Nursery School Tag

  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...

  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 home, a cozy restaurant or outside. Phones and all technological devices are not invited....

  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...

  Rosie was in her crib as her mother, Evelyn Wood finished emptying the dishwasher. The view from the kitchen was of a nondescript day, with a few birds singing a bit. Yet, Evelyn knew spring was coming and she adored thinking about spring. The familiar clinking of glasses and cups and pinging of silverware being put away made Rosie “ooh and ahh” and giggle. Evelyn and the other children could hear her in her room up...

  Jane Hallowell was waking up slowly. She heard light speedy feet coming down the hall. In seconds, Rafe and Will were plastered against their mother. Jack, Jane's husband was on a trip to London, the first one in several months. Gently patting her little boys’ backs relaxed them and bought them all more quiet time and a coziness that Jane adored. Saturday was a present; Jane felt this through and through. She knew no matter how...

written by Marianne Riess  … so much that he became a wonderful teacher, an unusual teacher, because he didn’t love books, and he didn’t love homework. He certainly didn’t love computers or video games. What he loved was to show children how to enjoy the outdoors, as he had, growing up. So he founded a nursery school and created outdoor experiences for very young children. In a program called Smokey’s Bounders, children made campfires and enjoyed s’mores....

  Just before Christmas, Party with Moms republished one of Anne’s classic columns, “What Do Children Really Want?” Her point is that children relish the time and attention of a loving relative. I was reminded of the truth of her concept last week when our two grandsons came to our house for a late Christmas, and ended up spending 24 hours with us. The first evening was taken up with exchanging presents and having dinner with friends...

  This was Anne's first Parenting Column ever, originally published in December, 2012 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 home, a cozy...

  For the last decade a tradition has been observed at PIFS. Families and staff support the families of Waterside School in Stamford during the holiday season by contributing to the purchase of Target gift cards. Waterside Head of School Jody Visage then distributes the cards to families who need additional support for the holidays. The cards can be used for food, clothes, or toys and gifts at Target. This year PIFS was able to contribute over...

  Rosie and Quinn were very good friends. Both children were in Mrs. Randall’s Nursery class at the Little Farm School. They had been in class together last year as well and were overjoyed to be sharing another year of school together. Given free time, the two children almost always ran to the dress up area of their classroom. “I’ll be the dog,” said Quinn predictably. He almost always wanted to play a dog. “Let’s pretend you hurt...

  Parents walking their children through the door of the Putnam Indian Field School on the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving always pause and ask, “What smells so good? Smells like Thanksgiving!” And so it does, thanks to Nolda Joseph, longtime kitchen manager and cook. Along with her co-worker, Alba Jaramillo, Nolda prepares lunch for the children and staff of PIFS every day. In recent years, her job has been complicated by the school’s switch to organic...

  Before leaving on a recent trip to Spain, we were warned: Spaniards don’t eat lunch until 2, and no one eats dinner before 9:00 PM! Since my husband and I are early risers, and not big breakfast eaters, I knew some adjusting was going to be in store. But I couldn’t help thinking how convenient such a schedule was for parents. Basically they could feed their children dinner, and get them into bed before going...

  Tender Thoughts John collected a few small pinecones with his babysitter Mary. He put them in his small wooden treasure box in his room along with the smooth blue button his friend Rosie gave him. The box also contained a pair of chopsticks, still in the wrapper, from the first time he used a pair with his mother and father, and a small green car given to him by his grandparents before they left for Florida,...