November 2018

From Your Director:  

Around this time every year I always say “ where did September go?”  The fall can get super busy for many people and before we know it, it's time to get ready for the holidays.  As adults we want to create magical memories for children, but in the process we often lose sight of the child.  When really, the magic of the holidays comes from simple moments that we, as adults, create with children. Children are not concerned with perfect place setting or even if the lights are hung just right. What they remember is if the adults in their lives are present in the moment with them.  

Magical moments that create lifetime memories don’t have to be some grand event or activity. I have to admit this doesn’t always jive with my adult sense of how things should be. If we, put our vision aside, there are many simple activities to do with kids over the next couple months that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.  

Being outside now that the weather is cooler is a great way to spend time together as family. Young children love collecting things, so going on a walk and collecting leaves or acorns is a great option. Making cookies or cupcakes is an easy activity with children.  At times life is just busy and the best option is a movie night to slow down a little bit.

Remember to keep it simple and that the goal is just have fun and create memories with your children.

Warmly,

LaQuetha

Mark Your Calendars!

  • Wednesday, November 14th: Picture Day

  • Friday, November 16th: Thanksgiving Feast

  • Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 21st-23rd: CDC closed for Thanksgiving

  • Friday, December 21st - Wednesday, January 2nd: CDC closed for Winter Break

  • Monday, January 21st: CDC closed for MLK, Jr. Day


Thanksgiving Feast:
 One of the many fun family traditions we have at FELCDC is our Thanksgiving lunch. On Friday, November 16th, you are invited to join your child for lunch in the Fellowship Hall.  Jennifer will be personally preparing a Thanksgiving lunch for the entire school and their families -- a pretty amazing feat, if you ask me. RSVP sheets will be on the classroom sign in clipboards.  We will begin eating at 11:45.

Picture Day is happening on Wednesday, November 14th. It will start at 8 am.  I received a lot of positive feedback about last years photos, so we asked Lifetouch Photos to come back this year.  Please remember to turn in your photo preference form by Monday, November 12th. We will also be taking group photos.

Candy:  Do you have leftover Halloween candy that you would like to get rid of? We’ll take it! Our teachers love sweet treats and are always happy to take them off your hands.

Please pay your supply fee if you haven’t already done so!  The $125 fall supply fee was due at the end of October. Please make sure that you have paid. The next installment will be charged in February.

Fall Festival: A big thanks to those of you who helped out with the Fall Festival.  I’d especially like to thank all the staff who stayed late after working a full day to help make it an extra fun evening for our kiddos.

Book Fair: Thank you so much to everyone who purchased books at our book fair!  Your purchases add up to Scholastic Dollars for our teachers to spend on books and other classroom resources.

Staff Birthdays:

November 24th: Lauren (Sunbeam Lead Teacher)

Out and About

Waller Creek Show 2018 in downtown Austin. This free-family event returns November 9th - 17th for nine-nights of free light-based, site specific art installations along Waller Creek. Find more information at https://www.wallercreek.org/event/creek-show

UMLAUF Family Day is Sunday, November 11th from 12pm to 4pm. A great way to spend time together as a family and there will be lots of fun activities. Find more information at https://www.umlaufsculpture.org/family-day

Blue Lapis Light is a performance group that performs in the air, usually in the evenings, while lit up. Think Circque du Soleil meets the ballet.  Find out more at https://www.bluelapislight.org/upcoming-performances

Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade is happening November 24th.  It starts at 11 am in downtown Austin.  It benefits Operation Blue Santa so bring new, unwrapped toys to donate! Find more information at http://www.chuysparade.com/

Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure is an immersive experience that invited you to jump in and explorer unknown ocean depths where prehistoric marine reptiles lived eons ago - and maybe still live today! It will be at the Long Center on November 25th.  Find more information at http://thelongcenter.org/event/erths-prehistoric-aquarium-adventure/



February 2018

Mark Your calendars:

  

  • Monday, February 19th: CDC closed for staff training day
  • Thursday-Friday, March 15-16th: Staff Work Day & Center Holiday
  • Friday, March 30th: Center Holiday
  • Friday, April 20th: Tentative date for Spring Festival 

Gate: I have not forgotten about the gate. I am working with a fencing company to install a new gate latch on the gate closest to the parking lot--I realize it has been giving people trouble.  

Supply Fee:  The second installment of the supply fee was charged on February 1st.  The amount is $125.  It is due by February 28th.

Intent forms:  Intent forms are going out this month, asking you to let us know if you plan to keep your child here this summer and next year.  I realize that you may not know for sure at this point, but please let us know to the best of your knowledge.  If you know that you might be moving sometime soon, let me know it is a possibility.  I promise we won’t give your child’s spot away until you know for sure!

Late Fee Reminder:  Our closing time is 6pm.  We recommend trying to get here by 5:50 at the latest so that you don’t have to rush your child out the door immediately.  Your children have so many things they want to share with you at the end of the day: art projects to show you, favorite toys and books to tell you about.  Most kids respond better when they have a minute to show you around before hurrying home.  

We understand that sometimes circumstances are beyond your control and you can’t help but arrive late. However, we want to keep it from becoming a habit.  We have liability issues to worry about as well as tired teachers who want to get home.  (Many of our staff have long bus rides before they get home, and leaving just a few minutes later can mean missing an earlier bus.)

If you pick up between 6:00 and 6:05, you will be charged $15. After 6:05, you will be charged an additional $10 for every 5 minutes you are late.  (See your parent handbook for more information.)

Staff Birthdays:

February 13th:  Marcia (Sunbeam pm)

Out and About

Jugglefest:  Who doesn’t love a great juggler?  Kids in particular love them! Held at the Texas School for the Deaf, February 23rd-25th, the festival, is hosted by the Texas Juggling Society and will include hours of workshops games and special performances. $20 for three-day admission and public show show. Find more information at  http://juggling.place.org/jugglefest

Nature’s Number Exhibit: Play with math and nature at the Nature and Science Center. Explore shapes, structures, and puzzles found in nature while creating a foundation for math. It is being held through May 6th.  Find more information http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-nature-and-science-center

2018 Vietnamese New Year: Tết, the Vietnamese New Year is the most imporatant holiday in the Vietnamese culture. This year is the year of the Dog, and there will fun activities for all ages. The event will feature dragon dances, cultural performances, authentic Vietnamese food, red envelope, cultural performances, Ao Dai Fashion Show, Martial Arts, and activities for the kids. Held on February 18th, you can find more information at https://www.vacat.org/events/tfa18/

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live is based on the PBS tv show and will be at Bass Concert Hall, February 24th.  Daniel and his friends invite you the neighborhood of make-believe where Daniel learns about what is like to be King for a day. It’s an event that teaches a valuable lesson on kindness, helping others and being a friend.  Find more information at https://texasperformingarts.org/event/daniel-tigers-neighborhood-live-2018-bass-concert-hall-austin-texas

ABC Zilker Kite Festival: This popular event held on Sunday, March 4th, from 10:00-5:00, thrills kids of all ages as color fills the sky.  Bring your own kite or make one while you are there, this is an Austin tradition that all should experience at least once! Find more information at https://www.abckitefestival.org/

 

What do you really know about Adrienne, one of our Rainbow teachers?
What is your educational background?  I doubled Majored in  Birth - 6th grade education & Geography at Oneonta University in New York

Where were you before First English? I taught  at at Early Childhood Development Center after I graduated.

