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Welcome to Primary Fern

Dear Families,

I am excited for our school year together! I feel truly lucky to be a part of your child’s education.  It is important for the children to feel at home in the classroom and come together into a learning community. Our community is made up of unique individuals each with their own learning style, strengths, interests, history, hopes and dreams.  I look forward to being a partner with you in your child’s learning experience.

Thank you,
Alison Breithaupt


"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment" -Dr. Maria Montessori

Room Parents

Jill Miklos
Carolyn Greenman


Back to School Parent Letter

Alison Breithaupt, Primary Guide
Alison Breithaupt, Primary Guide
Emily Arbut, Primary Support
Emily Arbut, Primary Support
Maddy Drudge, Primary Support
Maddy Drudge, Primary Support
Marisa Farr, Primary Support
Marisa Farr, Primary Support

Classroom Highlights


Maybe you have heard? We have some caterpillars in our classroom. They arrived early last week and the children have been observing each one as it creates its chrysalis. We eagerly await the emerging of the painted lady butterflies. We read a book about the life cycle of the butterfly and metamorphosis .When all of the butterflies have hatched, we plan on releasing them into the garden. What a beautiful sentiment to the idea of releasing the kindergartners into their next stage of their development. 

As we anticipate the Dance of the Cosmos, we have been talking a lot about the solar system lately. There are some choices on the science shelf involving putting a solar system puzzle together or lining up the planets in order and labeling each one. Some of the children have taken it to the next step and have drawn the solar system. Each child will play an important part of the solar system during the Dance of the Cosmos. The youngest children in our classroom will play the Milky Way, the next oldest children will play the Aurora Borealis and the kindergartners will be playing the planets, the comets, the asteroid belt and the sun. 

The weather has allowed us to extend our classroom outside. The children have such a strong desire to be outside with nature and the fresh air. Some of the children have been enjoying hammering nails, painting, reading or washing. We have also been preparing for Grandparent’s Day by cleaning our classroom and getting ready for our special guests. It is one of my favorite days of the school year. 

Last Friday, we celebrated Nadine’s Day. Nadine was a guide at our school for 42 years. She retired last year and we wanted to honor her dedication to the school and the children all of these years. As a school, we all planted a basket of hanging flowers for our patios and each classroom chose another way to celebrate Nadine’s Day. During our group time, I brought in my thumb drum and I played it as all the children joyfully danced.

Have a great long weekend!



For the past couple of weeks, we have been preparing for our Cinco de Mayo celebration. Some of the children and I have been making a pinata using a balloon, newspaper and a flour and water mixture. When it was dry, some of the children decorated it with colorful tissue paper. On our celebration day, we were ready to bring it outside and take turns hitting the pinata. All of the children were excited to break open the pinata to receive some prizes. Some of the children made some delicious guacamole that we all ate together during our group time as we read a book about the cultural traditions and history of Cinco de Mayo. 

We were very fortunate to have a beautiful May Day last week. All of the primary children wore their colorful crowns and the kindergartners danced merrily around the Maypole. As a school, we sang together and rejoiced in the marking of the halfway point between the Northern Hemisphere Spring equinox and the summer solstice in June. The May queen was picked and your child may have told you it was me. It is true! I was the May Day queen for the day!

Fire safety was presented to the children in a unique way. Fire dogs, Kasey and Karmel, from the Koorsen Fire and Security organization came to our school to teach the children how to handle an in-home fire safely. The dogs are trained as certified firefighters and they had some great tricks to show the children what to do if there was ever a fire in their home. Their trainer and firefighter, Jeff Owens, had some great songs to sing with the children and played a big part in the message to the children. Ask your child what tricks the dogs could do and work together to find your safe meeting spot if there ever was a fire in your home.

This week the children and I talked about the different parts of a flower using the scientific names. I carefully pulled apart a tulip to show the pistil, the stamens, the corolla and the calyx of the flower. Each child received a chance to examine and touch these parts closely. The older children will have the opportunity to read and label the parts of a flower.



Your younger child may have mentioned how their gym schedule has changed. All of the younger children get the opportunity to have gym all together on Monday morning with Steve. This will allow all of them to have a chance to participate and may help to prevent disruptions during our morning work period. The kindergartners will stay with me in the classroom to have small group lessons or individual lessons. This week they had a lesson on how to serve tea to the younger children. Our new gym schedule is a trial run to see how it will work for Steve and all of the primary classrooms. 

This week we have been talking about the five food groups and what we can do to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Each of the food groups provide the essential nutrients for good health. It is important to eat a variety of choices from each of the five food groups daily. There is a work on the shelf which gives the children the opportunity to organize a variety of foods in each of the five food groups.

