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May 15, Week 9 Update

Cottage Families,

Can you believe that we have reached the penultimate update for the year? With one week left before we officially end the 19-20 school session next Friday, the teachers are planning final celebratory activities and preparing to bid farewell to their classes. I want to thank you for a year that was certainly unforgettable! Although it has not finished the way that we all wished, I hope that you know that your family's contribution to our community was important and that we are glad that you were a part of it through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As we wind down for the year, I want to share a few final reminders:
- If you have not yet retrieved your child's belongings, please reach out to your teacher to discuss options. We would really like for all of your personal items to go home so that we are able to sanitize this summer and start fresh in the fall.
- If you have diapers, either at school or at home, that you will no longer need, I would be glad to take them for an end-of-year donation to the Junior League Diaper Bank. They are working in collaboration with Second Harvest to provide essential supplies to those in need. You can reply to this message if your items are on campus or if you would like to arrange a time to drop off.
- We know that the difficult decision to cancel summer camp has been disappointing for you, as it has been for us, and may have you scrambling for summer care. While I cannot make specific recommendations or be the broker for your arrangements, I would encourage you to reach out to classroom teachers and after care staff, many of whom were planning to work this summer and may be able to help. As is our policy during the school year, however, any arrangements between you and these staffers would be solely on a personal basis and cannot involve the school. 
- Finally, from the personal experience of navigating shingles over the last two weeks, I want to remind you how important it is to take care of yourselves as you are caring for your children. I know that this is easier said than done, but I hope that you are able to find time during the day or perhaps after the kids are asleep to slow down and breathe for even just a few minutes!
As we prepare to part for the summer, I want to share just a few more resources that might be helpful to you:
  You can create a Do-It-Yourself Water Wall that is sure to keep children of all ages occupied for a while, especially as we are heading into warmer weather.  This can be created on a fence, a bathroom wall, or anywhere else that you have a fairly flat surface and the ability to adhere bottles, pool noodles, buckets with holes, or any other recyclables that you find to hold or pour water.  You can construct this for your child or let him create it for himself.  Trial and error can be a great part of the process, and the end result of a wet kid full of giggles will be well worth the tape or zip tie wrangling!
image.png  For infants and toddlers, here is a fun way to introduce color mixing, create a lasting memento of this time in their lives, and encourage tummy time or sitting up (depending on the stage of development).   Place a piece of cardstock or thick paper on the floor and add globs of paint in your desired colors (this is also a great way to use any extra paint you might have in the house since the child will not directly touch the paint).  Depending on the paint you choose, you may also need a floor covering under the paper to catch excess spread.  Cover the paper generously with saran wrap and allow your child to touch, smush, move, or bang the paint for as long as desired. Remove the child, then the Saran Wrap, and finally the beautiful art and allow the masterpiece to dry.  Add your child's name and the date and frame, as desired! If it is a hit, create a collection to share with family or to mount on the nursery wall.
Here are three links to sites that will offer lots of additional suggestions for activities, books, and fun projects to keep your child entertained, but that are generally low-prep and low pressure:
As we can finally glimpse of the other side of our adventure in physical distancing, I and the teachers are counting the days until August, when we can at long last hug you and squeeze your children again!  For those families who are moving to other programs over the summer, know that you will be missed and that you will be remembered. Please stay in touch and share the successes that we know are to come for your children! For our Oaks, Cypresses, and Maples who are "graduating," we are so proud of all of you!  For many, we have watched you grow from the earliest months of life, and we are amazed at the tremendous children that have sprouted from those little seeds!  We look forward to watching you continue to become the men and women that you are meant to be!
Have a terrific final weekend of the school year!
Together We Are Saints!