Acts of Kindness

At JFTN, this month’s unit of study is Acts of Kindness. Our teachers and staff have created lessons and activities to help students develop a greater appreciation of Kindness.

We’ll explore the importance of friendship, helping others and sharing. Some classrooms will sing songs and give gifts to friends in neighboring classrooms. We’ll read books about spending time with family and friends during the holidays, and we'll decorate donation boxes for our Food for Friends food drive. 

JFTN parents can help reinforce lessons from our Acts of Kindness unit by donating non-perishable food items to our Food for Friends event. Filling your child's donation box is a great way to encourage and affirm your child's efforts, while also helping families in need.

If you're a JFTN parent, you can also read our Food for Friends Social Story with your child. We've made this story to help your child understand why we're doing a food drive and to develop their understanding of concepts like kindness, friendship and generosity.

Cool Culture Returns

We're pleased to once again offer Cool Culture cards to JFTN parents and staff. 

To receive your free Cool Culture pass, parents may attend our Cool Culture orientation during Parent/Teacher Conference night on December 10th.

For those who can't attend the orientation, you may review our online Cool Culture Guide. Play the game at the end, and your family pass will be available for pick up at our 3rd floor reception desk.

Sesame Street's Autism Resources

Illustration: Marybeth Nelson/Sesame Workshop

Illustration: Marybeth Nelson/Sesame Workshop

Meet Julia

We’ve got a lot of Sesame Street fans at our preschool, so we were excited to see that a new character with autism named Julia has joined their cast of characters. Children and parents can read the interactive story that introduces Julia on Sesame's Street's new autism website.

The story shows how Julia behaves and processes information in ways that are different from other children, and it encourages children to respond to those differences in positive ways. 

Interactive Resources

The new website also includes lots of videos for children with autism. We recently shared their Sibling Story video on our blog to prepare brothers and sisters for our annual Sibling Day event. 

But the best part of the website might be the daily routine cards. These interactive cards help kids navigate common activities like brushing their teeth, crossing the street and going to bed.

The new Sesame Street  autism website  features big buttons and simple navigation, making it easy for little fingers to find their way.

The new Sesame Street autism website features big buttons and simple navigation, making it easy for little fingers to find their way.

Visual cue cards like Sesame Street's daily routine cards can help children focus on concepts and recognize patterns. At JFTN, we use similar visual supports to help students identify and express their feelings using Conscious Discipline’s How Do You Feel? Chart. These visuals also play a key role in our Toolbox Program, developed by our Preventive Behavioral Specialist, Dr. Christie Sosnowski.

Breathe, Think, Do — And Learn

The Toolbox Program has a lot in common with Sesame Street's Breathe, Think, Do — an app that gives children tools to calm down when they're feeling stressed. The app reminds kids to practice a deep breathing technique and to focus on a plan when they’re feeling frustrated. Here's a preview:

We know that when children are frustrated or stressed, they're less able to learn. That makes a tool like Breathe, Think, Do a great way to encourage learning  — whether your child is at home or at school. You can download it for free on the iOS App Store for iPhone and iPad or on the Google Play Store for Android devices. 

Time to Play: JFTN Rooftop Reopens

A Roof with a View

Our rooftop playground is now open! Our preschool students are once again enjoying the therapeutic play space on the roof of our home in Fort Greene.

Classrooms have resumed daily trips outside to explore the swings, slides and other equipment that are specially designed to deliver sensory-rich experiences for kids of all abilities. Each visit is an educational opportunity for children; teachers incorporate lesson plans and specific educational goals for students with special needs. For our daycare students, the playground is a place to practice social awareness and develop motor skills. On the playground, everyone can strengthen their imagination muscles — all while having some serious fun.

Morgan Stanley Brings Prom to League School

We’re grateful to the many volunteers from Morgan Stanley who helped us put on League School’s first prom party. Just days after volunteering their time for JFTN’s first annual Fitness Fest, Morgan Stanley employees returned to League. The volunteers came in two groups over the course of two days to prepare for the big event. They began by weeding and gardening the school grounds and went on to make the gymnasium shine with fresh paint. The volunteers went above and beyond: decorating the dance floor, chaperoning the event and serving hors d’oeuvres throughout the party. The teams’ hard work inspired League School students and staff and brought the school year to a close on a high note.

The volunteers' visit is part of Morgan Stanley’s Giving Back initiative:

Each year in June, Morgan Stanley holds Global Volunteer Month, an opportunity to come together as a firm and give back in our communities around the world through volunteering. Since the start of this annual program, employees have volunteered more than 1 million hours through Global Volunteer Month activities.

Thanks again to Jeremy Welles and the Prime Brokerage volunteers for their generosity!

Instruments for Speech Development

Exploring musical instruments exposes children to pitch, timbre, and texture; young children need these skills to learn speech.

Children are often fascinated by instruments' sounds. We can strengthen their ability to organize and make sense of language sounds with activities that nurture their natural curiosity. In our music program, we encourage students to respond to the various sounds that instruments make and to describe those sounds verbally and through dance. You can encourage your child to connect with music through dance by motivating them with a ribbon or scarf to get them moving.  

Try It At Home

  • Set up a Music Area with a variety of instruments. You could use drums, egg shakers, a xylophone, and a small guitar or keyboard.
  • Play some children’s music that will encourage your child to sing and play along on their own instruments. Youtube can be a great resource for free music if you don’t already have a collection of CD’s or digital tracks. Check out some of our favorite channels like Backyardigans, Little Einstein and Yo Gabba Gabba.
  • Make a pretend microphone to encourage your child to sing. Plastic echo microphones and kazoos are also great tools to motivate kids to vocalize.
  • Gather your relatives and friends, and give your child a chance to perform. Sharing music can make children proud of their accomplishments and encourage further exploration.

Other Resources

Check out early childhood classics like Ella Jenkins and other folkways records. Some of our other favorites are:

Using children’s instruments to make pop songs like Shake It Off and Let It Go (below) has become popular on Youtube, so explore with your child and find your own favorites. The most important thing is to have fun with music!