Central Primary School

December Newsletter

A Note from the office...

Is it really December already!?! We hope our CPS families enjoyed their Thanksgiving with friends and family. We are happy to be back at school and looking forward to a month filled with holiday celebrations.

Important December dates to remember:

  • 2nd grade Holiday concert: Wednesday, Dec. 4th -Mrs. D. Brown, Mrs. L. Brown, Mrs. James, and Mrs. Tanner @ 5:30
  • 2nd grade Holiday concert: Wednesday, Dec. 4th -Mrs. Hartman, Mrs. Hranka, and Mrs. Taseff @ 7:00
  • PTO Meeting: Thursday, Dec. 5th @ 7:00
  • School Board meeting: Thursday, Dec. 12th @ 7:00
  • Washington Central District 51 Barnes and Nobles Book Fair: Saturday, Dec. 14th -all day! K-1 Music Performance 11:00am, 2-3 Music Performance 11:30am, 7-8 Choir Performance 1:00pm
  • CPS Spirit Week: Monday, Dec. 16th- Friday, Dec. 20th
  • Monday Dec. 16th- Wear your favorite holiday socks or hat
  • Tuesday Dec. 17th- Wear your favorite flannel shirt
  • Wednesday Dec. 18th- Grinch Day
  • Thursday, Dec. 19th- Polar Express Day, Wear your pajamas
  • Friday Dec. 20th- Wear your favorite holiday shirt
  • Classroom Holiday Parties: Friday, Dec. 20th @ 1:15
  • Early Dismissal: Friday, Dec. 20th @ 2:15
  • Winter break: Monday, Dec. 23rd- Friday Jan. 3rd
  • Back to school: Monday, January 6th

Central School District 51-Barnes and Noble Bookfair

Saturday, Dec. 14th, 10am

5001 North Big Hollow Road

Peoria, IL

  • Central Staff will be on hand to greet everyone from 10:00 am-3:00 pm.
  • CPS Music Performances, Grades K-1 @ 11:00 am
  • CPS Music Performances, Grades 2-3 @ 11:30 am
  • CIS 7th and 8th Grade Choir Music Performance @ 1:00 pm
  • Complimentary gift wrapping by Central Staff from 10:00 am-3:00 pm.

Can't attend our bookfair at Barnes & Noble?

Visit BN.COM/bookfairs to support us online from 12/14-12/18 by entering Bookfair ID 12576567 at checkout.

*A percentage of your Barnes & Noble purchases will benefit our school/organization and support teacher projects.

Leader in Me

Please join us in not only learning about the 7 Habits, but also incorporating them into your homes with your families! The Family Learning Team at CPS will be sending monthly newsletters home describing each habit. Each month will be a different habit. You should have already received the November newsletter for Habit 3: Put first things first. Along with educating you on each habit, the newsletter will also include books and activities that you can use at home that pertain to that! We look forward to your participation with incorporating the Leader in Me at school and at home.

Notes from the Nurses- Mrs. Bright and Mrs. Martin

Trending in the Nursing Offices now:

  • Strep Throat: Fever, headache, sore throat, stomach ache, vomiting

  • Upper Respiratory Illnesses: Running nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue

  • Pneumonia: Cough with (low-grade) fever- Please see a doctor immediately!

“Fun” Facts about Germs!

  • The flu virus can live on cloth or tissue for up to 12 hours; it can live up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.

  • More germs are spread by shaking hands than kissing!

  • A sneeze can spread a water bottle’s amount of mucus 2-8 meters!

    • Teach your students to cover their coughs and sneezes!

Snuggle Up!

  • Dress for the Weather!

    • Per the Central 51 Parents & Students handbook, “assuming other relevant conditions are conducive to outdoor recess, students will go out when temperatures with wind-chill are 20 degrees or above.” Please be sure to send your students to school dressed appropriately (coat, hat, gloves, etc).

    • In order for students to play in the snow, they must have a coat, snow pants, gloves, hat, and boots.

Warning! Dry, Chapped Skin in Progress

  • If your student has dry, flaky skin or chapped lips, consider sending lotion and/or chapstick to school.

