Teacher by day, actor by night!

You may be surprised to learn that our teaching staff have many talents!  Bev, who teaches in the Blue Room, showcased her talents this past weekend in, Shrek, the Musical!  The show opened at the Warner Theater in Torrington, Ct this past Friday.  Many of the children from Knight Hall have or plan to attend!  Sam’s mom shared this photo of Sam meeting up with Bev after the show.  Sam seems to be very proud to call this little piggy his teacher!!!

Tickets are still available.  The show runs through August 4, 2013.

If you give a child a muffin….

If you are familiar with children’s literature you will recognize our play on words!  The Blue Room made strawberry jam and muffins and there is no better book to pair with that project than If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff .  What excitement to see all of the strawberries they so carefully cut up actually turn into jam!  On Tuesday, the Blue Room children mixed sugar and pectin and all 4 lbs. of strawberries into a large bowl and put it in the refrigerator over night. On Wednesday, they made muffins from scratch.  When they had cooled just enough, they paired the warm muffins with a heaping spoonful of jam (or two or three) and enjoyed every last crumb/drop.  Stop by the Blue Room over the next few days to see the children create sock puppets, just as the Moose in the story did!

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Knight Hall Knotes

Knight Hall Knotes

Volume 3 – June 2013


Congratulations and THANK YOU!!!  A BIG, heartfelt thank you to everyone in the Knight Hall community who contributed to our ANNUAL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN.  Donations topped $2,643, and with the match from our anonymous donor ($2,700), the total is $5,343.  Every dollar counts and this money will further enhance the education of children at KHS and the resources that our teachers have to work with.

Make-over – KHS style!  Another round of thanks to all of the parent volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and helped to renovate Martha’s office on the Spring Clean Up Day held in April.  A few coats of paint, a new rug, and some donated couches have really spruced up both Martha’s office and the Teachers’ Lounge.  If you haven’t been to the second floor yet to see the transformation, be sure to take a quick peek!

Year End Celebration – Bushnell Park Carousel.  Given the positive feedback that the carousel event received last fall, KHS has reserved the Bushnell Park Carousel for another family night out of rides, pizza and community (and, it’s free! Rides and light dinner included).  Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 19 from 6-7PM.  Please RSVP directly to your child’s teacher.

SHREK, the Musical.  Did you know that we have a talented stage performer in our midst at Knight Hall School??!!  Bev Delventhal-Sali, a teacher in our Blue Room, will be performing this summer in Shrek, the Musical at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, the last weekend in July and first weekend in August.  Be sure to get your tickets to support our local talent!  You can use the coupon code “FreakFlag” to purchase $20 orchestra seats (www.warnertheatre.org).

AFP Grant/NAEYC Accreditation Update.   KHS continues its work towards NAEYC accreditation.  Teachers are attending and will be attending workshops and classes.  Martha just completed a 3 credit class on leadership and management.  Louise, Betsy, Christina and Martha just completed 12 hours of Creative Curriculum training and Louise and Stephanie just completed a 6 hour Babies class.  Ann and Bev will be attending a math workshop in August with nationally known preschool math educator, Juanita Copley.  During the summer the teaching staff will be working on their classrooms, bringing new ideas and less clutter.  Jodi Takiff, mom to Ella in the Purple Room and a preschool teacher in Middletown, will be doing a workshop with the teachers on building their classroom portfolio.  The process is long and the work is deep.  The road to accreditation is all in the process!

Safety Updates.  To follow up on our safety assessment from the winter, after consultation with public safety professionals, KHS has adopted a “deterrence” strategy – which means having each classroom equipped with elements that would make any sort of intrusion less likely and less attractive.  Each classroom now has doorstops (that will be used from the inside to prevent someone from the outside getting in), window blinds, and will have (if it does not have already) a curtain to cover any windows in the classroom door.  Limiting visibility and accessibility is the simplest way to deter an intruder.  Additionally, earlier this year Martha attended a West Hartford Police Department workshop addressing similar safety issues and has been recognized for being one of the few child care center directors who has focused on these safety issues.  Thank you, Martha!

Go Ann!  The Pan-Mass Challenge.  Once again this summer, Orange Room teacher, Ann Monseglio will be bike riding from to raise money for cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  Ann is a breast cancer survivor who has participated in this event in years past, raising thousands of dollars for the cause.  Please be sure to wish her well in her training and on race days, August 3 and 4.

What’s New at Knight Hall School? – Class Knotes

PURPLE – The children of the Purple Room have been watching as the caterpillars turned into chrysalis and then into butterflies.  The excitement of watching the butterflies is audible!

RED – The Red Room children have been very busy learning about different types of building materials.  Using the very large blocks in the shared area and borrowing some very strange looking building blocks from the Orange Room, the children have learned to strategize, compromise and create!

