“Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”
Welcome to Little Lambs, Too! We are very excited about the new year. We try to keep our parents informed about monthly events by posting a notice similar to this at the beginning of each month.
Parent Volunteers: We LOVE our volunteers at Little Lambs, and there are many ways to help: in the classroom, on field trips, doing prep work for art projects, sharing a special talent. Parents who would like to volunteer in the classroom will need to go through a brief orientation. If you are interested in helping out, please talk to Mrs. Sallak or Mrs. Ratten. We will begin scheduling classroom volunteers in October.
It is very important that you hold your child’s hand at all times when coming from your vehicle into the building or from the building to your vehicle. Please DO NOT send your child ahead of you to your car. Also, please DO NOT leave siblings unattended in your vehicle. We are required by law to report this. You are welcome to call ahead and one of us can bring your child to you if you have a younger sibling asleep in the car.
Missing equipment: We hope the materials in the classroom appeal to the children, but not so much that the equipment goes home with them. If your child brings anything home from school that is unfamiliar to you, no matter how small, please check with a teacher. Thank you for your help in keeping our “treasures” on the shelf.
Outdoor play: It is our policy to go outdoors for play if it is not raining and if our yard is not too wet and muddy to be safe. Please dress your child appropriately for outdoor play. Your child should wear clothes that are comfortable and safe to run and climb in and that can get dirty during play (no fancy dresses, please). Also, children should wear shoes that are safe for outdoor play, with secure straps (no flip-flops or dressy shoes, please). If your child is not wearing safe clothing or shoes, we may need to restrict his or her recess activities, and we REALLY do not want to do that. Please mark all jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts with your child’s name. Thank you for your help in this matter!
Classroom Activities: This month we will spend a lot of time getting our new students acclimated to the classroom routines and expectations and allowing our returning students to reconnect with one another and to settle back into their space. Please consider not scheduling too much in the afternoons for the first few weeks of school, as this transition can be quite exhausting for the children, especially our new Little Lambs. All of the children will have ongoing training in how to care for their classroom and their materials appropriately and, especially, how to be a kind, friendly part of the class. We will begin assessments on all of the students, which will continue throughout the month, to be used during conferences in October. September will also find us studying many different topics, including apples, colors and shapes. By the end of the month we will also begin a study on mammals. We are so excited to get the school year under way!
Parenting Thoughts: It is our strong desire to be good partners to you as you face the amazing job of parenting, so our goal is to offer monthly tips in our Parent Notes. Please accept these just as ideas to think about as you go about daily life with your children. These tips and ideas come from many years of teaching, parenting, observing and studying, and we hope you may find some of them helpful. In addition, we have a small library of books on children’s development and behavior that you are welcome to borrow at any time.
***SEPTEMBER’S PARENTING THOUGHT***
As the school year begins, many parents eagerly ask their children each day, “So what did you do today?” only to be greeted with “I don’t know.” Please be assured that this is completely normal! There are many reasons why your child may not be sharing a lot of school information with you, including:
“What happens at school stays at school.” That is, some children instinctively divide school and home, and the two don’t mix. For these children, we rarely hear anything about home, and you rarely hear anything about school.
“That’s so 5 minutes ago!” Some children just truly may not remember what they did at school, especially as more time passes. By the time they’ve had lunch and a nap, school is a distant memory for that day.
“How do you say…?” Sometimes children do not remember what the different school activities are called. A Montessori classroom has some specialized equipment and vocabulary that can take a long time for a child to master, so he or she may not be able to name the activities accomplished in class that day.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Your children work hard here every day and may just be ready for a break when they go home. Similar to a parent who doesn’t feel like discussing work at the end of the day, your child may feel the same. It is for this reason that we tend to discourage parents from using workbooks and such at home; children can get weary of it quickly if there is too much emphasis on “academic” activities.
So, how do you find out what your child is doing each day? First, try giving a little time before asking about your child’s day. You could greet your little one with just a hug and “I’m happy to see you,” and then wait a bit before asking much. Often, without any prompting, your child will just have things to tell you on the ride home. Second, you can try asking more specific questions. So instead of “What did you do today?” you could ask “Did the teachers read a book today?” or “Did anything make you laugh today?” (By the way, even if your child doesn’t remember, the answer to the first question is always “yes.” We read several books every day.) Third, if all else fails and you really aren’t getting any information from your child, please don’t hesitate to ask us. We’d be happy to share what your student has been accomplishing!
