May, 2017 Edition

Welcome to this school year’s final edition of The Downey upBeat!  We have had a terrific school year, and while we will be sad to say goodbye to our teachers, classrooms and classmates, the call of summer will soon be beckoning.  Please enjoy the newsletter and also these final weeks together. 

Hi, Downey friends,

Happy May!  I can’t believe it’s the end of the year already.  I want to thank Megan Larson and Erin Morgan Smith for planning the Spring Egg Hunt this year.  It was a lot of fun! 

The Church Thank You Coffee is coming up on Sunday, May 7th from 11am-12pm in Century Hall.  If you are available, please come help us say thank you to Pastors Trey and Jay and the church members for all they do for our co-op community.

The end of the year picnic will be at Ellenberger Park on Thursday, May 25th from 6pm-8pm.  Keep an eye out for more information.  We hope to see you all there!

I will be sending out an end of the year survey this month on Bloomz.  Please take the time to fill it out so that we can see what works and what needs work.  We are always trying to improve the co-op experience for our families.

Over the summer, we will have weekly Downey play dates at Ellenberger Park.  I will post more info on dates and times to Bloomz soon.  This is a fun way to get together while school is out!

My family and I have had another great year at Downey, and I hope you and your families feel the same.  I know it’s hard work to be part of a co-op community, but I hope you feel the rewards of being a part of Downey are well worth it.  I also want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful Moms!


The Polliwogs and Frogs spent the month of April observing not only the changes in the weather but also how green the things around us are becoming.  We’ve spent some time noticing the differences in seeds from various vegetables and sorting them into piles, talking about the parts of plants and creating some of our own flowers.  The beautiful blooms around us inspired a couple of different color mixing activities as well as the art of flower arranging.  

In May, we will continue our focus on plants and gardens by observing the germination process and becoming guerilla gardeners by creating some “seed bombs”.  A trip to Urban Acres is also in the works so please be on the lookout for more information.

I can hardly believe we are so close to the end of the school year.  I’d like to thank each and every one of you for doing your part to make Downey such a wonderful place.

-Mrs. Lovold 

April flew by.  We only have one month of school left, and it will fly by, too.  Tadpoles will continue to explore Spring, things that go, and animals.

We will have our first class field trip.  Tadpoles will walk to the Irvington Library for our own special a story time.  I will need extra help that day so we have one adult per two Tadpoles.

I have really enjoyed my Tadpole classes this year.  Thank you to the parents.  You are great with the children and patient with me.  I hope you had a fun time learning with your kids.



Enjoy your summer and thank you for choosing Downey,

-Mrs. Egan



**Two great parent ed opportunities left!**

Saturday, May 6th from 10-11:30 am, we have the Stewards of Children Darkeness to Light workshop.  This is a return presentation/workshop from the one we had in the fall.

Stewards of Children, an award-winning program, is a revolutionary sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  It is the only child sexual abuse prevention program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors.

As part of the Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Initiative, Children’s Bureau is the proud facilitator of the national child sexual abuse prevention training program Stewards of Children in Marion County.

Sign up is available in Bloomz. This is an adult-only event.

Saturday, May 13th from 9:00-10:30 am, we have a “Day at the Farm” Parent Ed.  Join Downey dad, Chris Larson, at the Paramount School of Excellence where Chris serves as the Director of Environmental Education.  The focus will be on gardening and its applications to our kids.  Child development as well as gardening specifics will be discussed and then how these two concepts are a beautiful marriage.

Families are welcome to bring their children, and they will leave with a potted sunflower seed in hand, to be transplanted to their home garden/planter. 

The farm will be in full swing, so we take some time to have a tour of the different areas: goats, chickens, bees (observation hive inside – super safe), compost, etc.

This event is rain or shine!   Sign up is available in Bloomz.



May 1 – Downey Co-op Board Meeting – 6:30-8:30 pm – Quilter’s Room, Downey

May 6 – Parent Ed: Stewards of Children – 10:00-11:30 am – Downey

May 7 – Downey Church Thank You Coffee & Breakfast – 11am-Noon – Century Hall

May 13 – Parent Ed: Day at the Farm – Paramount School of Excellence

May 25 – End-of-Year Picnic – 6-8pm – Ellenberger Park

May 22-26 – Last Week of School

Summer – Weekly Downey Playdates – Ellenberger Park


(Editor Taking a Liberty…) Because Downey Co-op is a preschool, our time at the school is a relatively short period of time.  Families come and go as our kids grow.  But while we are at Downey, we work so closely together and get to know each other’s children so well, that many friendships continue on past the preschool years.  For my family, this is our last year at Downey.  We’ve had three great years at the school, and I can not fully express how much I appreciate all that my son has learned and all the love he has received from Melissa, Staci and my fellow parents.  I’m sure like other families who are departing this year, we will always have sweet memories of our children’s days, learning through play, at Downey Co-op.


April, 2017 Edition

Welcome to the April edition of The Downey upBeat, and happy Spring! Hope everyone had a great spring break.  We have many exciting things happening as we enter the final two months of preschool.  Please enjoy catching up on all the details.

Hello friends,

We hope you had a great spring break whether that meant an exotic vacation someplace delightfully warm or a relaxed staycation (pajamas till noon!) where every sunny day was a gift promising spring.  For me, this April is a little bittersweet.  It’s my last month as a Co-President, and I can’t believe how quickly the two years have gone.  In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with two years’ worth of incredible board members who have grown our school back to class sizes which haven’t been seen in a long time, who worked to meet ambitious fundraising goals, who overhauled clunky and time-consuming systems to make them easier for those who will hold those jobs next, and who gave their time, energy and creativity to solving the challenges that naturally arise when 40+ families band together with a common purpose.  Next year, my youngest will begin her Downey journey, starting with Mrs. Egan’s Tadpoles, and I’m looking forward to taking on a new job with the school, whatever that may be.

Speaking of jobs, if you haven’t yet had a chance to sign up for the Egg Hunt, please take a moment to do so!  There are many open spots, and some of the tasks are short, easy and fun!  If you haven’t been to the Egg Hunt before, nothing is more darling than watching the tiniest toddlers wander around the center courtyard, marveling at all the bright eggs, mostly unsure about what to do.

Finally, congratulations to the 2017-18 board!  Downey Co-op is in great hands, which is especially important at a time when our program is expanding to include Kindergarten and when we’re bringing new teaching staff into the school.  It will be exciting for all of us to experience this new expansion of our school.

With gratitude,


Editor’s Note:  On behalf of all of us, THANK YOU, ERIN, for all your hard work over your tenure as Co-President.  We appreciate you and your service to Downey!

After showing a great deal of interest in what could be dug up in the sandbox, the Polliwogs and Frogs spent some time exploring excavation.  We added construction vehicles to our sand in the sensory table, tried balancing stones, played with dinosaurs, made predictions about the number of scoops of sand it would take to fill containers and read many books about fossils.  In April, we’ll turn our attention to the exciting changes happening now that it’s Spring.

With warmer temperatures, we will be spending more time outside; we all know, though, that Spring in Indiana can be a little wet.  Please double check that your child has an appropriate change of clothes and make sure he or she has rain boots, or extra shoes, so we can all enjoy the playground.


Mrs. Lovold

P.S. The photo immediately below is from a fun Frog outing to the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) to see Stuart Little.


It’s hard to believe, but we only have two months left of school.  It has been a very busy year.

