Time to Play
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
Celebrating play is a great way to acknowledge the importance of early childhood, and the theme of this year’s Par for the Cause, “Children’s Games”, reminds us of how play is learning for our littlest people. Games provide a lot of opportunity to practice different skills, from ‘pre-academic’ – counting, color recognition, identifying letters and words – to social skills like sharing, taking turns and working together to accomplish a goal. This learning is essential for development and provides the foundation for children succeeding in school and beyond.
Figuring out how to keep play as part of our adult lives is important, too. We might be more likely to call it “experiential learning” as we get older, but the concept is the same – learning by doing. Taking time to reflect on our experiences and change what we are doing to continue learning and growing is a lifelong process. Our synapses might not be developing and firing at the rate of young children, but we can still take in new information and adapt. There are many times I have heard teachers and other adults say things to children like “look at your friend’s face, how do you think they feel?” and “use your words” when a disagreement has cause hurt feelings. These are good reminders for all of us, not just children! We understand that young children learn best through play, and can take a page from that book, we so that we keep learning with them, too.
Resources & Events for families
Postpartum Support Group
Winston Prouty and HCRS are offering a new postpartum support group led by CIS Early Childhood Family Mental Health Clinicians Maura Shader and Lydia Barnes starting next month. The group will meet on Wednesdays from 10-11 am on the Winston Prouty Campus. Topics will include attachment, anxiety, postpartum depression, self-care and more. To register or for more information, call, text or email: Lydia Barnes, 802-282-8663, firstname.lastname@example.org or Maura Shader, 802-591-0125, mshader at hcrs.org.
Free Windham Philharmonic concert on Prouty Campus
The Winston Prouty Center and Windham Philharmonic are excited to announce their collaboration to create a free, family-friendly, outdoor concert the afternoon of July 4th on the Winston Prouty Campus! Food will be provided for sale by Jaci’s BBQ Joint food truck. Concert-goers are encouraged to picnic on the lawn while enjoying the music and may also bring their own food and refreshments. Alcohol will not be for sale but may be consumed responsibly. Music will begin at 3 pm; the event is expected to last approximately two hours.
The Basics Principle #4 Explore Through Movement & Play
Encourage curiosity, discovery, and a healthy body. Movement and play keep children healthy and build their coordination and strength.
- go outside for walks
- dance with your toddler
- rock baby back & forth
- play going over &. under games
- reaching, rolling, spinning & scooting
- splash & play in water
- pick up objects & drop them into bucket
- move arms and legs
The Basics are simple strategies that support healthy brain development in children 0-3. Families can do these activities at home everyday. Learn more about The Basics. Sign up FREE Basics Texting service: bit.ly/basicsvt
Co-Working Space now available on campus!
The Winston Prouty Campus is opening up 2,200 square feet of office space for co-working! Prouty WorkSpace offers a professional and safe environment with bright & sunny windows, convenient parking and reliable internet. Open-concept or private space for individuals or groups. Daily & monthly rates. Call for a tour! More info & pictures
Early Learning Center News
Professional Development in the ELC
“Daily transitions are difficult for [children], because it means switching from one activity to another (often sooner than they want). Transitions are also tricky because they typically involve multiple steps, which can be hard to remember, and even harder to execute.” –From Montessori in Real Life (read the full post here.)
This month at our staff meeting the teachers will be exploring ways of structuring the day in order to minimize transitions and wait time, and learning strategies for engaging children during times when they are waiting. We would love to hear from you about how transitions are with your child. Are there times that you find particularly challenging? What strategies have you used to make transitions easier? We invite you to talk with your classroom teacher about this (and any other) topic as it feels right, and look forward to continuing to learn together.
For the month of May we enjoyed fun sensory activities such as water and bubbles! We also celebrated a couple birthdays and enjoyed some outdoor time as it has started to get warmer. We are enjoying playing with one another and are all starting to really become mobile as we have a couple crawlers attempting to take some steps!
