Author Archives: loriware

Brrrr, lo di o doh!

Brrr Lo Di O doh!

Another freezing morning in Napa! Can’t go outside?

As adults we may be thinking cozy up by the fire or read a good book with a blanket and tea, but how will we get our children to sit still inside for hours!? Although they would like those and many indoor activities with you, it just won’t usually be for hours!

Send them outside for lots of science fun and creativity!

First, let me remind all that children do not get sick from going outside in the cold.

It is virus germs and bugs that breed so nicely in a warm indoor environment that gets us ill! Children do need to dress appropriately so as not to have to fight off a chill, but again, this is not where the illness comes from. There is not bad weather, just inappropriate clothing and there isn’t a better place to explore than outside in nature! I’ve read great reviews of some schools that are held entirely outdoors, even one of our own California Council of Coop nursery schools is held entirely outdoors in Southern California.

So bundle up and go out to play!

During a recent class, one working daddy was telling me great stories of some of his own winter memories as a child. He lived on a farm and even on frozen mornings, there were chores to be done and animals that needed feeding. This daddy recalled many mornings anxious to get out into the yard just to check/break/and play with all of the frozen feeding troughs! Oh the senses and sounds on a cold quiet morning!

Our winter temperatures recently have made for some great play in our school backyard and there are so many simple ideas for outdoor winter fun at your home too.

One of our classes discussed some of their ice ideas for class:

“We could wear socks if we didn’t have gloves.”

We could play “ice bowling if we froze water in a balloon for a ball and water in coffee cups for bowling pins”……although this child’s idea does not understand all facts of the ice as of yet, his ‘creativity is flowing’ and he’s not far off!

We HAVE frozen a nice round tub of water to be a ‘hockey puck’ and we played ice hokey with small brooms and rakes.

Recently, we placed many, many, shallow pie pans of water in the yard for morning exploring. We froze the water in the birdbath and froze small cups of colored water as well. In the morning, many science minds were turning as the children poked, cracked ice, and lifted ice in small sheets like thin glass. Many were enjoying the sound of ‘breaking glass’ as they threw their ice sheets. Some children floated items on top of small ‘icebergs’ in the water play tables. And of course as sensory learners, licking of the ice was also a part. (You may wish to freeze juice or clean cups of water for this, we didn’t. ) Some of the children played till their fingers “burned or stung” as they said, and it was a great way to talk about freeze burns and not just heat burns. (We also provided warm water play and warm melting tray experiences inside for the children to warm their hands when done playing.) At home, just send them into the bath or be ready for soup or warm cider for breakfast!

At home, with just a small amount of prep, you too could send your children out to play and explore. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Ice Hockey or ice bowling (be creative for things to knock over with your ice or goal posts)
  • Fill many small containers with shallow water
  • Fill ice cube trays with water or juice
  • Fill containers and ‘freeze’ some of your childs small toys inside for ‘cracking out’
  • Let your children use there hands or an ice scraper on your car to draw on the windows (you were just planning on rinsing off later anyway)
  • OR make frost on a coffee can and scratch away! (Experiment to follow)
  • Look at frost and ice with a magnifying glass
  • Build with ice cubes and ice blocks outside in the morning. (use with salt too to assist building with the pitted melting ice)
  • Color or ‘paint’ the ice! Watercolors work very well!
  • Take a walk across your frozen lawn and follow ‘footsteps’. Better yet, go to the neighboring park lawn!
  • Beyond ice and frost:

    Take a walk outside and see your breathe’ in the early morning! … A new bit of science and power of our heat!

    Also, due to bare trees, while taking a walk, look for nests in bare trees. Nests, ready for the return and usually so usually elusive due to leaf, now visible!

    I know, Napa is not the ‘big winter picture’ like some states, but short of going to Tahoe for the weekend, I’m sure your children will help you with many more icy cold ideas for good winter fun….outside!

    Rain?! OH my, that’s another science adventure!

    Bundle up and have fun!

    Happy Winter,

    Mz. Lori

    Can Frost

    Can Frost is an easy science project that teaches kids about condensation. Frost forms because of a change in temperature.

    What You’ll Need:

  • Small metal can
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Crushed ice
  • Learn about Can Frost

    Step 1:

    Fill a small metal can 1/4 of the way with water.

    Step 2:

    Stir 4 tablespoons of salt into the water.

    Step 3:

    Add enough crushed ice to fill the cup, and stir the solution.

    Step 4:

    Observe what happens on the outside of the can.

    Endings and Beginnings…

    Summer Salutations!

    Although I have one last camping event ahead, I feel as if yesterday was the real last day of summer.   For many of you families that have children in elementary school, it WAS the last day of summer vacation!

