JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016                                                                            NEWSLETTER

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THE BLIZZARD OF 2016 WAS A WHOPPER!! One of the top five storms to hit the east coast!  Thankfully, no one I have spoken to lost power.  We just had to wait to get plowed out.  Many of us experienced the kindness of neighbors and even strangers in helping during this time.

 

We are happy to welcome the children for extra sessions for make-up days.  We will also extend the school calendar from Friday, June 3rd, as our last day, to Tuesday, June 7th

 

Most of the children loved playing in the snow and we are in the process of making a book with photos of the children doing just that.  It was such a memorable experience for the children and they will certainly enjoy seeing themselves “in print”.  Thanks so much to Tish Wiggs (Simon Broomall’s mom) for helping us with the technical aspect of actually getting this all together.

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HIBERNATION, MIGRATION, AND ADAPTATION was a perfect follow-up study to the snow event.  Bonnie began her presentation by bringing out items of clothing which we need for the cold:  boots, scarf, sweater, jacket, gloves, socks, snow pants. (Our own adaptation!)

WHAT DO ANIMALS DO?  We discussed hibernation as when animals eat and eat and eat and eat and then go into a long sleep until spring. The children tried holding their breath for a long time as the hibernating animals’ breathing slows way down. Some animals go into caves or logs (bears, squirrels, bats, and skunks) and others burrow into mud or live underground through winter (snakes, frogs, turtles, lizards).

MIGRATION is to change the habitat and usually go where it’s warmer and where there is more food. Birds are the most well-known animal for migration but also fish, insects, and mammals (whales) migrate. Birds migrate in flocks as it saves lots of flying energy.  There are examples of astonishing feats of endurance in migration.

ADAPTATION is when an organism changes to become better suited to its environment.  Usually mammals will change color or grow more fur to accommodate the cold and the snow.

HAND-ON EXPERIMENTS involved demonstrating how blubber keeps animals warmer and how ice and cold mask the smell of food.  The children also categorized different animals as to whether they hibernate, migrate, or adapt.

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VALENTINE’S DAY will be celebrated Thursday, February 11th.  Please help your child make or sign or simply give valentines to the other children.  We will also be doing some heart art!

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A FUND RAISER MEETING is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th, at school at 7:00 in the evening.  We have many new families and are hopeful that some of you will be able to attend along with our older families.  We have traditionally had a yard sale as well as a silent auction, the latter being a bit in question at this point as the venue we have used in the past (Dish Bistro in Charles Town) is now closed. The fund raiser has brought in anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 in the past and has been a HUGE HELP in augmenting our tuition income.  It is also very labor intensive and we do need all the help we can get.  Please try to attend that evening.

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OUR TORTOISE, SHELLY, has made a huge come-back!  Two years ago she was diagnosed with pneumonia and had stopped eating entirely.  Kit took her to a vet who specialized in reptiles and gave her antibiotics as well as shots of vitamins.  After a year of that, we decided that she was on her own.  She kept drinking water and wasn’t particularly active until mid-January at which point she started becoming more active and then, when we gave her some new food, she started chowing down. Who knew one could get excited about tortoise poop?!

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PLEASE CONTINUE

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ISIS is now in school for half-days and we are delighted to welcome her back!  Kit and Lawton are covering the other half days. The Rogers children, Elouane (age 11) and Zinn (age 13) have also been coming in with their parents as they are being home-schooled this year.  Both Zinn and Elouane are graduates of RMS and we have all really enjoyed their being with us.

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OUR LIVING AND NON-LIVING study has continued a bit with photographs of both categories up on the bulletin board as well as our having discussions of what living organisms need to stay alive.  These discussions have been quite thoughtful and reflective.  For instance, bookcases are non-living but they came from living trees.  Is the sun living?  Technically no, but it is the source of life, along with water and air.

BIRDS AND ROCKS will provide up-coming highlights to the study of living and non-living.  We have a good collection of rocks and extensive materials for the study of birds.

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PLANT AND ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION will be our next study, followed by vertebrate classification with comparison to non-vertebrates.

****************************************************************************** WORLD AND U.S. MAPS have been of great interest to many of the children.  We plan to put in large puzzle maps for the various continents in order to familiarize the children with the names and places of different countries. Photographs and books about the different continents will help bring this alive as well.

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ART AND MUSIC have been represented these last few weeks along with our science curriculum.  The Impressionist art of Camille Pissarro (1830-1900) has been displayed with his images of French peasants and landscapes. They depict the delicate studies of the effect of light on color in nature.  He was well known for his experimentations with color harmonies.

Additionally, we have had lovely, well-made, chimes in the classroom.  This is a really beautiful sounding instrument which allows for improvisation, relaxation, and musical discovery.

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OBEDIENCE comes from the Latin word which means “to listen”.  To obey, we must be able to listen and then make a choice to follow the command. Children cannot learn anything if we don’t teach them to listen and pay attention first.  This is a process which is much more involved that simply hearing. Here are some ways to help your child listen:

“WHAT’S THAT SOUND?” is a fun game for one or more children.  Ask the child to face away from you and cover their eyes.  Make different sounds.  For example, snap your fingers, clap your hands, click your tongue, tap a finger on a table, or pull a tissue out of a box.  After each action ask the child what they heard.

READING OUT LOUD EVERYDAY will help your child learn to listen. Start with reading for a short while and gradually add more time.

CHILDREN NEED TO LEARN TO HEAR SILENCE. When children know how to listen to both sounds and silence, they can choose to respond with ability, or in other words, become responsible. PLAY THE SILENCE GAME by darkening a room and asking your children not to talk.  Sit quietly for 60 seconds and then ask what they hear.  This is simple but powerful.

SINGING A REQUEST can also get the child’s attention.

 

We do not want to break a child’s spirit by “making” him or her do something. With clear, consistent structure and expectations, we can help our children learn to listen and pay attention. Without these two skills, all learning becomes difficult. – From Kids Talk, by Maren Schmidt

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