March 2019 Newsletter
Welcome back! We are very excited to begin the 2017-2018 school year. In the monthly newsletter, you’ll find the latest information about what’s happening at Downey, as well as: updates from our teachers and board co-presidents, book recommendations, links to community events, and special interest articles. Please be sure to direct your friends, family and any Downey Co-op alumni to our website so they can enjoy our newsletter and all the other features of the site. If you wish to contribute an article or photographs, or if there is anything you want to see featured in The Downey upBeat, please feel free to contact the newsletter coordinator, Lisa Abner (firstname.lastname@example.org), at any time. Enjoy!
Hi Downey Families,
I hope you all have had a wonderful summer filled with fun and lots of quality time with family and friends. We are so excited for the new school year to begin! Thanks to Halimah and Joe for organizing the Outdoor Clean-up Day and thanks to all of you who helped. It always amazes me how much better the playground looks when we’re done. Outdoor clean-up day is the only time I have fun doing yard work.
We have our Downey TB tests scheduled for Monday, September 18th at 9:30am and Thursday September 21st at 8:45am. The cost is $20. Everyone who doesn’t have a current TB test will need one in order to participate more than 3 times over the year. You will need to be there both days. You are welcome to get a TB test done outside of Downey as long as you bring a copy for us to keep on file.
I am really looking forward to the Downey Grownup Playdate on Saturday, September 16th at the Irving Theatre. Come and bring your adult family and friends to enjoy food, drinks, music and fun activities. This is a great way to get to know the other parents at Downey in a relaxed and fun environment. Buy your tickets soon!
Just a reminder that any paperwork and first and last month’s tuition is due by the first day of school. If you have any questions or need help with this, please let us know.
This Thursday the 31st is our last summer playdate at Ellenberger Park. It will be in the evening from 6-8pm. Bring a picnic dinner or take advantage of the food trucks. I hope to see you all there!
I can hardly believe we’re just over a week away from beginning our inaugural Kindergarten class at Downey! The past few months have been a whirlwind of excitement so I’m looking forward to having all of the students in class and begin settling into our daily routines. I have just a few reminders for families:
- Bring an extra outfit, including socks, for your child that will be left at school
- Feel free to bring in rain gear, including boots, before the first rainy day of the school year (I’d recommend leaving these materials at school)
- Each child will need a backpack, lunchbox and water bottle
- Insect repellent that can be labeled and left at school
- I forgot to mention this during our meeting, but I would appreciate it if everyone could send in a family photo that we can display in our room (these do not need to be framed)
- PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT PARENT PARTICIPANTS WILL ALSO NEED QUALITY WEATHER GEAR FOR THIS SCHOOL YEAR 🙂
I am so excited to start another great year at Downey!
Downey Parents Overhaul Playground
Walking through the Frog’s Classroom door to the playground on August 26, there were several gasps from Downey Co-op parent volunteers. “Wow! That is a LOT of weeds.” “Do you think we have enough stain for the WHOLE thing?” “So I take it that no one has been out here all summer…”
The task before their eyes was indeed daunting, with overgrown weeds covering the ground, a dull-colored play structure, a sandbox that needed refilled, and stubborn winter leaves composting in sheltered corners. But the dedicated group of parents quickly separated themselves into groups and began transforming the space. Armed with tools, trash bags, paint supplies, and a lot of cooperation, the playground became a place where children can explore, climb, swing, dig, jump, and use their imaginations in a natural setting.
New features were added to the playground this year, including an outdoor sink and stump circle. The boot rack was repaired, and the play structure received a new coat of stain to protect it from the elements. Sticks were picked up, leaves were cleared away, hedges were trimmed, new sand was brought in, and the stump circle was “properly tested” to ensure its safety.
Many thanks to the families who supported the playground cleanup day, and to everyone who volunteered their time, talent, supplies, tools, and labor. Our playground looks incredible, and the kids are going to love it!
Downey Co-op Fundraising Presents: Grown-up Playdate!
This fun event will allow adults (21+ only, please) to play in a ball pit, build a blanket fort, experience sensory tables, and create finger paint masterpieces while listening to great music! We all need a little play in our lives, so come join us! Tickets available online at https://downeycoop.com/playdate/
Get your tickets today, and we hope to see you at the Irving Theater in downtown Irvington! Each ticket is $27 per person, and includes dinner, adult beverages, activities, and live entertainment.
TB Testing Comes to Downey
One of the least favorite parts of any person’s life is getting sick. Tuberculosis, a contagious bacterial infection that commonly affects the lungs, is no different. In the early stages, Tuberculosis (TB) symptoms appear to be flu-like with fever, body aches, and coughing/sneezing. Some people may not display any symptoms at all. But during late stages of the infection, TB symptoms include unexplained weight loss, chronic fatigue, drenching night sweats, and coughing up blood. The bacteria spreads by air in droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes, and tuberculosis used to be potentially fatal. Today, TB can be treated successfully by a series of antibiotics, especially if diagnosed in the early stages.
As with any illness, the most effective treatment is prevention. Tuberculosis testing, also known as the PPD test, is a skin test used to determine if someone has developed an immune response to the bacterium that causes TB. This response can occur if someone currently has TB, or if they were exposed to it in the past. A positive TB test does not necessarily mean that a person currently has an active TB infection, but that more evaluation is needed.
Downey Co-op requires that all parents serving more than 3 times in a classroom need to have the results of a recent TB test on file. These tests are available at most walk-in health clinics and at the Marion County Health Department, but for the convenience of our parents, Downey will be having TB Testing offered in the Quilter’s Room at the school on Monday, September 18, at 9:30 am, with a follow-up results session on Thursday, September 21, at 8:45 am. The cost is $20.
