Happy Thanksgiving

   SMART START felt fortunate to have had the privilege of sharing Thanksgiving with your child(ren). This festive time of year allows us to focus and reflect on the many things to be grateful for. Our young learners were educated about the meaning of this holiday with an array of educational lessons, activities, hands on learning experiences, arts and crafts and a traditional meal. 

     Our library hosted a wide assortment of books for our young readers to look at in a group, with a friend or on their own. Miss Francesca, the children and Barny all joined together in our outdoor classroom for Thanksgiving story time. Students listened, asked questions and shared stories from home. The children also had fun working on different Thanksgiving puzzles and magnet boards. Their problem solving and matching skills are getting better each day!


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     SMART START clean up crew waited for the perfect day for a traditional fall activity...leaf jumping!  They put their muscles to work raking leaves in our backyard. After several piles were formed, they jumped right in! Laughter, chatter and leaves filled the crisp autumn air as our energetic group ran around and jumped in and out of the leaf piles. 

     Arts and crafts for Thanksgiving consisted of a cut and paste turkey craft.  SMART START artists had their caddies on hand with supplies needed to decorate their project. The children worked on scissor skills while cutting out the pieces followed by gluing the pieces on construction paper to create their final product...a Thanksgiving turkey!

     SMART START chefs had the opportunity to participate in a traditional Thanksgiving recipe. Making butter! This is a fun, hands on learning experience. Activity supply list includes: glass jars (of any size), whipping cream (fill 3/4 of jar), salt (seasoned to taste) and a marble. The children combined the ingredients in their jars and shook them until butter formed into a mass surrounded by buttermilk. Our students were very proud to have made their very own homemade butter. What a treat!

     For a science sensory experiment, we taught our students about the pumpkin life cycle and the insides of a pumpkin, seeds and flesh. Each child wore safety goggles and used a magnifying glass to explore the inside of their pumpkin.  SMART START scientists scooped out, touched and examined their subject matter. They were surprised by the look and texture. Afterwards, we used the pumpkin flesh to make homemade pumpkin bread!  Our SMART START bakers put on their aprons, hats and mixed up the ingredients. All were fascinated that their science experiment helped them bake a tasty treat!  

    Beginning the week of November 7th, we began our collection for SMART START's "Friends in Need" box.  The children brought in nonperishable food items and were happy to help those in need and offer their donations.  Our young artists worked together to paint colorful paper leaves that they used to decorate our "Friends in Need Box."  We appreciate your generosity during our collection period.  We enjoyed working on this community service project with your child(ren).

     We gathered in our SMART START kitchen to celebrate the holiday with a Thanksgiving feast!  The children were eager to help prepare the meal and join together to eat. Each shared something they were thankful for. "Mommy" being the unanimous vote! Friends passed around each food item to one another and enjoyed our special dinner with all the trimmings. 

    Click below to view our Thanksgiving videos!

     Happy Thanksgiving to our SMART START families and friends.  We are thankful for all of you and grateful for your kindness and support. 

🦃 Mary and Francesca  🦃

Fire Safety Week

    October was Fire Safety and Prevention month which we celebrated here at SMART START! We addressed the many different aspects of fire safety from a wide variety of interesting and fun angles.  Learning and attaining this knowledge and acquiring certain skills is extremely important even at a young age. Not only did we teach our pupils about the importance of fire safety, the Andover Fire Department visited us here at school.  It was an honor to have the firefighters here with us and learn from the experts!

   🚒 Fire Safety at SMART START 🚒

     Our bookshelves were lined with an assortment of books about firefighters, fire engines and fire safety. Our students enjoyed listening to these books during circle time and it was apparent that they were intrigued by the content. We were impressed at their insight and ability to comprehend the information and ask intelligent questions.  A highlight for our SMART START friends was having circle time in our outdoor classroom.  Miss Francesca, along with the children, wore plastic firefighter helmets and took turns holding the fire extinguisher and megaphone. They certainly looked like the most adorable firefighters in town!

     SMART START Firefighters were delighted to incorporate the theme of fire safety into their magnet and puzzle repertoire.  These hands on fine motor activities served as a great tool for discussion about fire safety topics.  It was reassuring to hear the children conversing about the fire station and what it entails, what to do if there's a fire in your home, etc.  It is evident that the  pertinent information was absorbed as they put it into action in the classroom.

     Arts and crafts was a group effort project that SMART START Artists had so much fun creating. They designed their very own fire truck out of a large cardboard box and painted it using rollers and sponges.We helped with the finishing touches and added a wheel so the children could drive!

