Preschool Friday Note

We had a wonderful time at Friday’s Bird Breakfast, our final gathering before the end of the school year. Nothing can compare to good company, delicious food, and dazzling entertainment. Thank you to all for participating. Ask your child to sing any of the following bird songs for you:

  • “Pajaro, Pajaro”
  • “I Heard A Robin Singing”
  • “Two Little Blackbirds”
  • “Little Ducky Duddle”
  • “Robin Redbreast”

On Wednesday, we were invited to watch the dress rehearsals of the kindergarten plays. Each group did a modern-day version of a classic fairy tale: Chicken Little, The Gingerbread Boy, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Little Pigs. The kindergartners wrote their own screenplays and made their own costumes. Next year, that will be us on stage!

The Explorers and Trailblazers finished a three week rotation of their bird study. At this point, each group has passed through lessons on camouflage, migration and bird songs. Try asking your child these questions:

  • Does every bird have its own song?
  • Which bird song is your favorite? What does it sound like?
  • Why do birds have to stay camouflaged?
  • Who has the brightest feathers, the male or the female? Why?
  • Why do some birds have to migrate?
  • Where do birds usually go when they migrate?

Here are some notes for the final days of the school year:

Monday, June 6,

  • Move Up Day - a 45-minute visit to the kindergarten to meet the teachers and have lunch. No need to do anything special, but be sure to ask your child about their impressions.
  • Final Zoom Dance in the Garage

Wednesday, June 8, Celebration for those children who have summer birthdays, 2:30 pm, in the preschool classrooms

Friday, June 10, Last day of school, ending at 11:30 am. Dismissal for all preschoolers will be in the Garden.

*Note - Preschool does not participate in the Friday graduation ceremony except to present a flower to the graduates at the very end of the event. Parents do not need to make any special arrangements, other than the 11:30am pick-up time for all preschoolers in the Garden.

This is our last class note for the year. It has been delightful to work with your children. Thank you for sharing them with us. We loved it!

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week our serene garden was transformed into an open air market (Mercado) complete with tables of food, juices, and festive decorations to celebrate the Spanish we have been learning. To top off this outdoor extravaganza, we had a Puerto Rican musician playing her guitar and retelling a story of coquí, our beloved rain forest frog. Max Jones’ dad, Chris, joined us and we danced to the rhythm of his powerful drums! The mercado was filled with your Spanish-speaking children who used Spanish phrases to ask for their treats and convey politeness—por favor and gracias! Children danced (baila, baila, baila), sang, and spoke in Spanish. They experienced firsthand the relevance of conversational Spanish as a way to meet needs and showcase all they’ve learned this year in our integrated Spanish program. Your children have been practicing select food names and how to ask for them in Spanish. A few words you can surprise your child with in Spanish: mercado/market, manzana/apple, pera/pear, plàtano/banana, melon/melón, uvas/grapes, fresas/strawberries, limón/lemon, jugo/juice and galletas/cookies. Thank you to our Spanish-speaking parent volunteers and to early childhood teachers Madeline Leonard, Brian Jordan, Melissa Roldan-Stills, and Meg Waldron who helped us make our Mercado a great success!

Instead of visiting Markward Playground this week, we ventured off campus to Philadelphia’s premier venue for play—Smith Playground! Boasting sprawling hills of diverse and adventurous playscapes, your children enjoyed uninterrupted time in the sunshine with our sixth grade students. Known to the preschoolers as “the big kids”—the sixth graders once again practiced the art of observation and notetaking to further hone their research on “play.” Ask your child to share a Smith Playground highlight with you!

To extend our study on birds we invited an expert, Jess, and some fine feathered friends from the Philadelphia Zoo to TPS! When Jess arrived in the “zoo van” our kids were clamoring to get to the bird show in the Garage. Jess had three different kinds of birds with her—a duck, chicken, and cockatiel. Ming Ming (duck) showed us how her webbed feet are designed to make her an expert in the art of swim, while Ollie (cockatiel) protested from his cage that Ming Ming met our preschoolers first! We also met Dahlia who had a fancy head of hair—ask your child about the chicken's “wig” and what she likes to eat (hint: it’s a kind of fruit). Finally, Jess was delighted to learn about our all-school theme of mysteries this year because she, too, had a mystery with her… This animal has a beak and lays eggs, but does not have feathers. Can you guess the fourth and final visiting “mystery” animal? Ask your child about it! At the presentation’s end, we all had a turn touching some of the bird artifacts that Jess brought along with her. Ask your child about the importance of “quiet” feathers for birds of prey and our visit to the Lombard Building to meet the newly-hatched baby chicks! 

Reminders:

Summer-like weather has indeed arrived! Sunshine is aplenty in our gorgeous garden and we are asking you to remember to apply sunblock in the mornings before school. Your child is also welcome to bring a sunshade hat to further protect their skin and help them stay cool. We will be reminding children to seek shade and hydrate on warmer days of outside play, and we appreciate your assistance with sunblock application prior to school’s opening.

Friday, June 3rd - Preschool Bird Breakfast in the garage from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. The party will include delicious breakfast foods and a springtime sing-along, including plenty of songs about birds! Stay for the full hour or as long as you can. Everyone is invited. There will be a sign-up sheet for food in the preschool vestibule, take a look next week and decide what your family would like to contribute.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We’re still bird-crazy in the preschool. We’ve looked at feathers, nests and all sorts of eggs these past few weeks. We’ve made our own nests, painted our own eggs, and designed our own wings. So it was time to see some real chick eggs. Lucky for us, the Primary Unit happens to have four dozen of them. We all went to visit and observe warm brown eggs in an incubator. They should begin to hatch on Monday, and we’ll be able to visit the baby chicks next week.

This week in the Trailblazer and Explorer room we talked about migration and camouflage. We know that birds fly south in the winter, but how do they know where to go? We also learned about coloring. Often the most brightly colored birds are the males, and the females need to blend in with nature. Ask your child why this is so. We started reading the chapter book  The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White, which is taking us on a journey to Canada with a whole family of trumpeter swans. We’ll keep you posted on their adventures in the coming weeks.

Birds Use their Beaks, a ‘how and why’ science book by Elaine Pascoe, introduced the Wonderers and Adventurers to all the many “jobs” performed by a bird’s beak. From gathering food, to building nests, preening feathers, and even courting, we learned that bird beaks — sometimes called bills — are incredibly versatile. After our book learning, the children challenged themselves to be "just like the birds" during this week’s project time. Using a variety of tongs and tweezers (and refraining from using their hands as much as possible), they built nests with twigs, grass, mud, and raffia. Each child was asked to cooperate with a partner as they first observed an actual robin’s nest and then built their own small nest together. The project proved to be a great lesson in collaboration, creativity, and fun! While the nest builders were at work, another group of children gathered at the texture table, which was filled with potting soil and pipe cleaner worms. This group of children was tasked with first using their beaks to find the worms and then moving each worm to a "number table" in our number-recognition and counting activity.

