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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 Cole

Melissa Cole, Primary Guide
Taylor Vancil, classroom support
John Hart, classroom support

Room Parent

Rachel Taylor-Franks

June 6, 2019

“The child is truly a miraculous being.” -Maria Montessori

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know your children throughout this short time. They really are an amazing group of humans. It has been a busy few weeks and the excitement is elevated. As the school year comes to an end, the children are ready and excited to celebrate the Dance of the Cosmos.

If you will not be joining us for summer, I wish you a relaxing and sunny summer break. If you will be spending your summer with us, I look forward to more adventures and discoveries to come.

May 23, 2019

In preparation for Grandparent's Day, the children have been working hard to make the classroom look beautiful. The excitment has been building up all week as we practice our song and talk about what work the children may want to share with their special guests.

Some of the children had the opportunity to participate in the campus work bee. They were excited to work together as a community to make our school grounds ready for spring. It is through their hard work as they prepare the classroom and work together in the community that the children develop an appreciation and love for their environment.

We have been talking about our solar system and the planets. They children are fascinated to learn about other plants and discover our place in the universe. We will continue to talk about the solar system in preparation for the Dance of the Cosmos.

May 9, 2019

Fire dog Kasey visited last week to teach us many fire safety skills to use in our homes. Did you know your nose is the first thing to fall asleep at night? We rely on our ears to alert us to danger while sleeping- Firefighter Jeff suggested we change the batteries in our smoke detectors at home when we change our clocks during the spring and fall. We also discussed the importance of a meeting place outside the home, that does not move in the event of an emergency- such as a tree, mailbox or swing set.

With the spring rains that have been sticking around, we have begun studying how plants grow! Earlier this week we planted broccoli, carrots and lettuce in our garden beds. We’ve also started tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers in the greenhouse. We are looking forward to tracking the progress our sprouts make in the coming weeks!

The children have been growing excitement about our upcoming Grandparents Day! We have been painting clay pots with many colors of spring and practicing the song, “My School” to perform for our special guests.

April 25, 2019

Happy No Ruz! No Ruz is an Iranian holiday, which means “New Day”. Rose Hollander, our beloved Great Books guide, is coming to teach us about this fun celebration. 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 left behind.

In preparation for May Day, the children have begun constructing their hats for the celebration. These consist of cutting the middle of a paper plate like a pie and folding the points upwards resembling a crown. To the points of the crown, tissue paper flowers are thoughtfully arranged, add a few ribbons and the hats are ready and waiting for the first day of May. The children enjoy modeling for each other how these adornments add to their attire.

We have been talking about Earth Day and all the ways we can help our planet. We discussed why it is important 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.

April 11, 2019

The temperature might not reflect it but spring has sprung. We have been talking about the days getting longer and all the wonderful things to come in the next few months. We have also talked about the many different celebrations other cultures have to welcome spring from Passover to No Ruz to Easter. One of the things many of these celebrations have in common is cleaning your house so later this week we are planning on grabbing our buckets and sponges, turning on some tunes and giving our classroom a much-needed scrub down. Ah…SPRING!

So far this year we have studied the circulatory, skeletal and digestive systems. Our senses are up next starting with hearing and how are ears work. Even after we talked about how important it was to never put anything in our ears many of the children just couldn’t resist trying to touch their eardrum. Perhaps a little more conversation about this at home would be in order. 

In the past few weeks six new children have joined our classroom. Please join us in welcoming Margaret, Darby, Chloe, Thea, Kole and Quinn. We are all enjoying getting to know each other better and it has been so heartwarming to see the older children help their new classmates settle in.

March 21, 2019

-Last week we had an opportunity to go to the barn and meet three very special birds. We got up close and personal with a beautiful red-tailed hawk, and vocal great horned owl and huge and hilarious turkey vulture all thanks to Rebecca Lessard from Wings of Wonder. I can’t even begin to tell you how different it is to see these magnificent birds only a few feet away. The children were in awe and learned so much. I’m so thankful we have a sanctuary in the area to care for injured raptors for release back into the wild or if that’s not possible a place to live out their lives in safety.

-It is officially SPRING! That being said our playground has become a very wet muddy place to be. Please take time each day to check your child’s snow gear to be sure things are dry for the next day. We have noticed that many children are coming back with snow pants, gloves, boots etc. still soaked from the day before. If your child stays for friend’s club you may want to send in an extra pair of gloves and please be sure ALL items go home each night. Things do not always get dry in our coatroom overnight. We go out every day and keeping the children out of puddles is almost impossible. You help is much appreciated.

-Today we had a lot of fun deciding what we wanted to plant in our garden this summer. Cucumbers, carrots, zucchini and tomatoes topped the list but they also really want to grow watermelon and pumpkins. We don’t really have room for that but we decided we are going to give it a try. Unfortunately, I had to explain that apples just weren’t an option unless they were going to be around in 10 years for the first harvest.  I Can’t wait for that first loaf of zucchini bread!

March 7, 2019

It was so nice to chat with many of you last week during conferences. I know I’ve said this before but it is always such an eye opener when we can have a more in-depth conversation about what your child is doing at school and home. Please know that I are always available and want to be sure the lines of communication are always kept open.

We had a yummy treat for snack this week. A beautiful King Cake covered with a colorful glaze. This is something that is typically served during Mardi Gras which means “Fat Tuesday.” It’s the time right before the beginning of lent when many Catholics give up things like sweets. Our cake had purple green and gold icing which is meant to represent justice, faith and power.

