Casa II News

Dear Casa 2 Parents, 

What a wonderful time of the year it is!  The children returned from winter break full of stories and ready to get back to work!  The first day back after a long break is always one of my favorites because the children are typically so relaxed, excited to see one another, and honestly are looking forward to working with the materials again!  I hope you all had a wonderful break and had time to bake some cookies with your children!  It was so fun to measure out all the ingredients and help them decorate their snowman jars!

Embracing Change

As you are probably well-aware, JMS has experienced a great deal of change over the past few years.  We are experiencing it right now and we will likely experience it again in the future.  At first exposure, the uncertainty can be scary.  The thought of making big changes in our lives- both personally and professionally- can be overwhelming and make us question whether we are prepared to embrace the change or contest it.  I, myself, have had to ponder these same things as we say goodbye to beloved coworkers and as we welcome new ones into our community.  We do this on a semi-regular basis with families, as well, so you’d think we would be used to it!  Families whom we adore move away, whether it’s across the county or across the country.  Children graduate in June and move on to their respective schools, and new children take their place in the fall.  We build relationships along the way and we hope that we’ve made enough of an impact on one another’s lives to continue our relationships no matter the distance between us.  Change is what fills our lives full of love and appreciation for one another.  

Our staff at JMS is no different.  We spend years together- helping each other grow as individuals, as teachers, as coworkers… the list goes on and on.  And the day eventually comes when someone makes a decision that is best for them and their families.  They decide to leave JMS for various reasons, and- at first- it’s scary.  We spend so much time together that the unknown can be nerve-wracking.  But this is the most crucial time to embrace the change that is upon us.  I, myself, have chosen to embrace change- whatever comes our way- because it doesn’t have an effect on what my real job is: to work with children.  We will see change among our staffing over the years just as we see change among our families each year.  With these changes, we are given the opportunity for new ideas, new perspectives, new experiences, new relationships… and all of these things lead to GROWTH.  Every change at JMS has a big impact on our personal relationships, and it saddens me every time someone chooses to move on.  However, I am ready to embrace any changes that come our way this year.

Keeping a positive attitude can do wonders on ourselves and those around us.  I ask the same for all who are going through the changes with us as a school.  Please keep in mind that for many years we have taken great pride in the quality of staff who we choose to hire; now is no different.  Whenever one staff member leaves, we will do our very best to find the best fit to fill that void- someone who will be just as wonderful with children as the person before them.
Thank you for all of your words of support during the many transitions we’ve encountered. Mindi and I are so happy to be here in Casa 2 and none of that has changed- no matter how many transitions we go through!  For additional reading, please take a look at the following article, titled, “5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life.”

Valentine’s Day Celebration

On Tuesday, February 14th, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in Casa 2.  You are invited to help your child decorate a box or bag to collect their Valentines, and bring it to school on the 13th or 14th of February.  The children are invited to make homemade cards or can give store-bought ones.  If you would like to send small party favors, we request that you refrain from sending candy to school.  If your child can read their classmates names, we encourage them to personalize each one with each child’s name.  If your child is not yet reading, we encourage you to help your child write their name on each card, but to leave the “TO” space blank.  This is because the children enjoy handing out their Valentines cards independently, and without names, they can hand one to everybody!  There are 19 children, including your child, in Casa 2 this year (we currently have 17, but we are adding two friends before Valentine’s Day!!).
We will spend our Valentine’s Day together discussing ways to show appreciation for one another and celebrating the many friendships within our community.  In honor of celebrating the day of Love, let’s wear as much RED as we can on this day!

Work Folders

Please remember to send your child’s work folder back each week!  Every Friday, your child should be bringing home their folders filled with their work from the week.  They are excited to show it to you and explain all they have been working on at school.  We use these folders to give greater importance to the things we work so hard on.  Without a folder, children shove as many papers in their backpacks as they can, which usually results in bends, rips, and sadness!  Please keep in mind that many children, especially younger children, are using materials in the classroom which are not necessarily something you can bring home (ie. table washing, banana cutting, puzzle maps, etc.).  The amount of work in their work folders should in no way show how hard they have worked in any given week!  The older children get, the more writing and math work they can bring home- but all of our children are busy doing their respective activities throughout the day!  Regardless of what your child brings home, please take a few moments each weekend to go through it with them.  Ask questions about the process of the activity.  Then… don’t forget to put the empty folders back in their backpacks! 

Classroom Help

Some parents have asked how they can help from home, and we’ve thought of something that would be of great help to us!  Many of the children are enjoying knitting work and Mindi and I can’t keep up on rolling balls to be made into scarves, necklaces, ropes, or whatever else they may be turned into!  It sounds simple- and it is, it just takes time!  If you would be interested in rolling some yarn balls for us, please let me know.  I can provide the yarn and give a quick demonstration on what we need, and you can return it at any time, whenever it’s finished!  The knitters of Casa 2 thank you!! 

On the Calendar    

Monday, January 23rd        NO SCHOOL: Staff Development Day
Tuesday, February 14th     Valentine’s Day Celebration
Feb. 17-20th            NO SCHOOL: Staff Development Day; President’s Day

We are so glad to be back together after a long break!  We’ve spent quite a bit of time inside these past two weeks, so we are definitely looking forward to a warmer week next week!  Just a reminder that if the wind chill (“real feel”) is below 9°, we cannot go outside- regardless of the actual temperature.  We are looking forward to the upcoming 30s!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Taryn & Mindi