Next week is a busy week indeed. On Tuesday we will join our 6th grade friends on a trip to Smith Playground for the morning. On Wednesday morning the Zoo on Wheels program will be coming to TPS and bringing a collection of birds for us to check out and learn about. On Thursday afternoon, the Spanish Department will be hosting our annual Mercado where, the children will get to order (in Spanish, of course!) fruits and treats and dance to live Latin music in the garden. In anticipation, we wanted to reach out to families that have children with allergies. On Tuesday, May 24, and Wednesday, May 25, we will have available the foods that your children will be trying at the Mercado. We have checked with our school nurse Sara about each item, and we also invite you to stop by the South Street kitchen to check out the list of ingredients ahead of time. Please let us know what foods your child can and cannot have. We can't wait to share this wonderful experience with your children!

Enjoy this busy TPS weekend,

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We’ve been busy bees (birds?) indeed as the month of May flies by. This morning a group of 27 sixth graders visited our classroom to interview your children about what and who they like to play with and what their favorite activities are. The sixth grade is undertaking a study of “play” and has been observing your children for the past few Fridays. One of the goals of their project is to create play experiments and activities with preschoolers in mind and to watch what happens when they add new elements to their original ideas. In the meantime, the sixth grade has also been visiting Smith Playground to field-test some of their ideas. On Tuesday, May 24 we will travel with them by school bus to explore Smith Playground together. There is no need for parent volunteers, but we wanted to let you know that on the 24 (weather permitting) we’ll be visiting Smith instead of Markward!

Indoors, our classrooms are aflutter with our springtime focus on birds. Children in both classrooms experienced a new “light box” technique for drawing birds thanks to art teacher Kait Renna. Kait taped printed images of birds to our child-sized classroom windows and covered them over with pieces of white paper. Thanks to the sunlight streaming through, your children could easily trace the birds’ outlines. Countless varieties were traced and decorated with an impressive amount of realism. Afterwards, the birds were attached to craft sticks to create the opportunity for wonderful puppet performances.

The Wonderers and Adventurers were feather-focused this week! After listening to Melissa Stewart’s wonderful book Feathers: Not Just for Flying, your children all answered the question “what can a feather do?” and then illustrated their responses. We discovered that feathers can float, soak up water, dig holes, and shade out sun. Ask your child to tell you what he or she "wrote" about! We also learned some specifics about plumage, including the names of the various parts of a feather – shaft, vane, barb, and quill. A painting project ensued, and your children delighted in using a feather in various ways to transfer tempera paint onto white cardstock. They were particularly delighted with their "quill effects," and many remarked that this was how people wrote "in the olden days." At closing meeting yesterday, we used feathers to record our votes as we decided what to bake this morning.

On Thursday the Trailblazers and Explorers hosted two very special guests, Beauty and Smudge, the birds that live with Vienna’s grandparents. Both birds are from Australia. Beauty is a parrot, and Smudge is a cockatiel. They spent the entire day in our classroom. We learned what they like to eat and how they eat. Beauty was able to say “hello,” and Smudge did lots of talking too. Many thanks to the Canno family for this wonderful treat.

The Spanish Mercado is approaching! In anticipation, we wanted to reach out to families whose children have allergies. On Tuesday, May 24, and Wednesday, May 25, we will have available the foods that your children will be trying at the Mercado. We have checked with our school nurse Sara about each item, and we also invite you to stop by the South Street kitchen to check out the list of ingredients ahead of time. Please let us know what foods your child can and cannot have. We can't wait to share this wonderful experience with your children!

Next Friday, May 20, as our incredible volunteer design team works diligently to turn the Garage and garden into the beautiful venue for EATS, we will help them out by doing an indoor dismissal. So on that afternoon, there will be no playing in the garden at dismissal. We’ll continue to remind you next week.

Enjoy a wonderful weekend!

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Parents,

Well it may not feel like May—-but it is! It’s hard to believe that we are beginning the final weeks of the school year. But when you look at the children you can easily see how much they’ve grown and how ready they are for the next step.

We are continuing to learn lots about birds. We are so excited that a mama robin has chosen to build her nest in the evergreen tree in our garden so we can watch the process that we’ve been learning about. The Primary Unit (first and second grade) is also studying birds, and in the next few weeks we will begin to share what we’ve all learned with each other. In addition to building nests with natural materials from the garden, this week we made edible nests made with Shredded Wheat cereal and marshmallows. The children formed little nests and then filled them with eggs (raisins, sunflower seeds and craisins.) Yum!

This week the Adventurers and Wonderers were treated to the awe-inspiring panoply of the egg in a stunning book entitled An Egg is Quiet by Diana Hutts Aston. The illustrations (Sylvia Long) inspired us to make our own eggs with watercolors and special paper. Each child chose a different shape/size egg to paint. The artistry of watercolor continued when another group of children were molding model magic clay into shapely eggs and adding a signature watercolor finish to their work. Look for these works of art on display in our classroom early next week! Retired longtime TPS teacher Judith Parker stopped by to drop off some additional secondary resources on birds—books and calendars. Straightaway, your children began guessing which birds were photographed in the monthly spread and earnestly pored over the books! Ask your child what kind of bread we baked this week to celebrate birds and their dietary preferences!

We don’t know if you’ve noticed but we have a new addition to our garden (besides the robin!). Eric and Jason, our backyard landscaping pals, have built us a beautiful balance beam snake. They did it after we left on Tuesday so it was a surprise to all of us on Wednesday morning. If you haven’t seen it, please come and check it out.

Thanks to everyone who came to the Kindergarten Move-Up Meeting. If you weren’t able to make it, check in with us so we can fill you in on what you missed.

In the spirit of giving you some advance warning—-on Friday, May 20, as our incredible volunteer design team works diligently to turn the Garage and garden into the beautiful venue for EATS, we will help them out by doing an indoor dismissal. So on that afternoon, there will be no playing in the garden at dismissal. We’ll continue to remind you as the date gets closer.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

“Pajaro, pajaro tweet, tweet, tweet”

“Made a little nest right in my street”

These are the first words to the latest tune written by Brian Jordan, our master singer and song writer. We will be singing this and many other songs at our Bird Breakfast, scheduled for June 3 in the Garden. Look for more details and a sign-up sheet to follow later in May.

