Rocky Hill Cooperative Nursery School
Mar 21

Thursday was a very special day! One of our very special “helping dads” (Jack’s Dad!) came in with “Uncle Donald” to show us what firefighters wear! This is one of the most important lessons of the whole year, but the children just think they’re having fun!

Our firefighters come in wearing their “street clothes,” carrying a big red duffle bag. Piece by piece, Jack’s dad put on his “fireman clothes.” First, his boots and bunker pants! Then his hood to protect his head, ears and neck! Then he put on his big, heavy coat with lots of pockets! We saw his ID tags which help keep him safe. After he zipped and velcroed his jacket, he put the big air tank on, which helps him breathe in a fire! Next, came the helmet. He talked funny with the helmet on! (We all practiced talking with our hands cupped over our mouths, to show that WE can talk funny too!)

When he had all of his gear on, he showed us how it sounds when his air tank is on! THAT’S a different noise! Again, we all practiced making loud air sounds…sounding something like Darth Vadar, or maybe even Buzz Lightyear!

The most important thing of all…(which gives me goosebumps every year when I talk about it, forgive me!) Is that we learned that if we wake up in the middle of the night and there’s smoke in the house, we should “fall and crawl.” Most importantly, if we see someone dresed in a helmet, big mask, and making “Darth Vadar” sounds, we should crawl TOWARDS him/her and touch his/her glove! We all practiced crawling towards our firefighter, and touching his glove! Some children went confidently, others need a teacher or two to crawl with them!

The looks on the children’s faces were priceless… especially if they had been a bit nervous beforehand! They were so proud of themselves!

Then we all got our coats on and went outside to see the firetruck! The children got to climb on it, see all the things on it, and best of all… squirt the firehose! Wow!

Then we went inside, and discovered that our Humpty Dumpty had fallen off the wall!!!! Oh no! Now, we all know that King’s horses and men are not very helpful in this area, but with the help of our firefighters, we were able to put hime back together with bandaids!!!!!

Thank you, thank you Firefighters! We love the coloring books and firehats!!!!!

Humpty Dumpty thanks you, too!!!

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Mar 18

Our very own Fire Fighter Helping Dad (and Uncle Donald!) are coming to our class on Friday with a FIRETRUCK!

We’re so excited!!!!! We love the Rocky Hill Fire Department!

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Mar 18

I always know when something has become a tradition when a parent asks me if I’m going to do a certain activity with the class! Today? The Cat in the Hat cake!

I first made the cake in 1980 during my first year of teaching! It has evolved into a fun brainstorming/cooperative class activity! I bring in two round, vanilla cakes, and a 9×13 chocolate cake. I trace the pans on construction paper. I have the children look at pictures of the Cat in the Hat, and ask them what we could use the shapes for. One child thought the 9″ circular cake would make a great eye! (It would for a much LARGER cake!)

With subtle guidance, they soon decide that the long cake would be good for the hat, and one circle would make a great face! I then showed them how to cut ears and a bow tie from another circle. The children took turn icing the cake with white icing…(there were surprisingly few fingers in the icing!!!) Then we added some red for the bow tie and stripes on the hat. Did you know if you add some blue, green, and a touch of yellow to the pink, you’ll get GRAY icing!?!

The children were VERY excited as it got closer to being finished! At the end, I added the facial details, and they were very excited! (Although some didn’t like that his eyes looked like “sixes!”)

We all posed with the cake… I have a feeling that picture will make it into the yearbook! I asked the children what we should DO with the cake, since it looked too pretty to eat!

The vote was unanimous! “LET’S EAT THE CAKE!”

We ended the day with my very favorite Seuss story, Yertle the Turtle. I showed the children my book, with the cover falling off. I also showed them the inscription: It was a gift to me from my sister when I was five years old! I had also drawn a picture of my sister in crayon! (Apparently she had a triangular body and no arms or legs at the time!)

Happy Belated Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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Mar 07

On Tuesday, the children went on a field trip to Shop Rite! They were excited about hearing the milk in the coconut, seeing the lobsters, and seeing the inside of the big Shop Rite truck! Trying out the scanner and being a “cashier” was a definite highlight!

When they entered the room on Thursday, it the room was transformed! Instead of block area, there was a floral dept, a dairy dept and nearby, the bakery! At the bakery, the bakers had warm, vanilla scented homemade playdough with which they made cookies, breads, rolls… whatever their imaginations could create!

In the deli department, workers created fun foam sandwiches for their customers.. “Would you like some swiss cheese?”

There were, of course, groceries, produce and a place to check out! The most popular “department,” year after year, has to be the Seafood Department! Fun foam and plastic lobsters float in water… and there were “fish” and clam shells on ice!

Who knew grocery shopping could be such fun?

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Mar 01

Today’s my day set aside to update the blogs.. what we’ve been doing curriculum-wise, where we’re going… but I have to say first, I LOVE THIS SCHOOL!

Ok, Yes, I’m the Director, AND the teacher… but I’m also a former helping parent. Over the past 12 years, I’ve seen some of the positives and the negatives of being in a parent co-op. Believe me, the positives far out-weigh the negatives!

Today I’d like to sing the praises of the parents at this school. I’ll be the first to admit that being in a co-op is not for everyone! Please don’t assume that only “stay at home moms” co-op! Not true! We have parents who work part-time, full-time, seemingly all the time… In general, here are some of the wonderful qualities the parents who come to RHCNS have:

1. They genuinely enjoy spending time with their children. Parents who come here know that the preschool years are precious and brief.

2. Our parents understand the value of educating the WHOLE child, not just the academic side! Yes, there is more pressure now in society to push the academics. What I learned in first grade (way back when…yes, I learned with Dick and Jane!) is now often pushed in preschool! Our parents understand the value of a child’s social growth. Remember: WE ARE EDUCATING CHILDREN FOR JOBS IN HONG KONG THAT DON’T YET EXIST! Who knows what technology will be available to them? They will still however, always need “people” skills! The need for relating well to others, sharing in conversations, speaking in a large group will not change.

3. The parents in a co-op appreciate the strength of family and community. I watch parents as they baby sit for each other, offer help, create a long lasting community of friends. I am honored to have as students the babes I once knew “in utero” and marvel at their big brothers and sisters that once sat on my lap!

To “my” parents: I often tell you how wonderful your children are, and how thankful I am that you share them with me. Today, I want to say that I think YOU are wonderful!
I’ve actually met other teachers who have said, “You have PARENTS in the classroom? How can you STAND it?” It’s a gift. They don’t know what they’re missing! You, your talents, your presence strengthen your child’s sense of belonging and importance. I LOVE the expressions of joy and pride they children have when they look at you helping in the class!

Because of our small size, (we are STILL the one room school house we’ve always been!) we can only offer certain hours and days. We’re a bit of a “dinosaur” in the world of ever-growing daycare centers and larger schools that can offer more options. I see us, however, as an oasis. A warm, loving place for parents like us who have the ability and desire to have their children in school for part of the day, and who know that the children learn through exploration, movement, discovery and play! (We know play is NOT a dirty word!) Unless you’re playing in the dirt, and that’s always a possibility here!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, I appreciate you all!

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