What do you like about teaching?  I love children's excitement to learn new things.  I love that we are not just teaching about math/science but also teaching them how to be kind and caring. It’s just as important to to teach children about the world around them.

Which is your most favorite children's book ever? The Giving Tree

What is your taste in music? Classic Rock.

If given a complete freedom to start afresh and couldn't teach, what profession would you choose and why? I would try writing and illustrating a children's book. I have always enjoyed art and writing but never persuaded.

What is your idea of fun? If given a choice to skip work for a day, how would you spend the entire day? I would pick up my favorite food to take on a picnic and go hiking.

Which is your favorite time of the day, are you a morning person or a night person? I like the mornings because its calm and quiet and it feels like you have the world to yourself before the day starts. I enjoy that first cup of coffee.

January 2018

 

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful break with lots of good family time. 

After such a nice long break, it can be hard for all of us to get back into the routine. Don’t be surprised if you have had a brief setback in your morning drop-off routine.  You might see more tears, more clinging to legs, more reluctance to let you leave.  Your children loved all the extra time they get to spend with you, and they might wish they could have even more.  You probably feel a little sad, too.  Don’t let your feelings interfere with the things we know to make the transition to school easier:  

  • Get here before the breakfast transition starts so your child’s teacher is better able to help you say goodbye.
  • Prepare your child on the way to school for what is to come.
  • STICK WITH THE ROUTINE!  If you don’t have one, make one.  Keep it simple: e.g. one book, one hug, and a push out the door.
  • When it is time, walk out the door with confidence. If you hesitate, your child will sense your reluctance to leave, and that can make things even harder.
  • Remember that it will get easier again.  For all of us.

Thank you for trusting us with your children,

LaQuetha

Mark Your calendars:

  • Monday, January 15th:  Closed for MLK Jr. Day
  • Monday, February 19th: Closed for Staff Training Day
  • Thursday-Friday, March 15-16th: Closed Center Holiday & Staff Work Day
  • Friday, March 30th: Center Holiday

Special classes:  It’s time to sign up for Music, Tumbling, and Soccer!  If you are signing up for the first time or discontinuing when your child normally attends, please let us know.

***Please let us know if there are any changes to whether your child does/does not attend these classes.  There is always a lot of confusion at the beginning of the sessions about whether people have just forgotten to pay or have actually decided not to have their children attend anymore.

Winter Weather:  We may face some additional days this winter when the school will need to be closed due to ice and snow.  For those of you who are new, we follow the calls made by AISD on whether to close the school for the safety of our staff and families.  If AISD closes, we close.  If AISD has a 2-hour delay, we will open at 9:30.  If you know there is a chance of wintry precipitation in the morning, check your email before heading out.  I’m always up at the crack of dawn emailing on those days!

Warm Weather Clothes: Please remember to check that your child has extra cold weather clothes in his/her cubby in case a change is needed in the middle of the day.  Also, we venture outside unless there is rain, so please make sure to send your child in coats, hats, gloves that allow them to get outside and run off some energy!

Out and About

Ice Skating on the Rooftop Every year Whole Foods offers ice skating on the rooftop. More information at https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/ice-skating-plaza-0

Second Saturdays Are For the Families: Hit The Road Create a cardboard car and then enjoy a movie at Laguna Gloria.  Ages 2 - 11.  More information at https://www.thecontemporaryaustin.org/event/second-saturdays-are-for-families-hit-the-road/

Theater: Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman is brought to life in a musical  dog party at the Paramount Theater on Sunday, January 14. More information at https://tickets.austintheatre.org/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=2921

MLK Celebrations  We will be closed on the 15th in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., so if you are looking for ways to both entertain and educate your kiddo, why not participate in some of the great events surrounding the day?  Parades, festivals and a day of volunteering are just some of the ways in which you can help honor MLK. Find out more information at www.mlkcelebration.com.

Snow Day Throw snowballs and make snow angels at the Science Mill’s third annual snow day on Saturday, January 20. Their backyard is transformed into a winter wonderland with 20 tons of snow. More information at https://www.sciencemill.org/snow-day

Texas Wildlife Day Enjoy a day of celebrating animals at the Texas Memorial Museum on the UT campus on Saturday, January 27. Free admission and  family activities. More information at https://tmm.utexas.edu/events/5

December 2017

 

 

Hi, Everyone. I can’t believe it’s already December.  

As we embark on this Holiday season, I am reminded of memories from my childhood. One of my family traditions was getting in our PJ’s and then driving around Houston, TX to look at Christmas lights. I want to encourage you to take a moment and see this season through your child’s eyes for all the joy and excitement it brings them.  I hope you all enjoy making memories with your child during this season.

Please join us next Friday for our annual Cookie Decorating Party! Details below.

Have a wonderful break--we’ll see you in 2018!

LaQuetha

Mark Your calendars:

  • Friday, December 8th: Contributions to Bonus Fund Due
  • Friday, December 15th: Cookie Decorating Party
  • December 22nd-January 2nd:  Closed for the holidays
  • Wednesday, January 3rd:  Back to school!
  • Monday, January 15th:  Closed for MLK Jr. Day
  • Monday, February 19th: Closed for Staff Training Day

Cookie Decorating Party: Please join us for our annual Cookie Decorating Party on Friday, Dec. 15 at 3:15 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We will be serving sugar cookies and spiced apple cider. Thanks, as always, to Jennifer for her hard work in making this happen.

Gate: I know that the gate latch is not working well.  I met with a fencing company about fixing the latch.  Thanks for you patience as we get this fixed.

Feast of Thanksgiving:Thank you to all of the families for coming out and sharing in our feast. It was wonderful to see families gathered together. I know that I speak for many of us when I express my gratitude to Jennifer for spending so much of her personal time creating this annual experience for us.

Thank You:  We made $646.94 in Scholastic Dollars from sales at our Book Fair!  This money can be spent on books and other teacher resources from the Scholastic catalog.  Our lead teachers are enjoying ordering fun things for their classrooms, thanks to you.

Warm Weather Clothes: Finally, we have some colder weather!  Please remember to check that your child has extra cold weather clothes in his/her cubby in case a change is needed in the middle of the day.  Also, we venture outside unless there is rain, so please make sure to send your child in coats, hats, gloves that allow them to get outside and run off some energy!

Out and About

Luminations Every year the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center lights up their gardens with thousands of twinkling luminarias.  More information at https://www.wildflower.org/luminations

A Jazz Nutcracker  Put on by the wonderful Tapestry group, this jazzy version of the Nutcracker is sure to please even our youngest fans.  December 7th-17th.  More information at https://www.tapestry.org/

Mozart’s Coffee Holiday Lights Show Mozart’s has a fantastic light show.  More information at http://do512.com/mozartschristmaslightshow2017

North Pole Flyer Take a trip on a train ride on the historic Bertram Flyer includes story-time, cookies, and a visit from both Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus.  More information at http://www.austinsteamtrain.org/special-events/north-pole-flyer/

Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas  Millions of holiday lights will illuminate Circuit of the Americas during this season.  Enjoy looking at the festive light displays along with a skating rink, petting zoo, singing trees, ferris wheel and many more activities.  Bring a book to donate to the Pizza Hut Book It Program and receive a complimentary ride on the COTA Express mini train. More information at http://www.circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland

 

November 2017

Hi, Everyone. Thank you all for coming to the Fall Festival last week! We had a wonderful time celebrating with you. We are also grateful for your many warm hugs and words of support over the last two weeks. Thank you all for being a part of FELCDC and for trusting us with your children.