From enormous condor nests to teeny, tiny hummingbird nests, the Wonderers and Adventurers have been fully immersed in learning about the special homes built by birds. On Monday we learned about Princess, an Andean condor who spends her days at the Philadelphia Zoo. When zookeepers noticed that Princess wasn’t quite herself, they called in the local vets, who performed reparative surgery on Princess’s cataracts. Your children were quite intrigued by the story; we were inspired to look at a video clip of a condor fledgling preparing to leave its nest. During project time we created our own authentic-looking nests (much smaller than a condor’s!) using clay, twigs, and grass. We used reference books to inform our drawings of colorful birds which will be transformed into playing pieces in an upcoming interactive board game. Stay tuned! We also twisted lengths of brown paper which were then woven together with strips of raffia through the top of our classroom loft. The result? A bird’s nest that we can sit in! Yesterday we discovered a “real” bird’s nest along Naudain Street — your children were convinced the birds used yarn and string that we’d left for them in the garden! Thanks to YouTube, we were able to view actual footage of a robin building its nest; we also enjoyed comparing the robin’s work to that of the tiny hummingbird who uses lots of silky spiderwebs! This morning, using breakfast cereal and melted marshmallows, we created edible bird’s nests which we then filled with fruit for snack. A delicious way to end our week of nesting adventures!

The Trailblazers and Explorers continued their small group rotations, learning about nest building, eggs, and bird foods. Every ornithologist needs a pair of binoculars for sighting and observing birds. We will be making our own binoculars and need cardboard tubes; the more the better. Please bring in your empty cardboard tubes from paper towels, toilet paper and wrapping paper. On Thursday, we welcomed Julius’s grandfather, Aaron Goldblatt, as a special visitor. He works as an architect who specializes in play spaces for children. In fact, Aaron designed the Alice in Wonderland exhibit at the Please Touch Museum! He welcomed our ideas for play and showed us how we might design these three play spaces: rooftop, riverside, and forest. Our creative juices flowed and no idea was considered too outlandish or impossible.

On Wednesday, we were all treated to a special performance by the TPS stringed instrument teachers. We listened to several pieces written for violins and cellos. Every child had the opportunity to try playing the instruments themselves. The garage was filled with the delightful sounds of squeaking, screeching, and even some beautiful music!

You may have noticed that the all-school calendar lists May 4th and 5th as a celebration of all things “Star Wars.” This is an event sponsored by the Student Council for grades 1-8. The preschool will not be participating, especially since so many of our children do not know about the "Star Wars" movies. If your preschooler has an older sibling that is dressing up, your child could perhaps wear a Star Wars t-shirt if he/she chooses.

The move-up night for parents of next year’s kindergarteners is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3 from 5-6 pm. Your child can stay in the ASEP program for that hour, but please let the front desk know ahead of time so ASEP knows how many children to expect.

Have a great weekend.

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Preschool Families,

Diving "beaks-first" into our study of birds, we had many hands-on opportunities to learn more about our feathered friends and their nest-making habits. The Trailblazers and Explorers read the book Cradles in the Trees: The Story of Bird Nests by Patricia Brennan Demuth and observed a real robin’s nest before crafting their own. Enjoy these beauties of nature, now spread throughout our garden! Using seeds, fruits, and Cheerios, we also made bird feeders and anchored them throughout our garden to attract hungry birds. Like true ornithologists, we can’t wait to observe the birds feeding from our creations!

The Adventurers and Wonderers had their own nesting excitement this week. We enjoyed observing a robin’s nest and discussed the myriad materials that birds use to make a nest. Equipped with yarn, sticks, hay, and moss, we labeled each item by hand and set them out on a picnic table in our garden. We watched closely during our garden play time to see if any birds would visit our supply station for nesting materials! One child reported early Thursday morning at drop-off that most of the sticks were gone. Ask your child to show you the location of our nesting supply station next week! One of our favorite parts of working with such a talented faculty and staff at TPS is that their expertise and interests span… well, everything! We learned that Primary Unit teacher Ben Warrington is an avid birdwatcher with a passion for songbirds who frequents Tinicum Park. Ben displayed beautiful photographs of various birds and played a “Guess Who?” game with the class using recorded birdcalls. Your children enjoyed hearing both familiar and new sounds connected to these birds. The children were also delighted to learn that the Eastern Towhee’s call sounds very similar to someone shouting, “drink your tea! drink your tea! drink your tea!” We giggled as we fondly recalled our previous study on tea! Ask your child about the special tool Ben uses when he is birdwatching.

Finally, we were also treated to a lesson on the son clave this week, a rhythmic pattern used as a tool for temporal organization in Afro-Cuban music. Max’s dad, Chris, joined us this week with two beautiful bongos, a speaker to amplify "Guantanamera" (a classic Cuban anthem highlighting the use of son clave), and wooden dowels tailored to fit easily into your child’s hands. Each of us had an opportunity to dance using our own claves, and practice the “son clave” which Chris described as the backbone of a song’s composition. Your children happily chatted and sang while they painted their new percussion instruments. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Chris for this wonderful lesson. Enjoy making new music at home!

Noteworthy dates

  • Tuesday, May 3 - Move-up meeting in the kindergarten, 5:00 to 6:00pm. Learn about next year's program and meet the kindergarten faculty.
  • Friday, June 3rd - Bird Breakfast

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Parents,

After a cold and rainy start to the week, Mother Nature smiled on our first adventure to the Schuylkill Center today. What a wonderful way for us to introduce your children to the “country classroom” they’ll visit each week as kindergarteners — and then on through the years at TPS! We’d prepared for the trip by talking about all the things we might see on our visit, and we’re happy to report that we did, indeed, see many signs of spring — budding trees, bright yellow dandelions, and even some chirping birds.

Your children’s enthusiasm was palpable as we boarded two yellow school buses and headed out to our country classroom, where we hiked, peered through a special ‘bird blind,’and enjoyed lunch “al fresco.” A highlight for many children was our visit to the Pine Plantation — a magical forest where many large tree forts beckoned! Ask your child to tell you what he or she liked best about today’s adventure.

Thank you so much to all the parents who were able to join us today. We appreciate your help, and are delighted that you had the chance to enjoy our beautiful county classroom too. Please remember to do a thorough tick check on your child this evening.

