Saturday, October 3, 2020

All About Gus!

   Gus was SMART START's star student of August! He was eager to bring his "All About Me" poster to school to share with his classmates and teachers. Gus' personality shined through each of his presentations. Fantastic job, Gus!
Gus' Poster

Class Presentations

     All were overjoyed to celebrate Gus' 5th birthday at school! Gus brought in delicious ice cream sandwiches and bubbles to share with his friends. The class sang "Happy Birthday" to Gus in both English and Spanish and gifted him with a book on his favorite topic: Outer Space! Afterwards, all enjoyed playing games with water balloons. 

     SMART START has had the pleasure of caring for and educating Gus for three years! He is warmhearted, fun loving and has a vast imagination. We know he will continue to flourish this year. You are one of a kind, Gus!


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Summer 2020

     SMART START was thrilled to reopen this summer after having been closed due to COVID-19. Students were eager to return to school and adjusted remarkably well to our new procedures. 

Protective Protocol 🖉
     Peers have been happily learning and playing in their new PPE (personal protective equipment) all summer long. Pupils fashioned their sunhats with attached visors, face shields and transparent masks. In addition, partitions are being used in order for all to remain protected when faces are not covered. Health and wellness is a primary focus at SMART START and the children are eager to do their part to prevent the spread of germs. 

Outdoor Classroom🍃
   Learning and playing in nature is an essential component of SMART START's curriculum. Our young learners fully embrace the outdoors and the benefits it yields such as: improves mental and physical health, promotes focus and concentration, enhances creativity and imagination and so much more! Being carefree and active on the play structures is a constant in our daily routine.  

Water Play🌊 
     Classmates cooled off by running through the sprinkler, gliding on the slip n slide and sliding down the waterslide!

Art 🎨
     SMART START artists searched for a special stick in the outdoor classroom for their summer art project. All used their creativity and various art supplies to decorate their nature treasure. The sticks turned out beautifully and imaginations transformed them into magic wands, telescopes, instruments and more!

Yoga & Mindfulness💤
     Young yogis brought their mats outside to practice their poses and participate in mindful meditation.

Pals picnicked outside sitting in their 6ft apart hula hoops.

     The class was most enthusiastic to play BINGO! The first round consisted of a nature theme to enhance knowledge on animals and their habitats. Afterwards, a Spanish version was played to reinforce and teach new vocabulary. All had the chance to count five in a row, shout B-I-N-G-O and pick out a prize. 

     Green thumbs, watering cans, gloves and other tools were used to tend to the school garden.

Temperature 🌡
     Future meteorologists observed the rise in temperatures using a thermometer. All learned and 
practiced two forms of temperature measurement: Fahrenheit and Celsius. 

Books & Reading📚
      The group sat at the picnic tables to read and observe books about the season.

Blueberry Picking🧺 
     Pupils picked bunches of blueberries from the school blueberry bush during the month of July.

Class Pets 🐔🐇
     The chickens and bunnies were delighted to have their favorite caretakers back to assist in feeding, holding, petting and nurturing. 

Yard Games 🏏
    Gross motor and cognitive skills were challenged through a variety of games. Balance was tested walking on stilts, coordination improved through ring toss and hula hooping, strength increased attempting the monkey bars, strategy enhanced through connect four and more!

Slush 🍧
     The children put their chef hats on and headed to the kitchen to make slush! Each had the chance to put ice in the machine, fill a cup with ice shavings and pour flavoring on top. A delicious treat on a hot summer day!

     Tree Climbing🌳
All took turns climbing trees to experience and appreciate nature up close (and high)!

Green Beans 🥬
Farm to table friends reaped the benefits of their hard work with a copious crop of green beans! 

Bubbles ☍
     Blowing, chasing and popping bubbles are a staple summer activity. Our bubble machine brought much excitement this year!

Sandbox 🏰
Sensory play was most enjoyed in the sandboxes. 

Sunflowers 🌻
     Beginner Botanists studied the sunflower. They learned that this plant blooms in the late summer/early fall and were able to examine a few up close.

End of Summer Celebration 🍦
    Summer 2020 was most memorable! to commemorate, we had an ice cream truck drive by for a treat! Afterwards, classmates partook in a delicious dramatic play activity using their life like "Ice Cream Truck and materials. A sweet end to the season!

Click Below to View Summer Highlights


Sunday, September 20, 2020

All About Lucas!


     Lucas was thrilled to be our showcased student during the month of July! He did a fabulous job completing his "All About Me" poster and proudly presented it to the class. All admired the thought and effort Lucas put into this assignment. Wonderful work, Lucas!

Lucas' Poster 

Class Presentations

     Everyone was eager for Lucas' 5th birthday party at school! Lucas brought cake bars and light sabers to share with his classmates. All sang "Happy Birthday" to Lucas and gifted him with a book. The class later had a blast with water balloons. 

     This is Lucas' second year at SMART START. He was a star preschooler and is now one of our kindergartners. His caring nature and clever mind is adored by all of his teachers and classmates. You are capable of great things, Lucas!


Monday, July 20, 2020

Stream to Learn- Online Education

     Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, SMART START transferred to an online learning program: Stream to Learn. Our virtual classroom provided students the opportunity to continue their education, friendships and acquire some technological skills.

Read below to learn more about our Stream to Learn curriculum:

Structured Learning Sessions
      Young learners were thoroughly engaged in our interactive zoom classroom. Each class consisted of a themed unit of study, activity sheets, hands-on projects, thoughtful discussions and collaborative games. Language arts, social studies, Spanish and S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art & math) are among the subjects integrated into these sessions.

