Your Future's So Bright, You Have to Wear Sunglasses!



Although it is a hectic time of year, it is the time when I most realize how blessed we all are to be a part of this school and community,. It has been a year full of learning, growing and sharing.  It is hard to believe how quickly the school year has come and gone.

Our Spring Program was this week and each child received a certificate for completing the class.  I’m confident that their year at St. James Day School has taught them both academically and spiritually.  Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

We are ending the school year with our annual Fun Fair.  The festivities include painting, potting flowers, crawling through tunnels, bubbles, and ice cream.  The boys and girls are excited for the event.

I would like to thank you for your faith, trust, and commitment to St. James Day School.  We realize the sacrifice each family makes to send their child/children to our school. We share in your commitment and want to continue to be your partner in molding faith driven leaders with a spirit of service.  I can’t wait to see everyone next school year. Have a happy, safe, and fun summer. Enjoy your family and friends.




Tracy Jones
Make Everyday Earth Day!

We started our new study about reduce, reuse, and recycle.  The boys and girls are excited! This study offers opportunities for children to explore a topic that not only interests them but allows them to gather information, become more aware of the world around them, and solve problems.  Our class is observing, gathering data, exploring our community, learning new information, and proposing solutions to problems. One of the ways the children decided to help, was to make a recycling center in our classroom. They enjoy sorting  and reusing the trash collected.

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A wonderful book that we’ve been reading is The Paper Bag Princess.  Princess Elizabeth is excited to marry dreamy Prince Ronald, but then a dragon attacks the castle, kidnaps her prince, and burns all her clothes. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth uses a paper bag, finds and outsmarts the dragon, and rescues Ronald—who is less than pleased at her unprincess like appearance. What’s a modern-day princess to do?    Using shipping paper and paper bags the children made their own clothing to re-enact the story.  We compared the story to others where the hero outsmarts the villain, for example Three Little Pigs.  This story also teaches us conflict and resolution, what makes a good friend, and practice for our public speaking skills.

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During our discussion about Earth Day and how to reduce, reuse, and recycle we decided to make a collage.  We used old newspapers to paint a picture of earth and recyclable items we collected. Preschoolers need three separate skills in order to make a collage: ripping, cutting, and gluing. These skills are "process oriented" art skills and the child’s final product is often just the part of that process.  Children should be encouraged and praised not only for the final product but also for their progress in handling scissors, coordination in ripping, and the ability to use glue.





Tracy Jones
WHAT ARE BUILDINGS MADE OF?

Our question this week was, “What are buildings made of?”  We examined samples of flooring and each child shared with the class the characteristics.   This allowed the students to learn the social rules of communicating. As each child spoke, we had to listen, be a polite audience, take turns, and speak so the listener understands.  Some of the characteristics said were soft, hard, smooth, and flexible.

We also discussed, how other materials are used to build things.  Using plastic cups and popsicle sticks, I asked the boys and girls to build a bridge like the one in our book The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  Each child built a bridge to get the goats to the other side.  You would have thought it was Christmas morning. They were so excited!  Children solve problems by using available resources and materials to overcome obstacles and achieve goals.  Positive evaluative feedback from adults helps children persist with difficult tasks.

After each child presented their bridge, we used the popsicle sticks to make stick letters.  A young child's alphabet knowledge, especially their ability to rapidly name letters in random order, is a strong predictor of later reading, writing, and spelling ability.

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Working on our fine motor skills, the boys and girls used sandpaper to make the wood smooth.  As each student develops physically, they master increasingly sophisticated tasks and are able to meet more of their own physical needs, such as dressing themselves.

Another activity the children love to do is play in our sensory bin.  Sensory bins are more than just fun, they’re an important part of any early childhood learning experience.  When children can see, smell, touch, and even hear something, the learning experience is more meaningful to them, and therefore more effective.  Sensory bins let a child explore, discover and create play using practical life skills (dumping, filling, scooping, measuring.) Through the use of sensory bins, valuable play skills are learned.

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This week will be our last week to study buildings.  We will be moving on to our recycling unit. I can’t wait for you to see the activities I’ve planned.












Susannah Joyce
LEARNING THROUGH STORIES

How We Use The Story of The Three Little Pigs.

Children talk to express feelings, gain information, make requests, understand concepts, and share ideas and stories.  With lots of practice over time, children develop the ability to speak clearly and to tell personal stories as they describe objects, people, and events that are familiar.  Last week, we read The Three Little Pigs and discussed what each pig used to build their house.  This week, each child chose what house to draw and I asked them to recreate it using crayons.   The boys and girls had to closely examine each one of their houses and draw what they saw.  Each child then shared their drawing with the class and spoke about the details. Narrative talk is great because it requires our class to use more complex language.  

I also presented a story problem using three pigs.  The pigs were hungry and we needed to feed them. After feeding them, one pig went to take a nap.  I asked the children “How many pigs are left?” They all shouted two! Taking away is a common separating operation that makes a collection smaller and answers the question, “How many are left?”  Children can often solve subtraction problems before they can solve addition problems. We also use this concept during our snack time.




Susannah Joyce
LOOK AT MY BUILDING

We started our new study about buildings and the boys and girls are excited.  They want to know how they are constructed and what people do inside them. Each child chose a picture of a building and as a class we discussed the different characteristics and features.  They varied in size, color, construction, material, function, and location. This study will offer many opportunities for our students to explore buildings first hand.

One of our lessons this week was to talk about the vocabulary words more and fewer, as well as their meaning.  After listening to the story of Rapunzel, we built our own towers using interlocking blocks to compare. I put the children in pairs and asked, “which one of you used more blocks than their partner and which used fewer.” Each child then placed their name on the graph stating their answer.  Our class is able to look at a small group of objects and identify without counting. This is subitizing. We will continue to explore concepts of more and less, parts/whole, and how many.   

Step up!  This is a game we played using our alphabet knowledge.  I showed each child a letter and asked them to step up and erase that letter on our dry erase board.  Everyone was ecstatic to come up to the board and find their letter. Preschool children’s letter knowledge is a unique predictor of growth in phonological sensitivity.

On Tuesday when we walked back from Chapel, it was freezing.   I surprised the class with hot chocolate and cookies. What a wonderful way to start your day with Chapel, hot chocolate, and cookies.









Susannah Joyce