school days 2011-2012
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Dominik & Filip have just completed a wonderful year at Providence Nursery School (PNS)
, a cooperative preschool we have been a part of for two years. It was Filip’s first and Dominik’s last year at PNS, which offers not only an inspiring and creative learning environment but also an inviting, accepting and friendly community of parents, teachers and children alike.
At the graduation ceremony, Dominik had a little bit of hard time. He did not want to graduate because he would miss his school and his terrific teacher, Mrs. Millward, who – in his own words – is a “grown-up and knows everything about science.” But once he got onto the stage, or PNS Bridge, he did not want to step down! When asked about his wonderful teacher, Filip concluded: “Mrs. B is special to me because she has sparkles, sparkles, sparkles!”
Regretfully, I cannot post too many photos featuring Filip and Dominik with his school friends because of privacy concerns, but here are some pictures from their 2011-2012 year at PNS, starting with the graduation ceremony in May 2012.
A Walk Over the PNS Bridge
They did it! I am such a proud mama!
Teacher Appreciation Week
Teacher Appreciation Week immediately precedes the last week of classes at PNS. This year, I helped the boys make flower suncatcher mosaics for the teachers' classroom doors and personalized cards for each teacher and aide.
Filip's class did "Thank you for bee-living in me" theme. The bees on the kids' cards (including Filip's) were made from their thumbprints. In addition, each child had to finish a sentence, "Mrs. [teacher's name] is special to me because..." Such cute ideas - too bad they were not my own!
And these were Dominik's flowery card creations...
Learning through Play
There were three things that initially attracted me to PNS: the learn through play philosophy; spacious, colorful, and bright classrooms (including the beloved "big room"); and the cooperative, non-profit nature of the school. PNS believes that the most rewarding preschool program is one that involves parents. Among others, parents are required to perform assigned family jobs, participate in school clean-up days, volunteer, and co-op, i.e., serve as teachers' assistants. This gives each mom and dad the unique opportunity to observe and guide their children in their school environment, and to form deeper bonds with the children's teachers, friends, and their parents. I absolutely love love love my co-op days. I just wish I could take more time off from work to do it more often!
Filip's School Days in the 2s Class
From the very beginning, art and kitchen interest centers became Filip's favorite spots in the "big room." He also loved music classes, sensory tables, school pets, and - of course - the class puppet Obie which comes out of a cheerios box. Needless to say, Filip would ask for Obie whenever he saw cheerios, at least at the beginning of the school year...
Dominik's School Days in the 3/4s Class
Born in August, Dominik is usually one of the youngest children in his age group. The 3/4s class served him so well! He attended a kindergarten prep class on Mondays with other 4-year-olds, but Tuesday through Thursday his class was a mix of 4-year-olds (aka "the Monday gang") and older 3-year-olds. Dominik loved being a "Star of the Day" and presenting in show-and-tell. The items he chose for his presentations ranged from a magnifying glass, through a calendar and a snowplow train, to a wooden piece of meat. What a neat variety!
The regular school days at PNS are balanced between classroom activities, circle time, calendar and weather discussion, show-and-tell, story and snack time, "big-room" centers, process art, outdoor play, water and bike days, and specialized music instruction. In addition, PNS offers in-house enrichment programs throughout the year (e.g., dramatic story-telling, yoga, and creative movement) as well as up to six off-campus field trips. Filip's 2s class did not go on any field trips because of the children's young age, but Dominik eagerly went on all the field trips organized for his 3/4s class.
Mother's Day Brunch
Mother's Day Brunch at PNS is always a wonderful, memorable event. You've got to be quite a strong momma not to shed any tears of joy! The children prepare adorable performances and gifts for their moms. This year, I received beautiful placemats, cards, a key chain with Dominik's hand art, a heart frame from Filip, flower crafts from both boys, a heart box with Hershey kisses and hugs, and even a "breakfast in bed" goody bag. So thoughtful!!!
