Visit from "Recycle Rhonda"

Rhonda Mace, aka “Recycle Rhonda,” from the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) visited Heartworks in Shelburne on November 7th to help preschoolers understand why recycling and composting is important, and to learn how they can help “make the earth happy.” Rhonda visits around 50 schools in Chittenden County each year to promote the vision of CSWD, which is to maximize composting, reuse and recycling of products by diverting as much waste as possible from the trash.

Rhonda explained to the children that each person in Vermont creates about three pounds of trash each day, but that over half of what we each throw into the trash could be recycled or composted. Using sock puppets named Bernie the Bacteria and Flo the Fungus, Rhonda demonstrated how to identify which items can go into the composting bin or the recycling bin, and which items need to go into the trash. She explained that Bernie and Flo like to eat everything that goes into the compost, including the paper towels that we use after washing our hands and paper napkins that we use when we eat.


November at Heartworks Shelburne

This month the theme in Sherri’s class was Kitchen Magic and Chemistry. The children used measuring tools to be kitchen scientists. They made their own finger paints out of kitchen ingredients and mixed food coloring into the paint to make it their favorite colors. Our school smelled of yummy pancakes that they mixed and cooked together. The children also made their own pumpkin pie scented playdough and brought it home to share. They were so excited to show their families their creation and have them smell it!

Children with Kaylah and Hunter studied Life on the Farm.  The children learned about sheep, pigs, chickens, and the importance of taking care of farms in Vermont and nationwide. The children worked on their fine motor skills and shapes by creating adorable shape tractors.  The children really enjoying color mixing as they mixed red and white paint to create pink pigs.  

The children with Danielle learned about dinosaurs. They were serious paleontologists identifying dinosaurs and digging for bones in the sandbox. Each child created their own dinosaur footprint  and made paper mache’eggs. Together they decorated a life size footprint of an apatosaurus and found out that the whole class could all fit inside it! It was great to see how excited the children were to compare their own feet to the giant apatosaurus foot.

Hilary and her friends learned about Vermont this month. They read the book, “The Sugaring Off Party” and looked at real taps that are used to tap maple trees. Then, the children took turns crushing ice and taste tested Vermont maple syrup on top. The children also made a chart of the fun things you can do in Vermont in the winter. They practiced balancing on “snowboards,” pretended to snowshoe and built ski trails on snowy mountains. It was so fun seeing the children really using their imaginations!

Children with Haley learned all about carnivals.  They worked on thier gross motor control and hand-eye coordination while competing in a ring toss, balance beam, and parachute popcorn game. The children  create delicious carnival treats.  They mixed glue and food coloring to create “cotton candy” and baked delicious “funnel cake”.  

During November children with Amber studied chemistry.  They learned all about chemical reactions because  preschool age children are inquisitive and open-minded, perfect traits for budding young scientists!   The children’s favorite chemical reactions were mixing baking soda and vinegar to make a volcano, making oobleck, and magic milk.  What a wonderful hands on learning month!  

The children with Angela learned all about circulation and healthy bodies!  They learned about the functions of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system.  The children’s favorite projects were using straws to blow air through to show how germs travel and using fine motor skills to make ripped paper “salads” that really looked delicious.

STEAM Highlights

The children in the afternoon STEAM class with Danielle have been hard at work on Fridays learning  wonderful math skills. They have been learning about patterning, counting, and shape and number recognition. The children particularly enjoyed the dot dabber dice game.  Following the reading of Ten, Nine, Eight by M. Bang the children created their own “dice” using coffee filters and bingo dabbers.

Children in the afternoon STEAM class with Haley were very busy this month.  The children enjoyed all sorts of projects, experiments and fun!  The children particularly enjoyed reading Elmer by David McKee and painting beautiful Elephants.
The scientists in STEAM with Amber donned their science goggles and watched color mixing eruptions.  They created the  green eruption by adding baking soda to blue colored vinegar and yellow colored vinegar. 

The children in the afternoon class with Angela spent a wonderful engineer afternoon reading Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and creating their own solo cup structure.  The children first worked individually to see if they could create a tower using five to eight solo cups and then worked in small groups to create two large towers in the classroom.  After working for a while the children built a tower over four feet tall, all made entirely out of solo cups!     

December Fundraiser

During the month of December Heartworks Shelburne will be supporting the Ronald McDonald house. The Ronald McDonald house is the “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children seeking treatment at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. It is their aim to be a refuge for families experiencing the stress and anguish of their loved one’s illness. Whether for a short stay, or for weeks at a time, they provide families with the comforts of home as well as the support of their dedicated staff and volunteers.”  