Thank you for sending a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste with your child to school. Many of the children have been taking the opportunity to brush their teeth. First, they practice on a small model of a mouth with a brush and then they go into the bathroom to brush their own teeth. When they are finished, they take a moment to wipe out the sink in case they may have made a mess. I hope this practice and our discussion on oral health can help your children become more independent and encourages a positive trip to the dentist.

On the12th of April, we all came together as a school to sing in the gym. Our gym was full of song and community. We practiced our songs for the May Day celebration on May 1st. Some of the primary children took this opportunity to meet some of the students from the junior high. It was a great opportunity to see each other in this setting and make some connections. 

In the afternoon, the children and I just finished reading The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. I surprised the children by bringing out a trumpet. They were so excited to have the chance to handle the trumpet and try to play it. Many of the children were thrilled to be able to make a sound with the trumpet. I also talked about Louis Armstrong and played some samples of his memorable trumpet performances.


April is poetry month! As a class, we have been reading poetry and taking the time to memorize a poem. Some of you may have heard your child reciting this poem to you.

I eat my peas with honey.
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

We also wrote a poem together about spring. 

 The sunshine coming out
The flowers blooming
The trees grow
It’s time to mow the grass.
Play on the beach and the sand.
Green is the color of growth.
Spending time with family
Plant seeds
The sun is bright enough for sunglasses.
Spending time riding my bike
The moon shines bright.
Coloring pictures of spring
The worms start to squirm.
Leaves start to show themselves
Flowers bloom
Playing outside with family
Raindrops fall

Montessori said that the teacher must “entice the children.” Through poetry, a teacher may find a way to entice children in wondrous ways not before realized. A teacher can “entice” children with the varied rhythms and creative language of a poem.

This week was very exciting for many with the solar eclipse taking place on Monday. As a class, I asked three children to help demonstrate the solar eclipse using the globe, a basketball as the sun and a smaller yellow ball as the moon. As the day continued, we took moments to view the solar eclipse from inside and also the children had the opportunity to view the eclipse by using a paper with a pinhole projecting it onto another piece of paper. 

The celebration of May Day is coming soon. We have been talking about this tradition at our school where the kindergartners dance around the MayPole and we sing songs together as a school community. Our class has been practicing the May Day Carol and Wild Mountain Thyme.  

As this day approaches, we will be discussing in more detail about the history of this celebration and we will be making special hats and/or crowns to wear for this special day. 

This week we talked about the biggest organ of the body. The skin! Our skin plays a very important role protecting our other organs, regulating our body temperature and keeping us healthy by protecting us from germs. and bacteria. We talked about the epidermis and the dermis and how we can take care of our skin. Ask your child where the thickest and thinnest part of our skin is on our bodies?


The time has come for us to harvest the abundant amount of basil the children have grown. They have really enjoyed taking care of it and watching it flourish. We took a moment at group time to try some basil together. Each child picked a leaf and took in the wonderful smell of the basil right before we tasted it. I shared with them the health benefits of basil. Some of them being it’s good for our digestion and it is an antioxidant. As a class, we have decided to make pesto. We look forward to sharing this delicious snack together.

This week we talked about the water cycle. We often have conversations about the cycle of the seasons and the life cycle of living things. The children learned about evaporation, condensation and precipitation. We have created our own water cycle in the classroom using a bowl of water covered with plastic wrap and a warming lamp. The children are eagerly watching for the water to rise, producing condensation at the top causing the water to precipitate. Ask your child about transpiration. Do the plants play a part in our water cycle?

We took some time to recognize Theodore Seuss Geisel's birthday this week. He was known as Dr. Seuss, a beloved American children’s author and cartoonist. We read Green Eggs and Ham. As many of you know, this book has a great message about trying new foods. It also has some great rhyming words as well.

We welcomed a tuba player to our school on Monday. The children learned about the history of the tuba and how the instrument works, especially the mouthpiece. Angela read a book called Tubby the Tuba. The children heard the tuba play its parts along with the book.



It was beautiful to see the snowflakes falling down outside of our classroom window last week. The children learned about a man named Snowflake (Wilson) Bentley, who studied snowflakes his entire life. By using a special camera with a microscope, he worked very hard to be able to capture the beauty and the uniqueness of each snowflake. He discovered that not one design was ever repeated. Many colleges and universities bought lantern slide copies of his photographs and added them to their collection each year. Artists and designers used the photographs to inspire their own work. He also published a book called, Snow Crystals. He never grew rich, but he gained great joy from his life’s work. The children have the opportunity to catch and study snowflakes outside using a sheet of black laminated construction paper. 

