Red Robin Preschool & Summer Camp Long Island, NY

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Dear Parents,

          2016 is off to a great start in the nursery! The bells have finished ringing, the ball has dropped and the calendar changed to a new year! The children have resumed their regular routine without any real adjustments! They are strengthening friendships and using their words to negotiate their needs and express feelings. They laugh, dance, smile and really seem to enjoy the warm environment we work hard at creating. They have also done a wonderful job of welcoming two new friends to our class, Ayden and Alexander! We are so proud of them!

          In December, our unit “Holidays we Celebrate” gave the children an opportunity to learn about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. To enhance the learning process and provide a vivid picture of these celebrations we made some wonderful projects. The classroom took on an air of festivity and the children were so proud of their work.

          Throughout the holiday season, the children tried hard to stay on the “nice” list in hopes that a special visitor would stop by to see them. Understandably, eyes lit up with excitement as Santa (Mr. Michael) entered the room to distribute gifts! The magic of Christmas was definitely alive at Red Robin.

          We want to send a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated hand-made and store bought mittens, gloves and hats for our “Mitten Tree” fundraiser! We will warm more than hearts this winter! The children were very proud and excited to hang them on our holiday tree! The donations have been distributed to those in need.

          We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Hopefully you were busy building fun memories. Thank you so much for your generosity and special gifts. It is with much appreciation that I write this. Your unique recognition, personal notes and warm wishes helped make my holidays a little brighter. Sadly my Mom passed away December 27th. She had always been a strong, active woman but over the last 8 years had been afflicted with dementia. That being said, we actually said good-bye to her awhile ago. As hard as that final separation is, it’s comforting to know that she is released from that terrible disease and is at peace now.

          So thank you again for the gifts that you gave and the gifts that your children are. Nothing in the world can cheer you up like a child can. Each one of your children is very special. Their enthusiasm, innocence and love never cease to amaze me. May your New Year be filled with peace, love and much laughter.

          The school year is rapidly moving ahead and in spite of the chill outdoors, the warmth of great learning experiences indoors is keeping us cozy and excited.

          This past week in “Circle Time” we introduced the letter “Kk.” It was explained to the children that the letter “K” makes the same sound as another letter they’ve already learned about. Ask your child what other letter makes the same sound as “K?” Examples of words such as kite, key, kangaroo and koala were given. To reinforce the letter we made rubbings of keys on our pre-cut letter “K”. We also water colored kites and let our imaginations take flight. While Disney’s “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” played in the background, we had some high flying fun and sent our kites soaring!

          Our “Circle Time” discussions taught us about kangaroo’s and koala bears. Ask your child what a “marsupial” is, and what a baby kangaroo is called (Joey).

Getting really fancy, I modeled a Japanese Kimono for the children. It not only spiced up MY wardrobe, but taught us about another culture. The playful yet elegant Kimono with its beautiful design and long flowing sleeves fascinated the children. It was explained that in some countries, a Kimono can be used as a bathrobe, housecoat or cover-up. Ryan still insisted that with the extended sleeves, I clearly looked like a bird!

          During music we kept the room humming with our kazoos! It’s a fun instrument to play and makes LOT’S of noise! (sorry!) Not everyone automatically knew what to do with their kazoo, so we had a brief kazoo seminar! Before long our little musicians were belting out familiar songs like the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” It was silly, lively fun and a total blast!

          In addition to our kazoo music, we learned a new song from our interactive flip chart. It went like this:

“Kk”  (to the tune Rockabye Baby)

Kitten and kettle,

kite and kazoo;

key, kitchen, kingdom,

and kangaroo;

king, kid and ketchup,

koala bear….

How many K words

did you just hear?

          Bored with the usual Kellogg’s Rice Krispy Treats, Miss Anastasia decided it was time to make some changes! On Wednesday and Thursday she got really creative! She made a big batch of the sticky, marshmallow ingredients and had each child press a letter “K” shaped cookie cutter into the gooey mixture. Those yummy bites of sweetness were quite the crowd pleaser!!! The children love learning things when it involves hands-on activities and food! The best part is that they can eat everything they learn! Ellie, Christian and Olivia G. found those sweet, chewy K’s……quite addictive and tasty- in unison they were shouting for MORE!

          Since we are always trying to encourage a love of music, last week we had loads of great interactive fun with Miss Sheryl’s Karaoke machine! Our High School helpers, Jessica and Amira willingly demonstrated how it’s done! Without any coaxing, they grabbed the mike and rocked out to “Let It Go.” Naturally, after seeing how much fun THEY had, Miss Sheryl and I had to get in on the fun! All those mornings singing in the car and shower paid off because our rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was pitch perfect! When the children saw how much fun WE were having they couldn’t wait for their turn! Even some of our shy friends seemed to really enjoy the spotlight! After each performance the audience burst into applause! There certainly was no shortage of Rock Stars in the nursery last week!!

          As you can see, our school days are never mundane. Collectively we work hard to make the classroom a colorful, high energy place filled with fun activities and children socializing. We always encourage conversation and the children love to open up and share their thoughts, dreams and concerns. The more they feel they can talk to us about the little things, the more likely they will be to open up about the bigger issues later on. When we listen to our children with the intent to discover, support and connect….magic happens and sometimes it’s hilarious! I’d like to share with you a conversation Miss Anastasia and I had with the children during snack last week.

Zia                            “I’m going to the dentist!”

Gavin                       “When I go to the dentist, I’m very brave.”

Miss Joanne         “Boys and girls…..did you know that Jacob’s Mommy is a dentist?”

Ryan                       “We don’t have any dentists in my family.”

Miss Joanne         “But Ryan, YOUR Mommy is a lawyer and that’s another really important job.”

Miss Joanne         “Ryan, is your Daddy a lawyer too?”

Ryan                       “No, Daddy is the boss!”

Here’s to the heart warming and funny business of learning!!     

          On January 18th, we will be celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The life of this American hero offers many teaching opportunities. In honor of Dr. King we are reading books and discussing his dream. We are also making some marvelous mobiles that focus on peace, hope and love. During “Circle Time” we will conduct an experiment. We will examine two eggs, one white and the other brown. The children will be asked if they think the eggs are the same or different on the inside. We will share their answers in next week’s newsletter!

          We wrapped up letter “Kk” by blowing plenty of kisses! This week we will focus on the letter “Ll.” Any lion tamers out there???  Our color will change to “black”. In math we will learn the number “nine” and the “diamond” shape.

          Your children continue to flourish and progress right before our eyes. Thank you for letting us be part of your child’s amazing journey. Always encourage them to do their best and praise them for doing what they do. I’ll leave off with a quote I read at Magical

“If they want to paint the sky orange and give cats six legs, so be it. A four year old should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use their imagination. They should know that they are loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time. If they could care less about learning their letters or numbers, it’s OK. They will learn them accidentally soon enough. Let them immerse themselves instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud. All they need to know at four years old is that the world is magical and so are they. They should know that it is just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that – way more worthy. Every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his/her own pace. It will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra. Being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as our own! One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood. What does a four year old need? Much less than we realize and much more”.

Enjoy the week!


Miss Joanne


Dates to Remember:

January 18th                                 Martin Luther King Jr. Day (No School)


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