Starting Monday, December 5th there will be a large box near the front desk where items will be collected. Thank you  in advance for your support of our special community outreach project.

The items they are in need of are: 

  • Postage Stamps
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Taxi vouchers
  • Baby quilts
  • Preemie baby caps (we have knit/crochet patterns)
  • Fresh Fruit
  • K-Cups for Keurig Brewer
  • Hot and cold cereal, including single-serve boxes
  • Cookies
  • Individually packaged snacks and crackers
  • Bulk sugar and brown sugar
  • Chicken stock
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen meats
  • Combs and Brushes
  • Hotel size shampoo and conditioner
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Antibacterial wipes

Celebrations from Around the World

The schools will discuss many of the wonderful traditions, customs and celebrations from around the world. We will share the traditions, purpose, and reasons that some celebrate a certain holiday; we leave out the commercialization of the holiday. This may include:  

  • St. Nicholas Day (December 6) 
  • St. Lucia Day (December 13)
  • Las Posadas (begins on December 16)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21) 
  • Hanukkah (begins on December 24)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (begins on December 26) 

We believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn that it is perfectly fine that we may have different traditions to celebrate. This also encourages children to accept each other as individuals and not to base acceptance on what we do or what we celebrate or what we have in common with each other; being open to accept each other will continue to create harmony, peace and happiness in the children and community. Through the discussions, we help children see that light (candles, sunlight) is a commonality through all of these celebrations.  

If your family celebrates a certain holiday or tradition during this month that you would like to share with the class, please speak to your child’s teacher.   

Throughout this month, children from various classes will join together on many days for Story by Heart. The stories will be told by the School Director and will focus on the various holiday celebrations. 

Story by Heart time is so very special and magical for the children. Having so many “friends” from various classes and ages together to share in the tradition during this time of year simply enhances our community commonality between the classes while also learning about various cultural traditions, diversity and ways to help others.

School Closings or a Delay in Opening Due to Weather

In the event of snow or another form of inclement weather, the schools may close for the day or delay opening. Here are a few places to look or listen for school closing information.

  • The School Directors will send out an email. This will typically be between 6:30 and 7:00.
  • Our Facebook pages will have a notice added, here are links to each school's page: Heartworks, Renaissance, Endeavour
  • Many radio and television stations broadcast this information on an on-going basis.
  • Many TV and radio web sites have a link on their home page that says “closings and delays” – all schools in the area are listed there. We are located under: Chittenden County, Heartworks, Renaissance, Endeavour Schools (when all schools are cancelled). 

In the event of a “two hour delay” in opening, we will open to receive children beginning at 10:20.  The time is calculated from when the morning program begins (8:20) and early care is not available on these days.

Parents who may have a challenging commute to or from school during inclement weather are welcome to arrive late in the morning or choose to have their child stay home.  During the school day parents are welcome to pick their child up at any time that best suits their needs.  We try to remain open as long as possible in the day and if the weather becomes increasingly difficult during the day, we may close early at 4:30 or 5:00.

October at Heartworks Burlington

Each of the classes enjoyed studying a different topic within the Creative Arts theme!

The children with Jen were so happy during this past musical month full of many musical instruments! After learning about fast and slow tempo, the children painted while listening to either fast or slow tempo music. Do you think their pictures looked different? The children also made their own Taiko drums and did very well playing their drums while listening to real Taiko Drums. 

The children with Caitlin enjoyed learning all about many different famous artists and creating art pieces inspired by each. A favorite was painting a ‘splatter paint’ masterpiece just like Jackson Pollock. The children created impressive color wheels for their classroom using primary colors to make secondary colors. They are beautiful! 

The children with Susan did very well learning about many different Famous Musicians. The children enjoyed listening to many different and impressive musical artists. The class especially loved forming a class band, each child playing their own instrument, complete with a conductor and performing for other classes. 

The children with Clara learned about Famous Musicians and spent a lot of time listening to the different genres of music. Listening to both female, male, young, old, past and present famous musicians was quite inspirational. They especially enjoyed watching and listening to Clara play her violin and ukulele like a professional! The children each composed their own music scale with different musical notes; some were fast songs and some songs were slow. Clara then would play each individual child’s composition on either the violin or ukulele. How exciting!

The children with Teresa enjoyed learning about the author Maurice Sendak and reading many of his books. The class constructed an outstanding mural inspired by the book, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ complete with trees, wild things and Max.  The class practiced and performed a play retelling this fantastical story of ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ for the whole school. Bravo! 

