From the Principal's Office
Dear Touchstone Families,
May is here! What a wonderful way to welcome the new month with such beautiful weather. Because of the welcoming temperature, children will be spending more time outside. Bringing in sunscreen to keep their skin from any burns would be a great idea.
After School Classes This Month:
- Monday: Soccer Shots
- Tuesday: Imagination Yoga
- Wednesday: Science
- Thursday: Tumble Bus
- Friday: Theater
Miss Alicia is out on Maternity Leave. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Tyler, last month. We miss having her here every day! She can be spotted occasionally dropping off or picking up her little girl, but she is not working J If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask Amy or anyone at the front desk. We will be more than happy to help. We are expecting Alicia back in early June.
Summer Camp: "Touchstone Travels Around the World"
Welcome to summer camp 2013! This year we will be “traveling” to different parts of the world each week. We have field trips, guest speakers, and projects planned to highlight our weekly destinations. This summer camp will be one your child will remember. All activities, lessons, and projects will directly relate to our Links to Learning curriculum. Below is a weekly description of each week's destination and activities. Click on the link below to learn more about our weekly themes, guest speakers, field trips and related activities.
Touchstone Travels Around the World!
May 6-9: Teacher Appreciation Week
May 20: Courtney Parent Conference Day
May 21: Courtney and Danielle Conference Day
May 22: Danielle Conference Day
May 26: Memorial Day NO SCHOOL
Tours and Discovery Days
Please contact our school to schedule a tour. Our school phone number is 503-533-9100. We look forward to talking with you soon!
Free Discovery Day
See how much fun your child will have at our preschool. Please call for more details.
From Our Education Department
Minds in the Making: Self-Directed Learning
Continuing our exploration into the developing minds of our preschool children, our focus shifts to the sixth critical life skill, Self-Directed Learning. As parents we watch in awe through the preschools years as our children dive into the world with an insatiable curiosity and drive to learn more. Unfortunately, without nurturing this valuable innate need to know, it wanes as frequently seen in the school-related angst of teenage students. So how do children learn best? What can we as parents do to kindle the flame of learning as long as possible?
One, create a supportive environment and be aware. We all know how important it is for children to be in environments where they feel loved, valued, and supported. Not only does this foster stronger social and emotional development, but this is equally critical for academic growth. Children look for the response of connected others to validate their actions, behaviors, and choices. When adults respond in an interested and supportive way, children are motivated to learn and to continue to explore. On the contrary, when behavior is met with disinterest or disdain, the spark to continue the behavior is stifled. In much the same way, children are acutely attuned to our behaviors, mannerisms, and words. A recent study by Meltzoff (2009) found that 12 month old infants shown a novel way to play with a toy can remember and imitate the action even after a 4 month gap of no additional exposure. In similar thread, Dr. Nameera Ahktar (2009) found that even when children are fully engaged in play, they are aware and can correctly identify aspects of adult behavior and conversation occurring on the other side of the room. In other words, children are looking for us to validate what they are doing directly or vicariously. Even when we are sure that our children are busy and unaware, they are still fully focused on what they are seeing and hearing.
Two, help children work towards goals. Goal-setting, as we have discussed prior, begins with perseverance. Celebrate each of your child’s discoveries, large and small. Encourage him to continue to study the ant on the sidewalk, keep trying to pedal his bike, or find another something to stack on top of his tall block structure. With this continued prodding to persevere come opportunities to model planning. When your child expresses an interest in making a craft, baking cookies, or playing Play Doh, give multi-step verbal instructions. Talk through and model the pre-planning, the gathering of necessary materials, and then the perseverance through the activity. This is a strong precursor to advanced learning opportunities your child will continue to be exposed to as he or she moves through grade schooling.
Third and finally, elaborate and extend learning. Ask questions. Ask questions of your child to force him to think both concretely and more abstractly. Ask open-ended questions that encourage more complex or creative responses. Encourage your child to tell you how to play the game or to tell you about what he or she is doing. Be engaged and ask more questions, positioning yourself as the learner. Listen without judgment or correction. If your child is struggling with a task, ask leading questions to encourage them to turn their learning in a new direction. “Oh no, our block castle fell over again. What should we put on the bottom? Should we put bigger blocks down there to make the bottom more stable? Can you show me how we could do that?”
We all want children who are curious and who want to learn and know more. As parents of preschoolers, we watch in awe at the way in which our children naturally are driven to learn and know more, through trial and error learning, imitation, and endless questions. With an active interest in these qualities and a conscientious encouragement to continue this, we can lay the foundations for our children to be lifelong learners, lighting a spark of knowledge for years to come.
Lauren Starnes, PhD- Manager of Curriculum and Instruction