School News September 2018
The First week!
The first week is in the books and it sure was a good one! The first week was full of new friends meeting, old friends greeting and the excitement of a great year to come.
In Preschool One, the exploration has been all about ferries and transportation! The kids shared their knowledge of ferries at morning meeting, “they float!” said Chevy. Talia observed that “they bonk horns” and Nolan added that “they go across the water!” It is always so amazing to see what knowledge the children bring to an exploration and how much they learn and gain as the investigation grows and new discoveries are made!
In Preschool Two, the focus has been on what makes each of us unique and all of the things that make us...us! Vada is Vada because of “my bunny ears” and Opal’s unique way to create is to “act out” her favorite stories, while Liam “likes to draw.” Each of us bring our own uniqueness to our class and community and it’s been a fun week of learning what makes us different while noticing that we also have a lot in common!
Going Nut Free
Because we have students with tree nut and peanut allergies, ICS is going NUT FREE please be sure to read labels of foods sent in for lunch and snack!
Sign in Sheet Update
We are revamping our sign in sheets in the classrooms, we are adding a line to fill in everyday letting us know who will be picking up your child at the end of their day. It will eliminate any confusion on our end and will allows us to answer the questions for kids who like to know whose will be greeting them at pick up time!
Pick Up List
Is someone picking up that is not on your list? No problem, just send us an email in the morning (or stop into the office) and let us know their name and contact info!
As we embark on a new year together, we
wanted to talk about something near and
dear to all of our hearts here at ICS...the
importance of play. Often in Early
Childhood, play can been seen as well just
that, play. It’s so much more than that! Play is
learning, play is social, play is an important
tool for working through difficult emotions,
play is really one of the greatest tools as
teacher’s we can give to our students. In the
article ‘5 Essentials to Meaningful play’
author Marcia Nell explains “when children
choose how to play for themselves, they
experience freedom in making those choices.
They also begin to see the connections between choice and the consequences or results of that choice.” Play is such a vital way for children to explore and try to better understand their world and what is happening around them. Play provides a rich experience for children and as educators, it is one of the best ways we can help the children in our care to learn and grow.
Want to learn more? Here is a good, quick article from the NAEYC about parents and play! https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/10-things-every-parent-play
Thanks to all of you for such a wonderful start to the year! We are all looking forward to a year of exploration, discovery and fun at ICS!
With warmest regards, Quinn and Heather Co-Directors
SCHOOL NEWS OCTOBER 2018
News, Notes and Reminders...
Times moves so quickly, it’s crazy that we’re already a month
into our school year! We have some new families that have joined our community and wanted to send
out just a few quick reminders and share some thoughts.
We are currently a nut free school; (because of allergies) please make sure to check packages and be mindful when packing snacks and lunch.
We are a low sugar school; please send in food choices that are low in sugar and limit the amount of juice packed in lunchboxes.
We strive to be a non-commercial school; we ask that clothing, shoes and lunchboxes be character (movie and tv) free. We really encourage the children to use their imaginations to create their own games and play scenarios and have found that a “blank slate” approach helps to foster this idea.
Making the decision to begin the school day outside is not an arbitrary choice on our parts (though we do love the playground!) Over the years, we have discovered that the morning on the playground is the time that the kids cherish as their time to reconnect with friends and to get their days started. It’s also the time where they can get their energy out before we come inside and ask them to begin our school day together. It is a time of social emotional growth as they transition from home time to school time, seeking out trusted teachers and friends to help them begin their day. It’s a time that’s very special and one that we like to honor at ICS. We’ve observed that when kids don’t get this time together on the playground to connect on their own, morning meetings can be harder, they use this time instead to try and check in with friends, share stories and information at a time when we are focusing on what we are going to explore for the day.
Creating a morning routine helps ease the transition to school and allows them to feel confident in their shift from home to school. Some parents push their kids on the swing for a few minutes, others feed the bunnies together as their goodbye routine. We suggest creating a routine that is short, comfortable and one that is easy to remember so you can do it daily. It should ideally last around 5-10 minutes. The reasoning behind that is, the shorter the goodbye, the easier the transition for your child. We urge you to arrive as close to 8:30 as possible to really honor your routine while still leaving plenty of time for your child to connect with friends and play independently before lining up to go inside. Transitions can be tricky but we’re always here to help!
If you are looking for help with easing transitions or any other parenting topic, we have a parent coach Laura Jordan Decker, who has worked with many ICS families before! Here’s a little info about her!
