Week of March 11, 2019

off to the races
preschool poetry writing session with buddies
preschool poem put together by 3rd 4th class
From the Director  
Learning Self-Regulation
We could be a school with many rules.  But we figured out long ago that for children to be active contributing members of a community, they need to act from intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic.  Not simply obeying a rule, but acting from understanding, because it feels like the right thing to do, in your heart.

With fewer rules, we give children space to learn self-regulation. Children need to ask themselves:  Am I too loud?  What's too rough?  Will this bother my neighbor or other children?  Am I taking more than my share?  Should I talk right now?

A preschool teacher in the Pacific Northwest, Teacher Tom, whose blog we enjoy, has a padded area where kids can wrestle!  He has very clear guidelines for the wrestling. See the full article:  Teacher Tom   

He watches the wrestling, interfering only if absolutely necessary.  The children know there is no hitting, or kicking, and if anyone says "stop,' they all stop instantly.  He tells them- "if you are too rough, you'll get hurt. When that happens, sit in the crying seat".  He has some small chairs set up, 'crying seats,' where children can sit and cry when they are upset. He aims for the children to regulate their behavior, which is admirable in preschool! 

We try to do the same at recess, only interfering when the game is unsafe, or it is clear someone might get hurt.  If a game looks rough, the teacher on duty will gather the children, and listen to them talk about it. The children set the rules, with necessary adult input.   Sometimes, self-regulation might mean walking away when you feel out of control, or if it feels too rough.  Of course, safety is first, and teachers will ban anything clearly unsafe.  We find that most 1st-6th graders have a sense of what's safe, from their work with self-regulation.

In the practice of yoga, children are also learning to self-regulate: knowing when to push, when to let up, when to use breathing to stay calm, learning to listen to their bodies.

There is a structure at the school, don't think its a free-for-all!  It's a structure that doesn't strangle, but gives children space to find their way to  'responsible independence.'

As adults, we all practice self-regulation, I know I can't stay up late reading if I have to get up early for work the next morning, I know to bite my tongue before I say something that might hurt someone.

In order for a community or society to function well, it depends on self-regulation.  The earlier we learn how, the better community members we will be.  The fewer rules, the more choices open up for children, hopefully wise choices!  And when children (and adults) make poor choices, or make mistakes, they can learn from them, and aim to adjust the pattern next time.  We are always learning, it never ends. What a lively world.

This week at the Village School 

Monday   All School Sing      See the All School Poetry Compilation in the hallway
Tuesday     8:20 a.m. All School Parent Math Morning     until 10:00
Wednesday     NO SCHOOL   Inservice Language Arts Day
Thursday       8:30 Parent Group Auction meeting   parents welcome
Friday           yoga    K-6th swimming at Athol YMCA  pick up 3:10 at YMCA



Parents- make sure to read the paper newsletter you receive each week
It always has more information than can be put in this enews.

This Tuesday March 12  Parent Math Morning 8:20 a.m.
Be your child's partner.  Parents of all children, preschool through 6th grade, are invited to play math games or math activities with their children until 9:00.  Afterwards, Polly Wagner, Village School math coach, will meet with parents in the 5th-6th classroom for a short video and discussion. Find out why math is fun and engaging at the school, and how it prepares them for 7th grade and beyond. 

No School This Wednesday March 13  Language Arts Inservice Day

K-6th Swimming starts this Friday

The bus leaves the school at 1:15 to take students to the Athol YMCA for lessons and free swim. Don't forget to pack swimsuit and towel!  Pick up at the Y at 3:10.

Wednesday March 20  Kindergarten Sugaring & Lambing field trip
Drop off at 8:45 at Richardson's farm, pick up at 11:45 at the farm.  Snack is provided.

Parent Child Group, Roots & Sprouts resumes Wed. March 20 8:45 a.m.   FREE
For parents & caregivers of children ages 0-3.  Bring your little ones and enjoy the company of other parents in the preschool classroom.  Snack, singing and free play for the children.  On Wednesdays in March and April

Wednesday March 20  Science Night  7:00 p.m.
Come to the 5th 6th classroom (5th-6th graders should be there at 6:45 for set up). 5th-6th graders are presenting the results of two months’ work on their science projects.  It starts very promptly at 7 p.m. so the children get to bed on time.  Everyone is welcome.

