Welcome to YCC Primrose - The Children's House

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Welcome to YCC Primrose

Welcome to the Young Children's Community!

The Young Children's Community (YCC) supports both the development of independence and social cohesion within our community. Our environment provides opportunities for caring for oneself, others, and the physical space as well as developing language and refining motor abilities. Please check back on this page for updates about what we are doing in our classroom!

It is a privilege to get to work with your children; thank you for sharing them with us!

Betsy Bloomquist

Betsy@traversechildrenshouse.org

 

Room Parent
Halley Brandsen

 

Back to School Parent Letter

Family Information Questionnaire 

Classroom Schedule

Car Seat Safety Checks in Grand Traverse County

Flower Bouquet Sign up

Betsy Bloomquist, YCC Guide
Betsy Bloomquist, YCC Guide
Madison Christenson, YCC Support
Madison Christenson, YCC Support
Jasmyne Kaggwa, YCC Support
Jasmyne Kaggwa, YCC Support
Kate Maas, YCC Support
Kate Maas, YCC Support

Classroom Highlights

5/23/24

Hello!!!

The end of the school year is coming so fast! We are really soaking up these last few weeks of school. 

Grandparent's day is Friday!! The children are putting bouquets of flowers together tomorrow to help beautify our classroom environment. The lilacs on the property are in full bloom and smell amazing. 

Children that do not attend on Fridays are more than welcome and strongly encouraged to join in this Friday if grandparents would like to attend. They can be dropped off at morning carline. We hope to see them there! 

Last week we were able to meet Norman, a lamb that was brought in by a classmate's grandma. He was very sweet, making little “Ba” sounds.  We talked about how soft Norman’s wool was and how it will keep him warm in the winter months. 

We also planted flowers in a hanging basket to decorate our classroom porch. We scooped the dirt to fill the basket to the very top. The children then helped to make small holes in the soil to place the plants and then we pat, pat, pat. The last step was using our watering can to water all the flowers. We continue to check and water daily. 

Have a great weekend!

5/9/24

Oh, how it feels like Spring! 

May Day was beautiful last week! It was probably one of the nicest May Days that we have had weather wise in a very long time. The children loved watching the kindergarteners skip around the pole letting colored ribbons fly!!! We learned a few new songs and clapping after each one was the best. 

With the warmer weather we are really loving our time outside, today we found worms in the garden and took turns holding them gently in our hands. We talked about how they live in the soil and are good for our flowers. We also have a worm book in class that’s a big hit.

 Another activity we have started again, is taking longer walks throughout the campus’s gardens and visiting the greenhouse. I’m excited for the lilacs to bloom so we can make bouquets! 

We hope to get a class picture taken sometime next week. I’m waiting for a day that’s nice outside, and everyone is here! It will be on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. 

An activity the children are loving lately is...  

Fine Motor: Sorting

We have talked a lot about visual sorting: sorting by colors, sorting of laundry, and sorting of utensils. Another type of sorting that we do in our environments is tactile sorting. This material is set up with a tray that has three compartments or baskets (a divided paper plate would work well) and several of two different objects that are similar, but not the same. If all of the compartments are the same size, we try to make one of them visually different by painting it or adding something to the bottom. This compartment is the landing zone for the objects to be mixed together. We then place one of each object in the other compartments.

Warmly, 
Betsy 

4/25/24

Happy May Day!

I can hardly believe it is almost the month of May and in May we celebrate May Day! Every spring (May 1st) The Children’s House celebrates May Day with songs and dance, among other special traditions.

 At The Children’s House, we have a long standing tradition of pausing each year on our journey around the sun to honor the coming of spring. On May Day, we gather to recognize the astronomical midpoint between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Our celebration starts with the crowning of the new May Queen, complete with hand picked bouquet and student created scepter. The primary children don handmade hats, carry “branches of May,” and dance around the May Pole holding ribbons the colors of spring flowers. The May Day Carol is sung, and Wild Mountain Thyme is performed by the elementary musicians. It’s a pause before we enter into the year end traditions such as camping trips, a visit to the dunes, graduations, and the Dance of the Cosmos. 

Every May Day the toddlers love watching the dance in the courtyard as the kindergarteners skip and gallop around the Maypole. We have begun practicing the songs Branch of May and Wild Mountain Thyme at group time, so we can sing along or at least recognize the tune. Here’s hoping for warm weather that day!! 

4/11/24

Hello Primrose families!

I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Houston, Texas this past Monday and Tuesday to observe another great Montessori Community. I love seeing the magic of our philosophy come to life in another setting different than our own. I was inspired in many ways as I watched the work of the children alongside the adults as they interacted together. 

I left feeling fortunate to be a part of our sweet school here in Northern Michigan and knowing that our work is being done well all over the country. 

