February at a Glance - Heartworks Burlington

Morning Classroom Highlights:

February was a wonderful month of learning, discovering, and imagining as the children were immersed in the theme: Animal and People Homes. 
Children with Jen and Megan had so much fun learning about the forest habitat. They went on a forest animal search all around the school, hung upside down like bats, created raccoon masks, and played a very entertaining hibernation game. The children also enjoyed sharing what they know about aardvarks and anteaters with the Pre-kindergarten children taught by Dominique. 

Friends with Caitlin discovered the hot deserts of the world. The children studied all about the fascinating saguaro cactus and it’s resident, the Elf Owl. The children planted their very own classroom cactus and got the opportunity to meet a desert tortoise. The class also presented their impressive facts about the rattlesnake to the Pre-kindergarten children taught by Leah.

Friends taught by Susan climbed mountains to learn about the habitat in higher elevations. They identified mountain animal tracks, created incredible rock cairns, and spent a lot of time studying all about the different bears living in the mountain regions. The class really enjoyed making mountain granola with friends in class with Clara.  

Children with Clara also learned about life in the mountains. The class constructed a beautiful mountain mural complete with pine trees and a snowy summit. The children took a “camping” trip in the mountains and “hiked” all around the school spotting different mountain animals along the way. Their mountain granola was a perfect treat to share with friends taught by Susan. 
Children taught by Loraleh took a trip to the rainforest to explore this incredible habitat. The children each chose a rainforest animal to research. They found interesting facts on each animal and made beautiful and detailed masks of their chosen animal. As a culminating event, each child presented their animal’s facts and modeled their animal masks to the whole school during an all school assembly. 

Friends in class with Leah explored the rainforest habitat and brought to life the beautiful tale of the Great Kapok Tree. The class also made delicious rainforest cookies using ingredients soley found in the rainforest. The children really liked learning about monkeys and created many mischievous monkeys to ‘hang around’ in their classroom. The children were very proud to present facts and information about the emerald tree boa to the children taught by Caitlin.
Children with Dominique also ventured to the rainforest. The children learned a fantastic song all about the layers of the rainforest and proudly performed it for the whole school.  The class welcomed a Champlain College professor to their classroom and  explored different tropical flowers with magnifying glasses. They especially loved making tropical smoothies with rainforest ingredients. The class was thrilled to join children taught by Jen to share information about the rainforest anteater and learn more about aardvarks. 

Afternoon STEAM Program: 

Our afternoon STEAM program continues to be highly successful, fun, and impressive! Each STEAM class begins with a group discussion where the children are presented with a question to answer or a “challenge” to solve: How is liquid measured? How are bridges built? What is inside a seed? Is wind powerful? Can you use rubberbands to paint with?

The children are encouraged to share their ideas on how to solve the challenge or answer the problem and are given the opportunity to work together, working with many different hands on materials….Let the exploring, questioning, observing, experimenting, investigating, creating, and building begin! 

February STEAM highlights: 

Science: The children investigated fruit, vegetable, and flower seeds, planted an avocado pit in water, blew up balloons using gas from chemical reactions, and experimented with wind power using straws and feathers.

Technology: The children used various sized drills to make holes in soap and sand, learned about the functions of different thermometers, dissected an old phone (the kind with a cord and a rotary dial) and then made their own phones using cans and string. 

Engineering: The children designed buildings and structures using clay and wooden pieces, constructed alphabet tree towers, and used large pegs and cylinder connectors to build a giant house.

Art: The children painted with rubber bands, designed and colored unique mandalas, and built cairn structures using many different sized rocks. 

Math: The children measured and invented ingredients to make hot chocolate playdough, used different scales to compare weights of different objects, compared temperatures, and explored shapes with building materials. 

March Classroom Themes:

The school-wide theme this month is Stories Around the World:

  • The class taught by Jen: Nursery Rhymes
  • The class taught by Caitlin: Fairy Tales
  • The classes taught by Susan and Clara: Native American Stories
  • The classes taught by Leah, Dominique, and Loraleh: Greek Mythology

If anyone has a particular interest, skill, or work experience that relates to these themes and you would like to share that knowledge with the class, please be sure to let the classroom teacher or Kathleen know. We enjoy having parents volunteer and share their interests and talents with the class. 

Math Challenge!

This month build upon your child's math skills with these fun and easy games. They won't know it, but you'll be building a strong foundation for the years ahead.

