Miss Dawn’s January News

i Jan 12th No Comments by

Hello UPK Families,

Happy New Year!  May many blessings be upon you and your families in this New Year!  I am so excited for this new beginning.

As you know, the UPK classes went virtual for most of the month of December.  Thank you so much for doing your part to encourage your children to be present for all of our Zoom calls.  I know it wasn’t easy but the children did a fantastic job!  I am so proud of them and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them on the calls each day.  They are truly a blessing in my life.

During the month of December, we began our Creative Curriculum unit study on balls.  The children showed great interest as we examined many different kinds of balls.  We discussed how they are the same and how they are different.  We discovered that balls are made of different materials and are made for different purposes.  We learned that some balls are solid and some balls are hollow. The children enjoyed sharing their balls virtually and playing ball with their families and pets at home.  We will continue our ball study this month when we get back to the classroom mid month. 

This December we also studied the holidays.  We read books, such as, “What is Hanukkah” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  The children learned about some of the yummy foods eaten during Hanukkah such as, potato latkes and jelly donuts.  They learned about the miracle of Hanukkah, the menorah, and the dreidel game.  The children also watched a video of one of our First Steps dads as he shared how his family celebrates Hanukkah.  Thank you, Abba, for an exciting and educational presentation. We also made Gingerbread people and created our very own pom pom filled Christmas balls.  

Last month, we also learned about the country of Holland.  The children watched videos about this beautiful country and made their very own flags of Holland.  Miss Kathy created a wonderful presentation of Holland and posted the video on our Google Classroom.  Thank you Miss Kathy for sharing your knowledge of this amazing country with us.

In December, we also continued our Handwriting Without Tears program.  The children focused on writing the letters G and S and the sound these letters make.  We also practiced writing the number four and learned its value.  As always, the children did a fantastic job!  

As we go virtual for the first two weeks in January, I want to thank you in advance for your continued support and encouragement.  I am always here to answer any questions you may have.  Please reach out to me if there is anything I can do to support you at home.

Once again, I’d like to wish you all a happy new year as we continue to navigate together through these unprecedented times.

With love,

Miss Dawn

Miss Kristen’s January News

Hello first steps Friends and families. I hope you all had a nice holiday. We welcome the month of January with warmth and joy in our hearts.

As we know, we went virtual for some time in December. I want to thank all families and guardians for the support and encouragement you provided at each zoom meeting. Remote learning is not easy and can be a process. We all did a great job!

In the month of December we started our unit on balls. Studying balls was quite fun. We did things like examine different types of balls; talked about how some balls are not round, and even got to see Miss Kristin juggle.

December was so much fun as we studied the holidays. The students enjoyed learning about different types of holiday celebrations. We learned all about Hanukkah and how long it lasts. We discovered the menorah and dreidels both on zoom and in person! We even learned the song, Dreidel Dreidel! We talked all about Christmas and the blessings of love and family. We read “The Christmas Tree” by Barbara and Lynne Lockhart. We also read “Snowmen at Christmas” by Catalan Buehner and of course “The Gingerbread Man”! Following the gingerbread man students got to make their very own ginger person. We welcomed many holiday art projects and pictures. The students had a blast expressing their excitement as the holidays neared.

Holland was our country of study for December. The students enjoyed a fun and informative presentation by Miss Kathy. Thank you Miss Kathy. In talking all about the holidays, the students learned about St. Nicholas and how children in Holland get gifts around this time of year. Thank you Miss Linda! We have had a fun and magical time here at first steps in December.

We are so excited to continue learning and growing together in the New Year.

All my best,

Miss Kristin

Miss Dawn’s December News

Hello UPK families,

Can you believe it’s December already?  The holiday season is upon us!!  I hope you all had a very warm and loving Thanksgiving Day spent with loved ones and friends.  December is sure to be festive, fun, and filled with holiday cheer!

Our country of study this month is Holland.  Miss Kathy will lead us through this study as she shares her knowledge and love of this beautiful country with us.  We look forward to her PowerPoint presentation and a yummy treat that is traditionally eaten in Holland.  Thank you, Miss Kathy, for bringing this amazing country to life for us.

This month we will also learn about St. Nick, Christmas, and Hanukkah. The children will learn how to play the dreidel game and learn the significance of the Hanukkah menorah.  One of our First Steps parents will be a guest speaker to teach us all about Hanukkah and how he celebrates this holiday with his family.  We are very much looking forward to his visit here at the school.

Our holiday party is scheduled for December 22nd.  Unfortunately, due to Covid19, we will not be able to have parents attend this year.  Please know that we will be thinking of you and making this event as exciting for the children as possible.  Who knows, we may even get a visit from old St. Nick himself. We also plan to sing lots of holidays songs with the children and we may even go caroling inside our school building.  That should be lots of fun!

This month we will also be doing a mini unit on balls.  We will be asking investigative questions such as:  What do know about balls?  Do all balls bounce?  Do all balls roll?  Who uses balls?  What are balls made of?  This study should be lots of fun for the children, as we all know how much they love balls.  

