How do you hone your parenting skills? It is a longstanding First Congo tradition to offer parent education events in which we focus on different ways to meet the needs of preschool aged children. Sometimes we host parent education events that are facilitated by First Congo teachers and sometimes we bring in experts from our community. This week, Kelly and I will hold the first meeting of a two-part workshop focused on how parents can create meaningful learning opportunities for their children away from school. We’ll share our tips, hints, and suggestions about how to engage your child in ways that promote a love of learning while at the same time building real skills. Whether you have a child in the 2’s, 3’s or 4’s you’ll walk away with ideas about learning, discovery, cognitive function, and the tools that your child needs to be a successful learner. We’ll give you ideas to consider, activities to take home and try with your child(ren), and reading materials that might challenge the way you think about how children learn best.
If you cannot make it to this workshop, consider stopping in at our Third Thursday or Fourth Friday coffees, where parents are given a chance to ask teachers questions and chat with other parents about challenges they are facing. Don’t forget, we also have a fantastic lending library that contains over 100 parenting books on a wide range of topics. Last, but of course not least, some of the best parent education is done right here at school during a typical school day when helping parents get to watch seasoned teachers deal with rough housing, teasing, separation anxiety, testing, and all sorts of behaviors that come naturally to preschoolers.
We are dedicated to helping parents feel competent and confident about their ability to meet the needs of their children. We strive to do this by providing ample learning opportunities for our parents, and I hope that before the school year is out, you’ll find a way to take advantage of one or more of these parenting-skill building opportunities!
With March winding down into Spring Break, we are fast approaching that time of year whose busyness is rivaled only by December. Especially if you have older children in school, you’re only too familiar with that ‘got-to-fit-it-in-before-the-end-of-the-year’ rush of activities. It’s understandable, that desire to celebrate growth and come together as a group one last time before the groupings change, but the calendar can become so crowded, and the days so busy, that everyone ends up feeling stressed out and frustrated rather than nurtured and fulfilled.
Here at First Congo, we’re just about to jump into our workshops centered on notions of how we can create everyday learning opportunities for our children, and one certain idea keeps suggesting itself to us as we prepare our notes: sometimes less is more. This isn’t to suggest that there isn’t value in a sustained effort, but rather taking notice that the effort must be thoughtfully aligned with the child’s needs and stage of development, and that even then, the very best practices are organic and natural, such an unremarkable part of the daily rhythms of life as to be almost invisible.
As the spring calendar begins to fill up, we hope you’ll be able to stick to your family rhythms and rituals as much as possible, and be mindful of establishing intervals of calm and connection with your children. The best learning and growth occur in those times of connection, when engagement flows naturally because there are no other demands on attention or resources. So find ways to celebrate the accomplishments and transitions that June will bring, but remember, keep it simple!
Upcoming Calendar Items
Parent Ed Workshop
Learning Everyday — Summer Enrichment and Beyond is the title for our next workshop which will take place over two evening sessions:
- Wednesday, March 28th, 7:15-9:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 11th, 7:15-9:00 p.m.
Come to either session or come to both!
First Congo will be closed from April 2-6. See you back at school the week of the 9th!
The Third Thursday Coffee is set for April 19th and the Fourth Friday Coffee will take place April 27th.
Special note: Dr. Louise Singleton will be speaking on the topic of children’s friendships at the Third Thursday Coffee this month!
The teachers look forward to welcoming the dads of the 3’s and 4’s to school on Saturday, April 21st, in the morning and afternoon, respectively. Watch your mail pouch for more information as the day draws near!
Celebrating Our Teachers Event
First Congo parents (current and former) are invited to join the staff in the garden on the evening of May 12th — watch for your invitation!
If you’ve not taken the time yet to see our wonderful new benches, which sit out under Gayle’s oak at the back of the yard, please do make a note to do so! Our deepest thanks go to Scott Souter, father of Olivia in our 4’s program, for bringing his artistry and woodworking skills to bear on this memorial project: the poem he inscribed into the seats of the benches was one of Gayle’s favorites, and the effect is just right, providing a truly fitting tribute to the woman who was the heart and soul of First Congo for so many years.
Another father who deserves huge thanks is Farrell Smith, dad to Marcus in the 3’s. We are so grateful that he is able to bring his firetruck to school for the 3’s and 4’s to see — such a thrill!
Finally, we’d like to shout out a thanks to all who brought in items for the Baby Item Drive, and to Missy Reller for organizing the drive. The response was tremendous!