  • Count all the time - walking/running steps, the number of plates/glasses/forks at dinner, stairs in your home, stuffed animals, cars in a parking lot, letter in names, etc.
  • Roll a dice: Count the dots and say what number it is, then jump, clap, skip, or step that number of times. Find that number of something (5 crayons, 3 spoons etc.).
  • Measure the rain: Put a measuring cup outside and measure the spring rain.
  • Dominoes: Match the ends of dominoes with the same number of dots.
  • Number Stories: Make up number problems with your child; “I see 3 apples and 2 oranges, how many pieces of fruit in all? We have 2 cats, how many legs in all?”
  • Create Patterns: Use cereal, legos, clothing, toys, stuffed animals, etc.
  • Color and Shape Hunt: Have your child find items of a certain color or shape around the house.
  • Shapes: Fold paper or cloth napkins into different shapes.
  • Size Differentiation: Find small, medium, or large items around your house.
  • Sorting Fun: Make piles of items by size, color, shape, or other ways your child can think of.
  • Number Order: Write 1-10 on index cards and have your child put them in order.
  • Number Search: Pick a number card and have your child collect that many items.
  • Bingo: Play number, shape, or color bingo.
  • Games: Play board games such as Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly Junior etc. (teach the value of having fun vs. just playing to win). 

Most Importantly  ~ Have Fun!! :)

January in review - Heartworks Burlington

The children in Jen’s class had a fascinating month of Experimental Sensory Discovery. The children became scientists and conducted many various experiments and used their five senses as they explored different materials. They especially loved painting with their feet! They were impressive gardeners and planted an impressive windowsill garden in their classroom. 

The children in Caitlin’s class experienced Life on the Farm. They had a chicken coop with “laying hens” and had morning chores of counting the eggs. The class built an impressive classroom barn mural and welcomed Farmer Craig into the classroom to help filter raw milk and learn all there is to know about caring for cows. 

The children in Susan’s class learned about Winter Animals and discussed which animals migrate, stay active, or hibernate in the winter. They also were keen trackers and compared different animal tracks. They made biscuits to help keep the animals fed in the winter and made clay caves for the hibernating bears. The children created a beautiful classroom mural and constructed a flock of cardinals to give them luck!

The children in Clara’s class learned all about the Polar Regions. They discovered where the polar regions are located in the world, which animals live there, what the weather is like, and how it compares to Vermont. They experimented with blubber to learn how these arctic animals stay warm. Learning all about icebergs was very interesting and the class made a large iceberg mural showing the unique designs of these massive ice islands.  

The children in Dominique’s class learned all about Paleontology and the time of Dinosaurs. The children enjoyed the Paleontologist center, using the various excavation tools and looking at the many photos of the different kinds of dinosaurs. They learned about volcanoes and used various ingredients to watch a volcano explode. The children spent a lot of time making their own dinosaur eggs, and when dried, carefully cracking them apart to find the treasure inside. 
The children in Leah’s class learned about our state of Vermont. They learned about our state’s location on a map, important geographical points, state symbols, weather, and industries. The class constructed a giant map of Vermont complete with each child’s town and symbols of their home. The class really enjoyed making homemade pancakes with Vermont made maple syrup!

The children in Loraleh’s class had a busy month investigating Simple Machines. They learned about the wheel and axle, lever, pulley, inclined planes and wedge. The children found it fascinating finding simple machines in almost every tool or machine we use. The class built their own pulley system and worked together transporting gallon jugs of water. Using the pulley system quickly showed how simple machines make our work easier! Each child created their own outstanding ‘machine’ using multiple simple machines within it. 

January STEAM Highlights: 

The children had a lot of fun in January during their STEAM lessons. They enjoyed learning about many new and exciting concepts while being introduced to many different and engaging materials.

STEAM with Caitlin: The children experimented with crayons and watercolors to make crayon resist paintings, learned the word “reaction” and worked with various ingredients to observe different reactions, and spent a lot of time investigating a pencil sharpener and finding the many tools that work together to make the sharpener work.

STEAM with Clara: The children worked together to make impressive salt crystals and enjoyed watching them grow every day. The class learned about catapults and constructed an impressive one using rubber bands, a spoon, and popsicle sticks. The class also explored with magnets filling bottles with pipecleaners. 

STEAM with Leah: The math lesson on symmetry was quite a hit when each child constructed a perfectly symmetrical picture usings pattern blocks and rulers. They enjoyed experimenting with different thermometers taking the temperature of various items. They also took advantage of the recent snow and performed fun ice melting experiments. 

STEAM with Dominique: The children worked together to build an outstanding marble run using ramps, tunnels, and slides. The class also engineered various styles of bridges and tested their weight when complete.  It was exciting to learn how ice cream is made and combined the proper ingredients to make homemade ice cream in a bag. 

