Monday, March 29, 2010


Just a few reminders for this week:

Picture make up day is Wednesday March 31. Picture make up day is for new students and students that were absent on picture day.

There is no school on Friday April 2nd.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alternative ideas for Easter Baskets

With Easter around the corner I would like to offer some ideas on how to fill the perfect preschool Easter Basket. The following list are suggestions/ideas of things to put in your child's Easter Basket that are not only fun but will work on development of fine, gross and oral motor skills. All of these items can be found at discount stores such as Target, Walmart and the Christmas Tree Shop.

Bubbles are a lot of fun and work on development of oral motor skills.

Side walk chalk is a great outdoor toy. If you don't mind a mess, sidewalk chalk can be used in the driveway to create fun drawings. This is a great tool for fine motor development.

Play doh and cookie cutters fit perfectly in an Easter Basket and are another great tool for fine motor development.
(There was a post a while back with a play doh recipe)

Silly Putty is also a great alternative and perfect for fine motor development.

Coloring books and crayons will work on development of fine motor skills.

Water color paints and paper will also work on fine motor.

Sand and water toys can be a lot of fun. Perfect tools for motor and sensory development. This is a great idea if you have a sandbox in the yard.

Small books are also perfect for an alternative gift. (The other day in the dollar bins at Target were some great board books.)

Jump ropes and hula hoops are great spring time toys and will work on development of gross motor skills.

Of course, Easter wouldn't be the same without a small chocolate bunny.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

One of the books the children will be exposed to this week is "Peter's Chair" by Ezra Jack Keats. Peter is a character that the students have meet earlier in the year. He was the main character in the book the "Snowy Day" also by Ezra Jack Keats. Ask your child about Peter and see if they can recall what other book they met him in. Ask them about the author of both the "Snowy Day" and "Peter's Chair" see if they can make any connections between the two books.
Here are some ideas for a story discussion:
Share with your child that sometimes parents paint furniture to make it new again. Ask your child if they think this was why Peter's father painted Peter's old furniture pink, or if there might be another reason. Guide your chiild towards the understanding that blue and pink are traditional colors for boys and girls; discuss the variey of colors available to both boys and girls.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reading with Elmo

The following video is of Elmo exploring his neighborhood and learning about print in his environment. As you take your child outside to enjoy the nice weather point out print in their environment. I'm always amazed by how quickly children learn to read stop signs and the signs to their favorite stores. As your pointing out print in their environment focus on beginning sounds to words and exaggerate the beginning sound. This will help your child begin to make sound symbol connections. What a fun way to work on beginning reading skills while enjoying the beautiful weather.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dear Juno

The following is a book review on "Dear Juno" by Soyung Pak. This book will be read in every classroom this week. Read the review and then ask your child some questions about the book. See if they can recall any of the events or characters in the story.

This warm, simple, yet richly woven story informs readers that even in this electronic age there is nothing like mail received from afar to tie together family and friends. Juno receives a letter that he knows by the envelope and stamp is from his grandmother just outside Seoul. He has to wait for his parents to read it to him, since it is in Korean, but from his grandmother's other enclosures-a photograph and a pressed flower-he has already figured out that she has a new cat and red-and-yellow flowers in her garden. He sends her a picture letter back and in turn is treated to a big envelope with items he can "read" and, perhaps most importantly, colored pencils, which means she expects more picture "letters" from him. The handsome layout, featuring ample white space and illustrations that cover anywhere from one page to an entire spread, perfectly suit the gentle, understated tone of the text. The realistic pictures, created by using oil-paint glazes on sealed paper, have a delightfully cozy feeling, making this a good choice for snuggling up and reading one-on-one.
Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

6 Early Literacy Skills

The following article is on 6 early literacy skills. It helps to explain that beginning reading skills is a lot more than learning letters and sounds. Take a few minutes to read the 6 steps and then try to incorporate them into daily activities.

Here is a link to the website in which I found the article:

Six Early Literacy Skills

Young children need a variety of skills to become successful readers. A panel of reading experts has determined that six specific early literacy skills become the building blocks for later reading and writing. Research indicates that children who enter school with more of these skills are better able to benefit from the reading instruction they receive when they arrive at school.


Vocabulary, knowing the names of things, is an extremely important skill for children to have when they are learning to read. Most children enter school knowing between 3,000 and 5,000 words.

Help develop your child's vocabulary by reading a variety of books with him, both fiction and nonfiction, and by naming all the objects in your child's world.

Print Motivation

Print Motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, asks to be read to and likes trips to the library.

Encourage print motivation in your child by making shared book reading a special time, keeping books accessible, and letting your child see that you enjoy reading. Explain how you use reading and writing in everyday life.

Print Awareness

Print Awareness includes learning that writing in English follows basic rules such as flowing from top-to-bottom and left-to-right, and that the print on the page is what is being read by someone who knows how to read. An example of print awareness is a child's ability to point to the words on the page of a book.

Your child's print awareness can be encouraged by pointing out and reading words everywhere you see them - on signs, labels, at the grocery store and post office.

Narrative Skills

Narrative Skills, being able to understand and tell stories, and describe things, are important for children being able to understand what they are learning to read. An example of a narrative skill is a child's ability to tell what happens at a birthday party or on a trip to the zoo.

Help your child strengthen her narrative skills by asking her to tell you about the book, instead of just listening to you read the story. Encourage your child to tell you about things he has done that have a regular sequence to them.

Letter Knowledge

Letter Knowledge includes learning that letters have names and are different from each other, and that specific sounds go with specific letters. An example of letter knowledge is a child's ability to tell the name of the letter B and what sound it makes.

Letter knowledge can be developed by using a variety of fun reading or writing activities, like pointing out and naming letters in alphabet books, picture books, or on signs and labels. For babies, talk about the shape of things, and for preschoolers, try drawing letters and pictures in the sand.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the smaller sounds in words. Phonological awareness includes the ability to hear and create rhymes, to say words with sounds or chunks left out and the ability to put two word chunks together to make a word. Most children who have difficulty in reading have trouble in phonological awareness.

Strengthen phonological awareness by playing fun word games with your child:

  • Make up silly words by changing the first sound in a word: milk, nilk, pilk, rilk, filk.
  • Say words with a pause between the syllables ("rab"and "it") and have your child guess what word you are saying.
  • Read stories of poems with rhymes or different sounds to your child.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Professional Development

The staff of the Burlington Integrated Preschool participated in professional development today. Hanson Initiative for Language and Literacy (Hill Associates from MGH) joined us for the day to help support our new curriculum "Opening Our World to Learning." It was a great day for the staff and they have learned lots of fun new way to incorporate early literacy development into the daily activities/lessons they provide the children.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No School

Just a reminder that there will be no school on Monday March 8th, 2010. The staff will be participating in professional development for the day.

Dr. Linda Camp from Hill Associates and Massachusetts General Hospital's communication department will be joining us to help support the implementation of our new curriculum "Opening Our World to Learning." The goal for the day will be for the staff to have the opportunity to share celebrations and concerns that go along with the new curriculum. Teachers, teacher assistants and therapists will participate in this day long workshop. This workshop will not only compliment our new curriculum but also the programs goal on development of early literacy skills.

Say Cheese

We would like to extend a huge thank you to O'Connor Studios of Tewskbury for a great picture day. The photographers were very patient and got lots of great shots.

The children waited patiently for their turn.

One of the fun things about picture day is seeing the children all dressed up. (we loved all the outfits)