The children with Leah immersed themselves in the world of Eric Carle. The children painted beautiful paper then created many collage pictures based on their favorite Eric Carle stories: Caterpillars and Butterflies from 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', and Chameleons based on ‘The Mixed-Up Chameleon.’ After learning the many steps needed to publish a book, the children wrote their very own book just like Eric Carle!

The children with Dominique enjoyed learning all about Tomie de Paola and were amazed at the many touching books he has written and the beautiful illustrations he created. After reading 'Tony’s Bread', the children experimented with bread dough and made their own loaves of bread! The class spent a lot of time learning about Italy (Tomie’s birthplace) - where it is located in the world, exciting landmarks, and types of Italian food! The children did very well publishing their own books inspired by Tomie de Paola. 

November Classroom Themes: 

The school-wide theme in November is Culture….

  • Class with Jen will study Australia
  • Children with Caitlin will have a focus on China 
  • Children with Susan and Clara will learn about Mexico 
  • Classes with Teresa and Leah will study Kenya
  • Class with Dominique will learn about Ghana


October at Heartworks Stowe

Highlights in the Upstairs Classroom:

The Pre-K class shows a lot of excitement for outdoor days on Thursdays and Fridays with Annabelle when they spend almost all of the morning outside from drop-off until pick-up or lunch. While most of the indoor routine is maintained outside, the order and some tasks are slightly different. For example, after arriving children find their name cards hidden around the playground and compare the letters and sounds with peers before moving to the grassy area for circle. At midmorning, children combine a bathroom break with choosing jobs and updating the school day counting jar.

During free play outside, children often choose to play cooperative games (e.g. House, School, Doctor) and spend a significant amount of time deciding which roles each child will have (e.g. father, teacher, patient), and what props are needed (e.g. sticks, leaves, clipboard, paper, pencils, bowls, chairs). They work hard listening to others’ ideas and feelings, and speaking up to advocate for their own needs and feelings.

On October 28th, a special guest visited the upstairs classroom. Melody Walker Brook, a citizen of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, shared traditional Native items like clothing, games, baskets, beads, and musical instruments. The children showed a lot of interest in feeling a mink fur, a leather dress, a dried gourd water bottle, and a sculpted wooden stick used in Snow Snake games. Children jumped up to dance when Melody unpacked her drum. During the Mosquito Dance, children stepped to the beat of the drum and waved their arms in the air as if swatting mosquitoes. They were keen to move more quickly as the rhythm of the drum beat faster!

Highlights in the Downstairs Classroom:

We spent the month of October learning about Water. The children enjoyed creating rivers and streams with the hose and gutters on the playground. They were especially excited to transform our sensory table into a river. Art projects included water droplets on coffee filters and blowing blue paint from straws onto wax paper.  The children also explored the different effects that water temperatures have on food through making applesauce; they also enjoyed cutting up a frozen pumpkin.

We took advantage of the pumpkin season by utilizing donated pumpkins for sensory exploration, carving, baking seeds, and much more! Children went on nature walks to collect Fall leaves to bring into the classroom. They loved doing leaf prints and watercolor tissue paper leaves.

The cold weather gave us the opportunity to perfect our self-help skills and learn to independently get into our Winter gear. 

STEAM Highlights:

The outdoor classroom, trail and field environments are ideal for scientific exploration and discovery. Children turn over logs and use animal tracking guides to identify bugs crawling underneath. They count the number of legs a critter has and notice the shape of its body to determine if its a match on the guide. They also step carefully to observe (with eyes only!) different kinds of scat on the trail. Their current hypotheses from looking at scat size and shape include: rabbits, deer, bear, fox, and squirrels. We are looking forward to finding footprints in the future and using measurement tools outside to help narrow down the identities of the animals in the area.

November Themes:

The upstairs class is looking forward to learning about Greek Mythology throughout the month of November. The downstairs class is eager to learn about Native Americans! 

October at Heartworks Shelburne

Morning Theme Highlights

Children with Sherri and Sandra spent some time “down under” in Australia. The children learned about aboriginal art, some of the animals that call Australia home and Australian food. They also had fun going on a fall pumpkin hunt in the woods behind the playground.  

Children taught by Danielle and Kaylah and Hunter were busy learning about Chinese culture, food, and of course the Panda Bear! The children experimented with chopsticks in the dramatic play area, made beautiful Chinese lanterns, and created adorable panda bears in a multi-step, sensory, and day project.

Viva Mexico! The children with Hilary and Haley took a “plane ride” to Mexico and spent the day exploring the country and the beautiful  landscape. To start the study of Mexico the classes started each morning counting to 10 in Spanish and greeting each other with a morning Spanish song. The classes ended the month with making homemade guacamole and having a fiesta to celebrate Mexican culture and food.

