The EC3 Connection - November 23, 2021

Published: 2021-11-24

The EC3 Connection
EC3’s Monthly News from the Classrooms
November 23, 2021

Ladybug Class
Casey Fowler and Christina Young


Over the last month in the Ladybug classroom, we have provided many different layers to the area of floor play. We noticed through observation that several of our infants/young toddlers were showing interest in climbing. By rearranging our room with different levels of mats, platforms, and steps, it allows the infants and young toddlers to explore the benefits of physical development through crawling and climbing in a safe environment. These different levels will challenge them, help them build strength in core muscle groups, and help promote balance and coordination. The children also learn problem solving as they are presented with decision-making opportunities such as how to proceed to a different level on the platform, how to climb the ramp, or even how to maneuver up the level of steps.




Bumblebee Class
Carley O’Byrne and Sarah Stein 

There has been a buzz in the Bee room this month! Our younger infants are mastering rolling over from back to belly and belly to back. Rolling over is one of the first milestones an infant can conquer and is something to be celebrated. Other children are working on pulling up independently, standing independently, and even taking steps! Every milestone is important in our room and it’s such a joy to watch all the children grow and learn. We have been doing a lot of sensory activities lately. From exploring pumpkins “guts,” to getting messy with pudding slime, to painting pumpkins. Climbing in our room is always something the children enjoy doing as they are learning body control and balance, so this month, we set up areas in the room where the children can climb safely.




Cheryl Adkins, Amanda Brock, Claudia “Burger” Conley, Jennifer Enterline, Claudia Johnson, and Ada Scott

Autumn time is a time of exploration and wonder in Toddlerland. From raking leaves into piles to exploring pumpkin guts, the children have been exploring a myriad of sensory experiences. Sensory tables and activities help to build nerve connections in the brain. From problem solving to incorporating new vocabulary, there are many benefits of sensory play on the brain. While exploring the different types of gourds and squashes, the teachers use descriptive language, such as “bumpy,” “smooth,” “slimy,” and “cold.” Several of the children echoed those words and added them to their vocabulary. It also encourages motor development, including the fine motor skills they will need in the years ahead. The children particularly liked exploring the big pumpkins – scooping the insides, roasting seeds, and carving faces. It was a great way to engage problem-solving skills as the children had to figure out how to scoop inside a pumpkin. They also got to taste pumpkin seeds and help decide on what kind of face the pumpkin should have. Additionally, the toddlers spent time decorating smaller pumpkins with paint and markers, which was a fun way for them to express themselves and practice holding those art tools. There was so much to do with a few pumpkins, and it all benefited the children’s cognitive, language, and physical development.

Frog Class
Marley Bitz, Catherine Carroll, and Mercedes Steward

 The Frogs have been having fun focusing on movement! Yoga with Ms. Mindy has given the Frogs a great opportunity to use their gross motor muscles as a group. They are doing well at following her directions and really exploring what large movements they can make with their bodies. Another great chance the Frogs have for gross motor movements is that our classroom is on the second floor. As a class we go down and up the stairs at least four times a day, if not more!

The playground and gym provide great opportunities for large movements. One day in the gym, a child started laying down hula hoops. He put them in a line and began jumping through them. Two of his classmates noticed and joined in. They laughed and repeated the activity several times. We are always happy to find opportunities for our Froggy friends to use those large muscles. Frogs love to jump!


Gecko Class
Julie Douglas, Tammy Epling, and Ehricka Masalkoski

Fall has been busy season in the Gecko room. We first explored leaves by spending time outside watching the leaves fall from the trees. This led one of the children to take notice and say, “It looks like it’s raining leaves.” We also used our large motor muscles to rake those leaves into big piles. And jumping into the piles was exciting! After leaves, we moved on to explore both apples and pumpkins. We all brought in different pumpkins to compare their shapes, sizes, and colors. We learned about the different parts of pumpkins and apples. We read many books about how apples and pumpkins grow. We also did numerous fun art projects and table activities: we washed pumpkins, used markers to color on pumpkins, painted with apples, and much more. And of course, Halloween was a busy week! We talked about costumes, had multiple readings of “The Big Pumpkin,” and each child was excited to put on their costumes for the big Trick-or-Treat parade.



