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The Genius of Play at Home

Preschool Readiness

From a great blog Preschool Inspirations:

PRESCHOOL READINESS — IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

Is preschool around the corner? As a veteran preschool teacher, I think there are some things you should know!

Preschool can be one of the most magical and exciting times in a child’s life, and it also helps set the stage for kindergarten! Have you considered preschool readiness — it’s not what you think!

So many well-meaning parents have walked through my door and given me a list of what their child already knows: how to spell his name, all of her colors, how to count to 20, and so on.

This is not what I’m going to talk about! A seasoned teacher knows that these concepts will come easily in due time.

We want to hear more about your child’s interests, in her self-confidence, and in his ability to cooperate. While there are many new concepts and insights that will be gained, preschool is a combined effort built by everyone involved: parents, teachers, and the child.

When children step foot into the classroom, they are learning more than just facts and concepts. They are adjusting to working in a community and learning to follow those rules.

Children are adapting to taking directions from a different adult, and they are also trying to figure out what their role is in their preschool class among their peers.

My “teacher hat” takes many forms, and before I can even begin to show a child how to write letters or to make patterns, there have to be social and emotional maturities achieved. Trust has to be built between the both of us, and the child needs to know that they are valued and in a safe environment.

This trust and maturity begins before I even meet them. It begins at home, and there are several ways that parents can help contribute to an easier transition to preschool.

Here are five key components that I believe every child should have in order to experience a successful transition to preschool.

1) A desire to explore: Before a child can learn, he must feel confident enough to discover and explore his environment. This is an innate skill that we are born with, and these moments are vital. Children learn best through play and need opportunities to explore, create, build, and to figure out how things work.

They thrive with windows of time to pretend at the dollhouse, to build with legos, to play outside with sticks and rocks, and to take things apart, again and again. The more children play, the more creativity they develop, and the more they understand how the world works around them.

Children who have lots of experience playing before preschool easily adapt to the environment and become absorbent learners quickly.

2) The ability to follow one and two step directions: A big part of the preschool day involves listening to the teacher. Teachers often give directions such as “throw your tissue away,” “put the truck back on the shelf,”or “get your coat and go to the door.”

It is important for children to be able to listen to these instructions and to be able to carry them out. While it might be tempting to do some of these activities for children, they are better off if we use them as learning opportunities.

It is a huge skill for children to follow directions, and sometimes it takes weeks for children to get the hang of it in the classroom setting. Children who are successful at following directions when they enter preschool have a huge advantage over those who do not as they are able to dive into learning activities instead of spending so much time practicing their listening skills.

3) Practice at completing tasks: As a child is playing, he needs to develop the skills to complete a project — or at least the opportunity to.

In our busy world, we are running around doing errands, jumping in the car constantly, and rushing to the next activity. I wish we could put these on hold because children need to be given time to just build a castle out of blocks, to paint a picture at the easel, or to splash in the water table until they have said they are finished.

Take time in the day to put away busyness and allow children the chance to explore and learn at their pace.

Children who have practice completing tasks also have much longer attention spans and have greater abilities to stay focused amidst all the distractions that a group setting brings.

4) The confidence to speak up: There are many times in a preschooler’s day that a child needs to feel confident and secure enough to tell the teacher something.

We want them to come to us and tell us when they need to use the bathroom, when they need help, when they are finished with an activity, or when they accidentally make a spill. Some of us are great at spotting the “potty dance” or sensing that a child needs assistance, but when there are lots of little bodies around, we won’t see everything.

Even a quiet and shy child can quickly build trust with the teacher and become an excellent communicator.

5) A beginning understanding of empathy: While this is listed last, it is definitely one of the most important traits that all children (and adults) should have.

Empathy is a huge factor in how children build relationships. Children who are empathetic are able to get along better with their peers and treat the children and adults in their environment with respect.

One of my favorite aspects of empathy is that it breeds strong leaders in the preschool classroom. The best way to teach empathy to a child is to role model it for them.

The next time your child cries, let her know that you see that she is very sad. Sometimes it’s scary when she falls, or it is hard when mommy says “not now.”

Children who have had their feelings validated all throughout their lives always stand out as they continually form positive and healthy friendships.

 

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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