Preparing Your Child for the New School Year
written by Katie Glass
Here at Downey Coop, our first day back is just around the corner. Whether your kids have already experienced a school setting or this is their first time, there’s one thing we all can count on: Back to School is always a big transition. But with some simple preparation, we can make the first weeks of school easier for our kids and ourselves.
Make sure your child is familiar with the school.
If they were at Downey last year, great! You only need to talk about any differences this year.
- “Now that you’re in Polliwogs, you get play in the other classroom with more toys, and even stay a little longer.”
- “Now that you’ll be in the Frogs class, you’ll get to stay longer on Mondays and eat lunch with your friends.”
- “Now that you’ll be in Leapfrog Kindergarten, you’ll get to play in the new classroom next to the Tadpoles for three whole days in a row.”
But if this is their first year at this school, then you’ll want to take some trips to the building. There are a few terrific ways to bond your kid at our school: admire the playground through the fence and get them excited about the slides or sandbox, walk through our building and poke your heads into your child’s classroom, even use the classroom bathroom to really foster security. The more they see the school, the less they’ll fret with the fear of unknown, the more they’ll feel comfortable during the first weeks.
Practice saying goodbye.
For many children, the biggest challenge will be saying goodbye to you. Orchestrate small separations to practice saying goodbye, and develop a parting routine, such as a hug and a saying like:
“I love you, you love me, have a great day and I’ll see you at 11!”
You may want to use to help your child bond with their new teacher before leaving; they need to transfer their attachment focus from you to the teacher if they are to successfully let you go. Scheduling a Home Visit with your child’s teacher is a good way to introduce your child to their teacher in a familiar setting before the first day of school. Here are some statements to facilitate teacher-student bonding:
- “When you’re in Miss Egan’s class, I bet she’ll be impressed with what a great cleaner-upper you are.”
- “I’m pretty sure that Mrs. Lovold reads stories to the kids; she might read your favorite book if we bring it to school.”
- “Your teacher is such a wonderful lady, and I just know you two are going to love each other!”
If this is your child’s first time in a school environment, they may feel nervous, worried, or unsure. Be sure to listen to their feelings, and explore what may make your child feel most comfortable. Normalize their feelings; most children have worries about starting a new school year, even if they’ve been to school before. Some children like having a “goodbye routine” in which you read a book, sing a silly goodbye song, do a secret handshake, or help them hang up their bag before leaving. Other children like having a “mental movie” to prepare themselves for what to expect while they are apart from you.
A “mental movie” could look something like this:
“We’ll get up early tomorrow for your first day in Miss Angie’s class. We will drive there together, I will take you into her classroom, and we’ll say hello to her. She will make sure you know all the other kids, because they will be your new friends. I will give you a big hug and say our special goodbye. Then you can play with the other kids on the playground. After a bit, you’ll all go inside, and there will be games and books and blocks, and she will read to the class. And at the end of the day, I will meet you on the playground with Miss Angie to pick you up and hear all about your first day at school!”
Knowing that you will be coming back for them is very important for your child, especially if they are feeling nervous about their new school, classmates, or teacher.
Start conversations about beginning school.
One good way to do this is to select books relating to starting school. Get your kids excited by talking about what they can expect, including snack, playground, reading, singing and art. If you know other children who will be in their class or in the school, be sure to mention that they will see or play with them. Share your own stories about things you loved about school.
Encourage questions by asking what they think school will be like. That will help them to express any fears they haven’t articulated, but that are making them nervous. Emphasize the things you think they’ll enjoy but be sure not to minimize their fears; kids can be stricken by worries that adults might find silly, like finding the bathroom at school. Normalize any fears and reassure them that they will have fun, that the school can reach you if necessary, and that your love is always with them even when you aren’t. Be sure to end every conversation with “and when school is over I will be there to pick you up and we’ll have a special snack while you tell me all about your day” so that every time your child thinks about school, they remember this reassurance.
As always, be alert for signs that your child is worried, and reflect that most kids are a little nervous before the first day of school, but that they will feel right at home in their new classroom soon.
As the Downey Librarian, I naturally have a passion for kids’ books. I’m especially always on the lookout
for books that teach about kindness, healthy habits, social justice, or the environment. Each month, I
will share some of my family’s favorite kids’ books. You can find these at the Indy library or used for
cheap on Half.com. There’s nothing like reading to our kids to help us feel more connected to them!
–Katie Glass, mom of a Downey Frog
1. Shades of People, by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
This beautiful book is good for all preschool/kindergarten ages, with its large photos of kids’
faces. It describes different shades of skin colors with some clever adjectives such as “copper”
and “almond”. It also emphasizes that skin is “like wrapping paper”, and we can’t know what
someone’s like on the inside just by looking at the outside. One of our favorites!
2. From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle
This book makes kids and parents do silly things with their bodies, like clapping like a seal,
kicking like a donkey, and more. Great interaction book, and even more fun when they are older
and can read it to you. This has been read over and over in our house!
- September 4: Labor Day
- September 5: First Day of School (all Tues/Thurs classes) – 9:00 am
- September 5: School Board Meeting – 6:30 – 8:30pm (Century Hall)
- September 6: First Day of School (all Wed/Fri classes) – 9:00 am
- September 10: Downey at Irvington Farmer’s Market – 12:00-3:00 pm
- September 16: Grown-up Playdate – 7 – 10pm (Irving Theater)
- September 18: TB Testing – 9:30 am (Quilter’s Room)
- September 21: TB Testing – 8:45 am (Quilter’s Room)