ACT Nursery and Preschool Updates

Scroll Down to Your Program for Updates!

F U L L T I M E P R E S C H O O L : Barbara, Marjorie, Sharlene and Janet

Ms. Meglena's Cathedral School 4th graders came and did bee skits with us!!

We visited the Bee Hive with our resident Beekeeper, Nicole, learned how to smoke them out with Walker, suited up, and saw both adult and baby bees making honey!!

We had felt board fun with farm animals, we studied the work of Ezra Keats, and we made goggles after reading the book GOGGLES! We named them - rainbow goggles, space goggles, electric goggles - and we enjoyed the concept of seeing things differently. :)

We used crepe paper to make springtime colorful collages! We used pink, red and green and read "The Reason for a Flower." Ms. Barbara held open a book full of flower images and took us outside to see the flower to get inspiration for our art! We also read many spring themed books. We have done a good deal of process art this Spring and below is a sampling of what we have made!

We are busy working on on one with teachers on our literacy and math skills! We are sequencing as it is helpful for pre-reading. We are learning the correct order of letters in words. We are writing spring words like kite, bicycle and flowers. We are given kite bows to match with number symbols, 1-20, and to place on kites! We are making glittered eggs in art. Spring is in full bloom and we are ready for it!

We are exploring the concept of transformation as we learn more about Spring. We will examine tadpoles turning into frogs, blue eggs hatching in a robin's nest, and so forth. We are learning new vocabulary like hatching, chicken, etc. We discussed how baby animals born in Spring are a sign of new life. We read the Giant Carrot and talk about how everyone's contribution to the larger group effort is important and makes things happen! We explore through songs and poems, too, this concept that sometimes the greater whole can only be achieved with everyone coming together and doing their part. Transformation brings a whole different being, like a caterpillar to a butterfly. Transformation is a complete change. We also explore analogies like kitten is to cat as chick is to? Puppy is to dog as calf is to? It's a great way to learn while exploring the magic of Springtime!!

We used pastel paints to welcome Spring! We wrote and read and discussed about our emotions! We read books that compared different feelings. We worked in the writing center on expressing feelings like bravery, happiness, anger and sadness. We also had a beautiful day and so we played outside! Welcome, Spring!

This week we are exploring FEELINGS...

through reading books like Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and discussing how she was treated and how we should treat each other.

We also made collages in Art class where we collaged our own feelings!

We will continue to explore feelings next week through interdisciplinary discussions and learning in all subject areas...

Preschool has had an absolute festival of Dr. Seuss!

We read Ten Apples Up on Top and completed activities based on addition and subtraction of apples, using mathematical language like same as, equal number of, total number, and how many more. Children practiced applying math to practical examples, like, if you have a bag of nine apples and share them equally among three children, how many does each person get?

We completed Dr. Seuss floor puzzles, testing our patience and perseverance as well as our ability to see and complete patterns. We learned that numbers are symbols, just like letters are symbols - and we practiced rhyming with games, since Dr. Seuss gives us so many great rhymes!

Preschool has been reading books to commemorate Black History Month. We learned many Valentine poems and songs and we have been playing "what's missing?" with colorful Valentine symbols. We are learning to keep track of two variables, like red flowers/white flowers, pink hearts/white hearts, etc. We are continuing to learn about patterns with these colorful symbols as well. We also gave Valentines and had special treats!

We are learning all about mail and are sending Valentines!

We are learning about measurement!

We are learning about Chinese New Year and Edison's mom made us cupcakes and read us books, like Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin!

In PreK we are learning a new Valentine's Day song, practicing our auditory skills to know when to lift up and identify our shape, and learning about Chinese New Year through text and art!

We are learning about attribute math! We learned the difference between one and two dimensional shapes. We sorted red and blue triangles! We graduated to more complex questions like putting all small one dimensional shapes together, separating thin and thick shapes, etc. We used our visual discernment to keep track of shapes' attributes! We LOVED keeping track of the different attributes like shape, color, and dimensionality!