  • To help prevent dry, chapped skin, make sure your student is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Consider sending a refillable water bottle to school with your student.

  • Other ways to help prevent dry skin are:

    • Try taking short, luke-warm bath/showers

    • Use gentle body cleansers

    • Apply lotion after baths/showers

    • Consider using a humidifier at home

Social Emotional Learning Corner- Mrs. Arms and Mrs. Freeman

This month learn one of the most important (and overlooked) reason why kids show an inability to listen, focus or sit still. Plus, get 25+ ways to help your kids build these important life skills.

The Most Overlooked Reason Why Kids Won’t Listen

By: Lauren Tamm, Military spouse and Language of Listening® Master Parent Coach

My son climbed to the top of the monkey bars and snaked across them from above. He’s not strong enough to swing across arm-to-arm, so his solution is to catapult his legs up, pull his entire body on top of the bars, and slither across.

A mom walked up to me. “Your son’s on top of the monkey bars. Just thought I’d let you know so he doesn’t fall and get hurt.”

Shortly after, two kids walked up and said, “He’s on top of the monkey bars! He’s going to get hurt.”

A mom walked up to me. “Your son’s on top of the monkey bars. Just thought I’d let you know so he doesn’t fall and get hurt.”

Shortly after, two kids walked up and said, “He’s on top of the monkey bars! He’s going to get hurt.”

It happened in other situations, too.

When I took my two kids to a Merry-Go-Round, and let them have it as I sat on a picnic bench watching from afar, parents and kids alike voiced their concerns.

“Someone is going to break their arm over there!”

“She’s going to fall and get hurt.”

“He’s spinning, and he’s going to get sick.”

Same thing when people saw my kids hanging upside down (per their own doing) for several minutes at a time.

“All the blood is rushing to his head. It’s gonna make him sick.”

“That’s too dangerous!”

Or when people saw my kids twisting and spinning around on a swing.

“Someone is going to get their fingers pinched!”

“That’s not safe. Put your bottom on the swing.”

The bigger issue occurred — for other parents — when my kids did these things and their children wanted to join in the “dangerous” activity. This is a common thread I see at playgrounds and when talking with parents I work with through parent coaching.

Here’s the problem: Why kids won’t listen.

Children’s ability to move and play are being restricted more than ever. We are trying to protect them by saying “No climbing,” “No running,” “No spinning,” “That’s too dangerous,” and “Get down from there!”

However, research shows that the drastic decline in “risky” outdoor play in kids is creating behavior problems. By constantly hovering over kids, restricting their movement, and diminishing their time to play, we are causing more harm than good.

“According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2013), a recent study showed that the average child spends eight hours a day in front of screens (television, video games, computers, smart phones, and so on). Older children and adolescents are spending an average of eleven hours a day in front of screens.” (Hanscom 2016).

That’s a huge amount of time spent in front of screens, which provide little to no proprioceptive or vestibular input (which I’ll talk about in a second). In prior generations, this time was spent outdoors or in play.

This is the important part.

In order for kids to listen, focus and learn to sit still for a period of time, they must develop both proprioception and vestibular sense. The most critical time to develop a child’s proprioception and vestibular sense is before age six.

With all the time spent in front of screens and telling kids to sit still, avoid climbing, and stop jumping, it’s not surprising why kids won’t listen.

Proprioception is what tells you where your body parts are without having to look at them. This is the sense that helps you make sense of gravity. It’s the reason you can switch from the gas pedal to the brake without looking at your feet, or bring popcorn to your mouth without taking your eyes off the movie screen.

Without properly developed proprioception, kids can push too hard during tag, fall out their seat at the dinner table, or trip while walking up stairs. (You’ll see this a lot in toddlers as they develop proprioception, but you should see it less and less in kids ages four, five, six and beyond).

Vestibular sense provides information about where the body is in relation to its surroundings. This is the sense that helps you understand balance, and it connects with all the other senses.

