Category Archive: lessons


We’ve been having great fun with our chicks! They are two weeks old now and already have feathers growing in. We’ve learned so much with them: observing and documenting, counting, graphing their colors and comparing quantities, and even with small feathers they can fly enough to jump out of our sensory table. They are now living in a larger bin until they return to the farm on June 1st. Families are invited to visit the farm, say goodbye to our chicks, and enjoy a tour from Farmer Art to meet the rest of his animals. He has some unique heritage breeds. Please see the attached flier or pick one up at school for more information and to RSVP.
The children have enjoyed reading and discussing many themes with chicken stories. “Big Chickens” taught us about feeling scared when our friends feel scared and we discussed things that can make us feel brave. “Rooster’s Off to See the World”, “Pip’s Trip”, and “The Loopy Coop Hens” also taught us about bravery and adventure. We counted to 5 with “Five Little Chicks” and to 10 with “Big Fat Hen”. “Hedgie’s Surprise” taught us about creative problem solving. And we could not have chickens and eggs without reading “Green Eggs and Ham”.


While we continue observing the growth of our chicks and our new bantam hens, we are also exploring new topics in the garden. We have ordered caterpillar eggs and are learning about what they eat and how they grow to prepare for their arrival. The toddlers have been making some wonderful flower and caterpillar projects. In preschool art, we made caterpillar gardens and are counting and comparing the caterpillars in each garden. With the arrival of warm sunny days, we’ve also enjoyed painting on the outdoor easel.

A few notes:

  • Please continue to send jackets or sweaters in case of cooler days.
  • Please be sure your child wears shoes he/she can run around in outdoors.
  • If you have a preferred sunscreen, please send it in with your child’s name on it.
  • Please send in spare clothes with your child. They may be left in his/her cubby or brought in each day. We all have accidents now and then. Water weather is not quite here, but the children are eager and would like to be prepared. They also enjoy the mud whenever it is available.

Thank you for joining us at Ivy Cottage!


photoThis week, we are enjoying warm weather and sunshine. The children are learning with Spring themes. We are learning the rules of safe driving on our outdoor track (chalk on the blacktop). We have worked our large muscle groups preparing the gardens and have started planting. So far, the children have planted spinach, red scallion, and sugar pea seeds. They’ve also begun planting the seeds we’ve been growing inside for the last few weeks. As summer approaches, we’ll begin planting warm weather vegetables.

We are also learning with Spring nature inspired art projects. These help the children strengthen their fine motor muscles needed for writing. We cut and tear tissue paper and construction paper, squeeze glue bottles, pinch small items, pull at cotton puffs, and create mini works of art. Many of the older children are beginning to write their own names. This is a very exciting time.

During story time, we are focusing on understanding and being able to retell stories through the use of props and repeated readings. Our first has been a great hit with the children, Eric Carle’s “Rooster’s Off to See the World”. We’ll soon begin “The Five Little Monkeys” series with monkey finger puppets and a couple of chicken rhymes in which the children get to act out the chicken roles. As an added bonus, these stories have an additional focus on early mathematics skills with counting and simple addition and subtraction in the form of characters who join or depart from the main story.


colorsThis week at Ivy Cottage, we are learning about colors with Brown Bear. We have begun experimenting with color mixing: red and yellow, blue and yellow, and blue and red. When those are done, we’ll try mixing complimentary colors to discover what happens. We are also learning about story sequencing and repetition. We read:

“Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?”

“I see a red bird looking at me.”

“Red bird, red bird, what do you see?”

“I see a …”

This question and response pattern is repeated throughout the story. After reading the story, we discussed the pattern and practiced it with cue cards. Then, the children drew pictures to add to the story. For now, we will keep the pictures in a class book to read during group time or individually. We will also be adding to our story with stuffed animals as our prompts. Once the children master the color and animal name, we will add other descriptive words to our story, like big or small, happy or sad.

Please note, we will be closed for Good Friday on March 29th.

