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.


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.

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.

Rhythm Over Routine: A Work of the Heart at School and Home

Have you ever wondered how a Heartworks teacher can get ten preschool children to sit around a table for lunch or fall asleep for nap en masse?  From playing cooperatively with their friends to learning side by side, preschoolers peacefully follow the Heartworks “Rhythm of the Day.”  We’d like to share some of our philosophy here, so that parents who are interested can establish their own rhythms at home.

The foundation of the rhythm is speaking respectfully and also following through with children on expectations and directions. It is important to set such boundaries at home so a child will know how to have polite and respectful social behavior towards all adults and other children. It’s easy to assume that teachers have established a precise routine that children follow, arriving on a carpet square by 8:35, falling asleep on cue, and generally following the clock throughout the day. However, for a child, the numbers on a clock have very little to do with when they are hungry, tired, or curious. 

In fact, the term rhythm might be better understood as an order of experiences. The activities that children participate in throughout the day at Heartworks have an order that is repeated every day. For example, three-year-old class will begin with Circle upon arrival with the learning block starting at 8:35, this may be followed by Explore, Snack, Outside, Second Learning Block, Enrichment, and Story by Heart. Our goal is to create a predictable pattern to a child’s day, thus lessening anxiety as well as providing less instruction of what to do next as they already know.

Similarly, where to sit, where shoes go, and how to take turns is gently modeled by Heartworks teachers. Teachers are also attuned to the fact that children move through these experiences at a pace that they feel comfortable at. By sending the child who may need more time putting boots on to the shoe area first, children are in harmony in the classroom, with no undue attention to our friends who move more slowly.

The subtle difference between routine and rhythm makes all of the difference. Routines are set by clocks, rhythms by patterns. While we strive for snack to be eaten at approximately the same time each day, the expectation of what happens next is what comforts children. Routines can connote tedium, but rhythm is a pattern which can account for individual variance and life’s unforeseen delays.

The Heartworks’ rhythm includes traditions that reflect our values; we gather for a meal by singing a blessing, and we complete a meal by saying thank you. By planning a day’s rhythm, we have an opportunity to weave in what we value in a respectful way rather than rushing to stay “on time.” Similarly, part of our rhythm is to take a moment to rest and acknowledge the quiet.  

Our purpose in sharing our philosophy is to encourage interested friends and parents to reflect and create their own rhythm. Consider daily experiences such as giving thanks that may be important to you and activities that are necessary, such as washing hands or brushing teeth. Remember that each child or member of your family will generally move through an activity at a different pace, so taking that into consideration is helpful. Once you establish a rhythm, a flow chart with pictures is helpful for young children. Even though you may want your child in bed by 7:30, it’s important not to watch the clock. Consider adjusting the next day’s rhythm by eliminating activities rather than allowing the stress of being on time interfere with the enjoyment of each activity. Take bedtime, for example, sometimes bedtime routines can become too elaborate, creating stress the longer they go on and the later it gets. In order to establish an enjoyable rhythm, perhaps you and your child can pick three activities, as well as their order, to do each night before bed. A picture flow chart that you create can add an element of fun, too!

We hope this is helpful.  Heartworks is truly a work of the heart, just like your family!

Safe Lunches

Please be sure that there is an ice pack in the lunch box for any items that need to be kept cold, such as milk and yogurt. If you want your child to have something warm to eat, please be sure to provide it in an insulated thermos.

For infants, toddlers, and children aged two and three:
All food items need to be cut into pieces smaller than 1/2 inch in size. Grapes, tomatoes, and olives must be cut in quarters. If providing carrots, they must be cut in very skinny lengthwise strips. All food items should be cut no larger than 1/4 inch pieces for infants.

For all children
The following food items are not to be served according to NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) guidelines, which we must follow: hot dogs (whole or sliced), popcorn, hard pretzels, raw peas.

