Thanks go to all of our moms who provided our “goodies” for the art show. Families were enjoying delicious punch and cookies, brownies, and “goodies” of every description. Most of all, the families seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to meet and talk with each other as their children were awed by the idea of being at school at night time. The very happy noise level was enough to let our staff know that the evening was a great success and certainly a worthwhile experience for all involved.
What a great Field Day! Thanks to Mrs. Gonzalez and all the volunteers that helped! Quoting some of the children, “this was the best day ever!”
Mother’s Day Brunch
Well, spring has really come to school at last! We have really been taking advantage of the weather to explore the changes that nature has brought about – blossoming trees, budding daffodils, and those ever popular dandelions that the children think are so pretty. May is here, and that brings another traditional event – Mother’s Day Brunch! We have been practicing our songs, so get ready and we will see you on either May 9th or 12th.
Registration information was distributed for Spring Enrichment Camp 2017. Please return forms and payment ASAP.
Community Helper Field Trips for 4s
Our “community helper” field trips will be held in May. Thank you in advance to all of the parents who will drive. Without volunteer drivers, we would not be able to schedule these field trips.
Now that spring is here, we are outside on the playground every day (unless it is raining). The children are also working on gross motor skills with Mrs. Gonzalez in Movement by participating in various obstacle courses. In order for the children to fully join in these activities, they need to wear sneakers and socks. We know that the children want to wear those new sandals they have gotten, but it really is a safety issue and they spend their playtime emptying the wood chips from their sandals. Please tell your child they can wear their sandals at home, but at school they need to wear their sneakers. Thanks for your help with this!
Extended Day/Stay and Play
Bills for March and April Lunch Bunch are being distributed shortly. The last Extended Day/Stay and Play will be held on June 2.
Mother’s Day Brunches
The children are very excited about the “party” they are having for their Moms. We hope you enjoy it as much as the children and staff do. The Mother’s Day brunches are scheduled as follows:
Tuesday, May 9th, 9:15-9:45:
Mrs. Bocian’s T/Th class
Mrs .Machin’s T/Th class
Mrs. Losada’s class
Friday, May 12th, 9:15-9:45:
Mrs. Bocian’s M/W/F class
Mrs. Ripps’ M/W/F class
Tuesday, 5/9 – Mother’s Day Brunch – AM
Friday, 5/12 – Mother’s Day Brunch – AM
Friday, 5/26 and Monday, 5/29 – School Closed for Memorial Day
"Research has found that early didactic instruction might actually worsen academic performance," states David Kohn in his New York Times article, "Let the Kids Learn Through Play." He goes on to say that, "Rebecca A. Marcon, a psychology professor at the University of North Florida, studied 343 children who had attended a preschool class that was 'academically oriented,' one that encouraged 'child initiated' learning, or one in between. "She looked at the students' performance several years later, in third and fourth grade, and found that by the end of the fourth grade those who had received more didactic instruction earned significantly lower grades than those who had been allowed more opportunities to learn through play. Children's progress 'may have been slowed by overly academic preschool experiences that introduced formalized learning experiences too early for most children’s developmental status,' Dr. Marcon wrote. "Nevertheless, many educators want to curtail play during school. 'Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,' says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. 'But it's essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.”
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.”