Lion Class
Buffy Clements and Dani Douglas

This month the Lions have been working hard on learning about Fall and the Fall Harvest. They have been focusing a lot on what a harvest is and how farmers are the ones who grow the crops that we use to make food. They have talked about all their favorite farm foods and how they grow. They even had a day where they worked on their cooking skills and came together to make “Stone Soup” with vegetables that grow on the farm!

They have also been working on their sensory and description skills. This month they have explored seeds and cornmeal in the sensory bin. They have been using their hands to explore and describe how these foods feel. The sensory bin is a great place for the children to come together to explore, discover, and imagine!


Teacher Feature: Ms. Buffy Clements

Ms. Buffy is a co-lead teacher in our junior preschool room, the Lions. She has been teaching for ten years, starting as a long-term substitute in a preschool classroom for the Lansing School District before becoming an infant and toddler lead teacher at our sister school, the Early Learning Children’s Community. After ELCC closed due to Covid, EC3 welcomed Ms. Buffy with open arms. She started by helping to re-open the Bumblebee room and ultimately joined Ms. Dani and our Lions! Ms. Buffy is currently enrolled at Western Michigan University, working on her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development with a focus on Family Life Education.

Ms. Buffy’s favorite thing about being a teacher is watching the children grow and develop their personalities and interests. She enjoys reading with the children and loves doing art experiences, the messier the better! “Children are an endless wonder, and it is fascinating to witness their transformation,” she said. “I love following their lead to see where an experience will go. Their minds are adventurous and meandering and they can guide a journey you’ll never forget!”
When she is not making big messes with her Lions, Ms. Buffy loves spending time with her family. Ms. Buffy is married with three children, two of whom work at EC3. As a family, they love to travel, go to concerts, explore festivals, attend sporting events, and support local eateries and restaurants.


Tiger Class
Angie Mendenhall and John Werner

The Tiger room has been very busy learning the ABCs. Each week, the Tigers focus on learning one letter each day and spend Friday reviewing everything they’ve learned. They are learning both the capital and lower-case letters as well as working on the different letter sounds. The Tigers are doing fantastically at coming up with different words that start with the letter of the day. They have incorporated their new letters into multiple fine motor art activities: painting, daubing, cutting, collaging, and so much more. The Tigers are having a blast learning all their letters.



Bear Class
Wanda Bancroft and Sofia Stathoulia 

The Bears have spent a lot of time recently talking about Fall. If you walked by the Bear room, you have likely seen lots of apples, colorful leaves, and pumpkins. The Bears practiced their early math and language skills as well as their fine motor skills while having fun exploring the season. The Bears visited a pumpkin patch and our trip gave us the opportunity to ask the Bears what they knew about apples and pumpkins. The Bears have also been enjoying pretend play. One of their recent favorite activities has been playacting to perform the Halloween story “Big Pumpkin” in the classroom.

Why is pretend play so important at this age? Young children learn through play. By participating in play, children learn how to use their creativity and they develop their imagination by doing things such as deciding the plot of their pretend stories. Pretend play helps them to explore and understand their world. It’s a process that helps them build their confidence, self-esteem, and independence by pretending to be someone else. Children experiment with different social and emotional roles of life by picking characters and roles that are familiar to them such as parents, grandparents, teachers, and students. Pretend play is a nice opportunity for children to cooperate and problem-solve with their peers, express their ideas and thoughts, share and take turns, make choices, and take initiative. Pretend play also helps children develop their language skills and many times the children will use words that take us adults by surprise!

I personally think EC3 does a great job of getting parents the information they need without going overboad.

Parent feedback from Spring 2022 survey
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