Spring Open House

Open House 2016-2017

Now Hiring – Open Aide Position

We are offering a part-time job as a teacher’s aide/classroom prep aide for the four- and three-year-old classes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (8:00 AM – 2:30 PM). The job requires assisting the teacher with classroom activities, interacting with children in a warm and caring manner, and substitute-teaching on occasion; as well as being responsible for all prep work for the classes including but not limited to art projects, cooking projects, and special snacks. Experience with young children in a group setting is preferred. Please submit resumes and cover letters to president@chelseacoop.org.

Teacher Talk Spring

Welcome to the final teacher talk of 2015/2016! I would like to share with you some of the plans we have for the final third of the school year. As always, we strive to be flexible with our schedule, and allow plenty of time for play, especially if we can get everyone outside in the sunshine (or snow)! I hope you have the opportunity to talk with your child about what we are doing at preschool.
March: We will learn about visiting the dentist and the doctor, followed by a fun day about pizza and a field trip to our favorite spot – Thompson’s Pizzeria! Then we travel back to prehistoric times with a unit about dinosaurs and a trip to the U of M Museum of Natural History. Tucked into these weeks are the AM 4s and PM 3/4s Beach Days where we get to reminisce on the warm days of summer. Remember to send your preschooler with their favorite beach gear! • Special Visitor: Hygienist from the Dentist Office (life skills, community helpers) • Favorite Pizza Topping Graph (math concepts, communication, self-concept) • Measuring Dinosaurs (math concepts, literacy, gross motor) • Dinosaur Teeth Patterning (math concepts, scientific principles, fine motor) • Dinosaur, Dinosaur, Where’s Your Bone? (communication, deductive reasoning, self-control) • Magic Science: Volcano Eruptions (scientific principles, literacy) • Cookie Excavation (math concepts, fine motor, communication)
April: As we return from Spring Break, we will learn about sports and exercise, followed by our annual visit to Polly’s and Chelsea Retirement Center. Then it is all hard work as we get ready for our most special event of the school year – Mother’s Day Lunch! • Ball Print Cooperative Art (cooperation, gross motor, self-control) • What’s Missing? Game (memory, concentration, communication) • Table Top Soccer (cooperation, fine motor) • Field Trip: Polly’s and CRC field trip (math concepts, self-concept, intergenerational relationships and outreach) • Making Mom’s Day Lunch recipes (life skills, math concepts, self-control, fine motor)
May: The first week of May is dedicated to Mother’s Day Lunches. So Moms — here is your opportunity to dress your best and be waited on, entertained by, and all around pampered by your preschooler! Check with your session rep for the date of your class’s special day. Please note the change in class schedule this week. During the last week of preschool we will have fun with and explore water and boats. Plan to get a little wet! • Setting the Table (life skills, gross and fine motor, self-control, letter and name recognition) • Mother’s Day Songs (performing with a group, music appreciation, sign language) • Mother’s Day Lunch (communication, empathy, appreciation, manners, self-concept) • Boat Tracks (scientific principles, gross motor, cooperation)
Continued Through Spring: • Class Mascot Journal (literacy, communication, self-concept) • Letter days (multi-disciplinary activities related to letter of the day, for example: o Letter Vv: Voting for Veggies (literacy, fine motor, counting, self-concept) • Crafts (fine motor, literacy, self-concept) • Music (gross motor, literacy, communication, math concepts) • Rough and Tumble Play (gross motor, cooperation, self-concept, self-control) • Games (gross and fine motor, literacy, cooperation, self-control) • Playtime outside (gross motor, cooperation) • Free Choice Play Time (where the richest learning experiences take place!)
We will see everyone at the Ice Cream Social after classes are done to say our goodbyes. As always, please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for a wonderful year. I have greatly enjoyed the privilege of being part of your child’s first school experience!
Kindly, Claire

Come On Over For Gathering Time!

As we enter the full swing of winter, I’d like to share with you why we consider Gathering Time invaluable to our preschool curriculum. It would be easy for an adult observer to miss what children are actually learning while gathered at the carpet. This is because learning at preschool looks and sounds different than learning in grade school. There is quite a lot happening behind those smiling faces and silly songs. At preschool, our objective is to encourage children to grow in four main areas*: physical, emotional, social, and intellectual. While our program is designed to focus on these objectives in various ways throughout the day, each objective is incorporated into Gathering Time. Read below to find out how!

Children participate in early literacy activities during Gathering Time. Early literacy is defined as a child’s early experiences in reading and writing embedded in a larger system of oral education (Roskos). Basically, the steps to reading and writing begin with speaking and listening. At Gathering Time, children listen to and recite songs, poems, and rhymes that highlight letter and word sounds. It is so fun to watch children play with sounds, syllables, and words while knowing they are beginning to find the joy of language. At Gathering Time, children also practice sequencing (calendar patterns) and use positional vocabulary (beginning, middle, end, first, last). Children read the calendar from left to right, top to bottom, as they will someday read print.