During this interim period, my hours will be 8:30-5:30 every day. Alexis (Explorer Assistant) will continue to open the school M-Th, and Meghan will continue to open the school on Fridays. Meghan will also be in the office most days beginning at 10 a.m.

LaQuetha Ford

Interim Director

 

Mark Your Calendars:

November 7th: Picture Day

November 17th:  Thanksgiving Feast

Wed-Fri, Nov. 22nd-24th:  CDC closed for Thanksgiving

Fri., Dec 22nd-Tues., Jan. 2nd: Closed for Winter Break

Mon., Jan. 15th: Closed for MLK, Jr. Day

Feast Info:  Please mark your calendars for our annual Thanksgiving Feast on Friday, November 17th. RSVP sheets will be on the classroom sign in clipboards. We will begin eating at 11:45. Please allow extra time for parking. Our little lot fills  up fast, and with the students parking in the neighborhood during the day, it can be challenging to find a spot. When you arrive, please come directly to the Fellowship Hall. If you arrive by 11:30, we would love to have some extra help getting the food out. If you are willing to help, come to the window of the kitchen and let us know. Getting all that food out in a 15-minute window is quite a challenge! Make sure to let your child’s teacher know if you are planning to take him/her home after the meal. We will say goodbye in the Fellowship Hall, not the classroom. If you are going back to work, be prepared for some tears. It is big fun to have mom or dad come to lunch, but it’s hard to have to say goodbye again. You can help by talking to your child about the plan beforehand.  

Thank you so much to Jennifer for doing this for us again!

Candy:  Do you have leftover Halloween candy that you would like to get rid of? We’ll take it! Our teachers love sweet treats and are always happy to take them off your hands.

Please pay your supply fee if you haven’t already done so!  The $125 fall supply fee was due at the end of October. Please make sure that you have paid. The next installment will be charged in February.

Birthdays:

Lauren Eichhorn, Sunbeam lead teacher has a birthday on November 24th.

July 2017

From Your Director:

I have to admit: I’m tearing up a little at the thought that this is my last FELCDC Newsletter.  Sigh.  This place has played such a tremendous part in my life.  I was 22 years old when I started as an afternoon assistant teacher in the Rainbow Room, working on a double major in English and Psychology at UT.  

I fell in love with First English for several reasons.  First, it was a thousand times better than the other miserable food service and research jobs I’d held previously.  (Not saying much, I know.) Secondly, I loved the people: the kids, the parents, and the other amazing people I worked with.  And finally, I loved it because I felt that the work I was doing was valuable and important.  I was helping to shape the next generation.  What could be more important than that?

Twenty years later, I still love First English for many of the same reasons.  I hope to take the lessons I’ve learned here with me as I continue the important work I started here.

By now, I hope you’ve had a chance to say “Hi” to our new director, Cyndy Karras.  We’ve had a great two weeks working together and are feeling confident that we will be able to provide a smooth transition for the school.  It definitely eases my mind to know that I will be leaving First English in such capable and caring hands.

 

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

 

Mark Your Calendars:

Wednesday, July 12th:  Coffee with Cyndy in the Parlor

Friday, July 21st: Shannon’s Goodbye Party

August 1st-4th:  Meet Your Child’s New Teacher! (More info to come.)

August 17th and 18th:  CDC closed for Training and Work Day

August 21st:  New School Year Begins!

 

Come have coffee with Cyndy:   We’d like to give you a chance to chat with Cyndy a little more by offering coffee in the Parlor on the morning of July 12th. Stop in after dropping off your child for a cup of coffee, some conversation, and a snack.

Shannon’s Goodbye Party:  Jennifer is making frito pie in my honor on the evening of July 21st from 5:30-7 in the Fellowship Hall.  We’d love to see  you there.  Please send me an email if you can make it with the number who will attend by Wednesday the 26th. (sball@firstenglishcdc.org)  My official last day will be July 28th.

June 2017

From Your Director:

In the course of this school year, some of you have received phone calls from Child Care Licensing, asking questions about First English.  Since this seems to have become a standard procedure for Licensing in the past year or so, I thought I’d provide you with a little more information so that you won’t be surprised if you receive such a phone call.

Any time a child receives an injury at school that results in their needing medical attention, all child care centers are required to make a self-report to Licensing.  This happens 3 or 4 times every school year.  We’ve had to report everything from a rock up the nose that we were unable to remove to a bump on the head that concerned us to a cut on the forehead that needed stitches.  After we make the report, a licensing rep contacts us to gather more information.  Sometimes they come out in person to look around.  Sometimes they just gather information by fax and phone.  They always speak to the parents of the injured child.

Lately, they have added to their investigations a request for the phone numbers of several parents in the same class as the injured child.  They call these parents to make sure that there are no concerns about the level of supervision we are providing.  They may also call to inform you that they interviewed your child during their visit.

Please don’t be alarmed if you receive such a phone call.  It really is standard operating procedure.  We are always required to post the results of our  most recent licensing visit, so you can see the results of these self-reports for yourself on the bulletin board outside my office.  (They are also available on the DFPS website.)

You are always welcome to talk to us if you have concerns.

 

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

 

Mark Your Calendars:

July 4th:Center Holiday

August 1st-4th:  Meet Your Child’s New Teacher! (More info to come.)

August 17th and 18th:  CDC closed for Training and Work Day

August 21st:  New School Year Begins!

 

Summer Moves:

I know some of you are wondering about when your child will move up to the next class.  Most kids will move on August 21st, the official start of the school year.  But if you’ve been here a while, you know that we usually move a few of the older children during the summer.  We do this for two main reasons:  First, it helps us to keep enrollment up by allowing us to bring in new children from the waitlist.  Second, it helps with the transitions to new classrooms by giving some children a chance to become familiar with the new routines beforehand.   These older children can be very helpful when the rest of the group joins them at the end of the summer.  We do plan to make some of these moves at the beginning of July and possibly at the beginning of August as well.  You’ll be hearing from us soon.  Feel free to check in if you have questions about when and where your child will be moving.

Summer Music and Soccer:

Please sign up NOW if you want your child to participate.  The new Music session starts on the 7th of June and is open to all children.  Soccer starts on June 16th and is open to children 3 and older.  Here are the links to register:

 Soccer shots:  https://austin.ssreg.org/?sitename=first+english&input_address=

 Opus One Music:  https://opusonekids.com/register/austin/

Volunteer(s) Needed:

Our lovely and wonderful former First English director Linda Collins has been helping me with the massive undertaking of organizing the toy storage area we lovingly refer to as “the pit.”  While sorting through the piles and piles of dress-up clothes, she has noticed that some of them could use a good washing!  Would you be willing to take home a basket of dress-up clothes to wash?  If so, drop by the office and let us know.  Thanks.

Water Play is coming soon!  Water play will be held on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. The lead teachers and I will be meeting next week to discuss the details, so look for more information about the exact start date and what you need to bring coming very soon.

 A Couple of Reminders:

  • Only grown-ups open doors and gates at First English.  If your child wants to open the door/gate, tell him or her that it is a school rule.  We are happy to be the bad guys here!  Help us keep our children safe.

