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Teacher Appreciation

Many thanks to all our wonderful families for the beautiful flowers,

the delicious lunch and for sharing your children with us!

We are honored to work with all of you!

Abigail, Nicole, Tara, Lisa, Barbara,

Neha, Molly, Kaitlyn, Lauren, Anna, Susan, and Jaimie

Thank You to our Teachers

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.   #IWD2017    #BeBoldForChange

TODAY AND EVERYDAY WE RECOGNIZE THE AMAZING WOMEN WHO TEACH OUR PRESCHOOLERS! THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE, CARE, COMPASSION AND PROFESSIONALISM!

You rock!

HERE ARE SOME OF THE WORDS OUR FAMILIES USED TO DESCRIBE OUR TEACHERS IN OUR 2017 FAMILY SURVEY:
  • Amazing
  • Caring and patient
  • Amazing and very professional and nurturing
  • Highly motivated
  • Caring and full of love
  • Super nice and professional
  • Caring and thoughtful
  • Encouraging and attentive
  • Very attentive and caring
  • Kind and caring
  • Very responsive
  • Great
  • Fantastic, loving, kind, encouraging, firm, and very creative
  • Patient and loving
  • Incredibly kind, patient, skilled, and they do an excellent job of bonding with the students
  • Enthusiastic and seem to have positive and caring relationships with the children
  • Completely down to earth and tuned into my child
  • Very competent, motivated, nurturing, professional
  • Very kind and professional, care about kids
  • Very good at guiding child in learning and respond to kids’ own interests
  • Wonderful at communicating with us and talking with us about our child
  • Energetic and encouraging
  • Very nice, caring, and patient
  • Thoughtful in how they set up the classroom environment and how they choose activities for the children, building off their interests
  • Highly-experienced
  • Kind, communicative and knowledgeable
  • Patient, knowledgeable about child development, kind and loving to my child

Out of many, One

The Sharon Cooperative School is proud to provide an inclusive environment and aims for its children to become curious, thoughtful and active learners who think about the needs of others. 

In pursuit of this mission, we believe that our strength is derived from our deep commitment to diversity of opinion, experience and background.  We actively seek to learn from each other and celebrate the multitude of cultures, religions and national origins that comprise our community. 

With these values in mind, the Coop community stands united in opposition to any efforts causing anxiety, pain, and anguish throughout our country and across the world, and we commit to helping and supporting our community members within our means. 

It is often said that if you want to see the future, look to our children. In that light, our Coop family asks all people, from our elected officials to refugees and immigrants around the world, striving for a better future, to listen to our children and our nation’s motto: Out of many, one. 

 

The Board of Directors of The Sharon Cooperative School               January 31, 2017

Being Kind

The Sharon Cooperative School is taking on The Kindness Challenge! We are looking for ways to express kindness to each other in and out of the classrooms, between families and teachers and extending out from our Cooperative School into our own communities. We all know what goes around comes around!

As we challenge ourselves, we challenge you to Be Kind

  • Smile and say hi to everyone you see each morning
  • Write a nice note to a teacher
  • Assume good intent and share it
  • Volunteer to come into the classroom and play
  • Compliment 5 people each day on small things
  • Introduce yourself to someone new
  • Write a positive comment on the classroom blog
  • Make a new friend
  • Tell a joke and make someone laugh
  • Learn something new about your child’s teacher
  • Help another family
  • Be good to yourself so you can be good to others
  • Volunteer to do something helpful for the school
  • Make up your own kind deed!

Leading With Love

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In her article “Helping Young Children through Daily Transitions,” Tara Katz offers a number of ideas for transitions in the preschool classroom including this one:

“Children expect us to tell them what comes next and what we expect of them. The difference between, “You may set the table for me” and “Can you set the table?” is day and night. As adults we sometimes think we nurture children to be strong independent thinkers when we ask them if they want to wear their coats or what they want for dinner. Such questions are only appropriate when the choice is real. What children need is for the adults in their lives to let them know what is expected of them in a consistent, loving, manner. Daily rhythms and routines and clear language will help them achieve that goal. In a society that values individuality, the idea of guiding children in an authoritative manner, instead of as their friend, can feel uncomfortable.” From www.childcareexchange.com

This is a challenge for all parents, we want to be liked and we don’t want to be the bad guy and we have lots of feelings about meeting our children emotional needs. I like the idea that “such questions are only appropriate when the choice is real”. If it is time to go home, then you get to hold your child’s hand and happily lead them home with love. If they need to get dressed in the morning, they have two choices: wear their pajamas to school and carry their clothes in a bag or get dressed to go to school. The goal is to figure out what is worth the battle and what is not. When you lead consistently with love and confidence (even if you don’t feel confident) your child will respond. “Children expect us to tell them what comes next and what we expect from them.”

