February News

Jeffers Pond Nature Preschool

I Love to Read Month!

During the month of February we'll be celebrating I Love to Read month. As part of this month, I encourage you to share on Schoology your favorite book(s) as a child as well as your child's favorite books. You can find this under the materials tab - there is a folder titled discussions. This discussion is titled "I LOVE to Read Month!" Below features my favorite book & poem from when I was a child.

Also, check out the information below on some important news & upcoming events in preschool. Also featured is Reading Rockets, a great resource for parents on supporting literacy development.

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

Happy February!

Miss Anna

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Tour of Area Nature Preschools

On Thursday & Friday I had the opportunity to visit two nature preschools in the Twin Cities - Tamarack Nature Preschool (out of White Bear Lake Public Schools) & All Seasons Preschool (part of senior living building in Inver Grove Heights). I am proud to say we are right on track with our nature preschool program at Jeffers Pond Elementary & Edgewood School!

It was great to be able to connect with other nature preschool teachers to share ideas, strategies, & stories, as well as observe them teaching. I am looking forward to applying some new ideas I learned into our indoor and outdoor classroom experiences!

Important Information & Upcoming Events

Jeffers Pond Yearbook Orders due Friday, February 5th

Preschool WILL be part of the Jeffers Pond Yearbook. If you are interested in ordering a yearbook, see the information below:

The PTC is excited to announce the 2015-16 yearbooks will arrive soon! We are working hard to make a beautiful keepsake for your family. The deadline to order is February 5th. You can order online at https://ybpay.lifetouch.com and use School ID Code 5494816. Please see the attached flyer for more details.

Please direct questions to brandi.cotnoir@gmail.com

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Jeffers Pond Carnival! Saturday, February 6th

I hope to see many of you at the Jeffers Pond Carnival on Saturday, February 6th. I'll be there from 3:00-5:00pm volunteering in the game room.

Friendship Day Celebration! Friday, February 12th

On Friday, February 12th we will be having a Valentine's day exchange to celebrate friendships. It's optional to bring Valentine's, but if you chose to do so, please bring enough for every child in the class (20 students). To make the process of handing them out easier, you can just include your child's name on the Valentines and not the names of the students they are being given to.

Ice Fishing with MN DNR! Thursday, February 18th

The Minnesota DNR has an awesome program called Fishing in the Neighborhood. DNR FiN specialists will be joining us on Thursday, February 18th to take the students ice fishing at Jeffers Pond (ice conditions permitting of course). We would love to have parent volunteers on hand to help us: 9:00-10:15am & 12:30-1:45pm. If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know!

Favorite Stuffed Animal Day! Friday, February 19th

Many students have requested to bring a stuffed animal to school. So on Friday, February 19th we'll have a "Teddy Bear/Stuffed Animal Picnic" and read some favorite stories that feature stuffed animals.

Favorite Book Character Day! Friday, February 26th

As promised in the beginning of the year, we are having a dress-up/costume day this month. On Friday, February 26th students are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character and bring their favorite book that goes along with their costume. Please be sure costumes are appropriate for school and leave any weapon accessories at home. Costumes don't have to be elaborate - for example dressing all in red with homemade puppy ears to be Clifford is plenty!

We will NOT be going outside this day due to costumes, so no need to send winter gear.

Field Trip - Coming Soon!

I have received questions regarding the Edgewood Circle of Friends field trip to Dynamics Gymnastics. Due to our different start time & being at a different school, we have the opportunity to plan our own field trips that connect directly to what is happening in our classroom. I am in the process of working out details for us to visit Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington. Once details are worked out and a date is finalized, I will share that with you. We will be looking for volunteers to join us, so please consider volunteering once the date is finalized.

Report Cards & Kindergarten Readiness

Report cards will be sent home with your child on Friday, February 5th. If you have any questions about them, please don't hesitate to reach out. The skills featured on the report card are important "Kindergarten Readiness" skills. If you follow the daily Schoology updates & view the photos, you'll know the skills are just a small snapshot of the learning that happens at school.

Many of you have asked about ways to help your child with letter and/or number recognition, letter sounds, etc. at home. Here are some general suggestions:

* Keep it FUN!! If your child is getting frustrated or upset, stop. It's important to not let learning become a power struggle.

* NO Flash Cards! Children at this age learn best from meaningful, hands-on learning experiences. If your child is working on letter identification for example, play "Eye Spy" at the grocery store. Give your child a piece of paper with 1 or 2 letters on it & encourage see how many you can find during your next trip to the grocery store. Model saying the letter as you see it - "Look, this cereal starts with the letter 'A'" Have some fun by pointing to the wrong letter and saying "I think this starts with the letter A" - if your child agrees, you can encourage him/her to check on the paper and see if the two letters match in shape.

* Flashlight Games! Who doesn't love playing with flashlights? Hide letters/numbers around the room and have your child find them with flashlights.

* Always Start & End Positive! Children are smart and aware of their abilities. Make sure you end on a positive note with your child feeling confident about him/herself. If your child is struggling, include a letter/number your child is confident with.

* Make Practicing Part of the Daily Routine! Repetition is key. Include practicing letters/numbers as part of your daily routine. If your child doesn't enjoy it - even with fun games, incorporate it into the child earning a preferred activity. For example, it could be part of the "key" to "unlocking" screen time. For example be,fore you can play on the iPad you have to find 5 letters hiding in the room.

* Consider Education-Friendly Screen Time Screen time is a common practice in our families today. As a result, there are MANY great educational apps, shows, YouTube videos out there. Consider balancing these with those your child currently enjoys. Your child might not enjoy them at first, but the "First this one, then your game/show/movie" strategy works great. Also, letting your child have a choice from the options you pick also works great.

* Read Books Every Day! To foster a love for reading & development of literacy skills, it is recommended that you read at least 10 minutes a day to your child.

Come Spend the Day with Us!

Just wanted to extend the invitation to parents (and grandparents!) that you are always welcome to join us for a day of preschool. If you are ever interested in doing so, let me know when. And just don't forget to come dressed for the weather! :)