Get the lowest electricity rates and the Village School benefits too!   With Autopilot
Take a look at this very short video- Autopilot guarantees the lowest monthly rate, and actively finds the best rates for you, doing it all automatically.  National Grid (or whoever you have) is still your company, but your new supplier changes to the one with the lowest rate, and can change monthly if needed, to keep your rate low.  See the video and sign up!  The school is on Autopilot, as are a number of parents and friends of the school.  Anyone can join, it's very easy.  Guaranteed savings on your current electric bill. You can save on your phone and cable bills too.  Questions?  or ready to sign up?  Call Matt at 413 834 8677  Click here for the video and more info   It works well for businesses too.

You Can Still Give to the Annual Fund     
Tax refund in?   Here is the link to donate


3rd 4th drumming

3rd-4th sharing their Nile creation with their preschool buddies

latest sledding

3rd-4th singing

preschoolers singing at lunch
See the most recent photos
Send this link to your friends and relatives, so they can get this enews too
Here is the link to the current Children's Book reviews. 
Here is the link to the online coffee order- pick up your fresh roasted coffee at the school
preschool snack time    we are hungry!
dancing with our counting bears


Please join us for Math Morning tomorrow at 8:30 and be your child's partner in math games and activities. At 9:00 parents meet in the 5th 6th classroom with Village School math coach, Polly Wagner, for a short video and discussion.

Last week the class loved acting out the story Caps for Sale. We had many enthusiastic monkeys and one peddler. The children also had the opportunity to draw a peddler and paint the different colored caps stacked on his head. See the pictures in the classroom. We had pasta caps for snack on Thursday with butter and Parmesan cheese. Sofie taught a Caps for Sale game to the children. You can play it tomorrow morning with your child.

During art last Thursday, Leia showed Eric Carle's paste papers which he uses for the illustrations of his books. Then the class spread bright colored paste-paint on their papers and then used combs, forks and other tools to make designs in the paint.

The preschool has welcomed many visiting families during the past two months. In order to finalize our class list for next year, contracts and deposits need to be in to the office.  Your deposit will hold your child's spot for next fall.

Next Wednesday, March 20th, the Wednesday Outdoor Classroom begins again. We will be outside all morning starting at 8:30. Please dress your child in extra layers on Wednesdays so they can  be comfortable.

We are going on a field trip to Rise's farm on Friday, March 29th from 9:00-11:15. Parents are welcome to join us.
kindergarten drummers
kindergarten capital letter/small letter cut and match game


We continue our Fire and Heat theme this week with the book The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, a collection of dragon poems by Jack Prelutsky, about different kinds of dragons including tiny dragons, sad dragons, water dragons, and invisible dragons. We’re using the book as inspiration for our own dragon book-making activity. The class will be imagining, drawing, and writing about different types of dragons. Theme share items brought in recently for our display table included a fire lighting flint, kindling, a book on dragons, and a map of the world showing which animals live in hot and cold climates.

In reading lessons we continue to practice the partner reading strategies Echo Reading and Choral Reading. In phonics last week the children were cutting out, matching, and gluing down uppercase letters with their lowercase matches. This week we’re rearranging cut-up sentences and reading, building, and writing high frequency words.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is our whole school Family Math Morning. All parents are invited to the classroom to play math games with your children from 8:30 to 9:00. The children will select the games and teach you how to play them. Afterwards at 9:00 we are meeting with Polly Wager, our school math coach, who will talk about our school math program and address any questions parents have. It’ll be a fun and informative morning. Don’t miss it!

This Friday we begin swimming sessions at the YMCA in Athol. We depart from the school at 1:15 on a yellow school bus for our 2:00 to 3:00 session at the pool. The first half hour will be swimming lessons followed by a half hour of free play. It’s easiest if the children bring a large bag on Fridays to hold all their belongings. Parents are welcome to join us poolside, and pick up is at 3:10 at the Y.
1st 2nd making 'silly sentences'   a warm up activity to start the morning
eating syrup on snow, with a pickle on the side........yum

1st - 2nd Grade 

Last week in reading we launched into a new unit exploring non-fiction. We created a venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between fiction and non-fiction. The children enjoyed looking through several non-fiction books to discover more examples to add to our diagram. This week we’ll look at non-fiction text features and we’ll create a chart of all the features we encounter.

In writing we are using the non-fiction books to research and write books about animals. As a writing warm-up last week the children were presented with a photograph.  They used it to fill out an ‘I See, I Think, I Wonder’ page, where they recorded their observations, connections and prior knowledge and questions they had. We’ll use this tool to help us with our research.

