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141 Davis Street, Greenfield, MA 01301, 413.772.1300 (voice), 413.774.7940 (fax)



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Principal: Joan Schell, EdD
Program Coordinator, General Administration: Nancy Garlock
Program Coordinator, Special Education Administration: Elizabeth Bednarski-Mahon

Now enrolling for 2014-2015


To inquire, please call 772-1390 and leave a message or email Nancy Garlock at

Parents may request a free developmental screening for their child at any time. To schedule a screening, please contact Nancy Garlock at 772-1390 or email

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December 2014 Newsletter


As the holiday season approaches, we focus on honoring diverse celebrations, giving thanks, and enjoying family gatherings. At AEL, we value the differences of heritage that our families bring to us and the celebrations of giving, sharing, and caring. These will be the themes and the “spirit” we emphasize with the children, rather than any specific ritual. We want to expose the children to the many different ways people celebrate this time of year. Classroom teachers may update you with specific classroom activities occurring in your child’s classroom. We welcome anyone who would like to share a family tradition with their child’s class.

The Academy staff wishes you all a wonderful holiday season filled with joy, health, and happiness


Classroom parties such as birthday and holiday celebrations do not need to involve food, just fun! Between birthday celebrations and holidays, the number of high fat, sugary foods and beverages that students consume can add up quickly. We want to send a consistent message about good nutrition and healthy eating.  We ask that our school celebrates birthdays and holidays with healthy food choices and/or fun activities. Some healthy food choices include: fruit kabobs, sending in fruit for the children to make a fruit salad, popcorn, veggies anddip and cheese and crackers. Some ideas for food-free celebrations include: selecting a book to donate to the classroom, letting the birthday child serve as classroom “leader” for the day, choosing a special game or song, having a celebration dance, providing a special crafts project for the class, bringing in a special gift to share with classmates (e.g., pencils, stickers), designing and wearing a birthday crown or button for the day, or inviting a special visitor to come read a story. Celebrations are a wonderful time to get creative! Please speak with your child’s teacher ahead of time to coordinate any celebrations.



November 26, 27, 28:
NO SCHOOL-Thanksgiving Break

December 11
PTO 6:00-7:00 p.m.

December 23-January 2
Winter Break-No School/No Wrap

January 5
Back to School

DoctorOur first dental screening of the year was a huge success. A community hygienist provided a free dental screening to many of our students. Another free dental screening will be offered in late spring, 2015. Watch for announcements!


Winter weather is coming! We have outdoor recess daily unless it is unusually cold. Please be sure that your child has a hat, warm mittens, a winter jacket, snow pants, and boots (when appropriate). We want all of our children to stay warm and have fun outdoors! Please be sure to write your child’s name in their clothing so it doesn’t get lost! Some of our classrooms can be on the cool side. Please dress your children in long sleeved tops now that the cold weather is here.

BookwormUnited Way readers visited our classrooms in November and will be coming monthly to read to our students. With each visit, every child is given a book to keep. There have been great book selections to add to your child’s home libraries. The children love going home with a book of their own. This provides a great opportunity to sit down with your child, read the book, ask them questions and talk about the story. This helps instill a love of reading.

StudentsAs part of National Family Literacy Month, the 8th graders from the Greenfield Middle School came over on November 25th to read to many of our students. Every student in participating classrooms had a reading buddy and the middle schoolers read books that they chose from the library. Our students thoroughly enjoyed this and we hope they will return again soon!

10 Great Reasons to Read:

  1. When you hold children and give them this attention, they know you love them.
  2. Reading to children encourages them to become readers.
  3. Children’s books today are so well written that they are fun even for adults!
  4. Illustrations in children’s books rank with the best, giving children a lifelong appreciation of beautiful art.
  5. Books are a great way of passing on your values.
  6. Books will help your child’s imagination soar.
  7. Until children learn to read themselves, they will think you create magic.
  8. Listening to stories will help develop your child’s attention span.
  9. When you give them this gift, you will create memories that last a lifetime.
  10. Every teacher and librarian you meet will thank you!

Car seat Please remember that all children must remain buckled in a child restraint seat when arriving and leaving school.  At drop off, children should remain buckled until a staff member comes to get them. At pick up, all children must be buckled when your vehicle leaves the school. Your child’s safety is our top priority!