  • We have been happily letting parents in through the side door that leads directly to the Fellowship Hall during breakfast.  While we really don’t mind doing this, we are realizing that a lot of our kids are skipping the important step of washing their hands before breakfast.  Washing hands upon arrival and before every meal is one of the most important ways we limit the spread of germs in the center.  Please help us with this by heading to the bathroom to wash hands before coming to breakfast.

  • No Big Kids in the Toddler Swings!  Please save the two bucket swings for children who are under 2.5 years old.  Again, please feel free to make us the bad guys.  I am totally fine with your telling your child “I’d love to push you in that swing, but Shannon says I can’t.”

 Staff Birthdays:

June 10th:  Adrienne Orlando (Rainbow Lead Teacher)

June 18th:  Valentina Osuna (Former Star Assistant teacher and floater who will be with the Rainbows this summer)

June 24th:  Tate Chitwood (Assistant Teacher for Sunbeams and Explorers.)

February 2017

FELCDC News

February 2017

 

From Your Director:

 

This past month, I saw a really great example of how simple materials artfully presented can result in amazing creative experiences for kids.  Ms. LaQuetha created a “loose parts” tray for her math and science center.   Using a divided blue tray, she carefully selected materials of different sizes, shapes and textures that came together in an eye-pleasing manner in the tray.  There were blue glass beads, cotton swabs, turquoise popsicle sticks, circular wood pieces, and pattern blocks.  She set them out on the table and allowed the children to take turns creating.  The things they made were as interesting and unique as the kids themselves: some made patterns and abstract designs: others made figures; others made pretend food creations.  Since the designs couldn’t go home, Ms. LaQuetha documented the creations through pictures.  You could tell by the looks on the children’s faces that they felt tremendous pride in their work.  Ms. LaQuetha tells me it has been the most popular activity in the room lately.

 

Proof that sometimes the simplest materials make for the most creative play.

 

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

 

Mark Your Calendars:

Saturday, February 25th:  Parent Work Day

Monday, February 20th: CDC closed for staff training day

Friday, April 14th:  Staff Work Day

Friday, April 28th: Tentative date for Spring Festival and Fundraiser

 

Just a reminder: Don’t forget to close and latch gates and doors behind you.  I know  it seems like a pain sometimes, but keep in mind that this is an important part of our system of safeguards.  It’s worth a little inconvenience to keep our children safe.  Also, please help us remind the children that at our school “only grown-ups open doors.”  Thanks for your help.

 

Speaking of the gate: I have a call in to a handyman service to install a new gate latch on the gate closest to the parking lot--I realize it has been giving people trouble.  (If any of you handy parents want to save us some money by doing it for us, let me know!)

 

New Date for Work Day:  I have had a conflict come up on February 11th and the 18th, so I’d like to try to do our work day on February 25th.  The two main things I’d like to focus on for this work day are: taking a load of broken toys and furniture to the dump and painting the hallway. I’ll send out a Signup Genius link in the next few days.

 

Spring Break:  First English is open all of Spring Break this year (March 13-17).  Being open during this week is always challenging for us.  Because so many of our teachers are college students, we really like to be able to give as many of them the week off as possible. Please let us know ahead of time if your child will be out that week so that we can plan for staffing.  Thanks for your help!

 

Supply Fee:  The second installment of the supply fee was charged on February 1st.  The amount is $125.  It is due by February 28th.  You are welcome to add the amount to your tuition check if you don’t want to write 2 checks.

 

Volunteer to help with our fundraiser:  We’ll be holding our Spring Festival and fundraiser at the end of April (the 28th is our tentative date.)  We’ll be planning lots of fun activities for the kids and hope to raise some funds to help pay for the resurfacing of our playground.  We’d love to have your help with planning and orchestrating this.  Please send me an email if you are interested.

 

Intent forms:  I will be sending out intent forms later this month, asking you to let us know if you plan to keep your child here this summer and next year.  I realize that you may not know for sure at this point, but please let us know to the best of your knowledge.  If you know that you might be moving sometime soon, let me know it is a possibility.  I promise we won’t give your child’s spot away until you know for sure!

 


 

January 2017

From Your Director:

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful break with lots of good family time.  My family and I did a little road trip to New Orleans over the break.  We had a blast.  We went to the zoo and the aquarium, explored some cemeteries, walked around a sculpture garden, rode the streetcar, ate seafood in the French Quarter, and much more.

On the way back to Austin, we stopped in Houston and did a tour of NASA.  That was super-cool!  And considering that our oldest is way into outer space right now, it was pretty much perfect.  

The next day after our return home, I observed my children re-enacting some of the things they learned about at NASA.  My younger son was cocooned in a tiny nest under the coffee table, pretending that he was an astronaut about to be launched into outer space.  (We had all been amazed by how tiny the capsules were for the astronauts in the early rockets.)  My older son was pretending to be mission control.  He was talking to his brother through facetime on an ipad.  (We had seen Mission Control up close on our tour.) Once he was in orbit, our little astronaut talked about how he was doing his exercise in space.  (We learned about the importance of exercise for astronauts in a film we watched.)

If you’ve read my newsletters or done a tour with me, you know that I am a great believer in the power of play.  I wish I could show anyone who doubts play-based learning this wonderful moment with my children and how play reinforced the new concepts they had just learned.

Hope you all got lots of time to play over the break.

 

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

 

Mark Your Calendars:

Monday, January 16th:  CDC closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Saturday, February 11th:  tentative date for Parent Work Day (more info to come)

Monday, February 20th: CDC closed for staff training day

Friday, April 14th:  Staff Work Day

 

Floors: So the good news is...the floors were finished in plenty of time for us to get the rooms set up and welcome the kids back on Wednesday!  The bad news is...the contractor used the wrong tile.  That dark gray was not part of our plan.  We’ve been doing a lot of debating about whether we can learn to live with the color and are realizing that we are going to have to replace some, if not all, of the gray.  We’re still working out the details, but don’t be surprised to see something different when you walk in after the weekend.



 

Special classes:  It’s time to sign up for Music, Tumbling, and Soccer!  If you are signing up for the first time or discontinuing when your child normally attends, please let us know.

 

Weather:  Earlier in the week, I looked at my phone and saw a slight chance of snow in the forecast for Friday.  Even though it’s no longer showing in the forecast,  I realized that I should give a reminder of our procedures for ice and snow days, JUST IN CASE.  We follow AISD, so if AISD closes, we close.  If AISD opens 2 hours late, we open at 9:30.  On a day when there is a chance of wintry weather, please check your email before heading out.

 

FELCDC News September 2016

From Your Director:  

Last week, I attended 2 days of the annual conference of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children.  I love going to conferences!  I always come back with a renewed sense of the importance of the work we do.  This time, I attended a highly motivational session called “Staying Play-Based in a Readiness World”.  The presenter talked a lot about how, in our changing world, child care centers are one of the few remaining places where children have the opportunity for free play with other children.  Children need this sort of unstructured time for many reasons--one of the most important being that it teaches them how to resolve conflicts.  Children are intrinsically motivated to

learn to resolve conflicts with other children during free play because PLAY IS FUN and they want it to continue.  

If you are not certain of the value of learning conflict resolution, think about many of the big social issues facing our country today!

And if that doesn’t convince you of the importance of play: consider the words of a middle school algebra teacher who attended this same session who said that her middle school students would have benefitted from the ability to take risks, problem-solve, and think independently--skills that are learned through play.

Help us to protect your children’s play by spreading the word that play is important and that children can learn everything they need to know through play.