    Yesterday was my last weekly visit to the local Farmers Market.  I love Tues. mornings to connect with all of our sweet nursery school families and so many alumni….they too remember my promise to see them at the weekly market.   Before heading out, I received a call from a former NVNS President, Alice Jackson.  She wanted me to know that she had a lovely history write up of our school from 1970!  I dropped by to pick it up on the way to the market and there I also reconnected with her 2 grandchildren that previously attended NVNS.  One was heading to middle school, the other off to her last year of elementary school.   We reminisced about favorite old songs and activities while also talking about their excitement for starting a new school year. Alice herself says she gets together regularly with 7 other previous NVNS Board members!  This fills my ‘heart basket’ with the sweet reminder of how special our NVNS community becomes for so many.  Many students in high school also reconnected!

    I always say at beginning parent meetings that you may meet some life time friends at NVNS, and our time together may change your life.  This is wonderful as I also say that we do not do our best parenting work is isolation.  It does take a village!

    At the market, I could feel the excitement, the anxiety, the bittersweet flavor of the day as I connected with so many ready to attend their new schools.  I think I reconnected more yesterday than any other Tuesdays all summer! I met with sweet young families just ready to begin their education journey together at NVNS and others off to high school.   There were hugs and tears and a few text messages asking if I was still there as a ‘hug to send them off’ was needed. One child held me so tight but then quickly jumped up with excitement to head off for the special haircut needed to start school!  I remember those days as a child and as a parent; excitement for new adventures and sadness for the end of the sweet bliss of summer time.

    Journeys as parent and child together will forever have endings and beginnings as a continuous cycle.  Enjoy your moments TOGETHER, no matter the age of your children, because as always, Together We’re Better!

    Please stay connected with NVNS and watch us grow as well.  This year’s school board is well under way with tasks at hand to create another great year at NVNS! Thanks to all of them and all of you who created Napa Valley Nursery School.

    Again, stay connected.

    With love, Mz. Lori

    Just a tiny bit more:

    As I have been seeing the years of connections of people from NVNS, I was also sharing our new baby guinea pig, CC, with everyone.  I was thinking about all of the guinea pig pets that have made an impact in the classroom with children.

    During my years with NVNS we have gone from Snowball, Sugar, Copper, Penny, Mohawk, Jelly Bean, Cuddles, Toot and Puddle, and Tom, we can’t forget Tom. Which pig was there during your years?   Come see our new Candy Cane, CC, and many other things that have grown and changed at our school!

    Fledglings and Summer Begins

    As NVNS comes to a close for summer our older and quickly growing children leave the nest of our nursery school. They can fly and yet realize that they will never be alone because Together We’re Better.

    This first week from school I have been watching a finch nest on my porch. What seems like only days ago, Mama and Daddy bird were preparing their nest, then nurturing the quickly growing babies. Today I watch as the fledglings flutter, flap and fly! Time passed ever so quickly, just like all the years of our time with our children!

    This first week of summer, I also attended two wonderful swimming parties….certainly the true sight, sound and feel of summer!

    The first party included preschool fledglings from this year. They were confident and happy swimming fish and mermaids! It was lovely to show them that we will always continue to see each other, even though nursery school had come to an end. It was a wonderful warm beginning of summer fun.

    The second swimming party I attended was that of teen age alumni of NVNS. What a wonderful sight of continued Together We’re Better! Both boys, girls and families often make life time friends at NVNS and I am always in awe and delight to watch and listen to continued growth and forever holding hands and sticking together.

    Some families separate and reconnect throughout the years and I am proud that NVNS had a supportive beginning for families with like ideas and desires for their children as well as the understanding of the need of community to do our best parenting work.

    My first summer dinner night out, I bumped into alumni as well, a lovely family celebrating their two teen girls ready to graduate to new schools. This happens so often in our little town. I am always delighted when people check in throughout the years and I see the changing faces.

    I so appreciate how our community of Napa Valley Nursery School continues to support our school, me and each other.

    Together We Are Better!

    Grab a hat, seek shade and time to enjoy our quickly passing time with children. Happy summer fun to all!

    Love, Mz. Lori

    Sharing the Season

    I just can’t seem to get over how flamboyantly gorgeous our season is right now! Not only do the colors seem so alive, but hearts full of sharing as a community have also warmed these colors from within.

    I wish thank so many of you for sharing this season with our nursery school!

     It started a few weeks ago when a ‘sunflower fairy’ put the biggest, tallest, sunflower in our play yard one night.  They kindly strapped it to the climber with gardeners tape and the children climbed up and down all morning. They asked if I grew it and of course, that led to more info and questions.  Then, it was gone almost as quickly as it had arrived.  Thank you Sunflower Fairy.  Since that share, we have received so much more!

    People have shared apples, apple orchards, Chinese apples (pomegranates), figs, gorgeous leaves, ornamental corn, gourds galore and beyond!

    Our week of school with a shared beautiful, wooden apple press was also soooooo delightful!   This is a most delicious time of year that includes healthy food AND eye candy in all sorts of colors and textures.

