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January 2016 Newsletter

Message from the Principal

Dear Merryhill Families,

With this new year upon us, it is easy to look forward with the excitement of what this year brings! However, I want to first extend my profound gratitude for the heartfelt gifts and kind wishes during this past holiday season. I know the teachers feel the same, as just knowing we were in your thoughts during this time dedicated to family and memories.

Now, looking ahead, we have so much excitement around the school with the news of construction. I appreciate all your support and feedback during this process! We appreciate your understanding that we are on a projected schedule, and we will keep you posted with any schedule changes if they arise.

In addition to all the physical changes of our building, our children have come back ready and eager for learning with the new year! This is the time of year where children have created a set of foundation skills that we will now catapult off of. We will be focusing on the essentials that make an academic experience so important. Sparks are flying with excitement as we introduce new skills that will continue to challenge the children’s developmental growth — cognitively, physically, and social/emotionally.

This year has already started in a whirl, but I want you to please keep an eye out for important up coming dates. We will be closed Monday, January 18th. Please mark your calendars for our President’s Day Closure on February 15th and our Professional Development Day on March 7th, which we will close the campus for.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about anything regarding the program or Merryhill, please feel free to reach me at your convenience via email or phone at 530-753-9210.

Jherica McEndree

Calendar of Events:

  • January 1: SCHOOL CLOSED
  • January 8: Cultural Study: Elvis Presley — Sock Hop: Wear Crazy Socks Today!
  • January 15: National Hat Day — Wear Your Favorite Hat!
  • January 18: School Closed: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Save the Dates:

  • February 15: School Closed: President’s Day
  • March 7: School Closed: Professional Development Day

News from Our Classrooms

Infant Classroom

 Hello Infant Parents!

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a great holiday. The month of January is going to be so much fun for our infants! The baby sign this month is “milk.” To sign “milk,” open and close your hand to resemble milking a cow. We have a few different activities planned for the infants. One will be musical containers. In this activity, we will be making shakers by filling empty cardboard containers with beans and letting the infants hear the sounds they make. Another activity is the sensory ball pit. In this activity, we will be filling a plastic container with balls and letting the infants play with them. And lastly we will be doing a nature sensory board. In this activity, we will glue leaves, pinecones, sticks, etc. onto a piece of cardboard and let the infants feel the different textures. There are plenty more activities that we will be doing with the infants throughout the month of January!

Don’t forget! The school will be closed January 1st and January 18th, 2016. January 8th is the Elvis Presley Sock Hop so make sure to dress your infant in crazy socks, and January 15th is National Hat Day so make sure to dress your infant in their favorite hat!

Have a great January!

Ms. Nati & Ms. Hayley

Toddler Classroom
We are very excited to bring in the month of January and celebrate the new year of 2016! Just a friendly reminder to all the parents that our school is closed Friday January 1st for New Years as well as the 18th for Martin Luther King Day. During this month we will be celebrating National Bird Day, Rubber Ducky Day, Hat Day, and Puzzle Day. The toddlers will be doing fun activities in honor of all these fun National Days.

In addition the toddlers will also be working on building their vocabulary, counting numbers, dancing to music, multi sensory art activities, as well as sharing with their friends.

We can’t wait to start this new month with the toddlers!

Ms. Kayla K. and Ms. Olga

Beginner 1 Classroom

Welcome to January 2016 with the Beginner 1 class. Happy New Year families, we hope you all had a wonderful holiday. This month the children will be focusing on some new and old skills. We will be reviewing skills such as pointing to and naming common colors, answering what, where and yes-no questions and listening to a five-minute story with pictures and verbalizing wants and needs. We will practice these skills along with some new skills such as understanding the number concept of 3, Listens to a story for an extended period of time, Understands big and little, starts to talk about emotions and uses a glue stick. We will practice these skills by doing various activities including reading many new books, comparing big and little objects, counting to three throughout the day and also doing counting activities that include three, reading a book about emotions and then practice making sad, happy and mad faces. These are just a few of the examples of some fun learning activities we will be doing to help the children master their skills of the month.

This month we will be reading some fun books that include The Snowy Day, The Mitten and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. During the week of the Snowy Day the children will explore in shaved ice (snow) using their hands. We will talk about how the snow feels on their hands and encourage the children to use descriptive words to describe how the snow feels on their hands. During the week of the mitten we will practice recognizing bog and little using nig and little mittens brought in by Ms. Kayla. We will play many fun learning games with these mittens including a matching game. During the week of Were Going on a Bear Hunt we will actually go on a bear hunt with the children around the school to find a stuffed bear hidden somewhere, while we go on our bear hunt we will look for clues to help guide the children to their bear but will also help them learn their colors.