A new roster has made it into your child’s backpack. We have welcomed Laszlo Kania to our class! He has been with us for a bit but has now officially moved in!! We are so happy to have him!

3/21/24

Hello! 

It was wonderful to sit down with each and everyone one of you this past week to chat about your child’s days in Primrose. I love sharing all the fun and growth we get to witness everyday. 

I thought I’d share this tid bit on the importance of gross motor during the toddler years. I wrote it a few years ago, Enjoy! 

Toddlers begin to acquire the ability to balance between 12 and 18 months (or when they start walking well). In our classroom, we provide activities to refine many of the children’s movements (including balancing). As I’m sure you know, once toddlers can move, it can be difficult to slow them down. Carefully carrying pitchers or watering cans full of water helps to encourage more intentional movement. This is also one of the reasons that we use real glass and ceramic when setting the table; because they can break, we are careful to use two hands when clearing our dishes one at a time. As we’ve mentioned previously, carrying heavy or precious objects can help young children to practice making the micro-adjustments that allow them to refine their balancing skills. Practicing balance is also one of the reasons that we transport our materials on trays when carrying them to tables or rugs. Carrying the tray without tipping it forward (and spilling all of the materials onto the floor) is quite difficult for toddlers; when the pieces inevitably do fall, there is always a chance to pick them up and try again.

In the gym and outside, we get to practice specific balancing work. We have balance beams and stepping stones/ buckets that allow the children to focus on this one isolated task. At home, this could look like balancing on a spare 2x4 or pool noodle on the ground, or stepping from flagstone to flagstone on a path in the backyard. A younger child might do better practicing balancing next to a wall or fence, while an older child may be able to balance without the use of his or her hands.

And in case  anyone was wondering what their child meant when they said we sang  Hanky Panky song.. it’s a fun way we wrap up group. 

Hanky Panky 
Down on the banks of the Hanky Panky
Where the bullfrogs jump
From bank to banky
They go Oops, Aahp, Bellyflops
_________ missed the lilypad and went KERPLOP!

(The children jump into the ‘pond’ - a pillow on the floor)

(Repeat for each child)

Warmly,
Betsy

3/7/24

One of the daily rituals in the YCC is baking bread. This important activity has been happening in Montessori classrooms, around the world, for over 100 years.

betsy2_3724.jpgWhether it’s a big, puffy loaf like we often achieve in our YCC, or an unleavened flatbread, the act of mixing flour with water remains, in a lot of respects, very much the same as it has for thousands of years. It is hands-on, a rich multi-sensory, multi-stepped activity which engages mind and body - indeed a perfect task for the whole child. And the result - something that can feed the whole community, or in these cases, your whole family. If you’ve never tried baking bread at home, now is the time. A fresh, warm, crusty loaf - who can resist that?

In the YCC, we premeasure the dry ingredients into three (easy-open) containers. Water and olive oil are premeasured into a silicone-lidded milk bottle, or a pitcher.

As you can see in the image above, the containers are arranged in order from front to back, in order of use. The child stands at the edge of the bread board, closest to the bowl and white scoop. Because making bread is, after all, a bit of a scientific process, it does help to follow an order.

  1. betsy_3724.jpgBegin by adding the container of yeast and sugar into the mixing bowl.
  2. Pour in the warm water and olive oil. Mix.
  3. Add the flour and salt. Mix.
  4. Add the final container - oats, dried cherries, etc, if using. Mix until combined.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead 3-5 minutes. Lightly shape dough into a round loaf.
  6. Place loaf onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Set in a warm area of the kitchen to rise for 60 minutes.
  8. Bake in 350* oven for about 45 minutes, until golden brown. When tapped, the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow.

I hope you enjoy this project with your child as much as we enjoy sharing it together at school. 

2/23/24

Scissors! Toddlers love scissors. We often introduce scissor use around the two-year mark. In order to be successful the child needs to have the hand strength to maneuver them. The child at first may spend their time with this activity by just opening and shutting them over and over. 

If the hand strength to open and close the scissors isn’t there yet, ripping strips of paper can be a way to introduce this activity. 

For cutting with scissors, we start with thin paper strips first. The paper should be somewhat sturdy, construction paper works well. The thin strip allows the child to cut across the width with just one snip, which offers less frustration when they are first introduced. That first snip can be tricky and the less in the way the better. Once the child has the one snip down, we will offer a thicker strip that may take 2 to 3 snips.  

Besides scissors work, the children were very excited to see new books in our library! I finally got to Horizon Books to use some gift cards from Horizon book day. I had some strong suggestions on what books to choose, I was told a vehicle book and animals. I found both! I love putting new things out and seeing their excitement. 

 

Next Thursday (2/29) is our spring semester Montessori Toddler book discussion. We will be focusing mainly on chapter 7, "Putting It Into Practice", but all questions and comments are welcome. The book is a great starting point for further discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation last fall and hope to see you all there! If you are interested in signing your child up for aftercare, please click on this link. This sign-up will only be available until Monday (2/26). 

