December News 2015

November in Review:
The month of November was busy as usual as the children learned about First Americans and Breads. During the First Americans Unit, the students discovered the past and present lives of Native Americans. They learned about diverse tribes including the Hopi, the Pacific Northwest Indians and the Ojibwa. They learned the legends behind the rain stick and the dreamcatcher and how totem poles tell a story about families and tribes. The children whittled canoes out of soap, wove dreamcatchers, created totem poles, narrated an oral story using Native American symbols and learned a rain dance. To emphasize how First Americans had to catch their own food and make their own clothes, the children celebrated a Hopi tradition of making gifts for each other. The girls made par fleches for
November in Review
the boys (bags for carrying hunting tools) and the boys made kachina dolls for the girls. They offered each other their present as they gave their special person a Native American name. The children also enjoyed a field trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwelling where they toured the pueblos and made clay pots.
Our Bread Unit was cut short by one day because of a snow day, but we still enjoyed this delectable unit. The students learned how yeast makes bread rise and they participated in a bread tasting experiment and charted their favorite bread. One of the best days of the year was Gingerbread Man Day. We read the story of the Gingerbread Man and made gingerbread cookies. However, while we were at recess, our class gingerbread man ran away! Good thing he left clues around the
classroom so we could find him. We then enjoyed the poor guy for snack and decided we should eat his legs first so he couldn’t run away again. On the last day of the unit we read Seven Loaves of Bread and made rolls and bread sticks for the Family Feast. In December, we will focus on two units. The first is Math in Literature. We will be doing everything math. The literature will be a vehicle to keep the children’s interest as they will be sorting, comparing, adding, subtracting, counting, skip counting, patterning, making equal sets and doing a simplified version of division while reading the Doorbell Rang. We will finish up 2015 with our Holidays around the World Unit the week before Winter Break.

PE: In November, the children enjoyed physical activities that promoted jumping and hopping. The kids jumped like animals, hurdled over a “river,” leapt from low heights into hula hoops and bounded over a “candlestick” while playing Jack Be Nimble. During December, our physical education program will support the developmental skill of balance. Through play activities, the children will practice walking on, between and outside of lines and balancing on one foot. The students will also walk forwards and backwards on a 4X4 board as well as along pathways in a balance obstacle course.~Ms. Baker
Music: Students have done a great job learning about tempo this month. We have learned that songs can be sung: very slow (Lento) -like a worm, very fast (Presto)- like a lion, and 4 other tempos in
between. We enjoyed singing songs such as: The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and The More We Get Together with different
tempos. One of our favorite songs with changing tempos is Our Train and doing it using our homemade Native American shaker rattles was especially fun. Using our knowledge of rhythm, beat, and tempo as we learned the song, We Are All Connected and then performing it was our grand finale experience for the month. Next month we will learn songs with numbers in them and talking about math in music.~Mrs. Draper
Sign Language: During the month of November, the students have been learning the signs for members of the family and making sentences. We practiced sentences like: “I am __ years old,” “My name is__,” and “My family eats___.” We also spent time learning the signs for a Native American children’s song called: We Are All Connected. It was fun signing something that used so many of the signs we have learned since August. Of course performing the song for family and friends was our favorite activity this month. Next month we will review manners and learn weather words. ~Mrs. Draper
Art and Drama: Storytelling was the emphasis in the month of November. Storytelling helps expand young children’s vocabulary as they build plots, climaxes, characterizations, conflicts and resolutions. While developing stories, the students have practiced memorization while engaging in imagination. As the children prepared for their presentation of The 3 Tales of Three, they took turns putting their own personality into the characters they portrayed. The students also made puppets and created their own stories as well as retold familiar stories. This allowed the children to rehearse speaking in front of an audience and develop the skills to be a good audience. ~Mrs. Ruth

Looking Ahead to December:
December Themes
Math in Literature and Holidays around the World

Language Arts:
 Following directions read from
 Creating Number Books
 Poems: Five Fat Peas, One-Two
Buckle My Shoe, I’m a Little
 Rhymes: -est, -icks, -at
 Oral Language: Share favorite
holiday decoration from home and groups of 10 and 20 for Show and Tell
 Illustrating Poems
 Class Book: Quiet Night
Math, Social Studies and Science:
 Comparative Words-more, less,
equal, bigger, smaller, taller,
shorter, heavier, lighter
 Patterns, equal sets, counting,
addition, subtraction, sorting, pairs,
skip counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s
 Crayon making, heat experiment
 Concept of Zero
 Exploration of Cultural Celebrations

November News 2015

In October, we finished up our Five Senses Theme with Sight. We learned about the anatomy of the eye and read books such as Lucy’s Picture and It Looked Like Spilt Milk to support our theme. The students discovered the idea of Braille as a tool for reading and they used glue to create their name in this format.

