The Nursery News Letter from Elise Hansen

The Nursery News
A Newsletter from Winnetka Community Nursery School
December-January 2011/2012
Letter from Elise Hansen
Important Dates Simplicity in the Midst of the
negotiation that go into the building
process. As adults, we offer vocabulary
for the mathematical and logical
processes that children are working
through, as well as some language
As I watch your children building
examples for working through the social
with simple building blocks I am in
December 14-16
interactions with others.
Holiday Gatherings awe of the ingenuity and balance
“I see you are connecting the straight
with which they explore. With
paths with a curved block that you have
December 19-30
patience and perseverance they sort,
balanced on a sturdy base,” and “I
stack, connect and push the limits
noticed that Johnny and Mary are
(winter break)
of engineering and architecture.
helping build the tower by passing more
There are horizontal block paths
January 3
blocks to you.”
that resemble roads, tracks and
School reopens
Consider gifting your child wooden
trails. I have walked across their
blocks or a box of dominoes to build or
flat block structures and have been
January 20
play with for your child. The play
told that I am on a raft or a lakeside
Prospective board
possibilities are endless when children
fishing dock. I have peered into the
member coffee
have open-ended materials like building
9:15am, Robin
block caves, dens and spaceship
blocks. Children are able to use their
Scheier’s home,
structures only to find children’s
imaginations and practice their
1025 Ash
eyes peering back out at me, their
problem-solving skills when we provide
faces beaming with smiles and
even the simplest of materials. Dedicate
January 23-26
explanations of glee. I have
time for this activity as part of the gift in
Younger 2’s &
navigated around tall towers and
the form of a coupon. We use many
skyscrapers while noticing the
2’s conferences
different types of blocks at WCNS.
concentration on children’s faces as
Please ask us if you are looking for
they compare and configure
January 27
blocks that we use in the classrooms.
methods to reach greater heights.
1st Installment of
And, please let us know when you find
There are times when the blocks
tuition for 2012blocks that we should use.
topple and tip over and the children
2013 due
experience reactions of mixed
Warm Regards, Elise Hansen
January 27
emotion. As adults, we listen,
Summer Camp
acknowledge their reactions and
Children are learning: Social and
feelings and offer them time and
emotional skills, spatial awareness, eye8:45-11am
space to build it over again. It’s
hand coordination, mathematical and
interesting to observe whether or
logical thinking processes, imaginative
Happy Birthday
not they try the same methods or if
and dramatic play experience.
they try a new strategy. When more
Elise Hansen
than one child is working on the
Source: Hirsh, Elizabeth, The Block Book, 1996,
same building project there are
NAEYC, Washington, D.C.
elements of cooperation and
December 16
Deadline for Grand
Receipts Classroom Dear Families,
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 1
WCNS News and Information
From the Office
The Alliance for Early Childhood, Teacher Tribute
Winnetka Community Nursery School families each receive a newsletter from The Alliance for
Early Childhood through our school membership. We are happy to distribute this informational
resource to you twice a year. As educators, we use The Alliance as a resource for speakers,
training events, and articles and also for professional networking with our colleagues in the area.
Parents will find the recently redesigned website to be a great resource
for information about schools, programs, parenting articles, and a calendar of events including
information about Screen Break, formerly known as T.V. Tune Out. (*see drawing contest and
support forms on page 11 & 12)
Please consider honoring a special educator in your child’s life by giving a $75 Teacher Tribute
donation to The Alliance in the name of the teacher. Our school will send all of our teachers to
The Alliance for Early Childhood’s 22nd Annual Networking Dinner on January 26th where
teachers will be recognized for this honor.
Join Us For Classroom Holiday Gatherings
On your child’s last day of class before winter break we will gather together to sing songs, share
stories and enjoy a holiday snack (WCNS will provide the refreshments). We invite parents,
grandparents or caretakers to join us for the festivities.
Room 1 TTh: Thursday, December 15, 10:15-11:15AM
Room 1 MWF: Friday, December 16, 10:15-11:15AM
Room 2: Friday, December 16, 10:15-11:15AM
Room 3: Friday, December 16, 10:15-11:15AM
Room 4 MW: Wednesday, December 14, 10:15-11:15AM
Room 4 TThF: Friday, December 16, 10:15-11:15AM
Splendid Day: Thursday, December 15, 3:30-4:30PM for all days.
Morning classes: Children come to school as usual at 8:45. Family members are invited to join
their children at 10:15 for the gathering.
Splendid Day: All family members are welcome to join the gathering of all classes on Thursday.
