Grace Parent Newsletter

News About Grace Early Childhood

Greetings Grace Families,

We are excited to share our second edition of the Grace News with you. Spring is in the air and our Grace community is buzzing with learning. We are glad to say goodbye to the cold snowy weather and are looking forward to some warm sunshine! The next few weeks are packed full of fun filled events including the Grace Carnival, Messy Night and Graduations for many of our little ones. We look forward to seeing all of our Grace families at these events! Once again, our staff is excited to share about each of our programs and the great growth happening among our students.
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Grace in the News: The Storytelling Project

In the Grace library, students develop a foundation for robust literacy through immersion in a rich oral language environment. In addition to enjoying chants, songs, stories, and fingerplays, students regularly participate in a story writing and acting experience known as the Storytelling Project. The Storytelling Project is a powerful language arts program that strengthens literacy and communication skills while empowering students to speak out, be heard, and listen to each other. To introduce the storytelling process, a teacher models by telling a personal story, often about her family or an experience that evoked strong feelings. Students are then cast as characters in the tale, and re-enact the story in the center of the circle. Finally, children are invited to tell their own stories and act them out in the center “stage”. Each preschool class gathers regularly to dramatize and share their stories. As audience members, children listen carefully to each others’ thoughts, often developing themes which share common threads. Over time, children use the stories to share important ideas, re-experience difficult moments, express their feelings, and even envision different endings.

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One of the great strengths of the Storytelling Project is its ability to foster belonging and social connections. Through regular participation in this group experience, young children gain perspective. Because each student knows that he may be called on to play a part, he is invested and engaged in his friends’ stories, intrinsically motivated to listen carefully. When a student’s narrative strikes a familiar chord, his friends’ eyes light up and their faces glow in anticipation of the moment when they can share their knowledge of a similar experience. The practice of taking turns, listening to each other, and discovering common bonds creates a foundation for emerging empathy. Through the lens of story, young children develop compassion and tolerance for others.

Child Care Center

Spring is finally here, and the Child Care Center has sprung into action!

The Infant room is active with rollers, crawlers, and walkers. They have been having fun with colorful, baby safe "paint”and colored noodles. To make the "paint," they combined applesauce; food coloring; corn starch; and as always, they added a dash or two of fun!

Toddler I has been a hoppin with a unit on Frogs. Circle time is a favorite when reading “The Wide-Mouth Bullfrog” from our Music with Mar trainings.

Toddler II has been a whirl-wind of action with exposure to many science activities. They experimented with air movement of different objects with our new wind tunnel, were introduced to a homemade tornado, played with static electricity, and looked at shadows with rainbow lights. They enjoyed inviting their friends from Toddler I to join in on the experiments.

Ocean week was a real splash in Room 5. The children had fun learning about different ocean animals, making jellyfish, and playing with real beach sand and shells Ms. Lana brought back from her Myrtle Beach spring break trip.

Rooms 11 & 12- 2 Day Community Program

Spring has arrived and the Community Program has been busy exploring the natural changes this season brings. We enjoyed planting a grass seed snake and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sunflower seedlings. The addition of a classroom worm farm will help us observe the world beneath our feet and how these creatures help our plants grow.

Thanks to the support and generosity of our families, we will be holding an egg hunt on the grounds of the outdoor classroom on Wednesday April 16th and Thursday April 17th. Parents and younger siblings are welcome to attend.

With only a few class days left, our preschool year is quickly coming to a close. Kindergarten screenings are underway and the Kindergarten Tour is scheduled for May 13th. The tour is a great opportunity to prepare your child for the next step in their educational life. Hope you can make it!

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Rooms 2, 3, & 4- Preschool Program

Students in Room 2 have been building early literacy skills by reading books about signs, participating in an environmental print scavenger hunt and making I Can Read books using simple words and pictures. They have also been exploring a theme about holes by reading books about holes, making donuts and developing fine motor skills by painting on paper with holes and using hole punches.

