UPK & Preschool Newsletters

Preschool March News

We hope you have noticed that the children are recognizing their names in print. Many can also read their friends’ names! It is such a joy to watch the children discover that all those straight, curve and diagonal slide lines have meaning. Making cards to exchange on Valentine’s Day seems to us to be a celebration not only of good friends but also the unlocking of this great mystery – printed language!

First Steps Wacky Wednesday ImageAs March begins we find ourselves enjoying lots of silly Seuss stories, rhymes and nonsensical words in celebration of Dr. Seuss. Wednesday, March 7, we will have a mixed-up, wacky day, based on the silly Wacky Wednesday story! Children are invited to dress in any mixed up, backwards, crazy way they desire! So much fun to share! Next, we will consider what land mass is surrounded by water? Islands, of course! We will learn about Ireland this montFirst Steps Leprechaun Imageh, and on Friday, March 16, all are invited to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day. We will enjoy lots of green shamrock art projects and stories of tricky leprechauns! As we approach the end of the month, we will begin to look for early signs of spring. Are birds building their nests? Will they lay their eggs soon? What is growing? We will plant some seeds; hypothesizing and predicting, observing and documenting! So much discovery and learning going on! Beach Day, Tuesday, March 20, brings First Steps Beach Imagethoughts of the coming warmer months! The children are invited to wear their bathing suits at school! We will crank up the heat in the big room, and have a school-wide fun time pretending to be at the beach! We will also have fun with colored eggs, chicks and bunnies during the week of March 26 – March 28!



First Steps Magic ImageDon’t forget to come have fun on Friday, March 9 – our Family Fun night Magic Show (5 – 6pm)!  School picture day is Friday, March16! Preschool is closed Thursday March 29 – Monday April 2. Enjoy the break!

We love your children and we love you! Thank you for all that you do!

Ginny Workstus and all the preschool teaching staff!

UPK March News

Hi everyone! Happy March!! We have a lot planned for this month, as always!!

First Steps St Patrick's Day ImageWe are going to Ireland, of course!! And setting the stage for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th!

We are also following the Iditarod! These are the dog sled races that happen in Alaska every year! It’s the First Steps Iditarod Image1,000-mile race that takes place from Anchorage to Nome! It starts March 2 and we will be following and tracking the mushers, (the sled “drivers”) and their dogs as they race anywhere from 8 days to two weeks! We will be tracking them on the Alaskan map and learning all about mushers and veterinarians and endurance! We are coming off of the Olympics so all about strength and perseverance! And we will be using an authentic Iditarod sled!

First Steps Wacky Wednesday ImageWe are mixing in a week with Dr. Seuss to celebrate his birthday! Wednesday, March 8 is Wacky Wednesday at First Steps! Everything will be wacky!! Our classrooms, our outfits, our day!! Plan on sending your child in wearing anything they want! We will be!! The rest of the week we will be reading a lot of Dr. Seuss stories and haFirst Steps Magic Imageving extended fun with them through our classroom activities!

Our family Magic Show is Friday, March 9! Hope to see you there!!

We will also have picture day on March 16th!

First Steps Beach ImageBeach Day is March 20! Send your child in ready for the beach!! We are setting up the gym for a full “beach” experience!!

We are not in school the week before Easter, so will be “celebrating” that as well in March! So a lot to do in a busy month!! We are excited!

Miss Cathy Jaye

Preschool February News

February brings us new opportunities to explore the world around us. Will the groundhog see his shadow or nFirst Steps Ground Hog Day Imageot? What is a shadow anyway? We need light! What makes light? Notice that the daylight is longer each day! So many things to observe and discover! Science is everywhere! February is Dental Health month, and we will have a visit from our favorite dental hygienist. She will show us the best way to keep our teeth healthy!

Valentine’s Day follows, and we will share stories of friends, valentines, and unconditional love. We will have some special snacks and a Valentine card exchange with classmates on Tuesday, February 13 and Wednesday, February 14 in the morning. If you choose to have your child share valentine’s cards with First Steps Valentine Imagefriends, please encourage your child to “sign” each card however they can. Plan on making 26 cards. We suggest you
begin this process early, and work on two or three each day. (No need to address the cards – the children will hand one out to each friend.) Wednesday afternoon, February 14, we will join Miss Cathy Jaye’s class in the big room for a Valentine’s Day Fair. We will enjoy a special snack, make some valentine projects and shFirst Steps Olympic Imageare stories together.

