Valentine’s Party!

Dear Parents,
The Terrific Tigers learned about manners this week. They usually eat their lunch and as soon as they finish they clean up by themselves, close their lunchbox and go read a book. Starting last Monday they were asked to stay seated until all their friends finished eating. They learned to be patient much faster than expected!!
Last Monday we had Romina’s superkid. Ms. De la Peña brought cupcakes and the kids enjoyed singing Happy Birthday. We had a great time! Then on Thursday we had the Valentine’s Day party. The Tigers really enjoyed sharing candy. We listened to songs related to the theme and we were in a complete party mode! Today we had the rescue team visit and the kids had the opportunity of exploring the inside of their van. These experiences awaken the senses and are always great opportunities for learning.
Finally, we highly recommend labeling all clothing items to avoid confusion and lost items.

Valentine’s Week

`Dear Parents,

This week was full of exciting experiences for our Big Bears. First of all they learned about several community helpers such as teachers, dentists, rescue team, vet and the Valentine’s Day party. It was really nice watching them share with their friends during the party. As a creative activity our kids made a valentines letter with love for their parents. On Friday we all had the chance to learn new things with the visit of the rescue team. Please tell them to tell you the “Valentine’s” rhyme they learned.

Next week, Big Bears will continue learning about different members in their community. They will start doing a creative activity that will make them practice writing and cutting skills.

Please make sure all of your child’s sweaters and jackets are labeled to avoid mix-ups.

Have a great weekend.

Thank you,

Ms. Caya & Ms. Yayis


Red paper, Blue Paper

Crayons and Glue

We’re making Valentine’s

And one is for you!


Estimados padres de familia,

Esta semana estuvo llena de experiencias emocionantes con nuestros Big Bears.  Tuvieron la oportunidad de conocer acera de distintos servidores públicos, tales como: maestros, dentistas, veterinarios, equipo de rescate y la fiesta de San Valentín. Fue realmente agradable verlos compartir con sus amigos durante esta fiesta. Como actividad creativa, hicieron una carta de San Valentín para ustedes con mucho amor. El viernes pudimos aprender cosas nuevas con la visita que tuvimos del equipo de rescate. Por favor díganles a sus niños que les reciten la rima de “Valentine’s”.

La próxima semana, seguiremos aprendiendo sobre los diferentes servidores públicos dentro de nuestra comunidad. Además, empezaremos a hacer una actividad creativa realmente divertida en la cual los Big Bears podrán repasar sus habilidades de escritura y corte.

Por favor, asegúrese de que todos los suéteres y abrigos de sus hijos están etiquetados para evitar confusiones.

Esperemos que disfruten el fin de semana.

Muchas Gracias,

Ms. Caya & Ms. Yayis


Red paper, Blue Paper

Crayons and Glue

We’re making Valentine’s

And one is for you!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Dear Parents,

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Hope you had a week filled with love, hugs and many kisses with your family and friends. At Toddler Tree we had a lot of fun talking about Community Helpers and celebrating friendship and family love in our Valentine’s party.

Here are some recent pictures where we made pizza and enjoyed a slice in our classroom:

Here are some pictures from our Valentine’s Day Party:

Next week we’ll be talking about other community helpers and we are excited about having the  firefighters squad visit Toddler Tree. We are expecting to have a lot of fun!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Gaby and Martha


Valentines Party

We had our Valentine’s Day Party on Thursday! The kids were very excited to share their candy gifts with their classmates. Mr. Mike portrayed a mail man delivering chocolates throughout Toddler Tree´s classrooms. Next week we will be covering these topics: firefighter, helmet, white teeth, rescue team and people in your neighborhood.

In our creative department, this week we are going to work with the following:

Techniques: cutting, painting, pasting, pressing, tracing, spread the paint with toothbrush.

Media: foamy, maseca, construction paper, tissue paper, scotch,paint,glue, cutters.