February Classroom Themes: 

The school-wide theme in February is Animal Homes and People Homes (Habitats)

  • The class taught by Jen: Life in the Forest 
  • The class taught by Caitlin: Life in the Desert ~ Hot and Cold
  • The classes taught by Susan and Clara: Life in the Mountains
  • The classes taught by Leah, Dominique, and Loraleh: Life in the Rainforest  

If you have a particular interest in a theme and would like to join the class for an activity, please see your child’s teacher! We appreciate family participation. 

December Classroom Highlights

The children taught by Jen did a tremendous job practicing and performing their holiday songs for parents and friends. The children also enjoyed making beautiful St. Nicholas collage pictures. 

The children taught by Caitlin were very involved in creating their impressive winter scene dioramas to give to their families. The children also did so well performing their songs in the special performance for families and friends.  

 The children taught by Susan really enjoyed decorating cookies with special guests. The class also did so well counting all of the mittens that were collected for our mitten drive. 

The children taught by Teresa wrote all the wonderful ways they shine “light” on others and decorated their classroom with this beautiful artwork. The class also made latkes from scratch and shared them with the school.  

The children taught by Clara made a beautiful Kwanzaa chain to hang in their classroom. They also created a beautiful art piece describing all the different ways the holidays are celebrated. 
The children taught by Leah constructed St. Lucia crowns complete with bright candles and evergreens. They enjoyed practicing their patterning skills to make festive candy canes. 

The children taught by Dominique delighted in meeting St. Nicholas during his visit and appreciated all of the treats and toys he shared with the class. They did a lot of holiday yoga and learned many new poses.  

Please feel free to visit all the classrooms in our school.
It has been an excellent start to the New Year ~ We are looking forward to joyful months ahead!

December STEAM:

The children in our afternoon STEAM program are continuing to explore, build, investigate and experiment….

The children in Caitlin’s STEAM class learned about ramps, angles and speed while constructing a marble run using recycled materials. They also experimented with salt and water colors painted on paper. 

The children in Clara’s STEAM class found a way to make Orange Juice experimenting using various tools...some worked better and were easier to use than others! They also explored angles and balance while engineering structures using q-tips.

The children in Leah’s STEAM class worked together to find the best way to construct  gingerbread houses using blocks and other materials. They also predicted what would happen if marbles were used to paint with!
The children in Dominique’s STEAM class made a plan how to make new crayons...they decided they could ‘upcycle’ bits of crayons by melting them in muffin tins to create new, bigger crayons. They also experimented with folded paper and scissors to create beautiful snowflakes. 

Sick Policy

Put those tissue boxes to good use!

Put those tissue boxes to good use!

It is our goal to keep our entire school population as healthy as possible. With the guidance of the Childcare State Regulations, Vermont Department of Education and Vermont Department of Health, we have the following health policy.

  • It is best to keep children home who do not seem well enough to participate in the regular activities or to be cared for fully within the classroom; this may include lethargy, severe coughing, difficulty breathing, severe sore throat, earache or abdominal pain.
  • Children who have a fever of over 99.0 degrees are asked to remain home until the fever is less than 99 degrees for 24 hours, without ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 
  • Children with a known communicative condition (such as, but not limited to strep throat and conjunctivitis/pink-eye), are to remain out of school until they have received antibiotics for 24 hours. Please inform us of any illnesses so we can inform other families of symptoms to look for in their child. If a student comes to school and is suspected of having a communicative condition, the parent will be called and asked to pick up the child for further diagnosis from a doctor and treatment, if necessary.
  • Children who have had two or more incidents of vomiting or diarrhea, are required to not return until their symptoms have been fully resolved for 24 hours and they are able to resume normal dietary habits and activities.
  • Children with an unknown rash will be asked to see a physician to confirm that it isn’t a communicative condition. Students with a rash and a fever will need to stay out of school until confirmation of the rash and the child is fever free for 24 hours. 
  • Children with head lice and/or nits, can be in school after receiving a first treatment with a product that will kill head lice. Parents are asked to pick out the small nits (eggs) each day for at least ten consecutive days. We will also be checking all of the children at school. Whenever head lice are found, the parent will be called and asked to pick up their child and apply treatment.     

If your child has any of these conditions, please care for them at home. We will miss them while they are ill, and this will hopefully enable all of the students to remain healthier and in school. If your child becomes ill at school, you will be called to come and take him or her home. If we are unable to contact you, we will reserve the right to call the emergency contact on your child's application. 


November at Heartworks Burlington

November Theme: Cultures

The children taught by Jen enjoyed learning all about Australia. They made a beautiful classroom mural of the Great Barrier Reef complete with puffer fish, coral, and clown fish. The children had fun hopping like Kangaroos with their joeys in a pouch! The class also welcomed a guest Didgeridoo player into the class who impressively played this incredible instrument. 