We then moved into the Growing Season Unit. In this unit we learned how seeds grow into plants. We learned about the parts of the plant and enjoyed tasting and
graphing our favorite parts: root (carrot), stem (celery), leaves (spinach), flower (broccoli), fruit (pepper) and seeds (green beans). We dissected plants from root to fruit and dissected seeds to observe the seed coat, the food and the baby plant. We learned that plants need four basic elements for survival: the seed, soil, water and sun. We also discovered how seeds travel to give each seed more space for growth. From this unit we moved into the theme of Apples. We took the knowledge we learned about plants and placed it into new context with apples. Apples start as seeds and they need soil, water and sun to grow. We learned the life cycle of the apple tree and discussed how the fruits we eat, are “suitcases for seeds.” Math was emphasized using apple themed literature such as Ten Apples Up on Top and Ten Red Apples. The children sequenced apples from 1-5 or 1-10, depending on ability, on a self-portraits to create their own “apples up on top.” We also used red, yellow and green apples for patterning and creating a chart of our favorite apple to eat. Lucky for us, we were able to incorporate apples into lots of cooking. We enjoyed making apple muffins and apple pie. Hmmmm, maybe the children did not quite understand this unit and we should do it again!

We ended the Apple unit learning about Johnny Appleseed. We studied about four of the major states he visited to plant seeds: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania. We used this knowledge to help us travel from state to state during the Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party. During the party the children created a beautiful apple tree mural, “bobbed” for apples with spoons, pinned the stem on the apple, laced Apple Jack necklaces, played apple bowling, threw bean bags through an apple tree and ate apples and drank apple cider for snack.

PE: During the month of October, we stressed eye-hand-foot coordination. The children enjoyed many activities that helped with this concept including tossing games, kicking a stationary ball and ball relays. In November, the emphasis will be on hopping and jumping. Activities like Jumping as Animals, the Jump Bump, Jack Be Nimble and Jumping Over the River will be enjoyed. As always, Soccer Buddies continues to support our physical education program once a week. ~Ms. Baker
Music: October has passed quickly. We have practiced listening and following directions in songs. Some of the songs included: “The Magic Seed”, “Can you do it?” “The Train Song” and an ‘apple version ‘ of the “ Hokey Pokey”. We have also been learning about the seasons with “It’s Fall Again” and “The Four Seasons” song. Our favorite direction song this month was the “Polka Dot Pants Dance.” Next month we will be learning about tempo and the ways it can change in songs.~Mrs. Draper
Sign Language: This month we have been learning signs for different foods, animals, and some plants. It was fun talking about our favorite foods in sign language. We also learned signs for “Way up high in the apple tree”, one of our rhymes for the month. It was interesting to watch a short video of a family communicating through sign language because they were deaf. Next month we will be learning family and manners signs while we continue reviewing food and animals.~Mrs. Draper
Art and Drama: Children have been making masks so that they can then “become ” the mask. They’ve created a wonderful story about a rocket ship and aliens! We have been singing songs like ” Ooooo, eeeee, oo, ah, ah , ting tang, walla, walla, bing, bang” and acting out the story. The children are also preparing for their presentation of 3 Tales of Three to be performed on November 20th.

Looking Ahead
Themes: First Americans and Breads

Language Arts:
• Writing Stories with Native American Symbols
• Identifying Fact VS Fiction
• Rhymes: -ay, -op, -ock
• Letters and Sounds: Cc, Ee, Ff
• Create Personal Horse Stories
• Oral Storytelling
• Sequencing The Little Red Hen

Math, Science and Social Science:
• Rock Hunting
• Boat Carving and Totem Poles
• Numbers 7, 8, 9
• Baking Beads
• Discovering the stories behind dreamcatchers and rain sticks
• Boys will make Kachina dolls for girls, girls will make par fleches for boys
• “Let It Rise” Experiment
• Bread Tasting and Charting
• From Wheat to Bread
• Bake bread, breadsticks and gingerbread cookies

October 2015 News

Hello Families, October 2015
So many things have happened in the last month. The children are learning quickly and experiencing so much more. It has been fun to watch the kids go from new students to experts and from younger students to leaders.