We are a nut free facility and do not serve items that contain, or may contain peanuts or tree nuts, or even those items processed in the same facilities. Cereal bars and granola bars often have these types of labels on them. Please check all labels before packing items in your child’s lunchbox, and if the packaged items do not list ingredients please indicate that it is free of all peanut and tree nut warning labels.

Thank you for following these guidelines as you prepare food for your child during their day at school.

April Highlights

Halle and Meg

The month of April afforded many opportunities for the class to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. The children enjoyed walks around the courtyard, some days bundled up and others with light jackets and hats. They have all been working on special projects that will be going home soon and are exploring the classroom in new and exciting ways. 

Jackie and Marina

The friends with Jackie and Marina have been having so much fun engaging with one another during circle times, even sitting on small carpet squares as they listen to stories and sing songs together. With the Planting and Gardening theme, the children all had a chance to experiment with soil and seeds as they planted different flowers and herbs that have now sprouted and continue to grow as they are watered and taken care of. The teachers have been pointing out the buds on the trees and the children are excited to see the leaves getting bigger every day. Welcome Spring!

Anne and Amanda

A wonderful new addition to the classroom for the month of April was a small jar of frog eggs that came from Anne’s family's pond. The children have enjoyed exploring the jar and can now see that the small black spots within the gel have turned into little swimming creatures, that look a bit like fish! In addition to the excitement of the tadpoles, the children also explored planting and what plants need to grow. They “planted” seeds in small plastic bags taped to the window, and are using a grow lab to help the vegetables and herbs they are growing sprout and flourish in the light and warmth. 

Danielle and Nikki

Rhyming and Poems was the theme for the children in the class with Danielle and Nikki. They explored rhyming words and stories focusing on a few well known poems. One of the children’s favorite rhymes was “Three Little Kittens.” They painted small paper kittens and then searched the room for “lost mittens.” The children were all full of smiles as they found each set of mittens. The morning ended with everyone having some pie! Just like the kittens.

Rachel and Jacey

The days with Rachel and Jacey were full of Nursery Rhymes during the “Stories from Around the World” theme. The children practiced their cutting skills as they used scissors and then bandaids for a “Humpty Dumpty” enrichment project, jumped over candles sticks as they pretended to be nimble and quick like jack, and even participated in Nursery Rhyme Yoga. There were some fun baking and cooking projects during the month as the children made curds and whey like the snack in Little Miss Muffet and added jam to pastry to make tarts for the Queen of Hearts. 

April Classroom Highlights from Heartworks Shelburne

Jenny’s two-year-old class really enjoyed the Nursery Rhymes theme this month. The classroom was full of song, rhyme and movement. The children jumped over “candle sticks” while learning Jack Be Nimble, fingerprint painted sheep and tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!  They celebrated their hard work this month by learning the Nursery Rhyme “Wee Willie Winkie” and had a special pajama day together! 

The three-year-old classes taught by Sherri and Hilary explored the magical world of Fairy Tales this month. They went on hikes in the woods to find Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The children made porridge and shared it together for snack. It was so sweet to see the children play kings and queens as they read, Cinderella, dancing and singing together. 

The children taught by Mariah read Native American stories this month. The children heard many tales about Native American life and traditions. They carefully constructed their own wigwams, made their own Native American drums and even crafted dream catchers with a help from a mom of a child in the class. It was wonderful to see how proud the children were of their creations and excited to bring their dreamcatchers home to hang by their beds. 

The Pre-kindergarten classes taught by Amber, Angela and Theanna studied Greek Mythology this month. It was a month filled with stories, dramatic play and amazing artwork. The children got a sense of what it was like to live like a Greek by tasting traditional foods, wearing togas and even participating in the Greek Olympics! 

