Rivendell Preschool

Preschool Notes 12/6/2013

Dear Preschool Parents,

Recently I attended an In-service presentation featuring Gary

Johnson garcon1@q.com on ‘Turning Kids Into Readers’. I suspect many of

you already read at least 15-20 minutes everyday to your preschooler. That

is the foundation. Gary suggests that you don’t stop!

Learning to read well is hard and schools can teach children to read,

but to become a great reader, most of a child’s reading should be done

outside of school especially after they can begin to read it themselves (right

through all of elementary school).

Gary outlines 5 steps:

1. make it easy to read (limit screen time) & have a wide variety of

reading available

2. give them ‘good’ choices/’bad’ choices i.e. want to stay up with me &

read? Or just go to sleep?

3. blur the line between loving the reader and loving to read

4. stop reading before the child is ready (read no more then 10 minutes)

…never stop at end of chapter, but at a cliffhanger

5. make it easy to read (books in the car, on the breakfast table, in the


I wish I knew this when my children were in elementary school.

Doing this with your 3rd grader is the important part.

Interested in more? Contact Gary at address above.

Don’t forget to wear your Rivendell T-shirt to the Barnes & Noble night…

Tonight at 6:30.

Mary & the early childhood team

Fun in the Snow

Preschoolers and Older Kids enjoy sledding in the snow together.20131210_104933

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Preschool Thursday Notes / November 21st, 2013

Preschool parents,

     As we make our way through our Native American unit we are discovering the many ways that tribes adapted to their environments, food sources, and so much more. The children have been discovering the advantages of a travois and how carrying weight in another way creates an efficient moving technique. Children have been using a travois on the playground to move a bundle of bird seed. It has been fascinating to watch them as they work alone or in teams to move the bundle from one area to the next. From tepees to wigwams and to pueblos we have been talking about the different styles of houses and how they were adapted in ways of environment, ease of move, or developed in accordance with the weather. Several animals have been discussed throughout the unit as well; bison (buffalo), horses, dogs, and the Rainbow Crow have been common themes in our stories and myths.The Native American unit will be coming to a close tomorrow.

     During our time together on Monday and Tuesday we will be discussing Thanksgiving and traditions around the holiday. The children have already been working on their thankful turkeys that are hanging in the hallway. In the classrooms we have been talking about things we are thankful for and gaining an understanding of gratitude and thankfulness.

     The holiday season is just around the corner. During this time of year there seems to be so much to do with every passing day. It is during these times that the preschoolers seem to have the most energy while we adults seem to be running on autopilot. To ease the stress of the holidays try including our preschoolers on some family traditions. Whether it be mashing potatoes with grandma, telling stories with cousins, placing crackers on an appetizer tray, etc. These opportunities will provide them with moments of connectivity with family and friends, give them a chance to use skills that they are so capable of completing, and give them a sense of independence.

     Today we went on an adventure to the El Mercado (the Market) in the commons. The Older Kids made crafts, sweets, and much more for the children to purchase with their pesos. It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to practice speaking in Spanish, work on counting skills, and interact with the older students in the building.

     As a reminder Rivendell school will be closed Nov 27th – Dec 2nd for the Thanksgiving holiday. Classes will resume on Tuesday December 3rd. Upon our return we will be discussing several holidays from around the world. If you are planning to take vacation during December please let the teachers in the classroom know so that we can plan activities and crafts accordingly. Thank You

     We have been linking our Thursday notes to our Preschool page on the Rivendell school website. The website is a fabulous way to catch up on current events, links to resources, and much more. Please visit the page often for updates.



