Junior Kindergarten

February Newsletter

100th Day Celebrations

JK friends decorated and cut out 100th Day glasses, made hats with ten strips of bejeweled (or bestickered) paper strips, and counted ten pieces of ten different kinds of snacks to cook up a 100th Day trail mix. We enjoyed counting to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s on our hundreds chart often incorporating movement as we counted. As a literacy activity children made a list of things of which they would like and NOT like to have 100. One friend said she would like to have 100 gummi bears but NOT 100 real bears! We had been waiting for this day for a long time and the children could not have been more pumped to celebrate being 100 days smarter, sweeter, grateful, compassionate, and curious.

Valentine's Day and Stay and Play

Valentine's Day is always a favorite day for young children. They naturally show a lot of love to their friends and family by hugging friends when they arrive, including them in play, making letters and drawings for them, and showing an interest in their lives. We've had some Valentine's Day fun around here by making Valentine's Day cards, adding some hearts and heart-shaped baking pans to our sand in the Discovery Table, matching lower and upper case letters on heart-shaped cards, creating Valentine's Day themed art, and reading Valentine's books.

Children worked so hard on crafting valentines for moms and dads. We started with a math lesson on symmetry. We talked about how one can find symmetry in shapes and in a lot of things around their world, like windows, faces, butterflies, and furniture. Children painted a picture then folded it in half creating a a symmetrical painting. After their painting dried, children drew half a heart on the back of the paper and used scissors, developing fine motor strength, to cut on the line. When they opened their paper, they discovered the positive image of a heart along with a negative image in the middle of their leftover paper. We used the heart shape as the valentine for mothers. Children wrote the name they call their mothers, and dictated through an interview process special things about their mothers to teachers. Children then signed the word love and then their name.

For fathers, we made liquid watercolor prints of heart-shaped doilies on watercolor paper. We then followed the same writing process for fathers' valentines as we did for the mothers' cards.

Authentic writing activities, like writing valentines for their favorite sweethearts- mommy and daddy, teach children the purpose of writing in a way that is meaningful to them. They get a chance to see that their spoken words can be written. By actually writing words, like their names, their parents' names, and other words that are important to them, children get a chance to strengthen fine motor skills as well as identify letters and letter sounds.

Our Stay and Play was so much fun! Traditions like the Stay and Play, when families come to the JK House and stay for a while at drop off, unite and connect members of our class, create memories that last into adulthood, strengthen the bonds of a school, and build a strong community. When children read the hearts filled with words you use to describe what you love about them, it strengthens their positive self identity. When children drew their families as the last step in a multistep art project, they deepened their understanding of their own family structure. Later, children told their friends about their drawings to help all the children understand the variety of family structures. When you play with your child, you show them that you are interested in their interests, you value them, and you want to know them. You learn more about your child's abilities, too. We hope you enjoyed some smoothies and breakfast treats, too. Thanks to everyone who brought in ingredients for smoothies, paper goods, and the rice krispies.


The beauty of early childhood education is that so many projects are interdisciplinary! Our watercolor cityscapes invited children to be creative while using new techniques modeled by teachers to create a painting inspired by some literature about building that we've been reading. We combined this art activity with some math! Children painting squares and rectangles for the tall city skyscrapers. This project took four steps to complete: the original multicolored buildings, the blue sky, the dark blue buildings in the background, and finally adding smaller shapes for windows. Children talked with teachers as they painted to describe the shapes they were using for buildings, windows, and doors.
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Shapes and Measuring

We created salt dough with the children using a simple no-cook recipe. Children measured with a standard cup and mixed the dough while taking turns writing the recipe on chart paper. We used the dough to practice making 3D shapes and then used it again to make flat 2D shapes, which we baked in the oven and will be painting to create a new art installation over the discovery table.

We also made shape collages at the art center inspired by the illustrators, Leo Lionni and Ellen Stoll Walsh, who use collage in their books. Children were encouraged to name the shapes as they worked.

Service Learning

For our service learning project, the JK friends made chili seasoning for the local firefighters with Engine 11. They still make chili every Saturday night for the whole crew! Children enjoyed measuring, smelling, and mixing the unique spices. Children also drew thank you notes for the firefighters.

Friendship with Ms. McGuire

This month in Cornerstones we will be watching and discussing the Good Bird's Club to begin a conversation about handling conflicts. The Good Bird's Club is part of Sesame Street's prevention and empowerment program. Below is an excerpt from Sesame Street about the program.

Sesame Street has always been a destination for parents and children to laugh, learn, and grow. Over the past 42 years, the show has focused on the whole child by addressing educational, social, emotional, health and societal issues. Many difficult topics have been addressed through the seasons, and Sesame Street has always been there to provide concrete information to parents, teachers, and caregivers by extending the lessons learned from our curriculum.

The discussion will highlight the following: it's okay to be different, how to identify your own feelings and the feelings of others, and how to communicate effectively when you need the help of an adult. We will practice the skill of seeking help as an extension of the learning activity. Start practicing at home by asking your kids to identify the feelings of others based on what they observe---the person's facial expression, body language, the words that they are using. Play a game of feelings charades by picking a feeling for everyone to act out and everyone else has to guess the feeling. These are positive ways to impact your child's social emotional development and ability to relate to others.
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Spanish with Dr. Long

The Junior Kindergarten class is continuing to learn about classroom objects and their colors. We played a matching game with object cards colored and cut out by the children. The students continue to practice identifying common feelings (feliz, bien, and mal). To support this they are learning the song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" ("Estrellita") in Spanish. Star puppets made by the children are used to to act out the song. They are able to say how the "estrellitas" feel and what color they are in Spanish. We are busy, busy!

Physical Education with Ms. Burt

Junior Kindergartners are continuing to work on locomotor skills and directions in Physical Education through active games and warm-ups. In the last few weeks, they have learned how to use scooters and love playing "Snakes & Rabbits." JK students have also done a great job using hula-hoops for identifying their own space, jumping in all directions, and of course hula-hooping! They found that jumping and hopping made their hearts beat faster just like running and skipping does. We are looking forward to jumping rope and tumbling in the coming weeks!

Music with Dr. Watson

A big part of music class is singing, of course. And singing is even more fun when there is a game to go with the song. In February we enjoyed playing Circle 'Round the Zero. We also explored a variety of movements with music including scarf dancing to Jim Brickman's Frere Jacques, a simple partner dance (One, Two, Three and Four) and miming modes of travel (Drive your Car) in Do-oh, Do-oh.

Library with Ms. Moore

We are looking forward to continuing story times with Ms. Moore in March after the Junior Library is relocated.

Science with Mrs. Stern

Junior Kindergarten learned about nutrition in science classes. Students found out how different nutrients help our bodies and categorized food into the five basic groups. After each student made an individual MyPlate with pictures, the class had a snack with each of the food groups represented. Our next activities in science will capitalize on the students’ interest in the building project going on outside the JK house. We’ll investigate aspects of construction, beginning with an exploration of cement.