Rivendell Preschool

Long Nights and Beautiful Lights

We are wrapping up 2018 with the preschoolers with some fun-filled days.

Smiling through the cold. 

This week we will be continuing to share our Winter traditions posters with the class. This has been a fun time for all the students. The presenters have a chance to share something unique and special about themselves and their families. Meanwhile, the audience is making connections with their own wintertime traditions and with other presenters.

They are also learning the difference between a question and a statement. Questions start with: who, what, where, when, why, or how. And after a few weeks of practice, they’re starting to get the hang of it!

The students were also introduced to the story of Santa Lucia, and took part in the tradition of balancing candles and handing out treats to friends.  

Tomorrow we will talk about the upcoming winter solstice and what it means about day and night time, and how people celebrate by bringing in greenery and light.

The kids have been continuing to learn about classic fairy tales this month. We have been sneaking plenty of literacy learning into these fantastic stories as well!

Students this week have been working on identifying different characteristics of the story. They can name important characters (who), main conflicts (what’s wrong?), and resolutions (how did they fix their problem)! These young book lovers are starting to analyze books we have read all on their own.

It is so exciting to see!

Next week is the FINAL week before winter break! We will wrap up the first half of the year on Thursday, December 20th. This is a half day with no aftercare. Students should be picked up between 11:00 and 11:30.

Some families are lucky enough to start their vacations earlier than the 20th. If that is you, please let us know which days your student will be missing so we can plan accordingly!

We look forward to a wonderful last week as well as a bright new year!

Your Preschool Team,

Dylan, Christin, Alison and Lois

‘Tis the Season

It is a magical time here in the preschool classroom. We are acting out stories and fairy tales, celebrating holidays, and creating special projects. Here is a look at what has been happening…

 We added special outfits to enhance our winter dramatic play centers.

 We acted out the story of The Twelve Months. A Russian fairy tale that tells the story of Maria and her wicked stepmother and stepsister. They force Maria to do impossible tasks-find a violet, strawberry, and apples in midwinter. Maria finds the twelve month brothers (personified) sitting around a fire who help her since she is so kind. Ask your child what happens to the mean stepsister and stepmother!

 Oranges and cloves help to make our room smell festive. They were used a long time ago as a natural air freshener when people were not as clean as we are today!

 We have been learning about body parts in P.E. We used scooters to help us tag the body part that Jeff identified. See if your student knows where his/her shin, shoulder blade, or thigh is!

 Heather came to share with us the holiday of Hanukkah. We learned about the Menorah, a dreidel song, and enjoyed chocolate coins.

 And finally St. Nicholas and his donkey came to visit our classroom. Nicholas lived in Turkey where he would throw money down the chimney of those who needed it in his village. The money would land in the family’s shoes that would be warming by the fire. We remember this tradition by putting our shoes out, filled with carrots for the donkey, in the hopes that St. Nicholas would bring us something special.


Keep an eye out for more magic in our classroom!

Thankful, Grateful, and Blessed

It is our pleasure to be a part of your child’s educational journey here at Rivendell. We are thankful that we have the opportunity to watch your children grow and learn, grateful to provide a safe and caring environment to help them learn, and  blessed that we are surrounded by loving children and families.

In recent days we have been incredibly busy with our field trip, activities at school,  art projects, and much more.

A huge thank you to all of our parent volunteers that came with us on our Field Trip. We had a wonderful time at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Students explored the dioramas, the prehistoric exhibit, and had the opportunity to watch Oceans, Blue Planet in 3-d. Many students were making connections to information they had learned during our topic units at school.


The students have been busy working on their handwriting skills while working on journal pages and their I am thankful writings.  We have seen so much growth and development both in their recall and handwriting skills in just a few short months.


In art class the students have been working on several art projects in preparation for our Annual Rivendell Art Show. They have been using a variety of materials and implements to create their works of art, including portraits of Splat the Cat.

We will be sending home an “All About Me: Winter Traditions” project with your child today. We encourage you to take some time to work on these projects as a family. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about why or how their own families came about traditions during the winter months. The students will each be scheduled a certain day to share their creations with their classmates. Please note the date on your child’s instruction sheet.

