Birds were a topic of focus both this and last year at SMART START. Last Spring, students learned about the general characteristics and habits of the animal. This Fall, we specifically highlighted the owl species. 
Fly along with our young learners to read all about birds!
     Our flock gathered in the outdoor classroom to hear stories and acquire bird/owl knowledge. Learning in nature enhances educational experiences and provides children with an exorbitant amount of benefits such as heightened sensory experiences, mental and physical well-being, better performance in academic subjects, and so much more!

      Peers paired up to ponder at our themed display. Related reading materials and props were displayed. During this time, a great amount of information was gained regarding the subject matter.
Here are some facts we learned:

  • There are about 10,000 species of birds
  • Birds are the only animals with feathers
  • All birds lay eggs and most live in nests
  • The study of birds is called ornithology
  • Birds can be kept as pets (Just like our school chickens and ducks!)
  • A group of owls is called a parliament 
  • Owls are carnivores and hunt for their meals 
  • Most owls are nocturnal 
  • They can turn their heads practically all the way around 
  • Owls have excellent hearing  


     Last year, edible birds nests were constructed. This hands-on activity consisted of molding a rice Krispies treat into the shape of a nest then adding M&Ms as eggs. 
     This year, creative classmates colored an owl magnet. All practiced holding their markers, crayons and pencils in proper writing position during this craft. 


     Feather loving friends headed outdoors to act as blue birds last year. They flew around singing and chirping with delight! 
     This year, the group took Barny the barn owl and one of his companions outside. All took turns soaring around with the owls, studying a few books and birdwatching.    


     Last year, the class migrated to the table to make bird feeders. Each were given half an apple to spread with peanut butter and then sprinkled with bird seed. All were excited to place their treats outside for neighborhood birds to enjoy!
     This year, SMART START artists decorated large felt owls. Materials used included glue, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, google eyes, markers and glitter. All were most impressed with their finished product.

   Budding bird experts made their very own models of a nest last year using straw and glue. The nests were placed on paper plates and bird figurines were put inside to enjoy their newly assembled home. Tweet, Tweet!
     Recently, pupils participated in a cooperative board game called "Hoot Owl Hoot." The object is to fly all of the owl pieces back to their nest before the sun comes up. This activity promoted communicative skills, patience, concentration and teamwork. 


    Students studied various bird types last year using posters. Figurines were also available to view during this time. Favorites included: woodpecker, cardinal, blue jay, humming bird and goldfinch. 

     This November, Future ornithologists welcomed Maura from the MA Audubon Ipswich River Sanctuary for an on-site owl field trip. An informative presentation was given which entailed hearing the many noises owls make, locating the parts of an owl and learning the most common owl types. An interactive game was played which involved remaining silent and solely relying on hearing to find prey/ticking timer. The field trip concluded with an owl pellet dissection. Maura explained how owls eat their food whole, keep the nutrients and then vomit up what is not needed in pellet form. All were fascinated by the tiny bones discovered inside the pellet!

     Maura kindly left an additional owl pellet for further exploration. Young scientists put on their lab coats and goggles and were eager to investigate. Fine motor skills were used to dissect. The favorite finding was a mouse skull!



School Cleaning

     SMART START students do a phenomenal job taking care of their indoor and outdoor classrooms. They gladly assist in weekly tasks around the school. This aspect of our curriculum fosters independence, raises self-esteem and teaches basic life skills. Last year, we focused on cleaning our academic environment inside and this year we highlighted the maintaining of our outdoor space. 

Read below to learn what our cleaning crew accomplished this and last year.

     Our young learners thoroughly embrace their nature classroom and the responsibilities it comes with. Each week peers participate in nurturing their outdoor class pets which includes: feeding, watering, egg collecting and grooming. In addition, all tend to our school garden and yard space by planting, weeding, watering and harvesting. These chores provide experience in being held accountable, caring for something other than themselves, respect for their surroundings and so much more.

     Recently, a Landscaper came to our outdoor classroom for a fall cleanup. The group assisted in removing debris, leaf blowing, raking leaves and gathering sticks. All were excited to witness the professional at work and attempted to mimic his cleaning expertise. The class was informed on how to safely operate equipment such as, a lawn mover and received other useful tips on how to properly care for their outdoor area. 

     With many friends in and out of our facility each day, there is a lot of cleaning to be done! Due to this, last year we implemented an indoor cleaning unit. This served as the perfect opportunity to explain and demonstrate how to keep playing, eating, napping and learning areas clean and sanitary. Classmates put on their uniforms and diligently washed, dusted, scrubbed, swept, mopped, wiped and folded. All were thrilled to participate in the cleaning process and were very proud of the sparkling outcome of their hard work. 