One of things we have been stressing in September is independence. Young children respond to the reaction of the adults around them as they try to do more and more things independently. As adults, it is our job to foster independence by offering opportunities and support. This newfound freedom takes children into a path of self-confidence. However, it does take some effort on the adult to create success with limited amount of frustration. Such things as offering children easy on and off clothing and jackets, easy to open snack and lunch containers and high expectations of cleaning up after him or herself help children get the “I did it!” feeling.

Psychology Today recently generated a list of ideas to assist parents in creating self-assured and independent children:

1. Don’t do for children what they can do for themselves (While it may be quicker and easier to do it yourself, it won’t help to make your child more self-sufficient.)
2. Expect more (You would be surprised what we expect of the children at school and how well they do!)
3. Don’t redo what the child has done (“It’s natural to want to make everything perfect, but if we do, we cheat kids of the chance to experience success.” (Lamb, N.A.)).
4. Let your children solve simple problems (If you see your child trying to assemble a toy or get a book from a shelf that she can reach if she stands on her tiptoes pause before racing over to help.)
5. Assign Chores (“Putting your preschooler in charge of a regular, simple task will build her confidence and sense of competency,” (Buss, Weekday School, N.A.).
6. Praise your child often for the effort
7. Let your children work out minor squabbles. Instead of swooping in to settle disputes, stand back and let them work it out (unless a child is getting hurt). (Marguerite Lamb, N.A.)

Some adaptive skills preschool children should be able to achieve:

3 Year Olds:
• Undresses and dresses self-may need help with buttons and zippers but needs practice so let them try
• Understands what weather-appropriate clothing means
• Puts clothing away
• Takes off and puts on shoes
• Washes face and hands
• Combs and brushes hair
• Uses paper towel to clean up spills
• Hangs up coat
• Makes own bed
• Uses a napkin
• Removes plate from the table
• Rinses off fruits and vegetables
• Plays alone for one hour
• Wipes nose without being told

4 Year Olds
All of the above plus:
• Washes own hair
• Brushes hair and teeth
• Replaces toilet paper roll when empty
• Explores tying shoes
• Peels vegetables and fruit
• Learns emergency numbers and how to use a phone
• Knows clothing front and back
• Puts shoes on the right feet
• Cuts up own food with a table knife

During the month of September, the children were very busy. We have learned about the five senses: Taste, Smell, Hearing, Touch and Sight. We have discovered how the Senses help us stay aware and keep us safe. We learned how information goes into our sense organs then on to our brain. We have discussed how the brain has a great memory and can tell us when it remembers what something tastes like, the sound of someone’s voice, what our parents look like, how things feel when touched and the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. The students had many writing “assignments” including writing about our favorite food and our favorite smell. The children wrote some books such as I Hear a _________, ________ing My Ear, My Black Book of Colors and our classroom feely book. We also participated in several graphs including Our Favorite Taste, Our Favorite Smell and whether or not we would cross a crocodile infested sea for a banana. In science we learned about the sense organs and the anatomy of the tongue, ear, skin, eye and nose. We also went on a listening hike and used a pendulum to make sounds.

In the month of October, we will be finishing up the Five Senses Theme and head into the unit of the Growing Season. We will be learning about the life cycle of the plant and then the life cycle of apple trees. The children will learn about the anatomy of a plant and parts of a seed and the parts of the apple. We will end the month being introduced to Johnny Appleseed and we will culminate the unit with a “Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party.” More about this important day is discussed below.

Here are some teasers about the month ahead.

Language Arts:
• Class Book: It Looked Like Spilt Milk
• Introducing Oo, Aa, and Dd
• Working on rhymes for -at, -on, and –eed • Gaining facts from literature
• Sequencing the events in a story

Math and Science:
• Learning about the lifecycle of a plant from seed to plant • Observing apple and plant anatomy
• Charting our favorite apples-red, green or yellow
• Sequencing 1-10
• Understanding seed travel

In September, we worked on Body Strength doing activities like Blast Off!, Snake Curls and Wheelbarrow Races. We used the parachute a lot to play games that used our senses and following directions. The kids played Shark Attack, Bean Bag Shuffle and Parachute Tag.
During October our physical education curriculum will emphasize Eye- Hand-Foot coordination. We will work a lot with balls, rolling them to friends, throwing them overhand, tossing them one handed and passing them between legs and trying to self-catch them. We will hit a ball hanging from the ceiling with a pool noodle and also try to kick a ball already in motion. Eye-hand coordination is good for many reasons. Not only will it help in sports one day but supports handwriting (the eyes need to guide the hand in letter formation), reading (eye tracking skills) and life skills (stacking towers, tying shoes and frosting cakes!). ~Ms. Baker

This month the preschoolers have enjoyed singing and acting out the characters in The Little White Duck. They have been learning drama words such as characters, stage, audience, music and lyrics. The children have been exchanging roles and acting out familiar stories for one another such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the Three Little Pigs. Later we will prepare for our performance with props, backdrops and costumes. It’s wonderful to watch their progress in square dancing and singing, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” and “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain.”