In other news, the beautiful springtime weather inspired plenty of conversation about our next topic of study — birds! We’ve begun looking through picture books about birds (both fiction and non-fiction), and each classroom generated a list of things they already know about birds: “Some birds lay blue eggs.” “They fly away for winter.” “If you feed them, they come back.” Our current knowledge will be a springboard to discovering what else our preschool students would like to know. Stay tuned as our bird study takes flight! And, if there are any parents who are birdwatchers or have any other special connection to birds or birding, please let us know. We’d love to invite you in to share your expertise with us!

The Wonderers and Adventurers were treated to an additional sharing about tea this week when Penelope’s mom, Hien, joined us yesterday for an introduction to the Chinese wedding tea ceremony. We learned that the wedding couple presents cups of tea to their elders in a gesture of thankfulness, and then receives gifts, typically wrapped in red — the color of love. Hien passed out the actual gifts she’d received at her own wedding! Ask your child to tell you all about it.

A request from Preschool A - We need old broomsticks! The children in the Wonderers/Adventurers room will be creating musical instruments called "claves" later this month. Our plan is to repurpose old wooden handled items (e.g., brooms, rakes, dowels) so we can make music together! Please check your basements and closets -- we'd appreciate anything you can send our way.

Important Dates to Remember

  • Friday, April 22 - Faculty In-Service Day - No classes for students (Special ASEP program available)
  • Tuesday, May 3 - Move-up meeting in the kindergarten, 5:00 to 6:00pm. Learn about next year's program and meet the kindergarten faculty.
  • Friday, June 3rd - End-of-Year Breakfast

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!

The Preschool Team

Preschool Note

Dear Parents:

Welcome back! We hope you all enjoyed your Spring Break. The children seemed quite delighted to be back in the classroom with their friends.

Remember—-There are new photos every week to accompany this note. Make sure you check them out on your computer!

We have finished our study of Alice in Wonderland and are preparing to begin a new project. The children know that it will connect to our work outside in the garden. We have been doing lots of talking about the creatures we see outside in the spring. Some of us have been voting on which critters to study. Stay tuned as we make our final selection.

This week we welcomed spring with lots of planting in the garden and observations of plants and flowers. We looked at seeds of all kinds and cut up lots of fruits and veggies for smoothies. Soon we will be able to harvest some of the things we’ve planted for snack.

Next Friday we will have our first trip to the Schuylkill Center (since our fall trip had to be cancelled). Everyone is invited to join us. We will be leaving school at around 9:30 and will be returning around 1:00. We’ll have lunch at the Center. Please make sure your child dresses in clothing that will help protect them from ticks—long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and closed-toed shoes. Remember to do a thorough tick check when your child gets home.

A request from Preschool A - We need old broomsticks! The children in the Wonderers/Adventurers room will be creating musical instruments called "claves" later this month. Our plan is to repurpose old wooden handled items (e.g., brooms, rakes, dowels) so we can make music together! Please check your basements and closets -- we'd appreciate anything you can send our way.

Important Dates to Remember

  • Friday, April 15 - Preschool Trip to Schulykill Center
  • Friday, April 22 - Faculty In-Service Day - No classes for students (Special ASEP program available)
  • Tuesday, May 3 - Move-up meeting in the Kindergarten 5:00 to 6:00
  • Friday, May 13 - Rain-date for Schuylkill Center Trip
  • Friday, June 3rd - End-of-Year Breakfast

Have a great weekend!

The Preschool Team

--

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week was filled with both hilarity and mystery in the Trailblazer and Explorers’ classroom. First, we hosted a grand gala, during which we danced the Lobster Quadrille. Each lobster child partnered with a turtle child and stepped to the tune of the mock turtle’s song. Later, we were faced with a true mystery. Who stole the Queen of Hearts tarts? Dressed in costume, we held a mock trial, with the King as judge. Several characters were called as witnesses. The Mad Hatter trembled with fear while the Cook shouted “No!” and sprinkled pepper everywhere. Finally, Alice declared the entire trail to be ridiculous, with no one present but a deck of playing cards!

The Wonderers and Adventurers took a trip to a sunny island off the coast of Thailand… to visit Avery Luk and his family on Skype! Your children were very happy to virtually reunite with Avery— sharing updates on our tea study, our journal writing, and our visit to the Please Touch Museum. Avery shared that he, too, has been adventuring—kayaking, motorcycling, swimming, and even riding on an elephant! We look forward to welcoming Avery back from his trip after spring break and hearing more about his family time in Hong Kong, too!

Speaking of tea, this week our very own Carol Lerner (business office) and Jillian Whitaker (facilities) visited our classroom to wax poetic about their favorite teas. Carol is a fan of teas from China—red, black, and green. She also shared a rare, hand-rolled variety of tea called Black Dragon Pearls. Ask your child what it smelled like! Jillian prefers herbal teas, such as caramel, orange spice, Sleepytime, and other soothing delights. We watched as they steeped their favorite teas in mason jars to demonstrate the diversity in concentration and hues.

Wondering further how teas are made, we watched a short video entitled, “How It’s Made - Tea.” We were so inspired by what we saw, we crafted tea terraces out of clay and blended our own loose leaf teas. Ask your child about their favorite part of the video. Finally, our very own Madeline (a.k.a. “Medicine Madeline”) shared her facility for explaining the medicinal properties of tea to our class. Did you know that fennel and ginger can help cure nausea? With an offering of fennel, orange peels, cranberry, ginger root, apple seeds and echinacea, Madeline explained the importance of taking care of our earth so we can continue to enjoy the herbs, spices, and foods that possess restorative qualities for those of us who drink tea!

In both classrooms we introduced journal writing. Each child has his/her own journal, and once or twice a week, they are asked to draw a picture of anything they wish. Afterwards, with a teacher’s help, the children write a caption for that illustration. The children seem very excited to have a book of their own to record some of their ideas and observations. We will be happy to share the work they’ve done so far with you at parent-teacher conferences next week.

We all enjoyed the Really Rosie show this morning. Many of the actors are our lunch helpers and older siblings. Thank you for getting your children to school in time for the performance.

Upcoming events:

  • Friday, April 15 - Our annual spring visit to the Schuylkill Center (9:30am-1:00pm) Parents and younger siblings are invited to accompany us aboard yellow school buses as we venture out to our school's’ official country classroom. More details will follow, but save the date if you can join us. (Rain date, if needed, is May 13th.)
  • Friday, June 3 - Our annual Bug Breakfast. Similar to the Valentine’s Breakfast, the Preschool Bug Breakfast will feature breakfast foods for everyone, activities for the children and some catchy bug tunes! Stay tuned for more details; June will be here before we know it!

Have a great weekend.