Kazimir Malevich was a famous artist from Russia. He created his own style of art, which is called suprematism. It is based on geometric shapes, such as squares and circles, painted in different colors. The children have the choice to explore many samples of his work from the cultural shelf. They can also create their own style of suprematism using two choices from the art area.

We talked about President’s Day this week. The children learned the reason why we recognize this day. The history of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as presidents brought an appreciation of their dedication to our country.

Thank you for joining us for Parent Visiting Day. It was wonderful to observe the interaction between you and your child. I know the children were very proud to show you their work. I hope you were able to get some insight as to what your child has been working on lately.



Happy Groundhog Day 2024! The children and I read a book about Punxsutawney Phil who resides in Young Township near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He has been predicting when winter will end since 1887. Masses of people gather to see the small town’s famous groundhog perform his annual duty in person. The children were very excited to hear that Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year. We will have an early spring! It all comes with a caveat. On the average, Phil has gotten it right 30% of the time over the past 10 years. 

In the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about the meaning of Valentine’s Day. How can we show the ones we care about in our lives how much we appreciate them? The children have been busy decorating their Valentine bags in the classroom preparing for the Valentines they will receive from their classmates. They will also be making a secret Valentine for a friend in the classroom. Each child will be presenting their Valentine to their secret friend at group time next week. We have also been practicing how to say, “ I love you” in Spanish. Te quiero!

This week, we had a discussion about the heart. Why is it important? What is its function? We sat very still and quiet to feel the beat of our hearts. The children learned that their heart beats 100,000 times a day. Our heart is made up of a special type of muscle, called cardiac muscle. Unlike the muscles in our arms and our legs, cardiac muscle works day and night but never gets tired. The children have the opportunity to listen to their heartbeat using a stethoscope.

Some of the children helped to plant some lettuce and basil seeds in our indoor greenhouse last week. We are starting to see some growth this week. The children are excited and have been very attentive to watering our new plants. We look forward to using our basil and lettuce for some cooking projects.



As a class, we read The Snowy Day by American author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats. Keats’ illustrations helped pave the way for more inclusive and diverse children’s literature. I asked the children to focus on the illustrations as we read the book. We talked about what they saw and how these illustrations were created. Did he use cotton for the snow, wallpaper for the walls and clothing? Keats’ illustrations demonstrated collage artwork which won him the 1963 Caldecott Medal. The children have the opportunity to create their own snowy day collage using different materials. 

As we are fully in the depths of winter, our conversations lately have revolved around the snow and the weather. The children are enjoying the outside environment by playing in the snow, making snow people, sledding and making snow forts. With these activities, also comes the temptation of tasting the snow as well. We did an experiment this week by bringing in some snow into our classroom and observed the amount of time it took for it to melt and what was left in the bowl. It was surprising for the children to see that there was dirt and some dust. We talked about how there may be animal waste and oil from the cars we may not be able to see. Hopefully, this may pause the children’s urge to put the fluffy white stuff in their mouths next time. 

We have begun our conversations about Chinese New Year. The children have enjoyed learning about this cultural celebration. They have the opportunity to practice writing Chinese characters and work on some meditation with some Boad balls and our miniature Zen garden. Next week, we will be practicing with chopsticks by eating some Chinese noodles.

Thank you,
Alison Breithaupt


Last week we read a book about Pablo Picasso, focusing on the different styles he took on as an artist. He went through some challenges in his life and this reflected in his art through his career. As a class, we are exploring one of his most famous styles called cubism. Together we discussed the importance of bright shapes, bright colors, bold lines and A-symmetric faces when recreating Picasso inspired art. On the cultural shelf, the children have the opportunity to create their own Picasso using some creative wooden shapes. In the art area, the children can also glue different colorful shapes of paper and small wooden shapes to recreate a sample of Picasso’s cubism. 

This week we talked about the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. He led this country by using a nonviolent approach to end segregation. The children and I had a conversation about how it would feel if we were not allowed to use the same drinking fountains, restaurants or schools as everybody else just because of the color of our skin. Martin Luther King, Jr. made this possible by using the power of words and expressing the importance of spreading peace and love. Ask your child about the song we are singing about Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In the afternoon, we have been reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is a novel based on Wilder’s memories of her early childhood in the Big Woods near Pepin, Wisconsin, in the early 1870’s. The children have been enjoying learning the history and how life used to be many years ago. We are planning on making butter in our classroom using a miniature butter churn. This butter will be used on some banana bread the children will prepare. 