 

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon


 

Mark Your Calendars!

Monday, October 10th:  CDC closed for Staff Training Day

October 17-28th: Scholastic Book Fair

October 21st:  Fall Festival!

November 17th: Picture Day

November 18th:  Thanksgiving Feast

Wed-Fri, Nov. 23rd-25th:  CDC closed for Thanksgiving

 

Supply Fee:  The first installment ($125) of our annual supply fee will be charged in October. The second installment (also $125) will be charged in February.  If you would prefer, you are welcome to pay the entire $250 in October.  The first installment is due by October 31st.

 

Companion Cafe: It's back! If you are new to First English or haven't heard about Companion Cafe yet, it is a weekly dinner served on Wednesday nights in the Fellowship Hall starting at 6pm. Dinner is prepared and served by members of First English Lutheran Church as a way of bringing together church members, CDC families, and other members of the community. If you pick up your child close to 6pm, consider coming by and picking up a plate of food for a suggested donation of $5 adults/$3 kids.  Companion Cafe is also a great way to plan a meet-up with other First English families.

 

Light the Night:  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk is being held at Circuit of the Americas on November 12, and we wanted to round up a walk team in support of one of our dear First English families.

 

The Light the Night Campaign funds research to find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. If you're interested in joining the walk, let us know. You can also show your support by donating today.

 

To join our FELCDC team now, click here

https://registration.lightthenight.org/event-selected/44202/team-selected/469395

 

(Thanks to Star parent Joanna Parigi for organizing this!)

 

Volunteers needed!  Coming your way soon!  Please watch your inbox for a sign up for Fall Festival and Book Fair.

 

Fall Festival:  What is is?  An evening of games and prizes, costumes, food, and fun.  On October 21st, starting at 5:30, we’ll have pizza in the Fellowship Hall, followed by games and fun on the playground.  We will send out envelopes before the event to collect money for the pizza.  Children are invited to wear costumes--but don’t worry if your child refuses (some of them do!)

***We can’t run the festival without your help, so please sign up to help with the games.

 

Book Fair:  Our Scholastic Book Fair will take place in the Fellowship Hall from October 17th through the 28th.  Stop by and browse during drop-off or pick-up.  Based on the amount of money we bring in, we are given “Scholastic Dollars” to spend on books and supplies for our classrooms. So please help us out, and get some new books for your home library at the same time!

 

October/November Staff Birthdays:  

October:

6th Anasia D. (Sunbeam Afternoon Assistant)                    

14th Abby L. (Fantastic sub and floater)

17th Martha C. (Star Lead)

November:    

24th Lauren E. (Sunbeam lead)


August 2016 News

 

From Your Director:  

Welcome to the start of a new school year!  I say this a lot but I really do mean it:  We know that it takes a big leap of faith for you to leave your children with us. We truly appreciate that you have given us your trust and will continue to work hard to earn it.

An especially big welcome to all of our new families.  We hope that you and your children are getting settled in at First English.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.


 

Mark Your Calendars!

Monday, September 5th:  CDC closed for holiday

Monday, October 10th:  CDC closed for Staff Training Day

October dates TBA: Scholastic Book Fair and Fall Festival

Wed-Fri, Nov. 23rd-25th:  CDC closed for Thanksgiving

 

Reminder about new Tuition Rates starting September 1st:

Rainbows and Explorers--$940/month

Sunbeams, Moonbeams, and Stars--$990/month

 

Extra classes:  Here is the information you have all been waiting for!  

  • Music Classes take place on Wednesday afternoons between 2:30 and 4:30.  Registration is open to all First English children.  Register online at https://opusonekids.com/register/austin/  The cost is $172 for the Fall session.  Classes begin September 7.

  • Soccer classes take place on Friday mornings between 9 and 11 am.  Registration is open to Rainbows and Explorers only (this season).  Register online at  https://www.soccershots.org/austin/enroll/ The cost is $155 for the fall season.  Classes begin September 9.

  • Tumbling classes take place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.  Registration is open to Stars, Rainbows, and Explorers.  Forms are available in the office--you can fill one out and leave it with payment in the Tumbling pouch in the tuition binder.  More info available here:  http://www.noramartinswimschool.net/tumbling.html The cost is $205 or $160 for siblings.  Classes begin September 13th.

  • Chapel is open to children in the Star, Rainbow, and Explorer classes.  It is free of charge.  It will take place on Thursday mornings starting September 8.

 

Breakfast:  Just a quick reminder that breakfast is officially over at 9:00.  If possible, try to arrive by 8:30 if you want your child to eat with us.  If you arrive towards the end of breakfast and your child’s class is still in the Fellowship Hall, we might not be able to stay while he/she finishes eating. Please help us out by sitting with your child and then returning him/her to class after breakfast.

 

Cups:  Those of you who attended the new class meetings, may recall that I talked a little about water cups.  For those who missed it, I mentioned that it might be a good idea to switch your child’s water cup/bottle periodically. Since we wash and use them daily, they don’t have much of a chance to dry out.  Also, if you are looking for a new water cup/bottle, please look for one that has the least number of parts you can find.  We have a terrible time with losing straws in the sanitizer!  Here is one that we like and have been seeing a lot lately:  http://www.munchkin.com/miracle-360-deg-10oz-cup-white.html

It is called the Munchkin Miracle 360 sippy cup and is available from Amazon.

 

 

Treat our teachers:  We love candy and sweets of all kinds.  If you  have leftover sweets that you need to dispose of, we are happy to help!

 

Survey:  If your child attended First English last year, please use the link below and take a minute to fill out our survey to let us know what we are doing well and what we could be doing better.  We value your feedback!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnTCm5LfRXeiluekpC1Ixct6T8fOGhGU-RaCVhViSt6DQWPQ/viewform

 

August/September Birthdays:  

August 31:  LaToya (Moonbeam afternoon assistant teacher)

September 1st:  Meghan (Explorer afternoon assistant/Office Floater)

 

July 2016

From your Director:  What is it about kids and water?  Whether it be a trip to the beach, an afternoon at the lake, a walk in the green belt, or just a hose and a bucket in the back yard, there are few things that make children as happy as water.  And it’s a good thing, too, the way our summers heat up.  Without water, our summers would be unbearable.

 

Water provides opportunities for learning, too.  There is early science in water play: It allows children to learn about how water changes to take the shape of its container and about the different forms water takes at different temperatures.  There are opportunities for practicing early literacy and social skills when children make up stories as they play in the water:  “I’ll be a mermaid, and you be the shark.”  They can work on early math concepts and fine motor skills by measuring water into measuring cups and spoons.  Running through sprinklers allows them to work on their large motor skills.

 

Water play, like other forms of play, allows us to combine joyful experiences with learning experiences.

 

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

 

Mark Your Calendars:

August 1-5:  New Parent Meetings

August 18th and 19th:  CDC closed for training and work days

August 22nd:  New school year officially begins!


 

Moving children in August:  While we usually only move children to new classrooms at the beginning of the summer and the end of the summer, we are going to try something a little different this year.  In order to keep summer enrollment up (which is always a challenge!) we will soon be contacting some of you about moving your children at the beginning of August.  In addition to allowing us to bring in some new children, moving a couple of kids from each class will allow those kids the chance to adjust to their new classrooms with a group who are already very comfortable with the routine.  It makes the big transition on August 22nd, when everyone officially moves into their classrooms for the school year, a little bit easier.