     SMART START's weekly custodian came to teach the class about the concept of germs and how to prevent them from spreading. Topics included the proper way to blow your nose in a tissue, hand washing, covering up a sneeze and proper use of hand sanitizer.  She discussed products commonly used to disinfect and clean different surfaces and objects and materials such as, sponges, paper towels, cloths, cleaner, broom, duster, dustpan and mop. Afterwards, all assisted in her weekly cleaning regime. 



Kinsley's "All About Me" Book and 3rd Birthday!

     Miss Kinsley Rose was the star student during the month of October. She radiated confidence as she showcased her "All About Me" book to her classmates. Each page included special pictures and facts about herself. All were most proud of their dear friend and gladly observed the presentations. Marvelous demonstration, Kinsley!

Here are some details from the chapters in Kinsley's book:
  • Loves butterflies 🦋
  • Dreams about ponies and princesses 🐴👑
  • Going to be (now is!) a big sister 👧👶
  • Favorite color is purple 💜
  • Is best friends with her big brother, Cody 👫

     The class was eager for Kinsley's 3rd birthday party at school. She brought in pink and purple cupcakes and goody bags to share. Peers gifted Kinsley with a book and sang, "Happy Birthday" to her in both English and Spanish.

     Kinsley has been attending SMART START since she was just a few months old! It has been truly a delight to witness and assist in her development over the years. Kinsley is loving, bright and quite mature for her age. We know you will accomplish great things as a preschooler, Kinsley!



Thanksgiving 2019

     Throughout the month of November, all embraced the Thanksgiving season here at SMART START. Students learned about the history of the holiday while reflecting on the many things they are grateful for through a variety of hands-on activities.

Follow along to experience the festivities with our young learners!

     Studies commenced with a special project- thankful books! This entailed a four step process:

1. decorate the cover of a pumpkin shaped book at school
2. bring the book home
3. fill each page with things to be thankful for
4. bring back to school to share

     The finished products turned out wonderfully and all were eager to showcase them. Aspects of appreciation included: family, friends, food, houses, toys, pets and more! This assignment provided the opportunity to thoughtfully and creatively detail things to be thankful for while also promoting public speaking skills and parent/family involvement.

     Peers took turns contemplating at a themed display. An assortment of books and décor were available to explore. Prekindergartners identified a few of our seasonal spelling words such as, corn, apple and ship while preschoolers noticed the letters "P" for pumpkin and "T" for turkey.

     Classmates collaborated to color a Thanksgiving tablecloth. All discussed their family traditions, special memories and holiday plans while working on holding their markers in proper writing position. The table cloth turned out beautifully!

     Each year, a Friendsgiving feast is held at SMART START! All participated by bringing in a food item and assisting with additional tasks at school. Our grateful group gathered to enjoy the delicious meal they arranged. The table displayed an array of traditional Thanksgiving dishes such as, turkey, cranberry sauce, cornbread, mashed potatoes, pumpkin bread and stuffing. One by one they declared something they were extra thankful for this year.

       Prior to the feast, friends fashioned rainbow macaroni necklaces that they wore for friendsgiving!

    Budding bakers put their culinary capabilities to work making bread and butter. 

Butter recipe goes as follows:
  1. fill a jar about halfway with whipping cream
  2. add salt to taste 
  3. place a marble inside 
  4. vigorously shake the jar- (the marble will eventually not be heard, but keep shaking!)
  5. stop shaking the jar once there is a solid cube of butter surrounded by liquid (buttermilk)
     Although through a different process, we discussed how the pilgrims also made their own butter. All were quite proud of their efforts and expressed how they enjoyed their bread and butter with their families.

Click below to hear our enthusiastic chefs!

      Pupils challenged their fine motor skills, hand to eye coordination and concentration while crafting pomanders. These classic scented decorations consist of piercing clementines with cloves. Once complete, the finished products were wrapped in tulle and tied with a ribbon.

     SMART START's colony engaged in an informative storytime in our outdoor classroom. The class wore themed hats while learning the context of the first Thanksgiving.

Here are a few facts learned:
  • The pilgrims sailed on a ship called the Mayflower and voyaged to North America/New World
  • They established a colony in Plymouth, MA 
  • A tribe of Wampanoags helped the pilgrims adjust to their new land 
  • Samoset and Squanto were the first two Native Americans to visit the pilgrims
  • All enjoyed a harvest celebrations feast/first Thanksgiving

We hope you enjoyed reading about our Thanksgiving unit! 

Click below to view our Thanksgiving highlights