    The classes all made spicy apple cake, apple sauce, and dried apples.  The MWF class continued the sharing by serving it to their guests at Saturday School.    Saturday School was a joy and many extended families were able to see why we keep so busy supporting our little school. 

    The sharing continued.  Each class gave so much food to the Salvation Army where the children see that the sharing and giving continues beyond NVNS.  The most joy for me was watching the sweet efforts of the children as they navigated the full, awkward, wagons of food through the school and across the street, crunching leaves and greeting neighbors as we passed on our way.

    NVNS families are still busy. As we speak, they are working together building the parade float to kick off yet another season!

    Please enjoy your children and family time as well as the harvest of a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner.

    I am ever so thankful for NVNS families and alumni that continue to hold hands and stick together.

    Together we are better.                                

    With a warm heart, Mz. Lori

    Fall Happenings at NVNS

    A harvest Hey Lo Di O Doh to All!

    It was lovely to see alumni and new NVNS families at our annual Fall Frolic picnic. We frolicked, ate, laughed and played. If you didn’t get a chance to ‘kick off’ the season with us, plan ahead as we do it again in the Spring!

    The warm autumn days and cold nights are adding color all over town and the nursery school play yard trees are also changing. Autumn is full of many wonderful sensory items for our preschoolers. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the autumn ‘crunch’, can be enjoyed just by taking a neighborhood walk, slowly, and with a bag for treasures. Many children have already been collecting ‘treasures’ through their neighborhoods (as have I) and they are filling our science center. Many items are also being used at the build center. It’s a lovely season to slow down and take a look/touch/smell.

    We are delighted to have Connolly Ranch sharing their apple press with us this month! Many of you have been sharing your harvested apples and we will press many! Mmmmm! Apples and other autumn harvested foods will be pressed, dried, peeled, cut, tasted and you will also see math taste tests on our school walls. Take a look.

    Thanksgiving is best understood by a preschooler as the sharing of our harvested foods. As the holiday approaches, we will have turkey talk, drama and songs. We will also dramatize sharing the harvest with big feasts and the gathering of relatives. Vocabularies will increase with words like feast, cornucopia, relatives, wattle, and scamper. We will leave the pilgrim/Indian themes for elementary school.

    To further explain the sharing of harvest and food at Thanksgiving, we will be walking to the Salvation Army’s kitchen (across the street) to deliver canned food. On Mon. and Tues., November 21st and 22nd, please send a can of food with your child to assist with the learning process of giving and sharing. Extra cans, dried goods, and turkeys are always welcome! We will fill our preschool wagons! Alumni, please feel free to drop items by our school for extra giving!

    I am very thankful for Napa Valley Nursery School families and wish you happy Thanksgiving gatherings! I recall so many of my own great memories of gathering with family for the holidays. We told stories, made up silly languages, played till late hours outside or football in the mud. Sitting round the table together will encourage the passing down of family traditions. Have your children create a fun list of things to ask grandparents!
    Enjoy your family time TOGETHER.

    Thankful that we are also TOGETHER at NVNS,
    Mz. Lori

    Plate Making Day
    Mark your calendars for Wed. Nov. 9th. Anytime between noon and 4pm, you may come into class to draw pictures on special paper to be made into plates or bowls. These are wonderful keepsakes and also make nice gifts.

    The bowl or plate processing fee is $7.50. Everyone from students, alumni, and neighbors are welcome to attend this major drawing event.

    Younger children may like to avoid the elementary afterschool rush by coming in as early as possible to draw.

    Dr. Louise Hart at NVNS!   Tues. Nov.8th, 7pm.

    Don’t miss!  We are delighted to have Dr. Hart come into our program to share her expertise and wisdom on parenting, parenting styles and much, much more. As a parent, you will leave with new ‘tools’ and techniques to assist you with your ever important role. You will also have a chance to purchase her books. Please invite a friend if you’d like. Dr. Hart will be speaking on parenting of all ages of children.

    Recycle Recycle Recycle–Calling all Laserjet ink cartridges!

    We are still collecting ink cartridges both large and small for their recycling points.  We are trying to purchase another overhead projector for our science center with our recycling ‘points’.  Please remember to bring them into class with you. If you can, ask your place of work, or your dentist office, or or or.   The more we recycle, the more points we will have to receive great items for our classrooms.  

    Summer Blogging and Summer Not!