February is also the month of the Winter Olympics! We will celebrate the beginning of the Olympics with a parade of flags! Throughout the month we will have fun celebrating all the winter fun activities we can here at First Steps. The children will choose which ‘events’ they will participate in and celebrate that participation with medals! Maybe someday they will participate in the real Olympics!

First Steps Chinese New Year ImageWe will “visit” China this month. Remembering that we just celebrated our New Year last month, the Chinese New Year falls on February 16 this year. It is the Year of the Dog! We will consider how these celebrations are the same and how they are different. Please consider visiting us to share any experiences you may have had visiting China! “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” Happy New Year!

First Steps is closed on Monday, February 19 for Presidents Day. Remember, we go outside everyday, weather permitting. It is important that the children have hats, mittens, warm coats, snow pants, and boots here each day. If your child wears boots to school, please send in some sneakers for inside play.

UPK February News

Hi everyone! Happy February!!

This month we have a lot to celebrate, learn about and do!

Groundhog Day is February 2 and we will see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow! We will use this opportunity to learn about shadows and light! So fun!!First Steps Ground Hog Day Image

The winter Olympics are in February!! Whoo-hoo! So we will be re-creating those in our classrooms and in the big room and outside! Ice-skating, curling, hockey, gymnastics and more! We will have an opening flag ceremony and “light” the torch ~ parade of athletes~ all of it!! First Steps Olympic Image

Valentines Day is February 14. We are sending home a class list for you and hope that everyone is willing to participate in our Valentine’s exchange. We will make “heart pockets” in our class and ask that you send in a Valentine for every child in our class by Monday, February 12. We will send your child’s Valentine’s home on 2/14 for them to open and enjoy after school ~ it’ is so much fun for them to look through them all!! If we start now, we can get a lot of writing practice in! And they can be homemade construction paper hearts! No pressure! Just love!! List to go out this week! Thanks!

First Steps Chinese New Year ImageWe are celebrating Chinese New Year this month as well! This is the year of the “dog”. We will explore Chinese traditions and what the New Year looks like in China! Gung Hay Fat Choy!! (Happy New Year in Chinese). We will be making dragons and learning how to use chopsticks and all kinds of things! Fun!

And of course, if it’s still snowy, we will go outside to play as often as we can, so keep sending in those snow clothes!! We appreciate it!

I will be sending progress reports home on your children this month and then we will meet in March to review, but as always, email me or let me know if you have questions, concerns, or comments anytime!

We will continue with our “Taste of the Week” and “Dance of the Day” ~ soooo fun!

A reminder ~ First Steps is closed on Monday, February 19th for President’s Day. Enjoy the extra time with your family!

Joy Challenge: Do a random act of kindness ~ and don’t tell a soul. First Steps Valentine Image

“Where there is love there is life.”

Preschool January News

Happy New Year!  Following the leadership of our calendar helper, each day we celebrate our new year – 2018! The children become aware of visual details such as beginning letter and picture clues as we ‘read’ the name of the month. First Steps Happy New Year ImageThe children learn to read left to right as we touch and count each day’s shape. Numerical sequencing, patterning, and number names are all part of the routine of calendar. Our country to ‘visit’ this month is Germany! We are so excited to be able to keep in touch with Gideon and his family, as they begin their new life in Germany! Please consider coming in to share stories or memories about experiences you might have had visiting family or vacationing in Germany. Many familiar fairy tales have their origin in Germany. We First Steps Castle Imagewill hear several different versions and make comparisons. Perhaps we will build a castle!

January brings the cold weather and snow of winter to us. Where did all the animals go? How do animals find food and keep warm in winter? We will explore these questions as we notice the many changes winter brings. A big recurring theme will be snow! There are many wonderful books to read and many mediums to use to represent snow, snow people, and snow flakes! There are so many creative ways our dramatic play reflects all of this – from building sleds in the block corner; feeling, mixing and pouring ‘hot cocoa’ and ‘snow’ in the sensory table, observing ice and the freezing and melting process, to First Steps Tacky the Penguin Imagedressing up in mittens and scarves! We will read “Tacky The Penguin,” a story that celebrates diversity. We will read about Martin Luther King Jr. and talk about how important it is that we all work hard to understand and celebrate one another. We will collaborate on a variety of projects. We continue to observe, make connections, and practice our expressive and receptive language skills. We incorporate our growing math and science skills every day in all sorts of fun ways.

