October 2015 SFF NewsletterPosted On Oct 05 2015 | BY School for Friends
Update on Expansion – During the month of September we made a lot of progress in the planning. There were two meetings with our management firm, architect, and construction company to review the construction budget. Our development committee met to focus on alumni parties and other soliciting. We also received a large gift to our capital campaign from a corporation connected to an alum family. I spent some time with our permit lawyer regarding the permits for using our swing space during the construction and what permits we will need to stay in the building while construction is occurring in the other wing.
Staff News – During the month of September, I met with each of the teachers to set their goals for the year, which included their staff development and anti-bias goals.
Mentors – Thanks to those parents who volunteered to be mentors to the families requesting them. This is a new (reinstated) program this year. If you are new to the school and would like a mentor or would like to be one, just see me [Jim].
Quaker House Newsletter
Children are naturally curious about all kinds of human differences from a very early age on. To make meaning of their world they learn to categorize. Pre-school children especially are developmentally beginning to sort and categorize things in their environment. This is also true about people’s visible traits.
Noticing differences is part of their normal development; our work is to help them avoid stereotypes and bias.
Pre-school children quickly assume that people who look like them also enjoy the same things they do, while people who look different are different in many ways.
“Children are very sensitive to adults actions and emotions and they sense our discomfort with differences. Meanwhile, they are constantly exposed to biased messages from the media and the conversations and behaviors of the adults around them. Young children are constantly taking in our society’s powerful messages about diversity: what group holds power, and wealth- and where they fit in. Children need us to talk to them about these differences directly, explicitly, and in language they can understand. Instead of giving abstract confusing messages like “everybody is equal” or “we are all the same”, we can teach from the perspective that everyone is important and every person experiences the world in different ways which gives each of us different ideas and viewpoints.”
There is nothing more important in the lives of children than their families.
What better way to see, understand and celebrate diversity first hand as by learning more about each family in the QH-classroom at our Friday morning circle times.
Over the next couple of weeks, we would like to invite each QH-family to be part of one of these circle times (11am).
Our Friday circle time is meant to help your child learn to value themselves, their families culture/heritage, develop an in-depth understanding of “you and me”, and very importantly to know that their own families are respected and supported, but also learn to understand and respect the families of others.
The following suggestions may help you to initiate a conversation with your child when planning your circle time.
- Who is in your family? (Siblings, grandparents, and other family members are welcome to participate in this circle time!)
- What makes a family a family? What are things that define your family?
- Where does your family (also extended family) live (heritage)?
- Does everyone in your family like the same things?
- How has/does your family change (moving, new baby…)?
- What does you family enjoy doing together? Is there a way to enjoy that in the classroom? (Activities, foods, books, photographs…)
- Think together; tell children briefly about celebrations or special events your family does together…
- Share your own childhood stories with your child, or talk to them about their experiences so far.
From the past years we know how much the children look forward to this day and take pride in having their family be part of our school day.
So make sure to sign-up early on and please feel free to come to us with any questions you have.
We are looking forward to this special “Family-time” at Quaker House.
The Quaker House Teachers
Rainbow Room Newsletter
Self-help skills are important for children to develop independence and self-esteem. By the age of four, children are expected to be able to be able to care for their own toileting needs, use eating utensils appropriately, dress and undress without assistance, brush teeth, clean up spills, put away items, and pour from a pitcher. These are just some milestones that the Rainbows are working towards.
In the Rainbow Room, we provide opportunities for the children to practice and develop these skills. Without developed fine motor skills, completing many of the self-care skills can be more difficult. Providing opportunities to engage with materials that strengthen fingers and hands, such as Theraputty and Playdough, as well as practice using items such as scissors, short crayons and pencils, and tongs assist in building the muscles needed to complete self-help tasks. Breaking down tasks into smaller steps is helpful. By providing visuals of each step, such as the hand washing posters in the bathrooms, children can follow along until they have mastered it. Sequencing games as well as songs help children remember to break tasks down into steps. They will also be expected to take care of their personal items such as clothing or toys from home by hanging them on hooks or putting them away in their cubbies. Taking responsibility for the classroom is expected as well but only after making sure the children know where classroom items belong. The children learned the proper way to blow and wipe their noses, cover coughs and sneezes, as well as to wash hands during our hygiene unit. We encourage the children to dress by themselves with little adult assistance until it is clear that the child is not yet able to complete the task alone. The children practice using buttons, snaps, and zippers on their own clothing but we also have self-help boards that the children can work on as well. Talking children through tasks by using “first, second, last” helps them organize their actions. In the classroom, the children are responsible for setting the table. We will continue to encourage the children’s self-care skills to support their independence.
