Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Preschool Families,

“Claves,” “Djembe,” “Tablah” -- the Milkweeds and Lavenders enjoyed an international music tour this week thanks to some wonderful visits by a TPS parent, teacher, and a local “guest expert.” TPS parent Chris Jones introduced the Lavenders and Milkweeds to the “son clave” this week, a rhythmic pattern used as a tool for temporal organization in Afro-Cuban music. Chris was accompanied by two of his robust Conga drums, 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 to practice the “son clave,” which Chris described as the backbone of a song’s composition. Your children happily chatted and sang while they used beautiful watercolor paints to decorate their new percussion instruments. Each of your children will receive their own set to enjoy at home soon! 

To continue our studies in the percussion family, local drum expert Joe Tayoun joined us on Wednesday for a drumming workshop. Joe brought his international drum collection along with him, and we enjoyed a mini drum circle while children took turns "performing" and being an audience for one another. From African bongos to Egyptian steel tablah to a “talking drum” that answered questions from us (!!), we all delighted in Joe’s visit to TPS and hope he returns again for another stellar drumming and dancing workshop! 

On Friday we were brought into the wondrous world of opera with our very own Shannon Coulter from the TPS Music department. Shannon shared her experience as an opera singer with us, and we enjoyed watching a short clip from the famed opera The Magic Flute as Papagena and Papageno joined together in an entertaining duet. Shannon closed by singing two arias for us as we watched in awe at the strength of her voice and operatic presence. Ask your child about these three experiences as we happily groove along in our study of music!

This week the Peppermints and Honeysuckles were delighted to welcome a special guest.  Joanne Peck, Ethan P.’s grandma, came from her home in Maryland to help us with a planting project. Joanne brought with her some terra-cotta pots (which the children decorated) and tulip bulbs, and everyone got to plant their bulb and take it home. Joanne’s advice is to keep the plant in a sunny, cool area (outside on a porch or deck is fine, even if it’s really cold). She told the children to touch the soil and, if it’s wet, don’t give it any water. However, if it feels really dry, they can water it a little. In a few weeks, you should have a beautiful yellow tulip. Many thanks to Joanne for this special project. We also started a brand new series of chapter books. We talked to the children about a number of choices, and they voted for My Father’s Dragon. We just started the first book on Wednesday (there are 3 in all). This morning we also baked some bunny bread (carrot bread) in honor of one of our favorite adapters!  

On Friday afternoon, we had a playdate with kindergarten. The Peppermints and Lavenders went to visit a kindergarten classroom, and the Honeysuckles and Milkweeds welcomed a kindergarten group to their classroom. We hope to continue having joint playtimes in the spring so we can get to know some of our next door neighbors.

Each preschool classroom will host a Community College of Philadelphia practicum student this semester. Amanda Cintron will be working in Preschool A on Mondays, and Jason Roe will be with us on Tuesdays in Preschool B. Welcome, Amanda and Jason!

Valentine’s Day is upon us! Please join us next Tuesday, February 14, 8:15-9:15 a.m., when we celebrate our community in the Garage at our annual Preschool Valentine Breakfast. On the 14th, please sign your child in as usual, dropping off coats and backpacks in the classroom before proceeding to the Garage. From 8:15 to 9:00 a.m., we will eat, drink, and be merry. At 9:00 a.m. the children will sing Valentine's Day songs and then send their grown-ups off with a wave and a goodbye.

On the morning of the 14th, grown-ups can also help their child stash their valentine cards in their cubby. The children will exchange valentines later in the day. To ensure a smooth and easy distribution, PLEASE DO NOT ADDRESS CARDS TO INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN. This will allow your children to share their cards with a minimum of teacher support. On the other hand, signing their names to each card is great practice.  To keep this meaningful yet fun, you may want to do a few cards at a time.  Please remember the NO CANDY rule when preparing valentines.

Enjoy a wonderful weekend!

The Preschool Team