The  two Pre-kindergarten classes taught by Amber and Angela spent the month on the continent of Africa learning about Kenya. The children explored the people of Kenya - how and where they live, what they eat and the animals of Kenya. The children with Amber particularly enjoyed learning about Zebras and marble painting adorable Zebras for the wall. Children taught by Angela learned some Swahili phrases and about the climate of Kenya. They created a beautiful african sunset for the the wall.  


Full STEAM ahead into another month of incredibly fun learning experiences in the afternoon, allowing children to expand their natural desires to explore, to imagine, to build, and to question. 

STEAM class with Danielle has been busy using the outdoors as their classroom. After conducting a science circle inside they go outside for beautiful fall hikes, classifying leaves, comparing colors and leaf shapes, using magnifying glasses to study leaves.

Children in STEAM class with Haley have been busy learning all about gravity. They collected different objects from about the classroom and dropped them off from different heights. The children followed up the lesson by going outside to drop parachutes off the big climbing structure.

Amber has taken the hands on concept of STEAM and applied it to technology. She set up four different learning stations using binoculars, magnifying glasses, flashlights and tweezers and after a discussion about how each tool makes their life easier and how the tools were invented, the children began to explore and discover the tools on their own.

STEAM class with Angela spent an engineering day and transformed their classroom and themselves into structural engineers using tape, pattern bears, and newspaper for materials. They built and designed bridges from tape and newspaper from chair to chair, chairs to shelves, and shelves to tables. After creating bridges the children were able to balance bears on the bridges - How many bears fit on your bridge? 

This Month at Heartworks Williston

November's Themes

The school-wide theme for November is “Science.”  The classes are studying the following topics within that theme:

Children with Sarah and Amy - Transportation/Simple Machines
The classes are exploring various modes of transportation on land, on water and in the air. 

Children with Erica and Amy - Health and Our Bodies
The classes will learn about physical components of the human body including how food we eat affects our wellness.  
Children with Georgia – Five Senses.
They will be exploring the importance of each one of our senses, and how our body adapts based on the senses being used.

Children with Cassie  - Weather
Cassie’s class is studying the various types of weather that we see, and even some extreme weather which we don’t usually experience here in Vermont.

Children with Maria, Leah and Caila - Solar System
The Pre-kindergarten classes are focused on Outer Space this month. They will be identifying and learning about each of the planets, including the order that they are aligned in, and features of each planet.  They will be discovering facts about the stars, the sun and the moon.  They will be discussing what it would be like to be astronauts.

Afternoon STEAM Program
The STEAM classes will be connecting thankfulness and giving with Science. The focus will be on how nature works in harmony to support all living things as we prepare for the winter months ahead. Concepts of harvest and hibernation will be covered in a variety of activities.  

October’s Themes

During the month of October, children with Sarah and Amy learned about Life in the Forest. They took advantage of the “Magical Forest” on our property. They discussed what a forest is comprised of and who lives in the forest. They were able to make observations about the changes that occurred in the Magical Forest over the course of the month. They created crafts with items from the forest including beautiful leaf rubbings and a leaf collage. They also made a wonderful bear cave filled with a happy family of bears!

The children with Erica, Georgia and Amy discovered Life in the Desert. They discussed the difference in climate between Vermont and the desert. They learned where some deserts are in the world. They discovered plants and animals that live in the desert including rattlesnakes, camels, elf owls, scorpions, wolf spiders, and roadrunners; and they learned how these things survive in the desert environment.

Children with Cassie learned about Mountain Life. They discussed how lucky we are to be surrounded by mountains in Vermont. They talked about different activities that people do on mountains, including camping! They learned about different animals that live in the mountains. They created a giant mountain mural and adorned it with mountain goats, bears and soaring bald eagles.

Maria, Leah and Caila focused on the Rainforest last month. They pinpointed where in the world rainforests grow. They compared and contrasted rainforests to forests in Vermont. They identified and artfully represented the four layers of the rainforest on murals and discovered the exotic animals and plants that inhabit each of the layers.  

STEAM Class with Cassie engaged in some wonderful seasonal experiments. They went into the Magical Forest to engineer animal homes out of materials they found in the forest. They learned about static electricity and rubbed a balloon on their head to generate enough static electricity to raise a ghost and bat off the table!

STEAM with Maria was focused on weather and trees. They did experiments to answer inquiries such as: How much water can a cloud hold before it starts raining? Which style of paper airplane flies best?  Why do leaves change color?