Their Art experience incorporated painting with oil pastel and collage using primary colors, red, blue and yellow and mixing colors to create secondary colors, green, orange and purple.
Next month we will focus on costuming, mask making and performance skills. ~Mrs. Ruth

Sign Language:
This month we have been learning signs for the senses, body parts, clothing and colors. We have also been learning numbers and activity words like: sit, slide, run, spin, eat, wake, and sleep. It has been fun playing games with these signs and incorporating them into songs we sing during the day. The children are getting good at not only signing the alphabet, but recognizing letters being signed to them. Next month we will continue working on signing numbers as we learn food, plant, and animal signs. ~Mrs. Draper

We have enjoyed learning many songs using rhythm and body movement this month. It was fun taking turns leading the song, “Do as I’m Doing” and trying different body movements. Other songs we enjoyed were: “Johnny Works With One Hammer” and “Hinges”. We also got to practice colors with the song,”Monkeys, Monkeys”. Our definite favorite was,”Go Bananas”. Next month we are looking forward to working and playing with following directions in songs. ~Mrs. Draper

Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party
On October 28th we will have a Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party. This culminates our Growing Season Theme and helps the children to enjoy a harvest party atmosphere. The party will center around Johnny Appleseed and his travels. The students will learn about this person and how he basically traveled in four states planting apple seeds. The children will learn about the states and on the day of the party, they will travel from state to state doing different activities. We will be doing our version of “bobbing for apples” (using wooden spoons not our mouths), we will do an art project, throw beanbags through an apple and make an apple snack. We will be asking for four parent volunteers as we get closer to the date. These volunteers will “mind” a state and help the children with the activities. After the party we will all go out and plant some bulbs and apples seeds in honor of Johnny.

Children are encouraged to dress as Johnny Appleseed or a person of that era but they do not have to. Please do not go and buy anything special and we will be making hats for the day on that Monday and Tuesday prior to the party. Overalls, plaid shirts, jeans, etc is all it takes to be Johnny Appleseed for a day!

Grading Day and Parent/Teacher Conferences:
Later in the month of October, we will be providing you with your child’s first assessment. If you want an idea of what these look like, please go onto our website and view a sample. There have been a few changes to the assessment since that was posted, but similar. To prepare for this assessment, we will be closed on October 23rd to produce the Report Cards and we will have Parent/Teacher Conferences on October 30th and 31st. . There is no school on these days as well so that we can meet and spend time going over your child’s progress. We ask that if possible, students DO NOT attend the conferences. Because we discuss a lot about development, we do not want students to feel they cannot do something they have no control over. If you know you have some specific questions you would like answered on this day, please email them ahead of time so that we can have the information available. However, we know questions will arise during the conference so don’t hesitate to ask.

The report cards are developmentally based. The scores we present are from things that are observable here at school. We then write an Individual Educational Narrative under each heading giving you an idea of where your child is both developmentally and academically.

Dates to Remember:
October 12: Explorer’s Day-NO SCHOOL
October 17: Family Field Trip Fountain Creek Nature Center 12:00-1:30PM October 23: Grading Day-NO STUDENTS
October 28: Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party
October 30 and 31: Parent-Teacher Conferences-NO SCHOOL for students
November 10: Field Trip to Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings
November 23-27: Thanksgiving Break-NO SCHOOL

Happy October to all! Jen and Lisa

September 2015 News

September 2015


Dear Parents, 


The 2015-2016 school year is off to a very fast start.  The students have come so far in just the last two weeks.  They should be going home very tired as they are learning not only classroom rules and routines, but also social procedures and self-management.  The children all want to do well and are trying their best.  This takes a lot out of anyone!  Young children have been used to mostly their families and their rules at home then they come to school and they learn there are additional, or even different, rules at school. 


One of the most important skills children are learning at this age is self-control.  Self-management is one of the biggest indicators of future school success.   According to the National Mental Health and Education Center “Children who do not make choices for their own behavior, but instead rely on other children, parents, teachers, or adults to make choices for them, do not learn self-control” (Teaching Young Children Self-Control Skills, 2003). 

