Ilene grew up in Bayside, Queens. She has a BA in Elementary Education from SUNY New Paltz and a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Queens College. Ilene worked as a preschool teacher at the Mid Island Y JCC for over 13 years. She was a mentor teacher, always helping to guide new teachers at her school. Ilene is an innovator in early childhood education, always researching new theories and programs to help her children get the skills necessary to succeed in today's society.
We inspire a love of learning and discovery in each child who walks through the academy doors. Ilene believes that lessons in our school be intentional. Teachers choose the best strategies to accommodate the different ways children learn. This means that teachers have specific outcomes or goals in mind as they create their lesson plans. Some learning is child-guided, where teachers provide materials but children make connections on their own or through interactions with peers. Presently, Ilene is introducing a STEM curriculum to Long Island at the Jericho STEM Academy where your child learns and practices concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math continuously throughout the day through our integrated approach called Balanced Learning. Art, phys. ed. and music are also integrated into our curriculum daily. Our entire staff had to complete classes to become STEM certified which is a great accomplishment. Ilene was President of Shaloma Hadassah where she successfully raised funds to benefit Israel. Ilene resides on Long Island. She has 3 wonderful children and a grandson! "I am thrilled to be a part our students' educational journey. I love getting to know our families and building relationships that last a lifetime.”
MONTHLY MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
____________________________________________________________________________ A Message from the Director, "And remember, also, that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow." Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! As I anticipate the beginning of the school year, I look forward to the children that we will soon meet and get to know over the upcoming year. I remember my first day of school as a child and the mix of excited anticipation and fear that I felt. I also remember the first day of school for each of my children and I remember, again, the mix of anticipation and fear that I felt for them—perhaps I was more nervous than they! I say this because I want you to know that we understand. Each one of our teachers is a parent. We all know the fears, the hopes, the problems, and the joys of parenting. Yet we are also Early Childhood Educators. We understand, perhaps better than most, how very important the task of educating the young child is. We want for your children a true education, because we know that education is not just what a child learns from reading a book (although much can be learned from reading!) or from memorizing letters, numbers, shapes, and facts. Education is what happens when one discovers meaningful information through experience. Here at Jericho STEM we hope to provide an environment rich in a variety of meaningful and exciting materials and experiences so that your child can explore, discover and absorb through our STEM activities. Remember what your child learns today will help to discover “all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow .” Warm Regards, Ilene ——————————————————-- As you all know, the beginning of this school year started in a much different and less ideal way. Covid has made us make changes that we never dreamed of and the transition to this new school year has been different than ever before. Yet, we have successfully adjusted to the new norm and protocol and our students are thriving and having a wonderful time growing and learning. I want to thank all the teachers for working so hard to follow all the new protocols.
Please make sure your child is coming to school wearing PLAY CLOTHES. We play hard and get messy! Paint, playdough, dirt and other goodies will get on their clothes. The children are encouraged to participate in many tactile and sensory experiences that are often messy, therefore children must be dressed appropriately when coming to school.
October We are looking forward to a fun and exciting month of October! We will be learning about the season of fall, pumpkins and apples. We will talk about the changing weather in autumn. We will take a walk outside and see the leaves change into beautiful shades of red, plum, orange and gold. The children will also be painting with leaves in fall colors to decorate our classrooms. There will be many new science explorations this month. We will also have pumpkin explorations and a pumpkin patch in our playground! We are welcoming the new school year with some new friends, so we have been focusing on the "All about Me" topic and the 5 senses. Try it at home: No Cook Pumpkin Play Dough Ingredients
1 can of pumpkin puree (15oz)
2-3 cups of corn starch
2 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
Combine the canned pumpkin and the pumpkin spice in a bowl and mix until the pumpkin is smooth
Slowly add corn starch and stir. Continue to add corn starch and stir until the dough begins to form. You will then want to finish kneading the dough with your hands.
If the dough is at all sticky add a little more cornstarch
After a bit of kneading you will be left with the most delightfully squishy and soft pumpkin play dough
I look forward to working with you and your family and having a happy and successful school year!
