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Directly Speaking

With spring just around the corner we look forward to enjoying better weather, the changes in nature around us, and celebrating the increasing capabilities of our students. We have had rainy and cold weather over the last few months and are hoping for more time exploring outdoor play and learning. Outdoor play brings a sense of joy and wonder to children and extends the classroom walls. Research clearly shows the correlation between recess and increased learning. Outdoor exploration builds a variety of skills in every area of development in early childhood. We hope you will come see the improvements that we have made to our preschool deck: better lighting, heaters, floor-to-ceiling awnings to keep the cold and rain out, new exercise equipment, and a climbing wall.
 
One strong value I see throughout our community is a commitment to relationships with one another. For young children these positive relationships between trusted adults are vital in creating a sense of security in the “larger world” beyond their homes and in providing a support system. When adult connections are strong parents and staff are empowered to work together to help children thrive.
 
Over the past few months, I have had many moments of joy witnessing the interactions of families, teachers and children. There have been challenges and celebrations. Being a parent or teacher is often surprising with times of hard work, happiness, frustration, wonder and fun. Caring, supportive and cooperative relationships are key to a sense of community and model the best of adult teamwork. Having partners we can go to or collaborate with during the harder times lightens the load. Sharing the joy and celebration is important as well. We have been partners from home to school; by working together we have created a rich place to support your children’s growth. Thank you for being a community that sees children as our priority. Thank you for your presence in children’s lives and the daily kindness and care you share with each other.
 
I want to continue to encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or comments about any aspect of our Center. The strength of our program lies in the staff, our board, your children, and YOU our families. 


Notes from Sue, Education Director

Friday mornings at the center have become an especially delightful time for the children due to the recent addition of music with Mr. Ben. Ben Thompson, a well-known local children’s musician and music teacher now spends Friday mornings at Peninsula, providing music education to each classroom from toddlers through preschoolers. The children really look forward to their sing-alongs with Mr. Ben and greet him enthusiastically as he walks through the door, guitar in hand. During his sessions the children participate joyously and enthusiastically, singing and moving to the music, waiting patiently for their turn to try the ukulele, and experiencing a rich learning opportunity through music. In addition to all the learning inherent in the songs themselves (language, rhythm, timing, matching pitch, etc) Mr. Ben is great at weaving information about the world of music into his sessions with the children, as well as including early childhood skills like counting and learning the days of the week. 

We are thrilled to have Mr. Ben and this wonderful opportunity for the children. Extensive research has been done on the importance of the arts in education. Music education has been shown to increase everything from children’s self-esteem and creativity to their problem solving skills and test scores. There is even research showing that children who have high quality music education earn higher wages later on as adults. Music is also a great community-builder, and that is evident when Mr. Ben is here in the cooperative way the children participate together. 

Our teachers are equally enjoying this addition to our program. An example of how catchy and charismatic Mr. Ben is: I went into our resource room to speak with one of our teaching teams during their planning time and caught them singing Mr. Ben’s Rocket Ship Song as they worked preparing classroom materials!

In addition to teaching music in the classrooms, we are also fortunate to have Ben joining us as a parent. His own child attends our Wobbler room and already looks completely at home there, waving happily to visitors from his favorite spot atop the little loft.  

To learn more about Mr. Ben, including places in town you can go as a family to enjoy music with him, please visit http://mrbenmusic.com/.

School Age Site Notes

This March, the school age programs will be implementing their new music program. Both sites will be introducing the children to music through the use of several instruments, including ukulele, piano, and a variety of rhythm instruments. We  will be open for the last week of March for Spring Break. We will be doing spring-themed activities, as well as field trips, including the Children's Museum. We will be closed for Friday, March 30th for an all staff training and district down day.

Our Summer Schedules for both sites are now up on our website: http://penchild.org/2012/03/enroll-today-in-peninsulas-school-age-summer-camp/. We're offering monthly 3-day ($360) and 5-day ($600) OR weekly 3-day ($99) and 5-day ($165) options. Sign up early to ensure your child gets a spot!

Family Involvement Committee Update

The Family Involvement Committee (FIC) is helping to plan a week-long project that will involve all of the rooms and culminate with a center-wide potluck & showcase with music and sharing. “Celebrating our Families” will take place in the spring with the help of families, teachers and volunteers. The goal is to create arts, crafts, projects, songs, photos and foods that show how we all define and celebrate what family is. Details and ways to be involved will be shared soon. To get involved please contact Natalie and/or attend the next FIC meeting on Friday, April 13, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. in the conference room

Center Activities and Updates


Mark your calendars for Picture Day with Lifetouch Portraits - April 10th and 11th from 7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Natalie will finalize the schedules and post them in each room soon. Please look for a brief information sheet about picture day in your classroom mailbox. If you want to participate, please fill out the form and return to Natalie's box. Prices for packages will be provided when the photos are delivered (about 3 weeks after picture day).

Please note that we've made a slight change to our voicemail system. When you call the Maryland campus (503-280-0534) you can still dial the extension (classroom or administrative staff member) as soon as you hear the recording. However, if you need to be reminded of the classroom extensions, you will press 7 for a list. From that menu, you press *8 before the extendion (for example, the Infant room is *815 from this menu).

We still have  a few openings in some of our classes, and we feel that our  family members are our best spokespeople. We need your help to recruit new students! As a thank you for your efforts we are offering a referral and enrollment incentive: $600 tuition credit for YOU, and a $600 tuition credit for YOUR FRIEND. The credit will begin the second month after enrollment, and you and your referral will be given a $100 credit for the next 6 months.  For every family you refer and they enroll you will receive an additional $600 credit. Restrictions may apply. If you have any questions, please see Natalie or Ken.

Calendar of events

Wednesday, March 14 Catlin Gabel Volunteer Day
Monday, March 26 - Thursday, March 29 Portland Public Schools Spring Break
Friday, March 30 Staff In Service Day - ALL SITES CLOSED