Class meets regularly on Friday.
Working Together During Cold and Flu Season
Please help us ensure a healthy environment for our children and our teachers. We ask that you
use good judgment and please do not send a sick or overtired child to school. If your child is not
feeling well, or seems cranky, we recommend keeping your child at home the entire day to see if
further symptoms develop. Remember when a child’s resistance is low; he/she is more
susceptible to illness. Please remember to help your child wash their hands thoroughly when
entering the classroom. We want everyone to have a healthy start to the day. Thank you for your
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 2
WCNS News and Information
From the Office
Preparing Your Child for the Cold Weather
Please remember to dress your child in a hat, mittens and warm shoes or boots every day. As the
temperature drops even lower, insulated snow pants are recommended. It is always a good idea
to send your child to school in layers as it is easier to take them off if they get too warm. Make
sure your child has a pair of slippers at school to change into when the weathers gets damp,
muddy, slushy and snowy! We plan on enjoying the outdoor weather and all it offers every day.
WCNS Parent Emails- Are You Getting Yours?
WCNS continues to try to reduce waste by communicating electronically with parents. The
Nursery News and Classroom Newsletters as well as weekly email blasts are all being distributed
to email addresses that parents submitted to the school during Registration. If you have not
been receiving these emails, please read the suggestions below:
• Check your JUNK FOLDER-the emails may be accumulating in there.
• Review the SPAM Guard settings you have established with your email service provider.
Make sure you have directed your email server to accept email from Winnetka Community
Nursery School ([email protected]) into your INBOX.
If you have any questions or want to update your email address, please contact Kendal Reis at
[email protected]
Winnetka Community Nursery School Students
“Lend a Hand” to Celebrate Community House’s 100th Anniversary
This winter, WCNS students will help celebrate Winnetka Community House’s 100th Anniversary
by painting one of the 43 stars that will be on display next summer throughout Winnetka. The
Star Art program, similar to Chicago’s famous Cows on Parade, was initiated last fall in an
effort to announce and commemorate WCH’s historic year-long celebration.
The three-dimensional pieces (fiberglass sculptures) are to be painted by a variety of local artists.
A public unveiling will take place at the Centennial Gala on Saturday, May 19, 2012 and then
the Stars will be displayed throughout the Village of Winnetka during the summer of 2012.
Lastly, the Stars will be auctioned off at the Centennial Closing Event on November 2, 2012.
For more information, contact Director of Development Alana Flatley @ (847) 881-9316.
Baby News
Parson Wood (Room 1, Tu/Thu) welcomed a new baby sister, Kate.
Samantha Blaine, (Room 4 M/W) welcomed a new baby brother, Gavin.
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 3
WCNS News and Information
From the Board of Directors
A Letter From Amy Day, President, WCNS Board of Directors
No matter what holidays you celebrate or your family traditions, the true meaning of the holiday
season is easy to see at Winnekta Community Nursery School. We have so much for which we can
be thankful and celebrate.
Our school is greatly enhanced by our parents’ involvement, from volunteering in the classroom to
organizing special events and fundraising efforts for the school. I’d like to thank some members of
our Board of Directors who have worked on some recent events:
Erika Schmitt and Heather Boulanger did a great job organizing our annual Book & Toy Fair and
so many others volunteered to work a few hours. This event raises funds for the school and also
helps build our reputation within the community.
Thank you to all who supported the HomeMade Pizza Co. fundraiser that was organized by KC
Simon and Liz Smylie. What a delicious way to raise more than $500 for our school.
Katie Flanigan put together a memorable PJ Storytime where children were able to hear their
favorite teachers read a bedtime story, have a snack, and make a bookmark. Thank you also to all
the teachers and parents who volunteered their time at this event.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the growing pile of pajamas in the lobby. Katie Hahn also has organized
this drive to benefit the Pajama Project. This was a great opportunity to help your children learn
the joy of giving to those who are less fortunate. (I know, easier said than done for a preschooler,
but you have to start somewhere, right?).
And behind the scenes there are so many other members of our Board who play a vital role in the
day-to-day management of this school our school. From public relations to payroll to the Children’s
Fair. We are all thankful for those that volunteer their time to make this school so special.
If you are interested in joining the Board, please plan to attend our Prospective Board Member
coffee at 9:15 am on Friday, January 20 at the home of Robin Scheier, 1025 Ash Street, Winnetka.