March was short-lived but fun.  The Tadpoles had fun playing with the “goop” in the sensory table.  (It was everywhere! 😉 )

In April, we’ll continue to explore Spring.  Tadpoles will learn about farm animals.  We’ll read books, sing songs and create a farm.  We’ll get out the barn and tractors.  After that, we’ll get the dinosaurs out.  We’ll make dino tracks, do dino sorting and have lots of books to read.

We have parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday, April 25 and Wednesday, April 26.  Conferences are during class time so I will need a sub.  Remember to replenish you child’s extra clothes.

Let’s make these last two months run smoothly.  They will go by fast so we have to savor them.

Thanks for all your hard work and patience.

Happy Spring!

Mrs. Egan



Curious about the progress with Downey’s new Kindergarten program?  Our committee is quickly moving things forward.  The church has agreed to let us utilize Room 3 as our new Kindergarten classroom.  We have been working on clearing out that space and planning what furniture options will be the best for our young learners.  We have also met with Southeastway Park and have confirmed that our Leapfroggers will be spending one day a month outdoors at the park.   The kids will spend their days there hiking, discovering, and learning in nature.

In addition, we will be meeting with Malkah Bird, the Kindergarten teacher at Meridian Hills Coop, this week to learn more about her curriculum and how she teaches to Indiana’s Kindergarten Standards while still embracing the cooperative Learn Through Play model.  

We have six committed students at this point and are hoping to use the coming school open house on April 12th to bring in more potential families.  Please help us keep spreading the word on this exciting new Downey class!  One way you can do that is by sharing the open house event on Facebook.  Please also let us know if you have any questions if you are considering the Leapfrog Kindergarten for your own child.  


Saturday, April 15 – 9 a.m.-Noon

Activities for toddlers through 5th graders including crafts, face painting, cookie decorating, a cupcake walk, and a visit from the Easter bunny!

Bring your own basket and camera for photos with the easter bunny.

This is a free community event so feel free to bring your friends and neighbors!

Egg Hunt Schedule:
9:30 am : toddler-3 year olds

10:00 am : 4-6 year olds

10:30 am : 1st-2nd graders

11:00 am : 3rd- 5th graders


April 12 – Downey Co-op Kindergarten & Preschool OPEN HOUSE-  8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

April 15 – Downey Egg Hunt – 9:00 a.m.- Noon

April 25 & 26 – Parent-Teacher Conferences – During classtime

May 1 – Final Board Meeting of the 2016-17 School Year


For those families who still need to meet your Parent Ed requirement and for any others interested, please stay tuned for other Parent Ed opportunities that will be scheduled yet this school year.


Most of us face the challenge of balancing screen time on a daily basis.  We know too much time in front of the television or iPad is unhealthy, but why?  Check out this article for a deeper understanding of the risks involved and to also learn some helpful tips to creating healthy limits for our kiddos.


Mark your calendars for a special “Parents Night Out” event on Monday, April 24 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Mass Ave Wine Shop- 878 Massachusetts Avenue, Indy.  While you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer and some yummy food, you can enjoy the art of our very own Polliwog Mom, Ekaterina “Kate” Uvarova.  Kate, an accomplished painter, has her art on display and for purchase at the shop for the month of April.   

Come take in the atmosphere and enjoy the company of fellow Downey parents.  (Please note: Please be sure to bring some cash.  While anything food/beverage you buy at the shop can be applied to a credit or debit card, they have a current kink in their system that doesn’t allow you to apply your tip for the service staff to your transaction.)  It will be a fun evening so hope to see you there!



March, 2017 Edition

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Happy March!  Later this month, spring will arrive, and I am sure we are all ready for fresh air, warmer weather and budding trees and flowers.  Please enjoy this month’s newsletter (loaded with photos), and have a great week!


Hi, Downey Friends.

I am excited that Spring is right around the corner!  We have had some nicer than usual weather in February, and I hope it continues in March!  Don’t forget that our Spring Work Night is Thursday, March 9th from 6-8:30pm.  This is a required event for all families.  We ask that at least one adult from each family be present.  Please no children.  See Bloomz for more information.

Downey’s Spring Break is also at the end of this month.  It will be two weeks long from March 20th-31st.  This is a great time to meet up with Downey friends for fun activities outside of school.  I like to check and for fun family activities around the Indianapolis area.

Our next board meeting is on Monday March 6th at 6:30pm at Downey.  Everyone is welcome to attend whether you have something to share with the board or are just curious about what goes on at our board meetings.

Finally, keep an eye out for more information and a volunteer sign-up for our Annual Spring Egg Hunt which is April 15th this year.

Hope you all have a marvelous March!



The Frog Log

The children have done such a nice job settling back into our routine after winter break. Their concentration and focus continue to grow, and we’ve been able to spend a bit more time in our groups.  Many of their journal entries are also including much more detail and depth versus what was entered at the beginning of the year.  Over the last few weeks the children have practiced rhyming, both AB and ABC patterns, matching numerals to quantities, graphing and one-to-one correspondence.  We’ve introduced several new letters, and it’s so fun to see the children using their knowledge independently while they work in the classroom.

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**After our fun outside today, many of the children will need a new set of clothes in the extra clothes bin.  The inside of our boots may also need a little attention–if you have any ideas for this please let me know :-).

Mrs. Lovold

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The Polliwog Blog

I hope everyone was able to take advantage of the beautiful weather we had over the last few weeks.  The Polliwogs were able to spend quite a bit of time outside, which will continue as long as the temperature doesn’t drop too low.  Please make sure your child has an adequate set of extra clothing and continue to send them in shoes you don’t mind getting a bit mucky.

We continued our baking fun during the month of February.  The children have spent some time enhancing their negotiation skills as they worked to divvy up different jobs in the bakery.  During our morning meeting we explored the concepts of patterns and opposites as we added to our calendar.  The children have also taken a greater interest in the various “jobs” involved in making our day run well, so we’ll be working on assigning some positions in the month of March.

Mrs. Lovold

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Tadpole Tidbits

Finally, the Tadpoles got to play outside!  They loved it!  The music wall is a favorite. 20170217_110152

They are actually starting to play together so we have a combination of parallel play and group play which they created on their own.  It has been a joy to see this natural progression in their development.  The favorite game is running back and forth between the play houses, and they have roles (mom, dad, or monster). Wind-Cartoon

We will play with wind during March and with the color green. We will look for the signs of Spring with our homemade binoculars.


Remember to restock you child’s extra clothes if they’ve been used.

Thank you for all your hard work and for choosing Downey.

Happy Spring,
Mrs. Egan

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What's Happening

Hold the Sugar

Health experts recommend a goal of 0 sugary drinks per day—for children and adults alike.  That doesn’t mean you have to give up flavor.  unknown

Get ideas for fruit-infused water recipes, strategies for cutting back on fruit juice, clues to hidden sugars in ingredient lists, and an eye-opening list of popular drinks and their sugar content:

Fundraiser Info

We have wrapped up our “Art to Remember” projects.  The Frogs made some adorable caterpillars.  Polliwogs and Tadpoles created some handprint art.

Parents should see the customized order forms in their mail pouches around March 7th.  All order forms will be collected on or before March 20th.

Keep in mind that grandparents also love these keepsakes.  These make wonderful birthday, mother’s/father’s day and holiday gifts.

