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

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!

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 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

Pajama Day

All of the classes will host pajama days on December 17 and 18 as a celebration on the successful completion of the first portion of the school year and a welcome beginning to 2016 – Happy New Year! We will have warm chocolate to drink as part of the special celebration, and other fun activities. Please pack additional clothing (warm) for outside time as well as additional clothing for those children who stay into the afternoon in case they wish to change. Thank you.


Kindergarten Overview at Renaissance

Tuesday, December 8th 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 15th 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Please join us at the Renaissance Elementary School for a Kindergarten Overview Program and learn more about our program for students who will be entering kindergarten in the fall of 2016.  Meet Renaissance School Director, Lisa Zengilowski, and Assistant Director, Danielle Harris, tour the school, and enjoy light refreshments. Find out about our outstanding academic program that emphasizes social, emotional, and life skills for children. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

To register, please complete the form below or contact Sarah Soule, Director of Admissions, sarah.soule@heartworksvt.com or (802) 951-1833.

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Your Child's Name *
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