MCH Newsletter

November - December Edition

Happy Holidays!

Thank you all for attending our 2015 Fall Parent Teacher Conferences. We look forward to our next conference in the spring!

Toddler Classroom

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us at your parent-teacher conference. We enjoyed sharing information with you and learning more about your child from your perspective. We always appreciate the opportunity to further our partnership with you.

At circle time, we've been exploring movement activities with scarves; moving/dancing to music, stop and freeze games and holding a partner's hands. It is so wonderful to see young children experiencing the joy of the group music/movement experience.

Thanksgiving week we made mashed potatoes--very tasty! Many of our toddlers chopped potatoes (while chopping, thinking to themselves, hmmm....does this taste like apple? After tasting, realizing that it did not taste like apple, continued chopping). Adding child-safe choppers to your home kitchen is a great and simple way to have your child participate in meal preparation. During the next few weeks we will be making gingerbread cookies and pizza.

A toddler room clothing note: please check your child’s extra supply to make sure that it's stocked with seasonably appropriate changes of clothing. Also, many of our children are working on learning how to use the potty--extra clothes are definitely needed for these endeavors :)

More friends will join us in January. And sadly, Maria, our Madison College Practicum student leaves us soon. We've enjoyed her company!

Downstairs Classroom

It has been a wonderful month in the Downstairs West classroom! We have been enjoying the weather, working on cooking projects, and focusing on increasing our sense of community within the classroom, school, and greater world around us. Making and serving food for the toddlers was particularly rewarding for the children.

Dr. Montessori talked about the spontaneous explosion of language in the Children's House classroom as the children gain mastery over the letter sounds, as well as the fine motor control necessary to read and write. We have recently been experiencing this surge in interest, which has unfolded in so many beautiful ways in our classroom. Some children have been involved in labeling much of our environment, using their own ability and knowledge of phonics to sound out the words. While the words may not always be spelled "correctly", at this age an understanding of the phonetic components is much more important. Other children have started to really read, and are reading books that range from "Bob Book"-style phonic readers all the way to chapter books.

A new addition to our classroom is the loom! This large project allows children to work individually as part of a greater collective effort. When we finish our project, and hang it on the wall, we will recognize the many parts it took to create.

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Upstairs Preschool

Thank you for attending parent-teacher conferences! If you feel that you still have more things you'd like to discuss, or any feedback, please feel free to email or call to chat or set up a time to talk.

There have been a couple of big changes with the change in weather – winter gear and starting inside every day. We start inside because otherwise the winter gear is wet when it's time to go out at 11:30am. So, our work time inside is longer, and we start clean-up and group time around 10:45am so that we have time to get ready for outside. Snow-pants, boots, etc. take time to get on. Our current routine is to have the clothes set up at “stations,” each led by an Extended Day child (older child) or teacher. The stations provide children with the space to get ready. As with going to the bathroom, changing, etc. we encourage the children to be independent. For example, if your child is still learning to put on snow-pants, we set the snow-pants up on the floor so that they are facing the correct direction, show him/her which leg to put in which pant leg, and then give the child the space to try and put them on by him/herself. Of course, along with encouraging independence, we also remain open to each child's abilities and feelings, so if he/she is reaching his or her “max” in trying, we stand close by to offer support.

This month, we finished reading all of the Nina Crews books (that Elena could find at the library:) and will move on to reading books about families, diversity, and wintertime.

Downstairs East Preschool

Happy holidays from Derek and Luz's class,

Thank you to everyone for taking the time out of your busy schedules to come in for parent/teacher conferences. It was great talking to you and sharing stories and observations about all these wonderful children.

I have mentioned a few times on the white board about labeling the children's clothing. Now that the weather is getting colder and we have to get 20 children ready to go outside, it is incredibly helpful to all the staff at school when the clothing is labeled.

Now that we are well into the school year and the children are used to being here, and used to all their classmates, I have changed one aspect of our classroom to help motivate the children towards more challenging activities. The dramatic play area will be available on Mondays, but for the rest of the week those materials will be put away. So far, so good. I have observed and worked with many children choosing activities that they sometimes have shied away from. I recently bought a book about music from the Basher Basic series. We will be introducing the different kinds of instruments and also music concepts like tempo, rhythm, and pitch to name a few. We will also be starting a North American woodland animals unit.

Extended Day (Kerri)

In the Extended Day class we have been focusing on measuring in math and recognizing the color words in language. Most of the children have now completed a measuring task in which they must measure with the unifix cubes and record their findings.

