School for Young Children

Inquiring Minds November 2018

Big picture

From the Director, Sue O'Donnell

It’s hard to believe we have turned the calendar to November! Many people often ask about our approach to the holidays. During the fall and next two months children will experience a sense of the season through activities, conversations and books. We value the experiences children have with their families during the holiday season. Family members often come into their child’s classroom to share a book or activity that is important or is a special tradition within their family. These type of experiences are meaningful as they are shared directly from those who practice the tradition.

At SYC we want to be respectful of each family’s culture, religion and traditions. We realize that not every family celebrates each holiday and each family’s approach to holidays is unique. We also want to provide a curriculum that encompasses the important aspects of curriculum related to creative arts, science, math and early literacy that is not solely focused on the holidays.

Many times preparation for a holiday in time and thought is all encompassing for young children. It can also be overwhelming and overstimulating. Preschool age children have not yet developed a good understanding of time. Anticipation about when a particular event or holiday will occur is difficult without a concrete understanding of time. When children express what they will be for Halloween, the day after it has passed, it is a good indicator of their understanding of this concept. It’s usually hard to convince them that after a whole year, they may want to be something different than they’ve decided that day!

At School for Young Children we create somewhat of an oasis for children to continue with typical daily routines during very busy times. The flavor of the season will be evident from time to time, but there will also be an abundance of learning activities that originate from what teachers observe related to children’s interests and developmental skills.

Thanksgiving Holiday Closing

Preschool and Backpack will be closed on November 22nd and 23rd in observance of Thanksgiving.

Enjoy the break!

December Dates to Know...

PAC Meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 5th, 7-8pm

SYC Conference Room

Please join us for our PAC meeting in the conference room; All are welcome!

CCMC PJ Day for the Kids: Dec 14th

For a $1 or more donation, SYC staff and children can wear their PJS to school on Friday December 14th. All donations will go to CCMC to benefit the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Each classroom will have a donation container.

Kids at CCMC have to wear their PJs all we will wear ours to support them!

Holiday Break

Monday, Dec. 24th, 7:30am to Wednesday, Jan. 2nd 2019 at 5:30pm


All programs and offices at SYC will be closed for the holiday break, Dec 24, 2018-Jan 1, 2019.

We will also be closed January 2, 2019 for a Staff Development Day.

All programs and offices will re-open January 3, 2019 at 7:45AM.

Classroom Pics!

Risk by Deb Curtis

Remember the powerful feeling of being at the top of a tree, the exhilaration of rolling down a hill, or the sense of accomplishment from turning the earth using a real shovel? The natural world offers children open space with grass, hills, sky, and trees that call out to their innate quest for action, adventure, and competence using their bodies. Children deserve and benefit from these experiences. Yet because much of what goes on outdoors involves risk, we are limiting these opportunities in children's lives.

Keeping children safe is paramount. It is equally imperative for children to have opportunities to take up the adventures the natural world offers. The following suggestions can help you negotiate risks with the goal of providing rewarding, yet safe challenges that are vital for enhancing children's confidence, physical skills, and joy.

Know your disposition toward risk.

We all have different reactions to challenging situations and what we perceive as too risky. Examine your view of outdoor activities to notice how your personal feelings may hinder children's strong desire for adventures in nature.

Observe for children's capabilities.

A risk is possible to negotiate, and appropriate for particular situations and children. A hazard is inherently dangerous. Make distinctions between risks-common childhood accidents that cause bumps, skinned knees and scratches-and hazards that result in serious injuries.

Create an environment for safe challenges.

We can go so far in stripping the outdoors of any challenge that children have nothing interesting to do, making injuries more likely to occur. Engaging children by carefully planning for the outdoors helps focus their eagerness for exploration, which results in fewer falls and scuffles.

Remember, you are there.

When our concern for safety leads to eliminating anything challenging for children, we diminish the role of the teacher. When teachers take a less active role in thinking through safety issues, children are more at risk. Children are not alone outdoors. We are there, too! Its is our job to supervise children's safety and equally essential to provide for their curious minds and active bodies.

Provide challenging alternatives.

When children are involved in risky situations, rather than just stopping them, offer safe alternatives while preserving opportunities for feeling powerful and developing physical skills.

With attention and ongoing negotiation, we can ensure that children grow up developing skills and confidence, and feel joy and exhilaration, while still being protected and supported. what's the risk if children don't have the opportunity for these vital experiences outdoors?

printed in, The Wisdom of Nature Out My Back Door, by Community Playthings and Exchange Press

Our New Purchases!

Thanks to all who support SYC's Pizza Fund and the Spring Auction. We were able to purchase 2 new child-sized picnic tables to use outside.

Also, we bought a new tricycle and scooter.

The children and staff are so happy with these new items!

Thank you!!

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Flu Vaccines

Please hand in your child's flu shot paperwork to the office as soon as possible. This is a requirement from the State of Ct. Documentation of the flu vaccine or Medical or Religious Exemption must be received by Dec 21, 2018 or your child will not be able to return to school for the duration of Flu Season, January 3, 2019-March 29, 2019.

Please see the main office if you need another form or have any questions.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Big picture

Family Movie Night

Friday, Nov. 16th, 6-7pm


Join us for Family Movie Night!!

