Exploring our Outdoor Classrooms

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool DirectorPreschoolers outdoors on the Goshen Campus

The Trailblazers class spent time outside this week prepping the playground garden box and planting broccoli, lettuce, carrots, and radishes. Christine Brinkmann, Garden Coordinator, explained what the garden needs to grow and how each of them can help. She had a group of enthusiastic assistants and I’m confident we will be munching on those veggies very soon. Observing the natural environment and seeing the surprises of a plant inspire young children to investigate their world. Soon we will begin taking weekly walks around campus and looking for the changes in seasons. We love to use the outdoors as an extension of our classrooms.  

Next Friday, September 9th, is a BIG day for our preschoolers. We will spend the morning outside at the gym lot climbing on, exploring, and learning about different modes of transportation from sports cars to fire trucks. Our friends from Keystone Learning Academy will also be here to participate in Transportation Day. Please be sure your child is dressed for active play and climbing. Comfortable shoes are imperative to a fun day!

We practiced our first monthly fire drill of the year this week. It is important that we teach everyone how to safely exit the building in case of an emergency. I’m happy to report that everyone exited quickly and calmly.

We are in need of measuring cups, ladles, and mixing spoons! Nothing too fancy, just something that can continue to inspire our budding chefs’ imaginations while they are playing in the mud kitchen.

We welcomed three new friends to the Preschool this week. Elliott (Panda) and Emerson Von (Adventurers) Brabandt and Jo Jo Cummins (Panda)!

Congrats to the Celasun family on the arrival of baby Aylin!

Calendar Changes
We changed the date for the Preschool Back-to-School Luncheon from Friday, September 23rd to Friday, September 30th. This is a great opportunity for you to meet other families in your child’s class, hear about the daily routine, and learn about the goals for the year. We hope to see you on Friday, September 30th at 10:30 a.m.  

Running Late?
If you are running late to pick up your child, please call my direct line at 502-694-9369 and leave a message. We check voicemail throughout the afternoon and will deliver the message to your child’s group shortly after we hear from you.  

Taking Time to Adjust

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

PandaWelcome back, Preschool families! We’ve had a wonderful start to the school year. It started on Saturday, with the rainy weather holding off for our Back-to-School Picnic. The bouncy houses, grilled food, face painting, and playtime made for a memorable day for everyone. 

It is important to remember in the coming days that young children need time to feel comfortable in new situations. It often takes children a few weeks to adopt a new routine, and sometimes they have more tears during the second week of adjustment than the first. This is normal. Fortunately, our Preschool teachers are experienced at helping children transition into the classroom. Parents can also help ease the transition by making sure that your child gets enough sleep at night. Try to establish a morning routine that is relaxed and unhurried. Allow enough time to get to school before 9:00 a.m., and if at all possible, use our carpool for drop off and let us walk your child into the building. We have found that the carpool routine makes for the smoothest goodbyes. Before separating, calmly remind your child when you will be back (after school, after lunch, etc.). Very soon, the transition from home to school and back again will be natural, and your child will have learned that greetings and goodbyes are a predictable part of the daily routine. This will help lay the foundation for healthy emotional development.

A few reminders:

  • If your child has a change in his/her schedule, please call me at 502-694-9369 or send me an email at RHennessy@StFrancisSchool.org.
  • You can access the 2016-17 Parent-Student Handbook in the Parent Portal. Information specially for Preschool begins on page 23.
  • Jessica Washer, Preschool Parent Association Representative, will be contacting you soon with information on how you can sign up for classroom parties and P.A. sponsored events.

A special thank you to Dr. Tom Yao and Emily Yao for the donation of the Language of Your Own Mandarin/English pen to the preschool classrooms.

Preschool Spent Year Learning, Exploring

By Renee Hennessy, Director of Preschool

It is hard to believe that the school year is nearly over! We had a great year of learning and exploring with our friends. It seems like just yesterday we were walking around the Gym parking lot looking at all of the cars and trucks on Transportation Day. (The Transportation Day committee is already hard at work planning next year’s event.) Time seems to go by quickly when watching young children grow. This year, the children have painted, glued, counted, colored, rested, asked questions, cried, laughed, made new friends, read stories, and pretended. The joy of childhood was celebrated each day. We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your children with our program. The hard work and dedication of the Parent Association is deeply appreciated by us all. I want to give a special thank-you to Jessica Washer for her planning, coordination and support of all things Preschool. As this year comes to a close and I reflect on the events and day-to-day comings and goings that made memorable moments, I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank our wonderful teachers for their hard work and dedication.

It has been another great year at St. Francis Preschool. I hope everyone has a relaxing summer. If you find that you are not ready for the long days of summer and your child needs a camp, we have spots available in our camps for June! Click here for more information. 

Last week of Preschool happenings:

May 24 – Crocodile Creek visits (rescheduled from last week due to weather)

May 25 – Last Day – Big Sing in Multi-Purpose Room with a slide show, starting at 9:00 a.m. Dismissal at 2:30 p.m. for everyone. We will not have extended day on the last day.

June 6 – First day of Treasure Hunters Camp!