 Warmly,
Betsy 

2/8/24

Hello!

With it being the Lunar New Year, we currently have a set of language cards and a coordinating book out on the shelf. The children have been matching the cards to the pictures in the book, which helps to get a conversation going. Specifically, they have been really interested in the dragon and lion dance. 

The sandbox on our playground has also been of great interest lately. The warm weather has brought the sandbox back to life and the playground is a new place to explore with the absent of snow. The track is free and bikes are back in to play. I’m sure we will be back to sleds again before spring but it’s a fun change for now. 

Warmly, 
Betsy 

1/25/24

Hello Primrose Families!

We have been dig, dig, digging in the deep, deep snow! We have various paths that wind around and up and down the hill. The children love to help shovel the snow into piles to climb and jump in. It’s been fun exploring the new terrain! 

Maggie Weber has been visiting Primary this week as she moves to Megan’s room Monday. She has been sharing her experiences with her Primrose peers after she returns from her Primary adventures. Maggie is especially excited to tell everyone she saw Linden Gallagher and the fish in the tank. If your child is talking about Primary at home this is why it is such a hot topic at the moment. Also, in other move up news…We will soon welcome Will from the Nido to our primrose family, so look forward to an updated roster soon!

Warmly,
Betsy 

1/11/24

Hello Primrose families!

Jumping back into classroom life sure felt nice after the Winter Break! It seemed everyone was happy to be back and fell into the usual routine as if no time had passed. Welcome 2024, here we go!! 

Our first week back we celebrated two friend’s birthdays in our community, Brody and Robbie are two! The older children love baking birthday treats for their friends, which is banana bread with our secret ingredient… chocolate chips. I love watching the kids show off their baby pictures to their peers, they beam with such pride.  

One language activity that the children adore is pictures of their pets from home. Last year some of the children could tell us who each and every pet belonged to. That being said, we would love for pictures sent via email of your pets, dogs, cats, fish whatever you have.  If you sent one last year we still have it, and thanks if you have already sent one our way. The time we sit and talk about pets is perfect for a group activity and engages the children for great lengths of time. I can’t wait to see and hear about all the pets in the Children’s lives.

Warmly,
Betsy

12/15/23

Hello!

It is hard to believe we have reached the end of the first semester, how time has flown! The past four months have been filled with new and more language bringing more conversations to the community meals, we had quite a toileting crew who are very independent with their bathroom use and we have new children joining us ready to make their way in YCC. So much has changed and I look forward to the coming months as they continue to learn and explore.

Our friend Linden has been visiting Primary this week as he moves to Megan’s after the winter break. I’ve enjoyed being able to visit Primary with Linden and seeing all the wonder he is observing in his soon to be new environment. We will miss you Linden, your humor, your boisterous voice, your ability to help our younger children with gentle hands and patience.  We can't wait to see what you will accomplish with Megan, Chelsea, Brooke and Penny. We will welcome Nora to our YCC Primrose community from Nido, who has been visiting this week filling our room with more cheerful explorations.

I hope you all enjoy the Seasonal Sing tomorrow. The children are ready to belt out Jingle Bells at the top of their lungs with a very strong “HEY!” at the end. 

Have a restful winter break and I will see you in the New Year!

Betsy 

11/30/23

I hope you all had an amazing time with loved ones this past Thanksgiving Holiday. We had a wonderful feast in our Primrose community with all the delicious dishes shared. We enjoyed thanking our friends for the meal they brought and talked about the food they might share with their family and friends. 

This week we have included some holiday songs as we move into the Holiday season. The biggest favorite is “Jingle Bells”, in which we have real bells to shake and jingle. I introduced “Oh Hanukkah”. We also have been singing “ A Winter Wonderland” as we look through a book with the lyrics. This is fast becoming a number one requested song at group. 

Snow!! The Children are so excited to go outside and sled up and down the hill. We also discovered that the snow on the slide makes it super speedy. Another popular activity is shoveling the snow into piles and climbing the mounds. The weather adds to the holiday feel as we practice for the sing a long!! 

Lastly, I want to remind you all that Friday, December 15th is an abbreviated day, followed by campus closure for winter break. Dismissal time for YCC will take place between 10:40am and 10:55am on the 15th. after our school sing along which takes place in the Gym at 11:00am. Please join us for some celebratory singing! Lunch and nap will not take place on this shortened day. After a few, rejuvenating weeks spent at home, we will return to school on Tuesday, January 2nd. Looking forward to another beautiful year with all of you!

Warmly, 
Betsy

11/17/23

Hello Primrose Families! 

