The EC3 Connection - January 25th, 2022

Published: 2022-02-03

The EC3 Connection
EC3’s Monthly News from the Classrooms
January 25, 2022


Ladybug Class
Casey Fowler and Christina Young

We continued our sensory exploration this month following the pumpkin painting and pumpkin material exploration of last month. We collected snow after a fresh snowfall and put it in the sensory table for exploration. Even though the snow makes their little fingers cold, the infants seem to love exploring the white stuff! We also continued our sensory exploration with paper.
Touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling are fundamental to an infant’s developmental growth. We provided lots and lots of unrolled paper for the infants/young toddlers to explore. As the infants crinkle and rip the paper, they experience the feel and sound it makes. This unrolled paper is large enough to even hide under and play hide and seek! Paper play is also a fun way to incorporate large and fine motor skills as they transition their bodies from one position to another and build fine motor skills as they rip and crinkle the paper between their fingers.


Bumblebee Class
Carley O’Byrne and Sarah Stein 

This month, the Bumblebees have been adjusting back to their school schedule after the holiday season, and we are trying our best to stay healthy and safe. The kids have really been testing their limits and showing off some new skills, such as walking and crawling. It’s important that we provide them with a safe space to explore and test their boundaries as that is the best way for them to learn and grow! To embrace the winter season, we brought in buckets of snow for the kids to explore. Feeling the cold, fluffy texture of the snow is an excellent sensory experience for them. We plan on getting bundled up and spending some time outside once it is not freezing cold!

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

January in Toddlerland was a time for making connections with new toddlers, preparing our oldest toddlers to fly, and helping the experienced toddlers adjust to being the leaders, all while learning through play. Children explored the new physical opportunities of T-Land while learning their bodies’ capabilities, with only a few bumps. Fine motor skills were gained as children explored everything from scissors and goop to using paintbrushes and markers. The teachers presented a lot of activities that tapped into that sense of wonder toddlers come by so easily, and that adults so often forget. There were some frustrations from the children as they learned new routines, adjusted to new activity levels, and got used to new adults and children; but they are forming relationships and empathy and coping foundations that will serve them the rest of their lives. The Toddlerland teachers were there to encourage and support along the way. The children have been exploring the world at their fingertips and thriving!


Teacher Feature: Ms. Cheryl Adkins

Ms. Cheryl is a co-teacher in our Seal room in Toddlerland. She has worked at a Montessori school and a handful of child care centers in the Lansing area over the last 20 years until landing at EC3 in 2016 as a preschool teacher. Cheryl has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from MSU and is working on her Master’s degree in Psychology from Grand Canyon University, set to be done this summer!
Ms. Cheryl’s favorite part about working with children is connecting with each student and learning their uniqueness and what it brings to the world. She loves engaging in dramatic play and seeing the world through their eyes. She fondly remembers her time working with elementary-aged children and setting up improvisation skits with the kids. She brought in costumes and props and had so much fun watching the kids act out different scenarios.
Ms. Cheryl has a busy homelife with her five children! As a family, they like to go camping and travel whenever they can. Two of their things to do are camping in South Haven and visiting family in Florida.

Frog Class
Marley Bitz, Catherine Carroll, and Mercedes Steward


The Frogs have had a busy holiday season! They were very excited about all the door decorations, including our Pete the Cat theme. The Frogs enjoyed holiday music, pajama day, and our party. They practiced wrapping "gifts" with wrapping paper. This helped their fine motor skills as well as problem solving and creativity. They got pretty good at wrapping blocks! The Frogs were very enthusiastic about the change of the year and most can tell you that it is now 2022! This month we look forward to welcoming in six new Froggy friends! The current Frogs are very excited to play with and get to know their new friends. We have been reading a lot about emotions and friendships and as educators we hope this will help aid in a smooth transition.

Gecko Class
Julie Douglas, Tammy Epling, and Ehricka Masalkoski

With the new year, the Geckos have begun working on their colors! We celebrate colors by having the children wear a different color each day. We also learn from each other by discussing our favorite colors and shades. We then incorporate those colors into our daily creative expression activities. For example, on the day we focused on yellow, the children worked together to create a collage of their favorite yellow objects. While doing this activity they not only learned about the color, but they also learned to take turns with the materials and to participate alongside one another as they worked toward a common goal.
The Geckos also love their daily large group activities; dancing and singing together, listening to stories, and learning from each other. They become classroom helpers and are given a daily responsibility such as being the line leader or helping to water the plants. These large group times are important so the children can feel like they are part of the classroom community. The daily group time also gives the children an opportunity to expand their listening skills, which prepares them for special large group activities--such as music time with Miss Wanda and yoga time with Miss Mindy.


Lion Class
Buffy Clements and Dani Douglas

In early January, the Lions worked together on cleaning and reorganizing the classroom in preparation of the arrival of four new children. They added new materials and changed around play spaces to make the room fresh and inviting. With the addition of the four new children, the Lions have focused on building new social and emotional skills and coping strategies. These strategies include learning how to share space and materials, figuring out how to communicate with each other, recalling and teaching classroom rules and expectations, and guiding the new Lions as they navigate their new surroundings.



Tiger Class
Angie Wallace and John Werner

The Tigers have been very busy! We talked about Christmas, New Years, and other holidays. We even did one of Ms. Angie’s family’s traditions! In Ms. Angie’s family, all the children decorate a paper bag to leave out for Santa to fill. On Christmas morning the children were allowed to play with whatever was left in the bag. The Tigers decorated a bag, and it was filled for them to take home and open. We have also celebrated the New Year by talking about how one year ends and a new one begins. In the weeks to come, we will be talking about winter and working on our numbers.



Bear Class
Wanda Bancroft and Sofia Stathoulia

Happy New Year from the Bear Room!
The new year brings changes in the Bear room. We’ve spent the past five months getting to know our kids individually and helping them to grow socially and emotionally, because we believe strongly that young children need to reach a certain level of social and emotional maturity before they are ready for more academic learning. Our Bears have been growing throughout the past few months! They have gained so many new skills that are helping them navigate, and problem solve with each other. They are having fewer ‘big’ emotions because we have helped them learn other ways to express themselves and worked to empower them to speak up.
This is the best time for us to turn our focus to kindergarten readiness. What does that mean in the Bear Room? Over the years we have found that the different school districts utilized by our families vary on what they hope children will know coming into the classroom.

The most important skills they will need at any location are:
● Social/emotional skills
● Self-help skills
● Active listening skills
● Communication skills
● Fine motor skills

But there are also skills that many school districts hope children will be exposed to prior to attending school such as:
● Recognize name, and write at least their first name
● Name the letters of the alphabet
● Know how to hold and use scissors correctly
● Name and recognize colors and shapes
● Count and recognize numbers to 10 - 20
● Noticing letter sounds
● Make rhymes
● Play and share with peers
● Follow directions

We focus so much more on following directions, so they can learn to stay on task. If they can listen and follow simple directions, adapting to kindergarten will be so much easier. We also begin to shorten nap time and lunch time. Did you know that children are given about 20 minutes to eat in public schools? Although nap time won’t be completely phased out, we will shorten it and provide quiet activities for those children who don’t nap.
You’ll hear more talk about kindergarten now and we will raise our expectations just a little higher in requiring your child to spend a bit more time on activities that they would normally rush through. Young children don’t need added pressure to perform, but gentle encouragement can go a long way in helping them to feel successful.


We love EC3 and are so grateful to have you!

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