The EC3 Connection - February 28th, 2022

Published: 2022-02-28

The EC3 Connection
EC3’s Monthly News from the Classrooms
February 28, 2022

Ladybug Class
Casey Fowler and Christina Young

In the Ladybug room, we took extra time this month to enjoy reading and snuggle time. Valentine's Day was a great reminder to take the time and experience things with our infants on the floor, rocking chair, and even relaxing on the comfy bean bags. When infants look at books, they aren't just looking at the pictures and mouthing the covers. They are practicing using their fine motor skills by turning pages and their gross motor skills as they hold their heads and the books up to see the pages. As we sit with our infants and read to them, they are establishing and sustaining positive relationships with their caregivers. We have fostered reading so much that it is not uncommon to see the

infants laying on the floor beside one another just looking at books and each other.

We also enjoyed the fresh air of the winter's day. As we spend time outside, the fresh air opens up air passages for these little ones and has a positive impact on their immune system. For our non-mobile infants, we placed them into an emergency crib with wheels and rolled them outside. They sat up on bean bags and watched their classmates explore the falling snow. The Ladybugs also joined in with the Bee class on a sled ride. Oh, the fun we had!

Bumblebee Class
Carley O’Byrne and Sarah Stein

This month, the Bees have been focusing on spending time outside! Dressing infants in their winter gear can be a process but getting them out in the fresh air is worth it. We are cautious not to spend too much time in the cold and we listen to the infant’s cues that tell us that they are uncomfortable. Being outside provides an overall sensory experience for the kids and can help calm a fussy baby. Oftentimes, it leads to a good nap too! We also brought in the cold sensory experience by freezing a large chunk of ice with cranberries in it. The kids touched the cold surface of the ice and used their fine motor skills to pick and poke at the cranberries inside. For Valentine’s Day, the kids created little cards for their parents that said, “Bee Mine,” and we sang songs about love!


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

As the babies move into Toddlerland their learning goes into warp speed. They are feeling big emotions, learning vocabulary, and attempting to control their little bodies in increasingly refined ways. These can be overwhelming goals--especially with the growing realization that they are unique individuals with different personalities. They are using muscles in new ways and are even growing new teeth! Thus, meltdowns occur more frequently at this age level. Toddlerland works to empower children by giving names for those big emotions and scripts that they can say to tell others what they want. The teachers help them express their wants, which reduces the frustrations that they feel. Toddlerland teachers walk through the big emotions WITH the children and help them to find ways to regulate and self-soothe. The teachers also are very in tune to being positive role models for the children by demonstrating getting through transitions, handling frustrations, and celebrating acts of kindness. The teachers partner with the parents to find transition items and routines to make the day flow. Toddlerland teachers make sure the schedule and classroom are set up for success, where the children can achieve things independently. On a daily basis they are singing, reading, and discussing transitions and occurrences with each child as the unique and valuable individual that they are. This allows them to move into the wider world, knowing they have a safe base and healthy coping mechanisms that they can expand on as they develop.


Teacher Feature: Ms. Claudia “Burger” Conley

Ms. Claudia Conley, affectionately known as Burger, is a co-teacher in our Penguin room in Toddlerland. Burger has worked with children most of her life; first as a nanny in Germany and then at another Lansing center until she found her home at EC3 back in December of 1989. Burger graduated high school in Germany and obtained her Child Development Associate credential in 2013.
Burger finds the growth a child goes through between 12 and 24 months to be fascinating, particularly watching the children discover their colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. Her favorite thing about working with children is building that connection with the children and their families. She enjoys discovering each child’s likes and dislikes and being able to tailor a lesson plan around the children’s interests.
Burger is also a kid at heart! She loves getting messy with sensory art activities, putting on shows with dolls and puppets, getting down and dirty outside with the kids, and being silly with an impromptu toddler dance party.
When she is not hanging out in Toddlerland, Burger has a small farm to take care of, including a vegetable garden, several apple trees, and even horses! During the winter, she occupies her time with baking cookies and cakes. Once the weather warms up, Burger loves to pack up the horses and go camping with her husband.