Some facts concerning STEM: There are profound ties between STEM learning and language learning. Early STEM instruction leads to better language and literacy outcomes (Sarama et al. 2012), and exposure to more spatial language during block play in infancy and early childhood leads to improved spatial thinking abilities (Pruden, Levine, & Huttenlocher 2011). Math skills and reading skills at kindergarten entry are equally predictive of reading skills in eighth grade (Business Roundtable 2016), and background knowledge about the world and how it works (much of which falls within the realm of STEM concepts) is critical for listening comprehension throughout life and for reading comprehension once children are able to sound out words (Guernsey & Levine 2015). For young children, STEM is all around. We want children to discover all the fun possibilities that STEM has to offer. Then they can build their interest in STEM over time. To help make that happen, we need to remember that STEM starts early(NAEYC).
October/November Dear Parents, We hope everyone’s fall season is off to a wonderful start. As the days get shorter and the weather begins to change, we are keeping very busy at the preschool. The children are settling into their new environment and learning the daily routines of preschool alongside their friends. We would like to thank you all for the speedy return of paperwork as well as providing your child with a change of clothes and the requested supplies needed for the classroom. Our SPOOKTACULAR Preschool Halloween parade and party is on Thursday 10/29. Please have your child come to school in a costume (no masks). We will play games, parade around our school and get goodies from our teachers. As always our teachers will take pictures as we parade around. Please bring a change of clothes for your child if they stay all day. Parent teacher Conferences will be on Tuesday, November 3rd from 10:00-1:30. and on November 17th in the evening from 5:00-8:00. Please message your teacher if you would like an appointment during the day or in the evening. They will then message you back on brightwheel with your assigned time. Due to covid these conferences will be phone calls from the teacher to the parent. ****If you need daycare on November 3RD please let me know. If we get enough children to register I will arrange for a daycare day. Cost:$70.00 9:00-3:00 Fall brings us a plethora of ideas and activities to explore both at school and home. In the classrooms this month, we will be focusing on all aspects of the fall season such as the changing leaves, pumpkins and of course a little Halloween! We will also address the changes in weather as well as the differences in the clothing we wear. The children will also be creating some very fun and “scary” art projects! Miss Gina's Little Explorers are working on number sentences. Miss Kim’s Stars have been blending colors and learning primary and secondary colors. Miss Marlene's Monkey's enjoyed discovering color blends on our light table. Some classroom discussions and learning will include topics such as: • Compare and contrast characteristics/attributes of leaves • Discuss parts of a leaf • The life cycle of a pumpkin • Sizes of pumpkins – small, medium, large • Weight of pumpkins – light and heavy • Exploring what is inside a real pumpkin • Thematic vocabulary related to Fall - Leaves, Autumn, pumpkin, acorn, etc. Your child will certainly bring home several projects throughout the year for you to display at home! However, we want to remind parents that many of the activities and skills we focus on in preschool are based on the process, not the product. Therefore, there may be times where you will not see a product coming home in your child’s backpack. READING WITH YOUR CHILD The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. You can't start reading to a child too soon! Read together every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close together. Bedtime is an especially great time for reading together. Give everything a name. You can build comprehension skills early, even with the littlest child. Play games that involve naming or pointing to objects. Say things like, "Where's your nose?" and then, "Where's Mommy's nose?" Or touch your child's nose and say, "What's this?" Say how much you enjoy reading together. Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Look forward to this time you spend together. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day. Read with a fun tone in your voice, with humor and expression. Use different voices for different characters. If your child loses interest or has trouble paying attention, just put the book away for a while. Don't continue reading if your child is not enjoying it. Be interactive. Engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story. Discuss what's happening, point out things on the page, and answer your child's questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child's responses. Read it again and again and again. Your child will probably want to hear a favorite story over and over. Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills. • Please remember if you need to update your emergency contact numbers to call the Office. • If you need to add additional adults to pick your child from school you will need to notify the office and add ID’S. •
Children love helping in the kitchen, why not bake some pumpkin cookies together. INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cups butter, softened. 2 cups packed brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups quick-cooking oats 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups miniature chocolate chips DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 2. Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together in a bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. 3. Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; stir into creamed butter until combined. Fold chocolate chips into batter. Drop 1 to 2 tablespoons batter for each cookie onto a baking sheet. 4. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges of each cookie are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes Also, please remember to take home the shorts and short sleeve shirts you sent in. We will need pants and long sleeves for the children's change of clothes. Warm Regards, Ilene
