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Setting Up

"It's so good to be back in school," sighed one student as she wrapped me in a hug this past week. I couldn't agree with her more. While I rely on my summer break to relax, recharge, and refocus, I can't wait to jump back into the school year come September. I was tickled to see returning preschool students help show the ropes of our school to some of our new students both younger and older than themselves. We have a growing number of back-to-school traditions like making buckets and sharing good thoughts with each other, reading "The Kingdom with No Rules, No Laws, and No King," and setting up our fruit stand as we harvest from our many trees. Everyone is settling in and setting the tone for the year to come.

Cheryl's PreK Reflections

It was such a joy to welcome a new class of little ones into our school community! Our first 'official' week was filled with getting to know names, each other and our rhythm/ routine. Yes, you heard right if you heard about taking a field trip to the bathroom or singing songs about drinking water at snack. Introducing magnifying glasses to look at nature closely led to preschoolers gleefully running around the yard begging their friends to see what they found (a monarch! that is what those caterpillars we saw during free choice will become!). Giggles ensued when a squirrel puppet visited during a circle song and a puppy dog told a story about a search for a house with no windows or roof but a star inside (an apple!). Painting was the most popular choice for free choice time (especially with apple stamps in the mix but also just smearing it all over our fingers). Rice bin, dress up, trucks and construction work all came in very close behind. Hands flew up when children were asked questions about their own families at home, and they easily could spy what was the same or different when comparing our school to others in our read aloud book ('Moms always come back'! 'We do yoga too!' 'Our sand is outside!').

Learning through play is happening everywhere I or Rebecca turn, whether checking in with a friends' face when we play with sticks or asking for a turn with the sandbox dump truck. I Ioved seeing our older students push the younger ones in a wagon or guide them to line up. Check out our preschool door - that is our school family tree with each individual hand print leaf lovingly cut. It reinforced our September themes of self, family, and school family/kindness. Looking so forward to all the seasons we will share together as they play, grow and blossom!

Filling Our Bucket

Every year, we read a story about "Buckets." The story uses the metaphor of a bucket to talk about how we feel and how our actions can spread goodness and happiness. Then, the kids walk around and share their "wishes" for the school year with their classmates. Here, Theresa is reading the book to the kids, before they share their wishes. By the time we were done, almost everyone had a smile.

Monarch Caterpillars

Scientists at work are doing careful observations of caterpillars. The oldest students all have their own caterpillar that they are carefully measuring, every day. They are even measuring how many cubic squares of milkweed the caterpillars are eating.

The children are each working to answer their own scientific question by doing (harmless) experiments on the caterpillars. Some questions that they are exploring include:

-Will caterpillars move towards warmth or coolness?

-Can caterpillars sense where milkweed is?

-Can a caterpillar travel to find milkweed?

-Can a caterpillar tell the difference between milkweed milk and cow milk?

There is even a particularly engaged group of scientists who are trying to figure out if butterflies maintain memories of when they were caterpillars.

Meanwhile our younger scientists have been doing their own careful observations, acted out the life cycle of the monarch, did some research in books to find new facts, and created a mural showing all the parts of the life cycle.

We'll let you know what they discover next week.

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