Tag Archives: Early Sprouts

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last year's whole school feast

Holiday Celebrations with Young Children

At Learning Circle, we’ve been thinking about the beginning of the holiday season from the children’s perspective, and offering concrete ways for the children to participate, plan, and celebrate together. At school, holiday celebrations and preparations are intentionally kept low-key and are guided by the interests and needs of individual children. As children informally share their own family traditions at class meeting or other discussions, they begin to appreciate the diverse ways families celebrate. Teachers listen carefully and offer opportunities for children to prepare for the holidays in ways meaningful to them – making a gift or card, talking about a trip or family visit with friends, sharing special foods, singing songs, or dancing together.

Every year the children enjoy a school-wide Thanksgiving feast. We bring in conversations and activities about “long ago”, a time when people needed to find, grow and prepare their own food, to build their own shelters to keep warm as the seasons changed. We talk about many of the things we have to be thankful for – families that care for and love us, enough food to eat, houses to live in, heat to keep us warm in the winter, enough clothing for each season, and good friends. Each class prepares gifts for a school wide “give-away”. Based on Native American traditions, the give away is an opportunity for children to fill baskets with hand made gifts. At our Thanksgiving feast, each child will choose one gift from each classroom basket. This year we are painting beautiful seashells, making bookmarks, and stringing beads to give as gifts. Each class also cooks for the feast. This year’s menu includes pasta with fresh garlic and tomato sauce, green beans, and fruit salad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At home, we know that along with the happy expectation of a holiday gathering with family and friends, come changes in our usual routine and often some pressure to meet deadlines. As the holidays draw closer, changes may include increased shopping trips, more time spent in the kitchen selecting and preparing a specially selected recipe, possibly re-arranging furniture to accommodate guests. There may be purchasing or getting holiday clothing ready for the holidays or packing and planning for an anticipated trip.

Children are affected by these changes. For young children especially, consistency of routine and an understanding of what’s happening next can be an important foundation in their sense of security. When young children notice changes in routine they may feel anxious or insecure. They may exhibit negative behavior, acting out or seeking attention, as a signal that they need some help with these feelings.

It’s important for parents to find ways to help children feel involved in holiday preparations. This involvement helps alleviate potential stress or insecurity, and helps to assure that the holidays offer opportunities for young children to grow and feel connected to extended family and family traditions.

If you will be traveling, talk with your child about family plans. Allow children to make some choices about what to take, and remember favorite items. This helps children with the transition of getting ready. If the trip includes visits to family, children can be encouraged to bring something meaningful to them as gifts, such as drawings or paintings.

If you are planning a gathering at home, it is helpful to involve children in planning and preparations for the day. Children can contribute to decisions about what to wear, may be able to help decide seat placement at the table, or may help prepare a simple recipe, such as cutting fruit or preparing a salad.

Adults might also want to avoid the pull towards the commercialism of the holidays by choosing toys and gifts that support play. Good toys for young children are open-ended; they can be used in a variety of ways. They offer play value over time; as children change and grow new ideas can be realized. They are well made, and will last over time, even with hard and varied use. They are not tied to TV programs, movies, or other media, so that play ideas come from each child’s imagination and not from an external source.

For more information and a wide variety of articles and resources on the impact media has on young children, try www.commercialfreechildhood.org, the website of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.

For more information on toys, play, and young children, try TRUCE: www.truceteachers.org, the website for Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment

Learning Circle Preschool Celebrates Food Day Friday October 24, 2014

Parents of young children are invited to join us at Learning Circle Preschool, 3 Blue Hill River Road, Canton MA, for activities planned as part of Food Day, the nationwide movement for more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Parents will be able to participate in activities with their children, see the school, and talk with staff and parents at the school.

Celebrating Food Day gives us an occasion to highlight what our children practice throughout the year as a part of the school’s dedication to exposing students to sustainable living, nutrition, and the sciences.

We’ll plant garlic and dig in our garden beds, investigate and draw a wide variety of seasonal vegetables, create art projects like vegetable printing and marble painting, and walk together to neighboring Brookwood Farm.
Young children learn through hands on experiences. Planting foods, watching the plants grow, eating foods from their gardens or from a local farm like Brookwood, connects children directly to real foods. It opens them to new food choices and leads to healthier attitudes about food.

For parents unable to attend the Food Day Festival and Open House on October 24, the school offers opportunities to visit its facilities individually. 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.

Please call the Director, Katrina Selawsky at 781-828-4800 for more information or to arrange a tour of the facility. Parents may also contact the school by email (info@learningcirclepreschool.org) or visit the school’s website at www.learningcirclepreschool.org.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chickadees Learn from the Ground Up

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 It’s great when families at the school stay connected to what’s happening in the classroom and bring in something from home that supports or extends school experiences and conversations for everyone. Carrots have been important in the 3 day class since the early fall – we’ve  enjoyed eating, cooking, grating, and harvesting carrots for our school recipes and for our science table investigations. One child’s family brought in a wonderful assortment of carrots from their farm. At meeting we enjoyed carrots’ smells and textures, compared diverse carrots (lots of different colors, sizes, and shapes) and investigated some amazing root systems!