Any questions about Art to Remember?  Contact Jen Kikendall-Wilkinson at 317.506.9566 or


Spring Work Day

Thursday, March 9 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars and plan to participate on SPRING CLEAN UP NIGHT!  It is a requirement that each family participate in this important annual event.  workday-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-d0ivw1-clipartCome help with various cleaning and fix-up projects to keep our classrooms in great working order.  Like the clean up in the fall, please feel free to bring any hand or power tools that you think may be useful (screwdrivers, pliers, drills, etc.)  Cleaning supplies would also be welcome.  Please no children for this event.  

See Bloomz for more details, and see you there!


February, 2017 Edition

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We hope this edition of The Downey Update finds you and your family well and enjoying the new year.  While the weather outside is chilly and the country in a bit of a transition, it is nice to always be able to count on the sweet smiles of our teachers, the playful giggles of our little ones and the friendships we find within the halls of Downey.  Here’s to a great month celebrating all we love about our preschool!



Dear Downey Families,

February is a month with several special events and also when we begin to focus more energy on planning for the future. Soon we’ll be asking for nominations for executive board positions (Co-President, Treasurer, Fundraiser, Parent Ed, Secretary, Membership) so that we can vote on our nominees in March. If you’re interested in attending a board meeting to see what it’s all about, our next meeting is Monday, February 6th at 6:30pm. We each have unique talents, skills and experiences to offer the school, so please consider one of these roles for the coming year.

One of the enduring traditions of Downey is Special Persons Day!  This is a chance for a special person in your preschooler’s life, whose schedule doesn’t allow him or her to participate during normal class time, to come and play. This year, SPD will be held on Saturday, February 11th. Look for details to come from your child’s teacher.

Our Open House will be held during school hours on Friday, February 17th, so if you have friends and neighbors who might be interested in Downey Co-op, please let them know. It will be a great chance to see two of our classes in action and get many questions answered. The following day is our Parent Ed “10 Alternatives to Time Out” with Malkah Bird. For those of you who did not have a chance to experience Malkah’s CPT this year, you won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity!

Finally, this might also be a good time to evaluate how you are doing in meeting your Downey parent requirements:

  1. Have you cleaned or signed up to clean your child’s classroom?
  2. Have you been to at least one, if not two, of your required Parent Ed classes?
  3. If you weren’t able to fulfill all of your classroom participation days last semester, have you signed up for more than the minimum this semester?
  4. Have you marked on your calendars the days in the coming months where we require participation so you don’t accidentally double-book? (For example, Spring Work Night, Easter Egg Hunt, and Church Thank You Coffee?) These events require all-hands-on-deck and are successful because we all work together.

Thank you for everything that you do to help make our community stronger.




The Frog Log

The Polliwog Blog

Both Polliwog and Frog classes have spent the month of January exploring baking and bakeries.  The children brainstormed quite a list of information that they had already experienced, or previously knew, about bakeries.  After the list was started, and continued to grow as more books were read, the “creation” piece took off!  


The children painted posts and a ceiling, built a stove and oven, created a display case and started taking orders.  They all seemed to enjoy creating the different “treats” that they could offer their customers.  Between the two classes, our bakery built up quite an assortment of goodies including cookies, breads, cakes, cupcakes and pies.  

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So many “academic” skills were practiced while having so much fun.  The Frogs even got to visit a working bakery last Friday when we walked to Bittersweet and decorated our very own cupcakes!  Feel free to come and take a look at how their hard work has paid off!

-Mrs. Lavold



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Tadpole Tidbits

January was a busy month. It was unusually wet and not snowy. Tadpoles tried to make it colorful by making puff ball rainbow clouds and painting with bright colors. We continued our snow theme without the snowy weather, painting and decorating snowmen. We won’t give up on the snow! Tadpoles made winter more fun by having a pajama day and baking blueberry muffins.



Three of our Tadpole families swam away in January for various reasons, but two new Tadpoles, twin girls, Beatrice and Magdalene, joined our little pond. Please welcome the Barnes family to Downey.img_1803


In February, we will play with shapes more than usual. Valentine’s Day is low key at Downey. If you’d like to hand out Valentines, that is ok. You just put them on the art mat before class, and the children can take their goodies home after school.


Remember to bring a warm set of clothes and some rain boots. Check your Downey calendars for coming events.
Thank you to my parents for all their hard work and patience.

As always, thank for choosing Downey.
-Mrs. Egan

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img_1778What's Happening


There is still time to register for the “10 Alternatives to Time Out” Parent Ed event on Saturday, February 18- 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Century Hall.  (See Bloomz invite to sign up.)  This Parent Ed focuses on one of the most challenging topics for parents and teachers -finding effective tools for discipline.  The workshop will discuss some of the detriments of using “time out” as a discipline approach and also offer ten practical alternatives and strategies for helping adults and children understand and manage difficult behaviors, while preserving connections and maintaining a respectful home or school environment.  

Snacks and refreshments will be provided.  As a reminder, all families are required to attend at least 2 Parent Ed sessions throughout the school year.  

For questions, please contact Annie Hostetter.


Don’t forget.- There is no school on Monday, February 20th in honor of President’s Day.


Looking for no prep or low prep snacks? Here are some ideas:

unknownEating on the go a lot? Want to enjoy a restaurant meal that doesn’t wreck your health goals? Here are some tips:


February 17 | 9:30-11:00 a.m.

At Downey Preschool, we believe that children learn best through play, and we have a lot of fun doing it! For a sneak peek into Downey’s playful approach to early childhood education, pop in for a visit during our Open House to see our classes in action. Open House is the perfect chance to tour the school, explore the classrooms, meet the teachers, chat with Downey families, and, of course, join in on some playful learning.

::: About Downey :::
Downey is a non-profit cooperative school for early education providing classes for ages 2-5 and practice preschool starting at 18 months. A co-op preschool is a parent-led organization. Parents come together to run the school — they hire the teachers, manage the organization, perform jobs for the school, and participate in the classroom from time to time.


::: What you’ll see when you visit :::
Every day at Downey, you’ll see self-directed open play where kids explore the world at their own pace. But class sessions are also balanced with structured activities such as singing, stories, playground time for large muscle coordination, & snack time for socializing. During your visit, you’ll see easel painting, sculpting, drawing, coloring, construction play, building blocks, performance & imaginative play, science & engineering activities, books & literature-based play, puzzles, math games, dress-up & costumes, rhythm & music, and lots of playful learning.

::: Classes :::
Register online at For registration fees, tuition, & more information contact, 317.426.9094
> Lily Pads: 18-24mo, practice preschool, Mondays 9-10:30a, $75 per 8-week session
> Tadpoles: age 2 by Sept 1, T/Th or W/F, 9:15-11:15a, $75/mo
> Polliwogs: age 3 by Sept 1, T/Th 9-11:30a, $80/mo
> Frogs: age 4 by Sept 1, Mondays 9:00a-1:00p (extended day) and W/F 9-11:30a, $90/mo

::: Where :::
Downey Preschool
111 S Downey Ave, 46219 (Irvington)
Use the north entrance at Downey & Julian. The hallway to the left will lead you to the classrooms.

::: Contact & Tours :::
To tour Downey another day, contact: 317.426.9094

::: Learn more :::


December, 2016 Edition

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Welcome to the December edition of The Downey upBeat!  I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and staying bundled and warm as temperatures begin to drop as we head to winter.  December is a short but fun month at Downey and a good, mid-year opportunity to express our gratitude to our talented teachers.  As an additional editor’s note, the upBeat will take a short break from normal schedule and will not be issued on January 1.  Please look for a special January/February combination edition in mid-to-late January.


