The School for Young Children

Inquiring Minds March 2019

The School for Young Children at The University of Saint Joseph

From the Director, Sue O'Donnell

Last week Deidre, Ilyse and I attended a RULER conference sponsored by Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER provides children and adults with strategies to Recognize, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate their emotions. It was energizing to be with educators from schools throughout the State that are looking to help children better understand their emotions. We all left the day with new ideas that will be shared with SYC staff and children.

The staff at SYC has embraced RULER as a tool and mindset to help children navigate their emotions. Throughout the day teachers are helping children check into their emotional state. When we are able to help them reflect upon their emotions and label how they are feeling they are better able to express and regulate as they engage with peers and adults. The process of understanding one's own emotions lasts a lifetime. We hope to provide children with a number of tools and strategies to use before entering Kindergarten. These social skills are an important factor to children's success and autonomy in elementary school.

Rebekah Seaton has been a long term substitute this year in Room 4. She worked at SYC several years ago, left to explore other teaching opportunities and rejoined our staff in August. I am happy to share Rebekah will continue as a full time staff member next fall!

Save the date for our annual fundraising event on Saturday April 29. It is always a fun night for adults to get together while also supporting SYC. The money raised at the fundraiser allows us to provide additional enrichment activities that support our curriculum throughout the year. We hope to raise enough money to provide children with a music class and yoga twice each month. Michelle Russell will continue as our music teacher and Becca Bernard of WHY will share yoga with each class every other week.

Please consider soliciting a donation from your favorite restaurant, shop, spa or event venue. We are also looking for service donations such as preparing a meal for a dinner party. In the past vacation homes and time share rentals brought in high bids. Please see the PAC bulletin board near the main office for details on how to make your contribution. We appreciate all of the time, energy and ideas you might be able to provide to make this year's auction a success!! Thank You!!

Keefe Bruyette Symposium

On Monday March 11, 2019 SYC will host the 17th Annual Keefe Bruyette Symposium entitled, Investigations and Inquiry in Math and Science for Young Children. Educators from around the state will participate in 21 different workshops on math and science curriculum for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Brochures and registration forms are in the main office if you are interested. SYC will be closed on this day to allow staff to attend and participate in the Symposium.

Everyday Shapes

In our classroom the children learn about shapes in many daily activities. You can help children identify, create, name, and take apart shapes during your regular routines, activities, and discussions at home. Here are some ways to help your preschooler focus on what makes shapes alike and different.

On the road:

When you see a yield sign, point out that it has three sides. When you see a school crossing sign, invite your child to count the sides (there are five). Look for other shapes, such as rectangular doors and round manhole covers.

At home:

The recycling bin is full of things you can use to talk about two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. What shape is the paper towel roll? You’re right, it’s a cylinder. We flattened the cereal box so now it’s a 2-D shape. When it was still full of cereal, it was a 3-D shape. How would you describe the oatmeal container?

At the store:

Soup cans are cylinders. Oranges are spheres. What holds ice cream? An ice cream cone! You and your child can play a game while grocery shopping: How many different shapes can you find? Have your child help place items on the conveyor belt, then compare the items you’re buying. The cheese and the bag of carrots are both orange. Which one is shorter? We got a watermelon and a kiwi. How are they alike? How are they different?

Making shapes:

Provide playdough (find a simple recipe online) and tools your child can use to make all kinds of shapes. Your child can turn a long rolled snake into a square or a triangle. Count the sides together. Next your child can make a ball— or in math terms, a sphere.

NAEYC: Message in a Backpack

Please Note SYC will be closed March 11 for the Keefe-Bruyette Symposium

Events Coming Up!

PAC Meeting

Wednesday, March 6th, 7-8pm

SYC Conference Room

Family Story Time with Miss Ellen

Friday, March 29th, 6:30-7:30pm

1678 Asylum Avenue

West Hartford, CT

SYC families are invited to an evening story time with Miss Ellen from the West Hartford Public Library. Wear your jammies and bring a blanket or pillow to sit on.

This event will be held at The University of Saint Joseph, Mercy Hall in the Crystal Room.

SYC Summer Camp!

Summer Camp brochures and registration forms have been put in your child's picture pocket! Please check out our 4 Camp sessions and return your forms to Jackie Sanderson. Space is limited and is on a first come-first served basis. Extra brochures and forms are in the main office.

See Jackie or give her a call with any questions, 860.231.5581

SYC Resource Room

Did you know that the Resource Room has a lending library of books for adults? We have resources for parents as well as novels. Feel free to browse and borrow a book or two!


Our Wishing Stars project is coming to a close. Thank you to all the families that have taken stars and fulfilled the wishes of the classroom teachers. These items will enrich the classroom experience for all of our children.

A big thank you to all of the parents who volunteered to assist Paul Cryan in making our kids look their best again this year.

A reminder that Preschool and Backpack will be closed Monday, March 11 for the Keefe-Bruyette Symposium Staff Development Day.

March 29 will be an evening story time at SYC. Join your preschool pals and their families for stories and some fun activities led by Miss Ellen, a West Hartford Public Librarian. Pajamas are encouraged! More details to follow.

Please save the date of Sunday May 19 at 1:05pm for an SYC at the Yardgoats game. Spend the afternoon at the ballpark with friends and family from SYC. Tickets are $13. Please look for a flyer on your child's mailbox as well as an electronic copy later this month.

The SYC Auction planning is officially underway! Save the date for "Spring Fling" on Saturday April 27 at 6:30pm at SYC. Enjoy an adults only evening to eat, drink, and bid! To make the night a success, we need your help to build up this year's silent and live auction supply! There are tags on the PAC bulletin board with ideas of donations to solicit from local businesses. Pleas grab a tag and sign up! Blank donation forms and Auction letters (with tax ID info) are on the bulletin board and were distributed in your child's mailbox. Keep an eye out for communication from your Room pals regarding your classrooms raffle basket. Thank you to everyone who has already been hard at work to make the night great!

The next PAC meetings are scheduled for March 6 at 7pm as well as April 3 at 7pm. As always, everyone is encouraged to attend!

Melissa Bowman & Stephanie Dominello, Co-Chairs

Big picture

Coming Up..

  • March 11: Keefe-Bruyette Symposium, SYC Closed: No Backpack or Preschool
  • April 3: PAC Meeting, 7-8pm
  • April 8-12: Vacation Week: No Preschool, Backpack Open
  • April 19: Good Friday: SYC Backpack, Preschool Classes and Office are CLOSED
  • April 27: Annual SYC Fundraiser 6:30pm

The School for Young Children at The University of Saint Joesph