The Preschool Team

Weekly Note

Dear Families,

If you are reading this on your phone, you’ll miss seeing the photos we’ve posted in the photo gallery alongside the Weekly Note. (These can be viewed when you log on using your laptop or computer.) We hope you’ll take a look at the gallery each week. It’s something we look forward to updating in order to best share photos of your children at work and play!

This morning’s trip to the Please Touch Museum proved there’s no better way to step into a story than to — well, step into it. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Alice and Wonderland Exhibit, as we explored in a “please touch” way so many of the whimsical elements of Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale! Thank you to our TPSA parent reps Marni Fogelson, Lauren Ravitz, Rebecca Alig, and Laura Lee Swan for accompanying us on our trip this morning. Your children had a delightful time — although we must confess that they were as enthused about riding the yellow school bus as anything else! In addition to the bus ride, ask your child about his or her favorite “please touch” adventure.

The Trailblazers and Explorers have been busy bees this week. We read Chapter 8 of Alice and were introduced to the Queen of Hearts (who seems to be in a very bad mood most of the time!) and all of her soldiers. We began the week by painting some roses red—the queen does not like white roses you know! We made heart crowns and practiced doing our best queen imitations. Many of us took turns learning about croquet. It wasn’t so easy and it must be really hard when your mallet is a flamingo! We learned the four suits of playing cards and figured out how to sort a deck into hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. Then we made some giant playing cards so that we could be soldiers in the queen’s parade. We are in the final chapters of Alice — will she ever find her way back home?

In other news, the Adventurers and Wonderers brought out their very special tea cups again — this time for a delightful “Chai Tea Party.” Junior Unit teacher, Emily Sparks, joined us on Tuesday morning to share her recipe for grinding fresh spices to make Chai. Emily demonstrated her technique, using a mortar and pestle, and she encouraged us to smell the deliciousness of freshly ground cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorns. Afterwards, we took turns with the mortar and pestle and ground up enough spices to make our very own Wonderer/Adventurer Chai, served to taste! (Ask your child to show you the sign language for milk and honey.) On Wednesday morning, our community neighbor Jezabel Cariega, owner of Gavin’s Cafe, joined us for morning meeting. Jezabel brought along a collection of tea cups and pitchers and introduced the children to the fine art of greeting customers at a cafe (or, in our case, a tea shop.) Several children took on the role of customer, while others practiced asking, “How can I help you?” and “Would you like some milk with your tea?” Jezabel reinforced the idea of making eye contact with customers and using good old-fashioned manners. We were delighted to see your children respond with such enthusiasm to Jezabel’s lesson! On Thursday morning, we used colored pencils to create ‘observational drawings’ of porcelain tea pots. Your children were incredibly focused as they worked; we look forward to sharing their impressive drawings during conferences.

Some of you have asked about child care during the time of your conference. If you need child care during your conference time, it will be available in the Lombard Street building from 7:30am to 5:30 pm. (This is only for TPS-enrolled children.) A receptionist will direct you to the room where supervision will be available. Children may not wait in the office.

Mark your calendars!

Friday, April 15 - Our annual spring visit to the Schuylkill Center (9:30am-1:00pm) Parents and younger siblings are invited to accompany us aboard yellow school buses as we adventure out to TPS’ official country classroom. More details will follow, but save the date if you can join us. (Rain date, if needed, is May 13th.)

Friday, June 3 - Our annual Bug Breakfast. Similar to the Valentine’s Breakfast, the Preschool Bug Breakfast will feature breakfast foods for everyone, activities for the children and some catchy bug tunes! Stay tuned for more details; June will be here before we know it!

Preschool Weekly note

Dear Preschool Parents,

“Is it tea time yet?” asked one of our enthusiastic preschoolers before we embarked on a ‘first’ in the preschool—an organized tea party! Though Alice, Mad Hatter, and March Hare were short of luck on having a pleasant tea party—we enjoyed ours!

Each room assembled tables tea-party style and boiled water to add to our delicious teas. To everyone’s delight, the Explorers and Trailblazers loved sampling green tea. The Wonderers and Adventurers were treated to tea with our guest expert and former longtime teacher and tea connoisseur, Judith Parker. Judith taught at The Philadelphia School for nearly thirty years before retiring. We are lucky to still have Judith share her love of literature and tea with older students in one of our after school club offerings. Judith shared her collection of black teas – singular in taste – with us. We sampled English Breakfast, Early Grey and Keemun teas with your children. Complete with boiling water, porcelain tea cups and saucers, and Fortnam and Mason on display, some of us enjoyed our tea plain, while others asked for 1% milk and/or honey to their liking. What a pleasure it was to see your children handling such delicate porcelain ware while enjoying conversation and tea! Ask your child if they liked their tea and what they enjoyed most about their classroom’s party.

In addition to Judith’s visit, we also had Marisa Block (TPS alum and assistant teacher in the kindergarten) visit our classroom to share her love of teas with us. We were thrilled to learn more about one of Marisa’s favorites—matcha tea. Ask your child about the color of this beautifully scented tea and what else she brought in to share with the Wonderers and Adventurers!

Speaking of black teas, our very own Maureen Glaccum is an Irish breakfast tea lover and quite a connoisseur herself! Maureen shared picturesque photographs of a tea farm in China she visited a few years ago. We learned that both Oolong and black tea leaves grow on the same bush, and she demonstrated how the farmers collect these tea leaves from the lusciously green terrace. Your children were delighted to learn that green tea leaves are steamed while black tea leaves are roasted for preparation. Finally, Maureen shared a very special treat with each preschool class—a flowering tea! Ask your child how tea leaves are removed from the bushes and what happened when we placed the flowering tea in a glass bowl of boiling hot water. Let’s just say, it got us excited for springtime!

In Spanish this week both classes were introduced to “el guiro,” a musical instrument that originated in Puerto Rico. Your children heard the guiro first in a new song we introduced that will teach us more about the seasons—in Spanish! The guiro’s long, metal, prong-like tool (a pick) made the majority of listeners think the guiro sounds just like a cricket. Ask your child what this beautiful instrument is made from. In the coming weeks we will explore other musical instruments such as maracas, palitos, and campanas de vaca, which are integral to traditional Puerto Rican music as well as similar multicultural rhythms in Cuban and African music.

Noteworthy

We are documenting all of our work with Alice, and we’ve created an Alice timeline in the front hallway. Please stop by some morning or afternoon to see photos and artwork of our trip to Wonderland.

Friday, March 11: Preschool trip to the “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit at The Please Touch Museum. We will travel by yellow school bus, leaving TPS at 9:30 am and returning for lunch and a regular afternoon. Parents don’t need to do anything special for that day.

