Welcome to the 2015-16 School Year

Yellow the bracken, golden the sheaves
Rosy the apples, crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillside, clouds grey and white
Autumn good morning,
Summer good night.
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Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year!

The adventures of summer are now precious memories and the start of the school year is here! Based on the bustle of activity, thoughtful planning, teacher preparation, and an excellent week of professional development, I am excited about what has all the makings of a very rewarding, positive and forward looking year.I, like so many, love this time of year. Autumn is beginning to make its arrival; little bursts of color can be seen among the lush greenery of the trees. A light sweater is required for an evening walk and cool, dewy mornings but, by midday, the summer sun is so prevalent it warms the children as they gather acorns on the playground and prepare the gardens for the cooler weather.

As I do every year, when we are preparing for the children to arrive, I take a walk through each classroom. Silently, I trace a path through the office, into the classrooms, playgrounds, and gardens. On this quiet journey, I see cradled babies tucked in gently, books lovingly displayed in the library, the yellow silks adorning the windows to capture the last of the summer sun, the comfortable corners and toys carefully arranged to inspire play, the bread baking ingredients are ready to be kneaded, plants waiting to be tended and the names of each child waiting eagerly to be found the next morning. As I move through the space I can see the love and the intention for each and every detail and know that the classroom teachers have also taken this silent walk to assure that every child is welcomed into a warm, loving and meaningful classroom that is filled with wonder, curiosity and opportunities for the year to come.

All of this planning and attention to detail have helped us create an amazing start to the school year. The children walked through our doors on that first day into the wonder of the classroom and quickly adopted the space as their own. Warm teacher interactions, stories, songs, art and handwork activities, games and carefully selected materials are woven throughout the rhythm of the day to foster a wonderful sense of community, which will be carried throughout the year and beyond.

Mariposa relies on the generous donations of time, talent, and financial resources from our community to fulfill our mission and close the gap between tuition and the full cost of an education at The Mariposa Center. The generosity of our community has allowed the school to be accessible to families of many economic circumstances and increases our capacity to serve more children and families.The Annual Giving Fund is a critical part of everything we do. Our goal this year is $130,000. Every dollar goes to work immediately, helping to cover the daily expenses of running our school.

Since 2007, Mariposa has laid amazing groundwork for the lives our children will create. The integrity of their childhood has been protected, their imaginations have been fed, beauty has been presented to them time and time again, and their bodies have spent countless hours stretching, moving, and playing.

Then, as now, our priorities remain the same; funding our programs, providing scholarships to families in need and giving children a strong early foundation for life long learning, are at the heart of all that we do.

We hope you will consider joining others in your community in supporting our important work and make a tax-deductible gift today to help us continue providing quality early childhood education and support to the children and families in our program.

We are grateful for your gift, and genuinely appreciate every dollar we receive.

With warm wishes,
Zoe

 

Summer News

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Come bright butterfly, close to me,
Your beautiful wings I should like to see.
You fly like a bird, you sip like a bee,
But you’re really a flower the wind set free!

 

What an amazing year we have had at Mariposa! I am so pleased to share with you some of the wonderful work being done at Mariposa with your support and generosity!

This year we opened an additional classroom, one that serves 18 children ages 3-5 in a full day, full year program providing more children and families with access to a community program focused on play, social-emotional growth and an appreciation for nature and language development.

David Sobel, renowned author, professor at Antioch University, and play-based education advocate visited our program to learn more about our urban based, nature-inspired curriculum. As a result, we were invited to collaborate on several exciting educational and professional development events. Most recently, presenting at the In Bloom: Promising Practices in Nature-Based Education conference in Boston.

In May 2015, the Mind and Life Institute, invited our team of professionals to participate in a Call to Care, a new educational research initiative inspired by their co-founder, the Dalai Lama. [Read more…]

Welcome Back!

Enews pic Prek Picture

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We certainly have some wonderful and imaginative play happening at Mariposa! Welcome to the 2014-2015 Mariposa school year! We thank all of you who have been following us on our journey through the years and welcome new members to our Mariposa Community!

