In February, we will begin our Community Helper Unit.   The goal of this unit is to teach the children about important people in our community, about their prospective jobs, about the fact that both men and women can hold these jobs, and that people of all ages can perform these jobs.   We also focus on keeping our bodies healthy, about nutrition, about being safe around animals, etc.  This unit included visits from a dentist, a doctor, and other assorted community helpers. Love, Sheree

Exercise and Healthy Eating
Preschool children need more physical exercise to burn off their energy and stave off the threat of obesity.  A BBC News story reports that a Glasgow University team monitored a study group of 545 children who had the recommended adult level of exercise: 30 minutes three times a week.  But that activity was not enough to affect the children’s body mass index, they concluded.  The news story continued…

“Experts suggest that children need an hour of daily exercise and a healthy diet.  One of four children in England is obese, and schools are beginning tests to see if their pupils are overweight.  From next year, pupils will be weighed and measured as they start primary school and again before they leave.  Parents of any obese four-10-year-olds can expect a letter telling them their child faces long-term health damage unless they lose weight.

“Based on current trends, one million children will be obese by 2010, experts estimate.  The authors of the latest study suggest exercise alone is unlikely to reduce this figure.  Professor John Reilly and his team studied 545 children at 36 nurseries in Glasgow.  The children had their weight and height measured at the beginning of the study to work out their body mass index (BMI)-a measure of what is a healthy and unhealthy weight for a person.

“Half of the children participated in the exercise sessions for the next 24 weeks, and their parents were also given guidance on increasing physical play at home.  The other children had no intervention.  The researchers then measured the children’s BMI again at six months and then a year later.

“Although the increased level of exercise did appear to help the children improve their movement skills, it had very little effect on BMI.  Professor Reilly and his team say that children need to be even more active than this.  Dr. Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation said it was ‘crucial’ to encourage good exercise habits in young children, even if the benefits were not immediately obvious.

“He said: ‘Children get less active as they grow older so it’s vital that youngsters get regular physical activity to lay the foundations for good health as they grow up.  What this study does reinforce is that we need to try and get the whole package right from the earliest years, not just one lifestyle aspect.  We recommend that parents encourage their toddlers and young children to eat a healthy diet and have lots of active play time-at least an hour a day for kids over five-as a vital investment for long-term heart health’.”

Love, Sheree

Valentine’s Day
We are aware that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and wanted to let you know that we will be celebrating Valentines’ Day in the classroom by talking about love, making valentines for our families and enjoying a special snack; however, we do not exchange valentines in the classroom.  We have tried it in the past and have found that it really ends up taking away class time that could be better used by the teachers for curriculum, that the passing out of valentines causes chaos for the first 15 minutes of class and that many times the children end up in tears.  We have also found that the whole process really does not mean very much to preschoolers and that they will have plenty of years in grade school to enjoy this experience when it will mean more to them.  We feel that from an early childhood perspective the children will gain more from a regular school day.

Parent Child Nights for 3 and 4 year olds
Please refer to your February calendar for the evening of your child’s parent and child night.  Plan on spending a special evening with your child and experiencing a shortened preschool day.  In order to make this a really special evening for you and your child, we ask that you make babysitting arrangements for siblings.  Please note that there are regular preschool classes on those days.  Thank-you in advance!

Important Reminders
(1) February tri-annual payments are due February 1.  Please try to be prompt with your payments.
(2) Make sure that your child’s extra clothes are complete and that they are appropriate for the weather.  With the weather being cold, it is imperative that your child has adequate clothing for the weather conditions.
(3) Please make sure that you send your child to school with outdoor clothing that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens (not gloves), snow pants and boots when necessary.  Make sure that all clothing is clearly marked. We go outside everyday, unless it is less than 25 degrees.
(4) If your child’s class goes outside first, please make sure that you arrive at school on time with your child dressed and ready to go outside. Please also make sure that your child had a pair of indoor shoes.
(5) Refer to your February calendar for parent/child nights for all 3-year old and 4-year old classes.
(6) Don’t forget that Scholastic Book orders are due on February 18th.
(7) Don’t forget that we are closed on Monday, February 19th for President’s Day and Wednesday, February 28th for a staff institute day.