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25. Please let your child’s teacher know if you did not receive a link to the Doodle poll for sign-up.

If you would like to meet with Kait about art, you can sign up here: http://doodle.com/poll/7vua2c5ub3ihmzrf

If you would like to meet with Chris about music: http://doodle.com/poll/by944vma4sk7d34i

If you would like to meet with Meg about Movement, Meditation or Spanish, she will be sending out a Doodle link in the next few days.

Enjoy the weekend,

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Parents,

We continue to follow Alice on her very strange adventure through Wonderland. This week the Trailblazers and Explorers read the chapter called The Pig and the Pepper where we met the Duchess who was holding a crying baby while her cook made soup with WAY too much pepper. Everyone was sneezing! Then the baby turned into a pig! Poor Alice—what was she to make of all that?! On Project Day we made some pretend soup with loads of spices and plenty of pepper. We also took care of all of our preschool babies by giving them a bath and wrapping them in blankets. We did a much better job caring for our babies than the Duchess did! We had a pepper tasting on Friday and we tried many colors of peppers and voted for our favorite color. In both rooms we are preparing to meet the Mad Hatter and the March Hare at their Tea Party. The Trailblazers and Explorers are in the process of making hats of all shapes, sizes and colors. Next week they will be decorated—then they will be party-ready!

It’s “Tea Time” in the Wonderers and Adventurers room! Reading a bit further along in the tale of Alice, we met the somewhat rude Mad Hatter. Alice invites herself to a tea party which inspired lots of conversations about tea. We asked your children what they knew about tea and learned:

"Before you drink it, you have to make it."

"You can put honey in tea."

"Tea goes cold quickly -- especially in an Uber!”

We wondered about what was inside a tea bag, and took scissors to tea bags during project time to answer that very question. Our classroom smelled delicious as your children examined first-hand the tea leaves, dried fruits and spices they discovered. Madeline made enough tea for each child to taste-test too! We also painted special tea bag-shaped paper with glue and then sprinkled tea leaves on top, signing our names to the “tea bag tags” as a finishing touch. If you haven’t already, please come admire the beautiful tea-inspired artwork which adorns our classroom walls. On Wednesday morning, ASEP teacher Ann DiMezza joined us for morning meeting. Ann shared her very special tea collection and showed us how she fills “empty” tea bags with loose tea. She also showed us a tea strainer, and introduced us to the word “steep.” By Wednesday afternoon, we had even expanded our musical repertoire with a new song, written by our beloved Brian Jordan. The song is about, you guessed it, tea! Ask your child if she or he can sing you a verse or two.

We are documenting all of our work with Alice and we’ve created an Alice timeline in the front hallway. Please stop by some morning or afternoon to see photos and artwork of our trip to Wonderland.

Announcements:

Friday, March 11 - Preschool trip to the “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit at The Please Touch Museum. We will travel by yellow school bus, leaving TPS at 9:30 am and returning for lunch and a regular afternoon. Parents don’t need to do anything special for that day.

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25. Please let your child’s teacher know if you did not receive a link to the Doodle poll for sign-up.

If you would like to meet with Kait about art, you can sign up here:

http://doodle.com/poll/7vua2c5ub3ihmzrf

If you would like to meet with Chris about music:

http://doodle.com/poll/by944vma4sk7d34i

If you would like to meet with Meg about movement or Spanish, she will be sending out a Doodle link in the next few days.

Have a great weekend.

The Preschool Team

 

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

The story just gets curiouser and curiouser! Preschoolers followed Alice as she encountered the grumpy caterpillar, sitting atop a mushroom and inquiring, “What size do you want to be?” One side of the mushroom made her smaller and one side made her tall. Alice is faced with a true dilemma of opposites, which led the Adventurers and Wonderers into a lengthy discussion about opposites. Each child made a drawing in both small and large scales, choosing such subjects as a house, a family or an animal. All of the preschoolers made their own caterpillars, using pompoms and either clothespins or popsicle sticks. The Trailblazers and Explorers used their Thursday project time to make a larger-than-life caterpillar and mushroom, now suspended from the classroom ceiling. Snack time consisted of a caterpillar fruit skewer and a taste of a portobello mushroom. Ask your child if they grew taller or became shorter after tasting the mushroom.

Congratulations to the Lee family in Preschool B. They welcomed their brand- new daughter into the world on Wednesday, and we are thrilled they have named her Alice!

Announcements:

  • Preschool B needs many newspapers for an upcoming project. Please bring in next week.
  • Friday, March 11 - Preschool trip to the “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit at The Please Touch Museum. We will travel by yellow school bus, leaving TPS at 9:30 am and returning for lunch and a regular afternoon. Parents don’t need to do anything special for that day.
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25. Please let your child’s teacher know if you did not receive a link to the Doodle poll for sign-up.

Enjoy the warm weekend weather.

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Preschool Families,

There is nothing quite like the voices of children . . . especially when they’re singing songs of LOVE! Thank you to the many families who were able to be with us this morning for our Annual Preschool Valentine’s Breakfast. We loved having you join our pink and red party on this cold and wintry day. In anticipation, we’d scheduled some closing meeting rehearsals of our Valentine songs and the amazingly popular "Ballad of Alice"! We hope you enjoyed this morning’s performance.

In addition to lots of singing and Valentine-making, our Wonderland adventures continued this week when we read the next chapter in the story of Alice. As Alice resumes her rabbit chase, she discovers not only the rabbit’s house but also a bottle of unlabeled potion. Ask your child what happened when Alice’s curiosity got the best of her and she drank the entire bottle. During our morning Discovery Time, your children used the ever-popular “No-Ends” (see photos in our gallery!) to construct the rabbit’s house. Some of them took turns pretending to be Alice, who grew and grew and became much TOO BIG to fit inside! Other children took turns trying on the rabbit’s white gloves. This afternoon we adventured over to the Lombard Building and were delighted to experience the Annual TPS Talent Show. Ask your child to tell you about his or her favorite performance.

In the Trailblazer and Explorer room this week we were delighted to welcome Estella’s parents Mu and Kai, who shared their family story with us all about the Chinese New Year. We figured out that everyone in our class is either a Rabbit or a Tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac. Both Mu and Kai were born in the year of the monkey, and we got to see videos of their whole family playing with monkeys on vacation. We now know that red is the color that brings luck, which was a perfect way to begin to decorate for Valentine’s Day!