Hello Downey Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I love this time of year with all of the hustle and bustle, fun parties, and family gatherings.  We have our school Winter Carnival coming up on December 7th from 6-8pm in Century Hall at Downey.  This is a great time to socialize with friends from school and make some new ones.  I hope to see you all there!

I would like to give a special thanks to John Elder, who ran our successful poinsettia fundraiser this year. Our goal was to sell 615 plants, and together, we sold 673!  Great job!  The school made $3,538 from this fundraiser.  Thanks to all of you who sold plants and volunteered to help on delivery day.  If you see John, be sure to thank him for all of his hard work!

We will be sending out evaluations this month.  Please fill these out when you get them.  They help us see what’s working and what needs improvement.  Also, if you are looking to become more involved in our school, we have many board positions opening up for next year.  If you are interested in knowing more about this or would like to get a feel for what goes on at our board meetings, please join us for our next one on January 2nd from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Downey.  You can also contact Erin or me if you have any questions.

Happy Holidays!



The Frog Log

Due to technical problems, Mrs. Lovold’s updates are not available at the time of this upBeat edition. She’ll be touching base with her parents soon.  In the interim, please enjoy a few photos from the Frog’s recent field trip…

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The Polliwog Blog

And Polliwogs learning through play…




Tadpole Tidbits

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.  I did.  It’s always nice to visit and eat with family and friends.

November went by fast.  We had fun gluing, using stickers, and playing with bird seed in the sensory table.  We didn’t get to the fall sculpture.  We will sculpt another time. 

I think one of our favorite books at this time is the “Classroom Book”.  Each of the children has their own page and can’t wait for their page when we read it.tadpole4

The Tadpoles are learning to share toys, share space, and take turns.  This is an on going process.  Some days are better than others at school, just like at home.  There is a lot of repetition.  We may feel like a broken record, but that is one of the ways a preschooler learns.  So parents, thank you for your patience.  tadpole3

December is going to be another quick month.  We’ll play with music and make some instruments.  We’ll enjoy the holiday season by making a decoration or two.  Maybe we’ll try cooking this month. 

Winter is coming “weather” we want it too or not.  Please bring in a warm change of clothes, and come prepared to play in cold.  If it isn’t sopping wet or below freezing, we’ll go out.  The fresh air will do us good.

Happy Holidays! and Thank you for choosing Downey,

Mrs. Egan

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What's Happening


DEC 1 & 2 – Parent-Teacher Conferences

DEC 5 – Board Meeting (6:30-8:30 PM)

DEC 7 – Winter Carnival! (6:00-8:00 PM – Century Hall)

DEC 10 – Parent Ed: Yoga for Kids – (10:00-11:00 AM – Century Hall)

DEC 12 – Last day for Lilly Pads

DEC 19 – Winter Break Begins


JAN 2 – School resumes

JAN 2 – Board Meeting (6:30-8:30 PM)




Saturday, December 10 at 10:00 AM – YOGA FOR KIDS!  This is a fun opportunity to learn ways to use Yoga practices to help calm your kids.  Led by Tadpole parent Erin Morgan.  Bring your little one and a mat (if you have one).  Space is limited so please RSVP via Bloomz.

Yoga for Kids Flyer


We are lucky at Downey to have wonderful indoor and outdoor play spaces that are intentionally designed by our teachers and volunteers to encourage physical and imaginative play as well as cognitive and social development.  But most of us don’t think about what, exactly, makes a great play space.  Here is one perspective on that issue, with emphasis on design that encourages physical activity:


Children need at least 60 minutes of rigorous physical activity every day.  Here are some tips and activities to help you encourage physical activity at home, from infant through school-age years:


“AmazonSmile” is a simple and automatic way for you to support Downey Co-op every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our school! It’s fast and super easy to sign up.

To shop at AmazonSmile, simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.


If you already have an Amazon or Amazon Prime account, you use that same account on AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (, you need to select “Downey Parent Cooperative Preschool” as your choice of a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

If you’re an Amazon user, sign up today! We are looking into other similar programs to benefit our school so stay tuned.



November, 2016 Edition

Newsletter Header

Welcome to the November edition of the Downey upBeat!  Enjoy!


Dear Downey Families,

Along with the gorgeous colors of Autumn and All-Things-Pumpkin which grace the grocery store shelves, one of my favorite hallmarks of the season is the chance to slow down and reflect on the things for which I’m most thankful.

When we first moved to Indy, we had a three year old who joined Downey as a Polliwog, a one year old who found trouble like it was her job, a serious fixer-upper, and zero friends.  We found a community among our eldest’s classmates that has sustained and grown over the past four years.  Now we have the pleasure of running into Downey friends wherever we go!

So here I find myself in the second and final year of my tenure as Downey President.  I’m so thankful for those who have passed the torch for the last 50 years and for those who will carry it forward for the next 50.  We are an incredible group of creative, energetic, and conscientious families who do our best everyday to teach our young ones the value of sharing our gifts (and toys) with those around us.  Thank you for all that you are and all that you bring to this special community.  Happy November!




The Frog Log

The Frogs went on a field trip to Tuttle Orchard on our first day returning from break.  The children learned about the life cycle of the apples and got to pick from the Red and Golden Delicious trees.  We also took a hayride out to their pumpkin patch and chose our own pumpkins.  In the classroom, we have spent some time exploring gourds, improving our fine motor control by tracing various objects, thinking about the order of events while sequencing picture cards, and comparing the colors/textures/flavors of various apples.  

During our Leapfrog time we have focused on the letter P, practicing our counting by using one-to-one correspondence and taking turns while playing games in groups.

Mrs. Lovold


The Polliwog Blog

The Polliwogs have done a nice job transitioning back to school after our Fall Break.  We spent the month of October sorting shapes, creating our own jack-o-lanterns and enjoying the pumpkin pie scented moon sand in the sensory tables.  The children also helped with our first cooking experience by chopping apples and pressing the cooked apples through a food mill to make applesauce.  

Our first field trip was a great success!  I think that all of the children enjoyed our time at Waterman’s and finding their own pumpkins.  img_9518Being out on that chilly day did serve as a nice reminder that we are definitely moving into Fall.  Please make sure that your child has a set of “weather appropriate” clothing in our extra clothes bin.  We will continue to head outside on these cool days so sending your child in layers may be a good idea.  There is a bag of mittens/gloves available in the classroom for the children to borrow; if you happen to have any unused mittens/gloves that you’d be willing to donate to our class we can always use replacements. 🙂

Mrs. Lovold



Tadpole Tidbits

Tadpoles are swimming right along. They came back from fall break ready and raring to go!  Like real tadpoles, the Downey tads like to keep moving so that’s what we do.  We’ll do a little “Animal Action” and “Listen and Move”, and “Silly Dance Contest” is always fun.  One rainy day, we played with the parachute which was a good time.


In November we will continue to explore fall.   You may have noticed some of our colorful leaves in the window.  (So if you think of it, please bring in some fall items like seed pods, twigs, dried flowers, etc., and we will make fall sculptures and collages.)  I want to try some new books this month.  The tadpoles’ favorite is ” Go Away, BIg Green Monster!”  It is a good book for colors and parts of the face.  We will also try our hand at cooking this month.  I like to have the children make bag bread. We will need an extra parent on those days. (The extra parent is needed for clean up toward the end of class.)  We will bake on Wednesday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 22.  We will talk about Thanksgiving (my favorite) and continue to work on sharing.

