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January 2017: Happy New Year

We would like to take a moment to wish you and your family a warm and wonderful holiday season.

Incredible as it may seem, we have completed another month of school. We have been extremely busy this holiday season. It’s delightful that we are all unique and that we can learn from each other.

In an effort to teach our children about spreading kindness during the holiday season we incorporated a variety activities into our curriculum using our Character Counts character education as our foundation.  This month we focused on kindness, giving and empathy.  Our holiday activities included creating special mementos for mom and dad to thank them for their love and support and writing special notes of kindness to friends and family.  In addition, our students participated in a winter coat drive to benefit the Rescue Mission of Trenton.  The kindness was tripled when our families collected more than just coats.  Hats, gloves, scarves and pajamas were also included in our collection.  We are so proud of our families and students for their unbelievable generosity.  Children are excited to share the kind things they’ve been doing for their friends, teachers, family and community.  Helping children learn kindness is a part of our vision and mission here at our school and we’re so thankful for the holiday season that gives us a reason to promote and encourage it.

Our students have been working very hard on their penmanship skills using various tracing work, metal insets, and sand paper letters. The results have been impressive. Children who could not write their name are able to print it themselves. Children that were writing their names are now able to write on lined paper using proper lower/uppercase formation. The older students are able to write longer texts that display beautiful and neat penmanship. In language, many of our emerging readers have vastly improved their reading skills, and word building is a favorite among our younger friends. The introduction of sight words is an important part of their reading skills and many children will be bringing home sight word booklets. Reviewing these words with your child each week as a great way to reinforce vocabulary, but it’s also a nice opportunity for Mom and dad to connect with their child’s everyday activities. The older children continue to improve their writer’s workshop skills, while learning punctuation, nouns and verbs. This can be quite a challenge for a 5 year old!

During January, some of our teachers will be introducing Montessori style art into the classrooms featuring an artist per each month for the remaining of the school year. This means the art is in the form of a Montessori work. Each art work will be on a tray with all the materials necessary for the student to explore and try the work on his/her own. The students treat the art works as one of their regular Montessori works on the shelves. They can choose whether or not they want to work with the art during their Montessori work time. They will be responsible for taking it off the shelves, cleaning it up and leaving it ready for the next person. These activities will concentrate on certain fine motor skills such as gluing, cutting and tearing. We will also begin introducing the various elements of art such as texture, color and line. Additionally, this will encourage process art instead of product art, which will allow them to fully utilize their creativity in how they use the materials.  They will be introduced to technique, but it is up to them to discover the various ways the materials can be used.

As we celebrate the New Year, we look forward to all that 2017 has to offer.  National Dragon Appreciation Day will be celebrated on January 3.  Students will have the opportunity to create and write about dragons. This is just another fun way to inspire creativity among our students.  February 3 will be the day to celebrate our Super Dad’s with our Super Dad’s Super Bowl Party. Since Father’s Day is usually after school ends, we thought we’d surprise dad with some early recognition.  National Read Across America will be celebrated in March along with Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  April will bring our annual Ladybug Launch along with our Art Show and Earth Day projects.  There is just so much happening that you have to be here to participate!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.  May 2017 bring you health and happiness.

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