    1.2 million People diagnosed with skin cancer every year and melanoma kills one person every hour.
    Improving public awareness will help reduce skin cancer rates by informing people on the ways that they can protect themselves from overexposure and help bring the statistics down. Unfortunately, in some older adults, the damage has already been done. However, it is never too late to start practicing sun safety, and it is especially important that parents keep their children informed and protected.
    Important tips for being sun-safe
    • Remember that the sun is strongest between 10:00AM and 4:00 PM.
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV protective sunglasses
    • Remember that UV rays bounce off of sand, snow, concrete, and water
    • Do not use tanning beds or sun lamps
    • Keep very young children (6 months or less) out of the sun
    • Provide complete sunscreen coverage for your skin (including neck, ears, and lips)
    • Sunscreen should be applied liberally and evenly over all exposed areas
    • Use sunscreen SPF 30 or higher
    • Use lip balm with SPF 15 or higher
    • Apply sunscreen before going outdoors and reapply often
    • Reapply sunscreen after swimming, perspiring, and toweling off
    • Stay in the shade whenever possible
    Learn, don’t burn!

    Block the SUN not the FUN

    Summer Sun Safety Tip:
    Summertime can mean fun in the sun with family vacations, outdoor sports and activities, and summer trips. Be sure to “block the sun, not the fun” by applying sunscreen SPF 30+ about 20 minutes before going outdoors and by reapplying often! Remember, the sun is at its highest and strongest between 10:00 AM-4:00 PM.

    The SSA encourages parents to lead by example. If you practice sun safety, your children are likely to model those sun safe habits. Teach your children at an early age to wear hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen outdoors.

    Summer Salutations

    Hey lo di o doh Summer Salutations!
    Our school was sweetly cleaned and buttoned up for summer, by your community efforts, hopefully quite painless and maybe even socially enjoyable, as many hands made for light work. Although closed for the summer, our new Board is rallying with great meetings, ideas and prep for another great school year ahead. Many small projects have also begun. Painting and new water play ideas are underway as well as other growth ideas and TLC for NVNS.

    I am enjoying the slower pace of the morning routine and taking in the sweet smells of the yard while having morning coffee. I have also been enjoying the amazingly thoughtful summer baskets, overflowing with summer play, that were given to me at the end of the year by our classes. I am loving all the summer yummies included within and the gardening/play items. Thank you all so much! Gardening items and a new kumquat tree for my citrus collection has also made for lovely summer days of play and planting for me. I have also seen many children at the Tues. Farmers Markets and I am delighted for hugs, catch up, and yummy sharing of berries, cherries, music and beyond.

    I hope you have all been enjoying your family time, vacations or staycations. Our summer weather has been extreme. I hope your summer days have also been an extreme change from our school days. The slower pace of summer certainly matches with the preschoolers desire for long hours of uninterrupted play. The summer weather is also conducive to modeling creativity as we adults take some of our daily chores outside where children will of course follow. Eating, playing and sleeping outdoors brings on a whole new excitement to our usual daily routines. Outdoor eating of meals also means less worry about spills and messes. Your children will love to assist with the set up both of mealtimes or hauling their play items outside! It takes great energy and creativity for kids to make new play spaces outdoors. The set up and hauling is the most important part of the play, rather than the actual play. One of our families shared a story of her children building their own drive-through McDonalds. Again the hours of set-up were the best part. (By the way, these children don’t ever go to McDonalds but they were certainly figuring out the ‘Happy Meal’ toy idea.) That all said, I cannot pass up any lemonade stand along my drives as I love the promotion of such great play. Yesterday I actually stopped at a lemonade stand (now 1.00 per glass rather than the old days of .10  ), and an alumni family saw me and stopped as well! They too remembered how I appreciate these great kid efforts.

    Summer also pleases the sensory system as we play water, water, water! Whether swimming or hoses, summer is the time to let it flow. I’ll list some fun water ideas and then let your children take it from there.

    Summer is a special time. Enjoy the sweet pace, sip lemonade and enjoy your family. Summer play and vacations whether distant or in your own back yard, make lovely memories.

    Enjoy your days together,
    Mz. Lori 🙂

    Summer water play ideas:

    • Paint the sidewalk with water and watch the evaporation science
    • Spray bottles can water, splash and clean
    • Let your children wash the car….talk about their set up time!
    • Freeze small toys in water and have children spend time melting and retrieving their items
    • Play ice hockey on the driveway or sidewalk with big ice cubes and a broom
    • Make a spraychestra using a spray bottle and assorted metal, tin pans or other items. Spray to play!
    • Use sidewalk chalk and then paint with water
    • Rather than water balloons, use small nerf balls soaked in a bucket of water to toss and splash
    • Use an umbrella in the sprinkler
    • If you have many more ideas, be sure to post them below!

    Have fun!

    From Sweet Beginnings to Sweet Endings

    From Sweet Beginnings to Sweet Endings – Together!

    As this weekend sets off our summer, I also sit still awhile with sweet memories of our school year together.
    Each one of our classes had some fun, wet, play days together as we prepared for closure. I thank all of our party parents and other parents that brought in so much for our celebrations. Our water days included surfing in pools and in the rain. We didn’t let the weather change our fun plans or our attitudes. Twas shivering fun! 