Closing Ceremonies

At Heartworks we have established a tradition to conclude our school year with a ceremony for the children in our older classes. The ceremony includes a performance of songs that the children have been working on with Joanna followed a presentation of a certificate for each child.  It is a wonderful way to mark the end our year together. The closing ceremonies will be at held in the “Big Room” in Heartworks Shelburne. School will close at 3:30pm this day to accommodate the ceremonies. The ceremony times are as follows:

Ceremony at Heartworks Shelburne Big Room

  • Hilary’s class- 4:30
  • Mariah’s class- 5:00
  • Amber’s class- 5:30
  • Theanna’s class- 6:00
  • Angela’s class- 6:30

We look forward to seeing you there, as this is a cherished occasion for the Heartworks community.

In preparation for the Closing Ceremonies, Joanna will be conducting rehearsals at school. The dates and times of each of the rehearsals are listed below.  If it is not your child’s day to come to school, we encourage you to bring them to school for these rehearsals so they can feel more confident with the rhythm of the ceremony. Please arrive 5 minutes before the allotted rehearsal time and we ask that you remain on site for duration of the rehearsal. Thank you for your participation and support.

Rehearsals:  Friday, May 27th and Tuesday, May 31st

  • Mariah 9:15-9:45
  • Hilary – 9:45-10:15
  • Amber– 10:15-10:45 
  • Theanna - 10:45-11:15
  • Angela – 11:15-11:40

March Classroom Highlights from Heartworks Shelburne

Halle and Meg

The children in class with Halle and Meg had so much fun during March singing about farming and exploring the different sounds that farm animals make. They had a good amount of days where many of the children sat around one of the teachers and enjoyed a mini circle time of songs and stories. Some of the children are able to or have been starting to clap and wave and practice this during those circle times and also throughout the day. It is so fun watching the children engage with one another as they continue to grow and reach new milestones.

Painting Pigs in Jackie and Marina's Class.JPG

Jackie and Marina

One of the favorite activities to close out the Farming and Farm Animals theme was pretending to be piglets and rolling around in the “mud” in the classroom pigpen. The children had so much fun making oinking sounds as they crawled around and got very “dirty” just like little pigs do. After dramatic play the children sat at the table and used brown paint and their fingers and hands to cover small paper pink pigs with “mud.” It was so fun to watch the children become so engaged in the farming theme. 

Anne and Amanda

Happy “Dress Like a Farmer Day!” The children in class with Anne and Amanda dressed like farmers on Wednesday and Thursday, the last two days of their Farm and Farm Animals theme. They invited Halle and Meg’s friends as well as Jackie and Marina’s to join in this fun celebration to close out the month of March. The children and teachers pretended to be farmers during explore time growing and cooking different pretend vegetables and fruits. 

Danielle and Nikki

The friends in class with Danielle and Nikki ended the month of March exploring how water forms clouds and used their fine motor skills to use pipettes to drop colored water through shaving cream to make it “rain” in a glass of water. The children also used puffy paint to decorate different types of clouds and observed the clouds outside to see if they could recognize any of the types of clouds they made. It was a treat to see snow and rain falling in the same week so that the children could experience how temperature affects water.

Rachel and Jacey

On the last day of March the children with Rachel and Jacey enjoyed hearing stories in circle and learning about what a seed needs to grow. They then moved to the table and scooped soil into recycled egg cartons before choosing special seeds to grow. There was a focus on how much plants need water which was a wonderful compliment to March’s water theme. The children are looking forward to using a spray bottle to water their plants and observing them as they start to take root under the grow light in the classroom.

Classroom Highlights from Heartworks Shelburne

Jenny and Sandra’s friends really took advantage of their Water is Fun theme this month. They created some amazing art work painting with watercolors and ice paint! The children had a water drop race on wax paper using eye droppers. It was amazing to see the control they had while using the eye droppers. The children were scientists while performing a sink or float experiment as a class and even made their own predictions!