     Students engaged in dramatic play in both our indoor and outdoor classroom acting out an emergency fire and demonstrated how to properly and safely handle the situation. They took turns using fire hats, the fire chief costume, hose and other props while being the fire chief, firefighter or person in distress. We were able to witness them acting out their rendition of a real life fire scenario.  Bravo to our SMART START Firefighters!  Knowledge is key!

     During free play at SMART START, the children have been playing with fire trucks and firefighter figurines. This is a wonderful way to make connections to our curriculum on an independent level and with their peers.  Learning is always happening here at SMART START, even when the kids simply think they are just playing!

     Our mission as your child's caregivers and educators is to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need in their daily lives to remain as safe as possible both here at SMART START and at home.  We read several books about "Stop, Drop and Roll" and how to call 911 in a fire emergency.  Firefighter friends practiced using the "Stop, Drop and Roll" method and calling 911. 

"Stop, Drop and Roll"
  • Stop where you are
  • Drop to the ground and cover eyes and mouth with hands
  • Roll over and over and back and forth until flames are out

     Fire drills!  We held practice fire drills from each classroom at SMART START to our safe meeting spot outside.  After several rounds of fire drills, our young learners are fully aware of the fire safety protocol at SMART START. Nice work, firefighter friends!

     To officially celebrate and recognize Fire Prevention and Safety month, the Andover Fire Department came to SMART START for an on-site field trip. A lieutenant and two firefighters taught and reinforced all our safety learning at school. They were impressed at how much our students already knew and commended them for a job well done!  The children were amazed over a real life fire truck at their own school!  The Andover Fire Department welcomed them onto the fire truck to explore, gave each a safety badge and turned on the truck's flashing lights and sirens. 

     We hope that you enjoyed our celebration of Fire Prevention and Safety and continue the learning process at home. Thank you for all of your support for our on site field trip program here at SMART START.

Click below to see highlights from Fire Safety and Prevention Week!

💙 Mary and Francesca 💙


Happy Halloween

    Halloween at SMART START is a time filled with dress up, trick-or-treating, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, decorations, arts and crafts, stories,  games, songs and more!  

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     SMART START's bookshelf  featured an assortment of books about spiders, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns and bats.  We revisited a favorite titled, Go Away Big Green Monster.  To coincide with the story, SMART START puppeteers put on a show using the green monster puppet. Each put on and removed their Velcro features while quoting lines from the book. 

     Our Halloween project corresponded with the book, Go away Big Green Monster.  The students were eager to create a big green monster of their very own! They painted a paper plate green, glued google eyes, used pipe cleaners for purple scraggly hair, placed on teeth stickers and cut and glued felt bluish greenish noses and red mouths. A job well done, SMART START artists!


     Halloween friends were delighted to play the "Spider Letter Game"  They passed around a bag containing foam spiders each labeled with a capital letter. We used this activity to focus on letter sounds and words that begin with the corresponding letter. Our young learners sounded out different Halloween themed words such as cat, bat and rat.  Some of the older children noticed that these words rhymed.  Incidental learning at its finest!  

     In the spirit of Halloween, our preschoolers enjoyed dressing up in costumes from our dramatic play area.  SMART START actors engaged in pretend play as a pirate, cowgirl, princess, cat, bumblebee, knight and more.  The classroom was filled with sounds mimicking each of the attire worn..."Yee-haw", "Rawwwr", "Arghhh Matey", "Meow"and "Buzzzzz."  We admired the children's imaginations at work and innocence at play.



    SMART START friends were thrilled to celebrate Halloween with a party here at school . Each wore unique and adorable costumes from home. Pilot, our class pet, wore his dinosaur costume along with Barny the Barn Owl dressed as a rabbit! To showcase costumes, we had an official musical parade!  

     Our talented artists decorated their own small goody bag for trick-or-treating at school. They used markers, bonkers, stickers, purple glue and Halloween sparkles.  The children were excited to use something they created! 

     Trick-or-treating was a favorite! Our costumed group filled their decorated bags with goodies from each of the classrooms, as well as the outdoor play structure and chicken coop.  Afterwards, they enjoyed some yummy treats!

     Fun and games included: pin the spider on the web, musical chairs to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and a special Halloween rendition of "Duck, Duck, Goose".... "Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Jack-O-Lantern!" 

Click below to see highlights from our Halloween festivities!

     Thank you for allowing your child(ren) to participate in the Halloween festivities here at SMART START!

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🖤 Mary and Francesca 🖤