As I reflect on my year at St. Francis of Assisi Preschool, I am overwhelmed by the
blessing this community has been in my life. From the joy of seeing your little ones
come bouncing in each morning; to the admiration I feel for each of you as you make the
long trek from the parking lot to the door in all types of weather, lugging bags and
siblings; to the utmost respect I have for the fabulous staff I have the pleasure to work
with each day – I am overwhelmed. I am humbled by the all the extra time and energy
you all invested to make our Harvest Moon, Advent Retreat and International Day so
successful; by the generosity we experience in all the wonderful food and gifts you have
given us though out the year; by the quality of education you help provide through
Science Sparks, Little Chefs and Helping Hands; by the artistic touch you add to our
school through the Stewardship bulletin board and outdoor beautification; and last but
not least, by the fabulous writing and editing that Jennifer Trabulsi has done on this
monthly Preschool Press newsletter that we all enjoy! You and your children have
radiated the light of Christ to me in your hospitable welcome and acceptance. I look
forward to working with many of you again next year as we strive to continually improve
the quality of education we provide. I wish those who are sending children off to various
kindergartens a safe and successful year. In the words of Ms. Mary Lou, “How do you
say goodbye to them at the end of the year?” My hope is that we don’t! We really hope
that you will keep us posted and come back to visit often. You ALL are what make The
Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi so very special.
May God bless you,
March is National Nutrition Month. The National Nutrition Month® 2013 theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,”
encourages personalized healthy eating styles (Based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendations and MyPlate messages
http://www.superhealthykids.com/bulk-orders.php) and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic
traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. Registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people
eat right, their way, everyday.
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing
sound eating and physical activity habits. This year is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month®.
With our Little Chefs and Action Based Learning Curriculums, we are hoping to help children learn how important nutrition
and exercise are to, not only their health, but also their ability to learn. More and more research is being done that supports the
link between healthy eating, learning and behavior in children. If you are interested in reading more, the following links share
some interesting information.
Additionally, I hear more and more personal stories from parents attesting to the fact that when they have changed their
child’s diet to eating less processed foods and more fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains, they have seen improvements in
language development and behavior; and in some cases even medical conditions.
This month in Little Chefs we learned about the benefits of “rainbow” foods and enjoyed an “Eating of the Greens” Party.
Children were encouraged to taste a variety of green fruits and vegetables. We were amazed at how many enjoyed eating raw
green peppers! Hopefully, if the children can develop a taste for these foods at this young age, they will have fewer struggles
with their weight and health in the future.
Get ready for a journey next month. The preschool will hold our
2nd Annual International Festival to celebrate our families and their many different backgrounds and cultures. This festival was started last year, to mark our 20th Anniversary and because of its success will be held again on March 2nd from 10am until 12pm. All of our parish families are invited to travel via Fellowship Hall to destinations “Around the World” and experience the different cultures, traditions, and heritages that are represented by our many families. We will have food from nations around the globe, crafts for kids to create from different countries, and entertainment with music and dancing. If you plan to attend, please reserve a Family Passport via our website so we can have supplies ready. Presale price is $8/family or $10 at the door. Fee includes craft, and food for the whole family, so don’t miss out on this journey!
Click here to Reserve a Family Passport
Click here to Sign Up a Youth Volunteer
For many parents, preschool marks a new chapter in their lives. As their children become old enough to socialize and develop relationships with other children, parents find themselves with more time to coordinate play dates, meet friends for coffee, attend exercise classes or get involved in something about which they are passionate. Some of the best friends I have were made when my children were in preschool. St. Francis of Assisi Preschool strives to help children and parents make meaningful and rewarding connections.
One way to help children stay connected over the summer is through our Summer Adventure Camps. We have four different week long experiences for children ages 2 through rising Kindergarten. Whether you choose one or all four, this gives your child an opportunity to see their old friends, make new ones and participate in engaging activities centered around a theme. Registration for these camps is currently in progress. Additionally, available year round is our Moms, Pops and Tots program which meets monthly at a different playground. Many of our veteran moms speak about the friendships they have formed chatting on the playground while their kids played!
We had great participation at our Footprints in our Sandbox event which was designed to give parents an opportunity to meet and chat with each other and the wonderful staff here at St. Francis. They had the opportunity to ask questions about the wide array of activities and support services available here at St. Francis of Assisi to support young parents.
Finally, we are planning a special dinner in the spring to honor the parents of our 4 year old students whose children will be leaving our school and moving on to the next phase of their lives at either TFS or one of the other local Kindergarten schools. We want to make a lasting connection with these parents and maintain contact with them as they continue on their journeys. We will be inviting the parents of the threes to help plan this event in the hopes that it will become an annual event. Our families are what make this school so strong and we are very appreciative of you and all that you do!