As the colder weather approaches, please remember to pack mittens, a hat, snow pants and boots for the children. We love to play outside, especially in the snow.  The cold weather is always more enjoyable when we are dressed for it.

Happy Holidays to all of you and thank you so much for sharing your children with us!!!

With love,

Miss Dawn and the UPK Team

Miss Kristin’s December News

Happy December Families 

We welcome the holiday season!
We are having so much fun learning and growing together. December is a time of love and togetherness. We want to share that with one another by having a holiday celebration! This will take place the morning of December 22nd. The children will sing songs with one another, make decorations and have yummy treats. We apologize that parents and guardians cannot attend and this will just be a staff and student get together. We are so excited to share the love we practice everyday in the classroom and emulate through one another here at First Steps. So pictures will be a part of the event and presented to all of you via online networks like email or First Steps Facebook page.

December will be so much fun! Our studies this month are the holidays, forest animals, balls, and the country of Holland. This month the children will be doing lots of holiday artwork, talking about the gifts we give by just being ourselves, and even preparing a gift to bring home! 

We will have two guest speakers in December! Miss Linda will be coming in to share about St.Nicholas and Airel Bailey Asa’s father; will be coming to teach about Hanukkah! 

Thank you for being you,

Peace and love, 

Miss Kristin 

Friendly Reminders: 

The excitement of snow is headed our way! New exploratory play and temperature lows will be upon us. Please make sure your child has a pair of snow pants to wear at school. Please also make sure your child is bringing gloves, a hat, and snow boots if there is snow on the ground.

Miss Dawn’s November News

Hello UPK families,

Welcome to the month of November.  This month is sure to be exciting and educational for your children.  

As we celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we will focus on what it means to have a truly grateful heart.  The children will reflect on all of the special things and people in their lives that they appreciate and are grateful for. This study will include a mini unit on families and all the aspects of family life that make them so unique and special.  We will also include some history of the first Thanksgiving as it was celebrated, by the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  We will even have our very own special Thanksgiving snack to celebrate this holiday together.

Our country of study this month is Japan.  One of our First Steps’ parents will lead us through this study as she shares her knowledge and love of this beautiful country with us.  I look forward to learning more about Japan and the Japanese people.  Their rich culture and traditions are sure to surprise and delight the children and adults alike.

This month we will also take a close look at how animals prepare for winter.  We will discuss migration and hibernation.  The children are always fascinated by this study as they discover the intelligence and instincts of the animal kingdom.  Our study will include how bears and birds make adjustments in order to survive the cold winter.  

As the weather changes, please be sure to dress your child in layers.  We spend a lot of time out on the playground and proper attire certainly makes our playtime more enjoyable.

Happy Thanksgiving!!  I am grateful to share my life with your children!!


Miss Dawn and the UPK Team

Miss Kristin’s November News

Hello families!

The month of November is full of love, togetherness and reflection. We are going to have a fun month here at First steps! 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we will be talking about families and love. We will talk about who is in our family, things we like to do with our family and how all families are different. We will focus on what we are thankful for, recognizing most of which is actually not materialistic. We will discuss what it means to be thankful. We will discuss who, where and what feelings we are grateful for. The students will also be learning a bit about the first thanksgiving. We will talk about the importance of sharing and how that meal was shared between two groups that could each bring something. As Thanksgiving nears, we will share a special snack together in our classroom. 

This month we will also be studying forest animals! The animals children see outside in our forest environment of the Hudson valley have began to prep for winter by gathering food and shedding thin coats for thick ones. The students will have lots of fun conducting activities that highlight that! We are very excited for the projects coming your way.

The country of study for November is Japan. We are thrilled to announce we will have a guest speaker coming to present this country to the students. Thank you so much to the McGeady family for your contribution of knowledge and experience. 

Friendly reminders: As the weather continues to get colder, please make sure you are sending your child with a layer. 

Parent teacher conferences are on 

November 3. 

Thank you, 

Miss Kristin 

UPK and Preschool team

Miss Dawn’s October News

Hello Families,

Welcome to the month of October.  As always, we have a very exciting month planned for your children. 

Mexican graphic

This month we will be studying the country of Mexico.  Miss Brandi will lead us through this study with a PowerPoint presentation all about this beautiful country.  She may even make us some homemade guacamole!

Yummy!  Thank you, Miss Brandi. The children will also be learning some Spanish words such as, “hola” (hello) and “adios” (goodbye).  We will also be discussing how monarch butterflies fly all the way to Mexico from New York.  Wow!! That’s a long journey!!

Fire Prevention Graphic

The week of October 4th – October 10th, is Fire Prevention Week.  The children will be learning all about fire safety and may even meet some real live firefighters from the Woodstock Fire Department.  This will certainly be exciting, as it will bring the subject to life.  They may even get a glimpse inside one of the fire trucks.  We will keep you informed as we work out the details.  These visits are often very memorable and educational for the children.

Fall leaf image

This month we will continue our study of fall and fall trees.  We will be taking lots of walks to observe some of the changes that are taking place with the leaves.  Fall is a very exciting time for the children as they walk in the leaves and observe all the pretty colors.  We will be sure to bring some of this nature indoors to complete some colorful fall projects.