Emergent Curriculum

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One afternoon last spring, Room 10’s children asked if they could build a train track in the hallway. They started building and immediately decided they needed more track. We borrowed from two other classrooms and they built an amazing track over blue oceans and brown lava fields. Those who didn’t want to build trains made books and played with the iPads. Ryan decided that he wanted to measure the tracks and started adding measuring tools along side the tracks. Lilah got into that and started adding other things that might be good at measuring including a Rubik’s Cube (it has numbers). Ryan counted to a thousand one million – that’s how long the track was. I added a video of real trains of all different kinds and heard the children start to ask and answer questions about trains among themselves. When Room 12 came in, some of them wanted to come over and play, too.

This activity today is an example of Emergent Curriculum. An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children, is driven by the interests of the children. It is often spontaneous and responsive to the immediate interests of a group of children. Topics are driven by the ideas, excitement, information and questions from the children themselves.

Ideas can be supported and extended by providing equipment, books, craft supplies, and experiences through which the children can learn more about their natural interests and curiosities. Teachers co-­explore alongside the children and observe and encourage their discoveries. They add to the learning by offering resources and answering questions. They pull from their teachers’ bags of tricks and expertise to encourage developmentally appropriate learning.

Emergent Curriculum allows children to make plans and execute them. It strengthens executive skills and empowers children by proving to them that their ideas are important. We are proud of our child driven curriculum at The Cooperative School.

Summer 2016!

This summer we are excited to be working in partnership with The Trustees presenting nature education programs.

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From The Trustees:

“We are more than 100,000 people like you who love the outdoors, who love the distinctive charms of New England, and who believe in celebrating and protecting them, for everyone, forever. Together with our neighbors, we protect the distinct character of our communities and inspire a commitment to our special places. Our passion is to share with everyone the irreplaceable natural and cultural treasures we care for.

We enjoy and care for more than 100 special places – nearly 25,000 acres – all around Massachusetts. And we are actively building an extended family of friends and neighbors across the state that can help in their different ways.

Through more than 100 years of hard work and high standards, The Trustees have built a sterling reputation and a stunning physical legacy.

Today, the places we care about are going fast, and the forces undermining them, including climate change, are moving faster. We need to tap the wellspring of people’s joy – in their communities, their heritage, and the natural world – and mobilize a whole new generation to care.”

Here are the lessons we will be exploring with your children this summer:

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Forts, Fairy Houses, & Other Homes #1- Building Fairy Houses

Learning Objective:

– Children will practice building “habitats” for fairies.

– Children will learn what needs to be included in a habitat to support life there.

– Children will work on the basics of construction for use in future activities (bug hotel).

Description:

Using sticks, leaves, etc. that are found around the property, children will design fairy houses along the bases of trees, etc. With instructor’s guidance, they’ll focus on including the basics that all animals (including humans and fairies) need to survive, i.e. shelter, food, water. (Activity based on idea of “fairy garden” where the house also has things like a pool of water near by to attract fairies, etc.)

Lesson: Forts, Fairy Houses. & Other Homes #2- Making Mini-Habitats

Learning Objective:

– Children will create their own “mini-habitats” for the type of small creature they wish to attract.

– Children will recognize the different elements needed to be a “habitat.”

Description:

In a cupcake tin, children will make their own “mini-habitats” for a type of creature they wish to attract. Instructor will help pick out what they should put in the habitat (i.e. guide for food, water & shelter, plus any additional items the critter might want). Cupcake tins can be left out overnight and looked at to see if a critter was attracted (i.e. is the food, water, etc. gone? Is there an animal inside?)

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Camouflage #1- Hiding in Plain Sight

Learning Objective: 

– Children will learn about how animals can hide within their surroundings.

– Children will brainstorm why the ability to camouflage is important.

Description:

Using a game of hide and seek outside, children will try and find hidden animals (with some blended into their surroundings). The animals will first be hidden by the instructor for all to find, then once topic is understood, children will hide animals for the other children to try and find.

