The Wintonbury Peeper
Wintonbury Early Childhood Magnet School
By Samantha Straker
Each year we collect information around our school climate from families, staff and students (in upper grades). The survey was sent out in early December and will close January 20th. If you have not already, please consider taking a few minutes to answer the questions. Thank you!
Family Survey: https://bloomfieldschools.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cCPSqHinLzexiKi
Dr. Ross Greene:
On Thursday, Dr. Greene came back to Wintonbury to visit and work on his early childhood project. He was very impressed with our work with young children and complimentary of the school and families! We look forward to seeing our contribution to his project. If you are interested in learning more about his approach please visit his website at https://livesinthebalance.org/.
Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) is a tool that we use here at Wintonbury to engage children in solving problems when they arise. It fosters relationship building, critical thinking, communication, adaptability and problem solving. Each of these characteristics are a goal of the Bloomfield Public Schools Portrait of a Graduate. You can read more about the Portrait of the Graduate at https://graduateinbloom.com/.
Thank you always for sharing your children with us and for all of your support!
From our Social Worker
By Natasha Whyte
On January 16th, Wintonbury recognizes the life and legacy of prominent civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, Dr. King is widely remembered as an ambassador of peace, after using the power of his words and community collaboration to advance social justice rights for all people. When we reflect on Dr. King’s contributions to society, including his groundbreaking speech “I have a Dream”, we understand the importance of recognizing challenges within our community and persevering to find effective solutions.
In early childhood, problem solving is an essential foundational skill because children will be met with increasingly complex issues as they grow older. At Wintonbury, students are given various opportunities to solve daily challenges.
- During classroom exercises and social situations, students are often asked open-ended questions to promote critical thinking. For example, "What would happen if...?", "How would they feel if...?" or "What else can you do with...?"
- When completing a frustrating task, students are encouraged to utilize calming strategies, positive self-talk and try different solutions, building their self-confidence and endurance.
- When met with a problem, students are encouraged to stop and calm down using taught strategies, so they are prepared to engage in the problem solving process. Students must then use their words to state what the problem is and think of safe solutions, before choosing the best one.
- Students engage in group activities, such as collaborative play, encouraging them to consider the needs and feelings of others and develop mutually satisfactory solutions during peer conflict.
- Using Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS), an evidenced based model of care, staff collaborates with students to identify solutions to challenges that they are experiencing within the school environment. During this process, students are given the opportunity to understand a situation from an alternative point of view, develop solutions independently or with the assistance of staff, and develop a plan for future reference.
These meaningful experiences allow students to gain an understanding of different problems, expand their creativity, and become resilient, preparing them to make impactful change within their school and surrounding community.
Thank you for participating in the Scholastic Book Fair, it was a huge success! We had $3,595.59 in sales, which resulted in a $1,272.36 profit in Scholastic Dollars.
PJ Literacy night is Thursday, January 26th from 6 to 7:30 pm at Wintonbury. The PTO will provide pizza, fruit and water, we hope to see you all there!
Reminder: The Wintonbury Swap Shop has child sized jackets, mittens, hats, boots and snowpants.
Shop at the side door whenever the building is open. Please continue to donate available items. We are especially in need of larger sizes, 3T-6.
Swap Shops make clothing available to other families, as well as, teachers (who may need specific gear for children), . Additionally, extending the life of clothes by passing them on, reduces our carbon emissions and cuts down on waste. It is also a great way to declutter your home and gain some gently-used clothes that your children can use. Feel free to drop clothing items off and /or shop for what you need. (You do not need to donate to shop.)
The next PTO meeting is January 11 at 9 aqm in the Wintonbury conference room and on Zoom.
Join The Wintonbury PTO Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 658 809 9102
For any questions, comments, and volunteer opportunities please email us @ mailto:email@example.com
Thank you so much for your continued support of the PTO!
From the School Nurse
It's Cold Season!
UPDATE: Those students who did not have a vision screening with the Bloomfield Lions Club in November, will be screened by the school nurse in February. Notice going home regarding this topic next week.
With the Tripledemic upon us this Winter, COVID, Flu, and RSV please keep your child home from school with any signs or symptoms of illness. Getting vaccinated, good hand washing, and covering your cough are all also good ways to prevent the spread of illness.
Hand washing is an important practice all year long but it is especially helpful during the cold season. Following a good hand washing routine helps keep everyone healthy, children and adults alike. Try singing the ABC’s or Happy Birthday while washing to ensure your child is spending an adequate amount of time scrubbing and rinsing.
Please remember to have your child wash their hands with soap and water as soon as they return home. This helps to keep “home germs” home and “school germs” at school. Hand washing is also important before eating meals or snacks and after sneezing, coughing or using the bathroom.