STEAM class with Leah also studied weather and trees this month. They engineered weather vanes and windsocks and tested them outdoors and with a fan. The children also had the opportunity to use real screwdrivers and hammers to screw and nail pieces of wood. Everyone was incredibly focused on this task!

Supporting the Williston Food Shelf

During this season of Thanksgiving, we often reflect on the blessings that we have in our lives. The teachers thought it would be a wonderful time to be a blessing in someone else’s life by offering donations to the Williston Community Food Shelf. If you find yourself in a position that you are able to, please bring in non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items or household paper products by Friday, November 18th. Here is an excerpt directly from the Food Shelf with suggestions regarding donations:

If you are interested in making a donation of food, our guideline suggest that your donations be of non-perishable foods in intact, unopened and undamaged containers that are of current date.   We welcome donations of pasta, pasta sauce, canned vegetables and fruits, soup, tomato products, canned protein, tuna, crackers, canned beans, coffee and tea, cereal, snacks, juice, macaroni and cheese, and rice and pasta side dishes. We are also happy to receive toilet tissue, personal hygiene products, condiments, and pet food. Unfortunately, we cannot use large packing of products that you might purchase at warehouse stores.

There will be collection receptacles around the school for the items that you bring in. If possible, please involve your child in the purchasing and delivery process so they are aware of the gesture of giving to someone in need. We will also be engaging the children in activities to sort and count the items in school before we deliver them. Thank you in advance for your participation. Every item helps to make a difference.

HRE Reaches Out

On October 4, seven Heartworks staff members attended the Gubernatorial Candidate Panel Discussion on Early Education. HRE was a sponsor of this event that was held at UVM. Many other educators also attended to learn more about the candidates’ thoughts and plans about addressing early education in Vermont.

On October 25, HRE hosted a panel discussion at Champlain College for Education Majors. Nine HRE members attended along with the college students, a Champlain Faculty Member and someone from Let’s Grow Kids program. Paul Zengilowski led the panel discussion by asking questions that would be helpful to the students in their planning and preparation for securing a job in education.

The questions ranged from how best to be prepared for working with young children, tips for when children may decide to do something other than the lesson, how best to make decisions with always the focus on the best interest for the children, working with parents, and so much more. The panel consisted of Lia Barnes; Danielle Harris – Renaissance School Director; and Directors of Heartworks – Joanne Pillsbury, Kathleen Schaffner, and Ashley McKinley; and Georgia Morris, a teacher at Heartworks Williston and a recent graduate of Champlain College.

The education students had a chance to ask questions and share their thoughts followed by opportunities for the education students to socialize with the Directors and ask further questions. One highlight was when an education student said she worked at a summer camp this past summer where a Heartworks’ child was in attendance. It was shared of how the child had social, emotional, and life skills surpassing those of the other campers and how this three year old was quickly the leader of the campers and one who was looked to for learning to follow directions and making great choices. This was another testament to the wonderful educational Heartworks Preschool program that we provide, and to our teachers who are so dedicated to early education.  We look forward to additional collaboration with Champlain College and thank them for supporting this event.


Professional Development Day

Over 60 Faculty members of the Heartworks, Renaissance and Endeavour Schools gathered together on Friday, October 21 for a day of Professional Development.  The schools maintain an active schedule of staff development programming each year designed to meet the needs of the Faculty throughout the organization.

The Heartworks’ workshops included discussions about Smooth Transitions in the Classroom, Outside Time, Classroom Management and Strategies, Teaching Phonics, Theme Program Discussions, Career Growth through Professional Development, Character Development Curriculum and presentations from Mutual of Omaha and The Richards Group on our new employee benefits.

Workshops were led by Lia Barnes – Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Erin Hyer – a licensed and certified speech language pathologist, Andrea Beam – Director of Finance, Administration and HR, some of the School Directors and Lisa Zengilowski. The Faculty had opportunities to work in small and large groups, and collaborate with teachers from the other Heartworks Schools.  It was a highly productive, joyful and beneficial day for everyone!


Clothing and Winter Gear

In keeping with our belief in classical education and to minimize distractions, please do not send your child to school in clothing that includes any pictures or images associated with television shows, cinematic themes or commercialized toys, super heroes, games, or video games. We also believe that children should not wear hats indoors.  Thank you for helping to follow these guidelines. 

As the cold weather is upon us, it is very important that your child has a heavy fleece or warm jacket, hat, and mittens to wear outside.  Very soon it will be necessary to add snowpants, warm boots, heavy jacket and waterproof mittens.

Please label, with your child’s name, all clothing items with a permanent marker including hats, mittens, snow pants, boots, etc., since many of these items look alike.   Some items can become misplaced, and a labeled item finds its way home much faster.  The Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Schools cannot be responsible for lost or misplaced items.