November News Throughout the month of November, our theme will focus on gratitude with Thanksgiving approaching. The children will learn what it means to be thankful. We thanked all the men and women who serve our country and keep us safe. Miss Gina brought our vets beautiful thank you notes the children made for them. We will celebrate our families, friends, healthy bodies and a bountiful Fall Harvest. We will be creating lots of Thanksgiving-themed artwork, along with more autumn crafts. The theme which I like the best is Life Long Ago. It is amazing to see some of the wonderful activities our teachers utilized to teach this concept such as, churning butter, making a working wheel and using our engineering skills to make a log cabin with Lincoln logs, This week you can walk into any of our classrooms and see the children explore items that sink or float. Miss Kim's class was surprised with some of the results which were different from their hypothesis. Miss Gina and Miss Marlene's class are making boats to see if they will sink or float! Our children are successfully learning their mathematical skills using Eureka math. Our philosophy here is that children learn in many different ways. Miss Kim uses dice and counting bears so the children can visually see the number they need to count. In HWT we use long and short wooden sticks to form the letters we are learning. This allows our little learners to use several senses at once to learn handwriting. Don't Forget Coats: The weather is unpredictable. Make sure your child is prepared with appropriate outdoor attire marked with their names! You may want to make sure that your child's extra clothes are warm ones too. Skills we will work on with your child: Putting on our own outside gear: Snowpants, coat, hat, boots, and gloves/mittens We are grateful for each of our families at our school.. It is an honor to join you in this journey of teaching these precious children. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we would like to say thank you to all our families for being part of our preschool community. Please stay safe over Thanksgiving!!! Thank You (Sung to: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star) Thank you for the sun so bright Thank you for the moon at night Thank you for my family Thanks for friends who play with me Thanks for everything I see My toys, my books, for you and me!
DECEMBER NEWS Dates to remember: Zoom Holiday Parties-12/22/2020 Miss Gina-9:30, Miss Kim-10:15, Miss Marlene-11:00 School Closed- 12/24-1/1. After Care until 4:00 on 12/23
Our classrooms look very festive this month! Holidays are one of the most important way to celebrate people, history, traditions and events we care about. All of our celebrations are important expressions of culture, faith, and family connections. Each holiday is special in its own way for each of our families. This season, each of our distinct holidays share something in common. Because of COVID-19, the safest way to celebrate is at home with only the people who live with you. Holiday gatherings may encourage older people and those with underlying health problems to attend rather than be left out, even though they are most likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Anytime you get together with people who do not live with you, the risk of getting COVID-19 goes up for everyone. We encourage you to keep friends and family safe by choosing lower-risk activities. Here are some ideas of activities that you can do individually, with the people you live with, or virtually with people you do not live with. -Dinner at home with the people who live with you. -Going on a walk to see holiday decorations with the people who live with you. -Shopping online rather than in person. - Preparing traditional family recipes. -A virtual dinner night and sharing recipes with friends and family you do not live with. - A virtual movie night with family and friends you do not live with. - A virtual holiday game night with family and friends you do not live with.
The health and safety of our children and families is always our highest priority. That is why we have been working diligently to continue creating a safe and fun learning environment for our students. A recent study by Yale University confirmed that childcare centers practicing safety protocols do not pose an increased risk of spreading COVID-19 in their communities. As a reminder, below are the health and safety measures we’ve implemented based on CDC guidelines, state and local regulations, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We will continue to update as necessary. Health Checks We screen temperatures of all staff and children. Anyone with a temperature of at least 100.00 degrees or showing other signs of illness is not permitted to enter the facility. If a child becomes ill during the day, they will stay in a separate area while awaiting pickup. Safe Distancing Staff are the only adults permitted to enter the building. Pick up and drop off take place outside the school and field trips are currently suspended. Facial Coverings All staff members wear facial coverings while caring for children. Children wear facial coverings in our three's and pre-k.
We continue our focus on handwashing and disinfecting throughout the day. Staff wear disposable gloves for serving food, changing diapers/toileting, etc.
Sleep Teachers place nap mats head to toe, not face to face. Each child’s bedding is stored separately and sent home for washing frequently. Communication: We strive to maintain efficient communication with all of our families, from the office and from the classroom. Although this may seem a little more challenging right now with no visits in the building, we encourage you to call the office or to use Brightwheel to message any concerns about your child.
For everyone’s health and safety the holidays will be different this year. “This is not the year to get everything we want. This is the year to appreciate everything we have.” Thank you for entrusting your children in our care. See you next year! --------------------------------------------------------------------------- JANUARY Dear Parents, Happy New Year to all our families! I hope you all had a restful and relaxing break and lots of time with your family. We wanted to say “Thank you” for all the nice cards, kind gifts and “special treats” that we had received from our families!! We felt truly spoiled! We are looking forward to our first month of the 2021 school year and our batteries are fully recharged. I am sure your children are all ready to see their friends and to settle into our routine again!