In the month of June, our hope is to get outdoors as much as possible! With the beautiful weather the children can enjoy being outside and moving around more. We also have put out some farm themed activities such as barns and farm animals and learning the animal sounds. We also have introduced a familiar faces window that has many different faces of teachers that these children may know.
This month we started by making playdough together. We are curious about how the children will blend familiar and less familiar materials, and are working on slowly moving from one texture to the next starting with playdough and moving to clay. Each day we will provide something that is familiar and explore it in a new way, for example adding color to the playdough. We are planning to work with scissors and other clay tools, and we are also interested in how the children incorporate materials from the room. One way that we observed this already was when one child brought over an animal from the farm and started to make tracks in the playdough. We are excited to continue to do hands on exploring and see what the children bring to the experience. We also continue to utilize our beautiful and expansive outdoor campus.
In the month of May, there were Robin Eggs on the ramp to the outdoor classroom. This sparked the interest of the oak room. They were tracking the birds and how they were doing. We roped in our senses by listening to the noise they make and observing them. We did a variety of activities that were related to animals like, “fishing”, creating fish with pool noodles, fossils with Air dry clay, air dry clay birds, and pool noodle birds. We visited the pond to look for frogs. To our surprise, we also saw a salamander, a gnewt, and a huge fish. We began making snack for the ELC, which was green smoothies for the month of May.
In June, we hope to continue the topic of animals and extend it to their habitats, what they eat, and their families. We will visit the garden room and garden on Wednesdays to see the growth. We have already started picking the strawberries!
The month of May was an exciting time in the Birch Room! We worked on a Community Helper theme throughout the month. We talked about a variety of Community Helpers within our own community such as police officers, firefighters, librarians and many more. We also talked about what we would want to be when we grow up too! We had answers to that question such as bakers, teachers, and veterinarians. We played many movement games with activities such as “swim like a lifeguard” and “cut hair” like a hairdresser. We also continued to work on number recognition with numbers 1-10 primarily, but we have been working on 11-20 also. We also worked on our letters as well. During our small groups we worked on writing our name as well as some process art freehand watercolor paintings that are hanging in our hallway. Kim S also started back up her social/emotional small groups Monday-Thursday where the children worked on both problem solving and friendship skills. On Fridays, Kim leads our morning circle and reviews what we have learned throughout the week in her group, and this is going very well!
The Birch Room also had our first sprinkler day of the season which was so much fun when we had that “mini” heatwave” at the beginning of the month. We have bought a new sprinkler that we cannot wait to try out in the coming weeks! Lastly, the classroom was excited with the news that Teacher Alyssa and her husband Alex (Facilities Technician here at Prouty) are expecting a baby at the end of November! We will continue to discuss this in the coming months. In the month of June, we will be talking about All Things Summer! We also look forward to our annual Par for the Cause Disc Golf fundraiser on Saturday, June 25th! We hope to see you all there!
Congratulations to Birch Room teacher Alyssa O’Brien on receiving her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Community College of Vermont!
- June 3 – Lincoln is 2!
- June 13 – Miles is 1!
- June 16 – Happy Birthday Alison, CIS Coordinator
- June 14 – Dell is 4!
- June 22 – Happy Birthday Kathy W, ELC Program Support
- June 25 – Rocko is 3!
Dates to Remember
- Saturday, June 25 – Par for the Cause mini-disc-golf fundraiser
- Thursday, June 30 – ELC graduation
- Friday, July 1 – ELC Closed for Professional Development & prep
- Monday, July 4 – Center closed for July 4th holiday
Par for the Cause
Our annual fundraiser, Par for the Cause, is next weekend! We hope you will join us! The children have been helping to make some of the decorations for the mini-disco-golf course. We’ll have a BBQ picnic by staff volunteers with $5 lunch plates. Drop in anytime between 2 and 7!