January also brings the challenges of many buttons, zippers, laces, boots, hats, and mittens. Through the months of November and December we have practiced putting coats on, taking them off and hanging them up in cubbies! Though assistance is sometimes needed, all of the children are able to take off and hang up their coats. Give your child extra time so they can proudly display their growing independence! Encouraging them in this way facilitates their recognition of and responsibility for all the items that belong to them. Hats and mittens like to find their way to hidden places in the cubby area, and if the children know what their gear looks like, and that they have these items, they will look for them. Weather permitting First Steps winter clothing image(temperature above 20º), we go outside to play everyday! It is important that the children have hats, mittens, warm coats, snow pants, and boots. If your child wears boots to school, please send in some play shoes to wear inside (no slippers). You may leave an extra pair of play shoes here if that works for you. Please let me know if you would like to come in to play with us! We always enjoy extra friends to share the fun we have each day.


Happy Winter!

Ginny Workstus and the preschool team

UPK January News

Happy New Year everyone!

This month we travel to Germany! The Carlson family has moved to Germany, which saddens us here, (they have a bright future there!), so we are going to learn about where they are and also now be pen pals with them!! This enables First Steps Happy New Year Imageus to learn about pen pals and what all of that entails as we learn about Germany as well! We are also hopeful to be pen pals with Artemis’ family as they return to France! France is coming up in future months! We will miss you all and wish you the best of luck in your new homes across the ocean!

We will also be enjoying snow, ice, tracks, and where animals go in the winter! We will be learning about penguins and Tacky the Penguin, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. We will be learning about winter sports and playing in the snow! We will also be makingFirst Steps Penguin Image snowmen, and learning about snow and evergreen trees and things that stay with us in the winter.

We will be feeding the birds and watching for them as they search for food, hopefully right outside our windows! We will be reading the “After Christmas Tree” book and loading it for our birds, (and probably squirrels…..).

Keep sending in those snow pants, boots and waterproof mittens as we make our way though winter on the playground! We appreciate it!!

First Steps Joy in Your Heart ImageHappy New Year to everyone and a reminder the UPK classroom is closed on Monday, January 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Happy New Year to everyone and may 2018 be a year of good health, prosperity and joy for all of us!

January joy: Have a snowball fight!!First Steps Children Running Image


UPK December News

Happy December, everyone!! It is really December??

We have a lot planned for this month as always! We will be looking at family traditions throughout the holiday season, including learning about Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstices, and family traditions.First Steps Sweden Flag Image

Our country of the month is Sweden, so we will be looking at some of the traditions throughout this season there!

We will be enjoying the meaning of stars and candles in various traditions, and making gingerbread people and houses!

First Steps UPK Gingerbread House ImageMark your calendar for our annual holiday party on Wednesday, December 13 at 4:30 p.m. We will all be there and are looking forward to the evening with you! This is a school wide event so we are excited to celebrate the holidays with you!

As it gets colder and the snow falls, please remember we go outside 2X every day as often as we can, so please make sure your child has snow pants, a warm jacket, hat and gloves. It really helps us if they are all labeled so we don’t misplace anything. Once the snow comes, we are asking for waterproof gloves so that your child can build snow creations and play happily without cold, wet hands. So the knit ones are fine for no snow, but please waterproof for snow. Thank you! J

We are thankful for all of you and for all you give to our classroom and your children. It is truly our joy, not only this First Steps UPK Group of Stars Imagemonth, but also all year, to be with your children all day and to have you all in our lives. We are so grateful and wish you all a wonderful holiday season from the bottom of our hearts. You are our second family and we are grateful.

Joy challenge: Give to someone in need.

“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

Happy Holidays everyone!

Preschool December News

Our country to ‘visit’ this month is Sweden! Please consider coming in to share stories or memories about experiences you might have had living or vacationing in Sweden. We are planning lots of gingerbread fun, and we will read several different versions of The Gingerbread Man and make comparisons. We will explore literacy skills as we begin to understand how stories are mapped out: with a beginning, middle and an end; as well as plot, setFirst Steps Sweden Girls Imageting, and characters. The Winter Solstice is on Wednesday 12/21. As the days begin to lengthen, we celebrate the light!