Enjoy this crazy fall weather.  We won’t have these warm days much longer so please bring in a warm change of clothes and rain boots.  Tadpole families are great!  I appreciate how hard they work in the classroom and help each other in class.  They dive right in and are so personable that I forget that they are new families.  Thank you for your patience.  Please never hesitate to ask me questions.  I want your co-op experience to be as much for the grown ups as it is for the children.

Thank you for choosing Downey.

Mrs. Egan

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What's Happening


The Downey Co-op booth at the Irvington Halloween Festival was hopping!  There were many different fun and colorful ways for children to “learn through play”.  A very special thanks goes to Cary Patterson & family for leading the effort.  Thank you also to all those who contributed or volunteered in some way.  The booth was a terrific representation of our school.



NOV 7 – BOARD MEETING (6:30-8:30 PM)

NOV 11 & 18 – CPT (9AM-NOON)  Please see the sign up just to the left of the bulletin board.


NOV 28 – POINSETTIA DELIVERY DAY!  This is a fun and all-hands-on-deck event for our school.  Mark your calendar, and stay tuned for details.


All adults and children should eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  If you want to increase your family’s fruit and veggie intake, try smoothies.  Here is a recipe and some tips:

And did you know that your children’s diet profoundly impacts their performance in school?  Learn more:


It’s that time of year…cold and flu season!  In order to keep our kiddos healthy, we need to be extra vigilant in our efforts to keep classrooms clean.  Also, be sure to err on the side of caution in keeping your child home from school when symptoms present themselves.

We also must be informed of the details of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), a common viral infection in children under 10.  lt can cause mouth sores and a painless rash on the hands, feet, or buttocks.  HFMD can be easily spread from one person to another.images

HFMD has been presenting a real challenge to schools in recent years, as a child is very contagious during the first week of the illness, and he or she can still be contagious for days to weeks after the illness resolves.  Symptoms usually appear 24 lo 72 hours after exposure, so if you are aware that your child has been exposed, it is critical that you keep him/her at home to watch for any symptoms to appear.  Symptoms include:

  • Rash (small, red bumps or blisters on the hands, feet, or buttocks)
  • Mouth sores that often occur on the gums, tongue, inside the cheeks, and in the back of the throat (mouth sores may not occur in some children)
  • Sore throat
  • A nonspecific rash over the rest of the body .
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain when swallowing; drooling

Of course, we all know that having children means contending with germs.  That’s just a fact of life.  However, the best way to prevent HFMD or illness of any kind is to teach and encourage our kids to wash their hands often with soap and warm water.  Hand washing is especially important before eating or handling food and after using the bathroom.

Hopefully with some vigilance and a dose of good luck we can keep Downey healthy!


“AmazonSmile” is a simple and automatic way for you to support Downey Co-op every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our school! It’s fast and super easy to sign up.

To shop at AmazonSmile, simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.


If you already have an Amazon or Amazon Prime account, you use that same account on AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (, you need to select “Downey Parent Cooperative Preschool” as your choice of a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

If you’re an Amazon user, sign up today! We are looking into other similar programs to benefit our school so stay tuned.


October, 2016 Edition

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Greetings, Downey Co-op Families!  The classrooms at Downey are now ‘abuzz in activity, and the hallways are filled with masterpieces on the art mats.  October is one of the busiest months of the school year so please read carefully for event details in this month’s newsletter.  Enjoy!



Hello, Downey Families!

We have made it through our first month of school.  Yea!  I hope you all are settling in and enjoying it!  I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you in the past month and look forward to meeting the rest of you soon.

I am excited to see that many of you are using Bloomz successfully to communicate with each other, keep informed on upcoming events, and post great pictures from class.  Mrs. Lovold and Mrs. Egan have been posting some last minute messages and updates before class, so it is a great idea to check before school.  If you are having difficulties with Bloomz, please let us know, and we can work on it with you.

Many of you have started your family jobs, and we appreciate all of your hard work.  Co-oping is a group effort and we appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication.  If you ever have any questions or need help with your family job, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I am excited for the month of October.  I love fall, with the cooler weather, colorful foliage, and pumpkin-flavored everything.  This month Downey will be participating in the Irvington Halloween Festival, which is a lot of fun.  We also dedicate the month of October to selling beautiful poinsettias for our biggest fundraiser of the year.  I hope you all have a good month




The Frog Log

With a class name of Frogs, it’s hard to pass up focusing on that special animal for a while!  The children and I created a list of all of the things we know, and think, about frogs.  For example, some frogs pee on you when you pick them up, and they like to be in water AND on the land.  Also, we think that when they say “ribbit, ribbit” they might be calling to their friends and saying “Hey, I’m over here, come and see me!”  

The Frogs delved a little deeper into the life cycle of frogs, and many children made the connection between the different names of classes at Downey and the various stages of the frog.  We discussed the types of things one might find in a frog’s habitat and how those things are a little different from our own.  The children spent time developing their fine motor skills while they used tongs to move tiny frogs onto their logs.  We also practiced estimation as we worked to see how many frogs we could place on our floating lily pads before they sank.  The children finished out the month with a fun field trip to Southeastway Park where we learned about two different types of habitats, ponds and forests.

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Our Leapfrog focus this month was primarily spent on each of our names and how they are similar and different.  We looked at the various attributes of letters–if they have curves, straight lines or both.  We also practiced our cutting skills as we created our Frog Life Cycle books.

Mrs. Lovold


The Polliwog Blog

I can hardly believe we’ve already been in school for a month!  The Polliwogs are starting to get the hang of our daily routines and are enjoying many of the materials in our classroom.  It’s amazing to see their independence already beginning to blossom as they work their way around the snack table, finding their materials and cleaning up after themselves.

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We spent the month of September completing activities with a focus on frogs.  The children painted frogs at the easel (some of you were blessed with maaannny frog paintings this month!!), we sorted frogs by their different colors, tried using tiny plastic frogs in our balance, created some frog prints, and scooped frogs from our sensory table with nets.



It’s hard to miss the change in seasons, so we will spend some time in October observing those changes and exploring some of the finer things in fall…like pumpkins!  With these changing weather conditions, please make sure that your child has appropriate extra clothing kept at school.  Thank you all for jumping in and helping to make the start of our school year fantastic!

Mrs. Lovold


Tadpole Tidbits

Tadpoles have had a great start to the new school year.  We had a few tears, but they were short lived.  They are getting used to the routine, but it is still early in the learning process.  Aren’t we always in the learning process and transition?  Transition is something we are learning, too.  I’m trying to find a transition activity or song that works best for each class.  We’ll find it together.  The mats with their names on them have helped with circle time.


September we made our place mats for snack.  The Tadpoles like painting at the easel, squishing play dough, experiencing the sensory table and building with blocks.  We did group art, and now it’s on one of our bulletin boards.  It’s very colorful!  We did some seasonal art with apples.  Tadpoles painted with apples and made apple prints one with the star and one without.  They really like to mix colors.


During October, the Tadpoles will explore fall and all its changes from leaves to pumpkins.  “Sense” fall is in air, that means it will get chillier so please bring in a warm set of clothes.   Also if you could please bring a set of rain boots for the play yard that way shoes and floors won’t get muddy.

I am so grateful for the Tadpole families.  They are patient, work hard in the class room, and they are especially great with the children.