In an effort to help our students with this skill, we (Discovery Trails):

·      Set age-appropriate goals that the children understand

·      Teach and provide opportunities for children to learn how to pay attention

·      Provide positive feedback for appropriate behavior

·      Enforce natural consequences for not following the rules

·      Provide “breaks” so that the time children need to be positively rewarded is realistic and more successful to encourage an affirmative self-image (“I can do it!”) 

            Our curriculum and activities that are designed for the beginning of the year help introduce “how” we do things.  We talked a lot about how to be a good friend, how to be kind and how to take care of the classroom.  We also introduced science and math activities that we do often throughout the school year to give the children a “glimpse” of what they will see as we move into our first theme of the Five Senses.  In Language Arts we have listened to many stories including Jessica, Silly Sally and My Crayons Talk.  We also participated in some writing answering questions like “My favorite color is….? and “I can ….”  For math, we introduced graphs as a means to gather information and have discussed, more, less and equal.  The children are also being assessed for math skills that include counting, adding, patterning and number recognition.  Science comes in many forms and we utilize this subject in experiments, observations and cooking projects.   The children enjoyed observing colors as they change when combined, noting how brown and white eggs are similar and different and making pizza after reading Pete’s a Pizza. 

In September, the children will be very busy as we begin our theme studies.  We will be including the following activities but please see the weekly curriculum posted in the classroom and the monthly calendar for additional information.

Language Arts:

·      Reading about and gathering information about the five senses

·      Reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? and writing a class book

·      Creating a book based on My Black Book of Colors for sight

·      Writing and listening for the sounds of the letters, Ll, Ii, Tt and Aa

·      Listening for the rhymes to –at, -og, -ow and –ay

Math and Science:

·      Learning about the Five Senses and the anatomy of each correlating part of the body (eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin)

·      Charting our favorite taste (bitter, sweet, salty, sour)

·      Graphing whether or not we would cross a crocodile infested sea for bananas

·      Estimating the number of cups of water that will fill a diaper

·      Playing a “What’s Missing….” game for cognitive experience

·      Making cherry pie after reading Pie in the Sky

Soccer Buddies/PE

Soccer Buddies will continue to support our PE program by coming once a week.  The program alternates Monday and Tuesday to be sure all the kids get the opportunity to have Soccer Buddies at least every other week. 

In PE, we worked on personal space.  We read Personal Space Camp and did several activities that helped us learn where our bodies start and it ends.  We played Bumper Bubbles (using hula hoops like cars) and tried to avoid the other drivers and Space Spin where we held our arms out and spun working hard not touch others.  In September, we will work on Body Strength.  We will do more with parachute play to support upper body strength, play Blast Off!  to enhance lower body control, do Snake Curls to improve core muscles and the participate in the See Saw Pull to work the muscles in rhythm.  ~ Jen Baker

Sign Language

We have had fun in Sign Language practicing the American Sign Language alphabet and playing games with our names and their beginning letters.  We have practiced words we use often in the classroom such as:  friend, help, please, thank you, go, stop and more.  We are learning signs for the days of the week and will learn colors and signs for words representing the five senses in September.  ~ Lisa Draper



In Music this month, we have been learning about rhythm.  We have learned how to count and keep time for different rhythms by clapping, patting, stomping and using rhythm sticks.  Busy Busy Bumblebee was our favorite rhythm song.  Next month we will continue working with rhythm and add in more body movement.  ~ Lisa Draper



In art, the preschoolers began with a Line Design that included three elements of art, line, color and shape. They created a Watercolor Landscape using lines that are straight, curved and broken. They had fun singing, “She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain” and learning basic square dancing steps. Beginning with primary colors, students will mix colors to create secondary colors next month.

I’m also looking forward to beginning a performance of ” The Three Tales of Three” in September. ~Mrs. Ruth



Dates to Remember:

September 7:  LABOR DAY-no school

September 9:  First Field Trip to Starsmore Discovery Center (see separate information)

September 10:  Picture Day (see separate information)

October 12:  EXPLORER’S Day-no school

October 23:  Grading Day-No Students

October 30:  Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party

October 29 and 30:  Parent-Teacher Conferences-no school

Field Trip September 9:  We will have our first field trip on Wednesday September 9th  to Starsmore Discovery Center.  We will be enjoying the program “Andy’s Animal Senses” to support our Five Senses theme.  Permission forms and detailed information will go home the first week of September.  This trip is available to children who attend school on Wednesdays.   For fairness, we do our best to schedule field trips and special guests so that basically children who come five days, get five, children who come to school three days, get three and those who come two days, get two.  Which trips and activities depend on availability of the destination along with what we feel is the most appropriate for that specific group of children.