 

Work Day Thank You’s:  A big thank you to the folks who gave up their Saturday morning to take care of some much-needed work on the playground.  Our awesome volunteers redistributed playground gravel, trimmed back weeds along the fenceline, sealed the playscape and ramp, and put down new non-skid strips.  The playground looks much better.  Thank you all so much!
 

Tram in the Kitchen:  Jennifer has been on a well-deserved vacation for the past week and a half, but we have been fortunate enough to have Tram Dominguez--former Sunbeam teacher and fabulous cook--stepping into the kitchen for her.  We’ve been able to carry on serving the kind of wonderful food that Jennifer normally serves.  So a big thanks to Tram and we look forward to having Jennifer back next week.

 

June 2016

From Your Director:  Happy Summer everyone!  Now that the rain is slowing down (I think), I hope we will all get a chance to enjoy all the wonderful outdoor activities Austin has to offer.  I look forward to hearing about your summer plans.  I’m going to keep this short because I have lots of information to share, so without further ado...

Say goodbye to Jaci: After months of commuting to Austin from her new house in Belton, our Sunbeam lead teacher, Jaci Armadillo, decided that she couldn’t handle the drive anymore and decided to look for something closer to home.  She has already had her last day, but we wanted to give you one last chance to say goodbye.  Please come out on Saturday, June 18th at 11am at Midway Food Park, 1905 S. Capital of Texas Hwy for food, playground time and a chance to check in with our old friends.  

What about Ben?  We are also working on a separate plan to say goodbye to our Moonbeam teacher, Ben Cook who has joined the Manchaca fire department.  We’ll keep you posted.

Shannon Vacation:  I will be on vacation from June 13-17th. I’ll be spending some time at the lake with my family, relaxing and enjoying our nice, full lakes.  Tram Dominguez, another old friend, will be helping LaQuetha and Meghan cover my office duties.  The school will be in great hands!

Sprinkler Play:  Sprinkler play will begin on June 14th!  We will have sprinkler play on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons.  Your child’s teacher will send you more specific information about what you will need to bring on those days. We will have different water activities set up on the playground--sprinklers, tubs, sponges, water squirters, and more.  The kids always have blast, and it helps us survive our hot Texas summers.

Sign up for Summer Music and Soccer:  If you’d like your child to participate in Summer Music and/or Soccer, please sign them up ASAP.  All children can participate in Music classes which take place on Wednesday afternoons between 2:30 and 4:30.  Soccer is for Stars, Rainbows, and Explorers and happens on Friday mornings between 9:30 and 11:30.  Here are the links to enroll your child:

Soccer shots:  https://austin.ssreg.org/index.php  

Opus One Music:  https://opusonekids.com/register/austin/

Playground Work Day:  We need your help! Join me on Saturday, June 25th to take care of our playground.  We need to trim back the weeds along the fence line, refill the sandbox, rake gravel, and seal the playscape/Explorer ramp.  I will post a sign-up as the time draws near,so watch for more information.

Heads up about Tuition and Calendar:  The Board will be voting on our Budget for the 2016-2017 School Year at our meeting on June 21st.  There will most likely be a small tuition increase for the upcoming school year. The Board considers tuition increases very carefully and works hard to keep our tuition manageable for our families.  This school year, we were able to keep tuition rates the same as the preceding school year.  However, as the cost of living increases in Austin, we find that we must keep up in order to be able to attract and keep good teachers.  We will let you know as soon as possible the amount of the increase.

Additionally, the Board has approved our calendar of closings for the 2016-2017 school year, and we want to prepare you for one change in the calendar.  With the help of First English Lutheran Church, we are making plans to replace our worn floors next year.  In order to limit the amount of time we would have to close to make this happen, we are planning to have the new floors put in over next year’s Christmas break.  However, to give us a little more time, we will be closed a few extra days this year over the Christmas holidays.  This year, we will be closed from December 21st-January 3rd (same days as AISD for those of you with older children.)  In order to make up for the extra days, we have made Good Friday a work day instead of a holiday and given up our Spring Break work day.  We hope the extra days will not cause too much inconvenience--our new floors will be worth it!  For those of you who like to plan ahead, I am attaching the new calendar.

May 2016

From Your Director:  A Glimpse of the Explorer Room.

Because our Explorer Class is in a separate building, I think parents in the younger classes miss out on opportunities to peek into the room and see some of the really cool things that happen in that classroom.  Stepping into the Explorer Room is like stepping into a different world for someone like me who spent most of her classroom years working with toddlers.   Whereas in our toddler classrooms a new grown-up entering the room brings about big reactions--either curiosity or a little trepidation or an opportunity for extra hugs--a grown-up entering the Explorer Room may receive no reaction whatsoever!  The children are usually so engaged with what they are doing that they may glance up briefly and then return to their work.

The Explorer year is a year of blossoming independence and huge leaps in cognitive development--all expertly guided by the wonderful LaQuetha Ford.  The other day, when I walked into the classroom, the children had just begun their group time.  They were discussing Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Ms. LaQuetha started by quizzing them over some of the new vocabulary they have encountered:  they easily explained the meanings of “scalding”, “wee”, “curious” and several other new words.  Ms. LaQuetha then asked them to name the characters in the story, and they did.  She threw in a little math by discussing an important number in the story (three) and by discussing the comparative sizes of the beds, chairs, and porridge bowls.  The Explorers will be doing an early version of comparative literature by reading and discussing different versions of the story:  e.g. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.

I walked out of the room feeling very impressed with our sharp little students and wanted to share with you what I had observed.  Our Explorer Class lives up to their name--they aim high and reach new goals all the time!

Thanks for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

April 2016

From your director:  Hi, everyone.  Next week is a big week in the world of early childhood education:  Week of the Young Child.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) created this week-long event to help draw attention to the importance of the early years.  It's our big chance to remind the world that our work is important.  We’re planning lots of fun activities to celebrate.

  • If you’ve been at First English for a while, you already know about our sweet tradition of having parents write “letters of Appreciation” to their children.  First-timers: don’t stress about this!  I will put out construction paper, markers, scissors, glue, glitter, etc. on a table in the office starting the afternoon of Wednesday the 6th (TODAY!).  Drop by when you have a chance and make a card or sign for your child.  You do NOT need to be a great artist.  This is something just for the children to let them know how special they are.  If you don’t have time to do it here, make something at home and drop it off in the office.  Please try to have these completed by Thursday, April 14th.  We would like to have one for every child.

  • Friday the 15th is our Spring Festival and Fundraiser.  Jennifer will be serving up her delicious Frito pie starting at 5:30.  After dinner, you can go check out the fun crafts we’ll have set up in the classrooms.  At 6:15, Mr Will starts his show on the Fellowship Hall stage. (We loved him last year--especially his rousing rendition of Let it Go! Check out his website http://mrwillmusic.com/index/) Don’t forget to bring your check book and bid on the fabulous baskets in our silent auction.  (We’ll have a list for you coming soon!)  Children’s individual and class photos by our own talented Meghan Morongova will also be for sale.  The cost to attend will be $20/family.

  • In the classrooms, teachers will be celebrating with the children in their own ways--watch for information in your weekly emails.

Happy Week of the Young Child!