The sounds and smells of the season envelop us at this time of the year! Many of our holiday traditions are based on our cultural heritage. I invite and encourage you to come in and share your own family traditions with the class! We love having family visit us! Perhaps you have a favorite story to share, or a special cooking activity you enjoy doing at this time of year. Please let me know if you are interested in this opportunity and we will set up a time First Steps Preschool Gingerbread People Imagefor you to visit with us! We will enjoy hearing lots of great stories this month, including stories about Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa family traditions. We will have fun making holiday decorations and gifts, jingling bells, and singing. We will welcome in the New Year on Friday 12/29 by painting a huge 2018 banner!

We know that children can be overwhelmed by the consumerism promoted at this time of year. Our goal this month is to maintain a relaxed, low key environment as long as possible. We hope to sustain a warm and safe environment in which all the children continue to find peace and love. Please join us for songs and a special guest at our Family Holiday Party on Wednesday, 12/13 at 4:30pm. First Steps preschool is First Steps Preschool Happy New Year Imageclosed Monday, 12/26, and Tuesday, 12/27 (open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). We will also be closed Monday, 1/1/18.

Our entire preschool staff sends warmest wishes your way for Happy Holidays!

~Mrs. Ginny Workstus, Miss Dana, Miss Karyn, Miss Maggie, and Miss Tania

UPK November News

Hi everyone and happy November!!

Thank you all for your help with our pumpkin picking field trip as we explored life outside of school and had a fun day!First Steps UPK pumpkins image

Thank you also, for coming to the parent-teacher conferences and sharing all we did about your children! I love your children and totally love the opportunity to work with you to provide a joyful, rich learning experience in which they can grow to be the best they can be! Together we are better! So thank you! J

This month we will be focusing on family, giving thanks, traditions, harvest, and the changes around us! We will be learning about our homes and those of our friends that live outside all year, to find out where they go to stay warm and safe!

First Steps UPK Poland Flag ImageWe will also be going to Poland! Thank you, in advance, Troy’s mom, for sharing and helping us to learn more about it! If any one else has anything they would like to share about Poland, please let us know!

On Monday, 11/20, we will be combining our classrooms into the big room for a Thanksgiving lunch! Afternoon children will come early and then stay through for the afternoon. Our morning children will stay through the lunch and then go home after. It will be a festive time of sharing and being together!

This is such a time of year to celebrate families, friends and our blessings. With that, I just want to take a moment from all of us on the team to say how very thankful we are to be so privileged to be a part of your child’s life every day. What a joy this journey is. Thank you so much, for all you do, all you are and for your trust and support in us. We are grateful.

November joy challenge: Do a random act of kindness – on purpose – and don’t tell anyone. JFirst Steps UPK table setting image

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.” – Denis Waitley


Preschool November News

Preschool Message …

A special thanks, to each of you who took the time to meet with me for Parent- Teacher conferences. Thanks to all who helped chaperone our first field trip to the pumpkin patch as well! Together we can provide the best ‘First Steps’ experience for your child! This month we will be learning about Poland. Please consider coming in to share stories, food or memories about experiences you might have had visiting family or vacationing in PolaPreschool Parent Teacher Conference Graphic Imagend.

Seasonal transformations bring all sorts of opportunities to use our senses as we notice the changes happening around us! November is a month of less sun and colder days, so we need warm jackets, hats, and mittens to keep us warm outside. We will have fun exploring the many ways we use our senses every day to help us learn and play! We learn more about people and places as we think about homes and where we live. Where can we find a square? A triangle? A rectangle? A circle? Shapes are everywhere!

The children begin their alphabet ‘work’ by focusing on the letters of their name. Following the Handwriting without Tears approach, we use the same descriptive language that many of the children will hear when they enter elementary school. We have loads of manipulatives for the children to explore for lots of hands on learning fun! Self- regulation grows and language enrichment happens First Steps Preschool Poland City Imageevery day as we explore and discover, practice-making choices and complete those activities we have chosen. We continue to work hard to use our words to express how we feel, what we are thinking and to problem- solve together.

Thanksgiving offers us plenty of opportunities to think about healthy food choices, family traditions, sharing, being thankful, and friendships. Our class will be filled with lots of yummy smells as we cook together to get ready for our special Thanksgiving lunch with all our First Steps friends! On Monday, 11/20, we invite all children to celebrate our Thanksgiving lunch together, regardless of scheduled attendance days!

During the months of November and December we would love to have you visit us to share your own family holiday First Steps Preschool Thanksgiving Folks Graphic Imagetraditions with us! Let me know if you are interested in visiting!

We are thankful for each and every one of you!

Ginny Workstus and all the preschool staff!