Hilary and Sherri’s friends dove into learning about Rivers and Streams this month. They went on many hikes through our woods searching for rivers and streams. The children created their own river murals which they added plant and animal life to each day.  Hilary’s friends learned about beavers and created their own adorable beavers out of paper plates. Sherri’s friends painted beautiful river fish using water colors to add to their class mural. 

Mariah’s friends explored the depths of the Ocean! This month they created a wonderful mural of the plant and animal life that make the ocean such an amazing place. They conducted a number of experiments testing if salt water would freeze and played sink or float. The class enjoyed pretending to be baby sea turtles who had just hatched out of their eggs. It was so sweet seeing them move so carefully around the classroom together. 

Amber, Theanna and Angela’s friends were focused on Lakes and Ponds this month. The classes each created beautiful murals that displayed plant and animal life they were learning about daily. A big focus for the children was the life cycle of a frog. Amber’s friends created amazing models of frogs in each of their stages of life. Theanna’s friend’s really enjoyed playing Lake and Pond animal charades having the chance to act out an animal and guess which animals they are pretending to be. Angela’s friends created their own Champ sculptures depicting what they think our lake creature might look like. 

April’s Theme: Stories from Around the World

  • Jenny: Nursery Rhymes
  • Sherri and Hilary: Fairy Tales
  • Mariah: Native American Stories
  • Theanna, Angela and Amber: Greek Mythology

February Highlights from Heartworks Shelburne

Jenny and Sandra’s class explored many instruments this month during their Musical Instruments theme. The children loved learning about new instruments and even getting to play them together! They made their own drums, painted with bells attached to paintbrushes and even had a parade! The highlight of the month was when the children each brought in their own instruments from home to share with their friends. 

This month Hilary and Sherri’s friends dove into their Famous Artists Theme. Both classes learned about many artists such as Monet and Van Gogh. The children explored many different art mediums such as pencil drawings, oil pastels, painting on canvas and watercolors. They recreated many famous painting such as Van Gogh's iconic ‘Sunflowers’ and made their own Pablo Picasso inspired self-portraits! 

This month Mariah’s friends explored Famous Musicians. The classroom was filled with music! Mariah brought her own talents to this theme through playing her violin and harp for the children. The class listened to many musicians, danced, painted to music and even played their own instruments. Sammy’s dad, Jamie, came in for a visit to share his musical instruments and the whole class got to play together!

This month the Pre-k classes focused on Author Study. Each teacher chose an author for the class to study. The children continued to grow their concepts of print though reading and exploring many great books. Erica’s class made their own butter to put on pancakes they cooked in honor of Eric Carle’s Pancakes Pancakes. Theanna’s class was inspired to make their own rulers and measured items in the classroom through Leo Lionni’s ‘Inch By Inch’. Amber’s friends made and decorated their own mittens and retold the story of ‘The Mitten’ by Jan Brett. 

January's Theme at Heartworks Shelburne

During the month of January the school wide theme is “Animal Homes and People Homes”. Each classroom enjoyed learning about life in a different region. They discussed the animals that live there, the people, special stories from an area, and enjoyed creative art projects related to the region.

Jenny’s class spent their month exploring Forest Life. The children enjoyed going on bear hunts around the classroom and even created their own bear cave to hibernate in! Their classroom transformed into a campsite with a real tent. The children were thrilled to get to “sleep” in the tent and roast marshmallows around the campfire. 

Hilary and Sherri’s friends adventured through the Hot and Cold Deserts this month. The children learned about where deserts are located in the world and the different animals that live there. They went on many hunts for polar bears around the classroom and used their handprints to make prickly pear cactuses and created sandstorms with paint and sand.

Mariah’s class learned about Mountain Life. The children learned about animals that live in the mountains. The children pretended to be bears hibernating in caves and squirrels gathering food for the winter. The children even created their own beautiful mountain collages to display in the classroom. They even used their carpet squares to demonstrate how plate tectonics move to create mountains!