Wear your pjs, bring a stuffed animal and join us at Family Movie Night in the gym!

Popcorn is provided!!

Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the WH Food Pantry.

Look out for an email from PAC Co-Chairs to sign up on a link from

Reserved Parking Spot

Congratulations to our Auction Parking Spot winners:

Wesson and Family: MWF

Hunter and Family: TTH

Please do not park in the reserved spot M-F 9AM-1PM.

The parking spot will once again be a live auction item at the PAC Auction Fundraiser in April that you can bid on for next school year!!

Message from PAC

A huge thank you goes out to everyone who attended and participated in this year’s Fall Festival. Thank you to Catherine Ribeiro, Sarah Dolan, and Erin Sullivan for chairing and organizing the festival this year - your hard work did not go unnoticed, and the children had a blast. A special thank you to all the parents, teachers, staff and student workers who volunteered and made the event such a success!

The Fall Fundraiser of Lyman Orchard Pies was a huge success raising nearly $2,000! Many thanks to all the families who placed orders! The pies will be delivered and ready for pick up in the morning on Monday, November 19. Please keep your eye out for details about pick up as the date approaches. Thank you to Amy Bieniek for organizing our pie sales!

The first Family Movie Night of the year will be on Friday, November 16th from 6-7pm in the gym. Enjoy a fun night with the whole family in your PJs! More details to follow.

Also this month, we are getting the annual Placemat Project underway, which will be ready just in time for holiday break! Kate Pascucci has offered to chair this project. Room Pals will be in touch with more details. If anyone else is interested in helping out, please let Kate know. We will need a couple volunteers from every room. Thank you to those who have already volunteered to help!

Be sure to mark your calendar for our upcoming PAC meeting on December 5th at 7pm. Please continue to check out the PAC bulletin board for updates and volunteer opportunities as well as lookout for our emails! Do not hesitate to contact or stop us in the hall at any time with any questions.

-- Melissa Bowman & Stephanie Dominello, PAC Co-Chairs

Library Visit

Dear Parent,

Today, Miss Ellen from the public library visited our class for story time. This visit was funded through the West Hartford School Readiness Council and the Office of Early Childhood Quality Enhancement Grant.

After the children tapped out their names on Miss Ellen’s drum, they had to guess what they would read about that begins with S. With a few clues, they guessed that the stories might include a squirrel, a snake, and a spider. They also helped to tell the story of Chicken Little on the flannel board. Ask your child what fell on Chicken Little’s head (hint: NOT the sky!).

While Miss Ellen encouraged many of the six early literacy skills that children need to help them become good readers, the most important one today was print motivation: an interest in and enjoyment of books. Please visit the library often and feel free to ask the librarians for book recommendations or fun tips to encourage early literacy.


Children's 860.561.6980

M-Th 10-9 (Children’s closes 8pm)

Fri 10am – 5pm

Sat 10am – 5 pm

Sun 1pm – 5pm (October – May)

FAXON BRANCH 1073 New Britain Ave

Children's 860.561.8203

Mon & Wed 1pm – 8pm

Tues & Thurs 10am – 6pm

Fri & Sat 10am – 2pm


Children's 860.561.8213

Mon & Wed 10am – 6pm
Tues 1pm – 8pm
Thurs 10am – 5pm
Fri & Sat 10am – 2pm

Emergency Closings

In the event of inclement weather or a non-weather-related emergency, the School for Young Children closing/delayed opening announcement will be sent out on the USJ emergency alert system. We recommend that you sign up for text message and/or email alerts from SYC. Please visit

School may close for non-weather-related emergencies (power outages, no water, etc) so be prepared!


Please consult the following TV stations or their websites for closing or delayed opening announcements:

NBC 30 TV or

WFSB Channel 3 TV or

We are listed as Sch. For Young Children and/or School for Young Children, West Hartford

Please be advised that when school is delayed, all schedules are delayed. For example, in the case of a one-hour delay, Backpack will open at 8:45AM and Preschool will begin at 10:00AM

Backpack News

Just a few reminders for Backpack families:

  • If a different person is picking up your child, please check to see if he/she is on your pick up list and let the office or your child's teacher know the name of the person. Also, remind the person to bring an ID.
  • When picking up your child from outside, please securely lock the gate using all of the locking pieces. If you need help, please call to a teacher to show you how to lock the gate.
  • Also, before taking your child from outside or inside, please be sure he/she has cleaned up the bikes or toys that he/she was using.

Thank you for helping to keep the children safe and for encouraging them to assist in cleaning up!


Priority enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year runs until Friday November 9th.

Priority enrollment allows current and past SYC families as well as employees of the University of Saint Joseph to apply for the following school year before enrollment opens to the general public on Monday November 12th. There is no application fee for currently enrolled children, however, there is an application fee of $50 for siblings of currently enrolled children.

Please get your applications in as soon as possible!

What's Ahead?

  • January 1, 2019: SYC Closed, NO Backpack and Preschool: New Years Day

  • January 2, 2019: SYC Closed, NO Backpack and Preschool: Staff Development Day

  • January 9 , 2019: PAC Meeting 7-8pm

  • January 21, 2019: Martin Luther King, Jr Day: Backpack OPEN, NO Preschool

  • January 22, 2019: Family Conference Day: Preschool and Backpack CLOSED