Happy New Year, Everyone! We hope you all had very happy holidays. Thank you to those of you who were able to make it into our classroom to share a special tradition or story last month!

THEMES: Throughout the past two weeks, we have been learning a great deal about winter. We’ve talked about hibernation, snowflakes, winter activities, and much more. We’ve made fake snow, had a math blizzard, played a mitten matching letter game, ate snow-cones, and even created snowmen out of boxes. After much discussion of winter, we’re all anxiously awaiting snowfall!

In response to the children’s overwhelming enthusiasm for all things related to snow, we will continue with a cold weather theme next week as we learn about Arctic and Antarctic animals and habitats!

BLOCK AREA: Block Area is an essential part of our classroom. During Free Choice time, children have the opportunity to enhance both their academic and social skills in a variety of ways in this area. Children are exposed to Literacy when they use street signs, look at maps, and recognize logos taped on blocks (i.e. Dairy Queen, Walmart, Sesame Street). They may also read picture books about building, become exposed to new vocabulary (i.e. “draw bridge”), or be motivated to use expressive language when describing what they’ve built. Math can be seen as children measure the height of their structures or count how many blocks they’ve used. They are also busy recognizing shapes of various blocks, exploring spatial relationships, and practicing sorting by size and shape as they clean up. Science too, is abundant in Block Area. Cause and effect are always naturally occurring as children test out new ideas and see what happens. Exploration of simple machines, such as ramps, is also often occurring. Block Area is a wonderful space for children to practice many important social skills, as well. Entering play, problem solving, and role playing are all imperative skills promoted by interactions with peers in this area. Block Area is much more than merely a place to play. It is a space for children to work through many academic and social ideas with their peers and to create valuable learning experiences.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Conferences will be held on Monday, January 30th and Tuesday January 31st. These conferences will be a time to review report cards, share portfolios, discuss your child’s progress, and talk about any concerns or questions you might have. Conferences will be twenty minutes in length. There is a sign-up sheet outside of our classroom door on the white board. Please sign up! Also, please make note: there will be no school on these two days. We will be very busy meeting with all of you! We look forward to seeing you!

REMINDERS: There is no school this Monday, January 16th due to the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Finally, please remember to send your child to school in clothing and outerwear appropriate for the weather. We will be going outside each day for up to thirty minutes (as long as the temperature is above twenty degrees by 11:00am). Hats, scarves, waterproof mittens, snow boots, and snow-pants are recommended. (The snow seems to last longer on the playground than in our yards, so please err on the side of caution and bring all of your child’s snow gear each day.) Also, we ask that you continue practicing self-help skills with your child and their outerwear at home. These self-help skills will translate into autonomy and self-confidence in the classroom.

As always, thank you so much!