Welcome to the March edition of the Downey upBeat! March is a busy month at Downey, so please take a moment to read and enjoy this update.
Make sure to watch your calendar in March. There are many planned Downey activities, and Spring Break is also near.
March starts off with the Early Math Workshop/Parent Ed meeting on March 2. If you need more information about this, please contact Julie Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quickly approaching after that is SPRING WORK NIGHT on Thursday, March 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Participation in Spring Work Night is required of all families. (You can send just one adult). This is an adults-only cleaning and work party.
Please sign up at this link so we can be prepared for you!
The access code is 46219. If you have questions about the Spring Work Night, please contact Anna and Beth Droste-Glowinski at email@example.com.
During Spring Break, Downey will host its annual EASTER EGG HUNT on Saturday, March 26. All families are asked to contribute in some way to make the busy and fun event run smoothly. Some jobs will need to be done in preparation for the day, and some will require you to be present that day. This is a very fun family event. There will be egg hunts for various age groups, and activities to entertain the children. An email, poster, and sign-up with more information about this event will be coming soon. Spread the word, and feel free to invite family, friends, and neighbors to join in the fun!
Have a great month!
Reminder: THIS Wednesday is a Great Parent Ed Opportunity!
“Math in your feet (and other everyday places)” with teaching artist Malke Rosenfeld
Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Downey
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!
Presenter Malke Rosenfeld 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 the 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 http://www.malkerosenfeld.com.
Preschoolers are welcome to attend with their parents. Contact Julie Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Hope to see you there!
Frogs & Polliwogs-
Both classes spent the month of February learning the ins and outs of running a restaurant. The Frogs brainstormed different things we already knew about restaurants and decided on the idea of opening a pizzeria. All of the children enjoyed sharing in the various roles including chefs, wait staff, host/hostess, and bussers. Over the last few weeks the children created recipe books and menus for our kitchen and dining room, painted with utensils one might find in a kitchen and also counted and graphed candy pieces. (They all seemed to understand the “dessert” part of dining in a restaurant!)
We finished up our unit on restaurants with a visit to Garfield Coffee & Eatery. The children got to tour behind the coffee counter and see what was happening in the kitchen. They finished the trip by creating their own fruit, Nutella and whipped cream crepes.
I’ve noticed during the few days that we’ve been able to spend outdoors that many of the children have become interested in rocks… collecting rocks, hiding them, searching for fossils, seeing what is underneath them. I’m thinking the month of March will be a great time to discover the exciting world of geology!
Cold & Flu Season is Here! Be sure to take extra precautions to keep our classrooms clean.
Tadpoles “shaped” things up in February through shape collages, felt shapes and shape books. We had fun making cloud dough and playing in the cloud dough.
March will be a short month due to the two week long spring break. This month we will play with the wind. We will make wind socks, decorate kites, do some windy games, and read some windy books. We will welcome spring with open arms and maybe try to grow a plant or two.
The tadpoles have had some good sharing moments which is awesome considering they are only two and three years old. We’ve tried some new songs and finger plays with some success. We gave “Animal Action” a little break. Tadpoles are expert builders with blocks and train tracks.
Thank you tadpole parents for all your hard work and patience.
Special Guest Column – Parent Education
How can we support young readers?
by Julie Patterson
Most of you know me only as Josie’s mom, but before we started at Downey, I was associate director of the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers, a program of the Butler University College of Education. In that role I helped teachers in preschool through grade 8 learn how to teach reading and writing, so in February, I led a parent discussion about early literacy for Downey families.
Thinking together about observations of our own children and discussing videos we watched of students in preschool classrooms, nearly a dozen parents and I discovered that reading and writing “readiness” is not solely about letter recognition and phonics. (Truth: those are actually very tiny parts of it.) In fact, early reading often looks and sounds more like this:
- Child points to and names objects or actions in picture books.
- Child intently studies pictures in books and asks questions, often “interrupting” as an adult reads.
- Child recites all or parts of a familiar book as if actually “reading” it, often mimicking adults’ voice inflection, fluency and expression.
- Child flips through pages of an unfamiliar book, using pictures, sight words, familiar letters and other clues to make up a story or facts as if actually “reading” it.
We talked about supporting our early readers at home in authentic and meaningful ways rather than relying on the flashcards and workbooks by which we are inundated in stores and the media.
We can, for example, encourage children to look, think and talk about the pictures in the books we read. In the best children’s books, illustrations do more than simply retell the story in pictures. They add an entirely deeper level to the story, so we should all be pausing to study the pictures closely when we read.
If your child points to two characters and says, “A girl and a Daddy,” for example, you might respond, “Yes, there’s Trixie and her daddy. What does it look like they are doing together?”
If your child points to a character’s face and comments on the expression (“He looks sad,”), you can reinforce the child’s understanding of the story by saying, “Yes, he is upset because he lost his balloon, just like you were sad when we couldn’t find your blanket yesterday.”
When your children are experimenting with “reading” a familiar or unfamiliar book, avoid the temptation to correct them. It isn’t important at this stage whether or not they stay close to the actual text on the page. You can acknowledge what they are doing well (“Wow, you sound like a real storyteller when you read that part!”) and maybe offer a hint of something new to think about (“Can you imagine what she might say to him?”)
Some children will instinctively pick up books and take on the storyteller role. If your child isn’t doing this, you can encourage it by asking him to read to you, or helping her arrange her stuffed animals into a “class” that she can read to, or even inviting him to read to Fido (especially if Fido is an old and patient dog like our Barkley is). If your child balks (“But I don’t know how to read!”), you can sit beside her and demonstrate how she might use the pictures in the book as clues.
Maybe this is the most important thing I can say: Make reading an enjoyable and warm activity that you do together. Don’t worry about whether or not you are doing it “right.” Slow down and enjoy listening to your child wonder out loud about the pictures in a book, but also don’t stress if you occasionally zip through and even skip a few pages because it is bedtime (and you just want her to go to sleep so you can watch a movie). Like much of parenthood, this is a delicate balance. Try to make reading special, but don’t refrain from doing it just because you can’t do it as “perfectly” as you’d like. Don’t create obstacles to your child reading. For me, that means I have to remember that reading doesn’t only have to happen when I can give Josie my full, uninterrupted attention. It is also valuable to let her “read” beside me when I’m trying to feed her little brother or make dinner or work on our coop family job…
Next month I will share what we discussed about early writing.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Wednesday, March 2- Parent Ed
Thursday, March 10- Board Meeting, 6:00 pm, Downey
Thursday, March 10- Work Night, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Attendance is required by all members.
Monday, March 21 – Friday, April 1- Spring Break (The first week is a Flex Week. We will only be in class if we need to make up snow days.)
Saturday, March 26 – Easter Egg Hunt at Downey
Monday, April 4th – Class Resumes
50th Anniversary of Downey
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Downey Co-op, we have heard from many alumni with their reflections of the school. Here is a great example of how Downey helped shape an exciting future!
“Downey sparked my curiosity and interest in attending school at an early age. It made me excited to learn, explore, and create. I value that Downey was a community-based preschool that was walkable from my home. I created lifelong friendships with classmates at Downey, many of whom I am still in constant contact with.
I am the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Education. This is a politically appointed position through the Obama Administration. I have also previously served in the White House.”
– Kyle Flood, student at Downey, 1989-1992
If you would like to help plan the 50th Anniversary celebration, please let Mindy or Erin know.