Room 3 children read several books by Jon Klassen about hats and hunted around the classroom to make their own silly hats. Over the past few weeks, they enjoyed a literature study of books by Mo Willems featuring the characters Piggie & Elephant which quickly became classroom favorites as children memorized the familiar text and developed dramatic retellings of the story sequences.

Children in Room 4 participated in a variety of activities during Wacky Week as they practiced using observations skills to notice their peers that were wearing clothing backwards or inside out and exploring the classroom to discover twenty “wacky” things that were out of place. Students read several books that encouraged critical thinking as children came up with multiple ways to solve problems and think outside the box.

Enjoy the clip below from another one of our favorite authors as he reads an excerpt from his book “Stuck” about a little boy’s kite that gets stuck in a tree. Encourage your child to notice ways that the character tries to problem solve and see if your child can come up with his or her own unique ways to get the kite down.
Stuck, a new picture book by Oliver Jeffers. Trailer

Room 6 & 7- Title I Preschool

In Room 6 we have had fun learning about the performing arts. We started our journey by exploring puppets. Students used real puppets during centers, exploring how they were constructed and how to make them "talk". That led to the students working in small groups and writing their own stories to act out. The students then decided which parts they would play and used a variety of materials to create their puppet and the backdrops. They acted out their puppet shows and enjoyed watching them as a whole group. The students were still interested in making movies so we decided to try our hand at acting out the story, Soup Opera by Jim Gill. We learned that "an Opera is a drama set to music." The students were introduced to the book and watched a version that was acted out. In small groups, they divided the roles and had a dress rehearsal before the final recording. The excitement grew as the time drew closer to the premiere of their work. What a success! The students continue to act out Soup Opera, use puppets and create their own stories.

Rooms 8, 9, & 10- Early Childhood Special Education

Welcome Spring!

ECSE has been busy embracing everything Spring! From animals to eggs, we have been tackling Spring hands-on. Room 10 has been incorporating a little "eggxtra" fun with social skills and gross motor play by cracking confetti eggs over each other and their teachers. They are also working on sequencing Spring stories, using fine motor skills to paint eggs and imitating animal sounds and movements. Rooms 8 & 9 have been learning all about animals, Spring, and warmer weather! Language time has been full of fun conversation and we all have enjoyed our favorite Matt and Molly Stories. The ECSE team is also in the process of completing Kindergarten transitions for our graduating students. Our goal is to make these transitions as smooth as possible for students, parents, and staff.

Parents as Teachers

2014-2015 Preschool Screenings

We will be holding Preschool Screenings again on May 28th and 29th for the upcoming school year. All three and four year old children residing in the Belton School District are eligible for a FREE Developmental Screening which includes: vision, hearing, and health. Any child planning on attending Grace Early Childhood must be screened prior to enrollment. Please call 816-348-1029 to schedule your appointment.

Birth to Three Screenings

Parents as Teachers offers a FREE developmental screening for children that are three months to three years. The screening includes skills in communication; gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal-social. PAT will also conduct a vision and hearing screening with your child. To schedule an appointment please call 816-348-1029

Success By Six Library

We would like to thank everyone that has utilized our wonderful Success By Six Library this past school year. If you are still holding on to items that need to be returned, we ask that you have them in by Friday, May 23, so we have time to do inventory before we close down for summer. We are open daily 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We will be up and running again by the end of August and hope to see you then. Thanks for your continued support.

Upcoming Events

April 18 & 21 Easter Break-No Classes - CCC closed / PAC open

April 22-25 Scholastic Book Fair

April 24 Messy Night

May 1 Field Day

May 6 Rain Date for Field Day

May 9 Grace Carnival

May 12-15 Grace Graduations - Check with teacher for date, location & time

May 13 Kindergarten Tours

May 15 Grace Last Day of Classes

May 16-30 CCC & PAC open

May 26 - Memorial Day - CCC & PAC closed

May 28 & 29 Preschool Screenings