Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Cheer

     SMART START students thoroughly embraced our extensive Christmas unit here at school!  December was full of stories, songs, toys, crafts ,games, dress up, yummy treats and outside play! We are grateful to have spent this time with your child(ren) and hope you enjoy our Christmas Medley!

πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…

    Santa Claus is the cornerstone of Christmas and was warmly welcomed into our classroom. The children expressed their adoration for Santa by sharing stories, modeling best behavior and anticipating what may be left in their stockings at home. We know our students here at SMART START were at the top of the "Nice List!" 


     Our classroom was filled with many traditional decorations. Nutcrackers, porcelain dolls, dresses and bows, light up jewelry, reindeer antlers, stuffed animals and more! Festive friends were full of joy and wonder!



     
      Students loved engaging in dramatic play while using our toy kitchen- baking sugar cookies for Santa! 

    
     Christmas is a time for giving and receiving. We discussed and experienced the importance of both through our gift exchange. Each student selected the name of a classmate and bought and wrapped an age appropriate book to give. Presents were eagerly placed under our Christmas Tree to be opened at our holiday party!
  

    Holiday artists decorated a foam Christmas tree. Each drizzled red and green glue using a popsicle stick, sprinkled sparkles, placed stickers and added a foam star on top!  Each tree unique in it's own way!



     Miss Francesca gathered our pupils and sat them together in our outdoor classroom as she read the classic, "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Freshly fallen snow and holiday dΓ©cor greatly added to the Christmas ambiance. The children sat attentively as they listened to the timeless story!



    Students and their families generously participated in the giving opportunity of our "Friends In Need" box. Our goal here at SMART START is to nurture and develop the whole child in all that we do. We discuss and demonstrate the importance of the S.M.A.R.T. character building blocks: Service, Mindfulness, Achievement, Respect and Trust. We thank you parents for collaborating with us to instill these values in your child(ren). 


     Santa's Elves looked adorable in their elf hats and smiles while creating wrapping paper for their parent's surprise gift. They used markers, bonkers, crayons, glitter, glue, stickers, pieces of holiday paper and curling ribbon. Songs filled the workshop, a favorite being "We Are Santa's Elves!"  

     
     Nutcrackers are a Christmas staple and fill the homes of many. During circle time, we read the classic, "The Nutcracker Ballet" and listened and danced to Tchaikovsky. They were delighted to see, hear and act out the magical characters of this beloved tale!


     As part of our on-site field trip program, we invited Maureen from The Lazarus House to be the guest of honor for December. Maureen was amazed that we created a "Friends in Need" box and all  we collected here at SMART START. She thanked the children for their donations and enlightened them on community service. All were engaged, curious and asked intelligent questions. This experience was memorable!
    





      Classmates were thrilled to pass out gifts to their friends. All joined together to watch one another open. Each child happily received a book for their home library-the gift of reading is a tool for success!



     Our talented crafters designed a tablecloth for our holiday celebration!  Trays were filled with markers, crayons and stickers and dispersed throughout the table as the children got right to work!  



     Pilot, Caroline and Barney loved spending Christmas time with all of our SMART START friends. The children learn so much from our classroom pets. We have witnessed their love, compassion, level of responsibility and confidence grow tremendously! 




     Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is Santa's quintessential reindeer. The children created a Rudolph handprint ornament for their parent's Christmas gift. We helped paint their hands brown and pressed each on paper to create two handprint antlers. Red paint and their thumb was used to make a red nose, put on two googly eyes and added sparkles for a finishing touch. Afterwards, a picture of themselves was placed on the back.


   Our Gingerbread group was excited to make their own gingerbread man craft! Each designed a foam gingerbread magnet by drizzling red and green glue with their popsicle sticks, sprinkling sparkles and adding stickers. We hope you enjoy these festive crafts and hung them on your refrigerator at home!

    Cooperative cooking was underway as gingerbread cookies were baked and decorated. Festive aprons and chef hats were worn while bakers shared, took turns and encouraged each other. The older children, with our supervision, carefully removed the cookies from the oven. Next, green icing, holiday M&M's and sprinkles were used. What a tasty treat!




      Santa's helpers gathered eggs from Charlotte and Caroline for a surprise gift for our student's families. We placed the eggs in cartons with a holiday sticker and bow. From all of us here at SMART START, Merry Christmas!


     Christmas Freeze Dance was a favorite activity at our Holiday party! Once the jingles commenced, along came dancing, smiles and laughter. The children played "Santa Says" (a Christmas rendition of "Simon Says") and "Red Light, Green Light" with tree lights. 