INDOOR SHOES CHECK We realized a BIG GROWTH SPURT in some of our children and wonder if their little feet still fit in their indoor shoes! Please check your child’s indoor shoes to make sure that their little “happy feet” are not “trapped”. We will send the indoor shoes home for a quick “check up” 15th.
2021-2022 SCHOOL REGISTRATION Preschool registration for September 2021/2022 is fast approaching. We will be accepting children who are currently in our school to re-register first. An application agreement will be sent home with your child. For those families that register by February 1st we will take 50% off of your first tuition payment.
January 25th-29th, 2021 - returning children only.
February 1st-February 5th, 2021 - alumni families (families of children who attended in the past and now have younger siblings ready to join us
February 8th, 2021 and ongoing - new families If you have any friends who are interested in receiving a contract, please let us know and we will send them one.
The highest compliment our parents can give us is a referral of a new family for our school. The trust and confidence that you place in us each day means so much to us. In appreciation for your confidence, if you refer a family and they register, you will earn tuition credit! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Introduce Us: Tell your friends & family about the Jericho STEM Academy and we’ll give them free before and after care for 5 days from 8:00-4:00! Plus, we’ll give you $200.00 off of your next tuition payment. ***For students who register for Full Day
Introduce Us: Tell your friends about the Jericho STEM Academy and we’ll give them half off their registration fee. Plus, we will give you $100.00 off of your next tuition payment. ***For students who register part time***
Dates and Reminders January 11th-24th-Scholastic Virtual Book Fair January 18th – School Closed- Dr. Martin Luther King Day Registration begins.
Parent Resources: In addition to our Parent Handbook, there are several websites we have found useful that touch on parenting tips and developmental milestones: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/child/default.htm
Thank you to those families that have supported our fundraising endeavors. We are now having a virtual Scholastic book fair. Please check your child’s folder for information. If you have any questions please message or call Mindy. ____________________________________________________________________________ February is All About Love!
February is a short month, but one packed full of learning, as we press forward with our educational goals full of fun, engaging activities.You can feel that love is in the air here at our academy! My door is always open, so do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns or suggestions.
Parenting Tips –Saying I Love You: “Saying I Love You” is one of the most important things parents can say to raise a confident child. There are many ways to express love for a child. Here are some simple ideas: Include an “I Love You” note in your child’s lunch box. Even young children will enjoy looking at the note. Sing a song to your child. They will not mind if you are off key as they will get the message. Tell your child why you love them. They will remember it for a long time. Put a family picture in your child’s backpack. Try to make time for family each day where your child feels secure and loved and able to communicate freely. This could be while enjoying a meal or snack, reading a story, even simply sitting quietly together. Hug your child often. There will come a time when they shrug off your hugs, so enjoy them while you can. Our Themes for February: Exploring the sky, rockets, Chinese New Year, Presidents, Engineering challenges, Reminders- School is closed from February 12-19 Please label your child’s coat, gloves, boots, hats, and scarves. Thank you to all the parents who are doing a great job with helping us to keep everyone safe and COVID safe! ______________________________________________________________________________ March News Dearest Families, What a beautiful day it was today! We look forward to more sunshine! We are all excited about the approach of spring as we begin the month of March! There is nothing like being outside enjoying the beautiful sunny days. With the days getting longer and springtime just around the corner, we leap into March with a renewed sense of excitement! Starting the excitement, we had our celebration for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday! We have several Wacky Wednesday events planned this month. For our threes and Pre-k- March10th- Crazy Hair Day, March 17th- Green from Head to Toe!, March 24th- Wacky Hat Day. Soon we will be shifting our focus to St. Patrick’s Day and catching those sneaky Leprechauns! We will be encouraging the children to use both their imagination and problem-solving skills to design traps that will catch the Leprechauns so we can get their gold! We will also be learning what, where, and when facts about rainbows. Our STEM themes for this month are Dr. Seuss, Wind & Air, Days of Dinosaurs, and Pond Life. We will start our garden again when the weather starts to get a little warmer! Miss Gina’s class planted bulbs in the Fall. We cannot wait to see the flowers start to grow. The children and teachers will plant herbs to taste and smell, veggies to eat and create projects with, and colorful flowers to look at and draw! This garden will give us even more real-life learning experiences. Preschool Enrollment We are very pleased to see that so many of our two- and three-year-olds will be back next year. Thank you for your support and goodwill among the community. So many of the incoming new parents have mentioned that parents of our children have recommended our school to them. FYI- Day Light Savings time begins on Sunday. