From the Principal’s Office
Dear Merryhill Families,
I always find myself in a place of reflection when it comes to these newsletters, and the overwhelmingly consistent emotion that arises is gratefulness. I truly am in a remarkable position, and I owe an immense amount of that feeling to the Merryhill Davis community that we have created over the years. I look ahead and find myself excited about the upcoming family events, including a GRAND REOPENING EVENT on March 12th! We are inviting all families, past and current, throughout the community to come and experience the changes made to our amazing school, which has impacted lives in this community since 1988!
You all have been so amazing during this transition period from old to new! I know that change is hard — easier for some than others. So, thank you for your patience and confidence in the process and entrusting us to provide care for your child. I am so impressed with the resiliency displaced by our students and staff, as they are truly the ones most impacted during this transitional phase.
I also find myself looking ahead at this school year, realizing it is well into its last half of the year. For some of you, that means buckling down and deciding on Kindergarten placement, while others are looking at re-registration for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year (so weird to say!). Priority Registration is here! It is time to register for the 2016-2017 school year. I would like to remind you that our school is currently full and we anticipate full enrollment for the upcoming school year, so it is very important to register early to reserve your child’s spot. Registration information will be placed in your sign in sheets on February 22nd. If you do not receive your registration information, please see Jherica or Samantha.
As a reminder, Merryhill will be closed on Monday, February 15th in observance of President’s Day. Please also mark your calendars for Monday, March 7th, as we will be closed for a district wide Professional Development Day. This is a day where our teachers will receive personalized training on their specific age groups that will assist them in better managing their classrooms, current trends in the field of Early Childhood Education, and other fun techniques to implement into their classes.
Soccer also starts up again this month. Please check http://www.minikickersoccer.com for space availability. Spaces are limited!
Kids in Motion has also had a couple of positions come available in the class, which is extremely rare! If you are in the Beginner 2 or Intermediate classrooms, please be sure to ask about this opportunity before classes fill up again!
Also, tax season is drawing near. If you need information for your taxes or flexible spending accounts, please feel free to email me or touch base in person, and we would be happy to provide you with the necessary documents.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
Dates to Remember
2/2 Groundhog Day
2/8 Chinese New Year
2/12 Valentine’s Day Celebrations
2/15 President’s Day – SCHOOL CLOSED
2/19 Soccer Starts with MiniKickers (Sign Up Today!)
2/22 Priority Registration Begins!
2/24 Equal Exchange Fundraiser Orders Due!
3/4 Priority Registration Ends!
3/7 Professional Development Day – SCHOOL CLOSED
Priority Registration for our upcoming 2016-2017 school year will begin on February 22nd and will end on Friday, March 4th. It will be important for you to register early to reserve your child’s spot for next year. By registering early, you will save $50 off the returning registration fee of $140. Registration will be $90 during the Priority Registration period. After that time, the returning registration fee will be $140. Merryhill is your investment in your child’s future, so register early and save your child’s spot!
Please be aware that although you have until March 4th to register at the discounted registration rate, we will continue to register new students to Merryhill. The sooner you turn in your registration materials to us, the sooner your child will be placed on a class list. Our school is consistently full, and we want to make sure that all of our existing students have a spot, so I urge you to register as soon as possible.
Grand Re-Opening & Open House Event ~ Saturday, March 12, 2016 (10:00 — 1:00 PM)
We are so proud of how our new and improved school looks, and we want to give you the opportunity to take it all in! We invite the entire community current and alumni families throughout the Davis community to come and join us in this celebration of past and future! We are so excited to open our doors to the community who has supported us since 1988! This wouldn’t be possible without you all!
From the Education Department
Helping Your Preschooler Develop Positive Friendship Skills
Are you puzzled by some of your child’s social behaviors? Have you noticed that your toddler doesn’t interact with other children very often? Does your three-year-old get frustrated when a classmate won’t play with him? Will your four-year-old only play with her best friend?
These are all normal social behaviors for preschoolers. Learning how to develop friendships is a lifelong process. Children’s social behaviors evolve from smiling and cooing at others, to engaging in parallel play, to eventually forming friendships and playing together.
Below are ways we help develop friendships in the classroom, as well as ideas for you and your child to do at home.
In the classroom: Before they can communicate verbally, infants build connections by smiling, cooing and crying. By two months old, they might turn toward other infants, and by twelve months, they begin to imitate their peers. Teachers help facilitate this relationship by sitting infants near each other during activities such as story time and tummy time.
At home: Even though infants don’t really play with one another, they still benefit from “play dates” with other infants. Sit your infant face-to-face with another infant or in close proximity to an older sibling, and provide each child separate toys. Note when your infant watches the other child and what captures his attention.
Recommended reading: Friends by Helen Oxenbury and Let’s Play by Leo Lionni
TODDLERS (ages 1-2):
In the classroom: Many young children tend to engage in “parallel play.” They play near other children, but each child is doing something different. This is a natural phase of development. As children get older, they begin to enjoy more shared activities with their peers. For example, they might enjoy splashing their hands at the water table with others, looking at books while sitting close to a friend, and dancing to music with their classmates.
At home: Invite another parent and child to your home for a play date. Blocks, balls, dress up clothes and toy kitchen sets are great toys for children at this age. Don’t force them to play with each other. Instead, let the children decide on the level of interaction.
Recommended reading: Do You Want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle and I Can Share by Karen Katz
BEGINNERS (ages 2-3):
In the classroom: In the Beginner classroom, teachers refer to classmates as “friends.” Students learn about personal space and begin to practice good manners by saying please and thank you.
At home: Model positive behaviors while playing with your child. Say “I’m going to roll the ball to you. Can you please roll the ball back to me?” Afterward, say “Thank you. You are being a good friend.”
Recommended reading: How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? by Jane Yolen and Let’s be Friends by P. K. Hallinan
INTERMEDIATES (ages 3-4):
In the classroom: Between ages three and four, children attempt to understand social situations, but often do so from an egocentric point of view. They need adult guidance to help them navigate peer conflict and model appropriate friendship-making behaviors. Small group activities help children learn how to follow directions, take turns and develop friendships.
At home: Ask your child about their friends and what games they played together. If he says, “Andrew didn’t play with me today. He’s mean,” you could say, “Andrew may have wanted to play a different game today. Maybe you can play together tomorrow. What does Andrew like to play?”
Recommended reading: Just My Friend and Me by Mercer Mayer and Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney
PRE-K/PRE-K2 (ages 4-5)
In the classroom: Friendship in Pre-K and Pre-K2 is usually reciprocal and deliberate as children become more skilled in social interactions and look for peers with shared interests. Our character education program reinforces friendship making skills using songs, games, books and brain-builder activities to nurture skills such as collaboration, understanding feelings and resolving conflicts.
At home: Bring your child to events that include multiple children, such as birthday parties, or encourage your child to play a board game that requires multiple players. Ask him to introduce himself to the other children, or encourage him to play the game taking turns. If you notice frustration from your child, say, “In order to play the game, we all have to play together.”
Recommended reading: Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel and A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom
Don’t be concerned about the number of friends your child has, as it is more about quality than quantity. Each child will develop friendships at his own pace. What matters most is the development of social skills such as collaboration and problem-solving, which will help him transition into elementary school and beyond.
– Lauren Starnes, PhD – Director of Early Childhood Education