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Dear Upstairs Families,

It was wonderful to see parents, as well as extended family members, at our Winter Solstice Tea Party. It was such an exciting time for the children to share the gifts they made for their classmate. As we enjoyed the tea, cookies, and larger community, I was reminded of how many parent volunteers helped to make this day so special. We would like to thank all our cookie makers, those that helped with setting and cleaning up, and Page Rockwell, our invitation maker. A special thank you to Erin Sink, our event planner, who spent many hours preparing and gathering the many items necessary for the party. These efforts are truly appreciated, and we are truly thankful to you all.

Our January studies include birds, roots, still life art, working with pastels, and exploring the tundra biome, which is the coldest of all biomes. The word tundra comes from a Finnish word meaning treeless plain. Along with the Arctic Circle, Antarctica and other cold environments are areas that can be described as part of a tundra biome. We will use this opportunity to compare The Arctic versus Antarctica. Finally, we will be celebrating peacemakers from around the world. On January 10, your child can bring to school a picture of a peace leader with a quote and a brief description of their accomplishments including their country of origin. We will make a classroom book out of your contributions.

We look forward to the start of a new year feeling refreshed and renewed as soon we will return to school and our daily routines. We encourage families to be mindful of starting the school day with a balanced breakfast. A healthy, balanced diet is not just good for kid’s bodies, it’s good for their brains, too. The right foods can improve brain function, memory, and concentration. Like the body, the brain absorbs nutrients from the foods we eat.

According to MayoClinic.com, ingredients in the food your child eats fuel many of the factors that affect her behavior. Children who eat healthy foods can cope with stress and regulate their emotions better, says the American Psychological Association. I found this information relevant to my own day when I started a list of chores then realized I had been “on the go” several hours before having something to eat. My energy level was low, and my mood was considerably altered. It was evident that skipping breakfast had affected my ability to focus and altered my desire to complete tasks. Therefore, I plan to make a little more time in the morning, or even prepare something the night before, in order to absorb the necessary fuel to begin the day.

We are wishing everyone a healthy and wonderful new year! Ms. Kristine, Ms. Cyndi, and Ms. Abigail

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