Willow Tree School

January Newsletter

Happy New Year!

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break and that your New Year is already off to a great start. We are so humbled and grateful for all the wonderful gifts, cards and kind words expressed by our fabulous community here! Your generosity and appreciation mean so much to all of us. We are always blessed by having you all part of our family!

This is the time of year when we really see some significant growth and lots of new skills in our students. With the holiday rush behind them, children are eager to be settled back into a routine and enjoy demonstrating their maturity, ability and confidence. We encourage you to provide many opportunities for your child to do things for him or herself. You will be amazed at what your little angels are capable of doing on their own!

You probably noticed that our newsletter is coming to you in a new format. We think it’s pretty neat, but please give us your feedback! We’d love to hear how much you LOVE a newsletter format that is viewable in email, on your tablet or smart phone and is printable. So, feel free to print our newsletter, or save a tree by keeping it in your email. Either way, we hope you enjoy it!

Important Dates:

Gymnastics: Thursday, January 9th and Monday, January 27th

Library Walking Field Trip: Thursday, January 16th

Disaster Drill: Wednesday, January 15th

Scholastic Book Orders Due: Friday, January 17th

School Closure: Monday, January 20th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Sights & Sounds Screening: Thursday, January 23rd (permission forms due Friday, January 17th)

What's Happening with the Butterflies?

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating the holidays. This month, most elementary schools are opening their doors for tours and visitations. If you know which kindergarten program your child will attend, congratulations. If you need to make a decision, we are here to help.

The Butterflies will begin their journey through 3 and 4 letter words. We will focus on beginning and ending with many silly rhymes. Here’s a tip for the car ... "Down by the bay ..." and other fun rhyming songs. Make memories with your child and get creative while crawling through traffic.

Holiday cheers ~ Miss Barbara

See What the Caterpillars are Getting Into

Welcome to 2014! Thank you to all the parents for heartfelt and warm holiday wishes and gifts. We are very excited to have your children here at WTS and could not be more proud of their progress.

January is a long, cold month and it is a perfect time to learn about the coldest continent: Antarctica and all of its wonderful inhabitants. The children will be introduced to the continent map and will learn about the world's oceans. Our students will explore water and land forms, learn about length, height and width by working with the pink tower and develop visual discrimination of height and diameter with Knobless Cylinders. This month we will work with wood by sanding it and using various wood pieces along with our imaginations to make our own wood creations. It is wonderful sensory activity that children enjoy doing as a group.

In addition to the curriculum, we will talk about being independent, making decisions and facing the consequences of those decisions. Maria Montessori said, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed”. Here at Willow Tree School, your children are making decisions all day long. They independently choose the activities they want to do in the classroom. They put their shoes and jackets on, use the bathroom by themselves, and talk clearly to their friends and teachers while expressing their needs and desires. We strive for independence and support every effort a child offers towards it. Often, you might hear a child say, “I can do it’ and indeed, she or he can do it if we give them the chance.

As parents, we ask you to support your child's independence by letting him or her dress themselves, walk by themselves and take care of their lunchbox. They can even help you do some chores at home like washing dishes, folding or sorting the laundry and cooking together. You might be surprised by the things your children are capable of doing. So let’s stand back and be amazed by your child’s abilities.

~ Miss Neringa

A Closer Look at the Ladybugs

Greetings and Happy New Year Ladybugs Parents! I hope you each enjoyed having some extra one on one time with your children over the holiday season. This month the ladybugs will begin exploring opposites in nature. The winter season provides the inspiration for hot and cold comparisons. In addition, we will talk about the importance of water in our lives. In our program, children have the opportunity several times a day to get their water cup and fill it to drink it. This very simple experience has so many benefits as they learn letter recognition of their own names as well as self-care skills in serving themselves and hydrating their bodies.

You can make a connection between school and home environment by providing a small pitcher for them to use on their own. The pitcher could be used for pouring water or perhaps milk for their cereal. Place pitcher on a tray and provide a small towel to make it easy to clean up for the child. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how willing they are to clean up on their own.

~ Miss Rachel

Assistance League of Sonoma County

Sights & Sounds is a free, annual hearing and vision screening for children who are three years old and older, provided by The Assistance League of Sonoma County. This year, the screening will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2014. Your child will only be screened with your permission slip signed and returned to the school not later than Friday, January 17, 2014. Look for the permission slip in your child’s pocket.