall – showing their faces and work samples and the faces and work samples of their classmates.  They have started to point out classmates in their photos and use their names.  We regularly speak about facial features when looking at photos.  We are also encouraging vocabulary development with the children – using simple words to indicate the beginning or ending of an event or to indicate a transition in the classroom.  They have all begun to recognize the routine in daily activities (cleaning up, getting ready for group time, getting ready for snack, cleaning up snack, etc). We regularly use our dramatic play area – the children imitate real life situations through play in the classroom.

This term the children have been exposed to a variety of ways to represent themselves through the arts and have been able to explore with a variety of materials.  One of the most widely favored ways to do this in the classroom is through music.  The children listen to a variety of music and move their bodies in various ways – including with fabrics and ribbons.  We have had out the balance beams, tumble mats, and have brought the ladybugs into the classroom for the children to use whenever they need to.  We regularly use the dramatic play area of the room, where the children are able to act out and express themselves by pretend.  The plastic people and animals are always available to the children as well for exploring.  We have used clay, play dough, paint, pastels, and writing utensils this term in various areas of the classroom.  Exposure to these mediums regularly will help the children to become more comfortable as they continue to explore, eventually being able to add tools or new ways to manipulate the mediums.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 2017

Dear Families,

Welcome back to a new semester!  We hope everyone had a wonderful break!  We are excited for a new term.  Ms. Nulph will be interning with us on Mondays and Wednesdays this semester, and Ms. Lee will be interning with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  They will begin the semester by planning a few lessons each week and will finish out the term taking over more responsibilities in the classroom.  We are excited to work with them and can’t wait for our interns to get to know all of the children!

We also wanted to take a minute and remind our families about our outside time during the winter months.  Generally, if the wind chill is above 20 degrees, we will spend some time outside during the day.  We might not be outside for very long, but it is important for the children to get fresh air and get an opportunity to enjoy and explore our outdoor environment in the different seasons.
For this reason, we are reminding our families to bring outdoor gear for their children each day.  Snow pants, boots, mittens, and hats should all be labeled and we will make sure they are put on the children before we go outside. 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask!  It is so great to see all of the children again – we have really missed them!

Catie Stone & Becca Petee