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour! Spring Break will occur March 29-April 2. School resumes on April 5. Reminders; 1.. Please remember to send your child to school dressed to play outside. 2. Continue to encourage them to go to the bathroom before they come to school. Please check your child’s backpack each day. This is a perfect opportunity to ask questions and provide them time to talk about what they have done at school. 3. We are encouraging the children to become independent. Please send your child to school in appropriate clothing that they can do themselves, i.e., putting on coats, buttons, zippers, putting on/taking off sneakers, etc. Also, allowing them to open their own snack containers, water bottles and bags will help to improve their fine motor skills. Practicing these skills at home takes time and patience but eventually the children will succeed and feel good about their accomplishments! 4. Please make sure you signed up for parent/teacher conferences. If you are new to our school you will have an opportunity to speak with your teacher at a later date. 5. For the safety of all the children and teachers, please do not send your child to school if you feel they are beginning to come down with something or if they are sick. If they have had a fever it is important to keep them home after being “fever free”without medication for at least 24 hours. Please read the flier about our Spring Enrichments. If you have any questions feel free to call the office. Camp deposits are due by March 30th. We have a wonderful summer planned for the children.
APRIL NEWS Spring has finally arrived; we want to make sure all our students can take full advantage of our outdoor play spaces. Please make sure that your child has a spare set of weather-appropriate clothes that are labeled. Additionally, now is a great time to start collecting sunscreen so that we are ready for the first hot and sunny day of the year. Please label all containers of sunscreen that you send to school. We will keep all sunscreen in your child’s backpack. If you have not signed a non-medication form with the office we will not be able to administer the sunscreen. Our teachers are planning outdoor games, lessons, and picnics to celebrate spring. We cannot wait to share these activities with your child!
Star Teacher! **Miss Marlene** Congratulations to our Star Teacher of the Month, Marlene is the lead teacher in our Toddler Program and is doing an amazing job! All the toddlers absolutely adore her and are always excited to see her, and she is always excited to see them too! Miss Marlene always makes sure that all the children are safe and having fun. She takes such great care of each child and you can see that she genuinely cares about them. Miss Marlene is fun- loving, caring, and patient. The toddlers love doing Circle Time and fun crafts and activities every day with her. Her classroom is always decorated and is exceptionally clean and organized! She is one of our best cleaners and does a great job making sure the children have a clean, safe, and fun classroom. Not only do the children love Miss Marlene, but so does the other Toddler staff and all the parents! We are incredibly grateful for all that she does for the children and for the academy! Congratulations Miss Marlene!! We love you!!! IMPORTANT NOTES & REMINDERS Unfortunately, due to the circumstances this year we ask that you do not bring any home items/toys besides your child’s backpack, folder, and water bottle. Please make sure your child’s water bottle is labeled. As we continue to navigate the everchanging COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a consistent routine for our students in a safe and fun environment is our top priority. Below are a few reasons why routines are important for young children and how we help achieve this in the classroom. Children learn to manage themselves when they understand expectations in their environment and what comes next. An organized, clean, and welcoming classroom is not only the foundation for quality teaching, but it also helps shape and define positive student behavior. Our classrooms have developmentally appropriate interest areas called centers that reinforce writing, science, math, and other curriculum skills. In centers, teachers encourage student choice and exploration which helps children know when they can move to a new center. This practice helps them learn routines, self-monitoring, and decision-making. We use visual cues in our school which include footprint outlines to remind students where to line up, picture instructions of how to wash hands, and picture/word labels to help children know where each toy goes. Children handle change best if it is expected and occurs in the context of a familiar routine. A structured routine provides comfort, stability, and a sense of safety. Transitions from one activity to another can be frustrating and stressful for children, because they take time and can involve waiting. To help ease transitions and help set expectations, our teachers provide verbal and non-verbal cues, such as songs or sounds to make the transition fun and engaging. Routines help children demonstrate independence, while fostering feelings of belonging and self-confidence. Circle time is a part of our students’ everyday routine that helps establish roles, reinforces learning, encourages student interaction, creates unity, and builds relationships. During circle time, students select helper jobs such as flag holder, the child who waters plants, or weather observer. These jobs help them actively engage in the activity and see themselves as important members of the classroom community.