A couple dates to remember are our school closure on January 18th Martin Luther King Day, January 19th Cultural study MLK. Last but not least, National Hat Day. so doesn’t forget to send your child in a fun hat!  A couple reminders, please make sure your child has a warm jacket so they can participate in outside times and lease make sure they have at least one extra set of clothes in their cubbies just in case of accidents.

Ms. Li and Ms. Francis

Beginner 2 Classroom
The Jolly Month of December has come to an end. This month we did so many fun & exciting activities, from making foam snow angels with a mixture of glue and shaving cream to incorporate with “The Snowy Day” and “The Mitten” We also enjoyed the Holiday gathering and the performance of “Must be Santa” and “Jingle Bells”. It was great to see all the sweet Beginners II faces happy to see Santa! It was a very joyful Month!

This month we have seen our friend’s independence grow so much from putting on their own jacket and verbalizing they need their jackets zipped. The children have also shown so much improvement with communicating their wants and needs with us including communicating with their friends by sharing and asking what they would like. We also have started using name tags during both circle times. The children are doing such a great job at recognizing their own name and also their friend’s names. We are so excited at how wonderfully our friends are becoming big boys and big girls by even using the potty, and quite a few friends are showing a lot of interest in using the potty. We ended such a happy Month with a Pajama/Christmas Party! It was a great way to end such a wonderful month. Thank you to all our friends who brought something for the party. We hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.

The New Year is here and we are ready to help our friends grow not only with their math skills, reading and writing but also with their independence. We are looking forward to a New Year .This Month we will be reading “The Day The Goose Got Loose “We’re going on a Bear Hunt and “Duck” We have so many fun activates to incorporate these books like going on an actual bear hunt & bringing in our favorite bears we have at home, we will even have all our friends pretend to read these books to us and their friends. Friday the 15th is National hat day so wear your favorite hat to school!! A special Holiday is this month, its Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday; school will be closed Monday the 18th. We will focus on different cultures for a week & learn about rainbows, combining different colored paints & how beautiful each & every one of us is. It’s a New Year & new Beginning especially for our Beginners II class, starting in January Ms. Mel is will only be with us for a short amount of time due to her growing baby.  We will all still get to start our mornings with Ms. Mel. She has been a Beginners II teacher for 2 years & will miss each & everyone her Beginners II students & families very much! We will be wishing her all the best & her new baby. It’s a New Year & has so many new & exciting things in store for our Beginners II friends.

Ms. Linda, Ms Amanda Ms. Jalisha
Intermediate Classroom

 First we would like to welcome a couple new friends tour classroom, Regina and Magdalena. We are looking forward to them joining in on the fun in the Intermediate classroom.

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We are excited to get back to the swing of things in our class and continue teaching our little friends. This month we will be having the children review past skills while we observe them to see if they have mastered the skills or if we still need to work on certain skills. Along with reviewing previous skills we will be introducing new skills that will include writing some numerals, names some basic 3D shapes, knows birth date, discusses an artist who uses animals in art and pinches tweezers or tongs to pick up small items. Our books this month will include The Quilt Story, Construction Trucks, The Many Shades of Us and Its Okay to Make Mistakes.

Some important dates to remember this month are January 15th is National Hat Day, please send your child in their favorite hat. We are closed January 18th in honor of Martin Luther King Day. January 29th National Puzzle Day where we will be making our own puzzles out of pictures of the children families. Please bring in a picture of your child by January 27th for this project.

With the wonderful updates happening soon in the school we would like to ask that the children refrain from bringing excess items to school such as backpacks. We will be sharing our room for the next couple months and need all the room we can get. If you have any questions about this please feel free to talk to us.

We are looking forward to another fun filled learning month with our friends.

Ms. Kayla & Ms. Stacy

Pre-Kindergarten 1

We cannot believe it is 2016! New Year new beginning and we are half way through the school year. This month of January, as we settle into a new year the teachers will be observing more with students’ progress in all developmental domains including their fine and gross motor skills. Many of our students are in the beginning and developing stage and we are striving to master those skills so they are well prepared. Pre k 1 teachers would like to point out that the students have been showing improvement with their social and emotional development. For instance the students have been more focused on staying on task, expressing themselves with their peers in acceptable ways, asking questions about unknown vocabulary, interacting and responding cooperatively to their teachers as well as their peers and problem solving on their own. And because we like to see our students become more independent we are happy to see the progress in their social and emotional development.