[Read more…]

End of Year Celebration

EndofYearCelebrationOur end of year celebration was a wonderful mixture of circle games, bubbles, music and food. Each child ran under the rainbow bridge silk cloth and into their family’s open arms. We were sad to say goodbye to our recent graduates, but are excited to prepare for a new year. We look forward to meeting our new children and families, and staying in touch with our alumni!

[Read more…]

Becoming a Naturalist Parent

Naturalist_Parent

Thanks to a grant from the Providence Children’s Shelter, Mariposa, along with the Roger Williams Park Zoo, created Becoming a Naturalist Parent, a three-part series of workshops and field experiences at the zoo with Chris Hitchener, the Children’s Zoo Program Manager. These workshops guided families through opportunities to foster their child’s development and learning in and with nature. Families participated in seasonal workshops that explored the long-lasting benefits of unstructured natural exploration, provided wildlife searching techniques, and offered tips for accessing local resources.

[Read more…]

Teacher-Child Interaction: Observation Study

In Spring 2014, Mika Zacks—a junior at Brown University majoring in Africana Studies and Education—spent two months visiting the Mariposa Pre-K classroom at the Wanskuck Boys and Girls Club in Providence, conducting field research for a qualitative study on teacher-child interaction in the early childhood classroom. Mika worked previously as a prekindergarten teacher assistant in Israel (her country of origin). Through teacher interviews and classroom observations, some core values and practices which guide teacher-child relationships at Mariposa emerged. Notes on Mika’s observations are included here.

[Read more…]

Mariposa Receives 5-Star Rating!

We are excited to announce that we have received a 5-Star BrightStars rating! BrightStars is Rhode Island’s quality rating and improvement agency that assesses and recognizes the high standards and quality of early childhood care and education programs.

In order to achieve a 5-star rating—the highest ranking a program can be awarded—our program was assessed across many quality standards and criteria. Our rating is evidence that we are a key player in the statewide effort to ensure that children and families have access to superior early childhood programs. BrightStars provides accurate and reliable information on early childcare programs to families and the community. To learn more about our 5-Star rating, visit the BrightStars website.

Winter Greetings!

Winter2014

Class resumed in January, with all the children seemingly an inch or more taller. We jumped right in to stories, drawing, sewing and working with clay in the classroom. If you peeked at us during our outside time you would see us shoveling and sledding, woodworking, following animal tracks and skating on an enormous field of ice in what we refer to as our “meadow.”

Our winter days are a flurry of activities! We invite you to spend time in our classroom and see the amazing things that the children are doing. Last week, we learned about winter birds and animal shelters in the winter. Since there is nothing better than warm food on a cold day, snacks now include hot stone soup, warm bread, sweet porridge and homemade applesauce. Yum!

[Read more…]

Holiday Thanks

Thank you to everyone in the Mariposa community who helped to make the season a little brighter for our children and families! And a special thank you to Michael DeCataldo and all the folks at Sansiveri, Kimball & Co., LLP for your continued and generous donations of holiday gifts for the children and families of Mariposa!

David Sobel visits Mariposa

In October, David Sobel, renowned author, veteran educator and play-based education advocate visited our classroom to learn more about the work that Mariposa is doing with eco-literacy and our nature-based curriculum. He has asked Mariposa to participate in and collaborate on several exciting educational and professional development events in conjunction with Antioch University.

Over the course of the next several years, Mariposa will be a host site for teaching fellows that are participating in a Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Certificate Program at Antioch. We will collaborate and facilitate training for an urban-sited, nature-based curriculum conference, and we will participate in leadership events to shape and design future conferences, trainings and course offerings, and events in Providence, New Haven, and Boston.

We are thrilled to be included in this process with David Sobel and Antioch University and to be sharing the amazing work and research being done each and every day at Mariposa. Thank you for being a part of this adventure as Mariposa spreads its wings to provide quality early childhood education and family services to more children and families in Rhode Island.