    Our Finale this year was as always, sweet and somewhat bittersweet. Our Littles actually leave the nursery school nest as birds in full flight, ready to face the next journey together with families in new schools. Their show consisted of many fun choices and last minute changes. Some shows with 8 participants had only 3, and some with 3 parts, changed to 10 participants. A sweet pride and comfort comes over me when I see these young people making confident choices on their own. I also, so honor the parents for their support of their children’s individual styles. Some children totally surprised us all by doing every show….or at least wanting to! Older siblings had a furlough day from their own schools and many were able to come and support their siblings with great help and pride. I am also always delighted that alumni families come back to help me with the Finale and many extra family members also attend.

    This year was an extra special year for me at NVNS. I have been honored to be at this lovely school program as it celebrates 60 years of community. I think back with awesome memories at my own 25 years at NVNS. Every year brought its own growth and changes. Each board brought new goals and energy and has made changes to completely support and grow our special school program. This year’s school board was no exception to that rule. In the beginning, this year’s board brought its pride and TLC to honor our special anniversary year. They set lovely goals and accomplished them! Honoring our school philosophy, the importance of children being with family, we set out to simplify some of our program requirements and allow families to enjoy school community activities. This board also set lovely goals to solidify NVNS as a business and bring electronic versions of such business up to speed. The work involved was long on hours and filled with passion. This year’s growth goals met, NVNS will now grow forward with comfortable new goals and continue to receive TLC from new school families.

    As we all grow and change, please keep NVNS in your hearts and continue to hold hands with us. We have seen the power of Together We’re Better.

    Much love, thanks, and honor to all of you.
    Have a go slow summer and enjoy the little things.
    See you at the Farmers Market!
    Mz. Lori

    60 years…Reflections of my Own

    I asked a lovely wise person in my life, “Where did the word ‘Blog’ come from?” He said it was from the term Weblog, where one can log information on the web. Rather than saying weblog, it was shortened to ‘blog’. I took on this new wisdom and laughed at myself as I thought is was more about logging info for people as they go on and on…blah, blah, blah, blah, blog!

    Either way, I wish to blah, blah, blog about the reflections I have been having this year honoring the 60th anniversary of Napa Valley Nursery School! My life has been ever so changed and I wish to tell you about those things dear to my heart…..

    Throughout my years (and many types of tears), I have had the beautiful opportunity to watch children and families grow and change. I have watched children and parents both work and play together to support each other through this new journey of parenting and family living. I was lucky enough to be a part of this program with my own children!

    Sharing and caring is evident every day at NVNS. Together, we set a very healthy environment to explore and play. Parents observe and participate in the early years of development, watching moment by moment detail as their children reach out for more. Parents reach out too. I have seen so many beautiful friendships (including some of my own) grow and develop. Parents hold hands and stick together in their new journey. Some will become lifelong friends and others will be the supportive arms along the way. So many families have come and gone throughout my 25 years, each bringing so much to our little community. People have shared their wisdom, time and talents and their selves to keep our business of community open. Throughout 60 years, with much laughter and tears, people have shown how valuable our nursery school becomes, not only to children, but to parents and families.

    I have been honored to be a part of families working together to support each other through great celebrations, new business’, the birth of new lives, and also work through many a family or personal crisis. We have been together for the loss of teeth, loss of limb, and the loss of life. Children and parents have carried casseroles and created carnivals for families with skinned knees to skin cancer. NVNS has been the community place where families gather together to do their best work.

    Beyond all of the great growth changes made to NVNS, families continue to grow beyond our community. I cannot begin to count how many NVNS families had/have been involved in the foundation, opening, and growth of Napa Valleys Charter School, Stonebridge. The beautiful community playground Fantastico was also rich in NVNS family efforts! Families have outgrown NVNS but continue to stay committed to produce a rich community where parents and children and teachers come together.

    I am so proud to be a part and see how we have stayed true to our Napa Valley Nursery School vision/mission statement. I can only imagine how much more is in store as we make such positive changes together. Truly, together we’re better.

    Vision: Napa Valley Nursery School is an engaging environment for children, families and community to grow together.

    With much love,
    I thank you all.
    Happy Anniversaries!
    Mz. Lori

    Tis the Season

    Tis the Season….

    It started with a twinkle and shine as we kicked off the season on our nursery school float this year.  Did you see those faces and see their eyes shine with delight?  Did you hear their voices, sweet and clear, and full of many happy sounds beyond our singing?  What a wonderful way to begin a naturally darker season.  There was light and hope and happiness!

    This season brings natural life rhythms of the year to all of us, whether we notice it or not.  Sometimes the holiday bustle distracts and mixes cheer with reflection and for some, even sadness with their cheer.  If we as humans are following natures rhythms, the season gets cold and quiet.  Nature goes within to gather more energy for its new growth come Spring.  As people, we gather, tight with families and hold lovely festivals of light, life and rebirth to get through the dark.  We sing fun songs through the still quietness. We send good tidings of comfort and joy through the dark despairs of winter.  Nowadays, our ‘dark despairs’ differ in many ways from the past, but it is still natural that we ‘go within’.  It is the natural rhythm of nature that we cannot help but follow. 