YELLOW – Butterflies, butterflies everywhere!  The Yellow Room children have looked at the life cycle of butterflies.  Gaining a wonderful understanding of how a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly!

BLUE – Blue Room children recently took a field trip to see “Goodnight, Moon” at the Playhouse on Park with the Orange Room; produced and starred in a film production of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and celebrated with an awards presentation to parents; and visited the CRRA Trash Museum in Hartford to learn what those garbage trucks do with all their pickups and recycling.

ORANGE – The children of the Orange Room have all been on a kindergarten visit!  Each child has come back to school, very excited to share something special about their soon to be new school.  They are ready!  Every year the Orange Room tye dyes t-shirts in anticipation of their big trip to the Groton Submarine Base.  This is a right of passage for the children of the Orange Room!  They recently donned their tye-dye shirts and descended on the base for an up close and personal tour of a real submarine!  A great time was had by all!

A special thank you to our departing Board members:  Kelly Hathorn, Cindy Mahon and Kate Mylod.

Welcome to our new Board co-chairs: Marie Cook (Conor/yellow; Delaney/purple) Sujal Shah (Che/red)

If any parents have an interest in serving on the 2013-2014 Board, please see Martha!

Summer Reminders.

  • Please be sure your child has suntan lotion, a swimsuit, towel, water shoes and a change of clothes and underwear in his/her cubby at school.
  • Please be sure to send your child to school with suntan lotion already applied.  Teachers will reapply for the afternoon.
  • KHS will be closed Thursday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

KHS will be closed August 19-23 for teachers’ in-service.  The new school year commences on Monday, August

Wildlife at Knight Hall School

We have discovered that a family of 7 baby skunks and their mom have taken up residence at Knight Hall School, more specifically, under our front porch!  The children I the Red and Purple rooms (toddlers) were able to watch them waddle across our front playgrounds on a rainy afternoon.  The class rooms were a buzz with excitement!

We did have to call a wildlife specialist to come and set “save a heart” traps.  It will be interesting and intriguing to watch as we catch the skunks, from a far mind you!  I was told that baby skunks can spray, they just have no control of the direction!

I can just imagine what will be happening in all of our classrooms as we go through the process of catching the skunks.  Math, science, social studies, there are no limits!!!!  I’ll keep you posted!

KHS Annual Appeal Update to Parents

May 7, 2013

Dear Parents & Families of Knight Hall Students,

The KHS Annual Campaign is in full swing!  While we don’t want to bombard you with too many messages, we do want to share the good news that we have raised $1,396.00 so far! Each of these dollars will be subject to an anonymous match, so that is really $ 2,792.00 for KHS!   Woohoo!!!

We still need your help to reach our $5,000 goal.  If you haven’t had a chance to donate and wish to do so, remember that each dollar donated between now and May 15 (just 8 days left!) receives the benefit of the dollar for dollar match ($5000 is the cap), so help us double up! As a reminder, donations can be made by check (mail or drop off) or at www.gofundme.com/2ap3yo .  Please consider forwarding this email to friends and family as well.

Just as a sample of what creative, educational activities go on each day at KHS, here are some of the classroom highlights from this past week:

Purple Room (Infants) : The Purple Room children have been very busy exploring buckles, locks and balls! Working on puzzles that have many different forms of locks, fun to open and close! They love the pillow that has every kind of buckle known to man! And balls, balls everywhere!!! The Purple Room is on the move and exploring their world!

Red Room (Young Toddlers): The children discovered new blocks! These blocks were built by an Orange Room parent, but loved by all of the children. I witnessed some pretty impressive uses incorporating many different types of props!

Yellow Room ( 2 – 3 Year-Olds): How many ways can you paint? Ask the children in the Yellow Room! They have painted with sponges, sand balls, and brushes!  They’ve also been growing individual sunflowers and little tubs of grass – wonderful discussions about Spring, nature, and growing.

Blue Room (Pre-School 3): The students made “birdseed babies” and practiced caring for them. How much fun it was to see all these little “parents” taking care of their young.

Orange Room (Pre-School 4): Do you know how big our parking lot is? No? Go ask an Orange Roomer! They measured the parking lot; using many creative forms of measurement they really began to understand the process of measurement!

As always, thanks for your support of Knight Hall School!

Martha & the Board of Directors

Upcoming events for KHS families

Martha just emailed these out, but for those of you that like your reminders via Facebook or on the web, here’s a quick reminder about two events this week for KHS families:

First is our Knight Hall Family Work day. These are a fun way to help the school out while getting to know your fellow KHS families. We had a blast at the fall cleanup day. Here’s Martha’s email:

Just a friendly reminder that we will be meeting this coming Saturday, April 27 to beautify our school. We will be cleaning up flower beds, planting pansies, painting my office, and other projects. Remember, lot’s of hands make for little work! We would love to see you!!! Please bring any yards tools you amy have to help in our gardens. Also, if you have a favorite paint brush or roller, bring it along. I do have some paint supplies.

