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A Brand New Year

I realize that many people think the new year starts in January. My years always start in the fall. I re-evaluate my plans, make goals, and get really excited about the year ahead. It is a pleasure welcoming old students back to school and new students into our school community. We work together to establish this year's rules and expectations, and we jump into learning together.

Rachel's PreK Reflections

The Preschool Class at Country Classroom has been getting into its rhythm since the start of school with new friends, a new teacher, and a new classroom set up! We have a mix of full and half day students each day, which provides a lot of opportunities for social interactions among the children with both their peers and all of the children who attend the school as some of the day is spent with all ages together.

While we've been busy building our daily routines, we've also had a lot of time for learning through play! Our Circle Times have been full of poems, stories, songs, and dances that have engaged the mind, body, and imagination...and we're already hearing many of the children repeat the songs and rhymes on their own, and even request their favorite ones! One of the favorite activities we've done featured a story about the life of famous painter, Giotto, from Italy. After the children heard Giotto's story of how he was a shepherd boy who loved art and had to create his own paint and tools himself, we were able to gather our own painting supplies from nature and even create our own paint!

Some of the other things we've been busy doing the last few weeks includes a lot of time focused on ourselves and the world around us. We have explored the "Sleepy Meadow", where we love to mindfully observe the little critters in the tall grass, and--the most favorite activity in the Sleepy Meadow--pick fresh fruit off of the trees in the orchard to eat! The children have dug deeper into learning about the world around them by discussing the land vs. water on the earth, learning about the layers of the earth, and making their own models out of dough. This has given us a strong foundation for identifying and sharing what is special about us, our families, and children around the world by way of songs, drawings, and stories from each child.

The Preschool is looking forward to building on the rhythms we've learned, the friends we're getting to know, and the joy that fills each of our days in the upcoming weeks.

Filling Our Buckets

Inspired by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin's book Fill a Bucket, our children created buckets (or baskets) to hold all of the good feelings we get at school. Our older children wrote wishes like "Have good things in your lunch!" or "Learn lots this year!" or "Love love love love love love." Our younger students had bits of yarn and paper to gift to classmates. We talked about how we can help to fill up the buckets of all the people in our lives by trying to be kind, and everyone had lots of specific ideas of things we can do each day.

Our Theme: Community

The full day students are creating a town. They started by making a "peep," a little clothespin person to live in the town. We read The Colors of Us and talked about whether we wanted a town that had people with lots of different kinds of skin or a town where everyone had the same skin. The children were pretty adamant that they wanted a town with all sorts of different people, and they definitely delivered on that intention as they made their peeps. The older children have written about their peeps, and everyone has decided on some jobs their peeps will do in the town. We got to talk about some different forms of government and ways to make decisions. The class decided to use a combination of consensus building and voting for their decisions. One of our early important decisions was the name of the town and out of 30 possible choices, they chose Hamsterdam. So keep an eye and an ear out for developments on the town front and check in with your child to see how the process in unfolding.

These first six weeks of school are all about setting the tone for the year as we build, fill buckets, pick fruit, play in the woods, and start to immerse in our learning. It's a great way to start a new year.

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