The night before the trip, Mrs. Draper and Ms. Baker go to Intermountain Coach and pick up two 12-passenger vans.  They will be parked in front of the school on the day of the field trip with a list of students who will be riding in that particular van posted on the window.  It is the parent’s responsibility to install their child’s car seat according to state regulations and car seat guidelines.  In Colorado, children under four years of age, MUST be in a five point, front facing car seat while older children may ride in a booster seat.  With safety being at the helm of the ship, we are very strict on following laws and we have high behavior expectations for the children.  We take only trips we know are safe and positive for our students to attend and all trips planned for this year are ones we have taken before. 

Please be sure to let us know if you have any questions! As we get closer to the field trip date, we will send home permission forms, a list of what your child needs and ask for two parent volunteers to join us on the trip.  We will pay admission fees for the two chaperones.  Parents are more than welcome to join us but the parent must cover any fees.  Siblings are not allowed to attend so that we can keep our attention on the students.  Field trips are optional, however we do not offer an alternative activity.  Please let us know if you are going to drive your own child to the destination or if your child will not be attending.  This may make a difference if we need to rent one or two vans. 


Picture Day September 10:  On September 10th, LifeTouch photos will be here to take individual and group pictures.  LifeTouch will take pictures of your child and in a few weeks, they will offer you a package of different poses and sizes.  You are under NO OBLIGATION to buy any pictures and you can buy one sheet or all the sheets.  If your child is enrolled for Thursdays, you don’t have to do anything.  Drop your child off as you usually do.  When it is your child’s turn, we will be sure he or she looks his or her best.  If your child DOES NOT attend school on Thursdays, we do ask that you bring your child about 8:15 AM.  We will have these children get their portraits done first.  Then we will get our class picture done so those who are only here for portraits may leave with their parents.  After the class picture then the rest of the students will get their pictures taken.  We do ask that all students please come for the class picture. 


Jen and Lisa


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August News 2015

August News

Dear Parents,
Summer is quickly coming to a close and we will soon be starting school. The days get very busy from here on out. Soon we will be in full swing at Discovery Trails and these times but a memory. We certainly hope your summer was full of nostalgia.

As the new school year begins, Discovery Trails has a few dates to remember for August.

August 10-12: Home Visits for New Students

August 13: Back to School Night for Adults Only 6:30-7:30PM

August 15: Back to School Social (All Children and Families) 10:00-11:30 AM

August 17: First Day of School

When school begins we will be learning about our new classroom and friends. Here is a list of just some activities we will be doing in each subject.

 Language Arts
o Friendship Stories

 Rainbow of Friends
 My Crayons Talk
 Jessica
 Stand Tall Mary Lou Mellon

 Writing
o My favorite color is ______
o I can make a _______ with one dot o I can _________

 Social
o How can I be a good friend?
o What does it mean to be kind?
o Playing partner balloon toss
o Creating a friendship picture with a peer o Making classroom Do’s and Don’t’s
o Cooperative musical hula hoops

 Math and Science
o Creating a 3D chart to represent our favorite colors o Hair color chart
o Egg experiment
o Pepperoni math
o How many seeds are in the slice of watermelon?
o Will the watermelon sink or float?
o Make pizza

 Motor Skills
o Parachute play

o Mood song

o Vertical and horizontal lines o Name writing
o Stop that sound

 Music and PE Themes o Music: Rhythm
o PE: Personal Space

Show and Tell is on Friday at 3:00. Each week we have a requirement and typically the Show and Tell would represent the Letter of the Week to help make the school/home connection and to emphasize sounds of letters. We ask that parents “assist” students with their selection but please do not do it for them. If a child brings something that does not start with the sound we are looking for we merely make it into a learning experience and listen for the sounds.

Since we do not start our Letter of the Week until the third week of school, we have other requirements for the first Show and Tells.

o August 21: We will send home a paper bag with instructions asking the children to put two to three things in the bag that tells us something about them.

o August 28: Bring something that rhymes with “-at.”
It will be a very busy first two weeks of school. We will all, teachers included, go home

very tired, hungry and thirty. This only means we had a great time!

Sincerely, Jen and Lisa

May News 2015

Dear Parents,


Well, it is time for the last newsletter of the school year. We can’t believe how quickly the year has gone. Soon it will be the last day of school and we will be saying goodbye to much of our class as they venture on to Kindergarten. The month will be full of roller coaster emotions for students and teachers alike.


