School for Young Children

Inquiring Minds April 2019

School for Young Children at The University of Saint Joseph

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From the Director: Sue O'Donnell

Our first family event on the USJ campus Friday night was a big success! The Crystal Room is a large space that can accommodate different types of activities as well as many more people than the gym at SYC. Storytime was very engaging with music, movement and of course stories. Several parents commented to me about how much they enjoyed the event. Moving forward we would like to consider this type of programming for the fall and spring family gatherings. If you know of someone who could provide storytelling, songs, or movement for our group, please let me know!

After spring break we email each family a survey to complete. It contains questions related to your experience with our program. Please take a few minutes to reflect upon your experience as well as your child’s during the past year. We take the results of the survey seriously and reflect upon ways we can improve our program. The information shared in the surveys is discussed and reflected upon at staff meetings. During the past two years we have had ongoing conversations regarding our methods of communicating information about our curriculum and children’s learning with families. Different strategies have been developed based upon the feedback we’ve received. Thank you ahead of time for your input to strengthen SYC for children and families!

Our annual Auction event is right around the corner! It is always a fun night of socializing, getting to know other families and supporting SYC! The profits made from the Auction this year will be used to continue music for each class twice each month. We will also add yoga with Becca Bernard from WH Yoga. Each group will have a yoga class twice a month. We appreciate the effort and hard work of the planning committee and people who are soliciting for exciting items to bid on! The staff are grateful for the generous support from all of you which allows us to provide these extra activities for the children each month! Thank You!


Thank you to everyone who donated an item from the classroom Wishing Stars! We are very grateful for your generosity!!

April Events

SYC at Chipolte Fundraiser

Tuesday, April 2nd, 4-8pm

966 Farmington Avenue

West Hartford, CT

Join SYC families for dinner out at Chipotle. Proceeds will benefit SYC and programming for children.

PAC Meeting

Wednesday, April 3rd, 7-8pm

SYC Conference Room

All are welcome!!


Monday, April 8th, 7:45am to Friday, April 12th, 5:30pm

238 Steele Road

West Hartford, CT

SYC will be closed for Preschool. If your child attends Backpack, she/he can attend for their usual schedule. Please let your child's teachers know whether your child will or will not be attending during April break.

SYC Annual Auction Fundraiser "Spring Fling"

Saturday, April 27th, 6:30pm

238 Steele Road

West Hartford, CT

Join us for our Spring Fling with music, food and live and silent auctions!

See the PAC bulletin board for more information.

Three Things to Know About Math and Math Fun at Home!

1.Math is important.

A child's math knowledge at the start of kindergarten predicts later academic achievement better than early reading or the ability to focus and pay attention.

2. It's important to believe your child can get better at math.

This is called a growth mindset. The belief that people have a set level of math ability and will never be "good at math" is a fixed mindset. Children with a growth mindset toward math put in more effort and do better at math.

3. There are many ways to incorporate math learning into everyday moments.

Math isn't just about counting or naming shapes. Children do math when they measure their height, sort containers for recycling, build with Legos, notice rhyming patterns in songs, compare hand sizes- and much more.

Try This- Math Fun at Home

  • Measure and compare with shoes!

Have your child use a shoe as a measurement tool. Ask, "Can you show me four things in the room that are shorter than your shoe? Longer than your shoe?" Use math vocabulary, such as measure, compare, length, shorter, and longer, to discuss the objects your child measures.

  • Nest the boxes!

Save empty cereal, macaroni, rice, and other food boxes. Have your child experiment to find out which boxes fit inside other boxes. Use measurement vocabulary such as longer, shorter, wide, narrow, and taller. Ask questions- "Can that narrow box fit inside the wider one? How do you know?"

  • Explore more ideas!

Find lots of fun-at-home math ideas online at Math in the Bath, Math Play with Measurement, and 8 Ways to Help Your Child Love Math! Check out NAEYC's Math Fun at Home webpage,


A reminder that pre-school classes will be closed for Spring Break April 8th-12th. Backpack will remain open during Spring Break. Preschool and Backpack are also closed April 19th (Good Friday).

SYC Chipotle night is Tuesday April 2nd at the West Hartford Center Chipotle on Farmington Ave from 4-8pm. Dine in or take-out and mention our school/show the flyer (distributed in picture pockets) and Chipotle will give back a percentage to SYC.

Save the date for SYC Family Day at the Yard Goats, May 19th. Ticket order forms have been distributed and can be returned with a check to the office. The first pitch of this game is a live auction item. Get ready to bid to see your little guy or girl start the game!

The Auction is coming soon and we are getting very excited as all of the details are falling into place. The auction, which is a Spring Fling theme, is Saturday, April 27th at 6:30pm at the school. Invitations have been distributed. Please RSVP by April 15th. It’s going to be a great night with lots of incredible items to bid on in both the silent and live auctions, as well as great food from the Chunky Tomato Pizza Truck and an open bar. Please also continue to solicit local businesses, friends and family for auction items. Use your connections! Have a vacation home, sporting or concert tickets? Do you work at a business that would donate a service or item? Ask friends and family members who are business owners if they would be willing to donate to our wonderful school. A sincere thank you to everyone who has already put numerous hours and lots of effort into planning such a great night. If you would still like to volunteer to help, there is still time. A signup sheet will be put up on the PAC bulletin board for set up and clean up help needed on the day of the event.

Collections of classroom raffle basket items for the auction have begun. Please contribute to your classroom’s basket, and contact your Room Pals with any questions. Raffles ticket sales for these incredible baskets will begin the week prior to the auction.

The next PAC meeting on April 3rd. Please keep an eye out for upcoming events in the next couple months including staff appreciation week. Check the PAC bulletin board for more information on these events and more. Thank you!

Melissa Bowman & Stephanie Dominello, PAC Co-Chairs

Keefe Bruyette Symposium

On Monday March 11th, 240 educators from all over the northeast came to the School for Young Children at The University of Saint Joseph for the 16th Annual Keefe-Bruyette Symposium. The entire staff attended this day of engaging workshops on math, science and technology curriculum in the early childhood classroom. Rebekah Seaton, Room 4 Teacher, presented on Reggio-Inspired Inquiry Learning. Participants learned ways to integrate Reggio Emelia elements into their classrooms and how to document multi-step inquiry experiments.


Summer Camp brochures went home in your child's picture pocket at the end of February. Please see Kharisha or Jackie in the Main Office if you need additional information or forms.

Camp Session Dates:

Session 1 Open the Door, Let's Explore! June 17-28

Session 2 On the Move! July 1-12 (no camp July 4th)

Session 3 Let's Get Creative! July 15-26

Session 4 Mix it Up! July 29-August 9

Playround Safety After School

The weather is beginning to feel warmer and families are welcome to play on the playground after school, 1-1:30pm. Please follow our guidelines:

  • Please close and latch the gate when entering and exiting the playground.
  • Bikes and riding toys are closed, the sheds are locked and therefore there is no access to helmets.
  • Please watch your children as they climb and swing.

Looking Ahead...

  • May 13-17: Staff Appreciation Week
  • May 22: PAC meeting, 7-8pm
  • May 24: Family Conference Day, Preschool and Backpack Closed
  • May 27: Memorial Day,Preschool and Backpack Closed
  • May 31: SYC Family Picnic (raindate June 7)