MDO Newsletter - October 2016

Important Dates

  • October 7-10: School closed for Columbus Day
  • October 14: Room Rep meeting, right after drop-off
  • October 14: Fire Truck Visit, 10:00-12:00
  • October 21: Fire Drill
  • October 28: Peachtree Baptist Church Trunk or Treat
  • October 28: PSP Play-Doh
  • October 31: Class Halloween Parties, 12:15-1:00

Director's Notes

Welcome back to school everyone!  It has been a great start to the new school year.  I have loved seeing the returning families and I am enjoying getting to know the new ones. If you are new to MDO and we haven’t had a chance to meet personally, please stop by the office to introduce yourself.  Susie and I are still working on putting faces with names and children with parents.

I am excited about this year and the changes that are happening at MDO.  I hope you are finding the new online registration, forms, and payment process helpful. I was thrilled to make-over the Ones (Sparkles & Sprouts) classrooms this summer and along with that we purged some of our plastic toys and replaced them with wooden.  We also purchased wireless speakers for the classrooms to make playing music easier.  It’s fun to hear the variety of music being played throughout the day.   We are now working on updating the Caterpillar room and will be doing some more painting.  I hope you like our new digs!

Ms. Lilia teaching the kids!

Another wonderful change this year is the addition of Lilia Ramirez as an Enrichment & Classroom Support Teacher.  Lilia has a degree in Spanish and a background in fine art.  With Lilia on staff, all MDO students are exposed to Spanish (not just the older children who attend on Tuesdays). Lilia’s creative energy and teaching ability is a great fit for MDO.  She is getting to know all of your children teaching Spanish, offering teacher support, and she’s doing some great things with her artistic ability.  Her first school-wide project for “All About Me” is fantastic and I can’t wait for you to see it!

With the start of school we often get questions from parents about what to send for snack and lunch.  At MDO we prefer healthy snacks and lunches that are homemade over the store-bought lunchable meals. If you are new to packing school lunch, here’s a tip: sending dinner foods you eat at home such as pasta, rice, roast chicken, and cooked veggies for lunch opens up a lot more choices than just bite sized sandwiches and fruit. I suggest the bento type containers with sections to include a variety of choices such as sliced fruit and olives, pickles, cheese, cooked pasta and veggies, yogurt, and hummus.  Be sure to check out the bento lunch tips below that I pulled from this blog: http://www.bentoschoollunches.com/search/label/Fall .  Please don’t send nuts or nutbutter and refer to our “Choke Food Guidelines” to create bento boxes appropriate for MDO. I hope you get some great ideas!  

October is a fun and busy month at MDO with the fire truck visit, applesauce making (my favorite) and class halloween parties.   Now that the fall weather is finally upon us, I hope you enjoy family time apple picking, leaf collecting, and visiting the pumpkin patch.

Happy Fall
- Patty

What is a Bento?
A bento lunch is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box.

Bento (or obento) is the Japanese word for a meal served in a box. Packed in reusable containers, they reduce lunch waste such as plastic baggies and disposable containers and allow you to pack a wider variety of food for lunch. Portion control is also easy if you follow the general packing rule of thumb of 3 parts carbs, 1 part protein and 2 parts fruits and vegetables.

Packing the Food:
There is a little more to it than just putting food in a box.  Try to select those foods you feel your child needs to eat. This can sometimes be challenging as their preferences don't always coincide with their needs.  Presenting a variety of foods in a cute way to make lunches that are nutritious is the angle of the bento.

  • The Right Bento Box: Search online or at Target for a bento lunchbox or divided containers that fit into a standard lunchbox.

  • Use Cookie Cutters: Use these to cut cheese and sandwiches to make fun shapes.

  • Silicone Cups: Reusable cupcake cups and other silicone cups also work well to separate food and there are many fun colors and shapes to choose from.

  • Pre-pack lunches the night before. The next morning, cut fruits or cheese and assemble them into the bento box.