Germs are one thing we don’t want to share!
We Helped to Stuff the Bus!
Thank you to the Wintonbury Community for your generous donations!
For a whole month, children, families and staff collected non perishable items for Bloomfield Food Share. Together we donated 713 items. Students helped pack boxes and transport them to the bus.
A Day of Kindness
Leading up to the event, classes secretly prepared a surprise act of kindness for another classroom or staff member. Some of the gifts included bracelets, heart cards, rainbow crayons, hats, signs, playdough - all of which were made by the students. Some classrooms shared a beloved book or performed a song.
Additionally, Mrs. Cole raised funds through the Wintonbury staff and delivered breakfast treats to the Bloomfield Police and Fire Departments.
Kindness day is just one day that emphasizes the importance and benefits of teaching kindness. At Wintonbury, it is embedded daily in our curriculum:
- Through our social emotional curriculum, Second Step, we explicitly teach how to recognize feelings in ourselves and others (and what to do with those feelings) and how to problem solving. These skills are practiced and reinforced through the daily interactions.
- Morning Meetings are used to build community and a sense of inclusion for all students. It helps students to feel safe using their voice and to feel important by being heard in a respectful, reciprocal manner by peers and staff.
- Each class works together to establish a classroom promise which lists expectations for how they will interact with one another and the environment. These are posted in the classroom and often reviewed.
At home there are many things you can do as a family to foster kindness and empathy. See the article in the parent resource section for some ideas.
Library: Story Retelling
Retelling activities enable children to experience literacy as a source of enjoyment. Positive experiences make it more likely that children will choose to engage with books and other literacy activities during choice time.
Oral retelling provide opportunities for child to increase their vocabularies and oral language skills as they experiment to confirm their understanding of new words and expressions. As children assume the roles of the character in the story, the use dialogue from the story and inflect their voices.
Retelling is not simply recalling events or facts from a story. Retelling requires that children think about the whole story and organize the details of the characters, setting and plot. By doing so, they develop understandings about story structure. Retelling also requires them to infer and interpret how character think, feel, speak and act.
To encourage retelling at home consider tips:
- Use stuffed animals, toys and other household items as props to retell stories.
- Act out stories that you have read with or told to your child, with both of you assuming roles.
- Encourage your child to tell the story while looking at the picture in a book.
- Let your child tell the story in his or her own words.
- Retell stories with your child, taking turns to tell different parts.
- Give prompts freely when you child needs assistance telling a story; e.g., if you are retelling The Mitten, ask, "What happened after he lost the mitten?"
Animal shelters in water
The class walked across a bridge and talked about animals that make their shelters in water, like frogs and turtles.
To help some small animals, students made shelters from found objects: leaves, sticks, rocks, etc.
Other Classroom Highlights
Sharing Culture in Room 303
Raising a Kind Child
Adapted from Scholastic Parents Online
Like many things, kindness is a quality that children learn over time and through practice. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to encourage your child to be a kinder, gentler person. Research has found that the desire to help and comfort comes just as naturally to humans as being self-centered or hurtful. "It's almost as though we're born predisposed to be upset by other people's pain," says Alfie Kohn, author of The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life.
How Empathy Grows
Empathy — the ability to understand another person's feelings — develops over time. A 2-year-old may try to comfort a crying playmate by offering her own pacifier or blankie. While she is not able to understand why her friend is crying, she remembers times when she felt sad and knows what comforts her. At 3, children are more aware of others, but they still have trouble relating to how others actually feel. They may delight, for example, in knocking down someone else's block tower and not understand why the child who built it is so upset.
By age 4, children can better understand when they've hurt someone and can sometimes offer an apology without being told. They are also quite empathetic about another child's injuries.
By the time children are 5 or 6, they often can share more easily and take turns. And they are able to discuss what it means to be kind and can brainstorm ideas for how they might help people.
13 Strategies for Encouraging Kindness
The following suggestions will help you to teach your child about being goodhearted and compassionate. But in the words of author/psychologist Dr. Julius Segal, nothing "will work in the absence of an indestructible link of caring between parent and child." When you kiss your daughter's boo-boos or read cozy bedtime stories to your son, you are giving your child the base that enables them to reach out to others.
1. Believe that your child is capable of being kind. "If you treat your kid as if he's always up to no good, soon he will be up to no good," Kohn cautions. "But if you assume that he does want to help and is concerned about other people's needs, he will tend to live up to those expectations."
2. Model positive action. What you do and say is critical; let your child catch you in the act of kindness, such as driving an elderly neighbor to the store or offering a comforting word to a friend. Most parents start this role-modeling from day one. "They talk while feeding their baby, saying, 'a little bit of food for baby, a little bit of food for me,'" says Stacey York, a child development instructor. "This lays the foundation for a lifetime of give-and-take and openness with people."