BackpackNotices and newsletters are sent home on a regular basis to help keep you informed about what is happening in your child’s classroom and the school at large. It is important to us that you are informed and involved. Please be sure to check your child’s backpack daily.

Field Trips
Field TripAll of our classrooms participated in field trips to an apple orchard during the first month of school. Children had a great time and of course, they all loved going on the big bus! Our classrooms try to take field trips regularly throughout the school year. Teachers will always send notices home ahead of time. We welcome families joining us for field trips and ask that you complete a CORI check prior to the field trip. These CORI forms are available in the office. At this time of year, with many families submitting CORIs, there can be a backlog. To avoid disappointment on the day of the field trip, please check with Maggie (413 772-1390) ahead of time to be sure that your CORI has cleared.

A+ School Rewards are points that supporters earn with each purchase made using their Stop & Shop Card. At the end of each month, the points earned are used in a calculation to determine our school's cash total, which is then automatically credited to our school's account. Customers can support up to two schools to benefit from their A+ School Rewards that accrue. We invite families to register now to start earning dollars for the Academy! Families can register at the customer service desk or you can register online by going to: You will be asked to enter your Stop and Shop card number and our school code (We are listed as the North Parish Elementary School) which is 05139. This is a simple and easy way to raise money for our school without spending anything extra! Please register today and encourage friends and families to register too!

Sick ChildMany families have questions about when their child can return to school after being sick. Some circumstances are clear to us: your child must be free from vomiting, diarrhea and fever without the use of medication for 24 hours before returning to school. Some circumstances are less clear. Sometimes it can be helpful to think about whether your child is acting like themselves and have the energy needed to get through the day. Our school nurse has attached a flyer that offers guidance for making these tough decisions. Please review this and let us know if you have questions or concerns.

We are excited to have our creative movement program resume this year! Anna Hendricks, owner of Great Falls Creative Movement, works with each classroom every week. Anna provides a wide range of movement activities that promote the development of age level motor skills. The children love this! Many of the activities focus on helping children develop control over their bodies, while exploring the joys of movement. Anna’s curriculum blends well with the skills we are developing throughout the school day.

Happy Holidays

Academy Staff
Full-Day Classrooms

• Jennie Horton (teacher)
• Janice Fuller (teacher)
• Julie Letendre (teacher)
• Claire Glabach (teacher)

Half-Day Classrooms (morning & afternoon)

• Caissie Putnam (teacher)
• Tarah Perna, (teacher)

Intensive Special Needs Classroom

• Liz Bednarski-Mahon (SPED Coordinator & teacher)

All-School Staff

• Nancy Garlock, Program Coordinator
• Liz Bednarski-Mahon, Program Coordinator
• TBDTBDTBD, School Psychologist
• Keith Urkiel, Custodian
• Tiffany Losier, School nurse
• Maggie Padilla, Administrative Assistant & Tuition Coordinator
• Renee’ Southwick & Donna Gaylord, Speech & Language Pathologists
• Heidi Merritt, Wrap-around care

Our teachers are available to meet with you to discuss your child. You can always call the school at 772-1390 to leave a message for your child’s teacher and she will get back to you as soon as possible. Because attending to your children is our highest priority, please schedule a time to speak with your child’s teacher rather than going down to the classroom during the day or trying to catch the teachers during drop off/pick up. Our teachers want to be able to give you their full attention!

Our Mission

The Academy of Early Learning provides quality pre-school education and support services in a safe, nurturing public school environment. We believe young children learn best when discovering and exploring their world through play. We are dedicated to being a responsive, community-based preschool while meeting all district, state and national performance standards for excellence. We are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Brain Building LogoFor more information about the importance of children interacting and learning in enriching environments, visit Brain Building in Progress, a public-private partnership, led by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and United Way.

Academy of Early Learning PTO
Meeting Minutes/Newsletters
PTO News: May, 2014
PTO News: November-December, 2013
PTO News: September-October, 2013
September 12, 2013
May 1, 2013
PTO News: May-June 2013
April 10, 2013
March 6, 2013
February 6, 2013
January 9, 2013
December 12, 2012
November 15, 2012
September 12, 2012
August 1, 2012

Happy children

Page last updated: December 3, 2014




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