Concepts: paste, paint, brush, push, side to side, molding, trace, clean up, spread, cutting, gluing

Vocabulary: train, teeth, helmet, rescue team, people, neighborhood, pink, red.

Here are some recent pictures of our classroom activities:


Learning About Community Helpers!

Dear Parents,

A lot went on this week! We are learning about community helpers. On Wednesday we had a special visit from the police department and the kids had a great time. They had a chance to get on the motorcycles and into their cars. Also the police officer reinforced the need for kids to sit in the back seat and wear the seat belt. The Tigers also pretended to be a mailman, a doctor, and a baker. They really liked role playing!
We also had Arturo’s superkid day and he could not be any happier! His parents came today to share chocolate cake and sing Happy Birthday. It was a great way to finish the week!

We are looking forward for next week’s Valentine’s Day Party!

Miss Lucia and Miss Vero

Police Officers Visit Toddler Tree

Dear Parents,

We had our first community helpers visit form the San Pedro police department. The kids really enjoyed listening to the siren and taking pictures in the car and on the motorcycle. We also made cupcakes with flour of different colors.

Next week we will be covering the following topics: teacher, love, dentist, oral hygiene, firefighter visit, mail man visit and having our Valentine’s Day party on Thursday, February 14th. If you wish to send valentines make sure to send for all children (we have 13 Tiny Turtles) and a collecting box or bag for your child on that day.

In our creative department, we will be practicing these:

Techniques: cutting, painting, pasting, pressing, tracing, spread the paint with toothbrush.

Materials: plates cardboard plates, construction paper, paint, toothbrush, shaving cream, hand print, play doh.

Concepts: paste, paint, brush, push, side to side, molding, trace, clean up, spread

Vocabulary: mail man, letter, firefighter, teeth, toothbrush, dentist, valentines, I love you, kiss, friends, share, red, pink.

Here are some recent pictures of our classroom activities:

February is here!

Dear Parents,

We had a great week talking about community helpers and we enjoyed and learned a lot from the policemen visit to Toddler Tree. We talked about different professions like doctors, nurses, bakers, etc.

Here are some pictures from the police officer’s visit:

We also celebrated Josemanuel’s baby brother arrival Federico. Congratulations to his family! Here are some pictures of his Super Kid Big Brother Celebration:

Next week we’ll continue to talk about community helpers and we’ll have Firefighters visit our kinder. We’ll keep you posted about the visit and projects.

Have a great weekend!

Ms. Gaby and Ms. Martha


Lessons from the Playground

What We Can Learn From How Kids Resolve Their Disputes

Disputes and conflict are an inevitable part of life. While some believe that learning to deal with these daily challenges is something that can wait until adulthood, it is actually on the playground, as young children develop dispute resolution skills first. At a very early age, most pre-schoolers learn the valuable lesson that selecting the appropriate dispute resolution process is often the single most important factor in the successful resolution of a dispute.

Using the most prototypical of all playground disputes – a fight over a sand toy –valuable lessons can be learned about how to successfully resolve disputes by selecting the right dispute resolution process.

Avoidance: Avoidance is a strategic decision to deliberately walk away from the dispute. Often, a strategic plan of avoidance is dictated by the relative power imbalance of the parties.

On the playground, this can take the form of a smaller child (Jack) choosing to let the bigger child (Sam) have the toy because of the legitimate fear that the bigger child will harm him physically. This is a strategic decision – “I don’t want to get hurt.” On the other hand, the bigger child may decide that there are simply more exciting things with which to play. Again, this is a strategic decision – “The toy is simply not worth fighting over.”

As adults, a strategic decision often is made to avoid a dispute. For example, a screenwriter who believes that his idea for a movie has been stolen may make a strategic decision to avoid initiating any dispute, as it may ultimately make it more difficult for him to later work with this, or any other studio. This is not mere capitulation – it is a strategic decision that, regardless of the validity of the claim, the screenwriter will ultimately be more successful and earn more money by not making any claim. Conversely, a large, multi-national company may make a conscious decision not to pursue a valid claim against a single individual in a remote, foreign location. Again, this is strategic business decision that the cost of litigation outweighs any potential benefit from engaging in the dispute.