When the vestibular system does not develop properly all other senses will struggle to function properly. Without a strong vestibular sense, kids will have no choice but to fidget, get frustrated, experience more falls and aggression, get too close to people when talking, and struggle with focusing and listening. Because they literally cannot help it.

Helping your kids.

In order for kids to learn to listen, focus and follow directions, they need to develop proprioception and vestibular sense by experiencing many physical challenges during childhood.

Without it, kids can’t pay attention in school because they are too distracted by their own bodies. Putting clothes on, trying new foods, and finishing homework become insurmountable tasks when kids don’t have a strong vestibular sense or well-developed proprioception.

Study after study shows that kids today desperately need more physical activity. “John Ratey, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, suggests that people think of exercise as medication for ADHD. Even very light physical activity improves mood and cognitive performance by triggering the brain to release dopamine and serotonin, similar to the way that stimulant medications like Adderall do.”

Angela J. Hanscom, author of Balanced and Barefoot and Pediatric Occupational Therapist, recommends getting your kids outside as much as possible. Ideally, kids of all ages should get at least three hours of free outdoor play daily.

While I’m not certain if her age-based recommended times are realistic or not, they are as follows:

  • Toddlers → At least five to eight hours of active play per day, preferably outdoors

  • Preschoolers → At least five to eight hours of active play per day, preferably outdoors.

  • School age → At least four to five hours of physical activity and outdoor play.

  • Adolescents → Physical activity three to four hours a day.

Here are a few ways to support your child’s vestibular sense:

  • Spinning in circles.

  • Using a Merry-Go-Round.

  • Rolling down a hill.

  • Spinning on a swing.

  • Going upside down.

  • Climbing trees.

  • Rocking.

  • Jumping rope.

  • Summersaults or cartwheels.

  • Using monkey bars.

  • Skating.

  • Going backwards.

  • Swimming.

  • Dancing.

  • Wheel-barrel walks.

Here are a few ways to support your child’s proprioceptive input:

  • Carrying or lifting boxes.

  • Pushing or pulling a wagon.

  • Build a fort.

  • Rake leaves.

  • Shovel snow.

  • Pick up and put down heavy sticks.

  • Dig in the dirt.

  • Carry buckets of sand or water.

  • Give hugs.

  • Knead playdoh

  • Jump on a trampoline.

  • Chewing on something

  • Squeezing a stress ball

  • Playing Tug-O-War with a stretchy band

Related Posts:

Let the kids live “dangerously.”

As a parent, there are many times I’ve cringed and closed my eyes to avoid watching my child spin in circles, slither across the monkey bars or swing high into the air. It’s only natural to worry that something will happen.

But the truth is kids know what they need. Children with healthy neurological systems naturally seek out the sensory input they need on their own. They do this without thinking about it.

When they jump, swing, spin, pick up rocks or dig in the dirt, kids are doing exactly what they need. They aren’t intentionally doing it to get hurt, act rambunctiously, worry you or get messy.

They are doing it to help themselves become safer, calmer and happier kids.

Like Dr. Tina Bryson says, “You can trust development.” Her words have never been more true.

For more information and resources regarding this topic visit:



Intervention- Mrs. Mertens, Mrs. Guse, and Mrs. Holmes

Our 2nd round of STAR Benchmark testing will be coming up in December. Prior to Christmas break, we will print out and distribute the new scores and show how your student has grown in reading or math

Here are some new activities to work on with your child in a fun way at home for reading and math.

Math Activity for Fun

Money, Money, Money … I realize as kids become adults, cash transactions are few and far between. Right now though kids need to recognize and count coins. Most everyone has a jar/bank of coins at home. Help your kids with the concept of coins by having them “PAY” for screen time or snacks. Choose random amounts; (example: $.78 for a granola bar). Have them count out those coins correctly to “pay” for their snack. This can be done at all grade levels. In Kindergarten, use pennies and dimes; 1st Grade, use pennies, dimes and nickels, 2nd & 3rd Grades, use pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters. This is such a great skill to have some fun with at home.

Don’t let spelling be a chore!

