Category Archives: Special Events

Literacy Family “Open Door” Day

Our latest Family “Open Door Day” was focused on literacy and young children. After joining a parent discussion, family members joined their children in the classroom where teachers had set up centers featuring a variety of playful literacy activities. Teachers also posted suggestions for play and the rational behind using these materials. The final element was a documentation wall featuring photos of children engaged in playful literacy activities, along with sample work.

What a terrific turnout we had! We were happy to see so many family members spending the morning with us, and the children were so pleased to have their families participate at school!

There was a lot to talk about, but some highlights from our discussion follow:

  • Foundations ideally focus on reading and writing as communication – children who understand the values of these activities will learn the complex set of inter-related skills associated with reading and writing because they are excited about learning, connecting, remembering, and sharing ideas
  • Spend lots of time reading with children at home and at school
  • Good readers develop strong language skills and knowledge of words:
    o Children need environments in which they experience language in meaningful contexts (children need lots of meaningful experiences to talk about!)
    o Language develops through talking, singing, interacting, and social play
    o Children need to feel they are listened to – the responsiveness of adults in children’s lives to their language is crucial
  • Read high quality literature to children:
    o Children develop language and vocabulary through interactions around reading literature
    o Children become comfortable with the differences between book language and conversational language
    o Children develop an understanding of story structures
  • Support children’s growing phonological awareness:
    o Children develop awareness of the sound structure of language
    o Word play, rhyming, musical activities, use of nursery rhymes all support phonological awareness
  • Support comprehension:
    o Children need context and background knowledge to draw on as they develop comprehension skills
    o Encourage children to talk about book content, share ideas, make connections to their own experience, and ask questions
  • Writing depends on sound physical development, which can be supported in a wide variety of sensory experiences and informal activities that support each child’s use of their fingers and hands
  • It takes time before children understand that writing is recorded speech
  • To write letters, children need to understand that letters are symbols that come together to represent sounds and meaning.
  • Symbolic thinking is supported by pretend play.
  • Writing skills grow out of drawing – encourage children to make a mark!
  • With experience and by noticing more and more details, children discover that lines come together to form letters (how letters look), and then that letters are used to form words

There is a lot going on as children move along the continuum of learning in their own way. We can take cues from the children, support their interests, encourage conversations, questions, and finding out more about interesting topics, make sure there is time for meaningful pretend play, and enjoy a wide variety of books and stories together!

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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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walk

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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Preparing a dish

Learning Circle Preschool and Kindergarten offers visits to prospective parents.

It may seem early, but now is the time to start planning for preschool for enrollment in the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Learning Circle Preschool, a non-profit preschool and kindergarten program at the foot of the Blue Hills on the Milton/Canton border, is offering prospective parents and their children the opportunity to visit its facilities at 3 Blue Hill River Road, Canton, MA. The visits give parents and children a chance to meet with director Katrina Selawsky, to talk about each family’s specific needs and to tour the school.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7th the Open House is scheduled during a typical school day for families interested in seeing classrooms while children are in session.

On Friday, Oct. 23rd the Open House is scheduled concurrently with Learning Circle Preschool’s Annual Food Day Festival. After visiting the classrooms indoors, parents and their children are invited to participate in activities focusing on healthy food choices, where food comes from, investigating the science of familiar vegetables, and planting. These are planned as part of National Food Day. Stories, gardening, arts, and science activities will be included as well as scheduled walks to Brookwood Farm (weather permitting).

On Saturday, November 14th, the Open House is scheduled for families who may prefer visiting on the weekend. On the same day, at 11 a.m., families may attend a community puppet show presented by Sparky Puppets called “Old Favorites” ($8 per ticket). This features re-tellings of three traditional folktales.

Learning Circle Preschool, accredited by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) offers morning programs with two, three, or five-day options, afternoon enrichment programs, and extended day options that run until 4:30 pm. Facilities include three state of the art, open, sunny and spacious classrooms, a welcome room with library and a spacious playground at the foot of the Blue Hills, a short walk from Brookwood Farm.
With a curriculum inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, children enjoy engaging, hands on experiences that build a strong foundation for learning with individual attention and project work in small groups, respectful and nurturing interactions, opportunities to plan, reflect on, and work on projects over time, and an integrated language arts, creative arts and science curriculum.

Parents enjoy on-going communication, detailed documentation of each child’s growth and development shared in a portfolio system, newsletters and other written information about the program distributed regularly, parent meetings and discussion groups on educational and parenting issues, and a welcoming attitude towards parent participation in the program.

Class sizes typically range from 10-14 students, each with two highly qualified and experienced co-teachers. Decisions about placements for the fall of 2016 will begin to be made in December. For more information or an appointment, please call Katrina at 781-828-4800.

Please share this information with any families you think might be interested!

Using natural materials to build with outdoors

Learning Circle Preschool Open Houses, Dec. 9th, 9 a.m. and Dec.10, 7:30 p.m.

The Learning Circle Preschool and Kindergarten offers visits to prospective parents.

The Learning Circle Preschool, a non-profit preschool and kindergarten program at the foot of the Blue Hills on the Milton/Canton border, is offering prospective parents and their children the opportunity to visit its facilities at 3 Blue Hill River Road, Canton, MA. The visits, held during school hours, give parents and children a chance to meet with director Katrina Selawsky, to talk about each family’s specific needs, and to see the classrooms while children are in session.

Learning Circle Preschool, accredited by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) offers morning programs with two, three, or five-day options, afternoon enrichment programs, and extended day options that run until 4:30 pm five days per week. Facilities include three state of the art, open, sunny and spacious classrooms, a welcome room with library and a spacious playground at the foot of the Blue Hills, a short walk from Brookwood Farm.

With a curriculum inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, children enjoy engaging, hands on experiences that build a strong foundation for learning with individual attention and project work in small groups, respectful and nurturing interactions, opportunities to plan, reflect on, and work on projects over time, and an integrated language arts, creative arts and science curriculum.

Parents enjoy on-going communication, detailed documentation of each child’s growth and development shared in a portfolio system, newsletters and other written information about the program distributed regularly, parent meetings and discussion groups on educational and parenting issues, and a welcoming attitude towards parent participation in the program.

Class sizes typically range from 10-14 students, each with two highly qualified and experienced co-teachers. Decisions about placements for the fall of 2015 will begin to be made in December. Families that would like to consider a January start can make individual plans for a transition into the program then.  For more information or an appointment, please call Katrina at 781-828-4800.

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