Dear Parents at Island Children's School,
I have heard from a few of you about the Parent Support Program at ICS, and now that we are somewhat settled into the new school year, I wanted to let you know that I'm still available for private coaching sessions at the school. Last year, as many of you know, I provided both group and private sessions on a regular basis after receiving a grant to start the program and make Parent Support accessible to you.
While I look into further grants, I'll be continuing with private sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Please reach out to me if you'd like to set something up!
In our sessions, we work through common parenting concerns that can become very challenging and stressful. You, as parents set your priorities and goals in each session as we come up with strategies that work best for your families.
If we haven't worked together before, and you would like to learn more about the process, please email me and we can set up an initial meeting : )
I look forward to continuing the Parent Support program at ICS!
Also happening this month:
Fire Safety Day!
Wednesday October 10th at 10:00 we will have a visit from the West Tisbury Fire Department to learn about fire safety! We will even get to explore a firetruck!
Upcoming Trip to
the FARM Institute
We will be taking a school wide field trip to the FARM institute in Katama on Thursday October 11th and need parents to drive! Sign ups will be in each classroom, please sign up if you are able to help out!
As always if you have any questions or concerns our door is always open! Enjoy the long weekend.
-Quinn and Heather
School News November 2018
Food for Thought...
We know that packing lunches can be tricky, especially if you have a picky eater AND are being cautious of food allergies in school. Coming up with new ideas isn’t easy on a busy morning so here are some ideas to give some inspiration and links to follow for the recipes!
Dates to Remember
School will be closed on Monday November 12th for Veteran’s day
School will be closed Wednesday November 21- Friday November 23rd for the Thanksgiving Break
Art with Ms. Lani
We are so excited to welcome Ms. Lani back for after school art beginning Thursday November 29th and running through early January! Sign ups will be in the front entry.
Yoga & Music
We had our first music class on Tuesday with Laura and it was a hit! We look forward to what the rest of the year will bring! Friday November 2nd begins our bi-weekly yoga program with Emily! We loved our yoga days last year and are so happy we can offer them again!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Quinn and Heather
School News January 2019
Welcome back everyone! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to a creative and productive 2019! In the next few weeks we are going to send home our mid year assessments. This is just a tool we use between conferences to revisit fall conference goals, highlight new skills and examine any areas of concern. These are not a report card, we are not grading your child. They are simply a way for us as educators and parents to take a close look at each child in order to be aware of where they are in their skill sets, and to be able to set appropriate goals for them going forward. Once we complete them, we will attach them to cubbies for you to read, sign and return.
We have no school on January 21, 2019 to honor MLK Jr. day
As the weather turns cold (well, kind of) we want to send a reminder to make sure your child has an extra set or two of seasonally appropriate clothing in their cubby and comes to school with a hat, gloves and shoes that will serve them well out on the chilly playground!
S now Days...
As we head further into winter we wanted to review our school closing policy. We follow the public school system, specifically the West Tisbury school. As soon as we get the call we will post it to our Facebook Page if school is cancelled or there is a delay. If it’s a situation where we are in school and it snows so much that we are going to have an early dismissal, we will call/text everyone to let you know.
School News February 2019
Dreaming of Summer...
Well January is finally over! We made it! Every year January feels like the longest month but here inside our cozy school, we’ve had some wonderful explorations. With the weather sometimes not allowing for outside play, we’ve really been able to dig deep and extend our play. As crazy as it seems to be thinking about summer, we’re working on putting together a wonderful, nature based program for camp! If you are interested in signing your child up for camp and haven’t done so yet, please do! Spaces for camp are open to ICS families first before offering the remaining spaces to the waitlist of non-ICS families and that list is growing! We’d love to have a clear picture of what our ICS communities needs are before we open the spots up to the waitlist families!
