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Melissa's Primary Class

Welcome to the Primary NE classroom. We are looking forward to a wonder year together filled with excitement and adventure. We hope that the narrative below will help facilitate more conversations with you and your child and perhaps give you a better picture as to some of what we share during our time together.

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

-Melissa
Melissa@traversechildrenshouse.org

Melissa Cole, Primary Guide
Taylor Vancil, Primary Guide
Merissa Lamie, classroom support
Jack Lankford, classroom support

 Back to School parent letter

Melissa Cole

Melissa Cole



Room Parent
Joe Hunter
Jenifer Kharin

Classroom Highlights

5/11/22

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the end of the school year is only a few short weeks away. Where has the time gone? We have begun to talk about our solar system to help prepare the kindergarten children for their roles in The Dance of the Cosmos. Last week we discussed the planets and a few facts about each one. We will also learn more about comets and asteroids and stars, oh my. It’s an exciting time!

Did your family celebrate Cinco de Mayo? We talked about why many people of Mexican descent commemorate the victory of an important battle that took place between France and Mexico many years ago. The children enjoyed looking at pictures and discussing the many different ways people in Mexico and the United States honor this special day. 

We would like to recognize all of our amazing mothers and thank you for all that you do. I hope that each and every one of you had a chance to put your feet up and take a day to relax and enjoy your family. 

The song I would like to share this week is by Sanford Jones. It’s a song we often sing at this time of the year to remember why we are all here. 

This Is My School

This is my school
My place to work and play.
My friends and I
Are living out each day.
Washing a table, polishing a cup
Every day I’m growing up.

This is my school
My place to work and play.
My friends and I
Are living out each day.
Building a tower, sweeping the floor
Every day I’m learning more.

This is my school
My place to work and play!

4/15/22

So far this year, we have studied the circulatory, skeletal and digestive systems. Our senses are up next, starting with hearing and how our ears work. We talked about how sounds travel into our ears then to our brain and how hearing helps us know what is going on around us. We shut our eyes to “see” with our ears and talked about what we “saw.” We also discussed how important it is not to put anything in our ear canal. Ask your child where the smallest bone in their body is located.

We have been talking about Earth Day and all the ways we can help our planet. We discussed why it is essential to recycle and what happens to items like soda cans and plastic bottles. They were excited to learn that part of their bicycle may have been made from a soup can or that even their clothing could have been made from recycled plastic.  And from their stories, it sounds like many of you recycle at home too.

Happy No, Ruz! No Ruz is an Iranian holiday, which means “New Day.” This week we began talking about this fun holiday in preparation for our celebration next week. We will have an opportunity to “jump over the fire” to leave all bad things behind and welcome the New Year. We will then enjoy snacking on foods that represent happiness and good fortune. This includes olives, hard-boiled eggs, apples, sprouts, sweet wheat pudding, and sumac. Ask your child what they plan to leave behind. I know what I will be. ;)

3/17/22

Spring is on the way! We are impatiently waiting for the last of winter to melt away from our garden beds. On top of one of our shelves, we have placed a tabletop greenhouse! Through the inspiration of one of our Kindergartner’s writing, we have planted some seeds. The carrots, rutabaga, and lettuce has yet to visibly show evidence of their life cycle above the soil. The children have found much joy in measuring the corn each day. To our surprise, the corn has often grown over two centimeters a night. We will be transplanting the corn seedlings to a large pot soon, as it is almost too tall to continue its growth under the greenhouse’s lamps.  

We have also begun talking about the feathered friends we are seeing a return to our sweet Northern Michigan home. We talked about how the cold weather we experience in winter makes it very challenging for birds or animals outside to stay warm or find food. As these birds travel back to us, we have made a simple birdbath out of a glass pie plate. We weighed it down with a rock and placed it under a tree many birds frequent outside our windows! The children are eager to change the water daily, free the birdbath of ice and wait to see who might visit. 