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, February 17 - Preschool and Kindergarten Potluck will be in the Garage at 6:30 p.m. We hope to see everyone there! Check your email for details or ask your child’s teacher to put you in contact with the classroom parent representatives.
  • We were thrilled to learn about this event and hope you will attend – A Free Library Family Event: Alice in Wonderland, Saturday, April 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central, 1901 Vine Street. Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at an event for the whole family. There will be art projects, games, story times, a scavenger hunt, food, and, of course, plenty of books.

Have a wonderful, extra-long weekend! 

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Preschool families,

This week reigned supreme with caucuses abound! We regaled our preschoolers with the next adventure from the land of wonder—a Caucus race used to dry out a very wet group of creatures, and main character Alice. “What is a Caucus race?” asked Alice in Wonderland. “Why, the best way to explain it is to do it!” said the Dodo bird. With no beginning, middle or end, the group ran around until the Dodo bird announced a halt of the nonsensical game with a loud, “The race is over!” We reenacted the chapter in class and enlisted our beloved pet gerbils—Gold and Silvery, into their very own caucus race using plastic balls for them to rove around in. We cheered on our furry creatures as they pedaled around the circle to greet everyone as your children giggled with delight. We are quite curious what will happen next!

Spotlight on what's special

Garden
This week we began our indoor planting of seeds for the spring. Brian Jordan, our garden expert, came in to help the preschoolers plant fennel, lettuce, kale, celery, zinnias and marigolds (to name a few...). The kids enjoyed working together to plant and water their seeds. Our preschoolers will continue to observe and take care of these plants as they grow and become ready to be transferred to our outdoor garden.

Spanish
This week in Spanish the preschoolers were introduced to las formas (the shapes) and we noted the many ways they are integrated into our environment. During discovery time we laid out brown wrapping paper and the children got to use shapes, black and white oil pastels to make houses, flowers, and much more while we learned the vocabulary in Spanish. Ask your child about their favorite ‘forma’ in Spanish!

Music
The Preschool is busy practicing songs for the Valentine's Breakfast next week and the songs will remain "top secret" for now! We are looking forward to singing because you are definitely our favorite audience. Lyrical content including winter and snowflakes have been at the top of our list lately, and we will be "ice skating" on paper plates to Tchaikovky's "Nutcracker Suite" in the near future. Here are the words to one of our movement activities:

Let's go walking in the snow,

Walking, walking on tip toe,

Lift your one foot way up high,

Then the other to keep it dry,

All around the yard we skip,

Watch your step or you might slip!

Art
Many preschool students worked on collaborative drawings this week in art class. We discussed the concept of a group or “collaborative” drawing. Students sat in a large circle around the table and added one element to their paper before passing it to the person next to them. They chose between pencil, colored pencil, sharpie, and construction paper. Your children drew shapes (formas), and passed it on to the next child to either color in the shape or fill it in with a pattern. The next student would cut and glue a piece of colorful construction paper, and so on. Each piece was created by a total of five preschoolers! In the end, all agreed it was fun to work on group drawings and enjoyed surprising one another when their final product made its way back to the “starting artist” at the end of our exercise.

Movement
The Preschoolers have not only been reading “Alice in Wonderland,” they been enacting the scenes from the book in Movement class. Following the read-aloud of our third chapter, “The Caucus Race,” the children experienced a real “Alice in Wonderland” caucus race. As mentioned earlier in our note, a caucus race involves participants running around until someone deems the game finished. The best part of this race is that everyone is a winner! Your children also went missing "down the rabbit hole" on scooters while traversing a race course they created including a jump rope forest and cups of potion. When we were thirsty from all of our physical efforts in class, we drank from the water fountains that now have signs posted above them that read, “DRINK ME.” Check them out in the Garage!

Noteworthy

VALENTINE’S DAY is coming up next week and we couldn’t be more excited to share the morning celebrating with all of you on Thursday, February 11th from 8:30-9:30a.m. at our Preschool Valentine Breakfast in the Garage. We will also have a Valentine card exchange with our classmates that day. There are 22 children in your child’s class. PLEASE DO NOT ADDRESS VALENTINE CARDS TO EACH INDIVIDUAL CHILD IN THE CLASS. Indicating who they are from only on the cards ensures a smooth and easy distribution for your children on Thursday. Thank you in advance for your help with this! Please remember to observe the NO CANDY rule when packaging your Valentine cards.

Events

Tuesday, February 9 -”Be Cool” Progressive Talk. Join us for CHOP psychologist, Katherine Dahlsgaard’s presentation on helping children manage fears and anxieties.

Thursday, February 11 - The Preschool Annual Valentine Breakfast in the Garage from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. The party will include a Valentine sing-along and delicious breakfast foods. (Look for a sign-up sheet next week.) Stay for the full hour or as long as you can. Everyone is invited.

Wednesday, February 17 - Preschool and Kindergarten Potluck will be in the garage at 6:30 p.m. We hope to see everyone there! Check your email for details or ask your child’s teacher to put you in contact with the classroom parent representatives.

We were thrilled to learn about this event and hope you will attend!

A ‘Free Library’ Family Event: Alice in Wonderland
When: Saturday, April 16
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central, 1901 Vine Street
What: Come celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at an event for the whole family. There will be art projects, games, story times, a scavenger hunt, food, and, of course, plenty of books.

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

January 29, 2016

Dear Parents,

Well, the weather outside was frightful, but we hope your children had some fun playing in the snow. It’s been so warm these last few days that we’ve had a great time playing outside in the snow without FREEZING!!

Since we returned, we’ve continued our journey down the rabbit hole. You may have noticed that each of the rooms is being turned into some segment of Wonderland. If you check out the lofts in both rooms, you’ll see at the top there’s a lovely meadow where Alice and her sister can read but down below—it’s a whole new world. In the Trailblazer/Explorer room we created some doors and keys just like Alice encountered. We even made a “Pool of Tears” with salt grinders and water for Alice to try to walk through. Did you know that Alice drank from a bottle that said, “Drink Me” and then ate a cake that said, “Eat Me.” One of them made her grow and one made her shrink. This morning some of us made “Eat Me” cakes to try out. We also worked on paper fans that can make you shrink too! Please let us know if your child’s size changes at any point over the weekend.

Earlier this month, many of the Wonderers and Adventurers were eager to talk about their Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. (And many are now looking forward to Valentine’s Day!) Yesterday afternoon, we had the opportunity to read about another holiday, the Muslim festival Eid-al-Fitr. Layla’s family shared the book ILYAS & DUCK and the Fantastic Festival of Eid-al-Fitr, as well as some photos of Layla celebrating with her family. The book was written by nationally recognized author Omar S. Khawaja and complemented the sharing of Layla's holiday traditions. We were delighted that her dad could join us, too!