If you cannot attend but are interested in joining, please contact Robin ([email protected],
Finally, please mark your calendars for the 2012 Parent Party and School Benefit on Saturday,
February 4 at Skokie Country Club. Surely the luau theme will be a warm respite as we make our
way through the cold winter months. This is a great opportunity to support the school and have a
fun night out with other school parents. The event will include cocktails, dinner, casino, silent and
live auctions and luau festivities. Thanks to Dominique Birchmeier and Debbie Kruse, who are
organizing this event.
I wish you the best during the holiday season. Have a wonderful winter break and a festive new
Warmest wishes,
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 4
WCNS News and Information
From the Board of Directors
2012 Winnetka Children’s Fair Sponsors Needed
We are currently soliciting sponsors for the 2012 Winnetka Children's Fair. If you personally
or any of your community, business or corporate contacts might be interested in supporting
the Fair, please contact Natalie Todd ([email protected]). Sponsorships can include
contributions of cash, goods or services and provide great exposure to families from Winnetka
and neighboring communities.
Prospective Board Member Coffee
Have you been thinking of joining the Winnetka Community Nursery School Board? Please join
us for a coffee at 1025 Ash St. in Winnetka on January 20 at 9:15am.
It's a great opportunity to learn more about the board and meet some new friendly faces.
Everyone is welcome. Any questions, please contact Robin Scheier, [email protected]
Summer Camp Registration Begins in January
Winter is here but don’t worry … WCNS Summer Camp is near! Registration begins January 27,
from 8:45-11am. Summer Camp starts June 11 and will run for seven weeks. Our trained
educators, who embrace the relaxed season of summer, will provide opportunities for the
children to enjoy and explore our indoor and outdoor spaces in many new and fun ways. The
summer weeks will be spent with sprinklers, sand, water play and picnic snacks. There will be a
thematic focus each week and special guests to excite and entertain the children. Don’t miss a
chance to secure a spot for your child in this dynamic program! Enrollment will be honored on a
first come first served basis and is open to children ages 2.5 to 5 years. Any questions, please
contact Jessica Fleming at (847) 830-0578 or [email protected]
The Grand Challenge
The Grand graciously donates 3% of your pretax grocery bills to WCNS, so gather those receipts
and put them in the envelope outside your child's classroom. Don't delay -- the race is on
between now and December 16 to help your child’s class earn a $100 gift card from Target to
purchase classroom supplies. The class with the highest dollar amount collected wins the gift
card that was generously donated by the White Family.
For more information or questions about The Grand receipt program contact Lucie White
([email protected] or 847-386-6217).
WCNS December-January 2011/12
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WCNS Early Childhood Education
Social Emotional Insight, by Elise Hansen
When parents initially tour our school they are always impressed with our outdoor play space.
Wrapping around the corner of our school and a just a step outside every classroom door there are
areas for large motor development, imaginative play, socialization and nature discovery on our
playground. Individuals find space to wonder and small groups find areas to collaborate on projects
such as sand roads, wood chip restaurants and fence murals. There’s space for art, music and
drama. The sand areas resemble a flowing dry streambed and the climbing structures look like
forest tree houses. For more information on how our playground was designed see WCNS
playground article:
The excitement and fascination goes deeper when the playground is experienced by our children.
WCNS children become vested in the outdoor play space because they explore the playground. A
true tour of our school involves children showing how we use the playground not just telling a
perspective parent about the playground.
The real value of outdoor play is derived through striking
a balance between an outdoor learning environment
and an area for the sheer fun of moving.-Claire Warden
As a staff, one of our goals is to help parents understand why outside play is so important. We
consider our playground to be an outdoor classroom and an extension of how we teach and learn.
In the outdoors children are learning how to use space and how to work with others around them.
Children are able to explore without worrying about messes and they are able to create using
natural materials. Open space is ideal for some learners and challenging for others. Through
observations teachers, as well as parents, are able to notice the children that benefit from outdoor
play and those children that need additional help finding interests when outside. Our teachers
guide, support and inspire our outdoor philosophy. We notice that supportive attitudes and
acceptance for exploring outdoors leads to children’s motivation, learning and discovery. This
support is evident from the time parents tour our school and ask questions about our outdoor
curriculum to the time families reflect on their experience at WCNS.
Recently, we decided to move our water/sand table directly into one of our sand areas. We noticed
that not all children like to sit in the sand to dig and play. We were hoping that additional children
would discover sand play and join in if we provided the sand experience in a comfortable setting,
much like the indoor lobby sand table. We’re watching to see if this makes a difference.
As an early childhood educator and parent, I’m interested in research and resources for outdoor
play and nature. I’ve included some of my frequent resources. (See Page 10 for resources.)
