Monthly Archives: October 2015

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Food Day Festival 2015

We recently celebrated our fourth annual Food Day Festival here at Learning Circle Preschool with a fantastic group of volunteers, engaged children, and visitors from the community.

Children spent the morning on our playground cleaning out garden beds and planting garlic, printing with fruits and vegetables, investigating and documenting observations of a variety of heirloom squash and other plants, snapping beans, exploring rainbow chard, reading books about gardens and harvesting and more. There was tremendous interest among both children and adults in composting. We have our new compost container in position, and we’ve already begun to collect “good garbage” for the compost in every classroom! We hear that families are starting to compost at home too.

In one classroom, children spent some classroom time chopping apples to make applesauce. What a wonderful sensory experience – the smell of that sauce filled our school!

We had two neighborhood walks to Brookwood Farm. On the way, we looked carefully for signs of life near the stone walls we passed, and enjoyed familiar landmarks we pass on our way to the farm. Children noticed how steep and rocky the reservation land across from us is (we are at the foot of Great Blue Hill) and noticed the many vibrant colors of leaves around us. When we arrived at the farm, we saw work in progress as beds were being cleared, and spent time in the sensory garden, observing and experiencing the variety of seeds, smells, textures, and plants of the season.

Sharing a beautiful fall day like this is truly inspiring. It gives renewed energy to the work we do with children through our early sprouts curriculum and with the many aspects of our curriculum that help children connect with their environment and the natural world. Thanks to all of you who shared your time and enthusiasm with us.

We hope you’ll find time to share these photos with your children as you remember the day. And for those who could not attend, please don’t hesitate to ask questions and share your ideas about how these themes will continue through the projects and themes we share with children throughout the school year.

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Learning Circle Preschool Food Day and Open House Friday Oct. 23rd

Join us on Friday October 23rd for Learning Circle Preschool activities planned as part of National Food Day. This event is an “open door” day for all school families and for the community as well.

In addition, beginning at 9 a.m., families interested in finding out more about the programs at Learning Circle Preschool can take part in an Open House (indoors).  It’s a good time for a tour of the space before going outdoors to join food day activities. Families can meet staff, see the facilities and tour classrooms while the children are in session. Then they may join outdoor Food Day activities.

Food Day is a nationwide movement for more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Families will be able to participate in outdoor activities with their children between 9:30 and 11 a.m.

The goals of encouraging children to eat “real food” – locally grown when possible – fit right into Food Day goals and Learning Circle Preschool’s use of the Early Sprouts curriculum, a “seed to table” gardening and nutrition curriculum first developed at Keene State College in New Hampshire. Components of the Early Sprouts curriculum address research that indicates young children are reluctant to try new foods unless they have multiple exposures that include a variety of experiences, including sensory exploration, tasting, and cooking. In a 24-week sequence of classroom activities using six common vegetables, children participate in sensory exploration, observations, and investigations of the vegetables and the plants from which they come. They help cook simple recipes at school, share them at snack, and then share those same recipes with their families at home.

We will have handouts and information relating to these and other Food Day themes for families.

Learning centers will be set up outside on the school’s playground (weather permitting) between 9:30 at 11 am including gardening, arts, and science activities. The focus of each activity will be on healthy food choices, where food comes from, investigating the science of some familiar vegetables, and planting.

In addition to vegetable printing, documenting and investigating vegetables, reading books about gardens and plants, cleaning out our garden beds and planting, a current school parent, who has extensive experience teaching adults about composting, will give a presentation about it and how it can benefit your family.

Weather permitting, we will also organize two walks for parents and their children to Brookwood Farm, a short distance from the school. An educator will lead discussion as parents, volunteers, and children follow a map to the farm, and participate in activities relating to healthy foods along the way. The first walk will leave at 9:30 am, and the second will leave at 10:30 am.

If it rains, we will have an indoor Food Day Festival – smaller scale but still fun. We are hoping for great weather!

So, Open House starting at 9am, Food Day activities starting at 9:30!

Hope you’ll join us Friday!

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Shadows and Worries

At this time of year, some children are expressing worries and anxieties that often relate to the season – the anticipation of Halloween, the changing weather and darker skies that come as we get closer to winter, or even the inevitable stress that comes along with excitement as children start a new school year, connect to new people, and develop independence.

This often comes up in conversations about dreams in our classroom, and recently one child needed to talk at length about his scary dreams that were “dark and floating and spooky” He told us that there were shadows everywhere and that shadows are spooky.

Using the word shadow gave teachers an opportunity to offer an alternative and more positive conversation. A teacher said, “A shadow does not need to be spooky – a shadow is a place where there is no light.” This opened up conversations about the diverse experiences children have had with shadows in their environments, from outdoor shadow play to shadow puppets, and when we saw so much interest we asked children if they would like to make shadows with our classroom flashlight.

Children and teachers spent the remaining time at meeting experimenting with shadows and light. Teachers held up a flashlight as a light source so that children could find ways to use their fingers and hands to “make a place with no light” on the carpet. This will likely be just the beginning to on-going conversations and experiences together that play with light and shadow as we encourage children to verbalize their concerns and ideas.

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