We have begun studying the digestive system and the children were fascinated how our their bodies convert food and drinks into energy. We talked about how important it is to eat healthy foods but occasional sweet treats are ok too. At lunch we concentrated on feeling our food travel down the esophagus from our mouth to our stomach. One of the children had some cold berries said he could feel them the whole way down. As I’m sure you can imagine how our bodies absorb what it needs and how that waste leaves our bodies was also a very hot topic

February 21, 2019

We have been having a lot of fun talking about solids, liquids and gases. Snow is a solid that melts into a liquid and evaporates in the form of a gas. The children have been experimenting with baking soda and vinegar using the chemical reaction to blowup a balloon. There has been lots of laughter when removing the balloon from the jar and occasionally it shoots across the room.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you on Thursday for Parent Visiting Day. It is always such a fun time and great way for the children to show all the amazing things they are working on. If you are unable to come please feel free to come another time. Just let me know so I can be sure we don’t have anything scheduled that day.

We were gifted a Tangram as a classroom Christmas gift this past December and the children have been thoroughly enjoying it. At first they simply explored the shapes but have now discovered they can create animals, people, letters and so much more. Ask your child what their favorite design has been.

February 7, 209

Did Punxsutawney Phil or Shubenacadie Sam see their shadows last week? That is the question everyone wanted to know. We have had a lot of fun talking about Groundhog Day and the history of how it came about. Although we know that the arrival of spring can’t really be predicted by whether or not a groundhog sees its shadow it sure is fun to talk about. He did see it by the way.

While we have been preparing for our Chinese New Year celebration we have been talking about how some things differ between our cultures. One of them being our calendars. This is the year of the Pig and the children have had lots of fun learning about which animal represents the year they were born. Ask your child if they were born in the year of the Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep or Monkey.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Next Thursday the children will have an opportunity to exchange cards as well as have an opportunity to say something nice about someone special to them. We’ve talked about how even thought this holiday happens only once a year it is important to let those we love know how much we appreciate them everyday. 

January 17, 2019

We are so happy to be getting back into our routine! The classroom is bustling with activities and it feels as if we are all playing catch up.

We have been talking about Martin Luther King Jr. and how he helped the African American people fight for their rights through words and love not violence and hate. This is a tough subject for many of the children to understand because it is so hard for them to comprehend how people were segregated mainly based on the color of their skin. I asked them to think about how they would feel if only the children with blue eyes were aloud to come to school. There were some pretty interesting answers.

We are listening to Peter and the Wolf performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The characters in the story are represented by the flute, clarinet, oboe, violin, bassoon, kettle drum and french horn. It has been fun to watch their expressions as the narrator tells the story followed by each instrument playing the characters title song and how it makes them feel. The best is when the wolf enters the story. I’ve never seen so many eyes grow as big as saucers.

We have a new classroom pet. His name is Theo and he is an unusually large teddy bear hamster. I inherited him from my daughter over the holiday break because her cat kept tormenting the poor little guy. Imagine that. He is extremely friendly and children have been giggling with delight watching him poke his little nose out to greet them or watching him run around in his hamster ball.

December 13, 2018

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. This week we read a book about a man called 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.

Last week local poet, Terry Wooten, visited our classroom to share some of his work. It is always such a treat to have artists come and share their talent in such a meaningful way. The children were completely captivated and had lots of questions. Ask your child about the great big bear!

We have a fun game on our shelf that features 6 different artists. Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Rousseau and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. We can play a memory game or go fish. We have been enjoying studying the different techniques each artist uses from the thick paint and brush strokes Van Gogh is known for to the pointillist technique of Seurat. It’s always interesting to hear what the children have to say about what they think of a particular painting.

November 29, 2018

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) and Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah specifically. Happy singing

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkay

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

November 8, 2018

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. More information about this celebration will be coming in the next couple of weeks.

Pumpkin fun day was a blast! We made pumpkin muffins and enjoyed fresh fall apples for our snack. We roasted pumpkin seeds in the oven, colored pictures, sang our Halloween songs and talked about our costumes. I think the poor arachnids have gotten a bad reputation (through no fault of their own) as we made spider hats and spider webs.

Just a reminder to send plenty of warm options for outside activities, winter is on its way!

October 25, 2018

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 bare fruit. We will be making applesauce in our classroom soon.

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.

Halloween is fast approaching 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

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

October 11, 2018

Germs make me sick. Yep, it’s that time of year again. We have started to talk about how we might get sick and how we can prevent this from happening. Currently we are focusing on the importance of washing our hands and the proper way to do just that. Next we will practice how to cough or sneeze without spreading more germs.

On Monday we read a story about Christopher Columbus and what it is to be an explorer. We studied our globe to see how Columbus ended up in the Bahamas mistaking it for India. The funny part was discovering that Columbus sailed back four times and never did actually make it to Asia.

Baking is a large part of our classroom and currently we are trying to encourage the children to bake part of our snack daily. Right now we have a simple cream drop biscuit recipe that only has four ingredients and has their skills increase so with the complexity of our snack. Our hope is that as the children bake for one another it will further their sense of community.

September 27, 2018

Last week Steve Maas and his dance partner entertained us with their routine from his Swingshift and The Stars performance. The children were so delighted to not only see him doing something they’ve never seen but also to hear how nervous he was. It sparked many conversations about not being afraid to try something new.

We have been enjoying the story titled The Littlest Matryoshka. It is about a set of nesting dolls that travel from Russia to America and the adventure the smallest doll, Nina, has along the way. Ask your child about Anna, Olga, Varka, Vanda, Nidia and Nina. We even have a set in the classroom for the children to explore.

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.

September 13, 2018

We have been having lots of fun harvesting vegetables from our gardens. Carrots have been the latest to find our taste buds and tummies. The children have made many comments about how wonderful they taste and how crisp they are.

t 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
A family
We’re together
We are one