December Newsletter

2015 - 2016 Academic Year

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Polar Express Presentation

Pat Sanders (a previous grandfather in our program) will be returning this holiday season for his annual presentation of The Polar Express. He will be coming to The Cottages on Wednesday, December 12th and will be dressed up as the conductor. He will talk about his adventure on The Polar Express with our Bumblebee and Dragonfly students. This is always such a fun event for the children and we are grateful to have this opportunity every year at The Cottages!

School Wide Pajama Day

Yippee! It's our favorite day of the year. PAJAMA DAY!!! On Wednesday, December 12th, bring your child to school dressed in their coziest pj's. We will have a fun filled, cozy kind of day! We have special activities planned and we'll be serving up a yummy snack with hot chocolate!

Santa & Mrs. Claus Visit The Cottages!

On Friday, December 11th, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stopping by The Cottages to pay a visit to our friends. They will be reading the story Twas the Night Before Christmas to our students in the Caterpillar, Butterfly, Bumblebee, and Dragonfly Cottages. Be sure to check out Shutterfly to see pictures from the event!

Granny Goose Holiday Presentation

Granny Goose will be coming back to The Cottages for a special holiday presentation. She will be reading a special story to the children about Ralphie the Reindeer. During the presentation, Christmas songs will be sung and puppet shows will also take place.

Community Service Projects for the Holidays

Each year The Cottages supports local families and/or organizations through our Annual Giving Tree Community Service Project. This year we have decided to spread the love and collect items for a local family in need as well as Sarasota Memorial Hospital's Pediatric Unit. Collections will take place from Monday, December 7th - Friday, December 18th.

Toys and Games - A Prescription for Recovery

The Cottages will be collecting items for Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Pediatric Unit. They rely heavily on donations to be able to provide fun activities and toys for children to play with while they are in the hospital. Hospitalized children need toys, games, and a creative outlet such as art, because as you know, play is a child’s work. In a hospital, where children are separated from most of what is familiar, play and activities become valuable and safe outlets for feelings. Toys and games from our community friends will help keep the playrooms and waiting areas of The Children’s Hospital fun. They will also turn special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, into happy celebrations. Currently, they are in desperate need of toys for children under the age of 3 years old as well as art materials. If you would like to participate, please bring in an unwrapped gift and place it in the SMH Peds Toy Drive box between Monday, December 7th - Friday, December 18th.

Family in Need

We are waiting for more information on the wants and needs of the family we will be adopting this year. More information will be forthcoming later this week via email.

7th Annual Festival of Lights & Winter Holiday Celebrations

Friday, Dec. 18th, 3:30-4:30pm

602 McIntosh Rd

Sarasota, FL

We hope you will join us for our 7th Annual Festival of Lights & Winter Holiday Celebrations. The festivities will begin in your child’s cottage at 3:30 pm. Each cottage will proudly display their special cottage light project. A sign-up sheet will be available in your child’s cottage for donation requests of food items to enjoy at the party. We hope to see you there!!!

Winter Break - School Closed

The Cottages will be closed from Christmas Eve through January 1st for Winter Break. We will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2016. Please remember, as per our handbook policy, tuition is still due during winter break as this is a paid vacation for our hardworking and dedicated teachers. We can't begin to explain how appreciative we are of your support of our program and our teachers. Without the amazing support that we receive from our families we would not be able to offer the high quality of care and education that you have become accustomed to. We wish all of our families a joyful holiday season and many blessings for a healthy and prosperous new year!

December Birthdays!

These birthday wishes
are special and sent to you,
to wish you a world of happiness
which lasts the whole year through.

  • 12/5- Lucas Y.
  • 12/8- Fiona T.
  • 12/15- Finnley K.
  • 12/18- Max R.
  • 12/19- Ms. Jamie
  • 12/21- Gatlin W.
  • 12/28- Polly T.
  • 12/28- Ms. Claudia

Happy Birthday to all of our friends born in December!

Cricket Cottage News

Tis' the Season

During the month of December, we will be introducing the holidays of Christmas,

Hanukkah, and Kwanza. We will discover these holidays through activities, stories, songs, and colors. Please feel free to bring in favorite holiday books or songs to share with our friends. Holiday colors will be introduced this month such as the colors red and green for Christmas, blue and yellow for Hanukkah, and red, black, green, and yellow for Kwanza.