This week in Preschool, we are thematically learning about mittens based on our reading of the text The Mitten by Jan Brett. Each day, we read this book in a different interactive fashion and the children participate in art, math and science activities related to the story.

In Math, the children estimate (we call it guess and check). Teachers stuffed a child sized mitten with bear math counters and every child guessed how many they thought fit inside the mitten. Once each child posted their guess, we counted the actual number inside. We discussed whether our guesses were higher or lower than the actual number!

In Art, children cut strips of colorful yarn and stretched them onto a mitten outline. They used tape to attach their selected yarns to the outline.

In Literacy, children recalled the animals in the story and we learned the new vocabulary of STRETCH, FIT and CROWDED.

In Science, we felt ice first with our hand inside of a mitten and then with our bare hands and discussed, what is the difference? What is the purpose of a mitten? We compared the feeling in both situations. We discussed and tried with oven mitts and talked about how they work to protect us from heat.


This week in Preschool, we explored winter words and learned all about shapes, in Literacy and in Math!!

Full time Preschool had a lovely Holiday breakfast celebration!!

This week in PreK, we've been hard at work in the Writing Center, puzzling through Math, and making Art! As we continue exploring our holiday themes, we are using M&Ms to make and recognize patterns, and we are expressing our thoughts and ideas about menorahs and Christmas trees!

We are busy getting ready for the holidays! One of the things we have been doing daily is reading both Hanukkah and Christmas books. As I offered Hanukkah titles last week, below are some great Christmas books for families:

Pete the Cat saves Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Elf on the Shelf, Construction Site on Christmas Night, Wild Christmas Reindeer, Merry Christmas Mouse, The Polar Express, Olivia Helps with Christmas, Christmas Wish for Corduroy, Tractor Mac Saves Christmas and How do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas.

Since candles are used universally for celebration, we took the opportunity to light the menorah daily . Children looked at the flames and shared what they thought about at that time. Answers included my mommy, my daddy, my toys, my cat, my dog. They also shared why these individuals are important to them.

We are working on both individual and communal projects. We worked as a class on a beautifully collaged Christmas Tree. We painted with our friends and then used wrapping paper to collage the tiers of the tree. Children reflected on their work by sharing ideas with their friends and teachers. We used red and green tissue paper to decorate individual Christmas trees, We made individual dreidels using colored tissue paper as well. We did both projects side by side to create a sense of respect for both holidays.

We are also learning fun holiday poems for both celebrations:

Menorah Candle

I'm a menorah Candle growing shorter you can see

Melting all of my wax until there is nothing left to see

Santa is Coming

Here is the chimney

Here is the top

Open it quick

and out Santa will pop!

This week, we completed projects where we used the children's hand: hand traced turkeys and printed Mayflower. The following vocabulary was reinforced as we completed each project: wattle, gizzard, mast, sea, and land.

We read two books about technology and compared them to what colonial people had or did not have. One was Lois Lenski's The Airplane. Here we took opportunity to discuss how water travel or horse and buggy were used in 1620 to get to far way places. There were no airplanes! The other was Doug Unplugged. In this text, Doug takes a break from his computer and TV and enjoys activities outdoors. He takes the subway to get to some far away places. The kids remembered that colonial people traveled by horse and buggy instead!

Below is a list of GREAT Thanksgiving texts for your family to consider this Holiday:

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks,Margaret Sutherland

1,2,3 Thanksgiving, Nikola Lisa

Llama, Llama Gives Thanks, Anna Dewdney

Balloons Over Broadway: The Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

It's Thanksgiving, Jack Prelutsky

Thanksgiving Is, Gail Gibbons

The Know Nothing's Talk Turkey, Michele Spirn

Happy Thanksgiving Curious George, HA Rey

Thanks for Thanksgiving, Julie Markes

We had an amazing week in Preschool - building, exploring, sharing, making free style art and pumpkin art, learning about each other - and celebrating Halloween!

PreK engaged in imaginative play!