Camouflage #2- Camo Fence

Learning Objective:

– Children will recall camouflage and its importance.

– Children will practice using natural elements to help blend the fence to its surroundings.

Description:

Using a game of hide and seek outside, children will try and find hidden animals (with some blended into their surroundings). The animals will first be hidden by the instructor for all to find, then once topic is understood, children will hide animals for the other children to try and find.

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Creepy Crawlies #1- Bug Hunt!

Learning Objective:

– Children will find different types of bugs that live in our area.

– Children will learn about the different conditions bugs like to live in.

– Children will identify different characteristics of different bugs (i.e. # of legs, body parts, etc.)       and differences in insects vs. spiders.

Description:

                  Using bug boxes, butterfly nets, and small shovels, children will find as many bugs as they can. Bugs will be put onto paper plates, in bug boxes, or otherwise displayed for investigation. Bugs will be compared by what they look like, where they were found, & other questions the children have.

Creepy Crawlies #2- Building a Bug Hotel 

Learning Objective:

– Children will learn about the type of homes bugs like to live in.

– Children will develop basic building skills through assembly of the bug hotel.

– Children will create something they can keep checking back on to see how many bugs they get!

Description:

                  Starting from a base of wood/old logs, children will help create a “multi-story hotel” to attract bugs. The hotel will have spaces for decaying leaves, damp places for bugs, and different hollow sticks/etc. to have places for bugs to hide. Children will help to source and build the bug hotel that they can then come back to check on.

Lyme Disease Information

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Here’s some information for families about Lyme Disease and prevention.

Lyme Disease from CDC Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.

Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

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lymedisease_parent                                  lymediseasebrochure

Starting Preschool

 

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One of our new families asked for a few references, books, websites on transitioning to preschool. Here are some thoughts we have found work well. The sites they are culled from are listed below. There are also some titles and tricks we use in the first few days of school included to help smooth the transitions for both you and your child.

The most common challenge for most kids is saying goodbye to their parents, or trouble separating. For some children this may be their first time out of the home or away from a well known caregiver (home daycare, grandma, neighbor). Sometimes saying goodbye is a challenge for the adults as well. We know it is hard to leave your child as most of us have done it, too, at one time or another. The first thing you have to do to prepare your child for this transition is to prepare yourself. Look within for whatever ambivalence you have about leaving your child, because she will pick up on those feelings. Try to allay your own concerns first by communicating with us and your friends and family. We know this can be a big step for you as well. Please know that we are very comfortable helping both you and your child start school successfully!

Some ideas to help in the move to preschool:
  • As adults, we know what preschool will be like. Children do not. Explain to your child in simple terms what he can expect when he goes to preschool. Tell him that he will be away from you for a little while, but you will return to pick him up. Gently build excitement about preschool by telling him about all the new playmates he’ll meet, the delicious snacks he’ll enjoy, and all the fun things he’ll learn.
  • Prior to starting school, take your child to visit the classroom and meet the teacher anywhere from 1 to 3 times. Take advantage of any Visiting Days and Family Events ahead of time. Visits should be informal and casual so they seem just like part of the day.
  • If there’s a way of having a playdate with one of the other children who will be attending the preschool, that’s great, because then the children can welcome each other when they begin school. Knowing how to share, take turns and cooperate with other kids are not requirements for entering preschool. But possessing these skills will make the transition easier for a child. If your child hasn’t had many opportunities to socialize with peers, you can help him learn the value of cooperative play by signing him up for a neighborhood play group or setting up regular playdates with his friends.
  • At home, set up a pretend play area with a table, chair and rug. Use your child’s love of dramatic play to act out common preschool experiences such as circle time, story time and snack time. You can pretend to be the teacher while your child and his teddy bears act as students or visa versa.
  • Purchase a lunchbox, sleeping things (if needed) and backpack together with your child.
  • Sometimes giving your child a transitional object, like a small family picture or a parent’s handkerchief or scarf that they can carry around with them all day will help them feel comforted. We also recommend small notes in the lunchbox – simple I Love You’s with a smiley face. If you leave home early before your child wakes up, leave an I Love You note by their pillow or cereal bowl.
  • Start from the beginning by allowing your child to walk into school on their own two feet with their backpack on. It is very empowering to be the big kid coming to their own school. Drop offs will be easier if you allow them to feel like they own a part of the process, and we encourage them to leave school the same way, jacket on and backpack ready. Smooth transitions at the end of the day are just as important and we will help with that.
  • Saying goodbye is the hardest part of transitioning to preschool. To ease your child’s separation anxiety, come up with a creative way to say goodbye. You and your child can create a secret handshake or a cool goodbye rhyme. We have “goodbye windows” at school where children can wave at you one last time before you leave. It need not be elaborate, simple is best.
  • On your child’s first day of preschool, hang around for a few minutes and help him find an activity he enjoys. Once he’s engaged in the activity, say your special goodbye and head for the door. No matter how tempting, don’t sneak out. Once your child realizes you’re gone, he’ll be frantic. This will make him less trusting and clingier the next day.
  • If your child starts to cry when you drop him off at preschool, resist the urge to swoop in and rescue him. This won’t help; it will only make separating more difficult. Leaving your child in a classroom while he’s kicking and screaming isn’t easy. It is very hard on you as well. Please know the teachers are used to this and will take very good care of your child. Feel free to call back in 30 or 60 minutes to check on them. We are always glad to do this. Going back will only encourage the outbursts to continue and possibly cause your child to lose confidence in his ability to stay in preschool without you.
If you don’t have a library card, now is a great time to get one for both you and your child! The Sharon Public Library is right next door to us and several families visit after school each day for a new book to take home. It’s a wonderful treat for a child to be able to pick out their own book all by themselves. Appropriate books about transitions and school for preschoolers include:
  1. Time for School, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
  2. Spot Loves School by Eric Hill
  3. D.W.’s Guide to Preschool by Marc Brown
  4. Corduroy Goes to School by Don Freeman
  5. If you Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
  6. Clifford’s First Day of School by Norman Bridwell
  7. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (a lipstick kiss on a piece of paper is a great transitional object!)
  8. Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen
  9. Going to Daycare by Fred Rogers
  10. Little Polar Bear Finds a Friend by Hans de Beer
  11. Best Friends for Francis by Russell Hoban
  12. Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells
  13. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
  14. Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London