A big THANK YOU to Mr. Paul for constructing our mud kitchen for the playground with funds generously provided by the PA grant!   

Preschool Derby Celebration a Success!

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPreschoolDerby_2

The Preschoolers had a wonderful time last week celebrating Derby 2016! The parade was delightful, the races were exciting, and the desserts were delicious. We would like to thank the many grandparents, parents, and special visitors who joined us and made our Derby event a huge success. We are also grateful to the parent volunteers who coordinated the refreshments. I want to thank Jessica Washer for her coordination of the desserts and staying to serve the grandparents, Alissa Shoemaker for helping with everything, and Nicole Butcher for assisting with cleanup. We couldn’t have done it without you!

This week the 4s classes took a trip to the city – we went downtown!  We rode the school bus to visit our friends at Keystone Learning Academy.  Fortunately, the rain held off, and for two hours we were able to enjoy being outside. We splashed at the water tables, danced and played instruments on their stage, rode tricycles on the bike path, and enjoyed a nice picnic melon snack outside.  One child from the Otters class excitedly exclaimed that there was an airplane flying by: “Look, it’s right there!” We don’t usually see airplanes when we are playing on our playground.  We were all happy to share in his joyful discovery. We gave our friends two Paw Paw trees to plant on their playground and a terra cotta pot with our handprints. Alexandra Thurstone surprised us with a visit while we were there, too. Thank you to our chaperones – Randall Hood, Kasia Harshaw, Sarah Whitty, and Kirstie Smith.      

Coming up:  Crocodile Creek visits us on May 17!  May 25 will be our last Big Sing with a slide show by Mr. David just before the performance, so plan to arrive by 9:00 a.m.  

Last Day Dismissal:  We will close at 2:30 p.m. on May 25.  We will not have extended day on May 25.  If your child typically leaves at noon, s/he will dismiss at the regular time.  

Preschool Readies for Their Big Race

By Renee Hennessey, Director of Preschool BigSing_2

At the Preschool this week, it has been all things Kentucky Derby. The floats are being painted and prepped for the parade that will precede our races next Wednesday. Our jockeys are creating their horses from some very interesting materials. The Parent Association will be sending out a sign-up sheet via email this week for items needed to make this a special day for all of our guests.  Please respond right away so they can fill in any last-minute details.  

Don’t let the rainy forecast keep you away from one of Louisville’s Derby traditions this weekend: the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair.  Our Preschool’s very talented Paul Harshaw will have his own booth displaying his wonderful paintings that are perfect for a child’s room or playroom.  I’m sure your child would love to see him in his other element – the art world!

If you are considering going to the Pegasus Parade, the best spot on the route, in my opinion, is at our Downtown Campus.  I took my son to view the parade there several times when he was younger and it offered easy access to parking (right next to the school), indoor restrooms at the school (no long lines), food, and being with other school families, which made it a great experience for us.  And if it wasn’t already great enough, now there are bouncy houses! Contact Kim Hales in the Development Office if you would like additional information.

Important upcoming dates to note:

May 4 – Preschool Grandparents’ Day 10:45 a.m.
May 13 – Muffins with Mom 9:00 a.m.
May 17 – Crocodile Creek Visits Preschool
May 25 – the Last Big Sing of the year!  Slide show begins at 9:00 a.m.  It’s also the last day of school.  All children will leave at their regular dismissal times, except those who stay for extended day.  All extended day children will need to be picked up by 2:30 p.m.

Preschool Plants in Honor of Earth Day

By Renee Hennessy, Director of Preschool PSEarthDay2

We spent Earth Day outside planting sunflowers, wildflowers, carrots, marigolds, and dill. Preparing our garden and playground for spring and summer were the highlights this week. The children loved getting their hands dirty and moving the earth with their shovels. When children can participate in helping us with work they see as adult work, they are often eager and excited to practice their developing skills. This week, the preschoolers have learned what it means to take care of our planet, and how everyone can do something to help.  

Wednesday, May 4th is Grandparents’ Day for the Preschool.  Each child may host up to four guests for a “day at the races”.  We will meet in front of the school for a parade and races, followed by light refreshments.  Please RSVP to your child’s teacher.  Arrival time is 10:45 a.m. with festivities beginning promptly at 11:00 a.m.  

You should have received an email from Alexandra earlier this week about our ISACS Constituent Survey; it is an important part of our re-accreditation process. I would like to personally ask that you take 20 minutes to fill out the survey this upcoming week.  Thank you in advance for your participation.

Today is the last day to receive the early bird discount when registering for summer camp. Click here for more information about our summer offerings.  

Every day is Earth Day at St. Francis

By Renee Hennessy, Director of Preschool IMG_0470

We returned from Spring Break to finally see signs of spring. The beautiful tulips have made their appearances around entrances and playground areas. The peafowl are really growing into their feathers and are quite the quirky little pheasant family.  The misty mornings are giving way to warm afternoons and we are able to spend more time playing outdoors.  We are excited to announce that we have a new “kid” on campus, a baby goat that has joined our school community this week. He will live in the chicken enclosure area for now.  Each Preschool class will visit the garden with Ms. Christine to learn more about goats, and our newest Wyvern is a sweetie!  Over the next few weeks,  20 more goats will make St. Francis their new home.  We are very excited about the many learning opportunities we have here in our backyard.   