As the snow melts, our playground becomes a space great for splashing in puddles! The air is warming as well, which sometimes finds children being too hot in their snow gear. If you have a moment, please add your child’s labeled rain gear to their backpack for their use at school again! Also, check to make sure they have a change of clothes and socks. For the next few weeks, clothes will often be wet upon coming in from recess. 

2/23/22

In these past few short weeks, we have been placing a lot of attention on meal times together! With new placemats, napkins, and silverware- our kindergartners have been spending time learning how to set a proper table for meals. Now we are focusing on grace and courtesy lessons around placing our napkins in our laps, and how to let an adult know you are prepared to clean  your place setting up. We are also practicing letting the utensils rest on table when we are not eating. It has been beautiful to watch as children develop the skills necessary to have respectful meal times together as a joyful community.

In addition, we have been exploring a large quartz geode with our classrooms magnifying glass. We took a look at how small particles of quartz can be found in sand and then talked about how they are then melted to make glass. We identified many glass objects in our classroom that we enjoy polishing each day! The children were very surprised by how these little pieces found in sand were used to make large things like our own classroom windows too.

Today, it was wonderful to host each of your families in our classroom! We are so grateful to have the opportunity to share a snapshot of the careful work your children have been finding so much joy in throughout the year!

2/9/22

In our classroom, we have continued to look at what shelter and homes look like around the world! We’ve discussed our homes have some commonalities like doors, windows, roofs, and walls. We discovered many homes around the world also have these features, but they vary in shape, building materials, and things we might find inside. The children really enjoyed exploring the wood carvings and shape of the Tongkonan home from Indonesia. 

Last week, in celebration of the Lunar New Year each child was offered an opportunity to decorate a lucky envelope with Chinese characters. This week the kindergartners helped fill the lucky envelopes with a small treasure to share with everyone. In China, these lucky envelopes are filled with a coin and passed to many in hopes of bringing a year of blessings. Wishing you all a year of luck and good fortune!

In preparation for Valentine's Day, we have begun practicing another song to share our love for others. Here are the lyrics for Skinnamarink! We’re sure your child would love to teach you the movements to the song while you sing together!

Skinnamarink – Traditional Folk Song
Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky do,
I love you!

Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky do,
I love you!

I love you in the morning,
And in the afternoon
I love you in the evening,
Underneath the moon…

Skinnamarinky dinky dink
Skinnamarinky do,
I love you!


1/27/22

Many of you know that The Children’s House has celebrated Lunar New Year for many years by inviting Kindergarteners to perform The Dragon Dance. A former teacher lived in China and shared her experiences with the children in preparation for the event. Over the past year, our faculty has met to evaluate the way our community celebrates and honors holidays from around the world. While we know it is important to open windows into cultures that are unfamiliar to children in our community, we also believe acting out sacred traditions that are not our own is cultural appropriation. Going forward, we will not be performing The Dragon Dance. It is difficult to part with long standing traditions that children look forward to each year, but this decision reflects the critical thinking and thoughtfulness we hope to instill in the children. 

In our classroom next week, we will begin reading some stories about Lunar New Year traditions and the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration of Tt. Each child will have an opportunity to bake an orange sticky roll to enjoy for snack next week. Oranges have been a traditional Chinese gift believed to bring good luck and happiness! Many children will also have a chance to practice making Chinese characters to adorn the entrance to our classroom. We will be talking about how the red paper we use symbolizes celebration, good fortune and prosperity in Chinese culture! 

This week we read a story called, Children of the World, written by Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma and David Dean. This book shows children all over the world and tells of how we all have the same needs. The need for shelter was of particular interest to the children. Next week, we will start taking a look at pictures of what shelter looks like for children and families from many countries representing each continent. 

1/13/22

New Year is an exciting time to celebrate being together after a few weeks apart over the holiday season! Our classroom has been full of lively joy and laughter in each other’s company once again.  