Sites referenced:

http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1372

 

 

Building a rain garden together

The children and teachers of the Cooperative School are excited to share in the creation of this garden!Rain Garden flyer copy

The Binah School is a small, progressive Orthodox Jewish school for girls located in Sharon, Ma. In our expeditionary learning class the students have been studying watershed ecology, worldwide access to clean water, and examining what our religious texts have to say on our responsibility for water stewardship. They have visited a wastewater treatment plant, a desalination plant, and a rain garden; heard from a Peace Corp volunteer and global water activists; and researched sources of nonpoint source pollution. They have identified the building of a rain garden as a way they can take their learning into action and make a difference.

Nonpoint source pollution is the largest source of pollution in the United States. As rain water runs over the land, it can pick up pollutants such as fertilizer and pesticides from farms and lawns; animal waste on farms and from dogs and cats; and gas and oil that drips from our cars and trucks. The stormwater, along with all the pollutants it carries, joins the other water in our lakes, rivers and groundwater that we depend on for drinking, fishing and recreation. Approximately 40% of our nation’s water cannot be used for these basic functions. Yet because each of us contributes to this water pollution, each of us can contribute to fixing the problem.

A rain garden is one of the ways this type of pollution can be addressed. Stormwater is gathered  from a roof, driveway and lawn and directed into a specially-designed garden. In the garden, the water filters through to the groundwater after being cleaned naturally by the garden itself. A rain garden not only can clean the water, but it can also reduce flood hazards.

The students at The Binah School identified the Sharon Historical Society building as a potential location for a rain garden. Working with a professional landscape architect, they have studied art in nature; the way art can be expressed in a garden; the structure of a rain garden; and the types of plantings found in a rain garden. They conducted a community meeting with representatives from the Sharon Historical Society and its neighbors, the Sharon Public Library and the Sharon Cooperative School, as well as interested residents. 

The students also want the garden to improve the quality of life in Sharon and become an important part of the town landscape. As a result, they are working with a sound design artist to make the garden an interactive musical experience. They will also be taking their learning into the community and teaching others about the importance of water stewardship and what we each can do to improve the environment once the garden is built.

We are currently raising money to put the plans into action. The Town of Sharon has agreed to donate compost, sand and gravel for the rain garden. The Covenant Foundation is supporting the work of the landscape architect and the sound design artist to bring art and social justice together. Please help us with funding for the plants, as well as the walkways, benches, and rain chains to make this garden a wonderful place for all of the community of Sharon, MA.