  • Use leftovers from dinner. If you use a microwavable bowl you can heat up the the next morning but allow the food to cool down and transfer into the lunchbox.

  • Use freezer food: Heat frozen vegetables, meatballs, dumplings, and more. Costco has some healthy options for pre-cooked freezer food.

 

Me and my daughter Aria, who's in the Caterpillar class!

Me and my daughter Aria, who's in the Caterpillar class!

Letter from the Chair

Greetings All, and Happy Fall! I don't know about you, but it has been a crazy couple of months for my family, both with the start of school and the advent of autumnal revelry. It feels like things might finally be settling down and I'm excited to dive into October. Coming up this weekend is our Fall Break, with MDO closing on Friday and Monday. This is a perfect opportunity to plan a play date with your child's classmates; if you're new to Atlanta, here are some great destinations to get you out of the house:

  • Parks & Playgrounds:
    • Mason Mill
    • Medlock Park
    • Noble Park
    • W.D. Thompson Park
    • Frazier Woods
    • Piedmont Park
    • Lullwater Preserve (Emory)
    • Zonolite Park
    • Old Fourth Ward Park
  • Oakhurst Porch Fest
  • Atlanta Botanical Gardens (currently hosting Scarecrows in the Garden)
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History (NatureQuest is their indoor treehouse educational play zone)
  • Zoo Atlanta (visit the baby twin pandas!)
  • Georgia Aquarium (the new Dolphin Celebration show is more education-oriented)
  • LegoLand ("Brick or Treat" scavenger hunt!)
  • Children's Museum of Atlanta (currently featuring a Magic Treehouse exhibit)
  • The High Museum of Art (Eric Carle)

Halloween! If you haven't already, you'll soon hear from your Room Rep with plans for class Halloween parties on October 31st. Each class plans their own event, often with a fun activity and sometimes replacing lunch with a party meal. Stay tuned for this year's policy on wearing costumes....

The Auction! Book your babysitters now for next month's Auction Casino Night on Thursday, November 10th! The auction team has been hard at work planning this event, which is not to be missed. Eats, drinks, and games of chance set the stage for our live and silent auction, where you can snatch up gift cards, destination passes, wine cellars, spa services, memberships, and all sorts of goods and services for absolute steals. Tickets go on sale soon!

If you or someone you know has a business, item, or service to donate (tax-deductible!), here is the Donation Form.

Volunteer! We have roles that need filling, and you might be just the right shape to fill them! If you are interested in any of the following, please contact me (melodycrowley@gmail.com) and Lissy Pearson (lissyutah@gmail.com).

  • Marketing - Do you have experience with marketing, or perhaps you're just looking to be more adventurous in Atlanta? We need a team of driven, excited parents to help us distribute yard signs, find businesses where we can display our brochure, and brainstorm ways to get the word out to our local community that MDO is THE place to be!
  • Facilities ("Handy Dad/Mom") - We had several parents sign up for this role at Parent Orientation, but few have responded to our calls for help as need has arisen. If you are a motivated parent interested in taking this on as a coordinator position, we NEED you! We plan to start posting our "To-Do" list in the hallway, with all the small tasks listed for which parents can sign up individually. The coordinator could organize this poster for Patty and follow up with volunteers to make sure the jobs get done.
  • Grant Writer - This role is new, and very important for MDO to raise money essentially for "free". We need someone to research grants available to not-for-profit preschools, and then apply for them - or work with a second person who could work on the application process. Experience in the grant process is highly recommended.
  • School Pictures - Short term project this Spring. Create a sign-up and manage volunteers to come in each day for one week to help Amy Lee, our photographer, to wrangle kids, comb hair, etc.
  • Original Works - Short term project coming up at the end of October. We need a few parents to work with Ms. Angie to stuff bags and stick them in shoemail.

Sincerely,
Melody Crowley
Chair, Board of Directors

Parent Volunteer Spotlight

Our first spotlight is Viri Graham, mother of Seamus and Miles in the Sparrows class. Viri and her family are fresh and new to MDO (this is their first year), but she has jumped into several volunteer roles - Secretary of the MDO Board, helping spruce up our playground, serving on the Auction planning committee and helping out with the MDO garden. Welcome and thank you, Viri!