    Keep in mind natures natural rhythms with your young children.  Emotions run high for all, and time runs short.  I personally feel the seasons (the drive to be quiet and reflective counterbalanced with ‘to do’s’ of the season) and I don’t have the added sweet young people at my feet any longer, also keeping me from some of those natural rhythms of quiet.  There is much to do to create the holiday scene at your house and some parents may be questioning what quiet I’m even talking about!  How can we support staying connected to natures rhythms?  The children and their needs, they are first, yet there’s much to do, or is there?   

    Could we give up the shoulds and remember natures natural flow first?  Could we take time to create a good flow for all, starting with ourselves? 

    This season of the year, and this ‘season’ with your children is very short.  I say hold tight when cooler times call for cozy huddling. A little more hold time could make our efforts of this big season much more rewarding and rejuvenating for all.

    Just one more minute of story telling by a fire

    Just one more minute of story telling in the bath tub

    Just one more minute of story telling with warm cocoa

    Just one more minute of story telling under a favorite blanket

    Together, make a favorite blanket for others to cuddle (simple cut fleece)

    All cozy, cozy, cozy.

    Children LOVE to hear stories of when you were little and your holiday or winter experiences.  My favorite combo, given me from my own mom, was warm cocoa and tuna sandwiches after walking in the rain.  A strange combo it seems now, but so memorably yummy and warm.   

    It’s a time of reflection. It’s a time of hope. It’s a time of cheer.

    It’s definitely a time to hold hands and stick together with family.

    Remember children would rather have your presence than your presents.

    Together you’re better.

    Through it all, we can remember that it started with a twinkle and a shine and now the light returns for a happy new year to begin. 

    Happy Solstice and a wonderful ‘season within’ to all of you.

    Love, Mz. Lori

    Autumn

               I’ve been wanting to blog about Autumn ever since I first felt it.   Do you know that ‘first’ feeling, that one small cue that you get sometime in mid Aug., when you know that the seasons are just turning towards change?  You can see it, and smell it and feel it in the air. Our extremely new to nature (only 3-4 years old), sensory learning preschoolers must truly feel the changes!  

                So I say ode to the glorious changes that have occurred for so many this season.  Time passes and sometimes is so full of change that one doesn’t seem to notice just how much time has passed again. For me personally, with the death of my father, I felt that I had all but missed the month of October.  Loving fall and all of its natural changes, I am at least now delighted in the display of November’s colors, textures and scents!   Again, oh, the preschool sensory system!   Crunch in the leafy street gutters, pull up the withering old moist smelling tomato vines, toss and poke at the rotting pumpkins from Halloween, wear mud boots to the local farms, take a neighborhood walk with a bag for colorful collections, iron leaves between wax paper like we did in the old days, peel apples and smell the cinnamon, TOGETHER with your children.  All of this can happen even before the Thanksgiving holiday?  No wonder we give thanks!

                Then there are all of the gatherings: the feasts at autumns close, the family traditions of meals, special foods and activity. There are often sleepovers and relatives from out of town. As one good childs story line goes, “and all that new breathing in the house.” (The Relatives by Cynthia Rylant)   Busy or quiet thankful holidays, these are the good old days and the memories and stories that will be passed on, for and by your children when they are grown.  Family stories and traditions are the things that connect us through the ages…..keeping us together.

    Together We’re Better.

    Gorgeous Autumn changes to you!

     I am thankful.

    Mz. Lori

    In Memory of Puddle

    The Passing of our sweet pet, Puddle.

    As part of this beautiful autumn season, comes the death of our sweet, furry pet, Puddle. Our guinea pigs Toot and Puddle are 4 years old now, which is a very long life for guinea pigs. As we celebrate the passing of the season, the death and dying of plants and leaves at harvest, how appropriate that Puddle was surely in the ‘autumn of his own life’.

    Children will have many age appropriate questions and I’d like to offer you all the information that I will pass on to them. In class, we’ll discuss the children’s memories of Puddle and answer questions simply, with factual information. “Puddle didn’t get hurt. I found Puddle just dead on the weekend. He wasn’t breathing, or squeaking or eating. When I touched him, he didn’t move. We may never know why Puddle died, but he lived a long, good life for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs do not live long like people expect to live.” These are the phrases that I will be using with your children in class.

    I will leave all of the religious aspects of death and dying for parents to offer as they feel the need. One of the most important quotes that I would like to leave with you is from Maria Trozzis book, Talking With Children About Loss, “As goes the parent, so goes the child.”

    I will bury Puddle in my back yard and we can all look at this burial sight when the children come to my house on excursion this month. (Check the newsletter for dates) If you have any concerns or questions, please take time to chat with me and your child.