Are you missing some reusable containers, winter jackets, headbands, etc.? Please take a moment to swing by the lost and found (located by the doors that lead to the playground). The lost and found has grown by leaps and bounds lately.

Wishing you all a fabulous Thanksgiving break. Safe travels to all who will be driving and flying. May your days be filled with amazing memories with family and friends.

Thank You, Thank You Very Much!

In our classrooms, we have been asking the students about what makes them thankful.


Some talked about friends and playing with the people they care about.

Others talked about special toys given to them by special people.

Lots of children talked about with their family and all the love and affection they give and receive.


We are enjoying learning more about our students and the ways they think and feel. We are also grateful for the chance to work with such an exciting and unique group of children.

Another upcoming event that we are thankful for is our exciting trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science! Our students are so happy to have the opportunity to experience the museum with their friends and classmates.


On Friday, students will need to be at school by 8:00 AM because we will need to be on the bus and leaving for Denver at 8:15. They will need to be wearing their purple Rivendell shirts, with a fully disposable lunch. If you did not receive a purple Rivendell shirt we will be supplying purple summer shirts.


We are also thankful for our changing seasons! Colorado is always exciting when it comes to the weather. Just as a reminder, students should be have a pair of snow boots AND a pair of inside shoes (sneakers, crocs, slippers with a rubber bottom). We do not allow students to wear their boots into the classroom because it leaves our carpet dirty or wet.


Finally! We are most thankful to the wonderful parents and families of our students. This year we have had tons of families come in to read, and help, and share with our classes. And even if you have not had a chance to come and be apart of the classroom, we still appreciate all the time, effort, and work that you do to make your kids the independent and capable kiddos they are.

The students entranced while learning about Diwali from a parent speaker.


A few of the wonderful Rivendell Readers we have had in our classrooms.

Thank you for all you do!

Your preschool team,


Dylan, Christin, Alison, and Lois

The Pumpkin Ran Away Before Thanksgiving Day

In our classrooms we have stowed away the skeletons, bats, and ghosts and are moving forward to new units and new holidays. The preschoolers have started learning about simple machines and how they make our lives easier. In Science, we began with exploring how marbles move down inclined planes. We connected the slope or steepness of the ramp with how far our marbles rolled across the floor.

**Secret Task: The preschoolers will be learning about inclined planes, wheels/axles, screws, wedges, levers, and pulleys. Take a picture of a simple machine you see somewhere in your world! We would love to see them and post them in the room to connect this unit with our everyday lives.**

We use our engineering minds not only in science but also in working with the materials that have been carefully chosen by the teachers. Here we have two students who worked very hard on creating a train track. We encourage students to keep working on projects such as these over the course of many days, adding, adjusting, and rebuilding as needed. That may mean that the center is closed off while these students are working and will be opened for new students to explore as the previous pair move on to a new area of engagement.


In Art, Tina is preparing for an amazing Rivendell community event that happens the first Friday in December-our Art Walk. The school is transformed into an art gallery with a handful of pieces displayed by each and every student. We are making paper lanterns as one of our pieces. Tina has been connecting this and other projects with the concept of warm colors versus cool colors.


In Music, Tina incorporates a composer of the month into our music classes. Our composer this month is Villa Lobos. We will revisit him again in the spring when we start a unit about South/Central America. Tina is also teaching us the difference between long and short notes, singing piano (quiet) or forte (loud), and how we incorporate accent notes into our singing (check out “A Few of My Favorite Things” for this concept).

In P.E., Jeff had us working on dribbling a basketball. We felt with our fingertips and practiced using just the right amount of pressure to keep the ball bouncing. Now we are throwing and catching the ball back and forth. We start with the ball at our chest, check to make sure the other person is ready, and we push the ball towards them, hoping they scoop it up with two hands to catch it.


In Spanish, Brenda is preparing us for our annual event, El Mercado. We will get to shop at a market for wares handmade by older students in our school. We use our pesos, haggle over price, and take home our treasures.