Ms. Barbara, Ms. Marjorie and Ms. Janet can't WAIT to share all that the young people have been learning tomorrow at Curriculum Night!

To see an overview of ACT curricula and how it fits together all year long (and over the course of the Early Years program at ACT), check out

Spotlight on PreK Fall Harvest Art! We have made trees, leaves, pumpkins and corn as a way of exploring color, shape, and the sights of the season!

In Full Time Preschool...

We are singing along with "Mr. Squirrel has a Secret" and learning the mysteries of Fall! We are engaging with the falling leaves and colors of Autumn as well as taste testing apple treats and charting which is our favorite. We are listening to stories, and learning at centers, each led by one of our awesome teachers - figuring out patterns of things by determining which of the items does not belong, counting with numbers and objects, and making art with rich, fall colors!

T H R E E D A Y N U R S E R Y : Ms. Ann and Mr. Alex (with the support of Ms. Rossy!)

Ms. Deja's Cathedral School 2nd graders came to read to us about bees!!

We visited the Bee Hive with our resident Beekeeper, Nicole, learned how to smoke them out with Walker, suited up, and saw both adult and baby bees making honey!!

We made Cherry Almond Granola! We had a visit from Alex's mom, Christina!

We had a visit from Tessa's family and then went out to the garden for some digging!!

We are reading, presenting, and preparing for Spring!

We are learning about building things, and about deconstruction, too?

What happens if we pull out a block from the middle, or the bottom?


Saul and Susan came to read us Theodore's birth story!!

3 Day Nursery did some very special sensory painting!!

3 Day Nursery had a special guest, Finn's mom, Amy! She read wonderful books and shared a little bit about Finn with the class in our All About Family unit!!

In 3 Day Nursery, we had a special concert, we made an imaginary train, we talked on the imaginary phone, we biked around with Ms. Ann, and we jumped on the mats!

In 3 Day Nursery, we made a list of our pets! We continue to explore our families and those important to us in fun and systematic ways!

We are learning about the five senses - through greeting each other using the sounds of the rain stick, through playing with the Play Dough we made, and through making smooth collages!

We have been learning about our families in 3 day nursery class. Recently, we had Alex's mom visit and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? She also let us all sing the Hello song to her! Jeremiah brought his family to school, too! Jeremiah's mom read us a book called The New Baby! These special visits help give the children concrete experience and understanding of the concept of family and of relationships within families. Everyone's family is different but the same in important ways!

This week in 3 Day Nursery, we had a special visit from Alex's mom! We learned more about Alex and we celebrated his birthday!!

WELCOME BACK!! This week in 3 Day Nursery we danced to each other's names, we painted our feelings, we read a Dr. Seuss book that Leah brought us, and we welcomed Ms. Rossy who will volunteer with us on Wednesdays and Fridays!

3 Day Nursery had a lovely Holiday breakfast celebration!!

Three Day Nursery has been spending time with our families! First, we had a visit from Theodore's grandmother, Joan, who read us a story! Next, we had a visit from Sebastian's dad, Cris, who showed us pictures of tiny baby Sebastian! We love the family explorations and learning about each other in new ways!

We have been exploring paint and color mixing in our class. We have also been using different tools to paint with. Here we mixed the primary colors using cars instead of paintbrushes. The children loved "driving through paint."

It has been thrilling to watch the children in this class really start to gel as a group this week. It is truly amazing to watch how quickly they are learning to share with each other and help each other with tasks like washing their hands.

In addition, the children participated in some fun learning experiences. We continued our study of apples by making applesauce. The children had the opportunity to see the changes that happened when we transformed a solid, whole apple into a different form: a sauce.

The first step was to cut the apples into pieces and then cook them until they got soft. We then took the cooked-down apples and put them through a food mill. The children turned the handle of the food mill and watched as the sauce went through the holes at the bottom of the mill to make our yummy applesauce.

In Three Day Nursery School...

We are off to a really wonderful start!! It’s amazing to see how quickly the children have begun to work with each other and how they enjoy being together.