Shannon

February/March 2016

From Your Director:  

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring!  My favorite thing about spring at FELCDC is the planting of our spring gardens. At this time of year, our teachers usually base one week’s lesson plans around a garden theme and enlist the help of their little gardeners to plant some seeds and seedlings.  Some in plastic cups in the room, some in plastic bags in the windows, and some in the garden boxes on the playground.  Before long, we should have some pretty flowers to brighten up our playground--and hopefully some things for the children to taste, too.  

It is amazing how often children will taste things that grow in a garden that they’d never eat on a plate.  My children love to find the chives growing in our yard and eat them by the handful.  I seriously doubt they would be as thrilled to find a plateful of chives for dinner!  Discovering where fruits and vegetables come from makes them so much more interesting and appealing. That’s just one of many reasons we love gardening with children.

Thanks for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Friday, March 18th: Closed for Staff Work Day
  • Friday, March 25th:  Center Holiday
  • April 11-15: Week of the Young Child
  • April 15th:  Save the Date for our Spring Festival and Fundraiser!
  • May 2-6: Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Friday, May 27th: Staff Training Day
  • Monday, May 30th: Center Holiday


Seeking Your Help!  It’s time to start planning our Spring Festival and fundraiser for April 15th.  If you love this sort of thing, talk to me about how you can help.  We could especially use the help of anyone with photography skills who’d be interested in taking photos of the kids.

Spring Supply Fee: Please make sure you have paid the Spring installment of the supply fee ($125 due February 29th).

Intent Forms:  We will soon be sending home intent forms for the 2016-2017 school year.  Please let us know to the best of your knowledge whether your child will be staying at First English this summer and fall.  If it’s easier, you can shoot me an email with the title “Intent Form”.  This information is enormously helpful in planning for enrollment and staffing.  Thanks in advance.

Alexis is back!  It turns out that leaving First English helped Alexis realize how much she loves being here, so she’s back working her old schedule with the Explorers.  We’re so happy to have her!

Closing schedule:  In case you’re confused about who is in charge of closing the school in the afternoons, here is our current schedule:

  • LaQuetha closes Monday and Friday.
  • Meghan closes Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Shannon closes Wednesday.
  • If one of us is not here, Malcolm closes.  

The person who closes is the official person in charge--look for one of us, if you have questions or need help in the afternoons.

March birthdays  

The following teachers have birthdays this month:

  • March 12th: Malcolm (Rainbow)
  • March 20th: Arielle (Star)
  • March 26th: Alexis (Explorer)
  • March 29th:  Audrey (Sunbeam)

Wish them a happy day!

First English CDC fans: your Yelp reviews are our best advertising!

January 2016

From your Director:

Happy 2016, everyone!  I hope your year is off to a good start.

I was just reading an article called Kindergarten is the New First Grade. (Click on the title if you’re interested.)  It talks about some of the changes that have taken place in kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010:  changes such as less time spent in self-directed, creative play; less time for art and music; more testing; increased expectations that children need preparation for kindergarten and that they will be reading by the end of kindergarten.  

When I hear about these changes, I always feel a little nervous.  It makes me wonder how long it will be before we feel increased pressure to make those changes in early childhood classrooms, as well.  The fact that you have chosen First English for your children tells me that you have faith in play-based learning, so I’ll try not to get too defensive about it in talking to you.  While there is plenty of research supporting our style of learning (http://www.naeyc.org/play), the best evidence to me is the stories we hear from parents of First English graduates about how successful they are in kindergarten and beyond.  I hope that, if the trend continues to take the fun and creativity out of early learning, you will share your experiences with others and let them know that children don’t need to be forced to learn.  They want to learn.  All we have to do is provide the materials and serve as their guides.

Thanks for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Monday, Feb. 15th: Closed for Staff Training Day
  • Friday, March 18th: Closed for Staff Work Day
  • Friday, March 25th:  Center Holiday

Supply fee reminder:

The second half of the supply fee will be charged at the beginning of February.  The amount is $125, and it is due by the end of February.  This fee helps us purchase all those fun finger paints, markers, paper, etc.  You can add the amount to your February tuition or write a separate check later in the month if that works better for you.

Button Batteries:

One of our parents recently called my attention to the danger of button batteries, those little round batteries you find in things like fake candles and watches.  If you would like to read more about them, here is a recent story:  http://keyetv.com/news/nation-world/button-battery-kills-oklahoma-2-year-old-days-after-christmas

Companion Cafe:  

Weekly dinners in the Fellowship Hall are back on!  If you happen to be picking up close to 6pm on a Wednesday and need a dinner plan, consider stopping by the Fellowship Hall for a tasty, inexpensive meal.  You are welcome to sit down and eat or take some food to go. You can find the menu for the week and more information by looking on the First English Lutheran Church website: http://www.felcaustin.org/ministries/cafe

Tax Statements:  I just sent out statements from Quickbooks showing your child care expenses for 2015. (Look for the statement from January 21st).  If you need our tax ID, it is on the statement in small print.  Here it is again: 74-119-83006.  If you did not receive your statement or need anything else, please let me know.

We'd love to have your review on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/first-english-lutheran-child-development-center-austin?utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)

November 2015

From Your Director:

Hello, Wonderful First English Families.  I’m sorry it has been so long since my last newsletter.  I’d like to take a moment to talk about something I’ve been thinking about recently:  calling our little ones “babies”.  First, I understand that to you and me, they are and will always be our babies. In spite of this, we have to be careful of how we use the word “baby”, and here are a couple of reasons why:

At some point (often around the age of 3), “baby” becomes one of the biggest insults one child can possibly hurl at another.  Being “a big kid” becomes so important to them that being accused of baby-ness is considered a terrible thing.  As a parent, you might be tempted to use this.  When your 3-year-old is having a massive meltdown, you might want to tell him, “Stop acting like a baby.”  When you are tempted, remember that--whether you mean it this way or not--you are using what amounts to one of the biggest bad words in the world of children.  We spend a lot of time talking to our children about why they may not call each other babies.  So we, the “grownups”, should try to reinforce that by not resorting to name-calling ourselves.

For years, I have heard complaints from different Sunbeam teachers about people calling their Sunbeams babies. (I am totally guilty of this!)  They remind me that, if we want the other children in the school to recognize our toddlers as big and independent and capable, we have to refrain from describing them with the B word.  (Baby, that is.)

I know, they are still our babies.  But for the time being, we’ll just have to think that and not say it out loud.

Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Shannon

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Thurs., Nov.19th:  Picture Day!
  • Tues., Nov. 24th:  Thanksgiving Feast
  • Wed.-Fri., Nov. 25-27th:  Closed for Thanksgiving
  • Thur., Dec. 24th-Fri., Jan. 1st:  Closed for Christmas and New Year’s
  • Mon., Jan. 18th:  Closed for MLK, Jr. Day

Thank you for Work Day:  Thank you so much to the volunteers who came out for the Parent Work Day in September.  We accomplished a lot:  the bathroom received a bright new coat of paint; the garden boxes were prepped for planting;  trees and bushes were trimmed; drying racks and paper towel dispensers were hung.  We really appreciate everyone who helped--and those who supplied the snacks, too!

Companion Cafe:  In case you haven’t tried it out yet...First English Lutheran Church makes a different tasty dinner every Wednesday evening starting at 6 pm, and you are invited to join them for just $5/plate ($3 for kids).  The purpose of Companion Cafe is to reach out to neighbors, CDC families, and the community.  They would love to have you stay and meet some members of the congregation, but you are welcome to take a plate to go.  I have often taken food home to my family on a Wednesday night when I was not in the mood to cook.  It can also be a fun way to meet up with other CDC families--arrange to meet each other at the Cafe!

