Dear Wise School Early Childhood and Parenting Center Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful Passover, and that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. I spent a lot of time during this school break thinking about your children and all of you, and strategizing ways we can continue our program in the most meaningful ways, both for your child and for you. Please read through this thoroughly, as it is filled with information to help us get off on the right foot on Monday morning.

When we first began staying at home, and really leading up to break, I made it my mission that my daily emails would overflow with activities. Too many activities for you to try with your child. And if I am being honest and true to my knowledge and expertise as an early childhood professional, the truth is, young children actually need less, but more meaningful moments, all set with a slow pace that allows them the respect and room to discover and uncover, and ultimately, learn and grow in a holistic way. AND, repetition. I would like to give you the permission and confidence to enter into experiences with your child without the pressure of “how am I going to keep them occupied?” Instead, give your child the space and the respect to set their own pace and truly learn how to play. It is in that spirit that I am offering activities for today that take time and creativity, and allow the child’s wonder to shine through. AND, all these activities really require of materials are recycled materials that you likely already have in your bins.

A word about materials moving forward: As a teaching team, we are focusing our energy on activities that use materials that are open-ended. There is no definite, one type of use for the material, rather, the child can imagine and reimagine, using the same material many ways.  These materials are flexible, and largely, recycled. SO, a great project for your family this week, would be to start a mini recycle center–clean out your recyclables, make sure there is nothing with sharp edges, and store them in a bin for your child to use and play with. Be flexible in your own thinking as we introduce activities.  Don’t have an empty can this week and the activity calls for a can? That’s ok.  Use something of similar size/shape, or save that activity for another day when you have a can.

As I have grown as a leader in this community, I have found my idea of “partnership” grow, too. In these times, we truly have to think first of the child, and the child’s connection to the world beyond his or her home, to friends and teachers. I have spent a lot of time researching what this time means for the young child who was in school and is now at home, and, time and again, from the most respected experts in the field, the answer is simple. The child needs to connect. The child needs to connect with their teacher who has spent anywhere from 3 to 8 hours per day not only teaching, but nurturing and loving that child, and taking care of ALL of their physical, social, emotional and behavioral needs while they are in school. That teacher they are no longer with every day. It is ok to share expectations and create structure for your child for their class Zoom sessions.  It allows them to see how important you see them as students and human beings. EVEN for our youngest children. And it gives them the connection they so badly need. Help your child through this, and instruct them, and if they are having a difficult time, do not give up. Speak to your teachers so they can help.

My responsibility as a director is also to YOU and your well-being. One of the things I have always thought of as so important for all of our early childhood parents is the ability to connect in what is an emotional time in life, even before this isolation. This week, you will receive an email from us about several new offerings, just for you. We will have several support groups run by therapists deeply connected to our EC community, Carla Elkins and Nicole Mevorakh, along with Rabbi Sari Laufer and me. One group will focus on your well-being, and the other will be on strategies to help your child with schooling in the home as well as any behavioral challenges you might be facing with your child. Look for the email to sign up for these groups!  In addition, Carla will be featured in my Friday newsletter, answering questions from you about anything you are struggling with/wondering about in terms of your child. Chances are, others are feeling it, too! Got a question for Carla? Send it to me and she will feature it in “Carla’s Corner.” As I mentioned before break, Carla is also available for a 30 minute, private consultation. If you would like to set this up, please email me. The unique thing about this time is that everyone truly needs support. Please join us in whatever way works for you.

8:30 a.m. – Morning Blessings with Rabbi Sari

Get Centered: Lead your child in mindful breathing while listening to soothing guitar music.

Story Time today with Cantor Emma!
Emma reads Olivia
Emma reads Jewish Alphabet Book
Emma reads Bedtime Sh’ma – Save this one for bedtime and allow Cantor Emma to sing your child to sleep.

Observe the African penguins on the livecam at the Georgia Aquarium.
-Can you move like a penguin?
-How many penguins do you see? Count them!
-Can you use recycled materials (plastic lids, paper towel tubes, cans, etc.) to
build a penguin? If yes, share a photo with me—I will feature a few photos in this week’s newsletters.

Sing with Mr. Marcos!

Snack: Yogurt Parfaits

Learning at a Distance: Shadow Art. Study placement of materials in relation to the sun and the shadows they create.  Practice fine motor skills by tracing the shadows the materials make. Older children can graph the changes throughout the day and study the placement of the sun in relation to the shadow shifts.

Israeli Dance and Movement, Series #3- The song and dance are about colors meeting. See the enclosed color themed activities.
Extension: What would it look like to you if all the colors met and danced together? Draw/Paint a picture or write a story of it and send it back to me for feature in this week’s newsletters!

Have a great day!