Many of the children have had an opportunity to grind coffee beans which they have been eager to bring home and share with their families. They are wonderful at sharing how often the adults in their life enjoy the presence of coffee in the morning! Many have been curious about where the coffee beans come from. This week we spent time looking at our painted globe and places we can find tropical rainforests. We observed pictures of rainforests and the children enjoyed pointing out our imaginary line known as the equator to each other. Did you know just 2 coffee beans are produced from a fruit that closely resembles a cherry?

We have also begun learning about the holiday we will celebrate next Monday with our families in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. We read a book called Martin’s Big Words written by Doreen Rappaport. We have been talking about Martin’s words of love, peace and together; as great ways to work our way through conflict and make spaces safe for everyone.

Here is a song we practiced with our music teacher, Angela,  that the children have enjoyed singing:

Martin Luther King was a mighty, mighty man
And a mighty, might man was he
He was a preacher, and a teacher and a man of god
And he loved you and me

2/02/21

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. This week we read a book about a man named Willie Bently aka Snowflake Bently. As a young boy in Vermont Willie loved looking at snowflakes through his microscope and wished he had a way to share their beauty. Eventually his parents were able to purchase a special camera and after many attempts he was able to successfully photograph many spectacular images. Ask your child about the activity we have on our shelf that is allowing us to get an up close and personal look at snowflakes too.

Thank you to those of you who participated in "Shop Your Community Day". It's such a fun way to support our community as well as getting a jump start on holiday shopping. We received a lot of wonderful books from our wish basket at Horizon Books and are enjoying them with the children.

As I’m sure you can imagine our classroom is filled with excitement along with the sounds of the season. We have been practicing many songs in anticipation of our all school holiday sing. The primary children will be singing Jingle Bells (all three verses). This Hanukkah song is a favorite not only this time of year but all year round. It’s not unusual to hear the children happily sing it in the middle of summer!  Happy singing.

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

Come light the menorah
Lets have a party
We’ll all dance the hora
Gather round the table
We’ll give you a treat
Sevivon to play with
And latkes to eat
And while we
Are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night
They spread a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago
One for each night
They spread a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago

PE: This fall I have had a nice time with the kindergarten group practicing many skills. Toss and catch and skipping have been especially fun to watch and help with. I have also used a bit of our time to explore food groups. Several times we have played a running/sorting game with food picture cards, I hope they are able to identify food groups a bit more now.  On monday we spend our time outdoors often taking a walk to the elementary playground. I hope to say hi many of you in a few weeks at the outdoor sing along. 

11/11/21

It was wonderful to see all of you during conferences. It is always so nice to have the time to slow down and chat with you all about the amazing things your child is doing. It is an important part of how we can work as a team to help guide them in finding their full potential. Thank you for sharing this time with me and know I welcome your input anytime.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. We have been talking about this unique American holiday and what it really means to be thankful. We have also begun planning for our harvest feast and there are lots of ideas about what we should prepare for the occasion and back by popular demand are tacos! Information about this celebration and how you can help will be sent home soon so please let me know if you miss it. 

Just a reminder to check your child’s backpack frequently for bags of wet clothing and replenish as needed. With winter upon us we have had lot of changes being needed. In order to help keep track of all of the winter gear and extra clothes please be sure to LABEL everything you can. 

Harvest Time! Happy singing.

Harvest time is here. Thanksgiving’s coming soon. 
Indian summer days and nights of harvest moon.
Gather all good gifts and offer thanks above.

For all our many blessings, the bounty of our love.

10/27/21

Germs make me sick. And unfortunately, we are all more aware of that than ever.  We have talked about how we get ill and ways to prevent this from happening. We all agree that one of the most important things we can do to prevent illness is to wash our hands. We have practiced how to do this efficiently and discussed that splashing water around without soap does not do the trick. We have also practiced coughing or sneezing into our arm to help avoid the spread of germs. Mask or not, it is something to continue to do. 

This time of year many people of Hindu and Sikh religions celebrate Diwali. Diwali means “row of lights” because the people lit oil lamps along the roads to light the way for Prince Rama and his wife Sita to return home after being forced to leave for many years. Ask your child about some of the other traditions people do to celebrate this festive occasion.