Negotiation: Negotiation consists of voluntary, direct, one-on-one contact between the parties in dispute. Critical to any negotiation is the willingness of the parties to communicate about their dispute and the willingness to compromise towards a win-win solution for both parties. Since there are few, if any, limitations to a negotiation, this allows for a wide range of possible solutions. Not surprisingly, negotiation is the primary conflict resolution device used by both children and adults.

On the playground, this negotiation can take the form of the “bait and switch” when two children want to play with the same toy. The effective negotiator, Sam, realizes that by offering another toy which may be more attractive to Jack, each can end up playing with a toy that makes him happy.

An effective adult negotiator will likewise be adept at finding “win-win” solutions to resolving disputes. This requires the parties to work together by: (i) identifying and agreeing on what issues are in dispute; (ii) recognizing that the interests, goals and needs of the parties are not completely incompatible; (iii) realizing that the parties can influence each other to act in ways which are mutually beneficial; and (iv) rejecting other, more confrontational and adversarial ways of resolving their dispute.

Mediation: Mediation is a negotiation which is facilitated by a third party who helps the parties to resolve their dispute. The mediator does not make decisions. Rather, the mediator hears both sides of the dispute and helps the parties to arrive at their own solution.

On the playground, assuming that Sam and Jack are past the point of Avoidance and Negotiation, the next step is to seek the intervention of a third party – Mediator Teacher. Sam and Jack both present their side of the story to Mediator Teacher, knowing full well that the way in which they present their story, their willingness to appear to be acting in good faith and their complete candor are essential to a resolution of the dispute. While Mediator Teacher won’t ultimately make any decision, based on what she has heard from each child, she may propose creative solutions to their dispute. By suggesting, rather than ordering, that Sam play with the toy for five (5) more minutes and then give Jack a turn, both children have the satisfaction of knowing that their side of the story has been told and that they have reached the ultimate resolution themselves.

In the adult world, the primary benefit of mediation is that this often is the last opportunity for the parties to maintain some control of their dispute – control of the costs (financial, physical, emotional), control of the process and control of the outcome. However, in order to be successful, a mediation in the adult world must be much a mediation before Mediator Teacher. The parties must be open, honest and candid with the mediator; each party to the mediation must do its best to present a fair and honest view of its side of the dispute; and each party must be willing to compromise.

Arbitration: Arbitration is useful where the parties not only seek the intervention of a third party, but grant the third party decision making power. Arbitration either can be informal, where the parties select someone in their community or business who they mutually respect, or it can be akin to a formal legal proceeding. Regardless, by submitting their dispute to an arbitrator, as opposed to going the more formal litigation route, the parties hope to achieve a speedier and more cost effective resolution.

On the playground, this decision making power is often entrusted to a mutual friend; someone who has had similar experiences and who is seen as fair and trustworthy. Sam and Jack know that, after having exhausted the possibility of resolving their dispute themselves, they may need to seek a decision. While they can certainly go back to Mediator Teacher, they make seek to avoid the formality, and lasting impact, of seeking a decision which would transform Mediator Teacher into Magistrate Teacher. Critically, while recognizing the value in resolving their disputes themselves, they also recognize that there are times when they will need to submit themselves to a third party and seek a decision.

Similarly, in the adult world the choice of who will serve as the arbitrator will often be critical to the desired outcome. Just as Sam and Jack were careful to select a person who they respected and whose decision they would honor, so too should care be taken in selecting an arbitrator who will understand the dispute, listen to the evidence and render a fair decision.

