Welcome to the February edition of The Downey upBeat! As we know, love is in the air during this month, so what better time to start featuring some thoughts from alumni on what they love about Downey! We are proud to be marking the 50th anniversary of the school this year, and as we build to the celebration event later this spring, please be sure to let Mindy and Erin know if you would like to help on the planning team. All help is welcome and appreciated!
“I learned so much about early childhood development while my children were at Downey. Both my children and I made friends at Downey, some of which we still have. I found Downey to be an amazing support system.”
– Tressa Mazhandu, parent of Downey students 2004-2011
Hello, Downey Families!
We hope you enjoyed the relative calm of January. While still early in this new semester, it’s time to plan for next year! Nominations will be accepted for executive board positions (President, Secretary, Treasurer, Fundraising, Parent Ed, and Membership). We will have nomination forms available in the yellow mailboxes in the next couple of days. Nominations may then be put in the President mailbox, and voting will take place in March.
Also this month, you’ll want to make sure that you have registered (complete with registration fee) for preschool next year. Registration is opened to the public March 1st, and slots are filled in the order that forms and fee are received.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Special Person Day on Saturday, February 13th. Your child is welcome to bring along a special adult who may not usually get to come to preschool. This year, we’re doing it a little differently: Polliwogs and T/Th Tadpoles will be “in class” from 9:30-10:30 a.m., and Frogs and W/F Tadpoles will be “in class” from 10:45-11:45 a.m. This event will also function as an open house. If you know of anyone who may want to come check out the school, feel free to let them know that we’ll have folks on hand to give tours and answers questions.
Wishing you a fantastic February!
3, 2, 1…Blast off! The Frogs have spent the past month studying Space and what it would take to become an astronaut. The children worked together to paint, cut and build our own space shuttle. They used different books in the classroom to decide what types of things are found in actual space shuttles and then used their creativity to develop some of those same things for ours.
The children also spent the month of January working on sorting by size, continuing and developing our own patterns and counting “falling” stars. The Frogs ended the month with a visit to the planetarium at Arsenal Tech High School.
“The friendships I made with other families (at Downey) have continued to grow and blossom. It was a lot of work but worth every minute! I also feel like, when I meet another co-op family, that we already understand a lot about one another without explaining anything.”
– Shael Weidenbach, parent of Downey student 2009-2011
The Polliwogs spent the month of January exploring Outer Space. We spent some time learning about constellations and creating art with space-themed stamps. The children enjoyed adding some much needed parts to our space shuttle, designing their own space helmets and starting the construction of our classroom Mission Control.
In January, the Polliwogs also added the calendar to our first meeting time. It’s been fun to see the connections they each make when looking at the numbers and to hear their observations as they notice the patterns of each calendar piece. They are all anxious to add each new number and help the class count all of the days of the month.
**Donation request—the Polliwogs and Frogs could use empty 2 liter bottles and paper grocery sacks.
Tadpoles are going strong. They love to explore and play. They are expert builders whether if it’s with blocks, pegs, legos, or play dough.
In February, we will work with shapes- identifying shapes and making art out of shapes.
There are so many fun books to read and puzzles to put together.
I’ll let Valentine’s be up to the parents. It’s very low key. The children will each decorate a bag, set the bag on their art mat, and put any cards and treats in the bag. They open the bags at home after school.
We need to give a Downey welcome to our two new Tadpole families, the Zarses and the Resnicks. The two girls have made a wonderful transition. It is like they have always been at Downey.
It will be a fun-filled February.
A special thank you to all my Tadpole parents. I appreciate your hard work and patience.
P.S. “PJ Day” in January was full of fun!
“Downey was such a comfortable and comforting place, both for me to learn how to teach and play with my kids, and for them to learn, explore, take risks and make their first friends. Downey abounded with creativity, cooperation, fun and love. I can’t imagine a better introduction to schooling for my children. We are so fortunate to have Downey in Irvington.”
– Tawn Spicklemire, parent of Downey students, 2003-2005 and 2009-2011
“Math In Your Feet & Other Everyday Places”
with teaching artist Malke Rosenfeld
March 2 at 6:30 p.m.
We know a lot about how and why to infuse literacy in a child’s early life, but what about math? Come learn how math can be playful and creative in the early years through conversation, making activities, and games. Leave inspired to make, play, and talk math with your child for years to come!
Malke is a percussive dance teaching artist, math explorer, curriculum designer, TEDx presenter, editor and writer. Her interdisciplinary inquiry focuses on the intersections between percussive dance and mathematics and how to best illustrate these connections for students. She is co-author of math activity book “Socks Are Like Pants, Cats Are Like Dogs” and author of a forthcoming book from Heinemann on movement and dance in the math classroom. Learn more at malkerosenfeld.com.
Preschoolers are welcome to attend with their parents.
If you see a few more baby carriers in the hallways at Downey, it’s because there were two beautiful babies born to Downey families in recent weeks. Be sure to congratulate Tadpole parents Anna & Erik whose baby girl Everly (Evie) was born on December 28 and Frog parents Michelle and Daniel whose baby girl Hattie was born on January 20. Welcome to the world!
There will be no school on President’s Day – Monday, February 15.
Also, with winter weather season here, please note the following regarding school closures:
*Families will be notified of closings via email.
*Families can also watch the local news for closing information. Downey Co-op is closed whenever IPS closes.
*More than 2 snow days in a year will result in a makeup day.
*Downey Co-op will still be in session on days when IPS has a delay.
“The classroom teachers [Lenore Friedly, Joanna Ireland, Sue Arvin] were wonderful, terrific, wise, loving, caring and so, so supportive of both children and parents. I never wondered about if my children were not well cared for. Parents were, for the most part, as involved as the teachers. I appreciated that we all worked together to make the preschool work. I still appreciate the play-based education that co-op offers. I believe my children were as kindergarten-ready as any of their classmates who came from *traditional* preschools.”
-Dawn Schoen, parent of Downey students, 2000-2009