The Preschool at The Slomin Family Center enjoyed lots of fun-filled winter festivities during the annual “Snow Day” on Dec. 22, 2016. The students donned their warm hats, coats, mittens and even boots to play in the frosty snow while sledding down “Mt. Slomin” with family and friends. Our students built snowmen, made snowballs, and enjoyed hot chocolate and yummy cookies. A great way to celebrate the arrival of winter in Florida!!
Classroom lessons focused on the traditional THANKSGIVING table and foods they
would smell, taste, and enjoy. We also learned the sad truth that not everyone has
enough food to eat and how we can help.
Our families showed us the true spirit of giving filling our Thanksgiving Food Drive
boxes with canned goods and nonperishable items. Heidi Reever from Feeding
South Florida visited with our class and collected five overfilled boxes. The boxes
were weighed at their warehouse and 174 pounds of food was collected at our
center, enough to provide 1,044 meals for those in need of food assistance in our
area. Our students were very proud and enthusiastic to do something so wonderful
at Thanksgiving time.
NOTE: ONE in FIVE children in South Florida go to bed hungry. Palm Beach
County leads Miami-Dado and Broward Counties in that sad statistic.
A Pumpkin Patch, including scarecrows, grew overnight on our playground! Each child practiced patience waiting their turn to select a pumpkin to decorate and take home to their families. As a group, the students voted on what shape to carve the large class pumpkin. They helped clean out the gooey and messy insides and sampled the roasted seeds. It’s fair to say that some of the students enjoyed the carving session and some just said “yuck “!
Our first “Trunk-or-Treat” was a program suggested by one of our preschool parents. Trick or Treating can be a scary experience for many children. To prepare our students for Halloween, our parents decorated their car trunks and lined our parking lot for the children to “trick or treat”. Wearing their costumes and parading around the area was quite a sight to behold. Parents competed for the title of “Most Festive Trunk” and are eagerly looking forward to next year’s event.
This October, our Occupational Therapist, Miss Jenny, our Speech-Language Pathologist, Miss Dana, and wonderful teacher, Miss Darby, traveled to Ohio to attend an autism and sensory integration conference with Temple Grandin as the keynote speaker. Also in attendance was our founder, Sandy Slomin and board member Lori Cameron. Workshops were the main focus of the conference.
Carol Kranowitz, author of The Out of Sync Child and many other books, shared her insight on how to help utilize whole body strategies in order to keep students engaged in structured activities. She also spoke on the importance of allowing our children to use their imagination to utilize ordinary household items and turn them into extraordinary learning tools.
Cara Koscinski, author of The Parents Guide to Occupational Therapy for Autism and Other Special Needs and The Special Needs Schools Survival Guide, spoke about helpful school adaptations to help increase attention and concentration in school based activities.
Dr. Temple Grandin received a standing ovation as she was introduced to the attendees. Dr. Grandin is one of the first individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to publicly share her insights and experiences on autism. In 2010, Time magazine named her one of the100 most influential people in the world. Besides educating the world about autism, Dr. Grandin now is stressing to never lower expectations for children or adults touched by autism. You will be surprised at the outcomes. She also shared the power of teachable moments all around us. These moments are irreplaceable. They can and will have the biggest impact in our children whether touched by autism or not.
This truly was a trip to remember and share with our staff and families.
On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the students at The Slomin Family Center experienced real life community helpers with our visit from the fire fighters! Captain Bostic, Fire Fighter Thorpe, and Driver Lugo came with their truck from Fire House #59. It was so much fun to shoot the hose, sit in the truck, and see all the equipment that a real fire fighter uses.
Fire Fighter Elise from Palm Beach County Fire talked with us about not touching matches and lighters and how to “stop, drop and roll” if our clothes catch on fire. We enjoyed their visit and are thankful that these brave men and women are watching out for us in our community.
On October 13, 2016 and December 8, 2016, Ms. Stacey, the storyteller from the Palm Beach County Library System, visited us to read stories, sing songs and do finger plays. Ms. Stacey helps bring literature “alive” for us and adds enrichment activities to go with our themes. Our class always looks forward to her visits!!
Today we had a “hands-on” and “face-to-face” encounter with some of our ocean life friends. The Fisher Mark Experience came to The Slomin Center to share some real life sea animals with our students to make our “Ocean” theme come alive in the classroom. Our students were able to hold and study a horseshoe crab, Bahamian conch, chocolate chip starfish, and pencil sea urchin. We learned about the animals and had the wonder of holding sea life in our hands!!!
The Preschool at The Slomin Family Center had a great two weeks of practicing and learning about how to be a good friend. The class learned about emotions and how to tell by looking at someone’s face what they may be feeling. The emotions we worked on recognizing were: happy, sad, angry, scared, excited, silly, and worried. The students learned what behaviors and events could be associated with each feeling.
Our theme ended on February 12th with a special day of games, cookie making, and sharing of fun and valentines. It was a special friendship week for us all to share together.
As part of our daily preschool instruction, our Occupational Therapist works with every child developing prewriting skills using our Handwriting Without Tears®program. This well-known program is designed to promote effective pre-writing and printing skills using engaging lessons, developmentally appropriate activities, and multi-sensory strategies. Part of the program involves using the “Mat Man” model to teach parts of the body and the correct way to draw a person. The children love singing the “Mat Man” song and building a person, using the wood pieces from the program, both in groups and individually.