Litigation: Obviously, litigation is generally limited to the adult world. However, even in the world of the playground, Sam and Jack may seek a formal decision by the ultimate decision maker – Magistrate Teacher. The outcome of this approach is pre-ordained – one boy (Jack) will get the sand toy and the other (Sam) will not. However, there are guaranteed to be costs on both sides. In addition to not being able to play with the sand toy, Sam may harbor lasting resentment towards Jack, as well as the system which he views as having treated him unfairly. As for Jack, he may have “won the battle,” the toy, but “lost the war” in having lost a friend and playmate.

In the adult world, while litigation remains a legitimate and necessary dispute resolution method, the costs of litigation (financial, physical, emotional, etc.) remain a certainty.

Self-Help: The most extreme form of dispute resolution is self-help, which generally involves unilateral action by one of the parties. There is generally no communication between the parties, no intervention by any third party and most importantly, no rules.

On the playground, this consists of Sam simply ripping the toy out of Jack’s hands. Sam has made a strategic and conscious decision to resolve the dispute himself, rather than avoid it, engage in negotiation, or sought the intervention of a third party mediator or arbitrator. He has abused his power and used the most violent and adversarial form of dispute resolution. As any pre-school teacher will tell you, a playground where all the children resorted to self-help would be utter chaos.

Adults also frequently resort to self-help, which can even take the form of illegal conduct. The landlord who moves all of a tenant’s possessions into the street without pursuing a formal eviction, the driver who commits an act of road rage after being cut-off, an angry neighbor who cuts down a 100 year-old tree are all acts of self-help. Just as every pre-schooler must learn that these acts of self-help are unacceptable, adults also need to be reminded that these acts of self-help are rarely, if ever, acceptable means to resolve a dispute.

Teaching Empathy (exerpt taken from http :// www. parenting science. com)

1: Address your child’s own needs, and teach him how to “bounce back” from distress

Studies suggest that kids are more likely to develop a strong sense of empathy when their own emotional needs are being met at home (Barnett 1987).

When kids have secure attachment relationships (so that they know they can count on their caregivers for emotional and physical support) they are more likely to show sympathy and offer help to other kids in distress (Waters et al 1979; Kestenbaum et al 1989).

Other research indicates that kids are more likely to show empathic concern for others if they have parents who help them cope with negative emotions in a sympathetic, problem-solving-oriented way.

2: Be a “mind-minded” parent

Treat your child as an individual with a mind of her own, and talk to her about the ways that our feelings influence our behavior

Observational studies reveal a link between parenting and “theory of mind”—i.e., what kids understand about the goals, desires, and beliefs of other people.

Parents who are “mind-minded” treat their offspring (no matter how young) as individuals with minds of their own. They also talk to their children about emotional and mental states, and discuss the ways that our beliefs, desires, and emotions motivate behavior.

3: Seize everyday opportunities to model—and induce—sympathetic feelings for other people

By modeling empathic behavior–and pointing out situations that call for empathy—parents can generate sympathetic responses in their kids. For example, if you and your child see someone being victimized (in real life, on TV, or in a book), talk with your child about how that person must feel (Pizarro and Salovey 2002).

4: Help kids discover what they have in common with other people

Experiments suggest that kids are more likely to feel empathy for individuals who are familiar and/or similar to them (e.g., Zahn-Waxler et al 1984; Smith 1988). Kids may also find it easier to empathize with people who they’ve shared unpleasant experiences with (Murphy 1937).

So it’s probably helpful to make kids aware of the similarities they may share with other people. The more we can humanize the victims of distress or tragedy, the better kids will be able to respond with empathy.

5: Teach kids about the hot-cold empathy gap

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to appreciate the power of a food craving when you aren’t hungry? This is what researchers call the “hot-cold empathy gap,” and it appears to be a universal problem. When people are feeling cool and collected, they underestimate how compelling emotionally or physiologically “hot” states—like hunger—can be.

Conversely, people in the grip of “hot” states often underestimate how much their current perceptions are influenced by their situation.