Exploring Light & Reflection

This month the children will discover light and reflection through hands on experiences. They will have the opportunity to discover light using the light table and a variety of materials as well as using natural light. Reflective materials will be added as well to further encourage their natural sense of wonder.

Holiday Songs

The Cricket Cottage will be filled with holiday music this month. We are taking

this opportunity to learn new songs as well as promoting music and movement.

We will give our friends bells to ring while listening to the classic song, Jingle Bells.


Dashing through the snow

In a one horse open sleigh

O'er the fields we go

Laughing all the way

Bells on bob tails ring

Making spirits bright

What fun it is to laugh and sing

A sleighing song tonight

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh, what fun it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh, what fun it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh

Sign Language

We will be working on the sign "share" during the month of December. We will

promote “sharing is caring” throughout this holiday month.

Hanukkah Menorah (use your fingers to indicate the


One little, two little, three little candles

Four little, five little, six little candles,

Seven little, eight little, nine little candles

On the Hanukkah menorah

Light little, light little, light little candles

Light little, light little, light little candles

Light little, light little, light little candles

On the Hanukkah menorah

Burn little, burn little, burn little candles

Burn little, burn little, burn little candles

Burn little, burn little, burn little candles

On the Hanukkah menorah

Blow little, blow little, blow little candles (blow on fingers)

Blow little, blow little, blow little candles (blow on fingers)

Blow little, blow little, blow little candles (blow on fingers)

On the Hanukkah menorah

Art Experiences

We will be working with various colors during the month of December to coordinate with the holidays we will be learning about. The children will use the colors red and green for Christmas, blue and yellow for Hanukkah, and red, green, black, and yellow for Kwanza. We will also be making reindeer footprints for our art board.

Ladybug Cottage News

November Recap

November was a great month for being outside. We had some great buggy rides around the campus where we talked about all of the things we saw in nature. The children were also very interested in animal books and trucks so we shifted our focus more towards those items by adding more books and toys that related to their interests. For art we gave the children many opportunities to enhance their fine motor skills by coloring with oil pastels and different shapes of crayons. Our favorite project by far were our apple prints. The children stamped the apple in the paint and then onto their paper.


This month we will use our senses by bringing some winter chill to the Ladybugs. Through exploring warmer and cooler items the children will begin to recognize the difference in temperatures as well as have a physical understanding of their differences. We will be working hard on some winter projects and using a variety of tools to accomplish our masterpieces. Be on the lookout for our work!


If you haven't brought your child's portfolio items in please do so. We really need these items to make sure your child's portfolio is complete in a timely manner. Below please find the items that we will need for your child's portfolio.

  • 3 Ring Binder
  • 100 Clear Sheet Protectors
  • 1 Ream Printer Paper

We are also requesting plain white sheer fabric. We can return it after January and we promise not to ruin it :-)

Caterpillar Cottage News

November Recap

During November, the Caterpillars got down and dirty with our construction unit. We painted with dirt, played with "dirt" in our sensory bin, and dressed up like construction workers. We also saw construction trucks up close and personal on our buggy rides.


Our December projects will light up our cottage this month. We will be creating lanterns for our class light project, a star box for the childen to explore, and discover sensory bottles full of glitter and shimmer.


  • Please remember to put an AM snack in the basket every morning with your child's name on it. If it is a cold snack, please label it AM and leave it in your child's lunchbox.
  • Please label afternoon snack PM as well.
  • Please take your child's sippy cup home everyday to wash and bring a fresh cup in the next morning.
  • Please bring in clean bedding every Monday and take home bedding every Friday to launder.
  • Please make sure to sign your child in and out every day. This is a state requirement.

Festival of Lights Project

During December, we will be creating our light project for The Cottages annual festival of Lights and Winter Holidays celebration. We are in need of clean 2 liter soda bottles. If you have any in your recycling bin at home, please bring them in for us to use. We will also need battery operated tea lights as well. Thank you!

Light Table

One of our favorite activities in the Caterpillar Cottage is the light table. We currently have x-rays and colorful blocks for the children to explore. We are looking for new objects to use. If any parents have any materials around the house they would like to share/donate, we would greatly appreciate it.

Peppermint Playdough

The children had a blast with the pumpkin playdough so we will be making peppermint playdough for the holidays. We will make red and white dough for the children to create candy canes. This will be an excellent fine motor activity that will put everyone in the holiday spirit.