I’m looking forward to chatting with all of you next week during our conference. If you haven’t signed up yet please go to the compass for the link to the schedule. 

Here is one of our favorite songs. Your child should be able to show you the hand movements that go along with it.

Star, star, star, star
Sun, sun, sun, sun

Moon, moon, moon, 
Cloud
Tree, tree, tree, tree
Plant, plant, plant, plant
Grass, grass, grass, grass
Ground
Grass, Ground
Ground, grass, plant
Ground, grass, plant
Ground, grass, plant, tree
Grass, plant, tree
Grass, plant, tree
Grass, plant tree
Cloud
Star
Sun
Moon
Cloud
Tree
Plant
Grass
Ground
Grass, ground

10/14/21

This month, we have been studying the skeletal system. Skeletons can seem scary, especially this time of year, but once discovering that we all have one inside our own body it doesn’t seem so frightening anymore. We have a fun life size puzzle/x-ray of an adult human that has helped us understand our bone structure and names of a few basic bones. I was also able to bring in a few x-rays of my own chest, feet and hands. 

Two of the big topics of the season are apples and the changing colors of the leaves. We have learned that leaves have different colors inside them, and when the leaves are producing chlorophyll, the green covers up the other colors inside of the leaf. Apples begin as a flower and need to be cross-pollinated with pollen from a different apple tree in order to bear fruit. 

It might seem a bit early but the excitement of Halloween is in the air and the children have been very excited to share what their costumes might be this year. We have been learning a number of songs and poems about this festive holiday so be sure to ask your child to share them with you. Here's one to get you started along with a link for two more. 

There was an old witch
Believe it if you can
She tapped on the window 
And she ran, ran, ran
She ran helter skelter
With her toes in the air
Cornstalks flying 
From the old witches hair
Swish went the broomstick
Meow went the cat
Plop went the hop toad
Sitting on her hat
Wee chuckle aye
What fun
What fun
Halloween night
When the witches run

https://youtu.be/lOhYGxg460k Skin and Bones
https://youtu.be/XYDzVl9pGig Let’s make a jack-o’-lantern

9/30/21

This month people of the Jewish faith celebrated Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish new year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), also known as the High Holy Days. During Rosh Hashanah, some families enjoy sweet treats such as apples dipped in honey, and during Yom Kippur, many take time to reflect on how they treated others during the past year. We have also learned about the New Yam Festival in Nigeria. It takes place when yams are harvested, between August and October. They are the first crop to be harvested and the bounty lasts an entire year!

Will it sink or float? That is the question when dropping different items into a container of water. We have been surprised about what falls to the bottom, stays floating on top, or in some cases, does both! Ask your child what they discovered while exploring this activity. 

A new song to sing with your child. Due to many requests, I will try to post at least one or two a month; if you’d like the lyrics to others, please let me know.

Days of the Week (sung to The Adams Family tune)
Days of the week (snap snap or they click their tongues)
Days of the week (snap snap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap snap)
There’s Sunday
And there Monday
Then Tuesday
And there’s Wednesday
There’s Thursday
And there’s Friday
And then there’s Saturday
Then repeat beginning

9/15/21

Wow! What a wonderful, crazy, amazing, spectacular, unique beginning to our 2021-2022 school year!!! I think I speak for everyone, including the children, that more than anything, we are all just happy to be together. Reconnecting with friends and meeting new classmates, and falling easily into old routines. Everyday things are getting better and better, which lightens my heart. Thank you for your patience while we work out the kinks.

It was wonderful seeing many of you at our class social. We live in a very busy world and it’s nice to slow down and reconnect with one another every once in a while. We are looking forward to the rest of our school year together.

Many of you have been asking about the songs we’ve been singing. Along with tunes like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and The ABC’s we are learning some you might not know. Below are the lyrics to the song we sing before eating lunch together.

Look around, and you will see
Community
A family
We’re together
We are one