Dear Rainbow Garden Families,
I hope that you’ve been staying warm this winter! It’s been a challenge for the children to get back into the rhythm of the classroom when we’ve had so many missed days. Although I hope we won’t have any more cancelled school days because of the cold, our midwinter break is approaching quickly. Once that has passed, we should be able to get back into a routine. We have stayed inside for recess a few times this year, but we go outside as often as we can. The safety and well being of the children is always first and foremost in my mind. Sometimes even ten minutes outside on the coldest days is beneficial. The winter can seem so very long, but as spring approaches, the days will begin to fly by.
I know it can be particularly difficult to get to school on time with all of the added challenges of the weather. Sometimes it can be a little harder for a child who arrives late to find his or her way into the play that has already begun. If you do expect that your child will be late or absent, please call the office to let Ms. Lora know. She will pass the information on to me. This is helpful for me in planning the day. Also, if you bring your child to the classroom after 8:00, make sure to check in at the office so he or she is not marked absent.
If you are experiencing difficulties with transportation or childcare, perhaps another family in the class can help. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or our class leaders Samantha and Kelsey if you need help finding a ride or a play date. Some of these children will continue to be in class together for many years to come and I have found that it is wonderful to be able to work with other families to help one another in stressful times.
On Friday, February 7th, I will not be in the Rainbow Garden. Ms. Monica (Sunshine Garden) and I will be in Spring Valley, New York for the WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) conference. Miss Lisa will sub for me in the morning with Miss Emily, and Ms. Jo will come for the afternoon as usual. Although I will miss the children, I am very excited to attend the conference. The topic is “Nurturing the Sense of Life and Wellbeing in Young Children and the Adults who Care for Them.” It is so wonderful to spend time with other teachers from Waldorf schools around the country.
There is also an upcoming opportunity to participate in a Waldorf conference locally. “Weaving a New Web: Education and Parenting in an Era of Technological Change.” Parenting and education are challenging when screens dominate the lives of so many adults and children. When we value conscious and healthy living and seek natural and holistic approaches to all aspects of our lives, how do we embody these values in our education and parenting of children? What is our relationship to technology? What is our relationship to each other? This day-long conference will give parents and educators encouragement and ideas for how to support our children’s development in ways that align with these principles.
Eric Utne, the founder of the Utne Reader, will be the keynote speaker at this conference, which will also feature three breakout sessions with 15 different topics, including Media, Technology and Health; Supporting Middle School Students Toward Authentic Relationships; and Simplifying Your Life With Young Children, as well as exhibitors featuring products and services.
This conference will be on Saturday, March 1, 2014 , 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. at Prairie Hill Waldorf School, N14 W29143 Silvernail Rd, Pewaukee, WI 53072 Conferences such as these can be very inspiring and fun. I encourage you to consider attending. Please see me for more information.
We have one birthday in the Rainbow Garden this month. Miss Emily’s birthday is on February 9th. Happy Birthday Miss Emily! We’re so glad you’ve joined us!
The toys we use in the sandbox are looking a little rough these days. Many are broken and should probably be thrown out. If you have any sand toys you might like to donate to the school, please let me know. Old gardening or kitchen tools work well too. We like to play with buckets, shovels, and brooms, as well as metal jello molds, and muffin pans. I am open to other ideas as well.
We will have small celebrations in the classroom for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, February 11th and Friday, February 14th. Your children may bring simple Valentines for their friends, preferably homemade. If you and your child choose to make Valentines, make sure to send one for everyone in the class so no one is left out. I have attached the current class list including symbols. Although our friend Londyn is no longer in the class, her birthday is on February 14, so if your child would like to bring a Valentine’s Day or birthday card for her, I will be mailing some things to her very soon.
There is no school the week of February 17-21. Although it can be tempting to spend the week catching up on screen time (television, video games, computer, etc), I urge you to help your children find other ways to have fun during the week. I have observed that children who are confused or troubled by things they’ve seen on television or in video games often process what they’ve seen by acting it out in their play. Not only can this be upsetting for the other children, but it can take away the dreamy imaginative nature of play that is so vital for the development of young minds. It is also helpful to maintain a daily rhythm as much as possible. It can be very difficult for all of us, especially young children, to return to school after a week of late nights or other irregularities. Just maintaining sleep schedules and mealtimes can really ease the transition between vacation days and school days.
I truly can not believe the school year is more than half over. It is such a gift to spend my days with these little ones, and I’m looking forward to sharing the unfolding of spring with all of them.
With Warm Wishes,