Volunteering at the Lab School

There are so many ways to get involved around the Lab School this spring!  We always need help with dishes from 10:45-11:15 a.m. or 2:45-3:15 p.m., so please stop by if you have time to help.  We could also use help cutting fabric for our cloth napkins and if you have a serger for the edges, that helps our napkins last longer and is very much appreciated.   We have extra fleece fabric for making neck warmers to be used by children that may not have theirs on a cold winter day.  If you have sewing skills and could help make 15-20 neck warmers or 40-50 cloth napkins, that would be very appreciated.

In each classroom the teachers are excited to have you share your talents and interests with the children.  Please reach out to them if you play an instrument, make a special food dish, have special crafting interests, or have any skill that you would like to share.

The Lab School’s Gym Jam 2020 fundraiser is coming up Saturday, February 15 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Bierman Field. We need volunteers to help things run smoothly during the event.  Volunteer slots run 3:30 p.m.- 6:15 p.m. and are set up in 30 minute segments so you too can run around and play! There are a couple of volunteer needs ahead of the event as well, in case you can’t make it but still want to help out. You can sign up to help using the following link, just put your name in the slot(s) of your choice: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CfZeOtU6Nfi-eLOYl42bBh6jMWVGo43FBh4pZQgNjk0/edit?usp=sharing.

Parent education: ‘Setting Limits and Avoiding Power Struggles’

By Ayuko Boomer

Dr. David Walsh

Our next parent education session will be with nationally known parent educator and author Dr. David Walsh. The topic will be “Setting Limits and Avoiding Power Struggles”. He has also published many books, one of which is titled No: Why Kids–of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It.

The presentation will be on Tuesday, March 24 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. in room 105. Child care will be provided for a fee.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. David Walsh and his work then please take a look at his website.

New building update

By Pam Miller

University of Minnesota Capital Projects Management recently kicked off the schematic design phase of the unified Lab School building project. This phase is where the main pieces of the new building are decided, such as size and placement of spaces and the general outline of the new construction. Plans with details such as types of floors, window treatments, and specific room layouts will be presented in the next phase of the project, design development.

Meetings were held to gather feedback from Lab School and UM Child Development Center parents. At the meetings, Paul May, the project manager from the architecture firm Miller Dunwiddie, presented a plan that showed the additional classrooms, multipurpose room, research, and office space. Input from current and future users of the building is valuable to this process, and the team intends to continue to gather information from users.

The timeline for the project was also presented at the meeting. Construction is set to begin this July and be finished by July 23, 2021. The plan is to be ready for the unified Lab School to open for the 2021-2022 school year.

The kick-off meeting focused on the size and shape of the building as well as the new and updated spaces. Several parents voiced concerns over the loss of outdoor play space. The team plans on maximizing the amount of green space, but there will be an overall loss of square footage with an increased overall number of children using the space. There was also discussion about acquiring the land to the southwest of the current building. Julie Taylor, the project manager from Capital Project Management and Rayla Allison, the Chief of Operations for CEHD, expressed that due to several factors, that is not a possibility for this project.

Health and safety: Discussing germs with children

By Amy Betz

Children’s literature can be a useful tool to help children understand the importance of hand washing for overall health and well-being.  Germs themselves are an abstract concept that is a challenge for many young children to understand. Many books anthropomorphize germs as a way to make this abstract concept more concrete.  When children understand why they have to do something, they are more likely to comply.

While some children delight in the idea of these silly germ characters, others may find them scary.  This may especially be true if they themselves or a family member have been sick.  The key points to emphasize with young children are the things they DO have control of in order to fight germs.  Appropriate expectations for children are sneezing and coughing into elbows and hand washing.  Handwashing for at least twenty seconds is recommended by the MN Department of Health in order to get rid of germs.  Singing a song while washing such as Happy Birthday or Row, Row, Row Your Boat helps to keep the timing right as well as a bit more fun.