I want give a special thanks to Bridget Hawryluk for fun bulletin board, art mat, and birthday banner.  Thank you, Jessica Haynes, for play dough that is “just right” and so nice to play with.  And thank you to Jordon Munson for giving us the drum sticks for our music wall.  (I didn’t even put them all out so we can have more for later.)

Thank you for choosing Downey, and Happy Autumn!
Mrs. Egan


Editor’s Note:  I try to feature photos in the upBeat from each of the four classes; however, this month, I am missing photos from the Wed-Fri Tadpole class.  I will remedy this glitch before next month’s edition.  And as always, if you take some great photos of your class, please consider sending them for inclusion in the monthly newsletter.  


What's Happening


During the month of October, all Downey families will be selling poinsettias to benefit the school.  This is the biggest fundraiser of the school year and requires all families to participate in order to be a success.  The poinsettias, available in three colors and multiple sizes, come from Heartland Growers and make a beautiful addition to any home, church, restaurant or place of business for the holiday season.  Bulk orders are greatly appreciated!


Please look for your “poinsettia packet” for more information, they will be in your Downey mailbox soon. FYI, payment is required at the time of order. The deadline to order will be around November 1st and Delivery Day will be around December 1st. (Specific dates to be announced soon.)

For any information on the program or help selling bulk orders, please contact this year’s poinsettia coordinator, John Elder, at 317-797-6814 or

Thank you!


Our first Parent Ed opportunity is occurring at Downey on Monday, October 17th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Stewards of Children, an award-winning program, is a revolutionary sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

Stewards of Children is the only child sexual abuse prevention program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors.

As part of the Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Initiative, Children’s Bureau is the proud facilitator of the national child sexual abuse prevention training program Stewards of Children in Marion County.

Sign up is available in Bloomz. This is an adult-only event.


The Irvington Halloween Festival is coming up later this month, and Downey Co-op will have an information booth, staffed by us parents, to spread the good word about our school.  The Bloomz event calendar for sign up will be available soon.  In the meantime, please be sure to collect toilet paper and paper towel tubes at your house for use as pirate spy-glass craft at the booth.  Will be a spooktacular day!



“AmazonSmile” is a simple and automatic way for you to support Downey Co-op every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our school! It’s fast and super easy to sign up.    

To shop at AmazonSmile, simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.


If you already have an Amazon or Amazon Prime account, you use that same account on AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (, you need to select “Downey Parent Cooperative Preschool” as your choice of a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

If you’re an Amazon user, sign up today! We are looking into other similar programs to benefit our school so stay tuned.


In charge of snacks for a sports team or other active kids?  You might like these tips on eating before and after practice or games:

And don’t forget to take water!  Sports drinks are rarely necessary, and energy drinks are never good.  Learn more:


unknownOur Classroom Participation Training Workshop is coming up on November 1st & 2nd, and we are in GREAT need of individuals to help watch the little ones while parents are in class.  If possible, please find a way to help.  Do you have a friend or relative who could also come along to help?  Please see the Bloomz calendar entry for this event to sign up as a childcare volunteer. 


From Mrs. Lovold:  One of the wonderful things I’ve found about cooperative preschools has been the positive impact the parent education piece and trainings have had on not only my parenting but also my role as an educator.  During our Parent/Teacher meetings, I mentioned to all of my Frog and Polliwog families my “I’m sorry” philosophy, how I’ve evolved, and now no longer require children to say it.  I’ve learned that helping children begin their development of a conscience, especially a mature one, is a much more important goal.  

Charles Smith writes that the “Development of a conscience begins in early childhood with compassion and sympathy, followed by empathy.” (77)  At Downey, we help the children in our care develop compassion by being aware of the emotions of those around us.  We encourage sympathy by helping the children make the situation better for the “victims” in our classrooms.  The children begin to develop empathy as they realize how their actions impact those around them.  An excellent article about this topic, written by Dr. Charles Smith for NAEYC, can be found at the following link.

on-free-fall-and-free  Have a great month!

September, 2016 Edition

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Welcome to the first monthly edition of The Downey upBeat for the 2016-17 school year. Here, you’ll find the latest information about what’s happening at Downey as well as updates from our teachers and board co-presidents.  Please be sure to direct your friends, family and any Downey Co-op alumni you know to this website so they can enjoy our newsletter and all the other features of the site.  And if you would like to contribute an article or photographs, or if there is anything you would like to see featured in the upBeat, please feel free to contact the newsletter coordinator ( at any time.  Enjoy!

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”  – O. Fred Donaldson


Hello, Downey friends!

Welcome to a brand new school year.  With any luck, much of the information that we threw at you during Officer-Led and Teacher-Led Orientations has had a chance to settle in and you’re excited about the start of school.  So many of you have already started on your family job, and I hope that in addition to having fun, you truly understand that we are a parent-run organization.  Your job helps our school succeed, in one way or another, and without your help, we cease to be what makes us great.

Thank you for all of your hard work at Outdoor Clean Up.  That event is one of my favorites because it is usually the first chance to really talk to fellow parents while transforming our playground area from sadly-neglected to fresh and ready.  That event embodies the optimism we all feel at the start of a new school year and the collective energy of wanting to be a part of something incredible.  I hope, as the year goes on, that you are inspired by the hard work of our teachers and your fellow parents to keep that optimism and energy present at Downey.

Here’s to an extraordinary school year.  See you in class!

Erin Robson-Smith


The Frog Log

The Polliwog Blog

Hello Frog and Polliwog families!  I am looking forward to getting to know each of the families and your children as we learn together this year!  Here are a few things to keep in mind as we start the school year…

  • Bring an extra outfit for your child, including socks, that will be left at school in case of an accident.  (Please put it in a ziplock bag or sack with the child’s name on it.)
  • If “snack” families include whole fruits or vegetables (that can be cut up at Downey) with their snack choice each day, we should be able to meet the dietary choices of all of our children.
  • If your child chose not to have their photo taken during our home visit, please forward me a picture that I can print before class begins next week.
  • Every child who would like to remove their shoes in the classroom or wear dress up shoes must have a pair of socks accessible.

A couple of new requests…

  • I’d like each family to send in a photo of your family that can be left at school.  While snapshots are fine, a framed photo would be easiest for us to display.
  • Rain boots!  After our day on the playground, a parent had the brilliant idea of sending rain boots for the children that can be left at school.  We will be working on a boot rack for storage, and until then, we’ll just line them up near our coat racks.
  • Insect repellent!  Our damp playground has become quite the breeding ground for mosquitoes lately. Please let me know if you would like to have anything applied to your child before we enjoy our time outside.  I have a natural product called Buggins in the classroom that I’m happy to share, though it wasn’t super effective for me last Saturday.  You are welcome to leave a labeled bottle of repellent in the classroom, and I will make sure it is applied before we head outside.

I’m excited to start another great year at Downey!

Mrs. Lovold


Tadpole Tidbits

Welcome to the Tadpole class!

We will spend the first half of September getting to know each other and getting used to being at preschool.  Preschool is a big transition for parents and children.  We will spend time on learning the new routine- like taking our art to the art mat in the hallway.

During the first days of school, we (Tadpoles and parents) will make placemats for snack so when snack time rolls around, everyone will know where to sit at the table.