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 6
WCNS Early Childhood Education
Parent Resources--Try This at Home, by Elise Hansen
Play-date Pie Recipe
Children are learning: Social Experience/ Math & Logic/ Pre-Literacy/ Dramatic
Play/ Eye-hand coordination
Time needed: 60 to 90 minutes
Prep: Arrange for one other mom and her children to come over for coffee and a
snack play-date. On a piece of paper draw a circle and divide it into 6 wedge
shapes. Label the wedges: Cooking, Drawing, Fort, Story time, Snack,
Goodbye time. This is the Play-date Pie plan. Hang this up on your refrigerator
for the play-date. Explain the plan to your child using this diagram. During the
play date each section of the plan should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Gather: snack ingredients, a new library book, a table cloth, a box of crayons
and some drawing paper, a few toy vehicles (2 per person is enough) and a
minute timer.
• Oreo cookies (substitute: vanilla wafers or graham crackers)
• Ziplock plastic bags to crush cookies in
• 1 package Instant pudding mix & milk, as per package directions
(substitute yogurt)
• plastic shaking bottle with lid
• Rediwhip canned whipped cream (any variety, this is optional)
• Small disposable cups and spoons (one per person)
When the play-date friends arrive invite them into your kitchen to prepare the
snack for later.
• First, crush Oreo cookies in the Ziplock bags and pour the crumbs into
small plastic disposable cups filling them about one third of the way full.
• Next mix pudding and milk into the plastic bottle, secure the lid and
pass it around to all of the children to take turns shaking the bottle. The
pudding should be thoroughly mixed after everyone has taken a turn to
shake the bottle.
• Carefully pour the pudding over the cookie crumbs in each cup. Each
cup will be like a mini cream pie.
• Set the pudding/cookie cups in the refrigerator to cool. Set the minute
timer for 30 or 45 minutes.
WCNS December-January 2011/12
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WCNS Early Childhood Education
Parent Resources-Try This at Home, by Elise Hansen (cont.)
• Take out the crayons and paper and have the children draw a picture of
the cookie cups or scribble marks. Each mom should help with this
activity. Perhaps you could use these pictures as placemats later?
• On another piece of paper have the children draw a road or train tracks.
Could the road be a map of how to get from one child’s house to the other?
• Ask the children to pick out a toy vehicle that you have set aside for this
play date. Show the children how to drive their toy vehicle on the road
map and let them be the drivers.
• Take the table cloth out and throw it over a low table or over a couple of
chairs to create a fort.
• Invite the children to drive their vehicles into the fort.
Ideally, this is “Mom Time” so spend a few minutes to catch up with each other.
Stay close by the children in their fort since 2’s and 3’s need full support as
they learn to socialize. Remember that 4’s and 5’s are constantly learning to
negotiate so they need adult support, too.
When the minute timer rings, it’s time to get the snack ready. While you set the
table and get the snack ready ask the other mom to read the new library book.
After the story is over, invite everyone to gather at the table for the snack.
Everyone should sit at the table together for this snack time. Adults are
modeling good table manners and helping children learn to socialize. When
snack is over clear the dishes and clean-up.
Exchange thank you words and good-bye’s. Remember, adults are modeling
behavior again.
Please keep these visits short and successful. With practice and patience, you
will know when your children are ready for longer play dates.
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 8
WCNS Early Childhood Education
Parent Resources-Book Ideas
Favorite books--a long list for winter reading…
Little Hoot
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse
Snow Moon
Brunelle, Nicholas
The Napping House
And Other Storybook Classics
(Pre-loaded Audiobook - 2009)
Bedtime for Bear
Helquist, Brett
Snow Play
How to Make Forts & Slides & Winter Campfires, plus the Coolest Loch Ness Monster and 23
Other Brrrilliant Projects in the Snow
Ralston, Birgitta (Book - 2010)
If You Take A Mouse to the Movies
Numeroff, Laura Joffe
When the Snow Comes
Allen, Jonathan
Little Otter's Big Journey
Bedford, David
Winter Lights
A Season in Poems & Quilts
Hines, Anna Grossnickle
WCNS December-January 2011/12
Page 9
WCNS Early Childhood Education
Parent Resources-Outdoor Play & Nature
(from pg. 6)
World Forum
Mindstretchers, Ltd.
Children in Nature Collaborative
Children and Nature Network
News of Norway, click on The Littlest Norwegians
Kohl Children’s Museum outside exhibit
Heller Nature Center events
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
The Alliance For Early Childhood Let’s Play Initiative
WCNS December-January 2011/12
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WCNS December-January 2011/12
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