Heartworks and Lyric Theater

November 10th through the 13th, Lyric Theatre Company will be presenting “Tommy” at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. We have many Faculty and family members working on this particular show and they include:  

  • Jayne Methot-Walker who works in most of the Heartworks schools has been a member of Lyric Theatre for 30 years and her husband is the Director of this show ; Jayne is also involved in the show
  • Jen Adams who is a parent in Heartworks Williston, is in the show
  • Lucas Moran, a Renaissance student and former Heartworks student, is in the show
  • Weller Henderson, a former Heartworks student, is in the show
  • Megan Lambros, who works in Heartworks Burlington, is on the make-up crew for this show
  • Jacey Fountain, who works in Heartworks Shelburne C, is on the lighting crew for this show
  • Steve Smith, who is a Firefighter in Shelburne and coordinates the fire safety day for our Shelburne schools and his wife had worked at Heartworks, is in this show
  • Jen Mazza, who works in Heartworks Burlington, is very close friends with the head of the make-up crew for this show

Additional Lyric connections with Faculty of the Schools

  • Joanne Pillsbury, Director in Williston, her sister has been a long time Lyric member
  • Amy Veilleux, who works in Heartworks Williston, her brother has been a long time Lyric member
  • Nikki Juvan, the former music and theater teacher for Renaissance and Endeavour was in Lyric shows and also directed Lyric summer camp shows
  • Paul Zengilowski, co-owner of the schools, was on the Lyric Board
  • Paul and Lisa’s two children had been in three Lyric shows between them


September Highlights from Heartworks Shelburne C

Class with Meg and Kaylie

The first month of school in the infant classroom is filled with getting to know one another, establishing daily routines for each child and simply enjoying being together. Meg and Kaylie have been working on a few small projects using handprints and footprints to create wonderful fall decorations. They have been spending so much time outside with all of the children walking around the campus and laying in the courtyard watching the leaves move in the wind and enjoying the end of summer and beginning of fall sunshine.

Class with Jackie and Marina

Our friends are growing so much and are reaching many new milestones just in the first few weeks of school! They have quickly settled into a routine and are having so much fun exploring the classroom space and getting to know their friends and teachers. The children have also enjoyed going on walks and exploring the playground getting as much fresh air and sunshine as they possibly can. Outside is definitely a favorite activity for the class. It has been so fun watching the children interact with one another and enjoy the day with excitement and wonder.

Class with Anne and Jacey

What an exciting and enriching first month the children in this classroom have had! They quickly fell into a routine and are having small circles, wonderful enrichment times and are enjoying books and puzzles during transitions. Each month Anne begins with a group painting on canvas using paint and tape to create a word that relates to the theme. September’s word was “welcome” and the children had so much fun exploring the paint and mixing all the colors together. On the windows you will find heart shaped suncatchers that the children created using contact paper and colored tissue paper squares. The also used glue and colored leaf shaped pieces of paper to make fallen leaves for the fall tree on the wall in the classroom. 

Class with Liz and Amanda

The beginning of the year has been filled with so much laughter, joy and excitement. Liz and Amanda have quickly established a rhythm that works well for the children that allows them time to explore, read stories, move their bodies, explore art and music, and get to know one another. The class goes outside for fresh air and gross motor activities rain or shine and the children love that time to explore big body movements in safe and controlled ways. As the months go by the children will continue to learn about using verbal and sign language to communicate their needs, wants and emotions. Some of the favorite activities from the month of September were coloring paper for the “friendship quilt” and creating nature wands using stick, tape and items they found outside.

Class with Haleigh and Nikki

Hiking and exploring families in nature has been a favorite focus of the classroom this month. The children have been enjoying outside time in the forest looking for signs of animals and insects. As a part of the Friends and Family theme, the children used crayons and paper to create mini “family portraits.” Each child had the opportunity to point out the family members they drew, and they were displayed on a family wall in the classroom. The children are enjoying exploring in the classroom  and are working on using books and puzzles to transition between activities, learning new greeting songs during circle and using words to express their thoughts and feelings.

October themes

Overall Theme for the two oldest classes is Cultures.
Children with Haleigh and Nikki will study Australia - the land, language, people and animals.
Children with Liz and Amanda will explore the wonderful cultures for “America the Beautiful.” 

All classes will explore Fall and Harvest, as well as their own learning concepts such as engaging in parallel and cooperative play, language use and development, gentle touches and careful body movements plus appropriate gross and fine motor skills. We are all looking forward to the exciting activities and enrichments planned for this next month.