You may notice that our focus in the upcoming days will be examining the many people/things that we are thankful for. We are certainly thankful in preschool to our specials teachers for challenging us, encouraging us, and helping us to learn.

Connecting the Pieces

With shorter days and less time to play outside, the preschoolers have been introduces to new activities in the classroom. The wooden building blocks have been added to our free choice selection as well as some large floor puzzles and foam alphabet puzzles.

Working together to solve a floor puzzle!

Puzzles also provide many benefits for children as they develop.
Hand-eye coordination: Develops a relationship between what their eyes see, what their hands do, and how their brain relates this information.
Emotional/ social: Learn patience and are rewarded when they complete the puzzle.
Small motor: Small and precise movements, such as the movement of fingers to get a puzzle piece in exactly the right spot.
Shape recognition: Looking for triangles, squares and circles and seeing the outline of a empty space.
Problem solving: Either the puzzle piece fits or it does not and you have to go back to the drawing board.

Pride in his work!

Children use critical thinking skills to solve puzzles and build strategies. So take out some puzzles and have fun with your children on these cold autumn nights.

Enjoying the challenge!

Solving a challenge together!

Halloween and the Day of the Dead have also consumed our attention in the classroom. Students have been working on following 4 step picture instruction cards to complete a Halloween scene and they have been decorating a skeleton for Dias de Muertos. And ask them to recite for you a poem they have learned called Halloween Cat!

Metacognition in Young Minds

We all aspire to be lifelong learners. But what separates the students that learn because they have to and those that love to learn? And what can we do to foster that love of learning in the classroom and at home?

Research shows that students that think about their learning, understanding, strengths, and weaknesses, have higher rates of growth and improved learning! So what does that look like in a preschool classroom?

A three or four year old might not understand the importance of self reflection when it comes to their education, but they are about think about how they learn. We help simplify this concept by breaking it down to smaller ideas.

  • What kind of work do you like to do with the teacher? (Cutting projects? Math activities? Literacy jobs? Journal Pages?)
  • What kind of work is more difficult with the teacher?
  • What specials do you like?
  • Which ones are a little more challenging?
  • Do you like to sing songs in class?
  • Do you like to move your whole body to learn?
  • What do you want to be better at at the end of the year?

These are questions that the preschoolers can understand and answer that still begin process of metacognition and self reflection. These young minds are so engaged and capable. We want to support and encourage a lifelong love of learning.

What are some of the answers you get from your preschooler when you ask them these questions?

Let us know with a quick email back.

These students all love to learn in different ways. When we know which work the best, we get to make school that much better!


The classroom is getting exciting as we inch closer and closer to Halloween! We hope that everyone had a fantastic time at the Fun Fest, and are just as excited for our classroom Halloween parties. We are wrapping up ancient Mesopotamia and taking a little break in our topic units to celebrate fall, learn about Day of the Dead, and have fun with Halloween.

We will be starting our simple machines unit in November before transitioning to winter holidays around the world. If you would like to share a unique holiday or traditions that you have we would love to have have you!

In the month of November we will also be taking our large field trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science! Let us know if you would be interested in chaperoning for this trip and be on the lookout for permission slips in your student’s mailbox.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Your preschool team,

Dylan, Lois, Alison, and Christin


  • PICTURE DAY IS TOMORROW! – Preschoolers will be getting their pictures taken first thing in the morning.
  • No School, Friday Oct 19th. Parent / Teacher conferences
  • Fun Fest, Friday October 19th

Our preschoolers are busy from morning drop off until pick up in the afternoons. Throughout their day  at school they are constantly tasked with learning new skills, developing new language, and gaining a sense of their independent abilities. Some of the many important skills they are learning revolve around their small / fine motor development. The development in their small/fine motor areas help them accomplish so many tasks from learning to write to buttoning shirts, opening lunch containers to putting together puzzles. The students have been (and will continue to be) exposed to a variety of skills that help to build the muscles in their fingers and hands. Small motor development is an integral part of their independence and academic success here at Rivendell School.

