Doughnuts with Dad, Chinese New Year

By Renee Hennessy, Director of the Preschool

Thank you to all of the dad, grandfathers, uncles, and special friends who came to Doughnuts with Dads.  It is always a special day when you come into the classroom!


We have been busy preparing for and learning about the celebration of Chinese New Year. Cara’s mom, Emily Yao, shared their family’s traditions with the class.  Emily brought in a beautiful yellow dragon puppet for the children to play with, oranges for snack (which are symbolic for wealth/prosperity), and a lunar calendar.  The children learned that sweeping the house from top to bottom symbolizes sweeping out with the old.  Traditions such as buying and wearing new clothes brings good luck, while wearing old clothes is bad luck.  Next Thursday, all preschoolers and the junior kindergarten will parade through the Lower School with shakers, a dragon and masks.

On Wednesday, our 4s classes will attend a performance based on the Disney film and J.M. Barrie’s enchanting play, Disney’s Peter Pan Jr.,  which is a modern version of the timeless tale about a boy who wouldn’t grow up, with no flying required! The score includes new arrangements of classic Disney songs and a story featuring one rousing adventure after another.  The play is performed by our 4th and 5th grade students and will be on Wednesday, February 10th at 9:40 a.m.  We are very excited to see the premiere performance!

Art to Enhance Our Curriculum

PSArt_2*Click here to be re-routed to MS Governor’s Cup article

By Renee Hennessy, Director of the Preschool

All of our Preschool classrooms are stocked with a variety of art materials.  Creating self-directed art is a hands-on activity that helps children learn in many ways.  By drawing, making collages and using watercolors to paint, children learn about shape, color, and texture.  They are practicing making decisions about what to create and what materials they will use.  Those fine motor skills are enhanced by cutting with scissors, holding a crayon, or sculpting clay.  When children observe what their friends are creating, they are learning to appreciate the artwork of others.  

New vocabulary words are introduced when they discuss their work with adults.  We use phrases like, “Tell me about your picture.”  Preschool-aged children often create things that are symbolic of something else – for example, something they have just built in the block center or a flower they just saw outside.  The practice of using symbols will become important when they are learning to read.  Art can also enhance science concepts when colors are mixed or children see how adding paint to water can create changes.  

Creating art in any form helps children develop their imaginations and practice many skills for learning. At the Preschool, our goal is to give children the confidence to express themselves through art and to feel a part of a creative community of learners whenever they make something new.  

Doughnuts With Dad!
Dads, don’t forget that you are invited to join your child for doughnuts on Friday, February 5th.  Please come to your child’s classroom right after carpool. For those dads new to the school, this event usually lasts 30-45 minutes. If Dad can’t make it, a grandfather, uncle, or favorite friend can drop in. Hope to see you there!

Book Nook
Our 2s love the snow! They love to explore the cold, the way snow molds in their hands, and the marks they can make in snow when walking, and especially making snow angels! They also love The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This 1963 winner of the Caldecott Medal is a timeless story with simple, bold text and whimsical collages. A young boy awakens to a world of freshly fallen snow and goes exploring. Keats captures the delight children feel in the simplest pleasures.

Snow Unlocks New Adventures in Learning

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPSTurkey

The snow showers on Tuesday brought excitement, laughter, and a few questions. On the way inside the building, a child asked, “What about the turkey?” She was very interested in the whereabouts of our school turkey and was concerned about him being cold. She wasn’t the only one concerned; apparently all of the children were asking where the turkey was, so the investigation began. Eventually he made his way to the front of the school with his peacock friends. This led to a conversation about caring for animals when the weather changes.  

The Ducklings class brought snow inside to explore, and they loved watching the snow through the big doors.  It truly is majestic watching the snowfall through our windows on this campus. The Adventurers class took water outside in different containers to see what would happen. The Otters class suited up in their winter gear and ventured outside. They slid down the berm on their “sleds” and built a snowman.    

Outside Winter PlayPSSnow_2
Now that the cold weather is here, please remember to send your child to Preschool with a warm hat, mittens and a heavier coat.  We try to provide the children with an outdoor playtime or walk as often as we can – even in the winter.  Don’t forget to label all outerwear with your child’s name. Thank you.   

Snow Day Ideas
Why not use a snow day or extra time this month to help your child make his/her own homemade Valentine’s Day cards?  Grandparents, aunts, uncles or other special friends would no doubt appreciate cards made by your preschooler. You can teach your child how to cut out heart shapes from paper by folding a small piece in half and helping them cut an “ear” shape beginning and ending at the fold. Parents of younger children can do the cutting and let the child decorate the hearts or glue them to paper.  Take dictation from your child and write his/her words on the cards.  You can spell the words for your older child to write on the cards.  Let your child choose how the cards will look, and remember to have fun!