Thank you for all taking the time to come and talk about your child with me during conferences. I always find sharing the joys and tribulations of toddlerhood to be cathartic and overall amusing. Thanks again and always remember to email anytime when you feel the need for some extra support.

A huge thanks to all that bought books at Horizon Books last weekend. I put out several new books this week and the children sat with me for as long as it took to read each new book. 

A big welcome to Charlotte who joined our classroom last week.  The children have been so sweet welcoming her. Our sweet ycc community has been very understanding of her little unbalanced steps as she moves about the room. 

I look forward to our Harvest Feast next week on Tuesday. It’s such a fun meal to share with your littles. Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Have a great weekend! 
Betsy

11/3/23

Hello Primrose! 

Now that we are into November, we’ve been enjoying seeing the various types of precipitation that our place in the world has to offer. The children have mixed emotions about the snow flying, but it is always exciting to see them experience snow. As the temperatures dip, it’s time to break out the snow pants and other winter gear. As with all clothing, please clearly label each item with your child’s name.

Every day we get ready to go outside in the same order, which provides the children the opportunity to sequence and fulfills their need for order. Some of the children do most of these steps independently, and we will be working through the winter to further this independence in dressing for outside. The order of getting ready is:

  1. Snow pants (or snowsuit)
  2. Boots
  3. Coat
  4. Hat
  5. Mittens

We use the “up-and-over” method to put on our coats and sweaters. It may seem a bit odd at first, but it allows even very young children to put on their coats independently. Here is a quick video demonstrating how we put on sweaters, jackets, and coats. 

We have also begun to discuss the next big holiday we will celebrate as a community: Harvest Feast. This is our way of bringing a big festive holiday meal into our classroom. For children who celebrate Thanksgiving at home, it also serves as a preparation for that experience as well. 

Finally, looking forward to chatting with you all at conferences next week! It’s always great to have time to sit and talk about all the amazing things your child’s been doing in the classroom so far this year.

Warmly,
Betsy 

10/19/23

I love observing the hustle and bustle of the children during the morning work cycle. They move about the room in an independent fashion, working with the materials and exhibiting a strong sense of confidence and drive.

I especially see this in our older friends as they help to get our daily tasks done,  such as placemat washing, mopping up spills (that is a result of placemat washing) and washing our dishes after food prep. Many of our younger toddlers are joining and getting some lessons from their peers. Today two of our friends were baking and that was an immediate cue to another child to grab the broom knowing that flour would soon be on the ground. Another student took note and started pouring water and soap into our dishwashing tubs. I love standing back and observing our community working in sync.

Lately a very favorite activity is singing “Down at Grandpa’s Farm”. I’m sure you have heard bits and pieces of this loved tune at home. It’s a language activity that seems to attract the entire class so we often choose group as a time to partake. We have a basket with a variety of farm animals, this basket is offered to a child so they can choose an animal. We name the animal and describe it, such as “big brown horse” then we sing about it and make the noise the animal makes. 

Down on Grandpa’s farm their is a big brown horse.
Down on Grandpa’s farm their is a big brown horse.

The horse it goes along like this… Neigh!
The horse it goes along like this...Neigh!

We’re on our way
We’re on our way

On our way to grandpa’s farm.

We’re on our way
We’re on our way

On our way to grandpa’s farm.

 Hands down this is their absolute favorite! If you hear this song being sung at home maybe try and join in, they will be ecstatic!! It’s even a bigger hit than “Old McDonald”!

I hope you are reading Waypoints each week and have synced our Family Calendar with your personal calendar so that you stay up to date on everything happening here at school, especially our learning opportunities that are designed for you. I’m especially looking forward to our book discussion on Thursday, October 26. Pick up your copy of The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies and start reading! Register to reserve childcare no later than Monday, October 23.

Also! Conference sign will be in Waypoints tomorrow. 

10/3/23

Hello Primrose Families!

Recently, some of the older members of our community have made quite a shift from parallel play to cooperative play. The children are finding ways to work with another friend with a material on a rug. I have been observing more and more of this behavior as friendships develop. 

As a recap, parallel play is playing on their own beside another child. They will often show an indifference if another child touches their work, or they feel their space is being infringed upon. Cooperative play is interacting together with the same material in agreement. 

We often mention that toddlers don't share, it's not where they are in their mindset. Toddlers are very much involved in self mastery and that is a solo journey. The shift happens sometimes around 2.5 years but most often we see it closer to 3. It's a fun dynamic to observe as they develop these relationships.

During the summer one of our favorite activities to do was to go for a walk and get flowers from the cutting garden. With fall well under way the garden is done for the season. Lucille brought in some beautiful bouquets to share with the class. Our empty vases on the shelf will be no more!! 

I plan on having our room parent Halley put together a google doc  that will invite individual families to bring in a bouquet to share with the class. We can then continue our flower arrangements well into the cold winter months ahead. 

Have a great weekend,
Betsy