Now the fun really begins!
With the first few weeks of nursery school under our belts we have officially hit the sweet spot of being in the groove. I know that in the Youngers Program the children have learned to navigate all of the rooms, learned how to sit in line for hand washing, and are getting the hang of pouring their own water.
I want to thank all of the parents for trusting us to work with your children. The trepidation that comes with leaving children, especially young children, in a new place with new teachers is valid and understandable. Some of the children made a seamless transition to the new school year and others are still working on learning to separate. We know that each child and each adult has a different comfort zone with this kind of transition and we hope that you feel supported in your child’s individual journey toward independence.
Recently, some of our new parents have had the opportunity to be helping parents at nursery school and they are amazed at how self-directed and busy the children are. Many of the children have a plan of just how they want their day to start, who they want to play with and what teacher they need to see to get their needs met. Just three weeks ago, these children had never set foot at our school and now they walk around with such pride and ownership that it is hard to believe they haven’t been coming for years.
Now that the children are comfortably situated at nursery school, we are going to start to offer them activities where they will be asked to do things that they have never done before. Over the next few weeks we’ll be cutting up apples, cooking them, and making them into applesauce. We are excited to get out the real tools and start sawing, hammering, and drilling soon after that. We’ll also be turning our pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns. Some children will jump right in, and others will stand back and watch. We’ll encourage all of the children to participate and hopefully we’ll help them get to a place where they are willing to take the risk, overcome their hesitation and join in. We’ll build up their confidence, give them the time, space, and materials to achieve a modicum of competence in the task at hand, and work them through challenges and mistakes to bolster their resilience.
Competence, confidence, and resilience are all part of learning on our way to mastery whether we are in preschool or graduate school. Again thank you for trusting us with your children, for coming to all of the back-to-school events, and for becoming part of the fabric of our First Congo community. We look forward to a fantastic year of discovery, learning, and partnership.
The Core Values we are holding as our particular focus this year are those that promote the value of social growth and the development of emotional intelligence. While the primary beneficiaries of our efforts here at nursery school are of course the children, we believe in the continued growth and learning of the adults in the program too! Your parent participation days go a long way towards supporting that continued growth and learning, but we also offer Parent Ed opportunities each year to supplement your experience.
In January we will be offering a workshop centered around the topic of Finding Family Balance, and we want to highlight an upcoming opportunity that will provide a glimpse of what that workshop holds: Friday October 4th at 7:00 p.m., Challenge Success offers a panel discussion about the meaning of success and how families and educators can help kids become effective contributors for the 21st century. You may register online to attend.
November 13th will bring another opportunity: Carrie and I will lead a workshop centered on the notions of holiday traditions and activities as they relate to keeping a sane and balanced perspective for all concerned — but especially the adults! Watch for more information on this as the date approaches.
Meanwhile, we’re thrilled with the way the new school year is unfolding so far as a tribute to the social-emotional piece we feel is so important. We hope you’re all feeling the warm welcome we wish for you — let’s keep it rolling!
Parent Welcome Party
The third Friday night of the new school year was the perfect time to assemble as a community to introduce ourselves to many new families and renew old friendships alike! Many thanks to everyone who brought along a dessert or wine, as well as those who helped with the pre-party planning and set-up. We all had a terrific time!
Our Get-Acquainted Coffees are always a wonderful opportunity for building community right at the beginning of the school year, and we’re glad so many of you were able to attend! Tremendous thanks go to the Nursery Class Reps Mary Shapero, Adeline White, and Stephanie Schwartz, and the Youngers Class Reps Amy Darling, Inés Salazar, and Jen Glos for hosting their respective coffees at school; and to Mary Shaperofor hosting in her home, and Class Reps Lauren Heysse, Margaret Munzig, and Emily Gottfurcht for organizing the Olders coffee.
And . . .
Thanks to all parents for: remembering to sign in; picking up your mail regularly; attending the Orientations; participating in the daily end-of-day clean up; and picking up your children on time! Your support is much appreciated!
Our First Congo Website
As a reminder, the URL for First Congo’s website is firstcongonurseryschool.org, and it is full of wonderful resources and features that our families can enjoy once they have logged in on the ‘Our Families’ page. Besides the Newsletter, you’ll find the Week Ahead posted to the site, a list of upcoming events, and a calendar that is loaded with information, including the list of participating parents on a given day. Simply let your mouse hover over a date and a box pops up with everything you need to know! Also look for Kelly’s Picks (book recommendations) and links to interesting articles related to parenting and education, find the Directory and Handbook, and check out the staff bios if you’re interested.
Remember, your user ID will change year to year based on the class in which your child is enrolled, but your password will remain the same. So, for instance, for a family with a child in the Nursery program, the user ID is twosparent, and the password is 2016Family (2016 being the year the child will ‘graduate’ from First Congo). Next year this same family will have the user ID threesparent, but the password for this family remains the same.
[The password for this year’s Youngers is 2015Family; and for this year’s Olders it’s 2014Family]
Parent Participation Sign-Ups
For families in the Youngers and Olders classes, sign-ups for the remaining Parent Participation Days will go live tomorrow, October 1st, and remain online through October 15th. The schedule as it stands when the sign-up is taken down will be transferred to our paper calendar that is posted on the Bulletin Board just inside the gate, so any future changes can be made there if needed.
The link for the Youngers is http://www.mysignup.com/youngers
The link for the Olders is http://www.mysignup.com/olders
CPK Fundraiser Day and Night
Yes, that’s what they call it, and it really is fun! If you order food anytime during the day and night on October 22nd, eat-in or take-out, and turn in the coupon along with your payment, a portion of your total bill is given to the nursery school — simple as that! A coupon will be forwarded to each family electronically closer to the event, so watch for yours, then make your plans for the 22nd to join us!
The Newest Members of Our Community
So many families have added to their numbers over the summer and since the beginning of the school year! The Singh family (Caelen, Nursery class) welcomed Lila into the fold, the Cueva family (Felix, Youngers) added baby brother Stefan to their clan, while the Glos family (Jasper, Youngers) enfolded a third boy, Ziggy, into their busy household. Two of our new Youngers families also had babies just before school started: the Turners (Tallulah) welcomed James, and the Yens (Samantha) celebrated the arrival of Aiden. Some girls were also added to the sibling roster over the summer: Victoria joined the Galbraith family (Abigail, Olders), and Presley entered the Hart household (Miles, Olders). Finally, baby Leo was welcomed into the Pashalidis family (Kosta, Nursery class; Zoe, Olders) just after the start of school. Congratulations all around!
And finally . . .
All are welcome to attend the Parent Advisory Council meeting on October 14 at 7:15 p.m. We hope to see many of you there!