School for Young Children

Inquiring Minds February 2020

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From the Director, Sue O'Donnell

When the School for Young Children was renovated 21 years ago use of the gym space and need for a child size bathroom in that area was not taken into consideration. The closest bathroom is the women’s room down the hallway. The adult sized toilets and sinks are problematic for many of our children. In SYC’s classrooms the bathroom is easily accessible and allows children the independence we encourage and foster throughout the day. Within the gym space, children must ask to go to the bathroom and teachers must be mindful of child/teacher ratios. Teachers often need to call to the office to have someone take a child to the bathroom in order to maintain appropriate ratio. For several years my dream has been to build a one stall toilet and sink in the room connected to the gym that is currently used for gross motor activities. When I requested a quote from USJ’s facility dept. last year the estimated cost was $16,000 for materials and $19,500 for labor. This year’s fundraising money will be used to support this much needed project!

The fundraiser will take place Saturday, April 25 at SYC. Planning for the event is just getting started and the committee needs your help! There are many different tasks and jobs that you could support to make this event a success. The PAC bulletin board in the hallway has a listing of tasks that require assistance. The event is a fun time for adults to socialize, and get to know others in the SYC community. Each class will contribute towards a raffle basket around a particular theme. Families in the program will solicit and/or donate different items to be used for silent and live auction bidding. I hope you will consider contributing an item, volunteering your time prior to the event and of course attending on April 25!

Paul Cryan Photos

Paul Cryan will be coming to SYC again to take beautiful pictures of your children! All children will be photographed and you will have the option to purchase the photos. He will be at SYC on Feb 3,4 and 5. Your child's classroom timeslot has been posted on the PAC board.

Also, please consider helping out with the photo shoot. We need extra hands to bring groups of children to the resource room, hair combing and sitting with children as they wait their turn. Sign up slots to volunteer are posted on the PAC board. Thank you for your help!

Book Talk: Parenthood, Being the Grownup

The School for Young Children and the Departments of Psychology and Human Development Family Studies are co-sponsoring a book talk by psychologist Adelia Moore on March 25, 2020 at 6pm. The event will be held at The University of Saint Joseph Crystal Room in Mercy Hall. For more information on the book and its author please visit:

Adelia Moore Author | Being the Grownup

Adelia Moore is a psychologist and author of Being the Grownup. The natural authority of parenthood comes from your responsibility for your child and rests in your relationship with each other.

Winter Gear and Weather

It's that time of year..snow, rain, and yes, mud! Our playground stays wet through to the spring so please send your child to school with the right gear for outdoor play. We go outside in most weather. Please LABEL all of your child's boots, hats, jackets, snow pants, and mittens. Also, please use your SYC bag to hold all the gear.

If your child is in backpack, please send in extra mittens and socks for the afternoon.

If your child has borrowed any boots, mittens, socks etc from SYC, please return them to your classroom teacher.

Thank you!

Valentine's Day at SYC

Valentine's Day will be upon us soon. At SYC we believe that it is developmentally appropriate for children to share acts of kindness rather than cards. For many children the process of writing their name and/or friend’s names on each card is a difficult task…especially for preschoolers just beginning to gain fine motor control. Family members often address the cards for the child and the child is not aware of which cards he/she is giving. The process of handing out cards is also a difficult task for children not yet able to read. As children receive cards – they are most excited about the candy attached to certain cards. In a few years – as children’s literacy and writing skills develop – this process will have more meaning. While we will not be handing out cards in classrooms, the ideals of the holiday – kindness towards others is something we focus upon and integrate into our classrooms each day.

Physical Examination Records

SYC is licensed by the State of CT Office of Early Childhood. Per these Early Childhood regulations, all children who attend SYC must have a current Physical Exam on record. When your child's PE expires, you have a 1-month grace period where your child can attend school. After that month passes, your child will not be able to attend school until a new and updated PE form is on file with our office. We have periodic unannounced visits by our State licensor and if we are found to have any expired PE forms, we will be cited.

Dates to Remember:

Feb 3,4,5: Paul Cryan Photos

Feb 17-19: Winter Break: NO Preschool/Backpack is OPEN

Feb 22: Open House for Prospective Families, 10-11:30am


We had some great community service projects that were very successful, thanks to our generous SYC community! Thank you to everyone who donated to the coat drive, we had a great response. Donations were taken to French’s cleaners and then distributed to those in need in our community. A special thank you to Sue and Deidre for organizing the coat drive. In addition, all of the gifts on the giving tree were purchased and given to a family in need during the Holiday season. Thank you to everyone who donated, and to the Echavarria family for running this drive!

Thank you to all of the families who brought in snacks and drinks for the teachers and staff on Family Conference Day. It was much appreciated and helped to keep the teachers going all day.