Virtual Field Trips 
      Field trips are an essential component of our curriculum. We had the opportunity to incorporate these into our Stream to Learn sessions. Miss Maura from MA Audubon Ipswich River Sanctuary attended a class to teach about amphibians and vernal pools. In addition, "Mother Goose" joined a session to share classic nursery rhymes and play music and movement games with the children. Also, students virtually explored the San Diego Zoo in CA, The Museum of Science in Boston, MA, The Butterfly Garden in Westford, MA, The New England Aquarium in Boston, MA, a recycling site in FA and Outer Space with NASA. These "trips" enhanced our teachings by presenting subject matter in a realistic setting.

     Once per week, students had a scheduled literacy session. Each child was individually assessed and placed into either our preschool or prekindergarten level of advisement. This time allowed for pupils to expand their knowledge and skills in areas pertaining to their personal development. Topics covered included matching letters to sounds, identifying sight words, reading using phonics and more. Strengths and needs were continually evaluated as all learners are unique and flourish at their own pace.

Friends Night
      Peers enjoyed being active and entertained at "Friends Night". This evening event involved virtually viewing a singalong together, having a snack made during a structured learning session, friendly discussions and playing games such as, Freeze Dance and Bingo.

Lunch With Friends
      Mealtime at school serves as an opportunity for friends to converse with one another about what their are learning and to develop friendships. For this activity, all brought their lunch, chatted, laughed and played games.

Special Events

     In preparation for Mother's Day and Father's Day, our SMART START mothers & fathers were invited to one of our sessions to decorate a special craft (matching hats for Mother's Day & matching socks for Father's Day) with their child(ren). Students were thrilled to bring their parents to class and enjoyed completing this activity together.

     All were excited to virtually celebrate our SMART START friend Lou Lou's 4th birthday. "Princess Elsa" joined the party for games, activities and to help the class sing "Happy Birthday" to Lou Lou while she opened her gift.

Click below to view Stream to Learn highlights:


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Trees and Maple Sugaring

     Early this spring, students studied all about trees at SMART START. Maple trees and the seasonal staple of maple sugaring were highlighted during this unit of study.

Read below to view our lessons on trees.

    Learning in and about nature is an essential component of our core curriculum. All ventured into our outdoor classroom to read books under the trees and explore related features such as leaves, pine cones, bark and sticks. Environmental education provides endless benefits for children some being but not limited to: 
  • Develop a respect for wildlife
  • Enhance curiosity and discovery 
  • Instill a sense of responsibility to care for our planet
  • Encourage an active and healthy lifestyle
  • Promote social and emotional well-being 

     Pupils participated in a language arts leaf matching game. All practiced upper and lower case letter identification, connecting letters to corresponding sounds and spelling the words “tree”, “stick” and “trunk”.

     The class circled outside for a storytime. Here are some facts we acquired about trees:

  • Trees are plants that grow from seeds
  • Some common species in New England are: oak, birch, beech, cedar, pine, apple and maple
  • The rings inside a trunk can help determine the age of a tree
  • Fruits, nuts, flowers and sap come from certain trees
  • Trees produce oxygen-fresh air for us to breathe

     Creative classmates designed a tree masterpiece using paper, paint, stickers and their handprints. With a brush and paint, all made a brown trunk and green treetop. Next, hands were painted and prints were placed to make colorful leaves. Themed stickers were used for finishing touches. 

     Miss Maura from the MA Audubon Ipswich River Sanctuary visited our school for an on-site field trip. Types of trees and the wildlife they attract were discussed through an informative presentation and interactive activities. Young learners were most fascinated by the maple sugaring process. Miss Maura lead the group outdoors to demonstrate how to use a tap, bucket and other tools. All had the opportunity to taste sap straight from a maple tree. After the field trip, friends enjoyed some pancakes and maple syrup.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Social Studies

     History is an essential component of SMART START'S curriculum. These lessons educate children on the greater contexts of their community, diversity within cultures, geographical concepts, learning through past errors and so much more. Through the introduction of historical figures and their legacies, we hope to instill in our students that they are all capable of impacting the world in even the smallest of ways.
     Presidents Day is an American holiday observed each year on the third Monday of February. SMART START historians were fascinated to learn facts about our country's founding fathers and  subsequent leaders of the United States at a themed display and during outdoor storytime. 
Here are some of what we learned:
  • George Washington was the 1st president
  • Abraham Lincoln is on the penny and George Washington is on the $1 bill
  • There have been 45 presidents 
  • The president lives in the White House in Washington D.C. 

     Cognitive and cooperative skills were challenged while completing a large floor puzzle of the presidents. In addition, a game of memory match was played to reinforce the images and names of each U.S. leader. 

     Black history is honored throughout the month of February. Classmates contemplated over a display of literature detailing the courageous lives of notable individuals such as Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. In addition, all listened intently to a story in our outdoor classroom which discussed kindness, compassion, fighting for what is right and equality for all. To honor Martin Luther King Junior and his famous "I Have A Dream" Speech, pupils colored crowns with their dream for the world written in the center. We were most impressed with the thought the children put into their dreams which included, "Everyone can go to school", "Being kind to everyone" and "Everybody loves each other."

     Women's history is recognized during March. Each one of our girl students had the opportunity to play the part of an influential woman in history. Whether they were winning Nobel Prizes like Marie Curie, studying primates like Jane Goodall, Flying to space like Sally Ride or transforming educational practices like Maria Montessori, all embraced their remarkable roles. We have bright, strong, brave and determined future female icons at SMART START and they are all capable of achieving great things!