     Friends opened their holiday goody bags that consisted of yummy treats, a singing toy and play dough. Also included was magic reindeer food for Santa's reindeer. We explained that they must sprinkle it on their lawn on Christmas Eve to guide Santa's sleigh full of presents to their homes! Other delicious holiday treats included: cupcakes, peppermint ice cream sandwiches, Santa fruit snacks and holiday M&Ms. Oh what fun!



     While the children were nestled and snug on their mats, Santa made an early stop at SMART START. He brought new aprons, homework folders, books, games and more. All were excited for the new additions at school! The joy of Christmas at this young age is priceless and we are grateful to have shared this with your child(ren)!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Highlights from a fun-filled Christmas Season here at SMART START!


Click below to see Christmas Fun at
SMART START!



πŸ’š Mary and Francesca πŸ’š

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Holiday Fun

     Christmas spirit has filled the air at SMART START! We feel honored to share in festivities and traditions with your child(ren). Bringing smiles and excitement to them through our teachings is our priority. We are off to a spectacular start and hope you enjoy learning about SMART START'S holiday activities! 

      SMART START Carolers have been learning some all-time favorite songs such as, "Here Comes Santa Claus", "Up on the Housetop", "Jingle Bells", "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." and more. They love these jingles and light up as they sing and dance during music time. Puzzles and magnets which promote fine motor, cognitive, hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills have been Christmas themed as well. During group story time, the children are filled with good cheer as we read many holiday classics.  



     Nutcrackers are a traditional decoration during Christmas.  We have many different sized and themed nutcrackers that the children enjoy.  Our wide assortment of Christmas stuffed animals, dolls and dress up have our imaginative pupils busy at play. 


     Holiday helpers worked diligently as they decorated our "Friends in Need" box. They used wrapping paper, ribbons and stickers to cover the cardboard.  It came out wonderful and all were proud of their cooperative work.  Prior to decorating, we discussed the importance of giving to others that are less fortunate. The children were very receptive to the topic and had great questions and commentary.  This season our box will serve to collect canned goods, along with special items brought in by each student for a child in need.  Even at a young age their hearts can understand what a kind action it is to help others. We are honored to work on this community service project with your child(ren). 


     Trimming the tree!  A Christmas tradition loved by many. SMART START decorators were full of joy while decking our halls and Christmas tree. Each child received a lace board holiday shaped ornament to weave string through holes and hang on the tree when finished. A great way to add in some festive fine motor skill development!







    
     Our SMART START Christmas tree would not be complete without homemade garland!  Yuletide Students helped by cutting red, green and white construction paper into rectangular strips and glued them while interlocking the pieces together. Teamwork was in full swing and our young crafters did a marvelous job. The garland was hung just perfectly on the Christmas tree.  


         While making spirits bright, Santa's helpers were eager to work on their next project. Each colored two paper ornaments. One is for our "Friends in Need " box with an item listed on the back. Towards the end of the month, a Service Worker will come as part of our on site field trip series and collect these items, as well as our canned goods. In addition, they will explain where and how the items are delivered. The other ornament has a student's name listed on the back.  We are asking that you shop for and wrap a book to add to this friend's home library.  The gifts will be placed under our SMART START Christmas tree to be opened during our holiday party.

    
     Our Christmas decorating included our chickens. Charlotte and Caroline were pleased having festive friends decorate their home with silver and gold garland and ribbon. The coop looks merry and bright in our outdoor classroom!


     Jolly as ever in their chef hats and aprons, SMART START Bakers decorated their own gingerbread house. Each had a tray of ingredients: icing, gumdrops, red and green M&M's and blue and rainbow sprinkles. Oh what fun to create, build and design with this sensory approach. The gingerbread houses also served as a great tool for pretend play as each child had a different method and thought process allowing  personalities to shine. We hope you enjoy their unique creations as a decorative piece in your home this holiday season.




   SMART START elves put on their smocks and headed into their workshop. Each received a clear plastic ornament, paint brushes, red paint, glue, sparkles and white ribbon. We helped take off the top piece of the ornament while they put red paint inside. They used their paintbrushes to swirl the paint around to cover the inside of the bulb.  The outside was painted using glue, covered in sparkles and lastly added a white ribbon finish.  All beamed holding the ornament they created and were excited to bring home to hang on their Christmas tree. It is extra special when a Christmas tree displays handmade ornaments made by your child(ren). We hope you treasure their masterpieces now and for many years to come. 


Click below to watch SMART START'S Holiday Happenings!



     Wishing you all a joyous holiday season filled with love and memories to last a lifetime!  Thank you for your support and participation in our community service projects and celebrations here at school.

πŸŽ„  Mary and Francesca πŸŽ„