-Please provide two sets of seasonal extra clothes
-As the weather changes, snow pants can come in and hang on the hooks until needed
-Label all items
-Please sign up to bring in fruits and veggies to supplement snack
Thanks! Rainbow Room Team
Green Room Newsletter
Sensory Play and Child Development
Sensory play is an important part of early childhood development. It lets children explore and learn about their world through what they do best – play. Throughout the month of September, the Green Room has engaged the students with sensory activities. Although it may seem messy, sensory play helps develop a child’s cognitive, language, social and emotional, physical and creative skills.
Two of the most prominent benefits of sensory play is the ability to make decisions and solving problems. Just observe a child when you give them a problem with the proper materials. Their minds go to work and they become little scientists; creating theories and testing them. For instance, how do you make sand stick together. Other cognitive benefits of sensory play are the development of maths skills (counting, quantities, sizes, matching, timing, and classification) and science skills (gravity, matter, cause and effect).
According to Steinberg in the article “Developing and Cultivating Skills Through Sensory Play”, children can’t define parts of language until they’ve experienced the true meaning of the word”. Sensory play gives way to better understanding of the meaning of words through senses. To learn the meaning of sweet or sour, one has to taste it. Similarly, to understand the word rough and smooth one has to feel different surfaces. Until a child experiences something rough, smooth, sweet or sour firsthand, all it will be are words. Furthermore, pre-writing skills are developed when a child pours, spoons, and grasps. Also, hand-eye coordination is being developed while using numerous materials.
Sensory play allows children to be in control of their experiences. In being responsible for their experiences, children’s self esteem is boosted by their decision making skills. Cooperation and collaboration are also learnt while playing together at a sensory table. Students work together to solve problems and they learn that each member of the “team” has a different point of view or opinion. Simply pounding, squishing, and feeling water through their hands allow children to stay in contact with their feelings while they figure out how to deal or control them (their feelings).
Children reinforce and practice their small motor skills while pouring, measuring, stirring, whisking, and manipulating the materials. They learn to control their bodies and give their bodies directions to accomplish tasks as they explore. Gross motor skills are refined as children explore, usually outside, with running through a sprinkler, examining surfaces with hands and feet, or foot painting.
“Sensory experiences,” explains Angie Dorrell, “provide open-ended opportunities where the process is more important than the product; how children use materials is much more important than what they make with them.” Encouraging children to think creatively to solve problems and engage in imaginative play allows them to show their creativity and build their confidence.
Steinberg, D (N.d) “Developing and Cultivating Skills Through Sensory Play” PBS Parents.
Available at: http://www.pbs.org/parents
Dorrell, A (N.d) “Sensory Experiences Can Be Messy Fun” Earlychildhood News.
Available at: http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com
Blue Room Newsletter
The school year is off to a great start in the Blue Room! Friends are settling in, getting used to their new surroundings, and forming relationships with their teachers and peers. Everyone is also getting used to our little furry friend – Cupcake! The Blue Room adopted Cupcake this past summer and children in all classrooms greatly enjoy having her around. With that being said, this is a great opportunity to share the many benefits of having a pet in the classroom.
Pets Encourage Nurturing
Children quickly learn that they need to treat pets carefully and kindly. Using gentle touches and calm voices, they treat animals they way they want to be treated.
Pets Teach Responsibility
Filling the water bottle, cleaning the fish tank, giving treats are just some of the jobs necessary to make sure pets are well taken care of. Children can learn a sense of routine and the importance of providing help for the needs of others.
Pets Build Self Esteem
Helping with the chores of taking care of a pet can build a sense of accomplishment and pride. With that also comes confidence that the children can have a task and successfully feed, brush, etc. their pet.
Pets Become Friends
The emotional bond one can form with animals is extremely rewarding. Fish, bunnies, cats, turtles, you name it – they are there when one is happy, sad or anywhere in between. Pets are there to say “good morning” and “goodnight” to, there to sing a song with, and read a story to.
These are just a few advantages of having pets in the classroom. I (Elizabeth) have used the following articles as resources and encourage you to read more if interested:
- October 7: Fall Family Social
- October 8-13: Staci Vacation
- October 9: Elizabeth Vacation
- October 12: First Peoples Day (No School)
- October 28: After School for Friends