Red Robin Preschool & Summer Camp Long Island, NY

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Nursery Weekly Newsletter

1/21/14 – 1/24/14

Dear Parents,

Well, we’re in the midst of another freakishly cold weather system!  I know more snow is coming….I can smell it!  There’s a chill that stings my nose and hurts just to breathe in the frosty air.  But the chill outdoors can be countered with the warmth of great learning experiences indoors!

We have been discussing what we like about the cold weather and what we don’t like!  One thing is for sure, all of the children like to play in the snow, make snow angels and build snowmen!  Some of them even said that they like to shovel and dig!  Wait until they figure out that shoveling is really a “chore” that most grown-ups dread!!!

This past week in “Circle Time” we introduced the letter “Oo”.  It was explained that “Oo” is one of those letters that sometimes makes the same sound as its name.  Examples of words with the “long-O” sound such as oval and Obama were given.  The children were then told that “Oo” makes another sound as in words like octopus, owl, ostrich and otter.  To reinforce the letter we decorated our orange O’s with little “o” hole reinforcements.  We had a short week because of the holiday and snow day, but some of the children found time to make an outrageous octopus!  Since the craft requires cutting out the eight legs, it has proven to be a time- consuming and challenging project that will extend through this week.  Cutting with scissors requires the skill of hand separation, which is the ability to use the thumb, index and middle finger separately from the pinkie and ring fingers. While nursery children are pretty young to expect solid scissor skills, they have approached it with confidence and enthusiasm!  Naturally we can’t stress scissor safety enough.  The children know that scissors are for cutting paper.  Nothing else!!! (This includes shirts, fingers, hair and lips!)  Since for various reasons it is important to teach children how to cut at a young age, here are some fun activities you might want to try at home to strengthen his/her hand and finger muscles.

  •  Have your child use kitchen tongs to stack small blocks or to move cotton balls from one container to another.
  • Tear paper into small pieces to improve the ability to use both hands in a coordinated manner.
  • Punch holes on index cards with a handheld puncher to strengthen the hand muscles.
  • Squeeze water out of squirt toys in the bathtub so hand muscles get a workout.
  • Place clothespins or kitchen clips on the edge of a paper plate to strengthen small hand and finger muscles.

During “Circle Time” we challenged the children to use their thinking skills to recognize opposites.  Ask them to name a few!  To reinforce this concept at home, try The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss!  It’s a little zany but silly fun!

In the up-coming weeks, we will be doing a lot of celebrating!  This week alone we will learn about an important traditional Chinese holiday.  For those of you that celebrate, “Gung-Hay-Gat-Choy!” Have a prosperous and good year!!!  We have some fun activities planned for this Friday.  The Chinese calendar is associated with twelve different animals of the Zodiac.  We will begin celebrating the beginning of the Chinese “Year of the Horse” with a parade around our classroom.  Naturally we will blast songs and wear the color red!  Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck!  We will also have the children sample some traditional foods to get a “taste” of another culture. Chopsticks will be provided!  Flowers, fruits and dancing dragons will transform our room into an exciting learning center.  Happy New Year!

This week we will continue to introduce the letter “Oo”. We will discuss octopus, owls, ostrich and otters.  We will also introduce the children to some opera and invite them to move through an obstacle course!

Our easy to learn song from our ABC flipchart went as follows:

“Oo” (To the tune….My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean.)

An octopus swam in the ocean.

Swam over the waves in the sea.

It raised its arms out of the water,

and waved eight times to me.

Oh, me! Oh, my!

There it goes, swimming by…aye yai yai!

Oh, me! Oh, my!

That octopus just waved “Bye bye!”

            An ongoing challenge for every teacher is to develop and enhance skills that will offer the children the best possible learning experiences and opportunities. On Tuesday, Valeriana’s Mom provided an opportunity for us to expand on the letter “O”!  Mrs. Pirozzi stopped by our classroom (infant in tow!) to help the children understand the kind of work she does as an Occupational Therapist.  In order to do that she brought along Mat Man.  The children sat in a semi-circle and were given wooden body parts. Together they built him piece by piece while singing the Mat Man song.   Before children can even start to write, there are important concepts that need to be addressed.  They include size recognition, placement and sequencing skills.  Mat Man teaches these skills and simultaneously promotes body awareness, socialization and sharing.  What a fun way to learn!!!  In between Mat Man and Yoga, Mrs. Pirozzi kept the children moving with the classic learning song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.  We are so grateful to Mrs. Pirozzi for the learning opportunity. Not only can parents be an invaluable source of information to their own children, but they can bring special interests to the school community as well. “Grazie” Mrs. Pirozzi!!!  We know that Valeriana was beyond proud of you!

On Sunday, February 2nd, we will anxiously await the weather prediction of our favorite furry forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil, as he emerges from his burrow. Naturally we are all hoping for an early spring!  Although different places have adopted their own groundhogs, Phil from Pennsylvania, is the real deal!  During the week we will participate in activities, make weather predictions and experiment with flashlights to make shadows. After snow, sub-zero wind chills, bitter cold and travel woes, six more weeks of winter is just plain unacceptable!

The excitement should continue through the weekend as we gear up for the biggest football game of the year….the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks!!! Make Super Bowl Sunday a fun family tradition! Football isn’t just for grown-ups you know.  Provide age-appropriate explanations so the children can enjoy it too! They need only to understand that when Mom or Dad’s team has the ball, it’s time to cheer and jump up and down!!!

In closing I would just like to mention that due to our previous “short” week and the forced extension of the Letter “O”, the dates of our Pancake/Pajama days have changed. To hopefully accommodate everyone we will wear our PJ’s on Thursday, February 6th and Friday, February 7th. To reiterate, the children may accessorize with a teddy bear or favorite stuffed animal.

Stay warm and have a great week!


Miss Joanne

Birthdays in February:

Marissa Dominque              2/17

Dates to Remember:

January 31st                          Chinese New Year (WEAR RED!)

February 6th & 7th            Pancake/Pajama Days!

February 14th                        Valentine’s Day Party!

February 17th – 21st            School Closed – Mid Winter Recess

February 24th                        Welcome Back!


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