APRIL 2022


April 2-8 is week of the young child. This week NAEYC celebrates early learning, children, teachers, families, and their communities. This year we want to focus on teaching children some self-care skills so during the week of the young child we are going focus each day on an activity that helps them to focus on themselves and release some energy and find their calm.
Movement Monday: Each classroom will choose a different movement activity to get the blood flowing and the kids moving.
Tell Jokes Tuesday: Share your favorite kid friendly joke in class.
Walking Wednesday: Nature walks around the playground to observe what is happening around us and take in all the fresh air.
Artsy Thursday: The classrooms will Draw, Paint or Craft some of their favorite things to do with their families.
Family Friday: Breakfast for Parents and Guardians!
We would like to honor our parents and guardians this April with a special Grab-N-Go Breakfast. Thank you all for being such great role models and caregivers to all these children. Breakfast will be served Friday, April 8.
April 22 is Earth Day! This week we will be talking about recycling, composting, and how these things affect our planet.
We would love you to help us grow our garden on the wall again this year! Please bring home a flower or insect to decorate and bring back to display on the wall. Get creative with stickers, stamps, paint, tissue paper etc. We will have supplies out by April 1. Have fun!
It's that time of year again we will be conducting conferences for all classrooms. Conferences can be in-person, via Google meets, or over the phone. Each Classroom will have a sign-up sheet with a few dates and times starting in May.
By Angie Williams
Dr. Carla Gull, an expert on outdoor classrooms and nature play, hosts a podcast called Loose Parts Nature Play (https://loosepartsnatureplay.libsyn.com/) in which she discusses how loose parts play fosters creativity, curiosity, and fun! With spring upon us and April being the month of Earth Day, it is a great time to dig into how we can enhance nature play and help children more fully engage with the natural world around them.
Loose Parts Theory
The theory of loose parts was developed by Simon Nicholson, who wrote:
“In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.”
In this context, variables are open-ended materials but also include, for example: 
phenomena such as electricity, magnetism, and gravity; sounds, music, and motion; chemical interactions and cooking. In addition, embedded in Nicholson’s theory is the notion that children should be involved in designing their own environments—contributing to the planning and building, choosing materials, and playing with concepts. If adults have complete control of planning the environment, they have taken all the fun—and inventiveness—out of that process for children.
Loose Parts and Outdoor Play
Children can create their own environments outside when we provide them with materials such as crates, large fabrics, blocks, planks, and stumps, and then allow them the freedom to experiment with and rearrange them. They can then add objects from nature and spend time exploring their properties and testing out different ways to use them.
Last week I had the chance to break open a coconut with my daughters and nephew. We first had to figure out the best tools—at various points in the process we discovered the need for a chisel, a hammer, and our bare hands. We weren’t sure what we would find on the inside—would it be fresh, or had it withered? The hammer made different sounds on different parts of the fruit; the hollow noise gave us a clue that we were not likely to be drinking juice from this particular coconut. Indeed, when we reached the center, we found brown instead of green. While we would not be able to quench our thirst, it was a successful engagement in loose parts play that included investigation, sensory experience, and fun. 
As the weather warms, we hope your child has many opportunities for loose parts nature play. Read more about this theory in the articles below:

Now-5/1 Spring Flower Show, Como Park Conservatory, St. Paul
Now-5/8 Thomas & Friends, MN Children’s Museum
4/3 Goldy's Gallop Kids Run, TCF Bank Stadium
4/8-5/8 What Do You Do With An Idea?, Stages Theatre, Hopkins
4/9&4/16 Easter Egg Hunts, various locations and dates
4/10 Scheels Family Fun Day, Scheels, Eden Prairie
4/15 Family Friday Easter Event, Midtown Global Market, Mpls
4/16 Kids at the Castle: Spring Chicks, Swedish Institute, Mpls
4/22-6/18 Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Musical, Children’s Theatre, Mpls               
4/23 Earth Day Clean Up, multiple locations throughout Minneapolis
4/30 Get in Gear Half Marathon, 10k and 5k, Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis 
4/30 Walk for Animals, Fair Grounds, St. Paul

Especially for Children
6125 Cahill Ave.  
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076 
(651) 450-1994  

Center Director:
Kristine Berg
Center Assistant Director:
Sarah Barlow