On Thursday in a combined science and theme class, we hiked to an outcropping of rocks along the hiking trail in search of porcupine tracks. Along the way the kids were delighted to see lots of animal tracks in the snow. But the most exciting moment was finding the particular track we were looking for- the wide trail left behind by a porcupine. We followed the track right to the den where the children were astounded by the plethora of scat. After the long hike the kids were rewarded with a special treat of sugar on snow, a late winter New England tradition, eating fresh snow with heated maple syrup on top, with a pickle on the side to enhance the taste experience. You could hear a pin drop while they ate!

Swimming starts this Friday. Please make sure your child packs bathing suit and towel. An extra bag for these items makes it easier for your child to change quickly. Girls with long hair need hair elastics to keep their hair pulled out of their faces.
3rd 4th learning to draw faces in art
4th graders use landmark numbers to sort fractions

3rd-4th Grade

The children now know what Ancient Egyptian person they are researching for our research project.  They are eager to begin their research, which begins in class today.  They have a partner who is researching the same person.  They will work together some of the time and independently part of the time.  All the children will write their own reports.  Some of the children are excited to do research at home.  Next week, part of their homework will be to conduct some research at home and they will have a list of websites that are geared toward children.

We began reading Where are the Pyramids?, our whole class nonfiction reader.  The children gleaned new information about Egypt and learned a little bit about the role of pharaohs in Egyptian society.  We’ll continue reading it this week. 

In theme, we are learning about the mummification process.  We’ll conduct some experiments to learn about preservatives, and do other hands-on activities during this unit.  The children are fascinated (and some, a little grossed-out) by the idea of mummification. 

The fourth graders are working on adding and subtracting fractions.  They are thinking about what they know about fraction equivalencies to help them add and subtract.  They are also working on how to decompose fractions.  We hope to see you tomorrow at Parent Math Morning, the children are eager to play math games with you.

Thursday is our next health class with Brooke.  This class will focus on the physical aspects of puberty.  It's planned as our last class for the year, but if there is a need for a fourth class, we’ll add it on. 

This Friday is our first swimming session, and the children are excited to begin swimming.  The children have a half hour lesson and a half hour of free play.  Children need to bring their swimsuits and a towel in a bag.  Goggles are optional, but children tend to like them.  Pick up is at 3:10 at the YMCA.

Next Tuesday, March 19, parents are invited to come in at 3:15 to see our Maker Lab.

5th 6th science experiments
writing a poem with my kindergarten buddy

5th-6th grade

The 6th grade math group is currently in the middle of a unit on decimals.  Students have been working on switching from fraction notation to decimal and back again, and seeing when one might be more useful than the other.  They are also revisiting the standard algorithms for the four arithmetical operations, and seeing how they apply to decimals.  They see the algorithms as part of a number of approaches to solving particular calculations.  The 5th grade group is working on multiplying fractions, and will soon begin work on dividing.  In both cases students begin by representing the operations visually with arrays and ‘fraction bars’, before moving on to working with fractions in the standard written form.  Be your child’s partner at Math Morning tomorrow!

In theme lessons we have completed our work on the empire of Alexander the Great, and used this to introduce the modern countries that lie within its bounds.  We are currently having regular geography lessons to help the class be able to find a wide variety of countries on the new large world map we have in the classroom.  Currently the class is finding the twenty largest countries by area. Russia, Canada, the USA are easy to find, but Chad (20th) and Kazakhstan (9th) have been more challenging. This week we will compare countries in terms of population density.

We studied the Parthenon, using books and on-line videos that showed how the building was originally constructed and how it is being restored. This complemented our current art lessons, in which the class has been learning about two-point perspective, using some of our paintings of the week as examples. After a lesson of exercises in two-point perspective, the class used what they had learned to make large drawings of the Parthenon.

Don’t forget to look at the book containing all the school’s snow poems, on display in the hallway, and remember that this week we begin swimming on Friday.  Pack a swimsuit and towel.
5th 6th ancient Greece style pottery
reading our poems aloud to the school
I have the hang of it now!
The Village School is an independent school serving children in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1-6, in north central Massachusetts, offering a unique curriculum based on challenging hands-on academics, direct contact with the natural world, and kindness.  For more information, or to set up a visit,
call our Director, Rise Richardson at 978 249 3505
or email her at
Thank you for giving to the Annual Fund 
Your Support Keeps the School Thriving
Copyright © 2019 The Village School, All rights reserved.

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