The children taught by Caitlin travelled to China and learned so much about this wonderful culture. The children made authentic homemade dumplings and thought they were delicious! The classroom was decorated with beautiful lanterns and dragons the children made. The class spread lots of luck around our school as they paraded through each classroom showing off their homemade dragons.

The children taught by Susan explored the culture of Mexico. The children did so well learning words and a few phrases in Spanish. The class loved making a pinata and designing their own poncho to wear. They learned and constructed the Mexican flag, made beautiful ponchos, and culminated the unit with a fantastic fiesta with songs, dancing, and authentic food.

The children taught by Clara really enjoyed learning about Mexico. They learned all about Monarch Butterflies and their long journey to Mexico in the fall. The children spent a lot of time listening to Mariachi music and made their own maracas. They also enjoyed a lively fiesta with traditional music and food!

The children taught by Teresa really enjoyed learning all about Kenya. They were so fortunate to have a few parent guests join the class to share their own personal experiences travelling to Africa. After learning about crocodiles, the children did a wonderful job making crocodile masks.

The children in Leah’s class explored the country of Kenya. They did an impressive job practicing a few words, numbers, and phrases in Swahili, and traced the map of Africa. They made delicious Mendazzi Donuts and learned many fascinating African folktales. 

The children in Dominique’s class travelled to Ghana and made very official passports along the way. The class made beautiful woven mats using many different colors and each child learned about and painted the flag of Ghana. They also made delicious Kelewele Plantains using ingredients found in Ghana.

STEAM Highlights:

November was another outstanding month of STEAM. The children are very engaged and interested in all of the impressive experiments, projects, building, artwork, investigations etc. that take place in the afternoon STEAM program. 

STEAM with Caitlin:
The children took advantage of the early snowfall and experimented with buckets of snow adding in paint and observing the rate of melt. They also were technology workers while investigating with screwdrivers and realizing the many ways screwdrivers act as a very helpful tool. The children spent a long time taking apart various instruments such as old phones, keyboards and exploring the inside mechanics. 

STEAM with Teresa and Clara:
The children were professional chefs and put together ingredients to make homemade applesauce. They also had a lot of fun working with the copy machine, learning how it works and just how useful of a tool it is. They especially loved making copies of their hands! 

STEAM with Leah:
The children were true engineers first designing, then constructing many different styles of bridges. They used various sized wooden sticks, tape and paper to build their bridges.  Which objects sink when placed in water and which objects float? This was a science question of the day. The children were able to test for themselves, using many different objects, what floats and what sinks? They then explored why certain objects sink or float. 

STEAM with Dominique:
After an inspirational visit from our Local Famous Artist, Katharine Monstream, the children in the art STEAM class experimented with watercolors and painted on wet paper. The final projects are outstanding! The children were Inventors during technology day and made telephones; yes! ~ using string and metal cans (it really does work!!) and the children can tell you how. 

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


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.

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 class...read ‘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

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.

Heartworks Burlington Art Show

Here are some wonderful photos of our art show that was held at Arts Riot last week. Thank you to everyone who participated!

April's Theme: Science

April was a wonderful month of experiments, discovering, and wondering as the children were immersed in the Science theme. 

Jen and Hunter’s two year old class learned all about transportation. The children had such fun taking a ride in their classroom hot air balloon and did very well taking a walk to the waterfront to look for traffic signs and various modes of transportation. 

Clara’s class loved learning all about the five senses. They welcomed Henry’s mother, Dr. Antkowiak, into class to talk about the five senses and our bodies’ functions. The children performed a smell test and used their sense of hearing to listen to Clara play both the guitar and violin.

Susan’s class also enjoyed their month learning all about the five senses. They set up a sight experiment using food coloring and dried flowers. The class welcomed Stella’s mother, Dr. Devitt, and were very interested in the five senses hands on learning kit she brought to explore each sense. 

Teresa’s class were weather watchers this month and carefully graphed the weather for each day in the month of April. They learned all about the sun’s function and planted sunflowers. The children are observing their growth daily.

Ashley’s class were also weather watchers and created an outstanding weather mural complete with the sun, clouds, raindrops, rainbows, and lightening bolts. The children really enjoyed learning about the water cycle and did many fascinating experiments to show the process. 

Julianna’s class received their NASA badges and set off to explore the Solar System! They made a beautiful mural along with paper mache sun, moon, and earth to model the careful rotation of each. The children could often be heard singing their planets song all month long. 