Some things to remember for the first day of school: 

  • Please bring any paper work that needs to be turned in.  For each Tadpole, I need the Parent Interview and Emergency Form if they have not yet been completed.
  • Bring an extra set of clothes and diapers and wipes if needed.  (Please put them in a ziplock or bag with the child’s name on it.) 
  • Most important of all, bring a smile and a bright attitude.  We are going to have a lot of fun!

Thank you for choosing Downey.

Mrs. Egan


“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” – Mr. Rogers

What's Happening


Please stay tuned for more details regarding Tuberculosis “TB” testing happening in late September.  This quick and easy test costs a small fee and is required for participating parents.


The first of this school year’s Parent Education opportunities is being planned for October.  Details and sign-up information will be available soon.


Did you know that 4 out of 10 kids in central Indiana are at an unhealthy weight that puts them at risk for serious health problems? …and that the Irvington 46219 zip code is one of the highest risk areas for child obesity?

Even before we knew these facts, Downey Co-op was committed to providing a healthy place for children to play and learn.  Our classroom snacks typically consist of a fresh fruit or vegetable paired with a whole grain or protein. Unknown

But what about celebrations like birthdays, holidays and special events when “a special treat” feels appropriate?  We do allow treats in moderation, as moderation is an important lesson for kids to learn, but we also encourage you to think of other ways to celebrate your child’s birthday or special occasion.  You can always discuss ideas with your teacher.  Here are a few suggestions from our friends at Jump IN for Healthy Kids to fuel your thinking:

– Choose a book your child loves and buy a copy for the classroom.  You can inscribe a personal message in honor of his/her birthday inside the cover.

– Ask if your child can lead classmates in a fun game or physical activity, such as Follow the Leader or a dance party.

– Create a “water bar” where students can add various fruits and fun straws to their drinks at snack time.

– Display a favorite everyday snack in a fun new way- making sea turtles out of green apples, snowmen out of cheese sticks, pumpkins out of clementines, or anything else your imagination (or, be honest, Pinterest) dreams up!

These are not hard and fast rules to follow, but just something to keep in mind as a new school year begins.


Starting the new school year can bring some anxiety or certainly, some questions, especially if you are new to Downey and to the co-op experience.  It’s an adjustment to get our children into the routine of being in school and a learning experience for us, too, to know how to participate in their classrooms.  In these early days, please feel comfortable reaching out to the teachers or to other parents if you need anything.  What makes our school so special is that we’re all in it together! 


Special thanks to Outdoor Clean-up leaders, the Pattersons, and to all those who worked hard (in rainy weather, too) to make the Downey outdoor play yard ready for many hours of fun and adventure.  This year boasted record participation, which made the job quick and productive. images



May, 2016 Edition

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Welcome to the May edition of the Downey upBeat and our final one for the 2015-16 school year.  We hope you and your family have had a great experience at Downey Co-op.  Enjoy the many photos in this newsletter, and have a great summer!


The month of May is here.  Only a few short weeks of preschool remain.  As we wrap up the preschool year, here are a few notes and reminders.

Please return Family Job Folders to the preschool.  We pass out job folders each year so returning them saves us time and resources.  You can place them in Erin’s or my mailbox or place them on the heat register under the yellow mailboxes (just outside of Century Hall).

Soon a survey will come to you through email.  The survey helps the Downey Board members and teachers know how to grow and improve the preschool for all members.  Please take the time to fill out the survey. 

Be sure to mark your calendar for Thursday, May 26, the end-of-the-year picnic and 50th Anniversary gathering.  More details will be coming soon about this fun and exciting event.  

The last day of preschool for the T/TH Tadpoles and Polliwogs is Thursday, May 26, and the last day for W/F Tadpoles and Frogs is Friday, May 27.  

The Downey Co-op Farmer’s Market booth needs you!  This is a great way for Downey to share preschool information with the community.  We set up a welcoming and playful booth where children and parents can stop in for a break.  We have information about Downey for families to take, and we answer questions about our preschool.  The market is a fun time to socialize with members of the community and shop the market, too.  Please sign up to help with our booth.  (Shifts are short.)

And last but not least, the Downey fun, play, and learning doesn’t stop at the end of May!    Over the summer, we will have a weekly Downey Play Date at Ellenberger Park.  Invite family, friends, and neighbors to join in the fun.  Look for a schedule in the weeks to come.


bouquet-of-summer-flowersEditor’s Note: On behalf of everyone at Downey, we want to give a very special THANK YOU to Mindy for her outstanding service as president for the past two years.  All of her time, hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated, and the foundation of the school is strengthened as a result of her tenure.  Job well done, Mindy!


The Frog Log

The Frogs explored more of their artistic sides during the month of April.  We read books about different artists and their techniques and then tried some of those techniques out for ourselves.

We took a trip to the Indiana Museum of Art and were introduced to different pieces in the museum while on our tour.  While at the museum, the question of how paint is made came up so we tried creating a couple of different types of paint when we were back in class…crushing chalk to make our own “chalk paint” ended up being a huge hit!

-Mrs. Lovold

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The Polliwog Blog

The Polliwogs spent the month of April enjoying the signs of spring.  The children explored rain clouds, created our own flowers and sorted and patterned different colors of insects.  

IMG_2921Ms. Jen brought in some of her families chickens for us to meet and touch.  

We finished the month with a fun trip to the Central Library to hear and act out the story The Big Note while listening to members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra play their instruments.

-Mrs. Lovold


Tadpole Tidbits

I really don’t know where April went.  We definitely had the “April showers”, so hopefully we’ll have the “May flowers” to follow.


Tadpoles are continuing with spring exploration.  I hope to throw in some insects and dinosaurs, too.  We will soon go on our first field trip.  Tadpoles will take a trek to the Irvington Library on May 10 and 13 for a private story time.  (I will need two extra helpers on each day.)  We’ll have our story time, then head back to school for snack, and that will be our day.

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We’ll also have an inside/outside day with the Polliwogs and Frogs.  This gives the Tadpoles a chance to visit the big classroom, and the Polliwogs and Frogs a chance to relive the good ole days.

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Thank you to all my families for your patience, time, talent, and support…all the meals, rides, and subbing for me when I wasn’t feeling well.  I couldn’t have managed it without you.  Downey families are one of a kind, and I am so grateful to be a part of our school.

Thanks for letting me teach your children, and thanks for choosing Downey.

-Mrs. Egan

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What's Happening

Thank you, Downey Church!

This past weekend, we were able to host a coffee for the Downey Christian Church members immediately following their Sunday service.  We had a great morning and were able to take a moment to thank the members for allowing us to be their partners at Downey.  We remain fortunate to be affiliated with an organization so committed to service and to caring for the community.


Parent Education

We completed our parent education workshops for this year with a Pediatric First Aid course on April 25.  If you participated in the course, you will receive a certification card.  They are in the mail to Downey as our newsletter goes to press, so look for them soon in your school mailbox.

Early Literacy: What does “writing” look like in preschool?
Earlier this spring, we shared some highlights about reading from our early literacy parent education workshop.  As promised, here are some insights from the second half of our discussion: What does “writing” look like at this age, and how can we support our child’s development as a young writer?


Perhaps the most surprising thing about teaching writing in preschool is that it doesn’t actually look anything like what most of us imagine when we hear the word writing.  It isn’t about putting letters on a piece of paper to form words and sentences.  On the contrary, to raise an effective communicator who can use words and sentences to persuade, inform and entertain, what we need to focus on in these early years is more about the art of storytelling.  We want to embed the qualities of good storytelling in our children — understanding that a story has characters and settings, that something happens to those characters in those places, that there’s a consistent focused topic that we can follow through the length of the story, etc.