First Week Back Full of Smiles, Hugs

Renee Hennessy, Director of Preschool PreschoolPlay1

Welcome back!  This week has been full of smiling faces and warm hugs from our preschoolers.  Everyone is excited to be back in their classrooms and reunited with friends.  We are welcoming two new friends, Stella and Calliope Davis, to the Adventurers’ Class, and their parents, Christy and Stephen, to our community.  We are seeing double in the Preschool with twins in each Preschool classroom!

I want to thank Arra Whitty for donning the Santa Claus suit for the Preschool children before break and handing out candy canes.  Thank you to our fabulous PA for providing treats and crafts for our classroom holiday parties.

Preschoolers Enjoys Activities of the Season

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPreschoolPlay_2

This week I have noticed a high concentration of glitter with blue, red, green, and white paints, plus a plethora of other holiday colors throughout our area of the school.  I peeked in the 4s classroom to see their classes mixing cinnamon, flour and salt together to create a wonderful scented dough for sensory play.  The Adventurers’ class has been busy creating a wintery scene (although winter is playing hide-and-seek) on their wall with white lights and shimmery trees.  Our Ducklings class has been singing and dancing to holiday songs.  You can always tell what season it is by spending a few minutes in a Preschool classroom!

This is the time of year our family traditions mean so much.  At our school, we celebrate and value the richness of culture and ethnic diversity.  We encourage parents and grandparents to share with us their holiday traditions. Talk to your child’s teacher about sharing your family’s traditions.

On Thursday, December 17th, the entire Goshen Campus will have a Pajama Day.  Please remember to send your child in regular shoes. They will still have a typical day, so appropriate shoes will make their time on the playground more enjoyable.  On Friday, December 18th, children are encouraged to don their festive wear for our last day of the year.

The Preschool holiday parties are “low key” events.  They are usually in the classroom with minimal visitors.  The focus is on the special activities and snacks of the day, rather than a large gathering.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday, and I wish everyone the best of the season.

Open-Ended Toys Make Great Gifts for Little Ones

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPreschoolFun_5

The holidays are here and I have received a few requests for ideas for toys and gifts for preschoolers.  In the Preschool, we are fond of toys that are open-ended and that have high play value and can be used for more than one purpose, wherever those imaginations may go.  Building blocks such as Magna-Tiles, play scarves and items that can be used for pretend play, like a doctor’s kit, for example, can be revisited time and time again.  Books and puppets are also great gift ideas for young children.  

Holly and I had a great time at the NAEYC conference in Orlando.  We attended informative sessions relating to language development of children from birth to eight years old, ideas for classroom environments, and how we can support PLAY in preschool and kindergarten.  Holly’s favorite session was with Rosemary Wells, author of the Max and Ruby books.  She was fascinated by Wells’ process of creating the artwork for her stories.  

We both enjoyed listening to Ruby Bridges, a brave student/activist who integrated the New Orleans School system in 1960, tell her story, particularly when she talked about the deep connection that she has with her former teacher Mrs. Henry, who is still alive today.  Her speech was very moving and inspiring; we felt fortunate to hear Ruby speak about her teacher and the power of the profession!  

Thank you, parents, for hearing our plea for coats and sending in gently used and a few new coats!  Our friends at Keystone Academy will be very appreciative of your generosity.  A special thank you to Caroline Boardman, Elizabeth’s mom, for organizing the drive.

Earlier this week, we hosted our Transition to Kindergarten coffee, which was a great success!  If you were unable to attend but have questions about junior kindergarten or kindergarten, please feel free to call me at 502-694-9369.  

Dads Share Their Talents with our Preschoolers

Renee Hennessy, Director of Preschool

FullSizeRender (3)This week we had a few Wyvern dads share their talents and interests with the preschoolers.  Neurosurgeon Dr. Yao, Cara’s dad, paid a visit to the Adventurers and JK classrooms. Cara explained that, “He would be teaching everyone about surgery and how to find problems under their skin.”  Dr. Yao talked briefly about the brain and showed the children X-rays and a model of a skull. The highlight of his presentation was a Jell-O mold of the brain for a hands-on activity. Thank you, Dr. Yao, for inspiring budding scientists in our classrooms.

PreschoolFlyoverRandall Hood, Makenley’s dad, asked us to be on the playground at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday for a surprise. We had just gathered everyone on the berm when we heard and discovered that a military plane was flying overhead! The children were thrilled and VERY surprised to see an Air Force plane “buzz” over their playground. Makenley was very proud, as we all are, of her dad and his service for our country!  A sincere thank you to Randall Hood and all of our parents and grandparents who are veterans!


And thank you to our very own Mr. David for serving in the U.S. Coast Guard for 22 years!  

