Did You Know?
Our school has a beautiful, inviting environment that respects our sense of order and provides a refreshing, cheerful place to spend our days.
Save the Date! The Week of the Young Child Family Breakfast for Infants and Toddlers will be Friday, April 15th from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. Preschool/Kindergarten will be hosting their own breakfast on Thursday, April 14th. If you have children in both Toddlers and Preschool/Kindergarten, please plan on attending both days to eat with each child individually. If you have any questions please speak with your child’s lead teacher or Reagan Miller our Toddler Coordinator/Assistant Director.
Dance Class: We will have dance class Thursday at 10:15 with Ms. Cheryl.
Homework: Next week we will be talking about the sense of smell! If your child has a favorite scent or smell , they are welcome tobring them in! We will be smelling them at group time.
Family Day Jam: April 9, 2016, Museum of Contemporary Art. https://mcachicago.org/Calendar/2016/04/Family-Day-Jam
Tip of the Week
MUD IS GOOD! Ten Easy Ways to Connect Your Family to the Joy of Nature
by Richard Louv
Short on Vitamin N? Here’s a brief list of nature activities to help you connect your kids, and yourself, to the health, cognitive and creative benefits of nature time — benefits that will help your child succeed in school and throughout life.
1. Invite native flora and fauna into your life. Maintain a birdbath. Replace part of your lawn with native plants. Build a bat house. For backyard suggestions, plus links to information about attracting wildlife to apartments and townhouses, see the National Audubon Society’s Invitation to a Healthy Yard. Make your yard a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Certified Wildlife Habitat.
2. Revive old traditions. Collect lightning bugs at dusk, release them at dawn. Make a leaf collection. Keep a terrarium or aquarium. Go crawdadding — tie a piece of liver or bacon to a string, drop it into a creek or pond, wait until a crawdad tugs. Put the garden hose to good use: make a mud hole. (Your kids will sleep well later.)
3. Help your child discover a hidden universe. Find a scrap board and place it on bare dirt. Come back in a day or two, carefully lift the board (watch for unfriendly critters), and see how many species have found shelter there. Identify these creatures with the help of a field guide. Return to this universe once a month, lift the board and discover who’s new.
4. Encourage your kids to go camping in the backyard.Buy them a tent or help them make a canvas tepee, and leave it up all summer.
5. Take a hike. With younger children, choose easier, shorter routes and prepare to stop often. Or be a stroller explorer. “If you have an infant or toddler, consider organizing a neighborhood stroller group that meets for weekly nature walks,” suggests the National Audubon Society. The American Hiking Society offers good tips on how to hike with teenagers. Involve your teen in planning hikes; prepare yourselves physically for hikes, and stay within your limits (start with short day hikes); keep pack weight down. For more information, consult the American Hiking Society or a good hiking guide, such as John McKinney’s Joy of Hiking. In urban neighborhoods, put on daypacks and go on a mile hike to look for nature. You’ll find it — even if it’s in the cracks of a sidewalk.
6. Be a cloudspotter or build a backyard weather station.No special shoes or drive to the soccer field is required for “clouding.” A young person just needs a view of the sky (even if it’s from a bedroom window) and a guidebook. Cirrostratus, cumulonimbus, or lenticularis, shaped like flying saucers, “come to remind us that the clouds are Nature’s poetry, spoken in a whisper in the rarefied air between crest and crag,” writes Gavin Pretor-Pinney in his wonderful book The Cloudspotter’s Guide. To build a backyard weather station, read The Kid’s Book of Weather Forecasting, by Mark Breen, Kathleen Friestad, and Michael Kline.
7. Collect stones. Even the youngest children love gathering rocks, shells, and fossils. To polish stones, use an inexpensive lapidary machine-a rock tumbler. See Rock and Fossil Hunter, by Ben Morgan.
8. Encourage your kids to build a tree house, fort, or hut.You can provide the raw materials, including sticks, boards, blankets, boxes, ropes, and nails, but it’s best if kids are the architects and builders. The older the kids, the more complex the construction can be. For understanding and inspiration, read Children’s Special Places, by David Sobel.Treehouses and Playhouses You Can Build, by David and Jeanie Stiles describes how to erect sturdy structures, from simple platforms to multi-story or multi-tree houses connected by rope bridges.
9. Plant a garden. If your children are little, choose seeds large enough for them to handle and that mature quickly, including vegetables. Whether teenagers or toddlers, young gardeners can help feed the family, and if your community has a farmers’ market, encourage them to sell their extra produce. Alternatively, share it with the neighbors or donate it to a food bank. If you live in an urban neighborhood, create a high-rise garden. A landing, deck, terrace, or flat roof typically can accommodate several large pots, and even trees can thrive in containers if given proper care.
10. Invent your own nature game. One mother’s suggestion: “We help our kids pay attention during longer hikes by playing ‘find ten critters’—mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, snails, other creatures. Finding a critter can also mean discovering footprints, mole holes, and other signs that an animal has passed by or lives there.”
Richard Louv is chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network and author of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. His ninth book, VITAMIN N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, will be published in April.
The Five Senses: Touch
The children were actively engaged in the topic of Touch. They explored a surprise box by placing their hands inside. Items with different textures were placed inside and they were encouraged to describe the texture and what they thought it was. The children strengthened the muscles in their hands squeezing and squishing play dough. They then used Popsicle sticks with different textures to make prints in the play dough. The children were most excited about taking off their socks and shoes and going on a texture walk. They stepped on bubble wrap, sticky contact paper, bumpy, rough, smooth and soft surfaces. The activity soon evolved into a sensory crawl with the children army crawling across the surfaces on their stomaches and even on their backs.
Next Week: The Five Senses: Smell
Have a great weekend!
Deb, Mariellen, Margaret