Last week the kindergartners donated their time to make Christmas cards for some financially challenged families. The Salvation Army came to our school and talked to the children about their mission and how they help people in our area. The Salvation Army will be providing Christmas meals to these families and the kindergartners’ cards will hopefully bring some holiday cheer to them.

For the last couple of weeks we have been focusing on some different cultural celebrations acknowledged during this time of year. We read a book about the history of Hanukkah and the children have the opportunity to play dreidel. We have also talked about Kwanzaa and the seven principles of this African American celebration. These seven principles represent unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. We compared these principles to our own classroom community and how we use many of the same principles. The children can color a kinara, which is a candelabra with seven candlesticks celebrating Kwanzaa. We also focused on the story of Saint Lucia which was about a young woman dedicated to God and charity for the poor. There is a legend of a maiden clothed in white wearing a crown of light giving to the poor. I brought in a Saint Lucia doll that has been a part of my family for many years. Lastly, we read a book about the Christmas story and how it is the season of giving. Whether it is buying or making a gift for someone or doing something kind, it shows your love for that person and how you appreciate them.  

We look forward to singing with you all this Friday the 15th at 11:30 for the Seasonal Sing. It will be a special time to be all together. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 


I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your family. We had a successful Harvest Feast last week. The children were very excited to share in this meal that they all had a part in creating. We took the time to sit together before our meal and share what each of us are thankful for. So many of them shared meaningful thoughts like the water, their families and their teachers. Thank you to all of you who helped to make our meal delicious. Last week, the children also learned a song called Land of the Silver Birch. It comes from the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. It describes the appreciation and the sadness of missing their land, the nature and their hopes to come back to their homeland. 

The kindergartners took part in a presentation from Claire Olio, Peter’s mom, on water filters and water preservation. She read a book about the journey of water as it touches plants, animals, and human life all around the world. The kindergartners broke up into small groups to create their own water filters. By pouring the 'dirty’ water through the filter filled with sand, rocks, cloth and cotton balls, they were able to observe how the water filtered through these obstacles. The kindergartners learned the importance of water in our world and how we should not waste it.

This time of year we are beginning to feel the holiday spirit. As a group, we have been practicing Jingle Bells for our upcoming Seasonal Sing on December 15th in the gym with all the families and the students at The Children’s House. The children have also been creating some festive art using paint and spoons to make wreaths. They are all unique and beautiful. 


In the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about Ruby Nell Bridges Hall and what she did as a six year old girl for our country. Paving the way for Civil Rights action in the American South. Some of the elementary children came down to our classroom last week and presented the history and legacy of Ruby Bridges. As a school we did a walk with all of the primary and lower elementary students around our school’s driveway in recognition of this special day. It was a beautiful tribute to watch the children share in this experience. 

In the afternoon, we started reading the biography of Helen Keller. The children have a curiosity and are sharing thoughtful questions about her disability. They are learning the challenges Helen Keller had to endure and how she is overcoming these challenges by having a determination and drive to achieve her goals. Recently, the book talked about Braille and how blind people can use this to read. We are fortunate to have a sample of Braille in our classroom on our restroom sign. Each of the children took turns feeling the Braille and commented how they were going to close their eyes and feel what it is like to read Braille.

It was great to connect with you all during conferences. It is important for us to check in and share our concerns and joys of your children. The communication we can share brings together the bridge from school to home. Working together, we can help your child to have a successful experience at school. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. 

We are looking forward to our Harvest Feast together next Tuesday. It will be a lovely meal we will share together. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

Thank you,
Alison Breithaupt


I hope you all had a fun Halloween. We celebrated on Tuesday with Pumpkin Fun Day. Our morning consisted of carving a pumpkin and roasting the seeds. They also made Halloween necklaces and colored some fun coloring sheets. As we sat for our group time together, we read a book about Halloween, ate some pumpkin seeds and lit our jack-o-lantern. In the afternoon, the children could took part in face painting, gourd racing, spider racing, dancing and crafts. The children enjoyed this time to celebrate and some different fun for the afternoon.  

A few weeks ago, Marisa gathered some children to go outside and collect some flowers to be dried out. They took the time to trim and lay out the flowers to be flattened in some books. When they were dry, the children helped to Mod Podge the flowers onto some white pumpkins. It was a lovely activity to decorate our classroom for fall. They will also be wonderful centerpieces for our Harvest Feast coming up in November. 