What’s cooking in the classroom?
Ms. Christine visited from the garden with her portable kitchen and a few yummy vegetables.  With the assistance of many helping hands, she made radish sandwiches with cooked fennel and chard.  I am happy to report that everyone loved them and most asked for seconds!

Looking ahead to next week…
Next week is a busy one for us, as we will will host our annual admissions
Open House on Tuesday, November 17th from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.  
Please invite your friends and neighbors who may have preschoolers to our Open House. You are our best ambassadors!  

I am sure you have heard from your room reps by now about the Thanksgiving Luncheon scheduled for Friday, November 20th at 11:00 a.m.  This is a St. Francis Preschool tradition that dates back more than 20 years. Chef Matt will provide the turkey and his delicious gravy.

We encourage each family to have at least one parent, grandparent, or special friend attend for your child.   

Holly and I will be in Orlando from Tuesday through Friday attending the NAEYC conference.  NAEYC is a professional organization that promotes and supports excellence in early childhood education.  So we will be, as I like to say, “with our people” and attending workshops that are specifically designed for early childhood teachers and leaders.  We are both looking forward to gathering new ideas to use in our classrooms, sharing our experiences with others, and hopefully, just maybe, finding some free time to see the Mouse.

The Importance of Self-Regulation

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPSTurkey_2

From the time that we put the fallen pacifier back into our child’s mouth during the night until we offer guidance on managing anger, “saving for a rainy day,” or making a point about setting goals, we are assisting our children with self-regulation.  Bruce Duncan Perry, M.D., Ph.D, states that “the transition from external regulation to self-regulation is one of the most important tasks of growing up.  Healthy self-regulation is related to the capacity to tolerate the sensations of distress that accompany an unmet need” (Early Childhood Today).

Self-regulation is related to maturity, independence, responsibility and delayed gratification.  It is first seen when a baby stirs from sleep and drifts back to sleep without crying or assistance from an adult.  It is evident when a child no longer grabs a toy away from another child, but is willing to wait his or her turn.  Self-regulation is at work when a toddler becomes hungry, but willingly waits a few minutes for food without a tantrum.  At the Preschool, we are dedicated to providing experiences, holding expectations, and teaching skills that nurture self-regulation.  It may be seen in separating from a parent or trying a new snack or learning how to enter the play with peers.

Here’s a link to more information on the subject of self-regulation.

Preschool Excited for Halloween!

By Renee Hennessy, Director of Preschool PSHalloween_6

We have had a lot of excitement in the Preschool this week in anticipation of the Halloween parade and parties.  All of our classes had a great time parading in costume with parents, grandparents, and special friends watching.  After the parade, the children enjoyed special snacks and fun parties in their classrooms.  Thank you to all of the parents who helped with the parade and parties or who came to be our spectators!  

Did you know?
In each of our Preschool classrooms, we have dedicated centers for dramatic play.  They may contain dolls, baby furniture, items for pet care, dress-up clothes, pretend cash registers, or other materials that invite children to use their imaginations and pretend.  Supporting this type of play gives our Preschoolers an opportunity to “pretend” the different roles they see each day.  In the classroom, our teachers may observe children working through concerns or conflicts by role-playing.  It’s through these play experiences that children work through conflicts with their classmates and practice skills such as planning and problem solving.  You can support imaginative play at home by providing props for your child’s recent interests.        

Congratulations to Rosalind’s family on the arrival of their baby boy, Jakob.  We also want to send our best to Emmerson’s family who welcomed a baby girl on Tuesday.

Fall is in the Air in the Preschool Classrooms

By Renee Hennessy, Director of the PreschoolPreschool_6

It’s that time of year when change is in the air.  It is very visible by the leaves turning, as well as the clothing changes, with everyone needing to bundle up a little more than before.  Throughout the the Preschool, there is a feeling of fall in each classroom.  The 2s classes have been learning about the colors of fall through activities such as painting with fall colors, gluing leaves found on walks outside, and science experiments with apples.  The 3s have also been busy observing the changes outside. They have made applesauce and are opening gourds and pumpkins to discover what’s inside.  The 4s classes are cooking up the season’s bounties by baking apple crisps. They have also learned about fruits and vegetables that have seeds and where they grow.   

The activities described above are general goings-on in the Preschool.  Every day there are in-depth conversations and discoveries made that aren’t planned but are spontaneous and child-directed.  For example, one group has taken an interest in animals, initiated by St. Francis Day.  They are asking questions such as: How do we take care of the animals? Why do we have chickens at school?  Why are they not in a cage?  We will reflect on these questions with the group and plan more investigations about animals (particularly chickens), so they can discover together the answers to their inquiries.   

Next week, we are looking forward to seeing you at your child’s conference.  If you haven’t had a chance to sign up, click here