Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Our preschoolers are embracing the unusual “winter” weather, spending a lot of time outside and asking many questions about the change in seasons. We alternate between heavy winter coats and short-sleeved shirts. However, we can always count on spring parent-teacher conferences. Please use the Doodle poll email link sent earlier in the week to sign up for a conference time with your child’s teachers. If you have any questions about scheduling a conference, please let your child’s teachers know.

Cling, clang, cling -- these were the sounds we heard this week as we created “Toolbox Glockenspiels.” Using socket wrenches, small pieces of pipe, screws, and nails, the Milkweeds and Lavenders explored the science of sound during Tuesday’s project time. Nesting the tools on a large block of styrofoam, we wondered about how sound could “bounce around” (vibrate) — or not — depending on how the striking tool (mallet) was used. We talked about the movement of air that could account for the sound we heard, but mostly we enjoyed making beautiful “toolbox” music. In the words of your children: “It sounds like the wake-up chime.” “It sounds like church bells.” “It sounds beautiful!” We also spent time in the art studio using oil pastels to do portfolio-worthy "observational drawings." Your children were given artist drawing paper and could choose to draw the djembe drum or a small guitar. Ask your child to tell you what he or she chose. Their drawings are now on display in the classroom, too!

The highlight of the week for children in Preschool B (and our friends in Preschool A) was a visit from the Academy of Natural Sciences. Knowing that we are studying animals in winter, Kaitlin (the museum presenter), brought three live animals that tie into our project work. The furry chinchilla has to adapt to the harsh conditions of the South American Andes and search for food all winter. This rodent survives on grass and tree bark. The American box turtle hibernates in the winter, burrowing into rocky crevices or muddy holes. If the winter gets cold enough, the turtle might even freeze solid and then thaw later in the spring. The screech owl migrates south, from the cold weather of Canada to the milder winter of New York. The owl has to follow the warmth and find its favorite food (mice). Our preschoolers asked many questions, showing both their knowledge and curiosity. Here is a sampling:

  • Do chinchillas turn white in the winter to match the snow?
  • Do frogs freeze in the winter like turtles do?
  • Does an owl’s head turn all the way around in a circle?

Ask your child about their favorite animal from the museum visit. 

For our cooking project on Friday, the Honeysuckles and Peppermints designed a snack that migrating birds and butterflies might enjoy. Using rice cakes, sun butter, jam, and fruit, they created flowers that were so beautiful that they had to be eaten immediately!

From music teacher Chris Gignac: In music, the preschool started by playing drums, “testing out” the drums while playing piano, forte, pianissimo, and fortissimo (soft, loud, very soft, and very loud). We also played rhythm patterns for each other and played them back after hearing them. If you have a drum at home, ask your child to show you how we played our drums in music class. The children also pretended to be migrating birds who flew south for the winter to find food and water. We began in Philadelphia, and when we heard the musical cue, we flew south to places like Miami, Mexico, and even Africa for the very strong birds! We finished reading The Cat’s Midsummer Jamboree, and as we sang goodbye, we pretended to be a cat playing mandolin, a fox playing flute, a skunk playing violin, a badger playing the drum, a goose playing a bassoon, or a frog playing the harmonica. Ask your child to demonstrate each one of these for you.  

Have a great weekend.

The Preschool Team