You can practice the art of storytelling at home, inviting your preschooler to retell the true stories of his life as well as inventing fictional ones.

I like to look for organic and authentic ways to practice this, so perhaps after reading a book about a trip to the zoo, I might say, “Hey, we went to the zoo on spring break.  Let’s imagine what a book about our trip to the zoo might sound like.  Can you help me think about that?”

I might then use an unofficial “5 finger strategy” to help us organize and focus our thinking, helping a child recall (roughly) 5 things about that trip.

“What did we do to get ready for that trip to the zoo?  We packed the wagon into our car and loaded it with our water bottles and sunscreen (1).  Then what did we do?  We drove to the zoo — oh yeah, and you insisted on singing “Animal Action” the whole way there (2)!”

I continue in this way, prompting the next part of the story (or keeping it on topic) with questions as needed, and sometimes helping think of a detail or two to elaborate on a step and make the story more interesting.  All the while, I’m counting out each of the five steps on the fingers of one hand, sort of demonstrating a strategy my preschooler can use on her own, too.

Unknown-2It is also helpful to have materials around that encourage children to “make books.”  You can take 2-3 sheets of plain paper and fold them in half to make a booklet and staple it in the center—Voila, a blank book to be filled with her story!  We read books in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so we make blank books in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, too: a small stack of index cards stapled or taped together on one side, full 8.5″x11″ pages stapled on one side, etc.  You can encourage your child to “pick the size that feels right for the story you want to tell.”  As our young writers develop, it is fun to watch how the shape and size of the blank books they choose affect the content of their stories!

In the earliest years, children may fill these “blank books” with mostly scribbles, but you can still ask them to “read” you the story they created and take the opportunity to introduce or reinforce the concepts that make a story.  As children become more sophisticated writers, they will learn to use pictures as the symbols for what they want to express, making their books start to look more like wordless picture books.  And in due time, they will begin to write words and sentences, too, and this will add yet another level of sophistication to their storytelling.


50th Anniversary for Downey Co-0p Preschool!

Later this month, we will celebrate this very special milestone for our preschool.  Please contact Mindy or Erin to see how you can help.  




April, 2016 Edition

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Welcome to the April edition of The Downey upBeat, and happy Spring!  Please note: This month’s edition is a bit shorter than normal and contains fewer photos, as we had a short month in March with our two-week spring break.  However, we have many exciting things happening as we enter the final two months of preschool.  Please enjoy catching up on all the details.



Dear Downey Families,

It’s wild to think that there are now fewer than 8 weeks left in the school year!  Or maybe it feels like school has been in session for ages longer than 7 months… Whether you’re slogging through Spring or sprinting towards Summer, we’ve come a long way since that big orientation in August.  Remember that night when returning families greeted old friends, and new families may have felt some shyness, wondering how they were going to keep all these new names straight: names of fellow parents, their kids, and board members doing goodness-knows-what jobs.  There may have been some trepidation when you hit the “my Family Job” table, wondering if your job would prove greater than your ability.  And my hope is, now that we’re seven months in, that you now know that your job was designed with your success in mind.   

As a parent-led preschool, we only succeed if all of our members succeed.  The trick (admittedly often the hardest part) is simply to be a continuing part of our busy community so that we may still grow together in our parenting and also show our kids that the world works better when everyone pitches in to get a job done.  Here’s a look ahead some of the activities that will round out the school year:

*The Rummage Sale is this weekend, and there are still plenty of open slots needing help.

*May 1st is the Church Thank You, where we ply the congregation with hearty thanks, yummy baked goods (get your favorite recipes ready!) and a hot cup o’ joe after their service. There will be a sign up sent out in the next week or two for that.

*Finally, we will be combining a 50th Anniversary Party with our End of Year Party the last week of school.  Stay tuned for more details.

We really are lucky to have such a strong community!  We hear all the time from alumni who are still in touch with the friends they made at Downey 5, 10, 15 years ago.  As always, if you have any questions, never hesitate to ask.



***Stay tuned to next month’s edition for updates on the Polliwogs and the Frogs.  Our teacher is enjoying a much deserved vacation this week.***

Tadpole Tidbits

March winds really blew us into the April showers!  This month, we will focus on Spring, flowers, animals, and weather.

Thank you for the new carpet in the Tadpole room.  It looks great!  Come take a peek.

I will plan a trip to the Irvington library for our first tadpole field trip.  That will be in May.

Happy Spring, and may April showers be few.

Mrs. Egan


What's Happening


In anticipation of our 50th year celebration, we’ve been reaching out to Downey alumni to hear of their stories and warm memories of their days, or their children’s days, at Downey.  It’s exciting when Downey alums stay engaged in the school, and we are very fortunate one such special alum, Brian Shanahan, continues to play a vital role in the operation of our school.  You can learn more by reading his reflections below.  He and his wife, Janell, not only helped to create the Tadpole class, but also the annual Poinsettia fundraiser.  Brian, on behalf of his company, Farm Bureau Insurance, remains our largest customer for our annual plant sale.  I’m sure we all send our warmest thank you to the Shanahans!

“We started with Downey in 1989 when Heath was 3, and he attended in 1990 in the 4’s class.  Evan started at Downey in the 2’s class in 1992 and attended through the 4’s class in 1995.

In 1991, Janell was approached with the idea of starting a 2’s class at Downey and was asked to teach the class.  The only caveat was, the class had to be self-funded and not require any help from the funds of the 3’s and 4’s classes.  We were able to get a donation from Farm Bureau Insurance to help us buy supplies to get the classroom started.  We were able to get 10 children enrolled and held fundraisers independent of the 3’s and 4’s classes.  Between fundraising and tuition, we were able to fully fund the class, buy supplies for the climber unit (labor to build was provide by the parents) and have left over funds to start year two.  Year two, the 2’s class was incorporated into the school, and all funds were combined, and the 3 classes ran as one school.  It was during Evan’s final year at Downey (1995) when the poinsettia fundraiser was born.  We are glad to see it’s still a major fundraiser for the school.

Janell was the 2’s class teacher for two years, and the 3’s and 4’s teacher for 5 years.
During the 5 years we had children in Downey, I served as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors.

We feel Downey’s Montessori style for the children and the educating of the parents is very valuable to a child/family development.  When the children were in school, they were learning to cooperate, participate, and explore their artistic talents.  This was taking place while the children thought they were just playing.  We got to know some great families during our years in Downey.

One of our best memories is the hatching of chicks each year.  The children learned the life cycle of chicks from incubation to hatching.  They learned that not all chicks survived incubation.  Janell would have the children journal each day about the stage of incubation the process was in.  The children loved it and were thrilled to write about the experience.”

-Brian & Janell Shanahan

If you would like to help with the planning efforts for the 50th anniversary celebration, it would be appreciated.  Please just let Mindy or Erin know.  Thanks!



MARK YOUR CALENDARS!  An Infant/Child First Aid Class will be offered and led by certified American Red Cross instructors – April 25, 6-8 pm.  Strictly adults only -$35 fee.  Look for more information by email.


Special thanks to everyone who helped to make both the parent Work Night and the annual Easter Egg Hunt a success!  Here are a few photos of the Easter fun.

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sympathy-clipart-il_340x270.234311595Enjoy the spring weather, and have a great month!