As we head into the last few weeks of summer break and start gearing up for the new school year, some antsy feelings can creep up in both children and adults. Many of us have seen our summer trips come and go, camps are wrapping up, stores are full of Back-To-School items. But don't let these last few weeks of freedom slip by in a whirl of school preparation! Take full advantage of our good weather, a more relaxed schedule and our beautiful surroundings. We are HUGE proponents of getting kids outside, whenever possible, both for unscheduled play time and for planned adventures in the outdoors. So, where can you go when you have some spare time and want to head outside? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
*Tualatin Hills Nature Park at 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton, OR 97006. There are several miles of paths for walking, jogging, meandering. Most of the paths are paved and suitable for strollers, bikes and scooters.
*Cooper Mountain Nature Park at 18892 SW Kemmer Rd. Beaverton, OR 97007. Offering a somewhat bigger challenge than the Millikan park, Cooper Mountain is a beautiful spot to hike and explore, with amazing views. You may even get lucky and spot the resident bobcat! These trails are not suitable for bikes, strollers or scooters, so bring good walking shoes and enjoy the scenery. The trailhead has a small play structure and sand pit, as well as a few picnic tables. Visit http://www.thprd.org/ for more information.
*Jackson Bottom Wetlands at 2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy. Hillsboro, Oregon 97113. This is a great wildlife preserve to explore, with easy walking trails. Admission is free, I believe, but with a suggested donation of $2. You and your children may have the opportunity to spot all kinds of animals, from bats and butterflies, to otters and nutria. There is even the occasional elk sighting! Visit http://www.jacksonbottom.org/ for more information.
*Hoyt Arboretum at 4000 Southwest Fairview Boulevard, Portland, OR 97221-2706. With 12 miles of trails, including a one-mile trail suitable for strollers, there is a lot to explore at the arboretum. Check their website to find out what you can see on each section of the trail at different times of the year. Visit http://www.hoytarboretum.org/ for more information.
*Audubon Society at 5151 NW Cornell Rd, Portland, OR 97210. With a nature center and four miles of forested trails, there is a lot to see here. For a bigger adventure, you can access longer trails in Forest Park or even head up to Pittock Mansion. Visit http://audubonportland.org/about for more information.
Do you have time to venture farther? Try these spots:
*Champoeg State park at 7679 Champoeg Rd NE, St Paul, OR 97137. This historical area offers a nice little museum, documenting part of Oregon's history, as well as camping, disc golf and hiking/biking trails. It is an easy drive from Portland for a day's outing. They often offer classes and demonstrations of early pioneer life as well. Visit http://www.champoeg.org/ and http://www.oregonstateparks.org/ for more information.
*Willamette Mission State park in Salem, Exit 263 off I-5. This is a fun spot to explore, on foot or on bikes, and there is even a horse camp on site. The large picnic area in the filbert grove has plenty of room for little ones to run around, and you can collect filberts in the fall. There are paved and unpaved trails that wind throughout the vast park, one of which will take you to the Wheatland Ferry. Pedestrians can take the (very brief) ride across the Willamette and back again for free. In mid-late August, the trails are perfect for blackberry picking, so be sure to bring a bucket or two! Visit http://www.oregonstateparks.org/ for more information.
*A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village at 116 Marion St. NE, Salem, OR 97301. This charming, quirky, low-tech children's museum is housed in the former home of A.C. Gilbert, a fascinating inventor, magician and Olympic athlete! Gilbert is famous for inventing the Erector Set, and the outside play area of the museum features a huge wooden erector set that doubles as a play structure. Families are welcome to bring picnics to the outside area; no food is allowed inside the museum (comprised of three separate houses). The A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village is walking distance to Salem's waterfront area, complete with a footbridge over the river and a carousel. As a bonus, I believe OMSI members get into the museum for free! In fact, we purchased the A.C. Gilbert membership instead of the OMSI membership. It was $20 cheaper and got us into both places! Visit http://acgilbert.org/ for more information.
So go ahead, get on outside and enjoy our last few weeks of summer. Oregon has so much to offer, and you don't have to go far or work hard to find it!