Nursery School Tag

  Written by Marianne Riess  Most day camps for younger children end by the beginning of August. Inevitably parents contemplate thirty-odd days of blank time and wonder, “What will they do? How can we keep them amused? Or busy, or learning?” Actually this is a great time for young children. It is the way summer used to be generations ago, when the season stretched like an endless blank slate, and there were few organized activities available. What did...

  The Putnam Indian Field School’s virtual Book Fair this year featured the author and illustrator, Oliver Jeffers. His book What We’ll Build inspired the children to embark on collaborative building projects, using boxes supplied by studio art teacher, Debbie Chodoff. As Debbie said, “What child doesn’t love a box?” Each class was able to choose from a variety of large boxes, and then decided together what they would build. Debbie then provided them with the...

  Written by - Marianne Riess Some recent Moms of the Week have described their favorite part of the day as the time spent cuddling and reading bedtime stories with their children. Besides the obvious closeness of the experience, reading to children offers so many benefits. Children gain a rich vocabulary, learn that print tells the story, and most important find out that books open up exciting new worlds to them. You cannot overestimate the value of...

  This was Anne’s first Parenting Column ever, published 8 years ago from today on 12/18/12. As young Mothers and Grandmothers gladly and wholeheartedly comb the earth to find a very special something for a little relative, they might be surprised to know they have this present already. What the child most wants is their attention and time. A child’s heart’s desire is unquestionably just a few hours with a parent or grandparent, somewhere simple, maybe at...

  PIFS recently completed a new, multi-platform outdoor playscape. Outdoor play has always been central to the school’s mission and now, perhaps more than ever, it will serve as the backdrop for its students’ learning. The CDC has mandated that when schools re-open, they must keep children in small groups, distanced from one another. With the new playscape, PIFS can easily uphold these new safety measures with a fun, enhanced outdoor play experience. The new Smokey’s Playscape will...

  In late October, the Putnam Indian Field announced plans to replace the outworn Smokey’s Bounders play structures with new and challenging designs, made from natural materials. Working with Environment Design, the firm that created the Stamford Museum’s Nature Playground, and inspired by the late Headmaster Fred Wierdsma’s original plan, the school is now happy to say that Phase 1 of the project has been completed. The children are enjoying the new zip line, the log balance...

  By Marianne Riess It is no secret that modern children spend a lot more time indoors and on screens than did previous generations. Yet studies continue to show that children need lots of outdoor time to develop in all domains of learning. Children who spend time outdoors not only have better muscle development and coordination, but they are also more curious, more independent and more creative learners. They tend to be more resilient, more willing to...

  Fall light bathed the walls of the Bates’ house. The morning sun made dappled images and everything looked beautiful. Then came a peace-piercing scream. Charlie ran into the kitchen with a pencil in his hand and with the saddest expression a four-year old could have on his still tan little face. The screaming continued. Josh Bates ran up the back stairs. His wife Molly was in the baby’s room, holding Finney, who had a deep cut...

  Lorraine Finch and her two children, Jared and Liza were going to story hour at the Library. Mrs. Etheridge, the librarian was a kind, older woman who had been reading stories to very young children for decades. During the last story hour, Jared had thrown a book at Mrs. Etheridge and knocked her glasses off. “Remember Jared, be nice to Mrs. Etheridge and listen to the story. No bad behavior this time,” Lorraine reminded him. As they walked...

By Marianne Riess Most parents understand that children learn primarily through play. Yet, when their child attends a play-based nursery school, they may wonder whether he or she is being challenged, being thoroughly prepared for elementary school, being exposed to “academics.” Studies show that rote learning at a young age does not stick. Children may develop a temporary edge over their playing peers, but it is just that, temporary. And while they are being taught and drilled,...

Article By Marianne Riess     Photo By Marianne Riess   Thanksgiving lunch at Putnam Indian Field School has always been special.   Alba and Susanna carried on the tradition started by Nolda Joseph, serving delicious turkey, stuffing and gravy as well as potatoes, acorn squash, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. Yummy desserts, too.   Thanks Alba and Susanna for all the hard work and thanks Nolda for the inspiration. A special lunch for a special school.   HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!       www.pifs.net Phone – 203 –...

It’s an annual tradition now. In the middle of October, the trucks roll in delivering the pumpkins and hay bales that transform the Putnam Indian Field School play yard into a wonderful outdoor classroom with so much to learn and do! The hay bales make a wonderful maze for climbing on, running through or jumping off. The children can’t believe their good fortune, or get enough time in the outdoors. The air is crisp and cool,...

  The school year had come to an end. It had been an absolutely great year and the teachers were as sad as the children to say goodbye. Fortunately for the teachers and the children who were able to stay on, there was a little three week summer camp. This was essentially an extension of the school year along with sprinklers and more time for everything, because of the longer day. It was heaven for all. The...

  What was originally predicted to be a wet Saturday turned warm and sunny just in time for the Putnam Indian Field School’s 40th Anniversary celebration. Head of School, Susan Donaghy and Former Head Marianne Riess welcomed the over 300 people who showed up to connect with old friends and share memories. Parents and former children (now adults) were there from the first classes in 1978 and on. Past and present teachers were happy to reminisce...

  2018 is Putnam Indian Field School’s 40th year, and to celebrate, the school is throwing a party for former parents and alumni on June 9th, from 4 - 7 PM on the school grounds. It has the potential to be a very big bash with so many parents and their grown up children invited. Refreshments will be provided by the Boxcar Cantina truck serving its New Mexican food and delicious margaritas, and by Aux Delices serving...