Dates to put on your calendar:

Valentine Breakfast, Thursday, February 11, 8:30 -9:30 am. All family members are welcome to celebrate in the Garage with breakfast foods and Valentine’s Day activities. Sign-up sheets will be posted in the preschool vestibule.

Children are welcome to bring in Valentine cards to distribute later that morning. We ask that you SIGN the cards but DO NOT ADDRESS THEM. This will allow the children to share their cards without needing a teacher’s help to read who they’re for.

Preschool and Kindergarten Potluck (Please note the correct date is Wednesday, February 17. The event will be in the garage at 6:30. All are welcome. Check your email for details or ask your child’s teacher to put you in contact with the classroom parent representatives.

Have a great weekend.

The Preschool Team

Preschool Note

What fun it is to roll out of bed and go to school in pajamas! We had a wonderful time celebrating the annual TPS Crazy Hat, Hair and Pajama Day. Ask your child what friends and teachers were sporting.

As we continued our reading of Alice in Wonderland, we followed Alice down the rabbit hole. Just to be sure who we were following, we had a white rabbit visit our classroom. He eagerly explored the pathways and tunnels we made out of blocks. We learned the fluffy white rabbit with pink eyes and pink ears carried a pocket watch. During project time, we made our own pocket watches out of cardboard, pipe cleaners, markers, and glue. The children carried their watches throughout the day, announcing they were late for a very important date. We then read about Alice landing with a “BUMP” at the bottom of the hole. She was faced with a dilemma (ask your child what) and tried drinking a potion marked “Drink Me.” The children mixed their own potions, using spices, herbs, flour, sugar and water. There was much discussion about whether or not the potions should be sampled. Ask your child about their decision and what happened to Alice when she also decided.

The Trailblazers and Explorers have been having a blast reading the Mercy Watson series of books. On Friday, we munched on toast with a great deal of butter during our pajama day party!

Dates to put on your calendar:

Valentine Breakfast, Thursday, February 11, 8:30 -9:30 am. All family members welcome to celebrate in the Garage with breakfast foods and Valentine’s Day activities. Sign-up sheets will be posted in the preschool vestibule.

Preschool and Kindergarten Potluck, February 16, 6:30 pm in the Garage. All are welcome. Check your email for details or ask your child’s teacher to put you in contact with the classroom parent representatives.

Stay warm and cozy this snowy winter weekend.

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

What does it mean to be curious? In the words of one very astute preschooler, “it’s when you don’t know something and you’re really excited to find out!” What does it mean to be bored? Well — that one was a little trickier to answer. We had so much fun wondering aloud with your children about the answers to these questions. We asked the children to tell us what they like to do when they feel bored. A few mentioned playing with siblings, listening to music, or playing with their stuffies. Ask your child what he or she told us.

Our conversations about boredom and curiosity were carefully chosen as lead ins to an exciting new adventure in the preschool — an exploration of Lewis Carroll’s Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. (Many of you may have already guessed the answer to our last Weekly Note’s "mystery clues"!) The tale begins with Alice feeling a bit bored as she sits beside a river bank, and your children were awestruck indeed when a very real “Alice” came to visit our classroom on Wednesday afternoon. Alice (former TPS preschooler and current sixth grader Isabella Salvi) arrived, to our delight, wearing a blue dress and white pinafore, much like the one in the picture book version of the story. She regaled us with her tale of feeling "bored" and then following a white rabbit down, down, down the rabbit hole! Your children were completely captivated by Isabella’s rendering of her adventures, and plied her with so many amazing questions! Ask your child if she or he had a turn to talk to Alice.

During classroom project time, we looked carefully at some objects from the story (a collection of antique keys, a real pocket watch), as well as different illustrated versions of Alice going down the hole. Some children chose to work on portfolio-worthy observational drawings, while others had the opportunity to draw and paint scenes from the story. We look forward to slowly transforming our classrooms over the course of our adventure! Over the next several weeks we’ll read this story — a little bit each week — as we enter Alice’s magical world. We’ve left off this week with Alice arriving outside a locked door at the bottom of the rabbit hole. We are all wondering about what she might find when she turns the key to open the door!

Some important upcoming dates:

Friday, January 22nd - Crazy Hat, Hair and Pajama Day!  Send your children to school in pajamas! (No slippers please.) Your children can stay pajama-clad for the entire school day! We will be spending our usual outdoor time in the garden, so please be sure your child will be warm enough and/or has an extra change of clothes for outside time!

Thursday, February 11 - Annual Preschool Valentine Breakfast,  8-9 a.m. in the garage - Be our Valentine! A food and beverage sign-up sheet will be available in the coming weeks for the festivities. Prepare to be serenaded with love by your children!

We hope you enjoy the weekend, look forward to seeing everyone again on Tuesday!

The Preschool Team

Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Preschool Families,

Happy New Year!

We want to thank you again for the generous gift certificates we received from TPSA. We loved picking out and reading new books. Upon our return to school, your children were replete with holiday news and so happy to see one another again! If you’ve noticed your child has been particularly tired after school this week, it is typical for there to be a “back-to-school” adjustment. Hang in there!

The new year brought in the COLD!! Please be sure and check your child’s extra bin of clothing and replenish with clothing in appropriate sizes as needed. Also, please send your child to school in warm wear that includes hats, mittens, and scarves. A thought about gloves … if your child cannot put them on independently, mittens are best!  When we don’t find ourselves in a polar vortex—we try and embrace the outdoor weather (if only for a wee bit on the colder days) every day! Thanks in advance for your help with this.

Next week we will embark on a learning journey that is sure to captivate. In the spirit of our all-school theme, Mysteries, we’d like you to guess what we’ll be studying next! In this study we will trailblaze, explore, adventure and wonder together as a preschool. Rabbits, tea, a reappearing cat, a game of croquet with a queen, and a seemingly never-ending adventure is at the helm of this study… Don’t be late for a very important date—beginning next week!

Noteworthy dates

School is closed on Friday, January 15th and Monday, January 18th for report writing and the holiday weekend. ASEP is providing special programing for Friday, January 15th. If you haven’t already, please pick up more information and a registration form in your child’s classroom or online. An email went home yesterday about our school's MLK, Jr. Day of Service Project; we hope you will participate!

Be our Valentine! Save the date for our Annual Preschool Valentine Breakfast on Thursday, February 11, from 8 to 9 am in the Garage. A food and beverage sign-up sheet will be available in the coming weeks for the festivities. Prepare to be serenaded with love by your children!

We hope you have a cozy and warm winter weekend.

The Preschool Team