    Too often adults think the child is incapable of understanding any part of death. It is important that we understand the developmental way children think.

    Important Things to Know When Helping Children Understand Death

    • Explaining Physical Death (death of a body) – the body stops walking, doesn’t eat, doesn’t have to poop anymore, doesn’t walk.
    • Use the Correct Terminology – use the word “dead,” not “lost”
    • Make sure the child knows the dead do not hurt.
    • Make sure they know that death is: Irreversible — Permanent — Painless
    • Let or encourage children to ask questions
    • Have books about death
    • Let children participate in ceremony / help set up ending practices
    • Allow children to grieve in their own way
    • Share feelings with the child – (don’t be afraid to cry)
    • Provide support for the child
    • Maintain the child’s daily routine
    • Death can be a celebration
    • Remember it is not the age but the relationship when determining whether a child attends a funeral
    • Describe the person in a coffin as “looks dead, eyes closed, mouth closed, not looks peaceful.
    • When asked ‘Are you going to die’ — answer honestly, “No, I do not expect to die for a long, long time.”
    • Establish memories — “This is the first birthday since your father died.”

    Children’s Understanding of Death
    Stage One (ages 2 to 4): At this stage, children don’t believe death is final. It is temporary and reversible. They attempt to equate it with something they know (sleep, parents going on vacation). They are more interested in what death means right now (person is never coming back) rather than on how it happened.

    Stage Two (ages 4 to 10): Children at this stage understand that everything that lives will die, although they may or may not apply this to themselves. They play imaginary games (ghost, superheroes, and role play) in an attempt to understand death and to deal with their fears.

    Stage Three (ages 10 up): At this stage, children understand death is personal, inevitable, universal and final. They may have fears related to this understanding. At all ages, part of the fear of death is that they will be separated from their parents.

    I cannot express enough, the need to read lovely stories about death and dying with your children, just like you read stories about animals, people, houses, etc. Include some of the following lovely stories between Go Dog Go and Green Eggs and Ham. Children will then have somewhere to ‘hook’ this information when death and dying becomes more personal in their own lives.

    I give love and appreciation to the sweet memory of Puddle for allowing us the opportunity to approach this sensitive, lovely, life issue, TOGETHER, Mz. Lori

    Sweet Beginnings

    Sweet beginnings

    We have all had our first day of school!  Many notes on the sign in sheet said that children didn’t sleep well, too excited for school.  I was the same way!  

    After our first days, my family always asks, How many tears and how many potty accidents?  Only a few children had some separation tears and a few parents stayed throughout the day to help ease into school.  We also had a few tears from children not wanting to leave/finish the school day.   And potty accidents, none!  We did have many in need of a change of clothes due to much water play and figuring directionality of water flow with a large hose.  It was delightful to watch children trying to put water directly into a small pipe, without watering oneself or a friend.    

    Tues. Thurs. morning children were not able to move about the whole school as of yet, because there is so much to explore.  Some never made it away from the sand and water play, let alone all the way to the nature tree space.  I occasionally played that I was the pied piper and walked groups to new places, i.e. the worm bin, and out to the sand pit and gardens. We even planted some seeds so that we can ‘grow together’.
    The afternoon class had a lovely extended day of play; they learned new friends’ names and truly enjoyed the pace of play.  Throughout the afternoon, the separation anxieties eased and we ended up with much in the way of giggling, at music time and closing.

    The MWF class was so ready to be back together again, including returning children from last years afternoon class.  I’m not sure that the children thought parents were needed on Friday morning as they handled so many things themselves, remembered much of the routine, and engaged themselves everywhere in play.  It was a joy to walk around and basically listen and watch……….ah!  I was really surprised at our music gathering to find children sitting and waiting for me

    Thank you to all of our nurturing working parents that helped comfort any and all.  Next week will be a bit like starting over, to both children and parents. Assist again with the finding of cubbies, and bring in your cubby photo if you have not done so. New working parents will still be in need of the returning parents lead. Children will have new parents in the classroom and separation anxieties will probably still loom.  Baby steps everyone.

    Delighted to be back together!

    Together We’re Better!

    Hey lo di o doh, Get Ready to Go!

    Sweet mixed smells of summer and fall are in the air as we all daily begin to engage further into the new season………ah, the pace of summer is over, schedules and responsibilities begin to overlap. Parents have their days now filled with work/playing in the classroom and if you have multiple children, your taxi service seems to have started up again. To help you and your family get ready for school, try some of the ideas below, and communicate with me as much as possible. Together we’re better.

    Starting school, whether new or returning, is an exciting time for children and parents. It’s the beginning of a great new social activity for all and lots of new learning experiences.

    At first, children may feel anxious about their new environment, and may have a difficult time separating. Separation anxieties are normal for both children and parents. Let’s work together to help everyone settle in comfortably. Feelings of separation anxiety may come up again after long weekends, vacations, or during changes at home.

