APRIL 2022
Greetings!

MONTH OF THE YOUNG CHILD
Join us April 4-8 for a fun-filled week celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, families, and communities.
 
Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s biggest organization of early childhood professionals with more than 100,000 members and a network of 450 local, state, and regional affiliates.
 
The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs/services that meet those needs.
 
NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child in 1971 recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. We will be hosting special events all week in honor of the Week of the Young Child. Each class will participate in the special week:
 
Music Monday: musical games/activities!
Tasty Tuesday: some fun tasting activities!
Work Together Wednesday: activities working with our friends!
Artsy Thursday: fun art activities!
Freaky Friday: dress silly!
CENTER HAPPENINGS
STAFF APPRECIATION DAY
Join us in celebrating our wonderful staff with a special potluck lunch on Wednesday, April 6. Watch for the sign-up sheet on the front counter to bring a dish to share with the staff.
CELEBRATING EARTH DAY
We invite families to join us on Thursday, April 21, from 3-5pm to celebrate Earth Day! Bring a white t-shirt for anyone in your family that would like to create a special Earth Day shirt to wear on Friday. We will also have outdoor activities and a snack during this time.
PARENT REMINDERS
SCHEDULED HOURS
Often children and family schedules change as the weather gets warmer. At EFC, we schedule our teacher’s hours based on ratios in the classrooms. If you will have a schedule change (whether just for a day or a permanent change) please let your child’s teacher and/or Linda know so we can schedule accordingly. Also, as a friendly reminder, children’s hours should not exceed 10 hours/day. Thank you!
ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS
LOOSE PARTS NATURE PLAY
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:
 
 
 
TWIN CITIES
FAMILY EVENTS

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

CONNECT WITH US
Especially for Children
2 H South Pine Dr. 
Circle Pines MN 55014 
(763) 786-9410 

Center Director:
Linda Burck
Center Assistant Director:
Kris Steffens