September Highlights - Heartworks Shelburne B

Highlights from the September Morning Theme of Family and Friends:

The children with Sherri and Sandra have been busy creating a feeling of community in the classroom by making a handprint community wreath to hang on the door, making friendship dough (playdough) and drawing cards to deliver to different classrooms.

Children with Kaylah and Hunter have learned all about family and friends. They created a friendship Garden using a beautiful painted canvas and delivered cookies to the school community. 

The children with Danielle spent the month learning about extended families. They learned how many people are in each child’s family and what it means to be a family. The children read a very sweet book titled, Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh. After reading the story, the children enjoyed painting with their feet on large pieces of canvas.

The children with Haley started the month with a wonderful discussion and project about what it means to be part of a community. They followed the discussion up with taking a hike through the “community,” collecting leaves as the colors became more vibrant and making leaf rubbings with the leaves that were collected!

Children with Hilary spent the month learning about Community Helpers. They learned about fire fighters, doctors,construction workers, dentists, and police officers and what their role is in our Community. At the end of the month the children created a thankful wreath for the Shelburne Police Department.  

The children with Amber started September with learning about communities and made a Friendship Bread yeast starter. Over the next ten days they tracked the progress of the yeast, wrote out a card and directions for each class and delivered the yeast starter to each classroom! Wow did the school smell delicious.

Children with Angela have been busy learning about Friendly Neighborhoods and what it means to be part of a community. To learn about Neighborhoods they talked about the different components that make up a neighborhood, walked around our school neighborhood and finally created a large map of our local community on canvas.  


The Heartworks Preschools have an enrichment program in the afternoon that incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math  (STEAM). Each day the focus of the afternoon curriculum is on one of these areas, combined with our traditional classrooms values of sharing, respect, courtesy, and listening. Through a broad range of fun and creative activities, the children are encouraged to make predictions, develop hypotheses, ask questions, explore, imagine, build and experiment. 

September STEAM Highlights:

What a wonderful successful start of the afternoon STEAM programs! The children have been busy with STEAM experiments, projects, building, inventing and observations.  
Some highlights from the children in Danielle’s class are science projects that involved walking water, and cloud observations. In Haley’s Wednesday STEAM class some exciting  Engineering highlights are creating “blueprints”  to draw the ideal playground and using blocks to create a mock playground. The children in Amber’s class have enjoyed working with numbers in all aspects of STEAM. They have been measuring with rulers, sorting and graphing crayon colors and counting with cubes.  In the STEAM class with Angela children have dissected  apples and then labeled their parts followed by a delicious apple snack.  Using baking soda paint the children  used eye droppers to drop vinegar onto paintings and observed the chemical reactions.  

October’s Morning Overall Theme is Cultures

The Culture Study exposes children to different cultures and ways of life. They will learn to find the location on a world map, be introduced to some basic words in that language, clothing, art, music, dance, architect, important landmarks, food, animals, landscape and so much more. The classes will be studying the following Cultures:

  • Children with Sherri and Sandra - Australia
  • Children with Kaylah, Hunter and Danielle - China
  • Children with Haley and Hilary - Mexico
  • Children with Amber and Angela - Kenya


Music with Joanna

Joanna May is our music teacher who visits our school throughout each month.  Some of the classes have a scheduled time to have music with Joanna in the Big Room.  Joanna incorporates singing, dancing, and movement into her music class.  

Apple Brownie Recipe


  • 1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 small sweet apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center position. Generously butter an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. 

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and egg with a mixer until pale, about 2 minutes. Add apples, and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined, about 30 seconds more. 

Spread batter in pan, and bake until golden brown and slightly firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes, then cut into 12 bars.

Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart

September Highlights - Stowe!

September’s Morning Theme of Friends and Family was a perfect way to start the year…. Here are some highlights.

Children with Amanda and Megan
The children really enjoyed getting to know each other and making friendships.  They also enjoyed many enrichment projects with the following seeming to be some of their favorites  - baking muffins, sculpting people out of salt dough, making Flubber, painting, and singing new songs! 

Children with Britta and Annabelle
The children in this class really enjoyed learning about the community that they live in and are a part of. They loved walking to the police station and the library. Children were very creative constructing homes out of boxes and engineering roadways to connect neighborhoods.


The Heartworks Preschools have an enrichment program in the afternoon that incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math  (STEAM).  Each day the focus of the afternoon curriculum is on one of these areas, combined with our traditional classrooms values of sharing, respect, courtesy, and listening. Through a broad range of fun and creative activities, the children are encouraged to make predictions, develop hypotheses, ask questions, explore, imagine, build and experiment. 