Some highlights for this month, the teachers will be introducing new materials; new cultural studies such as Martin Luther King Jr and Amadeus Mozart with that said, we will be doing activities in regards to what we teach during circle so students have a better understanding of the new materials. Since this month is National Soup Month we would like to have a soup test day on January 20th on Wednesday. We like to ask parents to bring their favorite traditional or nontraditional soup for students to enjoy and taste. We think it would be fun for the students to experiment and explore using their sense of taste to taste different kinds of soup especially because some students do not like to eat certain vegetables it would be interesting to see if they try it if it is being cooked different.

Important dates to remember this month; January 18th is Martin Luther King Jr. so the school will be closed on Monday. If you have any questions or want to know how well your child is doing please feel free to ask Ms. Beccah, Ms. Cristina, or Ms. Cindy we will be gladly to give an update.

Ms. Cristina, Ms. Cindy and Ms. Beccah

Pre-Kindergarten 2

Our Links to Learning Spanish curriculum this month will introduce new Enero (January) vocabulary: Mini poster was sent home in your child’s Links to Learning folders at the end of December. We will be focusing on learning how to say “el vapor (the steam), el agua (the water), and el hielo the ice. Along with the days of the week. Children will also be reviewing numerals 1-50.

As well as counting and identifying numbers in Spanish, we will also be concentrating on reviewing how to count by tens to 100 and counting by fives as well. We will also continue to add groups together and subtract objects to obtain a total. We need lots of practice in this particular area.

Something we have begun focusing more of our attention on now is geometry. Children have been introduced to three dimensional shapes: cone, cylinder, pyramid, cube and tetrahedron. We are learning to connect each shape with their correct name as well as how many sides and points each shape is made up of.

Our social emotional curriculum will introduce us to some new coping & managing behaviors this month, including: anger, disappointment and waiting. Some learning characteristics everyone could benefit from practicing! And the students are having a lot of fun with this particular curriculum. They especially enjoy puppet time and the fun sing along CD.

This winter children will be focusing on vowel sounds. We are mostly already familiar with the five vowels and understand that vowels help make up words. Our Letter Buddies curriculum we have been working with is a great way for children to practice isolating and blending letter sounds.

Our class continues to practice printing in their Journals daily. Sight words along with special topic words, such as: January, winter, cold, frost, etc. are some of the words your child will be practicing in their journals this month.

We continue to work as a class in our individual books every afternoon. Some of the activities include matching picture sounds to the correct constant letter, completing written words and identifying rhyming words.

Ms. Jill

From our Education Department

The Value of Visual Art Activities for Your Preschooler
Ed Pic

Visual art experiences help children develop skills such as critical thinking, self-expression, problem-solving, communication and collaboration. Our teachers focus on process-based art education, in which the experience of creating art is valued over the end product.

In our classrooms, teachers integrate art into many aspects of our Links to Learning curriculum. After reading a book about polar bears, teachers might ask students to create their own polar bears using sponges, paint, markers and paper. They encourage students to talk about their art, providing a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary, particularly words related to colors, shapes,textures, and emotions.

Our students are also exposed to and inspired by famous artwork. In order to cultivate that fascination, we discuss famous artists and art works and ask students to create replicas of well-known paintings and sculptures. For example, after learning about Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, teachers mimic the activity in the classroom. They tape paper underneath tables, and students practice painting a masterpiece while lying down.

Below are visual art activities you and your child can do at home, as well as recommended reading.
At Home:
• Provide your child with finger paint, a large piece of paper and a smock. Let him create a masterpiece. Talk about how the paint feels and what colors and shapes he creates on the paper.
• Start a journal with your child. Have him draw a picture of something that happened during the day. Avoid giving direction. Instead of saying “Draw a picture of your teacher and classmates,” encourage him to experiment using different colored markers or crayons. If age appropriate, ask your child to write a few words to describe the picture.
• Give your child a piece of paper and a box of crayons or markers. Show him how to use the materials to make dots, lines and swirls on the paper. Let him take over and have fun. Encourage conversation about your child’s art by saying, “Tell me about what you made” or “I see you used a lot of blue in your picture. Why did you choose that color?”
• Ask your child to decorate a sign for his bedroom door using various art materials. Have him write his name on the sign.
Recommended Reading:
• The Dot by Peter Reynolds
• Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
• Art by Patrick McDonnell
• Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
• Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

It is wonderful to share the joy that children naturally take in using art materials. Giving children extra opportunities to connect art to the world around them, contributes to happiness and future success in elementary school and beyond.

– Lauren Starnes, PhD – Director of Early Childhood Education

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