April was yet another busy month. We finished our Space Theme and ended with a day of rocket launches. The children made paper rockets and dispatched them off our teacher-made air launcher outside. The students learned about thrust and how rockets need a boost to take off. They then made their own rockets and off they went. We also enjoyed a unit on Bats and began our Arachnid Theme. During these earth science-based themes the children are learning how there is a delicate balance of life and we are all interdependent.


Within the Bat Unit, the children learned about these adorable creatures including how they live, what they eat and how beneficial they are to humans. As we entered into the Arachnid Theme, the children have thus far learned the anatomy of a spider, the life cycle of the eight-legged creatures from egg to adult and how they spin webs. Using the themes as vehicles to learn developmental skills, the children utilized small motor muscles to cut out folding bats and to weave webs on plates.


In May, we will conclude our study of Arachnids with a viewing of Charlotte’s Web and head into the theme of Biomes. We will learn about different habitats such as the desert, the savanna, the ocean and the tundra.  To support this theme and the two before (Bats and Arachnids) we will head out on a field trip to the Cave of the Winds on May 13th.


Language Arts

During April we discussed the terms fact and fiction. We looked for both of these ideas in the stories we read and we emphasized getting information from literature. The children looked for facts within text and even when the story was obviously fiction (i.e. Bats at the Beach: bats wearing swimsuits and roasting bug-mallows) there may be some truth included. The children also practiced writing non-fiction as they wrote facts about bats and drew pictures of the life cycle of the spider. We also worked a lot with fine motor activities to strengthen the writing muscles in the hands by making webs with glue and weaving webs with paper. In April we worked on the alliteration and handwriting for the letters Vv, Yy, Ww and Xx and listened for the rhymes of –ace, -ive, I, and –ine.


In May, we will continue strengthening our skills by writing about our feelings. We will listen for the rhymes for–et and –in as well. For handwriting and alliteration, we will be reviewing the alphabet in order from A-Z. The Zaner-Bloser writing program we use teaches handwriting from easiest to hardest and by similar movements. For example, they group Ll, Ii and Tt because they all start from the top down and the lines are easy to make. Now we will pull it all together and start from the beginning of the alphabet in review. On May 8th we will have an End-of-Alphabet Party from 2:30-3:30. All children are invited to attend (please see below for more information).



Math and Science

We have been especially busy with Math and Science the last few months and May will be no exception. In April, we used math when we observed charts on whether or not we were “afraid of bats” or if we would “let a spider crawl on us.” We also participated in a group dot-to-dot activity in which the students made a bat by following the dots with a small group of friends. The groups then had to color it and name it being able to listen to the ideas of others and exercise the art of compromise. We also counted the number of spiders in an egg sac and found our “baby bat” by matching patterns.   In science we learned about the life cycle of the bat and the spider and discovered echolocation. We also did an experiment to find out if we would make good fruit bats by using our sense of smell to decide which paper bag had the banana and which had a rubber glove.


In May, our math program will support drawing conclusions, or alternate conclusions, from information we already know and matching the number of spider babies to the egg sac . For science, we will continue learning about spiders with an activity in ballooning and taking turns being a trapdoor spider making a split second decision if we will be a predator or become prey. We will participate in a venom experiment to find out how spiders eat and then learn about the different categories of the earth’s biomes.



The month of April brought a hodge-podge of skills to PE as it was hard to predict “will PE inside or outside?” The kids practiced eye-hand coordination with golf and body awareness with hopscotch. We played Sharks and Minnows; a tag game using flags. One of the most successful activities we participated in was called “ What If….” The students took turns thinking of a cause and effect such as, “What if we were swimming/jumping/hiding/etc” and the children used their body to act out the “What if…”


In May we will concentrate on the skills needed to be successful at kicking, catching and throwing. ~Ms. Freeland



Our music program was about feeling emotions in music and dance. We applied critical thinking skills regarding the relationship between music and feelings through listening and responding to different musical scores. The children drew self-portraits of how certain music made them feel. We listened to March, Dance of the Flutes (The Nutcracker), The Swan (Saint-Saens) and Hoedown (Copland). We also danced to the Mood Song to portray how we felt in pantomime. We learned that diverse music makes us feel differently and we may feel dissimilar than others do about the same piece of music.


This month, we will concentrate on Music from Different Traditions and Cultures. Although we will listen to lots of different kinds of music, we will focus on songs from Asia, Latin America and Australia.



