The Spark! – January 2017

A Note From The Director
Dear Parents, 

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  This month’s newsletter has an intention/resolution theme and also includes some ideas from Early Childhood Teacher, Jennifer Katz about how to stay creative in the Winter season. Speaking of intentions, I asked the staff as well to explore their class intentions. What do they hope to accomplish with their students? How do they keep things fresh? I think it’s very important as a teacher to keep asking questions and exploring new things, rather than always going with the status quo. For example, in dance classes, I’ve pushed myself to try out some new creative movement exercises. Once the Nutcracker was over, I also incorporated new technique steps. I see that the dancers are interested and intrigued in these new steps and it sparks more energy and excitement in class. 

On a more personal level, true connection is important to me. I feel in the last couple of years, there has been a move towards digital communication such as emails, texting, messaging, etc., and it’s harder to maintain one on one face time. One of the things we strive for at Discovery is to really get to know our families and keep connections alive. It brings me joy to run into a former student and her caregiver on the subway, and we catch up riding the train together.  Or, when I saw another former parent that moved to London and they tell me their child is still dancing and their interest in dance was sparked by those few classes with me 9 years ago. Finally, I feel proud seeing my staff grow bonds with parents, caregivers and children, giving not only parenting advice back and forth but even life advice. We live in a big city but it’s possible to create a “village” too. Thanks for being a part of our village. 
Warm Wishes,
Katie Kheel
Toddler Talk
Creative Winter Play!
Jennifer Katz, EC Teacher

I’m a Northern winter baby myself and as a child I remember wishing that I could choose a different month of the year to celebrate my birthday. In spite of being a Northerner, I have not always welcomed the cold months. Now with many January birthdays behind me, I have tried my best to embrace this time of year as a new beginning and to think about creative ways to pass the time during these chilly, dark days. I understand that entertaining little ones at this time of year can be particularly challenging, especially in New York City. Last year, I fondly remember the one big snowstorm we had. We went off the beaten path in Central Park with our kids and friends when we saw the crowded hill at 100th Street teeming with kids waiting in lines to sled down the hill. There are endless hills in Central Park so we didn’t have to venture too far off until we found our own private little hill. We worked hard at carving out a sledding path and soon we were off. No lines and our very own hill, all to ourselves! It was our best sledding day ever. We laughed and welcomed others passing by who wanted to give our hill a try too!

Another successful snow adventure was during one of the snowy polar vortexes a few years ago. It was just too cold to venture out and there was abundance fresh snow everywhere. I told my kids that we would fill a bunch of grocery store bags with snow and we would bring them home. They were very amused by this idea and eager to act on it. Once we got the clean snow home, we dumped it into our shower stall and the kids kept their gloves on and made mini indoor snow people, filled ice cube trays with snow, and dropped liquid eye droppers of food coloring on the snow, the possibilities were endless until it melted, meanwhile I enjoyed staying warm indoors.

This week we repeated the tradition of playing with snow indoors in the OMO class. The teachers visited the roof of Ansche Chesed and we scooped a bunch of the very clean snow and put it in our water table. The kids loved coloring the snow with droppers of bright water colors and we thought they all looked like the cutest bunch of little artists/scientists that we’ve ever seen!

Cheers to getting out there with your little ones in all weather. May many hot cocoas and hot coffees be waiting for you when you return home!

Intentions Abound!
This month, we wanted to explore with our staff what their intentions are for the brand new year ahead. We asked, “What are your New Year intentions/resolutions?”: 
David Chung, Gymnastics Coach
“1. Listen. 2. Just do it.”
Katrina Muffley, Ballet Teacher
“My intention for 2017 is to be more open in mind and heart to a sense of “change” and new experiences that life brings my way. More importantly, to embrace change with gratitude, groundness, and humility.”
Sarah Roberts, Early Childhood and Dance Assistant
“To treat myself more!”
Timi Mathai, Early Childhood Teacher
“Find joy in the ordinary.” 
Julia Fidler, Program Coordinator
“Eat less sugar!”
Adam Echa, Parkour Coach
“Spend as much time every week learning as I do teaching.”
Emma Ryals Ward, Office Manager
“To always act from a place of love, to spread love wherever I go, and to practice peace and acceptance always! :)”
Mary Cain, Gym Director
“Hello #2017 – time to set goals and smash them, time for positive choices, new adventures, more creating, embracing everyday, choosing happiness, trying new things, rekindling old friendships and starting a few new ones, more thankfulness, more love, more laughter, more peace, more of doing and being what makes you truly happy.”
Resolutions Rejoice!
Click here for a wonderful article outlining how to help your little ones make and keep New Year resolutions and intentions! With a new beginning comes more opportunities for change and brighter days. 

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