September STEAM Highlights

Some of the highlights included experimenting with magnets, playing with light tables, working with magnifying glasses to examine fingerprints, art projects, and movement counting. 

October’s Morning Overall Theme is Water

The classes will also be learning about and celebrating the beautiful autumn season. Below is the focus themes for each classroom:
Children with Amanda and Megan - Rivers and Streams
Children with Britta and Annabelle - Lakes and Ponds 

Highlights from September

September’s Morning Theme of Friends and Family was a perfect way to start the year…. Here are some highlights.

Children with Jen and Megan were special bakers and made delicious homemade cookies which then were delivered to friends in other classes. The children also worked as a ‘team’ creating a beautiful cooperative art mural using cotton balls, clothespins, and paint. 

Children with Caitlin and Molly enjoyed designing their own family tree complete with family photos and paint designs. The children also had fun measuring their height using apples! How many apples tall are you?

Children with Susan learned about the importance of our community helpers. They learned about a firefighter's job and made footprint fire trucks. They talked all about what a dentist does and painted paper teeth using toothbrushes. 

Children with Clara created beautiful and interesting All About Me flags which are hanging in the classroom. They also made a list of the many helpful community helpers and their job, then each child designed their very own community member.  

Children with Teresa did a terrific job creating 3-dimensional homes using folded paper. The children also designed maps of their world; some children mapped their bedroom, their favorite tree, their toy box or their surrounding mountains. 

Children with Leah were neighborhood musicians and after some rehearsal time, put on ‘concerts’ for friends in different classes. The class also worked together and made delicious pizzas to share.

Children with Dominique really enjoyed learning about maps and filled in important places on their own Vermont map. The children also enjoyed making friendship playdough by mixing together various ingredients, including a surprise one that turned the playdough into a different color! 


The Heartworks Preschools have an enrichment program in the afternoon that incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math  (STEAM).  Each day the focus of the afternoon curriculum is on one of these areas, combined with our traditional classrooms values of sharing, respect, courtesy, and listening. Through a broad range of fun and creative activities, the children are encouraged to make predictions, develop hypotheses, ask questions, explore, imagine, build and experiment. 

September STEAM Highlights: 

The children in Leah’s STEAM class...enjoyed learning all about the life cycle of a butterfly and worked together dissecting a milkweed pod, discovered the many ways a blender is a useful tool and made delicious fruit smoothies, and went on a shape hunt all over our playground finding trapezoids, hexagons, triangles and even octagons. 

The children in Teresa’s STEAM ‘Bubble Trouble’ and made their own bubble solution and used different objects to create bubbles, created 3-dimensional shape structures using many unique shapes and materials, and learned how crayons are made and mixed together ingredients to make their own crayons. 

The children in Dominique’s STEAM class... planted apple seeds and are charting their growth,  experimented with water and learned what dissolves in water and what does not, and they created mixed media paintings while listening to various tempos of music.  

October’s Morning Overall Theme is Creative Arts

The classes will be learning about and celebrating the beautiful autumn season. Below is the focus themes for each classroom:

  • Children with Jen and Megan - Musical Instruments
  • Children with Caitlin and Molly - Famous Artists
  • Children with Susan and Clara - Famous Musicians
  • Each Pre-kindergarten class has a different author study:  Teresa - Maurice Sendak, Leah - Erica Carle, Dominique - Tomie Depaola

Winter Gear Exchange

Even though it was recently 80 degrees outside, October is here and this is Vermont and it’s never too early to begin thinking about winter gear for your child. We all know how quickly children grow out of their clothes, and it can be frustrating to spend so much money each year to purchase new items when last year’s gear is barely worn! At Heartworks Williston we recognized that we have an opportunity to help each other out, so for the month of October we are going to be organizing and hosting a winter gear exchange! 

The idea is simple: Have gear? Leave gear. Need gear? Take gear. Do you have gently used winter gear that no one in your household can fit into anymore? Bring it to school and we will have different areas of the “Big Room” sectioned off by sizes for you to drop it off. Do you need gear for your child? “Shop” to the see if there is anything that will suit your child and you can take it. 

Please note that we are limiting “gear” to include child-sized winter jackets, snow pants, snowsuits and boots. We will set up the Big Room to be ready for donations and “shoppers” at approximately 8:20 each day in October (except on Music days or rainy days when the Big Room will be used all morning). The gear will remain out until 4:30 so you are welcome to stop in throughout the day. At the end of the month any unclaimed gear will be brought to Goodwill. 

We look forward to hosting this exchange! We hope it helps serve your needs to keep the children warm this winter