January/February 2019 Newsletter

Garden Gazette

January/February 2019

Upcoming Events:

January 7: First Day back from Winter Break! Welcome back!

January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day- NO SCHOOL

January 27: FUMC Fundraiser lunch for Paradise fire victims

                     Look for flyer on sign-in table

February 14: Valentines Day PARTY

February 18: Presidents Day – NO SCHOOL


Send a jacket with your child every day!

Every family needs to provide blankets from home for nap time!

Why do we encourage pretend play?

Why do we encourage pretend play at our school?  Pretend play has many proven benefits to your child’s development.  Playing with toys in a group will help develop your child’s social skills.  Children develop the ability to work in groups, converse with one another and problem solve when they all play in a group together.  Furthermore, pretend play helps children to grasp concepts like delayed gratification, managing aggression, and showing empathy towards others.  Additionally, pretend play can spur creativity not only while children are young, but well into their adult lives. In fact, according to S.W. Russ (2004), “longitudinal  studies, found that early imaginative play was associated with increased creative performance years later”.  

In our school, we want to encourage increased creativity, as a child driven program, we strive to foster curiosity by encouraging and pursuing children’s ideas for activities.  We strive for an environment where children feel safe to explore their own ideas, ask questions, and pursue answers to those questions. According to an article written by Ashiabi , (2007) ; Singer and Lythcott (2004), “A school atmosphere in which pretend games are encouraged, or even just tolerated in the curriculum or recess play of children has also been shown to  lead to even greater amounts of imaginativeness and enhanced curiosity, and to learning skills in preschoolers”. 

So in conclusion, we encourage pretend play at Garden Preschool because the studies have shown that encouraging pretend play early in a child’s life can aid development in all sorts of ways, and have a lasting impact on who children are emotionally and socially into the future.

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Article of the Month

What Screen Time Can Really Do to Kids’ Brains

Too much at the worst possible age can have lifetime consequences.

Liraz Margalit Ph.D.

Screen time is an inescapable reality of modern childhood, with kids of every age spending hours upon hours in front of iPads, smartphones and televisions.

That’s not always a bad thing: Educational apps and TV shows are great ways for children to sharpen their developing brains and hone their communication skills—not to mention the break these gadgets provide harried parents. But tread carefully: A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that American children spend a whopping seven hours a day in front of electronic media. Other statistics reveal that kids as young as two regularly play iPad games and have playroom toys that involve touch screens.

Saturation and long-term consequences

When very small children get hooked on tablets and smartphones, says Dr. Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Medicine, they can unintentionally cause permanent damage to their still-developing brains. Too much screen time too soon, he says, “is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed.”

Continue reading at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behind-online-behavior/201604/what-screen-time-can-really-do-kids-brains

Featured staff member:

Anne Fitz

Anne has been a teacher here at Garden Preschool for many years, and has worked with Heidi at a few different schools over the years. Anne grew up in a large family on the east coast. She became a teacher 30 years ago when her older son was in preschool.  

In her own words, it “seems unusual to me not to be around children”.  One of her favorite things about teaching is that she gets to experience the “wow” moment with a child over and over again every time they learn or discover something new. She wants to thank you for allowing her that joy!

Easy recipe to try! : Chocolate Beet Cupcakes


  • 2 cups diced, peeled beets (½ inch; about 2 medium)
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1¾ cups packed confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 ( ½-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.

  1. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add beets, cover and steam until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Add buttermilk and puree until smooth. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the beet puree. Pour the rest into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, oil, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and vanilla into the beet puree in the large bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  4. To prepare frosting: Combine the remaining ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar and cream cheese with the reserved beet puree in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Top each cooled cupcake with a generous 1 tablespoon frosting.

Recipe courtesy eatingwell.com

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