Early literacy has a physical component as well. During finger plays, children practice small muscle control in their hands as they individually move fingers. This develops the dexterity required to hold a pencil and type. Some songs require large movements, where children coordinate both sides of their body and cross the midline (the imaginary line that runs down the center of your body). This develops connections between both sides of the brain, leading to the ability to read across the page of a book (Gillespie). I notice lots of growth in this area as children progress through preschool. Fine- and gross-motor skills develop exponentially during these years, preparing their bodies for future learning.

The structure of gathering time provides an opportunity for children to emotionally prepare for their best possible day at preschool. Watching the art demo, learning about the table top activities, and reviewing the schedule encourages planning while allowing freedom of choice. On the rare occasion when a child misses Gathering Time, quite often they can be seen wandering aimlessly or feeling panicked, as if they don’t know what to do or they may miss something important. While I know missing Gathering Time is unavoidable sometimes, the effect does illustrate the importance of providing a reliable, predictable start to the preschool day. This consistency generates a familiar, comfortable environment in which children can explore and discover.

As you often hear, an important component to a cooperative preschool is involvement from parents. Children watch their parents or other adults enjoy Gathering Time. From the rocking chair, often I notice children look to their parents when we are learning a new song, when they are asked to come up to help with the calendar, or there is a change in schedule. They find reassurance in your presence, and they find joy in your enjoyment. And best of all, you learn our fun songs and can sing them with your child outside of preschool! Gathering Time is a chance for teachers, children, parents, and other loved ones to join together as a community. It is an opportunity to be connected as a class by sharing an experience together.

Now that we’ve covered why Gathering Time is so important, let’s take a look at your role:

• Where to sit?
If you’re able to stay for gathering time, try to sit on the carpet near your child. Often children will sit in their parent’s lap. However, if your child ends up in another area, stick around anyway. They will know you are there enjoying gathering time with them.

• Guidance
On occasion, children can become fidgety, talkative, or even physical while on the carpet. Appropriate carpet behavior, such as listening, participating, and ignoring distractions, are part of what we are learning at preschool. If a child needs redirection or behavioral guidance during gathering time, we do our best to honor the different dynamics of each family. It is OK to let the teacher or teacher’s aide handle the situation. It is OK for you to redirect your child individually. Feel free to send us an S.O.S. if you’ve tried to intervene and need some help. Whatever works best for you and your child is what works best for us.

• Siblings
We love having siblings visit during gathering time. Often younger siblings enjoy gathering time as much as the preschoolers! They are welcome to join us at the carpet or play quietly in the classroom. Don’t fret if they call out or distract other children a bit. It’s all part of the cooperative preschool gathering atmosphere. If things get out of hand, such as screaming or major distractions, feel free to jump in to rescue your little one.

• To sing or not to sing?
Your child doesn’t care if you think you can’t sing. Trust me! They aren’t concerned with how you sound. We all enjoy a Gathering Time full of fun, laughter, and participation! So jump on in!

As always, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions. I am very happy to talk about our program or why we do the wonderful things we do. As our parents, you are what make our preschool exceptional. So come on over for Gathering Time to sing some silly songs and engage in meaningful preschool learning! I’ll see you there!


*To learn more about our Lesson Objectives, check out the bulletin board above the mailboxes.

Roskos, Kathleen. “The Essentials of Early Literacy Education” www.naeyc.org

Gillespie, Linda. “Why Hurry? Respecting Development and Learning” www.naeyc.org

Happy 2016!

I hope everyone had a great first half of the school year last year and has had an amazing start to the 2016 New Year. The first half of the school year went well, with lots of good times had by all. In 2016 we will have a lot of grand events for everyone to participate, family and friends.

Coming in early March is our annual Art Show/Musical and Auction Fundraiser. This event will feature our kids’ artwork from the school year and a special performance by the whole school. Following the performance is the Auction, our biggest fundraiser of the year. Friends and family are all welcome to come watch the show and enjoy the fun of bidding on items to help raise money for the school and our kids’ education.

It is time to start looking toward the 2016-2017 school year. As a member of the Co-op you will have an opportunity to enroll your child for next year before we open it up to the public. Early Enrollment will take place Tuesday, February 16, 8:30am. The Membership Chair, Amanda MacDonald, will distribute applications for next year.

Our Open House for new families will be Thursday, March 3 at 6:00pm. We will be accepting new applications at that time. Please spread the word to friends with preschool age children. Our amazing staff will be on hand to answer parent questions and to share our wonderful preschool
As part of preparing for next year, we will also be choosing our 2016-2017 Executive Board Members. We will have a weeklong nomination period in which you may nominate yourself or any Co-op member to any position. Although this is only my first year on the Executive Board and I will not be back next year, it has been a rewarding experience. I have taken great pleasure getting to know everyone on the board and making new friends, becoming intimately familiar with how the co-op runs, and developing a new appreciation for the co-op and everything it has done for my child. Please consider nominating yourself or someone who you think would be a wonderful addition to the board.

Have a great second half of the year, everyone!!
Brenda Fineman
President 2015-2016