The hot-cold empathy gap leads to mistakes in judgment and failures of empathy. But once we understand how the hot-cold empathy gap works, we can use it to teach empathy.

For instance, kids may have unrealistic attitudes about their ability to control their urges and emotions—and keep making mistakes as a result. Research on the empathy gap suggests that trying to resist temptation may be less effective than simply avoiding situations that give rise to temptation.

So some kids need to learn that self-control isn’t just about being strong. It’s also about being smart. If you need to get your homework done, keep distractions—like that cell phone—out of sight. If your peers are pressuring you act to uncharitably towards “uncool” kids, maybe you should spend your time with other, more pleasant, people.

6: Help kids explore other roles and perspectives

As noted in the introduction, empathy involves perspective-taking. What is the world like when experienced from another person’s point of view?

Stories—from books or television—are opportunities for kids to practice perspective-taking skills. What do the characters think, believe, want, or feel? And how do we know it?

When families discuss these questions, kids may learn a lot about the way that other people’s minds work. Studies show a link between such family conversations and children’s performance on perspective-taking tasks (Dunn et al 2001).

In addition, research on autistic children hints that kids may benefit from explicit coaching. In one study, three autistic kids watched an adult describe how he figured out what another character would think and do next (e.g., “These footprints are a clue. He’ll follow these footprints to the treasure chest and open it up”). The technique helped kids solve similar problems on their own (LeBlanc et al 2003).

And don’t forget role playing games. In one experimental study, researchers asked young, healthy medical students to simulate the difficulties of old age. For example, students wore goggles covered with transparent tape to simulate the effects of cataracts. To experience poor motor control, the students wore heavy rubber gloves. After the experiment, the students showed greater empathy towards the elderly (Varkey et al 2006).

7: Show kids how to “make a face” while they try to imagine how someone else feels.

Suppose I tell you to make a sad face. It’s just play acting, right? Not really.

Experiments show that simply “going through the motions” of making a facial expression can make us experience the associated emotion.

And it’s not “just our imagination” (whatever that phrase means). When researchers have asked people to imitate certain facial expressions, they have detected changes in brain activity that are characteristic of the corresponding emotions. People also experience changes in heart rate, skin conductance, body temperature (for a concise summary, see Decety and Jackson 2004).

So it seems likely that we can “boost” our empathic powers by imitating the facial expressions of people we want to empathize with.

Pretty cool, huh? And it’s not a new idea. As neuroscientists Jean Decety and Philip L. Jackson point out, this method was suggested by Edgar Allen Poe in his short story the Purloined Letter.

8: Help kids develop a sense of morality that depends on internal self-control, not on rewards or punishments

Kids are capable of being spontaneously helpful and sympathetic. But experimental studies have shown that kids become less likely to help others if they are given material rewards for doing so.. 

Other research has shown that kids are more likely to develop an internal sense of right and wrong if they are raised with authoritative, inductive discipline–an approach that emphasizes rational explanations and moral consequences, not arbitrary rules and heavy-handed punishments.

For instance, kids are more likely to internalize moral principles when their parents talk to them about how wrong-doing affects other people–inducing empathy and feelings of guilt (Hoffman and Saltzein 1967).

9: Teach (older) kids about mechanisms of moral disengagement

Research has demonstrated that average, well-adjusted people can be persuaded to harm others—even torture them—as long as they are provided with the right rationale.

In a famous series of experiments developed by Stanley Milgram of Yale University, subjects were told that they were participating in a “learning experiment” that required them to administer painful electric shocks to another person (Milgram 1963).

The “experiment” was a fake—dressed up with plausible props and an actor who pretended to be in pain after the study participants pressed a button. But the participants were fooled and—urged on by an authoritative man in a white lab coat—they dutifully administered shocks to the screaming “victim.” In fact, almost 65% of participants continued to press the button even after the “victim” had appeared to fall unconscious (Milgram 1963).

