Our travels across North America have now come to a close, ending with Mexico and Hawaii. Our Helping Hands dressed in grass skirts and flower leis for Hawaii, and sombreros for Mexico. We spent a good deal of time talking about the First Nations peoples, our home town of Vancouver, British Columbia and about Canada. Kindergarten prep children will continue with their animal study workbooks, which they will bring home in the new year. We will be traveling to Europe at the end of January and then into Asia. If anyone would like to share some special cultural items or help with a special Circle or snack, please let us know. We welcome the vast knowledge and experience that our parents can bring. We are always learning … teachers too!
Christmas is a large part of our ‘Celebrations of Light’ and has been a topic of discussion throughout December. We have observed the many different ways that people celebrate Christmas around the world, through picture files and different materials introduced in the classroom. Every day the children count with the advent calendar and decorate the tree as part of their transition from Circle. We also celebrated Hanukkah in December, and counted the candles on the menorah as transition from Circle, as well as having the children practice on how to light the menorah on each of the eight days. We have several trays with dreidels and play coins and use the dreidel trays for math games. So much fun. Thank you Violet for bringing in the yummy doughnuts for the first day of Hanukkah celebrations. We also have the Ismaili celebration on December 13th, and we say thank you to Aura for bringing in shortbread cookies for the celebration day. All areas of curriculum continue as usual with a bit of a holiday theme where we are able. The children are moving through the concrete materials of counters (Christmas themed at the moment) and onto the abstract of printing numbers and further development of fine motor skills. The pre-K children painted dozens of pine cones in red, white and green, which all the children used to make a glue and glitter stringed ornament. Our main Christmas art project was the gaudy jumper ornament, more commonly known in these parts as the ugly sweater. Miss Lori was watching a little too much BBC, and the name stuck. During the final week, everyone rolled a sheet of beeswax to make a candle, and the whole classroom smelled of honey. Our December baking project was making gingerbread men. Gingerbread is tasty, but the smell of baking gingerbread is wonderful. Thank you Barbara (Evelyn and Aubrey) for coming in to help us measure and knead and roll and bake and decorate. The whole classroom smelled of gingerbread, which is one of the best smells ever. And to finish off the year, we give every child a gift of a book. You all know by now that we LOVE books and we hope you do as well.
The Celebration of Light celebrations are a very simple way to show that no matter where we come from, what we look like, and how we dress, we all have so many things in common. More than you may realize until you take a closer look. Every big holiday or observance, we gather together to send out hopes and wishes and prayers at a temple, a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or simply at home. We display lights or candles. We all join together with friends and family. We give gifts and we share meals. We share of ourselves with those we love and care about. We all think about loved ones who cannot be with us. We give to those less fortunate. We think about the many things we have to be grateful for. We hope these very simple lessons about kindness and acceptance have been an experience that the children will remember and expand upon throughout their lives. We will finish our Celebrations of Light next year with Chinese New Year.
School re-opens on Monday, January 8th at 8:45am, and emails will be checked occasionally during the break. All 2017 tax receipts were placed in the children’s take home folders in December. Registration packages for returning children for September (2018-2019 school year), will be going out the first week of January. Please ask us for a package for any siblings starting in September. Packages for returning students and siblings are due back at the very latest, by January 31st. As we do give priority to returning families, we are already receiving registration packages and spaces will fill. We open to new families on February 1st. Progress reports will also be going out in January. Please take a good look to see all the work your child has been doing, then return them to the teachers for our continued use until the end of the school year. They will be returned to you in June for your keeping.
Our last time together for 2017 was at the concert on Thursday, December 21st, and it was a great day. Tien’s dad, Sean Fulton (Sarah MacLachlan School of Music) accompanied our amazing choir at the concert. Sean came into school with his keyboard several times to help our choir along through the learning stages. Thank you Sean for all your time, effort and the gift of wonderful music. Miss Stacy and Miss Lori (our fabulous choir directors), with a good sense of humour and patience, practiced with the children in preparation of the concert day. We have heard back from many parents how much they were enjoying the songs at home, over and over (and sometimes even more). Not an easy task for three and four year olds. The children all worked very hard and we are very proud of each and every one of them. Thank you to all the parents, family members and friends who participated and joined in. It is your participation that really makes the difference in the day. The children were beaming brilliant smiles as they left the stage. Thank you for all the tasty potluck contributions. If we didn’t have the opportunity to say it in person, thank you for all the very kind and thoughtful gifts, and the beautiful handmade cards from the children. We truly appreciate all that you do. It takes a village. If anyone has a video or photos they would like to share, please send them to the school and we forward to all the families. We had many families away that day, and you were all very much missed. We wish all of you, your families and loved ones, a safe and Happy Holiday. We look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year.
May peace and joy be yours, in this season of hope