Next Friday April 22, is Earth Day, but really every day on this campus is Earth Day.  We plan to spend that day outside planting sunflower and wildflower seeds around the playground.  Our garden box will be cleaned out and fresh soil added, and we’ll plant parsley, chives, spinach and tomatoes.  If you would like to volunteer to help, please bring your gardening gloves and join me and a group of exuberant mini-gardeners at the Preschool playground around 9:00 a.m..

Our next Big Sing will be on Tuesday, April 26.

Engaging Preschoolers With a Variety of Writing

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPSRainbow

In our classrooms, we introduce many different forms of writing to our preschoolers, such as storybooks, information books, magazines, recipes, and information from Internet sites like PBS on topics we want to learn about.  These are examples of the kinds of writing that children and teachers are reading together in school each day.  We often see children act out their favorite stories, draw pictures of stories they have created, and use materials such as clay and Play-doh to represent their ideas.  

Spring Books We Recommend

  • What Makes a Rainbow?  By Betty Ann Schwartz
  • When Will It Be Spring?  By Catherine Walters
  • Grow Flower, Grow by Lisa Bruce
  • The Lamb and The Butterfly by Arnold Sundgaard
  • Inch by Inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett
  • Wait by Antoinette Portis

Last spring, you may remember that we invited our friends from Keystone Academy to visit our natural playground and spend the morning with our preschoolers here on the Goshen Campus.  The morning we spent together proved to be meaningful for all of us in the Preschool, in ways that are really difficult to put into words.  In all of my years (21 and counting) of working with young children, this was one of my favorite days so far.  Read here how our outdoor environment inspired change for the children and community of Keystone. 

Summer Camp registration is live on our web site.  Click here for more information.    

Upcoming Dates to Remember

  • Friday, March 25th is our Spring Egg Hunt
  • Tuesday, March 29th is our next Big Sing in the Multi-Purpose Room

We need a parent volunteer to be … er, to help the Easter Bunny from 9:15 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 25th. Our costume is small-ish, so the volunteer must be of average height.  Thank you in advance – you will love it, we promise.  

Spring Egg Donations Still Needed!

  • 24 plastic eggs per family filled with items such as stickers, colorful Band-Aids, erasers, non-chocolate candy, small trinkets
  • Please tape the eggs shut for ease in hiding and finding
  • Half of the donated eggs will go to Keystone Academy for their egg hunt
  • Deadline to turn in donations is Monday, March 21st

Please Support Our Spring Egg Hunt

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool DirectorPreschoolYay

We are asking for each child to donate two dozen plastic eggs filled with one item. The eggs will be for our hunt on March 25th, and we will donate half of the filled eggs to Keystone Academy (formerly California Area Child Development Center).  We have supported their spring egg hunt for more than 10 years. Due to food allergies, we request that you do not use chocolate candy to fill the eggs.  A few items we recommend are play-doh, stickers, printed Band-Aids, erasers and non-chocolate candy.  Keep in mind that the eggs you donate could possibly be “found” by a two-year-old or a five-year-old.  We recommend that you tape the eggs shut for ease in hiding and finding them.  As always, we are very thankful for the great parents at our Preschool. There will be a box in my office for the donations.  Our collection deadline is Monday, March 21st.  If you are interested in helping with our spring egg hunts, please send me an email.  

Parent/Teacher conferences are Friday, March 11th. Please note that the Preschool will be closed. You can click here to sign-up for a conference with your child’s teacher(s).

These dreary, snowy days have our thoughts drifting to the warm, sunny days of SUMMER.  Preschool summer camp dates and information are now up on our school’s web site (click here).  Our one-week sessions feature a summer full of outdoor activity, imaginative learning and creative fun!  Camps will open up to the public next week, so reserve your spot today.  

Next week, I will be out of town, so please contact your child’s teacher directly if you have any questions or changes to his/her daily schedule.

See the World Through a Preschooler’s Eyes

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPSPlay

While walking a child in from carpool on Wednesday, I was reminded to slow down AND look down by my Preschool friend!  We were oh-so-close to stepping on a worm. From my vantage point, it looked like a small twig, but fortunately my little friend stopped to point out his discovery to me. We took a picture of the worm and moved it over to the grassy area.  I encourage you to stop and take a moment to look at the world through your little one’s eyes, I’m certain you will be happy you did.  

This week we held a tornado drill for the entire Goshen Campus, so if you have heard about a loud noise at school from your child, this is the reason. We took shelter in record time and are prepped and ready for spring weather.

We had our community Big Sing with Ms. Faith today. The Big Sing is such a great way to start your day. The last Big Sings of the year will be on Tuesday, March 29th; Tuesday, April 26th; and (our final Big Sing of the school year) Wednesday, May 25th.  

Parent/Teacher conferences are coming up on Friday, March 11th. (And please remember that school will be closed that day.)  These conferences provide a valuable opportunity to strengthen communication between home and school.  You and your child’s teachers can share important information and brainstorm together for any areas of concern.  You can sign up for Preschool conferences here.