Amber, Theanna and Erica’s classes explored animal and people homes in the Rainforest. Each classroom grew their own rainforest by creating murals adding plants, animals and insects to the layers of the rainforest. The children baked muffins and breads using ingredients that grow in the rainforest. They were thrilled to use their math skills to measure the distance tree frogs jump as well as the length of a quetzal's tail feathers!

See What We're Up to at Heartworks Shelburne!

Halle and Meg

The children grew so much and reached so many milestones over break and through the month of January. From sitting on their own to taking their first steps, we have all celebrated these accomplishments and have continued to explore new ways to help foster and encourage this growth. Some of the children were able to explore full body painting using blue and white paint to create a backdrop for a fun winter project. Halle and Meg were also excited to have a few warm days where a few of the children were able to get bundled up and go outside for a bright and sunny refreshing walk. 

Jackie and Marina

During the month of January Jackie and Marina’s class was learning about winter and winter animals. They enjoyed exploring and painting snow, used evergreen branches and white paint to create a snowy scene and used bird seed and toilet paper rolls to create bird feeders for the birds that perch on the trees outside the window. All of the children excitedly gathered around the windows with Marina to watch Jackie hand the feeders while Marina talked to them about what she was doing. This was such a wonderful enrichment for the children who have shown a great love of all the Earth’s creatures

Anne and Amanda

Winter, snow, and ice were a huge draw for the children with Anne and Amanda during the month of January. One of the class’ favorite activities was using eye droppers and water to explore a block of ice in the sensory table. The eye droppers were a wonderful way for the children to practice using their fine motor muscles and explore the concepts of warm and cold. They explored small cubes of ice and enjoyed watching the ice slowly melt in a baggie taped to the window. The children have also been learning about animals and exploring animal tracks. They have enjoyed looking at animal cards and opening them to see what each animal's tracks would look like. 

Danielle and Nikki

During the month of January the children with Danielle and Nikki were transported each morning to the prairies of North America. The children heard stories about life on the plains learning about both animals and people and the different ways that things were when the plains were just being settled. The children created dome shaped huts using recycled containers and clay, fabric collage buffalo and even enjoyed wheat bread spread with butter that they made themselves using heavy cream, a little salt and a lot of shaking. What a special treat!

Rachel and Lizzy

As the children entered the classroom with Rachel and Lizzy during the month of January, they were transported deep into the forest with woodland creatures, fires for roasting and cooking food, and a cozy campsite where they could lay back and count the stars. Many of the days involved talking about animal tracking, creating footprint art, and exploring the artistic style of Brian Wildsmith to create colorful dreys, which the children can tell you are squirrel homes. As the children learned about winter animals and hibernation they thought of different ways to help animals during this time. Inspired by the story The Night Tree, Rachel, Lizzy and the children hiked into the forest to find their own “night tree” and created edible ornaments to hang for the forest animals to enjoy. The children show such compassion and care for the animals that are wonderful to experience. 

Washing Hands

Thank you so very much for helping your child in washing his/her hands upon arriving to school in the morning. This greatly reduces the amount of germs coming into our school and especially helps in preventing the spread of colds.

We are working on teaching the children the proper way to wash their hands as written by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We would appreciate your help in practicing these techniques at home as well as when washing their hands upon arriving to school.  The goal is to teach older children to carry out the procedure themselves; for younger children the goal is to supervise them in carrying out the hand washing procedure, which is: 

Washing Children’s Hands

  • Moisten hands
  • Squirt a drop of liquid soap on children’s hands
  • Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds
  • Rinse their hands well in running water, directing flow from wrist to fingertips
  • Dry hands with paper towel
  • Turn off faucet with paper towel and discard

In this way, by turning off the faucet last and with a paper towel, the children’s hands remain germ free after washing.
Thank you for keeping these techniques in mind and teaching them to your child. Many, many people are more mindful to these techniques and are following them when in public restrooms.