Butterfly Cottage News

Welcome Back!

We hope you and your family had a great and filling Thanksgiving. Hoping everyone enjoyed spending time with families and the yummy food at Thanksgiving!

November Recap

November was a blast! We enjoyed learning and talking about lizards. We made our own lizard book and some lizard art. We put up our thankful tree and decorated it with beautiful leaves. We also have jobs in our class now. Some classroom jobs include line leader, mat helper, and door closer.

Yoga Introduction

December is a short month, but packed with amazing activities. Our morning circle now includes yoga and short meditation. We will do one pose a week. The first week of December we will be learning the butterfly. The second week we will be learning the down dog and the following week the hero. The week of Christmas will be our yoga review week where we will be doing all of the poses together.

December Fun

We will be starting our light project and playing with reflections. Don't want to give too much away, but it will very cool! We have some fake snow that we will be playing with this month in the sensory bin. A Christmas tree has been made so the kids can decorate it millions of times this month before the holidays. Watch for all the fun changes in the next few weeks!

Bumblebee Cottage News

November Recap

Thank you to all of our parents for the beautiful family photos and your help with the Pumpkin Pie Party! We learned about the Autumn season and the ways our environment changes during this season. The discussions about Native Americans and Pilgrims was a huge hit. The Bumblebees were very interested in the early settlers. We also began patterning, which the children excelled in. Our November was fabulous!

Shadows and Light

During the month of December, we will be discussing how shadows form. We will be experimenting with various light and exploring shadows. Our light table will be used even more this month by us using various pieces and loose parts.


The Bumblebees will be making their very own fancy holiday treat of chocolate dipped pretzels. Please watch out for a sign-up sheet both for our pretzel craft and holiday party.


Being that the entire Bumblebee class is fond of the movie Frozen, we figured what better way to bring this into the classroom than by making it a featured winter theme. We will be creating "snow", freezing and thawing ice that hides treasures, and building igloos. Elsa, Anna, and Olaf look out!


We will bring pinecones, acorns, hollies, mistletoes, and leaves inside the classroom. These natural materials will be used for arts and crafts, gifts, and centerpieces. We will also have a sensory box full of these items. Sorting and patterning will take place using these pieces of nature.

Arctic Animals

Caribou, penguins, polar bears, and seals all live in the arctic tundra. Drawing these animals will be so much fun. We will also create some of these animals with loose parts. We will search the map and find out where the Arctic Tundra is located and it's weather. KWL charts will be done on the Arctic Tundra and its inhabitants.


We would like to wish our Bumblebee families a Happy Holiday season! Please keep an eye out for a signup sheet for our 2015 Light Project.

Dragonfly Cottage News

November Recap

Wow! What a great start to this holiday season. This is a very busy time of year for everyone, including our Dragonflies. Last month we focused on Eric Carle, Author of many popular children’s books including “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Our Dragonflies made caterpillars using a variety of formats. They painted a mural and cutout and made suns. We would like to thank all of the families who made our pumpkin parties a huge success.

On to December

December is going to be another exciting month. We will begin our Holiday unit. We will be learning all about different holidays and the traditions that accompany all of them. We will be working on our light project, making ornament keepsakes and use different mediums for painting. You will see a tree in our class that the Dragonfly students will decorate. We also have a Menorah that Ms. Gail is putting up. We will also begin to explore 3-D objects. We are planning a visit from Santa as well. Don’t forget about our festival of lights celebration! What an exciting and busy month we have planned. Happy Holidays!

Reading Goals

Green Group will continue to review all upper and lower case letters. They will be identifying and using a variety of ways to print them. They will also work on learning to take apart and put together multisyllabic words.

Yellow Group will be practicing identifying and writing upper and lower case letters T L H A I F O C G P R B J E D N M K Q U V W X Z Y S. We will also continue working on multisyllabic words.Taking them apart and putting them together.

Blue Group will continue reviewing reading and writing all upper and lower case letters. We will also continue learning about multisyllabic words. Taking them apart and putting them together.

Math Groups

Green Group will be learning about 2D and 3D shapes as well as colors and directional words..(.above, under, right left).

Red Group will be learning about 3D shapes as well as directional words..(.above, under, right left).

Blue Group will be learning about 3D shapes as well as directional words..(.above, under, right left).