We are also charting the signs of spring as we observe them in the yard and garden. Please feel free to send a note with your child about any signs of spring you observe at home. We will add them to our chart.


seasonsThe last couple of weeks, we’ve been learning about the seasons. Our focus is shifting from winter topics to spring topics, with some overlap and comparison. We’ve begun planting seeds and watching for signs of spring: warmer days, melting snow, birds singing, buds on the trees. We’ll soon be preparing the outdoor gardens for spring planting: peas and onions to start. Miss Caitlin is planning to help the children make kale chips with the kale that survived the winter. We’re also conducting experiments to discover the best way to care for plants. So far, we’re watching for growth of beans grown with sunlight or in darkness and beans watered daily or not watered at all. We’re reading books about the seasons and planting seeds: “Red Sings from Treetops,” “The Tiny Seed,” One Seed,” “One Bean.” This week we’ll add “One Raindrop,” and “Cloudette.” We’ll learn about the water cycle and the story of a small cumulus cloud. Then we’ll do some cloud watching and an experiment to help us learn morn about clouds and water transmission.

Learning with Snow

snowThis week we are learning with Snow! We are also still learning with hearts, red, and emotions. We could not get outside in the fabulous snow Monday due to rain, but the children thoroughly enjoyed the snow today. Some built a snow cat, some a snow dinosaur, and some found a nice puddle of slushy mud to jump in. This was great for working on large motor skills, teamwork, and creativity.

We hope you all were safe and able to enjoy the snow. It can be challenging to judge the safety of the roads while staying safe at home. In the future, if Ledyard schools have a delay, we will also have a delayed opening. If schools are closed, we will be delayed at least until our staff can get to the center safely. Our goal is 8:00 am. Hopefully that is late enough for the sun to warm the icy roads but early enough to not inconvenience our working parents too much. If there is any doubt, please call the center to be sure we are open before venturing out in unpleasant weather. Thank you for understanding.

Three Little Pigs


This week we are learning with construction and the Three Little Pigs. Monday, we gathered materials and made straw houses. First, we huffed and puffed and blew them down. then, we glued them. Tuesday, we built with sticks. Wednesday, we will construct with bricks. We are also exploring different types of construction trucks and constructable toys, like Legos, Lincoln logs, gears, and tetris style blocks. The skills we are focusing on include fine motor coordination, pattern recognition, understanding stories, and more name recognition. The children are making great progress.



Making Salsa

Our children had a great time preparing for our garden party and open house. We’ve been busy planting the fall gardens, preparing the chicken coop, and making salsa. We made salsa to serve to the guests at the open house garden party and to show a sample lesson from our new curriculum. We wanted to show how following a simple recipe provides a variety of educational opportunities for our class.


The children had great fun washing and chopping vegetables. It was a great fine motor workout and cooperative endeavor. Some children began the cooking lesson and stayed on task until our salsa was completed. Other children alternated between making salsa and other activities.


The recipe we followed was fairly simple. I prepared a pictorial version for the children to read. For the open house, I created a display with the recipe, the following lesson description and photos of the children making the salsa. We served the salsa with tortilla chips at the party and it was a big hit.


Following a Salsa Recipe

Following a Recipe begins with children washing their hands and joining the group at the table. The children are shown the recipe and asked what meaning they understand from it. The group discusses the list of ingredients. Vegetables are washed and then chopped. Each child has a cutting board and knife to chop vegetables. Chopped vegetables are put into a mixing bowl. Scraps are put into a bowl to feed the chickens, worms, or compost. When chopping is completed, extra ingredients are measured and added. Each child takes a turn mixing. Finished product is sampled by all.

This lesson addresses the following CT education goals for young children:


  • Sustain attention to task
  • Participate in teacher-led group activities
  • Interacts cooperatively with peers


  • Uses coordinated small-muscle movements


  • Uses complex sentences and vocabulary to describe ideas and experiences
  • Understands and participates in conversations
  • Identifies printed words
  • Engages in scientific inquiry

This lesson also addresses the following additional skills:


  • Reading the recipe in words and pictures


  • Measuring and counting ingredients


  • Discussing where the ingredients come from

A pair of hens our class hatched and raised in the spring returned for the party. They were a big hit also!