November Highlights from Shelburne Building C

Halle and Meg’s Class

Happy First Thanksgiving!  The children in Halle and Meg’s class worked very hard all month to create the adorable “My First Thanksgiving” shirts to share with their families this holiday season. We hope everyone enjoyed them. Many of the children have started to show more interest in books and watching their teachers read to them. November was full of stories about animals and feelings, shapes and colors, and a lot of song books. It is so wonderful to see the two way “conversations” that are happening and listening to the cooing and babbling and watching the smiles of all the children. 

Jackie and Marina’s Class

During the month of November Jackie and Marina’s class explored emotions and the Thanksgiving holiday through songs, stories, and projects. The children enjoyed coloring turkey feathers for our school turkey. The children are really starting to imitate motions in songs and their new favorite to follow along with is “All the Raindrops.” The most exciting part is when they get to pretend to catch all the delicious things falling from the sky. 

Anne and Amanda’s Class

During the month of November Anne and Amanda’s theme was also Feelings and Thanksgiving. The children learned about different emotions through stories, songs and projects. One of their favorite enrichment activities was exploring “puffy paint” on round pieces of paper and then adding face shapes to create a wall of “feeling faces.” The children really enjoyed exploring the new texture of the paint with paintbrushes, hands and fingers. Anne and Amanda then helped the children to name the emotions their faces were representing.

Danielle and Nikki’s Class

The friends in Danielle and Nikki’s class went back in time to explore the world of the dinosaurs. They learned about different types of dinosaurs, where they lived, how large and small they are and what they ate. The month ended with the children and teachers all putting on their paleontologist hats to embark on a fossil hunting expedition. The children used paint brushes to gently move around sand in the sensory table to find the dinosaurs that were buried under layers of wet and dry sand and stones. It was such a treat to see their excited faces when they uncovered the giant prehistoric reptiles. Danielle and Nikki’s class will also be working on adding decorations to the bulletin board in the library for the months of December and January. 

Rachel and Sam’s Class

Rachel and Sam’s class dove into the world of insects and other small creatures during the month of November. To start of this exciting theme, the children had a chance to “become butterflies” wearing antenna they created and using straws as a proboscis to sip nectar (apple juice) from small cups. Many of the children wore their antenna for the entire morning and promptly put them back on after rest. The children also created small bags of “frog eggs” using gel and a small glass stone. Each day the children inspected the bags for signs of growth often using magnifying glasses to get a closer look. There was much delight as the children observed the transformation from a small eggs to full grown frogs. Another fun project had the children taking ownership of the class camera and taking photos of where they thought insects might live. The children really enjoyed this fun new responsibility and worked intently to find what they thought was the best home for an insect and were all excited to learn how to operate the camera.

November Highlights from Heartworks Shelburne B!

The children in the class with Jenny and Anna were scientists this month exploring the world of Chemistry! They engaged in many exciting experiments including mixing, melting and watching chemical reactions. One day they made volcanos by mixing vinegar and baking soda. It was so fun to hear the children cheer each time the volcanos erupted. They learned about freezing water to make ice and even got to use salt to melt ice that had counting bears frozen into it! The children loved watching the ice change into water. 

This month the theme in Sherri’s class was Kitchen 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 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!

This month the theme in Hilary’s class was Exploring though Geometry and Colors. The children identified and explored shapes and colors together. They created their own shapes out of toothpicks pasted on paper. Together they created calming bottles by mixing colors and adding fun materials like glitter and beads. The children loved shaking the bottles identifying the colors and finding the hidden shapes. 

The children with Mariah were immersed in Irish culture while they studied the country of Ireland. The children created Irish flags and shamrocks to decorate the classroom. They heard folk tales about leprechauns and fairies. The children even collected their scraps from snack time to feed their new fairy friends. At the end of the month, Mariah played for the children traditional Irish music on her violin and they are danced the jig! It was so fun to see the children dancing and moving together. 