I have introduced a new poem into their poem books called "Color Bears" which introduces the colors with rhymes. We have been doing a color word matching work and then some color by number worksheets as well.

A parent requested the puzzle or sight words that we have been working on, so here is the list with the songs we have learned for each one. Hopefully your child can sing them with a little prompting.

  • To: "To is written with a t and then an o, to! 1o! (repeat) First a t..t...t...t..tee then an o..o..o..o. To is written with a t and then an o."

  • You: "Y..o..u spells Y...o..u spells yoodleeyou, yoodleeyou. (repeat) end with "yoodlee, yoodlee, you."

  • And: "I can spell a...n..d and. And is a word that I write with my hand. A..n..d, a..n..d niki niki noo. That's what I learned in my school, Mama."

  • Like: "I like you. You like me. I spell like l..i..k..e. With a great big hug and a kiss from you and me. I spell like l..i..k..e."

  • Me: "I can spell me. M..e, m...e. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me. m..e, m...e.

  • The: "T...h...e. T...h...e. I can spell the t...h...e."

Extended Day: Art with Phyllis

The children seem to be enjoying Art on Mondays! I introduce the artist and try to go back and review as much as I can in limited time, but if you can encourage your child to notice paintings by the artist, look up information on the internet, look at books or watch You Tube videos it would help them internalize it. I try to read or tell a story and share little facts that will help the children remember each artist and then introduce a project that would help them relate to the style of the artist. These are the artists that we have studied so far: Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Goldsworthy and Andy Warhol. Next week we will work on Piet Mondrain, and in January begin on the Impressionists, Pointillism and Post Impressionism. Some of the children have been asking to take their works of art home. In the spring we are going to make Art Portfolios which will contain all their art from the year and take it home at Graduation. If they did already take some home you can save them or bring them back and give them to Kerri. She will give them to me. Have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy your budding artists!

Afternoon Program Updates

We've been enjoying learning more about Switzerland and are excited to make our cheese fondue. The children will also enjoy eating and making Swiss muesli which originated in Switzerland in the 1900's. On our trip around the world the next stop will be Turkey. Pars and his family will be traveling to their home country of Turkey over winter break. When he returns we will start with the map and flag; we are all excited to see what Pars will share with us about his travels.

Parents are always welcome to join us for our Around the World activities in the afternoon program. If you would like to help or share any thing you can contact

Muesli Recipe

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups quinoa flakes
1 cup puffed amaranth
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup mulberries
½ cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup goji berries
½ cup dried tart cherries
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
pinch of sea salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until every ingredient is distributed in the mix.
Store in an airtight container, mason jars, or bags for later use at room temperature.
Pre-portion individual servings for quick on-the-go snacks or breakfasts (use about ½-1/3 cup for a serving).
Serve with almond milk, nut milks, cold or warm.

Family Connections Corner

Greetings from the Family Connections committee! We are MCH’s parent group focused on social events and fundraising, as well as enhancing parent and community communication. In the interest of improving our communication with all families, we are now including a brief update in each newsletter. If you want to know more details and/or get involved, please contact Ann Sydnor ( to be added to the committee email list.

Notable News:

· The first meeting of the MCH Parent Reading Group was held this month. The group had a great discussion on strategies to improve listening. They are planning to meet a few more times in 2016, so keep an eye out for future invites.

· Thank you to all parents who supported the fall fundraisers and drives: coffee/tea sales, Usborne book fair and winter coat drive. Your support is much appreciated!

· The Family Connections monthly meetings are now posted on the MCH calendar

on the website.

· The next meeting will be Thursday, Dec 10th at 7:30 pm at Barriques coffee shop on Monroe Street. Any and all are welcome to attend!

Family Connections Monthly Meeting

Thursday, Dec. 10th, 7:30pm

1825 Monroe Street

Madison, WI

Any and all welcome to attend!

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Parent Reminders

As the winter continues to creep up on us, please check your child's cubby to make sure they are properly outfitted to deal with the variety of winter weather possibilities. These should include:

  • hat
  • mittens/gloves
  • snow pants
  • coat
  • jacket/sweater
  • extra dry clothes
  • boots (both snow boots and rain boots)

Please, try to label these items immediately so that they are not lost in the shuffle. Each preschool classroom has about 20 children who have to be dressed for the outdoors each day, and many children have near identical boots/hats/coats/mittens, etc. If you are missing something from your child's cubby, check the lost and found box located in the front entryway.

Holiday Grace and Courtesy Ideas