3. Treat your child with respect. This can be as simple as alerting your child that playtime is almost over. "I always wince when I see parents suddenly decide it's time to leave the playground and snatch their children away abruptly because it's time to go home," Kohn says. "That's a disrespectful way to treat a human being of any size." You might also point out successful conflict resolution through real-world experiences. At home, for example, you could say to your child, "Mommy and Daddy don't always agree, but we listen to each other and treat each other with respect instead of putting each other down."
4. Coach your child to pay attention to people's facial expressions. This is the first step in learning how to understand another's perspective. "We are more likely to reach out to other people in need when we are able to imagine how the world looks from someone else's point of view," Kohn says.
5. Let your child know often that how they treat others matters to you greatly. For example, a child might think it's funny to see someone get splashed if a car drives by and hits a puddle. You can point out, "That lady is not laughing at what happened. Look at her face. She looks sad. Her clothes are dirty and wet now."
6. Don't let rudeness pass. You might say, "Wow, that cashier must have had a really bad day to talk in such a mean voice to us at the supermarket. What do you think?" This teaches your child that when someone is nasty to you, you don't have to be mean in response.
7. Acknowledge kindness. Be sure to show your child that you notice when someone does something nice. For example, if someone slows down to let you exit a parking lot at a busy intersection, say, "It was really nice of that driver to let me out." Likewise if your own child treats someone nicely, be sure to acknowledge and praise her effort.
8. Understand that your child's perception of differences in others comes into play. Young children notice differences in people, just as they notice them in animals and colors of crayons, so assume the best. If your child says something socially inappropriate, it's important to explore the comment calmly. First ask, "Why do you say that?" Then you can correct the misunderstanding by more fully explaining the situation.
9. Be sensitive to messages that your child picks up from the media. Children are just as likely to imitate kind actions they see in movies and read about in books as they are to act out other types of scenarios. Be aware of the programs and movies your child watches and be available to talk about what they see. Also, encourage reading books that focus on caring and compassion.
10. Explain that calling someone names or excluding him from play can be as hurtful as hitting. If you hear your child calling someone a "poo-poo head" in the sandbox, go right into problem-solving mode with both children. Point out how the child who was called a name is upset: "Can you see the tears on his face?" Recognize that the real problem may be that the name-caller wants the giant sand bucket. Ask, "If you want something, what's another way you can get it without hurting somebody else?" It's also important to make sure the child who has been called the name isn't feeling victimized, and encourage your child to do something to make them feel better. "What can you do to make the other child feel better?" You can offer suggestions such as give them a hug, offer a toy, make them a picture, offer a tissue if they have been crying.
11. Avoid setting up competition within your family. If you say, "Let's see who can clean up the fastest," you risk setting your kids up as rivals. "When children are pitted against one another in an effort to win at anything," Kohn says, "they learn that other people are potential obstacles to their success." Instead, you could encourage them to work together to get the job done and praise them for their group effort.
12. Show your child how to help people in need. You can encourage your child to donate a toy he has outgrown to the annual toy drive, while you buy a set of blocks to give away. He can also help you make cookies for a shelter and come with you when you visit someone in the hospital or nursing home.
13. Be patient with your little one. Kindness and compassion are learned and life presents challenging situations even to adults. Being a loving parent and a great role model will go a long way toward raising a wonderful, tolerant human being.
Community Connections at Bloomfield Public Libraries
Children's Reading Challenge
Reading Challenge ends on MAY 8, 2023 (Children's Book Week).
Sign up anytime! Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the United States, and it originated in the belief that children’s books and literacy have the potential to transform lives! Log your reading! At the end of the program, there will be a raffle for prizes! The more you read, the better chance you have to win! This reading challenge is for PreK - Grade 8!
Take Your Child to the LIbrary Day
Save the Date!
Saturday, February 4th!
For Take Your Child to the Library Day, we will be theming our day around fish as a farewell to the fish at Prosser (to prepare for the new library building projects).
A very special Rainbow Fish costumed character will be making an appearance at both libraries (see schedule) during the day. We will be reading Rainbow fish stories at both libraries (see schedule) and also enjoying some fish activities such as origami, crafts, coloring sheets, button making, cookie decorating and more!
We will also have live music (see schedule) and an opportunity to read to a registered therapy dog!
Reading to the dog (Paws & Pages) will require a registration.
McMahon Wintonbury Library:
10:30AM-11AM: Stories at McMW
11AM-12PM Visit from Rainbow Fish character, live music and activities
12:30PM-1PM Stories at Prosser
1PM-2PM Visit from Rainbow Fish character, live music and activities
1:15-2:45 Read to a registered therapy dog (registration required for a slot to read to the dog)