Leah’s class made rockets and blasted off to learn more about our Solar System. The children each made a planet and put them in order to create an impressive solar system mural. The children were quite fascinated learning about what astronauts eat and enjoyed making astronaut pudding. 

STEAM Highlights from Heartworks Burlington

The children in our afternoon STEAM program are enjoying their exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. The children are engaged in group projects, experimenting, predicting, taking things apart, building, communicating, exploring, wondering, observing, and solving problems.

Ashley’s Class: The children spent a lot of time exploring Hyacinth bulbs. They made a book detailing their observations, predictions (what is inside?), and questions. As a group, they dissected the bulb to view the innards, made conclusions, and documented their findings. The children also had a lot of fun being engineers working with various recycled materials to design roads, ramps, and bridges. They did strength testing on each to see if their design was strong and durable. 

Leah’s Class:  The children learned all about buoyancy and designed their own boats using a variety of materials...paper, popsicle sticks, tinfoil etc. They each tested their boat to determine if it was buoyant or not. Additionally, they challenged their boat’s capabilities by filling them with items. The class also spent time learning about the difference between Heavy and Light. Using a balance scale, each child weighed objects of their choosing to determine which were heavy and which were light. The class made a group graph of their findings.

Julianna’s Class:  The children designed their own webs by ordering numbers and drawing lines to connect each number. They came  up with some interesting predictions of what the design would be. They were also true scientists mixing together various ingredients to grow crystals on a pipe cleaner. The process took a couple of days and the children observed the daily progress very carefully. The end results were beautiful crystals in many different colors and shapes!

April Classroom Themes:

  • The school-wide theme this month is Science:
  • Jen and Hunter’s class: Transportation
  • Clara and Susan’s classes: The Five Senses
  • Teresa and Ashley’s classes: Weather
  • Leah and Julianna’s classes: The Solar System

If anyone has a particular interest, skill, or work experience that relates to these themes and you would like to share that knowledge with the class, please be sure to let the classroom teacher or Kathleen know. We enjoy having parents volunteer and share their interests and talents with the class.

Classroom Highlights from Heartworks Burlington

Jen and Hunter’s classroom is having so much fun listening to many classic and sweet Nursery Rhymes. So far the class has listened to Hey Diddle Diddle and made a classroom moon and star mural with many cows jumping over the moon. The children each made a Humpty Dumpty and a brick wall after hearing Humpty Dumpty

Clara’s class created castles in the clouds, using shaving cream and duplos, like the castle in Jack and the Beanstalk. The children did a great job cooking up some delicious porridge after reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Susan’s class is enjoying the world of Fairy Tales. After reading, The Princess and the Pea, the children did very well acting out and bringing the story to life in their classroom. They also made muffins after reading, Little Red Riding Hood. 

Teresa and Ashley’s classes are learning all about Native American Stories and Native American culture. 

In Teresa’s class the children made beautiful paper mache wigwams, and created a classroom totem pole using stencils and handprints.

In Ashley’s class, after learning about the importance of constellations and the stories they tell, each child made up their own unique constellation and story. The class also enjoyed discovering the importance of corn and the many ways it is cooked. 

The two Pre-kindergarten classes are all delving into the world of Greek Mythology and have come all together to listen to a few Myths:

Leah’s class enjoyed cooking some authentic Greek Food and making their own Pandora’s Box after hearing the myth of Pandora.

Julianna’s class has begun a beautiful mural of Mt. Olympus and Zeus’ family and made beautiful Greek Vases using an elaborate multi-step process. 

Parent/Teacher Conferences


A sign-up sheet for the parent/teacher conferences on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1 is posted on the bulletin board at your child’s class. Please be sure to sign up for a 30-minute individual time with your child’s teacher. This is a wonderful opportunity to have the complete attention of your child’s teacher for 30 minutes to hear all about your child’s day as well as to ask questions and share your goals for your child.

On Thursday, March 31st school closes at 12 noon and on Friday, April 1st school is closed for the day. The Thursday conferences start at 1:10 and the Friday conferences start at 8:00. If your child has a different afternoon teacher from the morning program, you are welcome to sign up for a conference with that teacher too. If the available days/times do not work for you, please speak with the School Director who will arrange a time that is more suitable for the teacher and yourself. Thank you.

If you are in need of child care, please speak in advance with the School Director as there may be someone at the school who can watch your child during your parent/teacher conference. We are currently unable to offer childcare at our Stowe campus. We are unable to hold a conference with a child present other than the little babies who are not mobile yet. Thank you.

We look forward to meeting with you, to answer your questions, and to share all of the wonderful work your child has been engaged in since the last conferences in November.