The kids have been busy in Art and Drama in April. The children used the color wheel to paint rainbows. They used the printing method outside as they directly painted on the table, drew pictures with their fingers, then printed using different types of paper. The children also used oil pastels on black paper and then on white paper using a watercolor wash. The students learned about shapes by creating neighborhoods drawing squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. They learned about 3D shapes understanding that one can see the shape all the way around while creating spheres, columns, cones and cubes with playdough. For Drama, the children played theatre games and pantomime with Mirror and Wax Museum.

In May we will be learning hula dances to be performed at our annual luau the last day of school. ~Mrs. Ruth


Lego Club

This month each of the students made Lego measurement predictions about objects in the classroom, wrote them down, and then measured them with Duplo Legos to see how close their predictions were. Many of the students had close guesses. We talked more about symmetry and made bats and spiders to go along with our themes. They had cool symmetry! Making mazes was also fun and we got to take turns trying each others’ mazes by rolling a marble through them. Now we are spending time using our imagination as we make Lego creations and write stories about them. Next month we will spend time working on what comes next in a series and being able to independently make creations from examples our friends design for us. ~ Mrs. Draper


Sign Language

We have been learning signs for manners and food. It was fun using our play money and cash register to practice our food and manners signs while we went “shopping”. We also reviewed our clothing and color signs as we played “Who has _____ ______?” (It’s like “I Spy”) The new song we learned this month was It’s Raining, It’s Pouring. We are now working on family signs and will start learning weather signs next week. ~ Mrs. Draper



 End-of-the-Alphabet Party

We will have a curricular-base party on the 8th of May from 2:30-3:30.   The kids will play alphabet games and they will have to match a letter they pull from a “hat” to a letter on a cookie. All children who attend DT are invited and those who do not attend on Fridays, may come at 2:30.



 End of the Year Luau

At Discovery Trails, we have an annual tradition of ending our year with a luau. On the last day of school, May 22nd, school will end at noon. Parents will come and set up outside at the tables and chairs.   The students will entertain us all with hula and Hawaiian dances.   Then we all eat a potluck lunch with DT providing pizza and the table setting and families volunteering for sides, drinks and desserts. Families are invited. If more than just Mom and Dad are going to join us, please let us know so we know how much food to provide. The students are then free to go at any time after they give their teachers a hug and receive their end-of-the-year gifts. Report cards and personal items will be available to take home as well.   More information about this incredible day will be presented as it nears.




Letters of Intent to Enroll/Deposits

Please remember that Letters of Intent to Enroll for the 2015-2016 school year are now due. Your child’s space is not guaranteed until we receive a deposit. The deposit is equal to one-month tuition. Contracts are written after the deposit has been made. If you choose a 12-month payment, your next tuition payment after the deposit is due July 1st. If you choose the 10-month plan, the next payment after the deposit is due September 1st.







Preschool Conferences

Just as we held prekindergarten conferences in April 17th, we will have preschool conferences on Tuesday, May 26th. We will send out more information about this day as the year comes to a close.


Conference Schedule


M. Brayley 8:00-8:25
Evans 8:30-8:55
Hood 9:00-9:25
Krakar-Crepeau 9:30-9:55
Laptera 10:00-10:25
Priebe 10:30-10:55
Santhosh 11:00-11:25
Tong 11:30-11:55




Dates to Remember


May 4: May Day Break-No School

May 13: Field Trip to Cave of the Winds

May 22: Last Day of School and Luau (School ends at noon. We have Hula dances and entertainment by the students that starts promptly at 12:00PM and then lunch. Families are invited. If more than just Mom and Dad are going to join us, please let us know so we know ho much food to prepare).

May 25: Memorial Day: School Closed

May 26: Preschool Conferences



Jackets: Please send your child with a jacket or sweater EVERYDAY. It is often still chilly when we go outside at 10AM. Recently the high was scheduled to be 68 degrees but when we went out at ten, it was 38 degrees…too cold for children in shorts and no jackets.


Sunscreen: Sunscreen must be applied to your child everyday before school. The Colorado Department of Human Services requires children to have sunscreen applied and we must comply. If your child cannot wear sunscreen or you prefer to have your child not wear it, we must have a written permission form signed by a doctor and a liability waiver will need to be signed by the parents that releases Discovery Trails form any liability of your child gets sunburned or any other sun-related reaction. We will apply extra sunscreen if we spend extended time outdoors for curricular activities so please have some available here at school.


2015-2016 school calendars are now available. Please let us know if you would like one before Back to School Night in August.




Hoping for a sunshiny May!


Jen and Lisa