Saturday, April 27 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Come for the entire time or come for a short time!

Child care will be provided.

Please RSVP if you are coming. I want to make sure I have enough coffee and donuts!

Thank you!!!!

– Martha

The other event is our Parents Night Out on Friday. This is a great way to get some fun babysitting for your kids while enjoying an evening out alone (or even with other KHS parents). There are still slots open, and the sign up sheet is to the left of the whiteboard in the main entryway. Ask your teachers for more information.


– Sujal (Red room parent & KHS board member)


Saying “I’m sorry”

Saying “I am sorry”

For so many of us, saying “I am sorry” is our first response when we do something to another person. It’s no wonder that we have passed this first response on to our children.

However, having a young child say “I am sorry” carries little or no meaning. It’s an empty apology if you will. In order to truly be sorry you must have the ability to empathize. In order to empathize with someone you must understand what they are feeling or better yet, understand with emotion what they are feeling.

Young children do not have the developmental ability to understand what another person is feeling. They are not capable of putting themselves in that person’s place emotionally. Therefore the phrase “I am sorry” carries no meaning. Typically children are not sorry for an action that caused another person to be sad, angry or frustrated. The phrase “I am sorry” then becomes an empty apology, a get out of jail free card.

Now, I am not saying that we let children off the hook entirely! In order to learn empathy we must teach empathy and model empathy. Like any other developmental stage, it must be facilitated and nurtured. We must be good role models for young children, allowing them to watch us be kind to others, to treat people with respect. That includes respecting young children.

When a child is disrespectful to another child at Knight Hall we do not ask for an “I am sorry” we ask them to see if the other child is okay. We point out that the other child is crying due to something that child did to the other child. We facilitate an encounter between the children that allows them all to see that they have an impact on each other. That they themselves can actually cause someone else to feel sad, angry, frustrated and happy! This is a process, just as learning to use the toilet is a process. All developmental understandings take time, patience and most importantly facilitation.

It is so important to help children learn to be empathetic, but don’t expect your child to have a good sense of empathy until they are about 7-8 years old. Help them learn that skill not by having them say “I am sorry”, but by helping them to see that their actions have an effect on others.

Have you turned in your Parent Survey?

Earlier in the week a Parent Survey was sent to all of our families via email and via your child’s cubby.  Have you completed your survey?

Every survey allows us to make changes to make this the most amazing community for you and your child.  all feedback is welcome and most wanted!!!  So, if you haven’t completed your survey please do!  If you have completed your survey, THANK YOU!!!!

All surveys are anonymous.  Please do not hand your survey to a teaching staff member.  There is a box in the shared area, behind the round sink labeled “Parent Survey”, please place your survey in that box.

Thank you so much!  We all look forward to sharing our findings with all of you!

What does a quality early learning program look like?

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The process of choosing an early learning program for your child can feel very daunting!  So many people give you advice and yet typically those people are not early childhood educators.  If you aren’t feeling well, you typically would see your health care provider.  If you need legal advice you contact a lawyer.  If you need an early learning program for your child you call your…?  You call an early learning program!

It is so important to find a school that works best not only for your child, but your entire family.  A program that creates an environment that is welcoming, safe, and nurturing.  With these 3 things in place a child will grow to be a confident person; eager to learn and ready to take advantage of all of the amazing learning opportunities a quality program has to offer!

So, what does quality look like?  When looking for an early learning program look for the following things:

* Staff credential.  Do the teachers have a degree in Early Childhood Education?

* Low staff turn over.  Knight Hall has an average tenure of 8 years!

* The curriculum should be based on solid educational theories and have an assessment that lines up nicely!

* Teachers should be actively involved with the children

* Children should be engaged and have options in the class room

* The classroom is organized, labeled and large enough for children to move from one area to another.  Please do not confuse organized with neat!  A typical class room is busy!  When I say organized I mean that shelves are labeled, materials have a specific place to be and that children are able to find and replace material with ease.  Our class rooms are “neat” twice a day, when we open and when we close!  In between there is a whole lot of learning going on and learning is messy!

* The walls should show children’s work, not teachers.  Activities and materials should be open-ended.  The emphasis here is on the process, not the end result.  The process is where the meat of learning lies.

* Most of all it should feel good when you walk in the door!

Please do not hesitate to ask the hard questions!  Plan to visit the program at least 2 time, one scheduled, one un-scheduled.  Plant yourself in a class room and watch and listen to what is happening.  Plan to visit at least 3 different schools.  This is the best way to get a sense of the right school for your family!