Today marks the beginning of our study of Black History month. Last year was the first year that we introduced curriculum in Preschool Two that celebrated and honored Black History Month. This week we will begin our exploration of the men, women and events that helped to shape and define our country. There is a debate surrounding celebrating Black History month and I’ve been reading some interesting articles (I’ll link two of them at the bottom of the newsletter if you would like to check them out.) I think now more than ever, our young people need to see, hear and understand the stories of the history and of the people whose voices have been quieted or lost over the years. In an article on PBS Newshour’s Education section, teacher and writer Jose Vilson says “History isn’t just a set of facts to memorize. Black History Month should be an activation of our students’ agency, to understand the triumphs and follies anywhere and hopefully do better than we did.” I
know our children are young, but having (age appropriate) conversations about difficult subjects is one of the roles of being a teacher. It has always been a goal of mine to inspire a sense of using your voice and gifts for good. We get to plant the seeds of change, of helping our children to learn from our continued struggles to do better, and be better but it all starts with conversations about history and a sharing of ideas. Celebrating Black History month also allows us to focus on social justice, unity and diversity. To really examine what makes us different but also what qualities we share that bring us together. We get the chance to spark the idea of “be the change you want to see in the world!” There are hard, dark periods in our country’s history but there have also been (and continue to be) incredible and inspiring people whose contributions should and need to be celebrated! We are excited to begin our journey into Black History Month!
Want to continue the conversation? Here are some books to read together!
Little Leaders; Bold Women in Black History
by: Vashti Harrison
Henry’s Freedom Box; A true story of the underground railroad by: Ellen Levine
Follow the Drinking Gourd
by: Jeanette Winter
The Other Side
by: Jacqueline Woodson
School News March 2019
We have a field trip planned for 3.11.19 to Thimble farm! If you can drive please email Quinn with how many kids you can transport!
Wednesday 3.13.19 is a half day for all students. Teachers have a Professional Development day.
We are looking for extra clothes! If you are cleaning out closets we’d love extra pants, shirts and socks!
News & Notes...
Fall deposits are due April 1st; $400 for each returning student and $500 for each new student. $100 of each deposit goes towards administration fees, the balance goes towards your first month’s tuition.
Incoming Preschool Two families, please return registration forms for next year if you haven’t already. We are working on schedules and class lists! When thinking of what days you want and need for next year, please remember that Preschool 2 has a 3 day minimum.
March is Women’s History Month! A month to celebrate the incredible achievements of women around the world. Why is Women’s History Month important? I think the National Women’s History Alliance says it best, “recognizing the dignity and accomplishments of women in our own families and those from other backgrounds leads to higher self-esteem among girls and greater respect among boys and men. The results can be remarkable, from greater achievement by girls in school to less violence against women, and more stable and cooperative communities.” (https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/ )
During this month, we will prominently feature women in our explorations and their contributions to history. As always, as a teacher, I think the best and most tangible way to bring women’s history alive is through books.
School News April 2019
Spring has finally sprung and we are abuzz with excitement! April is a jam packed month at ICS, here are some important dates to keep in mind!
April 8-12 Parent Beautification week April 15-19 Spring Break; No school
April 23rd, 25th and 29th Parent Teacher conferences 12:30 dismissal for all students
What exactly is Parent Beautification Week?
Each spring we ask that at least one member of each family sign up for our annual spring clean/build! The jobs range from organizing the books in the office, helping to paint a classroom or bathroom or to help out with a building project. The sign ups will be in the front entry this week, so please think about your special skill set and what you can do to help keep ICS in tip top shape!
Food for Thought...
Kids and food have always had a complicated relationship. One of the conversations we have most with parents is how to help their children eat better, or just eat. Children have control over two main areas of their lives, food and potty training. We can’t make them eat and we can’t make them go to the bathroom. Power struggles over food can create food issues as children grow. One of the best ideas we’ve learned is, just keep trying. Introduce new foods. Make the choices offered ones that cover a wide range that hit the major food groups, but don’t forget the protein. Research shows that one in seven kids isn’t getting the protein their body needs. Protein is key for healthy growth and development. It helps in the recovery and repair of tissues in muscles, skin, organs and in the blood. Of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins, the body produces 11. The other nine come from food (Abbott nutrition news 2018) As teachers, we’ve noticed that protein helps to fuel children’s bodies throughout the day. They are learning, growing, moving and taking on the challenge of being kids. Having good fuel in their bodies makes their job that much easier! There are all kinds of ways to make sure they are at least trying some protein in their day!
School News for May 2019
May is such a wonderful and busy time at ICS! Here is what is going to be happening this month at ICS:
Tuesday May 7th: Teacher appreciation day! Show your love and appreciation for the wonderful teachers of ICS!
Saturday May 18th: School pictures with Maria Thibodeau Photography! More information and sign-ups are in the front entry.
Monday May 27th: Memorial Day; No school
News, Notes and Reminders...
Just a few reminders as we head into warmer weather; please send your child in with sneakers to run around on the playground. As spring fever hits, these kiddos love to move and sneakers keep their fast feet safe!
