Racial Equity in Early Childhood and Our Statement Opposing Zero-Tolerance

Racial Equity in Early Childhood

By Beth Coleman, Frog teacher (Fall 2017-May 2019), and
Danielle Larkin, Tadpole teacher and SoG Board member

“Children are citizens of their environment and learning stems from all that surrounds them.”

Equality of ChildrenThe quote above comes from our School of Grace website and is an aim of ours as teachers to integrate within our classroom practices with children, families, and the broader community. We also grapple with its meaning: What does it mean to consider children as citizens? What are the environments that surround children? Who and what do they include and who or what is missing from them? What learning, then, should stem from those environments? Continue reading

Art Show 2019 Featuring Process-Focused Art

by Pam Pittenger, Turtle Class Co-Lead Teacher

Girl Smiling This week, teachers at The School of Grace have been busy setting up our displays for the annual Young Artists’ Exhibit, informally known as the art show. For weeks, our students, from the youngest child in the Turtle class to the oldest child in the Monkey class, have been happily busy creating process-focused art projects for the exhibit. All of the classes have participated together in creating a mural. A reception on Sunday, May 5, at 12:15 pm, is the culmination of all our work. Everyone, parents and children of the preschool, members of Grace Lutheran Church where our preschool is located, friends, and community, is invited to join together to celebrate our preschoolers’ art! Continue reading

Why Do We Sing All Morning?

by Pam PIttenger, Turtle Class Teacher

At any moment in the morning in the Turtle class, you may hear music.  The music may be classical music, it may be music and movement (“Hurry, Hurry, Drive that Fire Truck”), or even silly (“A Hat on my Head, What Have I Here?”).  The music may be from a CD, sung by one or more of the adults, or sung by the whole class.  Songs give our children “anchors” throughout the morning as we use transition songs to describe what we are going to do next in our routines. Singing songs also allows us to share new and interesting ideas to think and ask about.

Using repetition, our Turtles learn new words, new ways to move their bodies, or new ways to play with songs.  We keep a small variety of instruments – drums and tubes, toy pianos, and the like – and other items to use in movement – scarves, ribbons, etc. – so that we can all participate!  Music is not just something being done “for” or “to” our Turtles, but something to which they react and respond.

We sing about the weather.  We sing about riding on the seesaw on the playground. We sing about swinging. We sing to allow children to stomp their feet or make loud pounding sounds with their hands.  We sing to allow children to move just their fingers or to move their whole bodies.

Continue reading

Bucket Fillers

Bucket Fillers

by Kerrie Houseworth, Monkey Class Teacher

Many studies indicate that labeling students can have a detrimental effect on their self image, and, ultimately, their success.  While this is often true, the Monkey Class is reversing this negative potential.  Instead, we are using labels to identify positive behavior.

We are kind.  We are loving.

We are sensitive to the needs of others.

We are “Bucket Fillers”.

The Monkey class has always tried to focus on the behavior we want to see.  We just haven’t had a label for it.  This past year, after reading the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud, and a short lesson on kindness, we decided to make a pledge that we will be Bucket Fillers.

Continue reading

2016 Annual Art Show and Silent Auction

IMG_8397

“Allowing Them to Grow and Thrive”
-Lynn Hess, Director

Earlier this week, I sent an email to our current families about The School of Grace Annual Art Show and Silent Auction. Soon after, I received this response from one of our parents:

“Thanks to you and the staff for all the hard work you have done and will do this week to make the Art Show a success.  It is one of my favorite events.  I vividly remember touring SoG with my oldest daughter when you were preparing for that year’s art show.  I left thinking, “I want my child to be part of this.”  I had not felt that way about any facility I had previously toured.  It was evident that this was about children and allowing them to grow and thrive in the most developmentally appropriate way possible.  Most facilities and programs I visited touted having Smartboards in their classrooms or teaching the entire Kinder curriculum to their students in the pre-k 4/5 year old class.  Those things did not impress me, either as a parent or an educator.  SoG did and I know I have given my girls the best possible start by sending them to you!  I can’t wait for May 1st when I can celebrate with my children.  They love sharing their work and the pride and excitement they feel is so evident.  A thousand thanks for the extra hours you all spend putting it all together.  It is very appreciated.  -Ann G.”

On Sunday, we will gather as a preschool family to celebrate children. Come join us at 12:15 for the reception. I am certain that you will see children who have been allowed to grow and thrive, whose creative ideas are encouraged and who are proud to share their work.

Lynn Hess, Director