    The night before school, encourage your child to choose comfortable clothing for school.

    Establish early bedtimes. It makes for sweeter mornings.

    Get an early start and maintain a daily routine.

    Please eat a sustaining breakfast.

    Show confidence in your choice of coming to NVNS. Socialize with others using names as much as possible. Your child will relax as they sense that you are comfortable with this new adventure. Connect with Mz. Lori

    Arrive on time (not too early if you are not a working parent) and plan to spend some time getting your child familiar with their cubby (tape photo inside), the bathroom and familiar faces.

    Do say good bye and tell us when you will be back. Mz. Lori usually says, “Goodbye, come back when we are done playing.” And then please arrive on time. (Collect cubby items first, then come to Room 2 for pick up)

    On our first days of school, please go home or leave your # to be reached so that if your child needs you to get through the first days, Mz. Lori will call.

    Hold hands and stick together, it’ll be fun!

    Beat the Summer Heat Ideas

    waterballoonsSpray bottles
    Freeze small toys or objects in blocks of ice and let children melt/break open to find a surprise inside.
    Catch water from the sprinkler in a cup….try to fill up your cup
    Play wet ‘sponge toss’
    Ball toss into a bucket of water–splish, splash!
    Wash the car
    Wash the dog
    Wash the fence
    Spray bottles for watering plants and all other items in the yard
    ‘Paint’ with water on the sidewalk
    Play ‘hose jump’ and ‘hose limbo’
    Make mini-kites or pinwheels and fly them in the airstream of a fan
    ‘Bob’ for apples or other summer fruit (not just for Halloween)
    Freeze fruit and eat as a fruitsicle
    Build outdoor forts with sheets and the clothesline or…..
    Stack and build with ice cubes and salt
    Use nerf balls as ‘easy to fill water balloons’
    Again, spray bottles
    Enjoy your neighbors
    Make ice cream
    And on and on…….it takes great energy and creativity to play all day with sticks, boards, dirt and water.  Children can do this VERY well.
    Happy summer!
    Love, Mz. Lori J

    Happy Summer Hey Lo Di O Do

    I love that our summer newsletter now reaches returning families, new incoming NVNS families and alumni!

    I am in hopes that you are all enjoying the sweet, slower pace summer can bring.    As adults we plan vacations and adventures to create wonderful memories for our children but especially during our current economic times, remember that children enjoy the little things in life, and the time spent with you. This ‘best kind of play’ costs nothing and has only one requirement–imagination!

    Thinking back onto my own childhood summers, I recall camping and family trips, but I also recall long days without schedule, fort making in the tall grass, creek walks, picnics, pollywogs, bike rides and lemonade stands.   For children, a simple backyard picnic or sleepover will create a full day of gathering, hauling and preparing!  It takes tremendous time and energy to play creatively with rocks, boards, sticks, and dirt…..remember the
    mud pies?

    Are you concerned about your childs education?  Theorist, David Elkind, reminds us that free play is crucial to development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self motivated, imaginative independent kind, where children initiate their own games and even invent their own rules.  Parents, please know that while children are climbing trees, collecting roly polys in boxes, and playing in the hose or creek, they are developing critical thinking skills, self-regulation, controlling emotions and behavior, and exerting self-discipline. Everyone knows that play is fun, but there’s a lot more going on!

    While you are busy slowing down, I must tell you all that this years new Board of Directors are taking good care of NVNS and truly updating our electronic business practices!

    We are delighted to have our new website up and I encourage you all to keep yourself
    updated in the new site as well!  Look to our site for monthly quotes, good books, good websites, parenting ideas, events such as plate making day, Fall Frolic and of course, Moonlight Magic!

    With both alumni and current families, NVNS is always working to maintain, support, and grow our special place in the community.  Thanks to all of you for ‘sticking TOGETHER’ through the years.

    Together We’re Better.

    Love,
    Mz. Lori

    Hold Hands and Stick Together

    Life after nursery school continues to find alumni families holding hands and sticking together with NVNS.  We are following the progress of two alumni students and one lovely alumni board member, and their families.

    Grant Beltrami is a high school senior now.  After being diagnosed with alpastic anemia while at NVNS, Grant has finally had a bone marrow transplant and is now working hard to both recover and graduate.

    Tyler Moffett, now 15 year old alumni of NVNS, has just recently been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer, and is undergoing treatment with much community and family support.

    Kari Worth, former fantastic board member that implemented many a sunsafe program in Napa and originally, at NVNS, is again battling melanoma with much support and assistance from many amazing past NVNS families.

    You can follow their progress through the following web links:
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/grantbeltrami
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tylersteam
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kariworth

    You can also be a part of continued NVNS support by signing up for family meals and/or watching for any NVNS needs for fundraising efforts of these families.
    Still, together we’re better.