What is your favorite thing about MDO? I love love LOVE that it feels like a family atmosphere. It is great to feel like everyone is always happy to see my boys, it has also opened the door for me to meet some great people and make some new friends. 

What is your favorite part of being a parent? Being able to interact with my kiddos, they are at the age where I can really see their individual personalities developing and how different and similar they are!

What do you like to do in your free time? We really enjoy exploring the outdoors, and discovering fun places to eat and hang out in Atlanta. We also never turn down a good festival here! 

What's your favorite guilty pleasure? I hate to say it, maybe I don't, reality TV. I know it's horrible, but I can't help it. Does it help that I don't watch it unless the boys are napping or asleep??

Housekeeping

Laundry: This month's Laundry Fairies are the Caterpillars. Please see Ms. Daniela or Ms. Claudia to sign up for a day to take care of the laundry. 

Bibs: The Sweet Peas class would love any bibs that you are no longer using! Please bring any bibs you would like to donate in to the office or give them to Ms. Rosario or Ms. Lisa. Thank you!

Auto-Pay: MDO accepts tuition payments both as checks and online via PayPal. However, when you pay through PayPal with a credit card, we are charged a 3% transaction fee...which adds up to almost $1,000 a month! Yikes! We encourage everyone to instead set up their bank to automatically mail us a check on the first of each month. Every online banking interface is different, but usually the way to set this up is to go to your Bill Pay section and look for "add a payee/bill". If you have trouble getting set up, let us know and we'll see if we can help.

Playground Improvements

MDO thanks Boy Scout Clark Rice (pictured in purple) for building us a new fence for his Eagle Scout project, to keep the little ones safely in the Little Kid area of our playground.  Clark and his parents and friends, removed the prickly holly bushes that blocked the view across the playground and installed a picket fence in its place.  The teachers are loving it!

We also thank Lissy Pearson for coordinating a playground / facilities workday in August.  Parents spruced up the playground, unboxed new toys, and assembled new tables.  Thanks Y'all!

Welcome to the Family

We want to welcome the following new baby brothers and sisters to MDO's family:

  • Miguel, younger brother of Cipriano in the Sprouts class
  • Carter, younger brother of Harper in the Sparrows class
  • Elle, younger sister of Jordan in the Caterpillars class

Class Notes

Sweet Peas

The Sweet Peas are off to a great start this year! They love to play in the ball pit and explore all the fun toys, new friends and of course the playground. It won't be long until they are running around with the big kids, too!

Sparkles

September was full of new experiences for our Sparkles. Look how grown up they look eating at the big kids table! They enjoyed enrichment time with Ms. Lilia, sensory play. They also had fun playing outside in the sandbox and the swing! 

Sprouts

The Sprouts have been working on sitting at the table and walking down the hallway on the shape train! They enjoyed a visit from Ms. Gretchen for story time. They are also having lots of fun with music, bubbles and the playground! 

Sparrows

The Sparrows have had fun doing some crafts and painting, reading and lots of playing inside and outside. They have been working on helping each other during class; it is sweet to see the hugs and hand holding that is happening!

Caterpillars

The Caterpillars have been busy in September! They did several fun art projects - shapes, apples, butterflies, letters and more! They enjoyed their time with Ms. Lilia and Ms. Gretchen for story time. Look at those smiling faces!

Wonders

The Wonders have been getting into the alphabet with letters of the week and working on being responsible and independent. They enjoyed their first visit from the librarian and have had a blast playing puppets and dress up. They also took the most adorable first week pictures!  

Last Month at MDO

Spirit Night!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Pig-N-Chik for our first Spirit Night of the year! 

Popsicles in the Park

We had a great time eating popsicles, riding in remote control cars (thanks Ms. Angie!), and of course playing on the playground!