The children with Erica learned about dinosaurs. They were serious paleontologists identifying dinosaurs and digging for bones in the sandbox. Each child created their own dinosaurs out of toothpicks and even got to name them. 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.

It has been a very exciting month in Sharon and Amber’s classroom. They welcomed Amber and her baby Sadie back into the classroom!  While Amber was away, the class created a quilt for baby Sadie and gave it to Amber this month. The children were very excited to give Amber this special gift and proud of their hard work. They have been studying Antarctica this month.

Theanna 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!

On November 19th, the whole school joined together to enjoy a concert in the big room! Our teacher Mariah showed us her violin and played us some Irish songs! It was amazing to see how entranced the children were by the music. Thank you Mariah for sharing your talent with us! 

On November 20th, the afternoon STEAM classes had a special visit from Rhonda the CSWD Schools and Youth Outreach Counselor. She and the children explored our compost together. They learned how composting works and how to keep our compost healthy. 

On November 24th, the whole school joined together to have a Thanksgiving Feast in the big room! We enjoyed our snack together is our cozy jammies. 

Amber and Sharon’s friends put on a Penguin Puppet Show on November 24th to culminate their penguin theme! The class worked hard together to make their own puppets and research their favorite kind of penguin. The whole school and families were invited to see their show. They did a fabulous job and taught us so much about penguins!

A Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Tradition: Baking, especially at the Holidays!

Baking bread for family and friends grounds us in an important tradition this time of year:
a shared experience, following the rhythm of a process that is centuries old, and creating
sustenance with our hands that is made from local grains.

From the inception of Heartworks, baking bread has been a part of our tradition. At least twice a month, preschool students participate in a baking project, from apple cheddar biscuits to pretzels, the aroma of baking often fills the hallways. Baking holds many lessons for preschoolers, from the sensory experience of baking to reading instructions and measuring ingredients. Cooking their own baked goods can even help create a more adventurous palate!

This year, Renaissance students took baking one step further by participating in the Learn, Bake, Share Program sponsored by King Arthur Flour. In this program, students learn to make two loaves of bread from scratch, one to keep and one to give to those in need. Our students had to utilize math, science and reading skills as they learned to bake bread as part of a community service effort. We are very proud of the 4th and 5th graders who donated twenty homemade loaves to the Harbor House, a local shelter that provides temporary housing with 20 families currently in residence.

At Endeavour Middle School, our students are participating in an online MOOC course via Colgate University. They are connecting with Renaissance Elementary School alumna, Allison Zengilowski, who is currently a junior at Colgate. They are learning about production, distribution, and the culture of making bread around the world. They're also studying global food supplies, industrial farming, and water supplies. Using systems thinking, students have had the opportunity to explore the global network that’s often involved in producing this ubiquitous

This holiday season, we encourage you to spend time together as a family baking and consider all there is to learn. From measurement and math to the joy of filling the house with the delicious aromas of baking, we know it will be a fun, memorable experience. We hope everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday season, family togetherness, and the spirit of giving as you share your baked goods with friends, family, and those in need. Baking is truly a valuable experience!

Read more in our efforts in local publications:

Food Drive ends December 11th

Thank you so much for the toiletry and non-perishable food items that you have donated so far for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. It is so moving to watch the boxes fill up with your generous contributions. Items will be delivered on Friday, December 11th - so there is still time to bring items in if you want to. It is important to involve the children in this as well, have a conversation about how the food will be going to families who need it; your participation is modeling compassion. Thank you for your support and generosity!

Other Items Needed:

  • Flour
  • Low sodium canned soups and chili
  • Boxed meals (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, etc.)
  • Rice (any type)
  • Shelf-stable juice
  • Portable ready-to-eat snacks (child friendly)
  • Shelf-stable milk (non-dairy)


Critical Items Needed:

  • Peanut butter
  • Healthy wheat based cereals
  • Canned tuna, chicken and other proteins
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, laundry detergent, feminine products