3/4s Mother's Day Banner with Dominik's snowplow train art
2s Mother's Day Banner
PNS VIP Day
Every year PNS organizes a VIP Day, which gives the kids the opportunity to introduce the school and the teachers to the 'very important people' in their lives: grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and perents who do not have a chance to co-op. This year the boys were able to share the day with their Polish grandma, Babcia Ania! I went as well to compensate for a couple of co-op days which I had to spend behind my desk at work.
Another unique quality about PNS is the opportunity to socialize with other families beyond the regular school hours. There are class playdates, MNOs, and awesome, fun-filled fundraising events. Serving on the PNS Fundraising Committee has allowed me not only to attent them with Dominik & Filip, but also to co-organize them with three fabulous ladies: Prassu, Liz, and Alex. This has been my PNS "family job" for the past two years.
PNS Fundrasing Committee 2011-12: Alex, Liz, Prassu and me
Spring Raffle & Rocknoceros Concert 2012
Holiday Shop 2011
Organizing the Holiday Shop & Party is not an easy endeavor for the Fundrasing Committee. We collect the forms, fill out gift tags, buy and wrap presents, decorate the school, arrange for Santa to come and play, and help the children pick the best little gifts for their loved ones, including pets! This year we did a few extras: a Holiday sing-a-long with Santa (Mark played the drums) and Santa Photo Booth, which allowed me to test my new semi-professional studio equipment. Was I completely satisfied with it (and with my photography skills which are still emerging, at best)? No, not really, but we all had a plentiful of fun and some extra cash for the school!
Barnes & Noble Day 2011
In November, we organized a fundraising event at Barnes & Noble (Fair Lakes Promenade in Fairfax, VA). We had Thanksgiving arts and crafts, face painting (awesomely done by Alex), story time with our wonderful teachers: Mrs. B, Mrs. Millward, Miss Susan, and Miss Judy, and music time with our cool music teacher (and my yoga instructor), Miss Rachel.
Dominik presenting his self-picked face art: a cupcake!
Filip proudly displaying his turkey hat
Dominik in his groove...
Halloween Parade 2011
As always, this year's PNS Halloween Parade was an attack of absolute cuteness! Dominik was a jumping spider and Filip attached butterfly wings to his puppy costume. Yay for creativity and independent thinking!
Off to School & First Days
Dominik's 3/4s 'parking spot' for circle time
As much as I loved summer vacations while growing up, preparing for a new school year was always exciting. I liked shopping for books and school supplies in our local "paper store," and seeing my friends after a long break. My childhood memories keep coming back when I prepare Dominik & Filip for their new school year. New backpacks and lunchboxes, and - most importantly - new teachers, friends, and adventures ahead - what's not to love!
With that said, a part of me is sad to see them grow and become independent so fast. I also worry how they will react to the new environment. This year, as usual, I took time off from work to accompany the boys to school on their first day. They simply could not wait to get into their classrooms. There was no crying, no pleading, not even hugs or kisses! Filip dropped his backpack in the middle of the hallway and run inside before I realized what was going on. I waived to him, blew a kiss, but he did not even look back. He was so happy, eager, and ready to start his little life as a preschooler! Unlike the previous year, when he had exhibited similar behavior to Filip's, Dominik kissed me goodbye and walked off to his first class with Mark. He was so excited and I felt so proud!
Mrs. Millward's 'parking lot' 2011-12
Nearly a year has passed since Dominik & Filip started their 2011-12 PNS adventure. Thanks to their wonderful teachers, aides, and friends, the boys not only learned a lot but also had a ton of FUN doing it. And that's what's the most important. What can I say, I just love PNS. It is such a friendly, welcoming community of little learners! We, i.e., Filip, will be staying around for two more years. Dominik is off to a new school in the fall. He will be attending a transition class for kindergarten-eligible students in Good Shepherd Preschool
. We are so excited for both of them! They really are in good hands.
School Photos 2011