Halloween graphic

As you may know, Halloween falls on a Saturday this year.  For this reason, we will have our Halloween parade on Friday, October 30th.  The children will go for a short walk through the neighborhood and stop at various locations where they will collect something special from a staff member.  Due to COVID19, we are not able to invite parents to this event this year.  We are so very sorry.  Thank you for understanding. Please pack your child’s costume in his/her backpack that day and we will be happy to assist them with getting dressed.  Halloween is always super exciting for the children.  We are looking forward to this special occasion.

Happy Halloween!! 


Miss Dawn and the UPK Team

Miss Kristin’s October News

Hello families,

fall leaves graphic

Happy October! This is a month of great fun. We are excited to welcome the cool weather and the changing of the trees.  As the weather does get chilly, please make sure your little one has a sweater or jacket. The leaves are always a great focus of October. Their beauty and grace leaves so much to explore and learn from. We will be taking advantage of that any way we can! We love to set up a classroom outside with a gathering carpet for us all. We even bring materials to complete projects out there. This is so much fun.

October is fire prevention month. We will be reading stories all about fire fighters, trucks, and fire safety.

Mexican hat graphic

Our country of study is Mexico. We hope to follow the monarch butterflies as they head there in early October! We talk about their journey and the process of migration. 

Halloween graphic

Halloween! The magic of Halloween is always a big part of October. We will be celebrating here at First Steps by dressing up, taking a walk all around our property and stopping at some teachers along the way who will drop a treat in our bags! Please send in your child’s costume and we will dress them here. I can’t wait for you to see the pictures of this day later through an email. 

Thank you so much for sharing your children with us,

All my best Miss Kristin

Miss Dawn’s September News

Hello UPK families

Welcome to an exciting year here at First Steps!  My name is Dawn Luchmee.  I started working at First Steps in January of 2020 and what an exciting time it has been!  During this time, I have been getting acquainted with our beautiful community of learners, parents, and staff.  I have dedicated my entire life to working with early childhood students from preschool to the second grade.  This is my life’s passion and I am happy to share this passion with your beautiful children.  As we have all been experiencing the ever-changing world of Covid-19, it is important to keep in mind that our world looks different right now.  I am hopeful that one day soon, things will change for the better.

As I look ahead to this upcoming school year, I am filled with hope and excitement that “every little thing is going to be alright”. This month we will spend most of our time getting to know one another and building a trustful environment in which we all feel safe, loved, and supportive of one another.  I truly have your children’s well-being at the heart of everything I do.  

This September we will spend much of our time discussing friendship and classroom routines.  We will discuss “social distancing”, wearing masks, and washing hands.  We will also be studying our beloved country, the USA, the life cycle of monarch butterflies, and apples.  I am especially excited about getting to know you, your children, and working with the loving staff at First Steps to create a curriculum that will be both stimulating and meaningful throughout the school year.

Family Portrait Graphic

As we strive to create a warm and loving environment, we are asking parents to please have your child bring in a 5” by 7” family photo to hang on our hallway bulletin board.  As the children pass this bulletin board, they are filled with warm feelings and the understanding that we are a community full of love and acceptance of one another.  Please bring in this photo on the first day of school so that we can put our family bulletin board together as quickly as possible.  Thank you in advance.

Each month, as we focus on different countries around the world, please let us know if you have a strong attachment to one of the countries that we will be studying.  We would be very happy to have you come in as a guest speaker to share your knowledge and love of that particular country with us.  As you may know, we welcome and accept people of all backgrounds and cultures.  Our monthly newsletters will keep you abreast of upcoming studies so please feel free to reach out to us at anytime if you feel that you have something valuable to offer to enhance our curriculum.  Thank you so much for entrusting us with your children.  I am looking forward to another joyful year spent with the people I hold dear, your beautiful children.

With love,

Miss Dawn

Miss Kristin’s September News

Happy September and welcome to First Steps! My name is Miss Kristin. I will be the preschool and 1/2 day UPK teacher this year. I am cherished to have this opportunity to grow and learn with your children. We are excited in the preschool and1/2 day UPK room to introduce you all to the space, the interesting manipulative and toys, and mostly our kind hearts and each other. Friendship, family and joy are what are most important here and through that love and trust we will provide a safe, fun and enriching program for everyone. We would love to have a family picture from each student for the family bulletin board. This just fills our space with pride and joy. Students walk by that board all year and are just reminded of the great love they have in their lives, as are we. I am excited for the adventures we will have this year and I can’t wait to meet you all! 

Family Photo Graphic

We will start our year off, this month in September, by learning about each other and ourselves. We will have so much fun making friends, playing together, and being silly. We will talk about self-love and love for others. Like, what it means to be a great friend. We will focus on the beautiful monarch caterpillar, as we will have our own butterfly enclosure to study in the classroom. As the temperature slightly chills this month and the apple trees begin to produce we will focus on the national fruit! We love to incorporate culture and traditions from all over the world. Each month we focus on a different country.  Our country of study this month is the USA.  

American Flag Image

So, here’s to a great start! See you soon!

Best Kristin