Amber, Christin, Lois, and Mary

Practicing gratitude, many Native American tribes

Our preschoolers have been busy enjoying our time with friends, engaging in open centers, the great fall weather, and learning!   Our topic unit of Native Americans is well underway.  We are have been exploring the Plains Indians culture from when the bison roamed the prairies (teepees, symbols, bison, hunting/gathering, leather clothing, fringe, legends, story-telling, horses, travois to move supplies, and more).  We will continue to explore how the land changed the way different Native American tribes lived in different areas of the country.  We are beginning to introduce Pueblo Indians of the southwest (homes: pueblos, adobe, clay pots, farming/corn, did not travel/sedentary) and eastern American Indian groups and homes (wigwams), like the Lenape of eastern Pennsylvania where Lois grew up and the Wampanoag of Massachusetts around Plymouth Plantation.  The Old Town Library has a free Seven Falls Indian Dancers event at 2 pm this Saturday, November 16.  What a great way to bring our unit to life!

Keep your eyes on the hallway walls and our changing bulletin boards for new work.  We read the book Feeling Thankful by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelley, and have been sharing who and what we are thankful for.  The book focuses on being grateful for the things that go right every day: a loving family and friends, a home and good food to eat, places to play and things to play with, as well as celebrations (like birthdays), and all the things that nature brings us (birds, flowers, the moon, the rain…).  Look for the “I am thankful for…” turkey hand tracings to see what our students are thankful for in their lives.  

You may appreciate this link   http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Gratitude-to-Kids , especially # 5 as a nice way to continue practicing gratitude at home: 5) Have your kids tell you three good things when you put them to bed each night. This should relate to things that happened to them that day or that they did during the day. This gives them a lens through gratitude glasses. Practicing this routine at the end of the day will help teach your children to slow down, savor the moment, and notice things that they feel appreciative about and should be thankful for.  Here’s another great resource from a researcher and expert in sociology and happiness (series of short talks): http://www.kidsinthehouse.com/video/encouraging-children-practice-gratitude

Thanks for continuing to keep your children’s coats, boots, sneakers, slippers, hats, mittens, snow pants, and change of clothing up to date and hanging around while we go through the ups and downs of weather through fall in Colorado!  It’s a lot to leave at school (or bring back and forth), but it really does help your children enjoy running, playing, and being an active and engaged preschooler!

Enjoy this magical time of fall and all the changes!

The Early Childhood Team – Amber, Christin, Lois, Mary

Native American: Winter Camp and Show-N-Tell

Hello Preschool Parents!

As the November winds blow the leaves from the trees,  we will begin to settle our winter Native American villages. We have chosen camp settlements close to rivers and good hunting grounds. We will begin to dry meats and fish to last the winter and bead necklaces to wear to welcome spring. We will listen to myths and creation stories and decorate ‘leather’ vests with fringe and designs using pictographs to pass the cold winter nights

 The preschool will approach this unit on Native Americans by examining how geography influenced the cultures and lifestyles of different tribes. We will look at the resources needed to construct teepees, wigwans, and Pueblos and the different foods available in each region. We will end our unit with a Pow-wow celebrating all the diversities. 

 Show and tell has started this month. This is a wonderful time to teach young children how to speak in front of a group of peers, answer questions, and be recognized. Show and tell also helps preschoolers distinguish between asking a question and telling a story. Family pictures, items from our current unit topics, and special mementos from family trips help with making these connections for the students. Thank you for all you do!

 Enjoy the weekend!

Amber, Christin, Lois, and Mary

Thursday Parent Note: Dress for the Weather

Thursday Notes 10-30-13
Dear Parents,

Thank you for all your organization & support that made our Halloween celebration such a success!!! All the activities were ‘just right’ for our preschoolers!!!

We will be handing out a ‘Show ‘N Tell schedule and start next week.

We care about your children and want them to be happy and comfortable playing outside every day from 10:30 to 11:30. As we know, Colorado weather can change very quickly. As we move into fall we have many children without the proper clothing for cold weather. Please remember we will be outside for almost an hour everyday. Over the years we have found it is easiest for parents to leave a set of clothing (see below) at school. Consider hand-me-downs or thrift stores (like ARC on 50% off sales every Saturday). There are no fashion police on our playground! Make sure extra clothes in their cubbies are ready for winter.

