Welcome to First Congo! Whether you are a returning family or you are new to our nursery school community we want to greet you with a warm welcome. Our first week of school offered every parent and child a way to get familiar with our school in their own “just right” way. Our 2’s children and parents warmed to their new classroom and to Teachers Margaret and Claudia with no fear of separation and with a small number of children on their first day so as to not feel overwhelmed. In the 3’s we invited half the class to attend school on the first day and half the class on the second, easing that very big transition from the cozy 2’s classroom of last year to the huge “big kid” campus. And, with no hesitation, our entire 4’s class burst through the gate as a big happy group, chomping at the bit to be back with all their friends, teachers, and favorite First Congo activities.
This year, for the first time ever, we invited our parents to come to school for a special party where our parents were given the opportunity to play with each other at nursery school. We opened up all of the classrooms and put out a number of fun activities and encouraged our parents to get to know one another just the way their children do at school – through play. First Congo is dedicated to a philosophy that play is the work of childhood. This year we are going to highlight our belief that young children are eager to learn and grow in ways that are meaningful to them. At First Congo that means:
- Providing a play-based curriculum appropriate for the 2-5 year old learner
- Cultivating a sense of wonder and sharing the delight of discovery
- Enhancing intellectual resiliency and promoting curiosity through thoughtful dialogue
We look forward to a fun-filled year of community, exploration and discovery!
Several years back we ran a series in the newsletter that detailed the kind of learning that is taking place when children are ‘just playing.’ I thought in this Year of Play at First Congo, as we highlight our core value that states, “children are eager to learn and grow in ways that are meaningful to them,” I’d share this series with families again. We start at the playdough table.
At the playdough table, a child may be:
• Strengthening the musculature needed for an optimum pencil grip
• Developing basic math skills (one-to-one correspondence, conservation,
relationship of part to whole, exploring geometric shapes)
• Furthering language development in a social context (peer conversations, storytelling,
• Making direct observations of cause and effect (manipulation with tools, mixing of colors)
• Expanding the boundaries of tactile experience and confirming self-competency
There is no one ‘right way’ to approach the playdough table because, in the manner of all the best playthings for children, playdough is an open-ended material. The playdough table is a near-constant feature in the Red-Tail Room and there is nearly always a child or two engaged in discovery and manipulation of this marvelous medium on a given morning.
At First Congo we believe that in play there is serious learning, and that play is really the work of childhood.
Parent Play Party Welcome Event
The first 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 Brooke Davi and Sarah Gibbs who worked along with Aoife Maynard to coordinate the festivities. We all had a terrific time playing!
- The Coffees for the Two’s are being ably managed by Class Reps Liz Kristofferson and Elizabeth Garr this week (Sept. 13, 14, & 15).
- The Three’s Coffee, hosted by Class Reps Robyn Miller and Shea Singh, will be held as school on Sept. 22 at drop-off.
- Dr. Louise Singleton will speak on the topic of children’s friendships at the Four’s Coffee on Sept. 23, hosted by Class Reps Andrea Helft and Amy Joachim.
All Coffees are being held at school in a gathering space just off the side of the Social Hall. Each is a wonderful opportunity for building community and we hope you’ll be able to stop in!
Get Acquainted Picnics
Next week, on September 20, 21, & 22, the Two’s will gather on the lawn to picnic together at the end of their respective school days.
The Three’s and Four’s will gather by Snack Groups according to the following schedule:
9/27 Red-Tail 3’s
9/29 Yellow-Tail 3’s
10/4 Blue-Tail 3’s
9/26 Blue-Tail 4’s
9/28 Red-Tail 4’s
9/30 Yellow-Tail 4’s
Make note of your picnic date and bring a sack lunch for you and your child(ren) to enjoy in the company of friends!
Our website, firstcongonurseryschool.com, has a new look and many new features for families. 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 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.
The staff have new email addresses that you may use for school-related matters. The format is:
first initial and last name (no spaces or caps)@firstcongonurseryschool.com
There is also a Contact button at the bottom of each staff bio page that will automatically generate an email for you .
Parent Ed Series
We’re excited to announce a three-part series on The Value of Play that will combine information, an author presentation, and discussion as we seek to understand how important play is in our daily lives.
October 25th, 7:00-9:00 Why Do We Play and How Is It Important?
November 1st, 6:30-8:30 Book Fair – with Patricia Ryan Madson, author of Improv Wisdom
November 8th, 7:00-9:00 Book Group Discussion (Improv Wisdom)
Madson was for many years the Head of the Drama Dept. at Stanford, and her book is full of guidance for those of us who seek to be more present and playful in our day-to-day interactions. She is honored and delighted to be joining us at Linden Tree for what should prove to be a lively evening!
And finally . . .
A huge thanks to Christie Callaghan and Karen Nanevicz for retooling our school directory – the new format is wonderful!