As the weather heats up please send in sunscreen labeled with your child’s name.
Friends heading to Kindergarten, here are the dates for Parent Orientation meetings;
Wednesday May 15th: Tisbury school 5-6pm Chilmark school 6-7pm
Oak Bluffs school 6-7pm Thursday May 16th: Edgartown school 5-6pm
West Tisbury school 5-6pm
Thank you all for coming out and celebrating May Day! It’s always such a special morning and we love getting to share it with our families and friends!
School News September 2019
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.”
Welcome to the new school year!
Our first week back has been a wonderful one! Seeing old friends, meeting new ones, reconnecting with teachers and exploring our lovely classrooms. It’s been an exciting week and we can already tell what a great year it’s going to be!
The first newsletter of the year is one of reminders, tidbits and (hopefully) helpful information! So here we go...
• Full days begin Monday September 9th, with early and late care also starting on the 9th.
• We now can accept tuition payments through Venmo! Just search Island Children’s School (@IslandChildrens-School) on the app to make a payment.
The mornings are chilly these days (sigh...) please send your kids in with a warm layer to start the day.
With full days beginning that also means rest time! Please send your child in with a blanket, pillow if they would like one, and a soft toy (stuffed) to rest with.
A reminder that we encourage home toys to stay at home, unless it’s a stuffed toy for rest time. Often toys brought from home are special and we don’t want them to get broken. They can also be tricky to share and have been known to cause conflicts. We have wonderful toys to explore at school to enjoy during the school day!
We ask that clothing, lunchboxes, rest items have non-commercial characters on them (characters from TV and movies) we have found that this encourages open ended play, relying more on the children’s imaginations than created characters.
Please let me know if you have any questions! See you Monday! Best,
SCHOOL NEWS OCTOBER 2019
What’s happening this month...
I can’t believe I’m sitting down to write the October newsletter! Fall is feeling like it’s officially upon us and it’s a month with some important things going on. Here’s a look at all that October holds for ICS!
On Saturday, October 12 ICS is having a multi-family yard sale! We’re collecting donations from not only ICS families but also community members. If you know of anyone that would be interested in donating men, women and children’s clothing, books and toys all of which are in good salable condition, send them our way! All of the money raised is going towards our goal of building a greenhouse in the garden!
Music with Laura Jordan-Decker of Little Bird Music will begin on Thursday October 3rd! We are very excited for music to begin this year. Laura joins each class for 30 minutes of singing and music and movement.
Fall Parent/Teacher conferences will be on Tuesday October 22nd, Thursday October 24th and Monday October 28th. Conferences are scheduled for 30 minute blocks at a time and are a way for us to connect about your amazing kiddos and all that they are Dismissal is at 12:30 on conference days for all students.
Social conflicts are hard. As adults it’s tricky to watch as young children navigate big ideas like what friendship is and how to navigate the inevitable conflicts that arise. Sometimes the words get mean, sometimes the conflicts become physical. How do we as adults
help our children through what can be hurtful encounters?
Long time early childhood educator Christopher Robert Taaffe
decided to conduct teacher research and try to get a better
understanding of conflict and children. He found that as adults
we’ve mislabeled conflict, assigning adult intention or assuming
the children involved are too immature to work it out on their
own. That grown-ups tend to hold to the notion of “enforced
togetherness”, the idea that everyone should have to play
together just because one child wants to. After watching a
specific social triangle he realized that “conflicts are also
chances to assert individuality, measure the strength of
individual wishes and compare divergent interests.” ( Taaffe,
NAEYC Young Children Vol.74 No. 4) In this same article,
Taaffe observes “when children hoard certain toys, dominate certain spaces at school, invent certain language or rituals, speak harshly to each other or exclude each other, these interactions serve as little workshops in which they gradually forge satisfying processes of play and companionship.” As teachers and parents we want to step in to help solve, to help work through an interaction that is less than positive. By stepping in, we’re not allowing some very important social work take place. “Allowing children more space to develop their own authentic ways to interact can be more effective in strengthening collaborative play and building their social competence with peers” (Neimark 2012, 64). At school we’re working on modeling more positive language if friends are feeling upset or excluded, talking at meeting times about “friendly” versus “unfriendly” words and looking at body language as an indicator of how our friends are feeling. We’re still right there to help if a situation gets really hard (or physical) but allowing children time and space to try and work through social conflict gives them tools that will serve them long after they leave preschool.