Preschool Weekly Note

Dear Preschool Families,

This morning’s Encuentro gathering was a riveting performance by master percussionist Hafez Kotain, a member of Al-Bustan: Seeds of Change. Hafez grew up in Syria and began playing the doumbek at age seven. He wowed us with his fast-flying fingers as we clapped along to the beat of several classic Middle Eastern percussion instruments. We enjoyed learning the names of the instruments along with some lively opportunities for a “call and response” session with Hafez. Your children were an amazing audience -- and, of course, the drumming continued once back in the classroom!

The Milkweeds and Lavenders bid farewell to our lovely practicum student Amanda this week, but not before she inspired our obstacle course studies with a reading of Bob Barner’s Bug Safari. In the story we met a family of ants who navigate their way through many, many obstacles as they explore the world around them. Several children decided they’d like to see what it might feel like to be an insect, too. On hands and knees they crawled their way through our TPS Garden. This exercise became a wonderful exploration, first-hand, of the obstacles that real insects encounter each and every day as they traverse the garden paths. In addition, we were lucky enough to discover some ready-to-harvest radishes. Yum! Inside the classroom, we created smaller obstacle courses using clay, craft sticks, small building materials and recyclables. This work in course-design has been a wonderful way for us to explore our collection of plastic garden insects. (It’s easy to take an insect through an obstacle course when the insect is made of plastic!)

During project time, Riley’s mom Tracy, a former competitive gymnast and longtime obstacle course enthusiast, visited our classroom for a preschool-perfect presentation on the history of obstacle courses. We learned that people have been using obstacle courses for over 1,000 years to strengthen both body and mind. Tracy borrowed some equipment from the Movement Room to create a challenging obstacle course for your children, complete with tests of strength, eye-hand coordination, balance, and even letter-recognition! Ask your child which part of the course they liked best.

Also this week, we enjoyed Candace Fleming’s wonderful tale, Muncha, Muncha, Muncha. In the story we meet Mr. McGreeley, whose farm is overrun by some hungry bunnies. Your children were delighted to point out the “obstacles” Mr. McGreeley created in his attempt to ward off the rabbits. The bunnies, however, were quite persistent. We turned the story into a “show” with both indoor and outdoor performances. Your children were inspiring performers!

The Peppermints and Honeysuckles were excited to complete their poetry books and take them home.  We hope you had a chance to read the beautiful garden poems our kids created.  We continue to do lots of planting in our garden, learning about the parts of plants and how they absorb nutrients. Also, the worms arrived, and they are happily adjusting to life in their new home on the porch.  What fun to hold dozens of worms in your hands!  Our student teacher Jason will complete his time with us on Monday at The Schuylkill Center. This week he did a science experiment using baking soda and vinegar to blow up balloons.  The children were wildly excited to try it.  We send our thanks to Jason for all the fun activities he brought to us this spring.  

Sunscreen Reminder! 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. Thank you SO MUCH!

Important Upcoming Events

  • This coming Monday, May 1 - Schuylkill Center Trip. Buses will leave at 9:30 a.m. and return to TPS at approximately 2:00 p.m. There will be plenty of space on our buses, and everyone is invited to join us.
  • Thursday, May 25 - Mercado in the Garden. This is a students only event.
  • Friday, June 2 - Preschool Garden Breakfast (8:15 - 9:15 am). Everyone is invited.

Because your children are growing fast and the weather is warming up, please check your child’s extra clothes bin and restock as needed.

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Preschool Team