Spelling can be quite the frustration for some students as they try to memorize 10-20 words a week and remember how to spell them. However, we can make this easier. Teach students the spelling patterns instead of having them memorize each word. The English language usually follows a set of rules for how words are spelled. For instance, most of the time, ‘oi’ goes in the middle of a word/syllable (coin, boil, soil, etc) and ‘oy’ goes at the end of a word (joy, boy, royal, etc.). If we teach students to memorize these patterns, it will help them spell many words, instead of just the 10-20 that are on their spelling list. Of course there are always rule-breakers that have to be memorized, but there are far fewer rule breakers than rule followers! Feel free to contact me or your student’s teacher for help with spelling patterns, they can certainly be tricky!

An easy activity to help students recognize patterns is to have them sort words. Once they have sorted all the words, talk about what they see in each of their categories, how they chose to sort them, why they chose that way.

Nonsense words are also a great way to practice patterns. Give students “words” like soit or woy and see if they can apply the pattern rules!

PTO Updates from Mrs. Redlingshafer

November was definitely a busy month!

  • The first ROCK (Rewarding Outstanding Central Kids) took place and it was AMAZING! So many volunteers spent many hours preparing for the event. Thank you to all!
  • PTO hosted the first VIP Breakfast of the year at CPS (formerly known as Donuts with Dad) and it was a huge success! Thank you to all who volunteered and all who attended, lots of delicious food and smiles!
  • Another VIP Breakfast at CPS will happen in March (formerly known as Muffins with Mom).
  • The annual Rivermen game was another fun night! Thank you to all who attended!
  • Looking ahead to December, the Holiday parties will take place on December 20. Parties take a lot of planning and volunteers, so thank you to those who will be there!

Art Corner- Miss Gleason

This month we celebrated Veteran's Day in the art room. We discussed all the branches of the military and the students drew soldiers. We also worked together to make a flag out of paper rings to decorate our door. Each ring has a word that describes our service men and women. Thank you all for your service!

Big picture

PE Notes- Mr. Dalberg

A new activity that we have done recently is a stationed obstacle course. Each station gives the students a different challenge, movement or sports skills. We use rolling scooters, hurdles, hula hoops, football throw and a basketball dribble. It is a fun activity that keep the students moving and allows them to work on their individual skills at each station. Students like to compete with each other at times and time each other on their own, but at the same time the students are encouraged to do the best they are able to do. It seems to be an activity that reaches all students at some level. We continue to incorporate different fitness activities throughout the week and other team and individual skills building activities.

A little note from Music...

The holiday season is upon us and we are busy in the music classroom is preparing for concerts, sing-a-longs, and carolling.

Kindergarten has had so much fun in music class. We have focused on melody moving up and down through fall songs and music games. We are now starting to learn holiday songs.

First grade has spent time learning fall songs and games. They are still practicing their rhythm reading and also creating their own rhythms. We also spent time learning about patriotic songs. They are now starting to learn more traditional holiday songs.

Second grade is ready for their concert which will be on December 4, 2019 in the CPS gym. There are two performances that evening. Please have students arrive and in their classroom 10 minutes before their performance. The schedule is as follows:

5:30 pm Performance- Mrs. Tanner, Mrs. James, Mrs. D. Brown, and Mrs. L. Brown

7:00 pm Performance- Mrs. Hartman, Mrs. Hranka, and Mrs. Taseff

Third grade has started working on music for the upcoming concert in February. We are waiting with lots of excitement for the recorders to arrive. We can’t wait to begin learning how to hold and play our new instruments. If your child did not purchase a recorder because they had one at home, please put it in their backpacks so they are ready on the first day!

We have an opportunity to participate in the school fundraiser at Barnes and Noble on December 14, 2019. The students of CPS will be carolling while people are shopping. This is a volunteer event, so if you can make it, we would LOVE to have you join us. The Kindergarten a & 1st Graders will sing at 11:00 am and the 2nd & 3rd Graders will sing at 11:30 am. They are welcome to wear holiday attire (holiday shirt, red, or green). Look for a letter in their folders with all the details!