Our Bouncetown meet up on Conference Day was fun! Children loved bouncing and playing with SYC classmates and siblings outside of school. With the bitter temps that day, it was a perfect morning to spend inside with friends.

Paul Cryan photos are scheduled for February 3rd, 4th and 5th. Please notify your teacher if your child will not be in school on the assigned day/time. Also, parent volunteers are needed to assist Mr. Cryan with the picture process. The sign- up sheet is posted on the PAC board, please consider signing up.

Our SYC Spirit Wear sales will kick off in the next couple of weeks. Be on the lookout for the Spirit Wear flyer and order form in your child’s picture pocket in the next couple of weeks.

The Wishing Stars project will be starting soon. Please keep a lookout for the brightly colored stars outside the classroom doors that will be labeled with items that each classroom needs. This is a great way to help out the teachers and our staff!

Planning for the biggest fundraiser of the year is officially underway! The SYC annual spring auction will be held on Saturday, April 25th at 6:30pm at the school. Book your babysitters now! It’s a fun night out for parents with food, drinks, raffles, silent and live auctions! Thank you to those who have already volunteered for the committees. We are still in need of volunteers on some of our auction committees - we cannot run an event like this without YOUR help! Volunteers are needed for the following positions: auction co-chairs, donations, greeters and checkout. Please sign up on the PAC board, or send us an email at Thank you to those who have already signed up!

The next PAC Meeting is scheduled for March 3rd at 7pm. Even if you have never attended a PAC meeting, join us! We will discuss more auction planning as well as spring community services projects, and family fun night. We hope to see you there!

Stephanie Dominello & Kelley Pellegatto

Fun Ways to Build Your Child's Literacy While Doing Laundry Together

Turn laundry time into learning time! Whether you’re washing clothes at home or at the laundromat, there are plenty of things to talk about with your child. These rich conversations help to build your child’s language and literacy development. Try the following activities the next time you are doing a load of laundry.

Sort clothes: Having your child help you with sorting clothes can spark many different conversations. For example, you can sort clothes by colors (whites, blues, reds) or by types (shirts, pants, socks).

Look for shapes: Encourage your child to find various shapes. For example, circle shapes include knobs, dryer windows, and coins; soap boxes, windows, and books are rectangles.

Hunt for numbers and letters: Play a game with your child to find numbers or letters of the alphabet on signs, laundry products, clothes, and washing machines.

Count: Laundry time provides plenty of opportunities to count with your child. Your child can count the number of socks that are folded or the number of quarters that go into the washer.

Find colors: Many conversations can revolve around colors. Ask your child to bring you the blue shirt, or have your child say the colors of items as you pull them from the dryer. Open the washer before it begins the rinse cycle and ask, “What colors are the soap bubbles?” You can also find colors on soap boxes, signs, and machines.

Read labels: Talk with your child as you read labels, such as tags in clothes (“The tag says to turn this shirt inside out”) or words on machines (“Let’s turn the knob to ‘delicate’”). Hearing new words helps expand your child’s vocabulary.

Read books: One of the best ways to enhance your child’s literacy skills is to read books together. Cuddle up together with a book while you wait for the washer or dryer to finish a cycle.

MESSAGE IN A BACKPACK™Donna C. Celano and Susan B. Neuman


The SYC staff would like to thank all families who donated food for our conference day. The treats were delicious and kept us energized throughout the day!

Thank you for your generosity!


SYC will be offering Summer Camp in 4 sessions:

Session 1: June 15-June 26: Let's Get Creative

Session 2: June 29-July 10 (no camp 7/3/20) : Open the Door, Let's Explore!

Session 3: July 13-24: Mix it Up!

Session 4: July 27-August 7: On the Move!

Brochures and registration forms will be available March 2nd.

Please see Jackie Sanderson if you have any questions

jsanderson 860.231.6669

Parking Lot Reminders: VERY IMPORTANT

  • Please remember to drive very slowly in our parking lot. There are lots of children and adults coming and going and safety is our biggest concern.
  • Please do not leave your child's siblings in the car when you come into the building to drop off your preschool- aged child. USJ Public Safety performs routine safety checks and will call the police if they see a child alone in the car. Also, SYC staff are mandated reporters and are required to report children left unattended.
  • Please do not leave your car idling when you go in to pick up your children. It is against the law for a car to idle and it's bad for our air quality.
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Coming Up in March

March 2: Summer Camp Registration

March 3: PAC Meeting, 7-8pm

March 9: Keefe-Bruyette Symposium, NO Preschool and Backpack

The School for Young Children at The University of Saint Joseph

Sue O'Donnell, Director