Our Spanish practice happens every Tuesday during our group time. So far, this school year we have been working on colors, numbers, greetings, family members and food. The children have the opportunity to practice these Spanish words with the language cards on the shelf. They enjoy playing a game of bring me with an adult or with another child. There are also songs we will sing sometimes to help us to recall these words. 

Angela Lickiss-Aleo, our music teacher, has brought some unique African instruments to share with the children. She has also taught them this catchy African song representing a traditional dance and greeting to visitors.

Funga Alafia

Funga Alafia, ashey ashey, funga alafia, ashey ashey

We’ve come to greet you, ashey ashey, we’ve come to greet you, ashey ashey

On November 2nd, we talked about The Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. It is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their loved ones for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. We read a book about this holiday and we shared how we can celebrate those we have lost by sharing stories or celebrating how much we loved them. The kitchen made Pan de Muertos (Mexican Bread of the Dead) and each of the children had the opportunity to try a piece. 

I am looking forward to talking with all of you next week for conferences!


As a class, we recognized Black Poetry Day on October 17th. I talked to the children about Langston Hughes. He was a renowned poet and playwright as well as a social activist. As a young person he loved books. He started writing when he was very young and was made “class poet” in the eighth grade. His writing continued and eventually during the Harlem Renaissance, he published “Let America Be America Again” in 1936. This powerful poem expressed the hopes and dreams of black people in the United States and remains one of his most celebrated works. I shared the poem called Dreams by Langston Hughes. After reading it, I asked the children what it meant to them and how it made them feel.


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

This week we talked about our five senses. We played the silence game at group time which involves sitting very quiet and still for a period of time with our eyes closed. The children practiced this for a minute and then we opened our eyes and shared what we heard during this  time. We read a book about sight and discussed how we can see how others are feeling by looking at their faces and body language. Together, we played a game acting out some different emotions together. Children who learn how to understand emotions in themselves and others are better able to regulate their own responses to strong emotions. We will continue practicing different activities related to our senses and strengthening their recognition of emotions.

It is that time of year to relish in the flavors and smells of fall. The children each helped to prepare applesauce for our snack by coring, peeling and slicing an apple. We were able to enjoy the wonderful smell of our apples and cinnamon cooking in the crockpot all day. The children thoroughly enjoyed eating the applesauce for our snack the next day. 

Thank you for joining us for Parent Visiting Day!  We enjoyed having you visit the classroom and I know the children were very proud to show you their work. 


Emily took some of the children out for a walk last week through our school gardens. They brought back a summer squash. We cooked it up with some olive oil, salt and pepper. We took some time at group time to taste a sample of the squash. Before we took a bite, we looked at some language cards with many different types of squash and pumpkins. All of them had unique names and interesting shapes. Many of the children were a little unsure about tasting it, but most of them gave it a try and some even asked for seconds. It’s important for our children to try new foods because it is more likely they will have a varied and balanced diet later in life. Also, children are more likely to want to try the food if they helped to grow it or helped to prepare it. 

This week we talked about bones. What is a skeleton? Do we have one? What does it look like? Skeletons are often depicted as being scary during this time of year with the Halloween decorations they may see. I wanted to educate the children about the importance of our bones and how they do not need to be seen as something scary. We discussed how many bones our body has, what our bones are made of and how we can keep our bones healthy. Ask your child where the biggest and smallest bones are in our bodies.   

We have been talking a lot about the season of fall. What happens this time of year? We discussed why the leaves of the trees turn color, focusing on the low levels of direct sunlight and how the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down. This causes the yellow and orange in the leaves.

The autumnal equinox happens when the sun provides equal amounts of daylight time and night time. Autumn is the season when the duration of daylight becomes noticeably shorter and the temperature cools considerably. It also affects animals in various ways. The turtle digs down deep in the mud of the lake and remains dormant all winter whereas the swallow flies south. 


It has been a great start to the school year. The children have enjoyed seeing each other again and getting reacquainted. The new children are becoming acclimated with their new surroundings. We have been busily practicing many grace and courtesy lessons. For example, how to wait for help, how to observe someone working or how to respect someone’s space by asking them before touching their body. These are just some of the lessons we are all practicing as we learn to work together as a peaceful community.

This week we recognized the International Day of Peace. We have been talking about what the word “peace” means to us. As a school, we came together in the courtyard and sang a song about peace.  Our efforts to spread peace to one another will hopefully spill out to the many individuals our children will touch in their lives. 

This week we had the opportunity to talk about the bountiful harvest this time of year brings us. We read a book about the life cycle of an apple. We taste tested some different types of apples. Each kind brought a different sense of taste to our mouths. Many of the children shared their experience and what apple was their favorite.