Rivendell Preschool

Welcome to Preschool!

Dear Parents,

We have had such a great week, in spite of the heat! We have been using classroom toys safely, enjoying our specials classes, and doing cutting projects. For circle times (when we study our school-wide topic unit) we are building our Mayan villages in our Home Living areas and learning about what “ancient” means (a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, LONG time ago), how they built their homes and what materials they used, as well as what foods they ate. We will continue learning about what life was like for the ancient Maya next week.

We are really working on helping our students to feel independent and successful in our school setting. They are so proud of themselves when they can “do their job” (meaning meet the expectations of daily life in our preschool classroom). This includes being able to easily take their shoes on and off, as well as use the bathroom without having to ask for help with getting out of their clothes or back into their clothes (how frustrating must it be to not be able to finish putting your pants back on because you don’t have the strength yet to snap your jeans shut or know how to get out of a belt or jumper/overalls?). Everything we do with your children prepares them for a successful career as a student (which they will likely do for the next 20 years!!), and we want them to build self-confidence and make positive associations with school (school is fun; school is easy and interesting; I feel safe at school).

Thank you for continuing to send your child with safe running/play shoes with a velcro strap and socks. Our preschoolers grow and change so fast that they are continuously having to re-learn their relationship to the ground and the world around them; secure shoes take away an added level of stress. We have enough skinned knees and elbows as it is!! And sweaty feet are no fun to try to get back into sweaty shoes without socks. 🙂 It may be useful to have your preschooler practice getting their shoes on and off before having to do it at school so they feel comfortable, and you are certainly welcome to leave play shoes at school if your child prefers impractical shoes (thanks to those of you who have!).

We are continuing to work on our safety rules: keep yourself safe, keep your friends safe, keep your things safe, “stop for good,” and “we don’t take toys from kids.” Your preschooler can tell you all about it. 🙂 This week we have been focusing on keeping our friends safe (especially our friends’ feelings, which means using kind words and working on helping them feel better when we make mistakes), and keeping ourselves safe (especially keeping our bodies under control, like walking in the school building, sitting in circle time, relaxing at rest time and making healthy choices at lunch time).

Don’t forget Back to School Night next Tuesday, September 10 from 6-6:25 pm. We will present as a Preschool Team in Mary and Amber’s room. More info about the board updates and specials teachers availability for that night can be found in last Sunday’s eNews. We’ll see you there!

The Early Childhood Team
Amber, Christin, Lois and Mary

Middle Ages and Valentines

Knights had heavy chain mail and armor.

Knights had heavy chain mail and armor.


Squires helped knights to get dressed.

Squires helped knights to get dressed.

Wow, what a great Middle Ages unit we’ve had!  We have been so excited to learn about castles, the people who live in them, and what they did in the time between ancient times, like ancient Greece (long, long, long, long, long ago), and present day (which is why we call it the Middle Ages).  Your students can probably tell you all about drawbridges and moats, and maybe even about the portcullis (the heavy iron gate that goes down before the drawbridge) and the crenelation (the alternating squares on top that people could hide behind or look around)!  

Ask them about the duties of a page and a squire, and how a squire gets to become a knight.  And they know how important it is to do good deeds, be on their best behavior, and help the ladies of the castle if they want to become knights.  Some of our students have completed their training and have been knighted.  We expect there to be more to follow!

Our school will have a special visit from the Society for Creative Anachronism in a few weeks to show and teach us more about food, clothing and everyday life in the Middle Ages.

This week we start our unit on Magnets and Electricity.  We will be doing a lot of hands-on experiments and have opportunities to try out some of these in our science center as well. This week also brings Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day–hooray for holidays!

Please bring in a cereal box that your child will decorate for their Valentine’s Day cards.  You should have received a list of the names of all the students in our class in your child’s take-home mailbox.  It’s a great opportunity to practice their name-writing!  Distributing Valentines is optional, but we ask that if you do participate that you bring cards for everyone in the class.  Also, please do bring them in early (by Wednesday, 2/13 at the latest). Once the boxes are up, you may distribute cards with your child, or we are happy to help them.

We look forward to a fun-filled February!