These people weren’t psychopaths. They were ordinary people exposed to social pressure from a plausible authority figure. With the right rationalizations, otherwise decent people can disengage their moral responses. And it’s not just an adult phenomenon. Kids can do it, too.

10: Inspire good feelings (and boost oxytocin levels) through pleasant social interactions and physical affection

An interesting experiment suggests that higher levels of oxytocin can help people better “decode” the emotional meanings of facial expressions. Researchers had 30 young adult males inhale oxytocin (the “cuddle” hormone) and then examine photographs of other people’s eyes. Compared to men given a placebo, the oxytocin men were better at interpreting the emotions of the people in the photographs (Domes et al 2006).

So perhaps kids will find it easier to understand the emotional signals of others if they are well-supplied with their own, naturally-produced oxytocin. Oxytocin is released when people experience pleasant touching (like hugs and massage). It’s also produced when people engage in pleasant social interactions (Uvnäs-Moberg 2003).

February Newsletter

February Themes:

Love, friendship, our community helpers and transportation. We will be receiving different visits from several community helpers. We are looking forward to an exciting month full of surprises and unforgettable experiences.


–      Theme: Community Helpers and Transportation

–      Topics: The people in your community:  their jobs, uniforms and work places.

Friendship and Valentine’s Day

Air, water and land transportation

–      Values: Love, Friendship, Cooperation and Safety


–      Language Patterns: I love … / … is my friend / May I help?

–      Vocabulary:

  • Bicycle
  • Train
  • Trucks
  • Cars
  • Tows
  • Motorcycle
  • Tractors
  • Airplane
  • Helicopter
  • Pilot
  • Seat
  • Seat Belt
  • Boat
  • Ailboat
  • Cruise Ship
  • Submarine
  • Bike helmet
  • Fire fighter
  • Fire station
  • Smoke
  • Alarm
  • Hose
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Teacher
  • Chef
  • Baker
  • Flour
  • Gardener
  • Garbage man
  • Dentist
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Mail Carrier
  • Stamps
  • Envelope
  • Mailbox
  • Post Office
  • Police Officer
  • Police Car
  • Badge
  • Whistle
  • Signs
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Hospital
  • Ambulance
  • Siren
  • Stethoscope
  • Thermometer
  • Friend
  • Heart
  • Love
  • Work
  • Help
  • Deliver
  • Make


–      Concepts: full/empty, over/under, above/below, fast/slow; be careful and be safe

–      Books and Stories:

Just Going To The Dentist

Arthur’s Valentine Countdown

Jaime Visits The Nurse

The Magic School Bus

Let’s Visit The Doctor’s Office

Mr. Charlie, The Fireman’s Friend

Corduroy Goes To The Doctor

–      Math: numbers 1 to 6, introduce 7, rote counting and basic word problems

–      Colors: red, white, pink

–      Shapes: heart, star and diamond

–      Science discoveries and manipulatives: Learn practical examples of simple machines: lever, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw, wedge and pulley


Motor Skills:

–      Fine Motor Skills: holding a crayon properly and prewriting exercises

–      Physical development: Fire Drill (stop, drop and roll)

–      Locomotor skills: running, marching, climbing a ladder, pedaling a trike

–      Non-locomotor skills: hanging/swinging on the monkey bars & tugging a hose

–      Coordination skills: reaction exercises & balancing

Fine Arts:

–      Drama: Role-playing community helpers such as mailman, doctor, nurse, policeman, firefighter

–      Creativity: Healthy Mouth, Doctor’s Bag, Chef Hat, Transportation Track prints, Firefighter’s helmet, Letters for Mom and Dad, Build a Life-size Cardboard house

–      Music: The People In Your Neighborhood, Red Valentine, My Valentine is Red, Flying in an Airplane, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed



–      Birthdays: Julio Torres Rubio  –  February 27th