Beginning next Fall, the preschool will offer a new class to respond to the needs of our parish community. Depending on the birth date of the child, sometimes one either just misses the cut-off for Kindergarten or may make the cut-off, but not really be ready for the rigor of a full day kindergarten program. In response to this need, St. Francis of Assisi Preschool will offer a Preparatory Kindergarten class. This class will run from 9:00am-2:00pm, Monday through Friday. In addition to the continued emphasis on improving developmental skills in all five areas of a child’s development: Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Cognitive and Physical, increased focus will be given to developing the fine motor skills needed for forming letters and numbers; the skills needed for successful reading such as letter and phonemic awareness; and the skills needed for future success in mathematics such as number sense, beginning awareness of money and the basics of computation. If you have any further questions about this program or would like to visit the preschool, please contact Cathy Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-847-8205 ext. 240.
With the New Year upon us, we often make resolutions. We want to eat
better, be more physically fit, spend more time with loved ones, etc. One of
the areas that we have resolved to do better in at the preschool is
incorporating action into learning. The rationale for starting the day with
physical activity is that the brain and the body’s movement systems are
interdependent and interactive. Certain physical movements stimulate the
brain for learning. We all recognize that there are many factors involved in a
child’s ability to learn, such as, environment, genetics, curriculum delivery,
teaching techniques, and learning differences to name a few. However, brain
research indicates that if all other factors are equal, a physically active
student has an advantage over a physically inactive student. Why? You might
ask. Well, during physical activity, more blood and oxygen reach the brain,
which feeds the brain the oxygen and glucose it needs to work more
efficiently. Repetitive movements help to strengthen the neuro-pathways in
the brain and therefore better prepare the brain for learning. Ms. Deb has
been incorporating similar activities into her Music and Movement classes
and has been seeing significant large motor development as well.
This month, we will be modifying our morning Action Based Learning
stations slightly and offering the research to help parents understand what
benefit each different station offers their child. To gain the maximum benefit
from the stations, children are encouraged to move slowly and carefully
through the stations and complete them as directed. If you arrive early, you
are welcome to repeat the stations as often as you like and even do them
yourself! Join us in moving into the 2013!
Dates: January 16th and 17th
Time: 9:00am – 10:30am (right after drop-off)
Place: Parish Community Center
What: Free Coffee and Doughnuts
Would you like to spend more time enjoying your children?
Come and learn about 1-2-3 Magic!
This behavior management system, developed by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., offers easy-to-follow steps for disciplining children without arguing, yelling or spanking.
The first of a two-part video series entitled
Managing Difficult Behavior in Children 2-12
will be offered in the Founders Room
January 22nd from 6pm – 8pm*
January 25th from 9:15am – 11:15am*
attend whichever date and time suits your schedule better.
The 2nd part entitled
Encouraging Good Behavior, Independence and Self-Esteem will be offered in the Founders Room
February 21st from 9:15-11:15*
February 26th from 6-8pm*
A Season of Anticipation
As we enter the season of Advent, we begin to see many Christmas decorations and gift ideas. The beauty of the season sets it apart from other times of the year and makes it feel special. Sometimes we become frustrated by the commercialism, but I see it as a constant reminder that we as Christians have a deeper focus and preparation during the advent season. While we enjoy gift giving and decorating, we also focus on our relationships with our family members and spiritual growth. Over the years, I have seen many different ideas to bring this focus into our homes:
• Place a manger or basket in a visible location in your home. Place slips of paper or pieces of straw next to it. Whenever a child does a good deed, they place a strip of paper or a piece of straw in the manger to prepare it for the coming of the baby Jesus.
• Advent angels – Draw names within your family and be an angel to whoever’s name you draw by doing a secretive loving thing for them each day (i.e. lay out their pj’s, share a toy, bring them a snack, give them a hug, etc.) Reveal yourself at the end of the week and draw a new name.
• Read Christmas stories that have religious connections while sharing hot chocolate.
• Pray together as a family. Use an advent wreath the help visualize the weeks until Christmas.
• Spend time sharing what you love about each other.
Throughout the Advent season, may we remember how blessed we are to have each other and to have a loving God who provides love and support for us even in times of pain and suffering. May your Advent season be filled with little reminders of God’s love for you!
Director, St Francis of Assisi Preschool
Breakfast with St. Nicholas – Saturday, Dec 1st
Seats Still Available One day left to register!!
Please gather with us to celebrate the Feast with delicious food, carols, music, crafts, and even a story from St. Nicholas himself. This year we are collecting hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and children’s clothing for our sister parish, Our Lady of the Rosary. Two seatings: 8:30 AM & 10:00 AM. Cost: $15.00/family. Reservation form can be found here: St Nick Reservation Form 2012
RSVPs are due by Wednesday, Nov. 28th. Volunteers are also still needed to staff the event, please go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050C45A8A62E5-breakfast or email Debbie DeYulia at email@example.com.