Winter Update

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Happy Winter! (Well, almost.) Your preschooler should know when Winter officially begins, because we have been learning about many of the holidays that are celebrated this month, including Solstice. The Preschool Team dedicates each December to teaching your child how families have different traditions during this time of year. We like to highlight the common theme of lights–Christmas lights in our city, Menorah candles, Santa Lucia’s crown of candles, Kinara candles, and, of course, the sun’s light in the days that grow longer after Solstice, the first day of Winter!

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We are celebrating the diversity of traditions represented in our community after having studied the human body. No doubt you’ve been hearing facts about the different systems (we really like the digestive system, because it’s sooooo gross!), and hopefully your preschooler has been using new vocabulary from this unit at home. Focus on our body and senses will continue as we enjoy holiday smells, eat special treats, listen to festive music and learn about what our neighbors and friends might be celebrating at home, while we perhaps observe a different holiday.

As always, we continue to be amazed by your children’s progress. Everyone is working on developing small motor strength, spatial awareness, skills in phonics, literacy and beginning math. Please continue to support your child’s independence over the Winter break, keeping him/her busy with little jobs, encouraging responsibility. We wish you a happy holiday season full of joy and rest! See you next year!


A great trip to Miller Farm!

We want to shout out a big THANK YOU to all of our parent volunteers who came with us to Miller Farm! It was a successful trip, and we made many special memories. We hope your families are able to enjoy a nice vegetable stew on these chilly days!

Coming Up – Miller Farm Field Trip!

All Preschoolers welcome!

Next Tuesday (October 2nd) we are going to Miller Farm. We will be harvesting vegetables and having a picnic lunch. This is a wonderful outdoor experience for the preschoolers!

A few things to remember:

  • Wear sneakers or good walking shoes, and long pants . (This is a working farm and we will be walking through fields and digging in the dirt.)
  • Pack a brown bag lunch. (We will provide water and snacks.)
  • Put sunscreen on in the morning!
  • Parent volunteers, You may want to bring a pair of gardening gloves. The pumpkin vines are prickly.

We need all preschoolers to be here by 8:40am, so we can do a head count, match them up with parent volunteers, and use the bathrooms before we leave on the bus.

Thank You!

Sustainable Living Fair this weekend!

Hi parents,

If you have never been to the Sustainable Living Fair, it’s a neat place to learn about lots of fun things that keep our planet safe. Check out the Family Planet, and maybe you’ll run into some of your teachers or friends at the fair!


September Newsletter

Welcome to a new year! 

One of the most amazing things about preschoolers is how fast they grow and how dramatically they change in 12 months.  As we greet our students from last year, they are moving through the halls with such confidence and style it is hard to believe they were once having their first days at Rivendell.

We are spending the month of September working on classroom routines, routines and more routines! We are helping our children learn all those new skills necessary to function in a group, in a new classroom, and with new teachers.  We teach them how to make friends and how to “keep ourselves safe.” We are breaking all these new tasks down into small components to help them master each step. We want to give them the confidence to try the next step.  

Something as simple as lunch is a big deal to a preschooler. We try to set up their environment for success.  Coming in from outdoors, we remind them to use the bathrooms and teach them how to wash their hands with interlocking fingers and scrub.  They need to collect their lunch boxes, find a seat and unpack, and put their lunchbox under their seat. We talk about good choices in what to eat first (“protein first”) and not the dessert.  We teach them how to stay in their seats during lunch, how to open their own containers, how to clean up their own messes and encourage them to try a little of everything. That‘s just lunch!  We have at least six more hours!!

Overlay this with the challenge of learning appropriate social skills, assessments and starting some Workjobs and we have a very busy September!

Ancient Greece

We have transformed the home living center into an ancient Greek polis and are learning about home life, foods, household goods, clothing (chiton), gods & goddesses and mythology, Aesop’s fables, the Trojan Horse, voting, Olympics, architecture, art and culture, etc. We will sample a little ancient Greek cuisine, create a mosaic, and vote in an election.

Again, thank you for trusting us with your children! The transition to preschool is no small experience in the life of your little one. Some days are easier than others, and anxiety is a normal part of a new school experience. The following link offers support for understanding the challenge of change in routine and provides great advice for setting up these little people for success in their transition into preschool.