1). Please supply a set or two of mittens (one knit and one water proof). Even in sunny weather, the sand is often cold and damp. Mittens are faster to put on than gloves and keep their little fingers warmer. The wooden mitten rack pegs are over their coats.

2). Please supply a warm hat to be left at school. Most children find them more comfortable than hoods with better visibility when on a bike or jogging the track.

3). Rivendell students are encouraged to bring simple slippers (Please no huge heads on the toes) to school. They should be “comfy” and not a distraction. They are to leave their boots and wet, muddy shoes under their coats. This keeps our rug clean and dry as we sleep and work on this rug all day long. P.S. Thanks for the Velco sneakers everyday!!

4). Please bring a pair of old snow pants and a coat to school that can be left at school. Remember our preschoolers are more often horizontal then vertical. Please teach your child how to put them on themselves. We can help start zippers and snaps, but independence is our motto.

5). Please bring a pair of snow boots, to be left at school. The sand is often wet and cold all winter. Have your child practice so they can get them on and off themselves.

Label Everything!!!!

We will begin our new All School Unit on Native Americans. We were so impressed with how much your children remembered about the Solar System/ Astronomy unit.

If your child will be absent, please email the office at office@rivendell-school.org or leave a message with the office at (970) 493-9052.

Please see our link at https://www.rivendell-school.org/preschool/


UPDATE for Costume Policy

Good morning Preschool Parents 

Being new to Rivendell I (Christin) misunderstood the costume policy for Halloween when I was writing the weekly news…oops! 
We are asking that Preschoolers bring their costume to school in a bag (please put near their hook in the hallway). The teachers will change them after nap in time for our classroom festivities. 
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. 
Thanks and hope to see you this evening at Fun Fest. 
Christin, Lois, Amber, and Mary

Preschool Thursday Notes Oct 24th, 2013

Reminder: No school tomorrow (10/25/2013) for students. Parent/Teacher conferences will be taking place. FUN FEST tomorrow night from 5:30pm – 8:30pm.

It has been an amazing ride going through the Solar System and Astronomy unit with our preschoolers.  We have been simply amazed by the wealth of knowledge they have and the inquisitions that they made throughout the unit. We will be coming back to Earth and changing our focus over the next week. Next week the classes will be focusing on Halloween and transitioning from the Solar System/Astronomy unit and into the school wide theme of Native Americans. Christin and Lois’s preschool room is looking for donations to their Native American curriculum. The classroom is in need of Native American dress-up items (moccasins, costumes, etc) as well as other dramatic play accessories. If you are interested in donating please stop by the classroom. Thank You.

Speaking of Halloween – FUN FEST is tomorrow night from 5:30pm – 8:30pm. Come join us for the fun, food, and festivities. Please bring friends and family members to join in our school wide celebration. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet other families and be a part of the ever growing community at Rivendell. For more information go to https://www.rivendell-school.org/fun-fest/ It will be spooktacular!

Our classroom Halloween parties will take place on Thursday Oct 31st from 2pm-3pm. Students are encouraged to wear their costumes (we will change out of costumes for lunch and nap to prevent spills, etc) and participate in the fun and games that are prepared by our fabulous party volunteers. Please remember that costumes need to be removed for bathroom time and should be free of any weapons or accessories that may cause harm or a distraction at school.  Students who do not attend school on Thursdays are welcome to join us accompanied by a parent/guardian for our festivities on Thursday Oct 31st from 2pm – 3pm.

A big pat on the back to all of our parents for balancing all of the recent field trip permission forms, forms for school, student picture day and so much more. We know that it is a very busy time of the year and we greatly appreciate your patience and diligence with all of the paperwork and schedule changes.

This week we are going to start posting our Thursday notes on our Rivendell webpage. This is a great way to share all of the on-goings in preschool with friends and family who are a part of your child(ren)s lives.  Please see our link at https://www.rivendell-school.org/preschool/

If you are having trouble viewing the page or our Thursday notes please let us know so that we can fix the kinks in our system.