( Students using their small/fine motor skills at Rivendell School. )

We encourage you to provide opportunities for your child(ren) to further develop these skills at home. A variety of toys/games and activities can help to promote small/fine motor development. The list below is a tiny sampling of some fun ideas for small motor development within the home.

  • Playing board games (pinching the pieces, holding the cards, working collaboratively with both hands)
  • Modeling clay or Play-doh (pinching, rolling the clay with a rolling pin, controlling the clay with both hands, rolling the clay into a ball, and more)
  • Puzzles, both board puzzles and floor puzzles (manipulating the pieces, turning the pieces, and picking them up)
  • Practicing buttoning, zipping, and snapping ones clothes
  • Helping to load the dishwasher (a skill they practice here at school after snack)
  • Beading and Lacing (using hands in a collaborative manner, pinching)
  • Using tweezers or tongs in the kitchen to help serve food (hand strength, using hands and fingers together)
  • Putting on their own shoes
  • Coloring with markers and crayons
  • Helping to make their beds, putting sheets on and putting pillows in pillow case

*Secret Task* – Take a photo of your child developing their small/fine motor skills and email it to their preschool teacher *

The preschoolers have also been filling up their days with many special events.

We have had a visit from our friend, Polly, who is a Spellbinder Storyteller. She came to share some fall and Halloween based stories with the students.

The students have been enjoying playing in the leaves on the playground.

And, next week we will be going on a wagon ride around the neighborhood. Our friend, Troy, will bring his tractor and wagon and pull the students through the neighborhood while looking for signs of fall and Halloween.


Leaves are Falling All Around

As the winds and leaves change outside, our classroom begins to change inside. This change provides new places to explore, new opportunities to solve social problems, and new ways to use our imaginations. We are also using our dramatic play centers to look for similarities and differences between current and ancient times.

 How do we pay for goods today compared to how the Mesopotamian people bought and traded for goods?

 How do we get our food and water compared to how the Mesopotamian people got their food and water?

 What kinds of food do we eat and grow? What did the Mesopotamian people eat and grow?

In P.E. it is bean bags that are falling all around instead of leaves! Jeff is teaching us the proper overhand throwing technique. He uses developmentally appropriate language to help us move our bodies correctly.

 Jeff fixing our throwing arm position.

Our throwing arm should make an L and the bean bag should be held up high with the whole hand.

 Then we “open up the shower curtain” which means point to where we are throwing. We “step out of the shower” or step forward. Finally, we throw our bean bag.

September and October also means that it is time to prepare for conferences. The teachers sit down 1 on 1 with each student to complete a formal assessment. Our formal assessments, anecdotal records, and development guidelines will all be used to take a snapshot of what your student knows at this point in the year. At conferences we will share all of this information and work with you to create some goals for this year.

 Literacy Assessment-putting the letters of our name in order.

We look forward to meeting with you!

Upcoming dates:

12 PT Conferences
18 Picture Day-we take pictures first thing in the morning!
19 PT Conferences
19 Fun Fest 5:30 – 8:00 PM-family and friends are invited!
31 Classroom Halloween Parade-come see us walk in the parade!


What do Xylophones, shovels, and scissors have in common?

What do Xylophones, shovels, and scissors have in common? Well they are all implements that preschoolers got to handle last week.

In music class students got to play xylophones and practiced keeping a beat. It was fun to try our hand at the instruments that we see the Older Kids playing at group sing.


In science class, students planted tulips in the preschool garden. They got to choose either a red, yellow, or white tulip, dig the hole, and then plant the bulb. Now all they have to do is wait until spring to see what the bulbs bring.

Planting tulips and learning how they will grow.














The preschoolers worked on scissor cutting skills for a fall tree project. Students worked on using both hands at the same time- one cutting with the scissors while the other hand feeds the paper strips through the blades of the scissors.


Lastly, we wrapped up our school-wide Ocean unit with a journal writing and illustration.










This week the preschoolers will start learning about Mesopotamia and all their wonderful inventions. We will explore how ancient people did daily chores, went to school, and what they ate. We will also begin literacy assessments and preparing for academic “workjobs”.


Thank you for letting us be a part of your child’s education.