Frog Class

Marley Bitz, Catherine Carroll, and Mercedes Steward

The Frogs got really excited about Valentine’s Day this year. We decorated the classroom together and they were really looking forward to our party. This excitement started a discussion about different types of parties. We talked about how Valentine’s Day was a time where we show people how much we care about and love them. We made cards to show those loving feelings ; we have also made get-well-soon cards and happy birthday cards. We look forward to celebrating with parties on lots of different occasions!


Gecko Class
Julie Douglas, Tammy Epling, and Ehricka Masalkoski

The Geckos have a great time working on their gross motor skills each day! Gross motor skills are those that use the large muscle groups located in the legs, arms, neck, and trunk of the body. We go to the gym every day to practice jumping in place, climbing up and down the climber, pedaling bikes, and walking backwards. This month we also used those arm muscles to have an indoor snowball fight using fluffy pretend snowballs and had a lot of fun doing it! The Geckos also have yoga every two weeks and use all their muscles to do many fun yoga poses. One the alternating weeks, we have music time and dance parties with Miss Wanda Degen. When practicing their gross motor movements, the children learn about spatial awareness, practice their balance, and learn to work as a team by sharing the same space. Gross motor time is an important part of a child's physical and emotional development and well-being because children learn about their world through movement.


Lion Class
Buffy Clements and Dani Douglas

In February the Lions classroom worked on "All About Me" books. They shared their favorite colors, animals, songs, books, foods, and toys. They also explored how their bodies work and concepts of personal space.

For Valentine's Day, the Lions learned about love and kindness. They made homemade pink ice cream! The children worked together as they measured, dumped, mixed, and froze the ingredients for the ice cream, and they crushed cookies for a topping. They predicted the ice cream would be cold and smooth. After nap they ate their ice cream and discovered it was cold, smooth, creamy, and tasted like vanilla, even though it was pink! Later in the day, they showed their kindness as they shared their creation with other staff members in the building.

Tiger Class
Angie Wallace and John Werner

Can you believe it’s almost March? The Tigers spent their time in February talking about colors, shapes, and numbers. The Tigers learned how colors combine, and they made the color green by mixing blue and yellow paint. They had a lot of fun learning about numbers and shapes by stringing different shaped beads and by using sticks and popping corn to make different shapes and piles.





Bear Class
Wanda Bancroft and Sofia Stathoulia

The Bears have been busy this month as they continue their focused learning about the alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes. At the same time, they are talking about emotions-feelings. The teachers try to guide the Bears to identify and name their feelings. This way, the Bears develop their self-regulation skills.
Why are self-regulation skills important at this age? Self-regulation is the ability to understand and manage one’s own behavior and reactions. It helps children learn, behave, get along with peers and adults, and become independent. Self-regulation begins to develop when children are toddlers and preschoolers, and it continues to develop into adulthood.
Some of the ways to develop a child’s self-regulation include talking, planning, being consistent, problem-solving, and role-modeling. Teachers give the opportunity for the children to develop these skills so they can practice regulating their reactions to strong emotions such as frustration, excitement, fear, anger, and embarrassment--calming down after something exciting or upsetting, focusing on a task, refocusing attention on a new task, controlling impulses, and behaving in ways that help them get along with other people. If children develop their self-regulation skills at this age, when they go to kindergarten, they are ready sit, listen, and learn in a classroom. They are also able to build strong friendships, take turns in games, share toys, and express their emotions appropriately. One more important aspect is that children learn to be independent by making appropriate decisions and speaking up for themselves. The Bear teachers will keep providing opportunities for the Bears to develop self-regulation skills and guide them to express their emotions to their peers and adults appropriately.

Choosing to send both of my children to EC3 was one of, if not the best decision I have ever made as a parent.

Parent feedback from Spring 2022 survey
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