February is the shortest month but somehow feels like one of the longest. In Much Ado about Nothing, William Shakespeare writes: “You have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.” February is a month full of folkloric tradition (Groundhog Day), historical remembrances and long, cold afternoons that set me dreaming of spring and gardens and birdsong. Michigan’s gray winter blanket threatens to cast a gloomy shadow over the land and the spirit, but the midwinter break helps shatter that gloom – even if travel is not part of the package. Meanwhile, in the classrooms we focus on kindness and friendship, winter science and art, and hunker down on supporting positive choices, clearer communication, and fine-tuning classroom skills. Ice and snow provide countless opportunities for curriculum extension and exploration. Chinese New Year, the mid-winter break, new friends joining our classes at the end of the month, all provide material for learning and growth. One might ask how the mid-winter break achieves this – but even practicing waiting and time passage are learning opportunities. The chance to explore the library, the children’s museum (or any appropriate museum), the park in winter, perhaps a special trip to an appropriate movie or time to bake and play board games and build forts together, etc. can be beneficial for those having a staycation. Reading a chapter book if your child is ready, can be rewarding for everyone. Books like the My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett is a great first chapter book read aloud opportunity. The story is about Elmer Elevator running away with an old alley cat to rescue a baby flying dragon on a faraway island. With so many great books there are engaging ways to create extensions. With this story, your child may want to create a map or sample a variety of citrus fruits, or use a magnifying glass to explore different materials, etc. Another chapter book that is appropriate for young children is the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. An early reader chapter book series that is also a great read aloud is the Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant. A lovely book for children who have trouble going to sleep at night is Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar. It might lead to a great strategy for self -soothing. Meanwhile, while we are at school we are exploring story-telling and puppets, plan-making, kindness and friendship in the preschool class. We are beginning to focus more on sounds, music, instruments and rhythm. In Ms. Pam’s room, New Walnut Lake’s approach to Valentine’s Day is that we do not have a party or bring in treats. Instead we focus on friendship and caring behavior, read stories, and may have art and writing materials related to the day. Feel free to speak with us if you have any questions about this. We are going to learn about dental health and trying some intriguing experiments to help understand the importance of brushing and food. The Mid-Winter Break is the week of February 18 – 22. The staff in-service day, in March, is scheduled for March 15. There is no school for children that day. Scholastic Book Orders are due February 15. The next parent workshop is Wednesday, February 13 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The topic is: Food, Nutrition & Choosing the Right Battles. Adult guests are always welcome. Please RSVP to Traci or Cathy. If you would like to schedule a conference to discuss plans for next year, or to touch base on how things are progressing this year, please let us know. We are happy to meet with you. We are welcoming a new friend, Addie, to Ms. Shelby’s class on February 25. I have been meeting with prospective parents this week, and may have a few more new friends to add to our classrooms.
Any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Take care,
29375 Halsted Rd. Farmington Hills, MI 48331 248-579-6110