  During the Thanksgiving holiday, four-year-old John Colligan became tearful at every turn. He was feeling extra attached to his mother, Liz, and wanted to be with her all the time. She did make special times for each of her four children but loved time with all of them as well. The children were happy altogether too. Yet John suddenly began to separate himself from the board games, the family fun outdoors and even the cozy movie...

  Last week the N.Y. Times published an article entitled “Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?” Nursery school teachers have been dismissed as glorified babysitters, paid low hourly wages with few other benefits, and expected to put up with chaotic working conditions. After all, they were only teaching preschoolers. They had no need for academic expertise in any field. Perceptions have changed. First, brain research done at Harvard with Project Zero showed the importance...

  The holidays are around the corner. As I leaf through the toy catalogs this year, in search of the perfect presents for my grandchildren, I am amazed by the number and variety of STEM toys. They are everywhere! Build your own robot or lunar lander or drone. Make electricity and learn about circuitry, magnets and gears. Learn coding to remote control your (fill in the blank). Take on an engineering project, simple or complex. I...

  For two weeks every October, children at PIFS have a glorious outdoor classroom, known as the Pumpkin Patch. The skies are blue, the air is warm enough to not require coats, the leaves are turning bright colors, and their play yard is transformed by the presence of a hay bale maze, hay jumps, a teepee made of cornstalks and over 100 bright orange pumpkins of all sizes. The children love moving the pumpkins all over...

  Ross Etheridge sat in his driveway, honking the horn. "Chop, chop Bozos! In the car or you're toast!”   His wife appeared, softly steering their children to the car.  “Liz, come on! I asked you to have the children ready!” Thomas and Lilly fumbled with their seat belts. Liz came over and helped them. She patted her children’s soft hair. “Ross, please try to slow down. The children love being with you. Life isn’t a race, even if you are...

  Where does the time go? Many long-time Greenwich residents can remember when their 30 and even 40 year old children started school at PIFS. This September is the school’s 40th year of existence, and there are always new developments. The school gets greener and greener. The gardens planted by the children in the spring are full of many different kinds of tomatoes, cukes, lettuces, peppers, beans, and potatoes, as well as pumpkins and melons. These organically...

  As a nursery school teacher with 40 years of experience, I like to think that I can be flexible and responsive to the requests of children and their parents. As a result, even though my teaching partners and I always ask that toys from home be left at home (or at least in the car), I have made exceptions when a child enters the class clutching a beloved toy and the mother says, “I couldn’t...

  It’s that time of year again, when children go back to school, or start at a new one. Many of our youngest will attend school for the first time, and at a very young age. Two and three-year-olds who have never been to school before are in for what can initially be a traumatic experience. There is a happy ending, however. Starting nursery school means watching your mom or beloved caregiver walk away and leave you...

  I just returned from an absolutely perfect trip to Paris with my sister. We had so much fun together and with the French. My Franglais served as a source of entertainment for the French and a chance for me to again and again see that fun is the most universal language. As we walked on these ancient and beautiful narrow streets together we looked into very busy patisseries, tiny fruit and vegetable markets and many beyond...

  The school year had come to an end. It had been an absolutely great year and the teachers were as sad as the children to say goodbye. Fortunately for the teachers and the children who were able to stay on, there was a little three week summer camp. This was essentially an extension of the school year along with sprinklers and more time for everything, because of the longer day. It was heaven for all. The...

  Mickey looked into Sally’s cubby. He saw a small soft toy brown bunny in her tote bag. “Hey Sally, do you have your baby blanket too?” Sally looked up from her drawing to see Mickey swinging Baby, her most beloved stuffed bunny. “Oh Mickey, please stop! Baby doesn’t like that.” “Oh, she has feelings?” Mickey smirked. “You are dumb, Sally. Your name should be Baby.” He tossed Baby to the windowsill. Their teacher, Kate Macaferri turned to see...

  Every year, parents and staff are amazed at the art the children of Putnam Indian Field School create for their Art Show. This past weekend was no exception, as the school was transformed into a very colorful art and science museum. The children work very hard on their creations. Some are individual expressions; others are the result of longtime group projects. An example of a long-term project was one Pre K’s “cleaning and security robot.” It...

  Having worked in a nursery school for 36 years, I was part of many attempts to encourage young children to be charitable. Whenever the efforts involved giving toys, they inevitably failed. Parents and staff would initiate a “Toys for Tots” kind of effort. After explaining that some families could not afford to buy toys, parents would take their child to a store and encourage him or her to pick out a toy for an underprivileged...

  Sissy and Cliff Tremont met a year ago at a small private equity firm in Boston. They loved that they were both Type A’s. They eagerly tried to outdo each other’s Type A-ness, especially in meetings. “Sissy, wasn’t it you who recommended that Betty and John Seagram invest in MacLaren before it went deeply south?” Cliff said with a smug, muffled laugh. Sissy replied in a deeply perturbed tone, “You know what, Cliff, it was your old...

  Nothing is more aggravating, discouraging, and guaranteed to set your nerves on total edge than listening to your children fight with each other. Nothing can make you question your parenting skills (and your sanity) more than the constant bickering or worse. Because we love the children so much and recognize their individual strengths and talents, we can’t believe they treat each other with such disrespect and outright cruelty. “Why?” we ask them, “Why can’t you...