In the past couple of weeks, we have been exploring fruits with a particular focus on the apple.

The children have made fruit smoothies and apple juice and this week we will make apple sauce. We have also done some apple painting!

We have begun to explore the grounds: one of our first trips outside was to collect leaves and bring them back to the classroom. We will take a close look at these leaves and make a collage to highlight the different shapes and colors that we see.

We look very forward to sharing some of more of our curricular plans with you on Monday, October 22 at 9:15 am or on Thursday, October 25 at 6:30 pm. Please join us for one of these meetings!

Special school-wide post for Thanksgiving!! We made turkey design cookies, we read special stories like Balloons over Broadway, we created collaged cornucopias, and we baked apple turnovers! Be sure to check out our Thankfulness Board, up all month long, where you can write a note to any staff member if you feel so inclined. Also, mark your calendars for next Tuesday, Giving Tuesday, when Facebook will double all donations made to ACT! Have a great holiday weekend!! <3


We had a wonderful week in the Three Day Nursery class. One of the highlights was a visit from Sebastian's mom, Chanan. Chanan brought Sebastian's grandma too!! Chanan read a book that Sebastian likes to read at home called DIG! Sebastian's mom and grandma helped us clean our pumpkin and take out the seeds. We carved our pumpkin into a Jack O' Lantern to celebrate Halloween, and we painted pumpkins, looked at books about pumpkins, dressed up and went Trick or Treating, too!

3 day Nursery is Falling in love with Fall (and their newly acquired Steinway Baby Grand!)

Ms.Ann and Mr. Alex can't wait to share all the young people have been learning tomorrow at Curriculum Night!

To see an overview of ACT curricula and how it fits together all year long (and over the course of the Early Years program at ACT), check out

T W O D A Y N U R S E R Y : Ms. Eleanor, Ms. Ann, Mr. Alex and Ms. Jed

We celebrated Rex's birthday!!

We painted and we played in a band!!

We made a spring collage together! We are waiting for our seeds to grow. We enjoy sharing a snack!!

We spent some wonderful time together playing and making art, and we also journeyed to the book fair!!

We are ready for Spring! Here, we explore the Pulpit Lawn on the beautiful day!

Drawing, reading, working with our hands, engaging in circle time!

We participated in a farm show! We made smoothies!!

We made some beautiful and collaborative art, and listened with wrap attention to Mr. Pirnia's story!!

In 2 Day Nursery, our assistant teacher Jed captured beautiful portraits of us working with our hands in a variety of important fun and skill building activities this week!!

In 2 Day Nursery, we made chef hats, valentines, and an imaginary world out of wooden pieces and tracks!!

In 2 Day Nursery - we are banging the drum and patting the Play Doh!

Learning and growing!!!

We watered our plants, we made play dough, and we played with the play dough!

In 2 day, we were introduced to new picture cards that depict what happens during the day! We painted aprons, decorating our gear to wear when we begin cooking in class, and getting us excited and ready for that to start! Next week, we will decorate our chef hats! We also free painted with sponges.

This week in 2 Day Nursery - sneak peeks at us


WELCOME BACK!! This week in 2 day Nursery, we really enjoyed being read to by the ACT Storytellers from Cathedral Upper School!

2 Day Nursery had a lovely Holiday breakfast celebration!!

In Two Day Nursery, we're exploring play, the piano and the puppets, and growing plants! We are so curious, independent and unique. It's a delight to see all of our individual personalities continually emerge!!


(Two-Day Nursery)

We add things to our curriculum, revisit other things, put some on the shelf for later, and change some altogether. This is what observant teaching is. We are constantly learning from the children, just as they learn from us and from the environment. The year is changing too--from late fall to early winter. There is so much in the way of change to observe and experiment with; come and look at our science corner and you will see pumpkins that look to be giving up the ghost--except for some seeds. But those will be saved and planted under the grow-lamp in the spring, and outside when it’s warm enough in the garden. There are all kinds of interesting seeds to handle and examine--the fuzzy acorn caps that look just like winter hats, and the dried bean-like pods from some trees along the edge of the street, the milkweed pods that look just like parachutes.

