Twisted Strands™: Connections Remain

When we started the Twisted Strands™ project way back in the beginning of the school year, we had never expected that it would blossom into such a fabulous opportunity for our children to really make connections (not just casual ones) with children and teachers at schools across the country and around the world.

Barrow Street Nursery School in New York is one of those connections that hasn’t forgotten about us. It was an insanely cold, snowy day on Friday here in Connecticut and it was a super surprise to find a heavy, unexpected package at our mailbox.

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Since we had no idea it was coming, we had no idea what was inside! We were very excited to guess the contents. Since it was so heavy our children guessed heavy items like rocks, a dog, a pair of boots, and lots of marbles. We opened the box to see it stuffed with bubble wrap and green paper and a couple of letters!

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The children in the classes called “The Pandas” and “The I Don’t Knows” had taken a pottery class! They have a teacher called Pottery Dave who taught them how to use a potters wheel to fashion their own projects! Incredible! This must have been such an exciting opportunity for these children! Both letters mentioned that they made the kids at Salt Meadow Academy a special gift!

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These beautiful pieces of pottery where made by the children of Barrow Street Nursery School under the guidance of their mentor Pottery Dave. Our children haven’t decided what we will store inside them yet, but they loved the idea of storing cookies or candy inside! We may keep our pencils inside so we can always find them and so that we can see the beautiful gift these children sent us every day.

Thank you so much for your generousity! We will be in touch soon, as our children are now brainstorming a thank you gift.

Reflections: Valentine’s Day and Self-Esteem

Like countless other early childhood programs, once one holiday has passed, the children are already looking forward and counting the days to the next.

A child’s positive self-image is an important focus for teachers and parents throughout the year. This February, all of the children at SMA celebrated each others wonderfully unique qualities with our “Have a Heart” project. Each child had the opportunity to anonymously note positive character traits about their classmates to fill their hearts!

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The children had a lot of fun with this activity and seemed to really write or dictate very thoughtful ideas that would surely make their classmates were guaranteed to get the “warm fuzzies”. Some of the things listed included; shares well with me, is one of my best friends, is brave, has a nice smile, is a good reader, is nice to me, sings well and even is a good sidekick.

Much to my surprise, the older children secretly created a heart for me and left it on my computer so that I would find it later. It’s really the little wonderful things such as this that makes any difficult days completely worth it.

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I sent the hearts home a couple of days before Valentine’s Day with a note for parents explaining the project. Typically, I wouldn’t send a letter with a project, but I felt that I needed to explain the essence of this project, especially to the parents of our youngest children and to those that do not follow our activity on Facebook.

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Another project that spontaneously came about, was our freestyle heart art. Simple as simple can be to set up with only a cardboard tube from toilet tissue, a palette paints and a large paper. Children can easily bend the cardboard tube into a heart shape and use it as a stamp! What was incredibly fun was that unlike a paintbrush, you can not rinse the tube before changing colors. Therefore, the initial hearts start out as more of a solid, singular color and the subsequent hearts take on a rainbow effect.

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The color mixing was something incredibly fun for the kiddos and before I knew it, exclamations of “I made a rainbow heart! Come see my rainbow heart!” were being called across our classroom.

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We were even invited to enter our freestyle heart art into a contest sponsored by Learning Genie. Learning Genie is an interactive digital childcare daily report and digital portfolio for early childhood situations and parents. We WON by having the most “likes” on our project! Visit and “like” Learning Genie’s Facebook page.

We are already counting down to St. Patrick’s Day and there is talk amongst the children if leprechauns will be visiting them! Time will tell.