Conferences:  Lead teachers are scheduling parent/teacher conferences during the first three weeks in November.  If you have not already, you will soon receive more information about dates and times to meet with your child’s teacher.  Conferences are an important means of sharing information about our children, so please sign up.  We appreciate your trying to find a way to meet during our pre-arranged times so that we can schedule substitutes to work in the classrooms for the lead teachers.

Late Fee Reminder:  Our closing time is 6pm.  We recommend trying to get here by 5:50 at the latest so that you don’t have to rush your child out the door immediately.  Your children have so many things they want to share with you at the end of the day: art projects to show you, favorite toys and books to tell you about.  Most kids respond better when they have a minute to show you around before hurrying home.  

We understand that sometimes circumstances are beyond your control and you can’t help but arrive late. However, we want to keep it from becoming a habit.  We have liability issues to worry about as well as tired teachers who want to get home.  (Many of our staff have long bus rides before they get home, and leaving just a few minutes later can mean missing an earlier bus.)

If you pick up between 6:00 and 6:05, you will be charged $15. After 6:05, you will be charged an additional $10 for every 5 minutes you are late.  (See your parent handbook for more information.)

Thanksgiving Feast:  While we are all feeling a little sad that we had to cancel our Fall Festival this year, we have another fun, family tradition to look forward to in just a few weeks!  On November 24th, you are invited to join your child for lunch in the Fellowship Hall.  Jennifer will be personally preparing a Thanksgiving lunch for the entire school and their families--a pretty amazing feat, if you ask me.  Watch your email for an evite to this fun and tasty event.

And Speaking of the Fall Festival…  Our teachers worked hard preparing a special art project for each child, intending to have them for sale as a fundraiser at the festival.  The projects will be on display for the next couple of weeks in the hallways.  You may purchase your child’s art for a recommended donation of $5-10.  They make great gifts for grandparents!

Book Fair:  Thank you so much to everyone who purchased books at our book fair!  Your purchases add up to Scholastic Dollars for our teachers to spend on books and other classroom resources.  Don’t forget that you can continue to buy books at our online book fair until November 15th!  If you are planning to buy books as Christmas gifts, please shop here first:  http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/firstenglishlutherancdc

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August 2015

From Your Director:

What a busy beginning of the year it has been!  Of course, the beginning of the school year is always busy, but this one seems even more so than usual.  

Several of you brought gifts of food for our teachers last week, and I want to thank you for thinking of them.  The first week in new classrooms can be tough on kids, and it can be tough on teachers, too.  After working lots of extra hours to get the classrooms ready beforehand, we spend the first week getting to know 10-16 new personalities, 10-16 new languages, 10-16 new drop-off routines.  We hold crying children, help kids work through the confusion of new routines, lead clean-up times in new spaces where no one  knows where to put anything, and at the same time, many of us are getting used to working with new co-teachers.  Thank you for recognizing that we’re worn out after the first week, just like your children were.

And yet, we’re off to a great start: there are already fewer tears; children already seem more comfortable in their new surroundings.

Thanks for all your support.  And thanks for trusting us with your children.

Shannon


Mark Your Calendars:

  • Monday, September 7: CDC Closed for Labor Day
  • Saturday, September 26:  Fall Work Day
  • Monday, October 12:  CDC Closed for Training Day
  • October 19-23: Book Fair
  • Friday, October 23:  Fall Festival

Staffing news: You have probably noticed some new faces around First English recently.  We have some wonderful new teachers joining us this year.  We hope to get our staff bulletin board (outside the office) updated shortly; but in the meantime, here is a quick summary of who’s who in all of our classrooms.

Sunbeams:  

  • Jaci Armadillo (lead) 7:30-3:00
  • Lauren Eichhorn 8:30-1:00  
  • Karissa Villanueva 2:00-5:30/6  
  • Audrey Spalding 2:00-5:30/6  

Moonbeams:  

  • Ben Cook (lead) 7:30-3:00pm
  • Karissa Villanueva 8:30-1:00
  • Audrey Spalding 8:30-1:00  
  • Lauren Eichhorn 2-5:30  

Stars:

  • Martha Castillo (lead) 7:30-3:00
  • Valentina Osuna 8:30-1:00
  • Arielle Tamez 2-6:00
  • Hannah Brubaker 2-6:00

Rainbows:

  • Sarah Dorroh (lead) 7:30-3:00
  • Cathy Pletcher 8:30-1:00
  • Malcolm Biggs 9:00-1:00, 2:00-5:30
  • Amanda Sewell 2:30-6:00

Explorers:

  • LaQuetha Ford (lead) 8:30-1:00
  • Alexis Tovar 7:30-2:00
  • Lauren Moore  2/2:30-6:00
  • Sabrina Shao  2/2:30-6

Book Fair and Fall Festival:  The First English Book Fair will be happening the week of October 19-23!  The Book Fair is a great place to get started on your Christmas shopping with books for all your young friends and family.  It also helps us out, because we get “Scholastic Bucks” to spend based on how much we sell.  We will be asking for volunteers to help run the fair in the afternoons.  If anyone is interested in serving as the chairperson for the Book Fair, please let me know.

We will also ask for volunteers to help run our annual Fall Festival on October 23rd.  This is a fun evening of games, costumes, food, and community.  Watch for more information.

Fall Work Day:  On Saturday, September 26th, we will hold a work day at First English.  I’ll be putting together a list of projects and asking for volunteers to come help out and meet other parents.  Right now, it is looking like most of the projects will be playground-related: preparing our garden beds, pruning weeds along the fence line, and sealing the playscape.

Extra classes: Here is a quick run-down on our extra classes.

Tumbling starts on September 8 (Tues) and is for Stars, Rainbows, and Explorers.  Classes will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  The cost is $210 for the fall session ($140 for siblings).  To sign up, pick up a form in the office. You can leave the form and your payment in the Tuition binder in the zipper pocket labeled “Tumbling”.

Music starts on  Wednesday, September 9 and is open to all classes.  It takes place on Wednesday afternoons.  To register, either leave the registration form and payment in the Tuition binder’s “Music” pocket or register and pay online at opusonekids.com.  Cost is $176 for the Fall session.

Soccer Shots starts on Friday, September 11, and is open to Rainbows and Explorers.  Classes take place on Friday mornings.  Register and pay online atsoccershots.org.  Cost is $120 for a 10-week session plus $25 registration fee.

Quickbooks Invoices and Statements: You should receive an invoice tomorrow for September tuition.  If not please let Shannon know.  A reminder that those of you who just moved to the rainbow Room will now be paying $900/month instead of $960.  (Don’t forget to change your automatic payments!)  Sunbeams, moonbeams, and Stars are $960/month.  Explorers are also $900.  By the middle of the month, you should receive a statements confirming receipt of your tuition payment.  Tuition is due by the 5th (or the Monday following.)

Playground Equipment update:  Remember that time when I told you I was going to buy some new climbing equipment for the playground with the money from our last fundraiser?  After doing lots of research, I finally came to the conclusion that new regulations will not allow us to add any new climbing equipment on the playground.  So it's back to the drawing board.  I’ll keep you posted.

Menus:  Our weekly menus is posted on the menu page of our website.  Just scroll down to the link below the sample menu.  firstenglishcdc.org