Science and learning are very much hands-on for the youngest children; each morning they handle and smell new objects on the science table. They love the Christmas tree stumps; this invites them to explore further and to build with a set of blocks which were made from small tree trunks of various sizes. Other children came to the art table where playdough was available, and discovered that some kinds of seeds and leaves make interesting prints.

Another group has gone into the playhouse and is setting up breakfast for some of the dolls. Teachers may notice that the play has become more purposeful and less random in the last few weeks--certain dishes which match are put out, each with a knife and fork and spoon. One for each person or doll. The beginning of counting and ordering has begun to have some meaning. The children will practice this many times and in many different ways. It is always fun, full of surprises, and inventive!!! This is how learning really takes place.

Teachers are not just by-standers, but are partners in learning. They talk with children about their observations, their discoveries, their plans. They help them to problem-solve. They provide new materials, or suggest old ones, that may help the children go on to the next step.

See what we’ve brought to extend our discoveries around evergreen trees. Two reindeer made of cedar rounds, with sticks for legs and balsam sprigs for antlers. This also begins our discussion of how different people celebrate the holidays--Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. We have to remember that less is more when we’re doing this; they’re not ready for an entire curriculum, but we can choose one song, one decoration, one food, one story that will be just enough for them to have a satisfying experience.

We made very special placemats to honor the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday - and we tried them out today at snack!!

We continue to get to know each other, to share, and to explore! This week, we celebrated Halloween in our gentle way!

2 day Nursery is welcoming families for Curriculum Day (and welcoming their newly acquired Steinway Baby Grand!)

Ms. Eleanor, Ms. Ann, Mr. Alex and Ms. Sharlene can't wait to share all the young people have been learning tomorrow at Curriculum Night!

To see an overview of ACT curricula and how it fits together all year long (and over the course of the Early Years program at ACT), check out

We continue to practice our routines! We also worked in dramatic play with animals - tiny owls and our real life pet hamster, Lily!

In Two Day Nursery School...

We are learning all about routines and transitions! We are doing an amazing job exploring, climbing, throwing, lining up, putting on our shoes, having a snack, listening to a story...we are learning all about how school works and about everything we can do while we are here! Best of all, we're getting to know and to work with one another, sharing and learning!

S P E C I A L S P O T L I G H T: Mr. Alex's Science Class

Children painted on canvas!

Mr. Alex identified the colors used in Spanish: rojo (red), azul (blue), amarillo (yellow), and verde (green) through repetition, songs, and, afterwards, through group games, and books.

For this project children picked out the type of canvas, size of brush (thick or thin), amount of colors, and flowers, all on their own!

Afternoon Nature Class

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but in nature class, it is so delightful! We are rolling through the nature curriculum with messy projects such as exploring the inside of a pumpkin, scooping up soil, planting pumpkin seeds, and watering plants using pipettes and spray bottles. This week we noticed our pumpkin seeds sprouting and began planting grass seeds. We can’t wait to see what nature has in store for us!

Did you know that ACT offers Afternoon Science with Mr. Alex? This week, the crew made MINT SCENTED PLAY DOUGH! You can learn more about the science and art behind this process on Curriculum Night!

This week was a special and unique week! In this joint update, you can see Preschool and 3 Day Nursery engaged in physical activity - and being filmed for CBS News! Thanks to everyone who participated - to the teachers, for leading great activities, and to the young people, for being active!

Our 2 Day Nursery went outside to the Pulpit Lawn for the first time this week! They also made some beautiful communal art.

Until next week...

The 2 day is experiencing and exploring this Hanukkah song!

Special school-wide post to kick off the holiday season! As Hanukkah begins this Sunday night, we wanted to offer a song that the 2 day will be experiencing through song and dance, and books to learn about Hanukkah, some of which children will read in class, some of which we think families might be interested in exploring! Warm wishes for the start of the holiday season!!