The following books are also great ways to start the conversation about germs with your child:

  • Germs Are Not for Sharing by: Elizabeth Verdick
  • Germs Make Me Sick by: Melvin Berger
  • The Ten Potato Scrub by: Marjorie T. Cooke
  • Buddy Bear’s Hand Washing Troubles by: Marjorie T. Cooke
  • Your Skin and Mine by: Paul Showers
  • Wash Your Hands! by: Tony Ross
  • Oh, The Things You Can Do That Are Good For You by: Trish Rabe
  • Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting… But Invisible Germs by: Judith Anne Rice

PALS update

By John Babcock, PALS Chair

At a recent meeting to engage the Lab School families in the new building process, the schematic design and construction plans were discussed with the university administration and the architect/construction firms. While the architect noted the importance of the indoor-outdoor connection as well as the community element it will be a challenge to balance the security of the property and the overall greenness of the space. They also confirmed the limitations of the site in regards to the available budget and the outdoor space.  However, the architect showed that the number of classrooms would remain constant compared to the current school and the architect responded positively that children would be incorporated into the planning.

The upcoming PALS meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 11th, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. in room 105. Discussion topics will include what was covered in the Design and Construction meeting, the impact to the Lab School from the upcoming construction to the ICD building, and – on a more fun note – planning for the annual Gym Jam and Spring Soiree fundraisers which will begin the celebration of the Lab School’s 95th year.  There is also another parent input meeting with the architects and University Project Managers on Tuesday, February 25th from 6-7:30 p.m.

Childcare is provided for PALS meetings, but requires advanced registration. If you are interested in childcare for the meeting, please sign up here.

Creativity in the winter season

By Amy Betz and Marie Lister

Winter is a great time to practice creative expression outside. There are so many activities you can do with snow and ice! Bringing art outside can be as simple as putting colorful water into a spray bottle and spraying the snow or snow sculptures you’ve created. Colored water and some paint brushes will also allow children to explore creativity in the outdoor setting. Another option is creating ice sculptures by adding water to various containers and allowing them to freeze. You can dye the ice different colors and incorporate natural objects. The children can use their ice blocks to build with or decorate other snow creations. We have started to create ice blocks to use for building at school!

Not ready to venture outside? You can do many of the snow activities mentioned before inside – just bring in a tub of snow. A different way to represent the world outside is through puffy paint. Simply mix equal parts white glue and shaving cream and mix well. You can add a bit more shaving cream to make the paint even fluffier if desired. The paint can be used to create a snowy scene or whatever else your child desires. A book, such as The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats or Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara, may provide additional inspiration.  When used as finger paint, the mixture provides an interesting sensory experience as well. Hopefully, this activity can help you keep busy on those really cold days and allow children to reflect on what they have seen outside.

Director’s Welcome: Winter 2020

by Sheila Williams Ridge

Sheila Williams Ridge Headshot

Welcome back to the spring semester at the Lab School.  After the winter break, the new student teachers and our staff are excited to explore, learn, and grow along with your children. Our newsletter is full of information that we hope families find helpful.  We have an exceptional speaker for our Parent Education Series this spring Dr. David Walsh, who also happens to be a Lab School family member!  We have some wonderful winter activities in the creativity section and the Kid’s Corner.  We also have some information about helping children understand and stay safe when it comes to germs in our Health and Safety section.  The chair of the PALS (Parent Association of the Lab School) group shares a couple of upcoming events as well as some information on the new lab school building and unification process, which has its own separate update section.

You received an email update on the program from the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development this week about the new position that will oversee the overall unified program.  This new faculty leader will expand our role in the University, but for families and children, and the University students, the program will continue to provide the experiences and quality that the community has come to trust from the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School.  We will continue to offer the same class offerings, class sizes, and be open to community families.  All of your placement preferences will continue to be honored once the unified program begins in the fall of 2021 (expected date of completion).  You can stay up to date on the process by visiting the unification website at unifiedprogram.umn.edu.

As always, there are lots of amazing events coming up at the Lab School, please see our upcoming events section for more details.  We hope to see you at some of the spring events soon, and we thank you for your time, trust, and confidence.