Amber, Christin, Lois, and Mary

Thursday Parent Note: Studying Astronomy

What a fun and busy time of year!  We are well into our unit on astronomy, the solar system, and all things “outer space.  Recently we have been learning all about astronauts.  Some students have mentioned hoping to be astronauts when they grow up.  One student, when it was suggested she might be a good astronaut, said, “But I don’t want to be an astronaut.”  “Oh, really?  What do you want to be?”  “I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”  We are so excited to get to learn and play with your students–and they are so excited about astronomy!

Speaking of learning and playing, Mary and Amber’s class went to the Ft. Collins Museum of Discovery to learn some astronomy with Big Bird and friends.  We learned how the sun moves through the earth’s sky, where the big dipper is, how to find the north star, and even went on a journey to the moon!  We got to see how there is no air on the moon, and how people and other objects are affected by the moon’s low gravity!  Lois and Christin’s Tuesday class will be attending the same show next week.  Please turn in any remaining permission slips and money to them and have your child here in their Rivendell T-shirt with appropriate clothing for the weather, as we will be outdoors!

As the weather is cooling off, our little hands could use some mittens to stay warm for our outside time (it’s still chilly in the morning).  If your child doesn’t know how to easily put on gloves by themselves, mittens are much easier for independence, and often will keep the fingers warmer!  Please remember to bring layers for our changing Colorado weather, and if you have extra mittens, boots, sneakers, hats, etc, feel free to just leave a set here at school.

Rivendell’s annual Fun Fest is right around the corner.  It’s a fun time for all ages, and a safe and non-scary place to play games, wander the halls in costume, and see friends.  If you are interested in volunteering (you too could paint faces or run a game station), or just want some more information, please check the web page: https://www.rivendell-school.org/fun-fest/  Grab the whole family and come on out–you might even see your teacher!

October 21, we have an opportunity for Monday children to go on a wagon ride leaving from school.  It’s a great time to see fall changes!  Please send your child in long pants on Monday as we will be out for about half an hour and likely sitting on some hay bales or wooden benches.  Gold permission slips need to be returned ASAP!  Remember there is no school or extended care this Thursday and Friday, as we have Parent/Teacher conferences and fall break.  We look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow, and the rest of you next Friday for conferences.  Enjoy the long weekend!

The Early Childhood Team

Amber, Christin, Lois and Mary


Thursday Notes: New Knowledge

Hello Preschool Parents!

New knowledge is the accumulation of a spark of interest, questioning, and then researching for the answers. As we begin studying astronomy (our solar system, stars, planets, moons, gravity), your children are asking scientific questions. “How come we only orbit in one direction?” How are the planets formed?” “How is a star born?” “How did the solar system get made?” Why is Pluto so small?” Maybe your children will be our future astronomers and discover these answers and more. Please continue to encourage their interests at home by checking out books at the library and finding YouTube videos on space.

We will also be visiting the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center to see the movie, One World, One Sky – Big Bird’s Adventures. Amber and Mary’s Tuesday class will go next week on 10/15 and Christin and Lois’ Tuesday class will visit the following week on 10/22. (This field trip is only open to students who attend on Tuesdays. Other field trips will be planned for different days.) The cost is $4.00. Permission slips will be coming soon.

Now that the weather is beginning to change and the leaves are turning red and gold, it is a good time to check spare clothes and make sure they still fit and are appropriate for the weather. We also invite you to bring in chapstick, label it with your child’s name, and put it in your parent mailbox. We will help your child apply it. Slippers, too, are nice to leave at school. They are cozy to wear at nap and helpful to have for nap time visits to the bathroom.

Reminder: Picture Day Tomorrow! If you are not here on Fridays, but would like to have your child’s (or sibling’s) picture taken, the photographer will take those photos at 8:30 in the Commons.

We look forward to visiting with you at parent/teacher conferences and as always, thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us!

Amber, Christin, Lois, and Mary