Everyone is invited to Westminster’s Annual Art Show on Tuesday, April 4th from 6:30-7:30 P.M.
Developmental Benefits of Art
Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. Many preschool programs emphasize the use of scissors because it develops the dexterity children will need for writing.
Language Development: For very young children, making art—or just talking about it—provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions. When toddlers are as young as a year old, parents can do simple activities such as crumpling up paper and calling it a “ball.” By elementary school, students can use descriptive words to discuss their own creations or to talk about what feelings are elicited when they see different styles of artwork.
Decision Making: According to a report by Americans for the Arts, art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life. “If they are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas, then creativity has a chance to blossom,” says MaryAnn Kohl, an arts educator and author of numerous books about children’s art education.
Visual Learning: Drawing, sculpting with clay and threading beads on a string all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. Even toddlers know how to operate a smart phone or tablet, which means that even before they can read, kids are taking in visual information. This information consists of cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television.
Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”
Cultural Awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. “If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, texture of the hair,” says Freedman. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.
Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
Spring Enrichment Camp (New Format)
WNS will again be offering Spring Camp for all enrolled children. Spring Enrichment Camp is scheduled for June 5-9 and June 12-16. Each session runs for five mornings (9:00-11:30). A separate flyer and registration form with additional information will be sent home at the end of April. Enrollment is limited and children may be signed up for either week. If space permits, children may be enrolled for both weeks. Because of fire regulations, WNS is no longer able to decorate in the extravagant way it has in the past.
Learning About our Community
During the month of April, WNS classes will talk about their community. Field trips for our four-year-old classes to the Berkeley Heights Post Office, the Berkeley Heights Fire Department, and Kings grocery store are being scheduled for May. We are also scheduling a visit by the Berkeley Heights Police Dept. to the nursery school. Please check the classroom doors for the dates your child’s class will be taking their trips and to sign the permission slip.
Mother’s Day Brunches
Our annual Mother’s Day brunches will be held Tuesday, May 9th at 9:15 AM for the Tuesday/Thursday classes and Mrs. Losada’s 4/5 day 4’s class; and Friday, May 12th at 9:15 AM for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. Catering, entertainment and gifts will be provided by your children. If Mom cannot attend, you are more than welcome to make arrangements for another special person to attend. We expect the “brunch” to last for 30-40 minutes.
Our annual Field Day for the 4’s and three day 3’s classes will take place on Wednesday morning, April 26th (rain date of May 10th). Our movement teacher, Mrs. Gonzalez, coordinates this event. In order for all of the activities to run smoothly, we need a number of parent volunteers. Check your calendars to see if you are available. Class mothers will be contacting parents in their classes to obtain volunteers.
April 4th - Art Show
April 10th through 17th - School Closed for Spring Break
April 24th and 25th - Wear Yellow Days
April 26th - Field Day
“Children will act out to provoke their parents to responsible action” Alfred Adler, Child Psychologist
Art Show - Mark Your Calendars
Our annual Art Show will be held on Tuesday evening, April 4th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. All of our WNS children will have artwork on display. The show is a time for our children to bring their moms, dads, siblings, grandmas, grandpas and anyone else who is important in their lives to show off their creations. Refreshments will be served. A sign-up sheet will be posted outside each classroom door for parents willing to provide cookies for this occasion. The children take this exhibit very seriously and are quite proud of their masterpieces. Please plan to join us.
A Visit from the Dentist
In February, all of the children enjoyed a visit from Pearly Whites of Berkeley Heights. They talked about the importance of taking care of our teeth, brushing our teeth (twice a day), and what kinds of foods are not good for our teeth (sticky and sugary). The children came home with a new toothbrush and toothpaste.
Spring Enrichment Camp (New Format)
WNS will again be offering Spring Camp for all enrolled children. Spring Enrichment Camp is scheduled for June 5-9 and June 12-16. Each session runs for five mornings (9:00-11:30). A separate flyer and registration form with additional information will be sent home at a later date. Enrollment is limited and children may be signed up for either week. If space permits, children may be enrolled for both weeks. Because of fire regulations, WNS is no longer able to decorate in the extravagant way it has in the past.
Tuesday, March 7th - School Closed for Staff In-Service (the staff will be attending a conference with other area pre-school teachers)
Monday - Friday, March 13th - 17th - Music Week
Thursday and Friday, March 16th and 17th - Wear Green Days
Give Back Days
Berkeley Heights Board of Education has proposed 4 “Give Back” days to use to close school if there are no further snow days. They are as follows in order: Monday, 4/17, Friday, 5/26, Tuesday, 5/30 and Friday, 6/16. WNS will also close these days.
“One of today’s biggest problems with the increase in technology is the decrease in dialogue and human interactive communication.”
Thank you to all for your time during conferences. Years of research demonstrate that family involvement in education can lead to positive benefits for children and youth, such as increased school attendance, higher academic performance, and improved attitudes about school. It also improves school readiness, student achievement, and social skills.
RESCHEDULED Visit with MKM Principal
Mrs. Annie Corley-Hand, principal of the Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center in Berkeley Heights, will visit Westminster on February 15th to talk with parents about topics of concern regarding the Berkeley Heights kindergarten program. All parents (not just those whose children will be attending Kindergarten next year) are encouraged to attend.
Dental Health Month
Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Westminster will have visits on February 16th and 22nd from Pearly Whites. The children will learn about taking care of their teeth. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
What would February be without Valentine’s Day! February is about a lot more than just saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” February is the perfect time to talk with young children about feelings, especially the love they have for the very special people in their lives, their families! Here at Westminster we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with special snacks and a Valentine exchange. Each child should bring in a Valentine for each of the other children in the class with names on the envelopes. Please be mindful of allergies should you choose to include a treat.
Should your child wear boots to school, please be sure to bring shoes and change your child into them when you arrive. We have found boots to be a problem with some of our Movement activities and on the stairs.
Peanut/Nut Product Reminder
Just a reminder, Westminster is a peanut and nut free school. We have a number of children with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and nuts. Please do not send in any foods with peanuts and nuts in them. Be especially diligent when packing lunches for our Extended Dayers – avoid peanut butter sandwiches.
Kindergarten Registration for the Berkeley Heights Public Schools was recently held at Mary Kay McMillin. If you somehow missed the registration, please contact the Early Childhood Center (464-5583) for more information and forms. Registration in neighboring towns should also be occurring around this time. Please contact your Board of Education for additional information.
Teacher In-Service Date Approaching
As a reminder, school will be closed on Tuesday, March 7th so that the Westminster Nursery School staff may attend a local conference with staff from other area nursery schools.
We would appreciate a call in the morning if your child will be absent, so that teachers may plan accordingly. In addition, if your child has a contagious illness such as strep throat, pink eye, lice, Fifth’s Disease, Coxsackie virus, chicken pox, etc. please let the office know. We are required to notify the other parents that their children may have been exposed.
Don’t miss out on great pictures of your children on Westminster’s Facebook page. Our website is also full of great pictures that are changed often.
Monday and Tuesday, February 6th and 7th -Wear Red Days
Monday and Tuesday, February 13th and 14th -Valentine Exchanges
Wednesday, February 15th - Mrs. Corley, principal of Marky Kay McMillin School visits
Thursday, February 16th - Dentist Visit
Monday, February 20th - School Closed (President’s Day Weekend)
Wednesday, February 22nd - Dentist Visit
“We’re so busy giving kids what we didn’t have that we’re forgetting to give them what we did have.”