Welcome to PK4A with Ms. Laurel

I am embarking on my 5th school year here at SSHS and could not be happier!  I am from Annapolis, MD, where I attended Catholic School from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  After high school I moved to beautiful Charleston, SC and received my Early Childhood Education degree at The College of Charleston.  I later received my Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction through Concordia University.
Moving to New York was a huge step - and one that I didn't think we keep me here so long ;).  In 2007 I began teaching UPK at a Head Start / Early Childhood School in Bed-Stuy, BK, and continued to learn and grow there for eight school-years.  Moving to St. Stephen School has brought so much joy and love to my life - I feel so blessed to be embedded in such an amazing and welcoming community of children, teachers, and parents.  I live a few blocks from school and feel very lucky to work and live here.  
My philosophy has always been rooted in strong social-emotional development and support.  I believe you must feel safe, loved, and happy in school in order to communicate with peers, feel motivated, and achieve academic support so I foster this from day one.  
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE LOWDOWN FROM MS. LAUREL for weekly / biweekly classroom news, themes, and updates :) 


Remote Update

I want to thank you ALL for your patience and kindness as we work through the kinks of remote learning for 4 and 5-year-olds!  I have some meetings tomorrow and Doreen and I have a great plan for daily scheduled activities with more "face" time with one or both of us - updates and solid schedule / calendar are coming as soon as we can get ourselves organized!
Reminder - I have Zoom "office hours" on Thursday from 3 - 3:30, if you wish to schedule a private 10 minute appointment just email or text me and let me know :). 

SSHS Remote:

If you did not receive my email today about remote learning and instruction next week, please check for it now.  If you don't have it, please let me know so I can be sure I have the correct email addresses going forward.  

Washing Hands
Handwashing and Sanitizing in PK4A:
Dear Parents, 
Just wanted you to know we are doing all we can to combat the spread of germs in our classroom and school, as I have told you before.  We have the children wash hands in the sink upon arrival and entrance to the room, whenever they use the bathroom, whenever they put their hands on their face, mouth, nose, shoes, etc., use a tissue, and every time we re-enter the room after leaving for recess or a special.  
In addition to hand washing we have a sanitizer station in the room that is utilized all day.  I came up with a song that we have learned to sing while rubbing the sanitizer or soap all over our hands - front, back, and in between fingers.  See if your child can teach you!
      Top and bottom, top and bottom,
      In between, in between,
      Rub your hands together,    
      Rub your hands together,
      Now they're clean, 
      Now they're clean.  
Additionally, we are asking (begging) you to please keep your child home if he or she is sick or not 100%.  Even a minor cough, cold, fever, or stomach bug is easily transmitted and our class shares materials - which means coughing or sneezing on a whole table, container of toys, or basket of pencils puts it out of commission until we can thoroughly sanitize it.  
Doreen and I have been cleaning the rest mats DAILY with Clorox wipes and Lysol as an extra precaution and we continue to put toys and supplies that may get "contaminated" into our germ box to wash and clean.  
It would be super helpful (especially if you know your child does this) to remind your child and work with them at home on KEEPING FINGERS, HANDS, SHIRTS, TOYS out of their mouth and nose.  This is still occurring a lot and we continue to remind them to use a tissue, wash hands, etc. but your help would be greatly appreciated and go far in helping to break the habit.  
Walking Rainbow Science Experiment
Yesterday and today we conducted a really cool experiment I thought I'd share in case you'd like to try it at home.  The link below is for the "walking rainbow" tutorial we used:
Pro Tip - we repeated the experiment today with more success - I put more food coloring that I thought we needed and mixed it BEFORE putting the paper towels in.  
Ask your children about color mixing and which colors combine to form other colors :)
PK4A Heroes!
Pennies for Patients: Updates and Information for the Week
    - Wednesday Mass and Thursday grades 1-8 have a presentation
- Individual Pennies for Patients collection boxes are going home today.  Fill them up and bring them in to add to our class coin bag!
  - we all know about Superheroes like Spiderman, Wonderwoman and Batman, but what do everyday and real life heroes look like?  Talk to your kids about characteristics of heroes - bravery, strength, courage, kind, etc.  
  - on Friday your child can choose to donate $5 and dress as any kind of superhero!

Rest of Week Reminders:

Thank you all for helping to make Catholic Schools Week so successful and so much fun.  The kids are VERY interested in all the flags we are sharing today and we have been watching videos of traditional dances from different countries.
Tomorrow - CRAZY sock / hat day - crazy hair would work if you don't have a suitable hat :) - along with regular uniform
Friday - full blown SPIRIT day!!!  PK4 is PUMPED to perform our cheer and song for the school.  It is another school spirit day, and this time we are looking to go ALL OUT.  Red and White Clothing - can be school t-shirts or others - get creative - stripes, polka dots, tutus, beads, hair accessories, all are encouraged!  I will do my best to record our performance and share over the weekend :)

Catholic Schools Week Information

Next week we are excited to celebrate Catholic Schools Week and all the things we love about our school, St. Stephen of Hungary.  The Parents Page has a detailed account of what we will be doing to celebrate each day.  Please be sure to check for special dress down days, events, and more!
On Friday we are presenting our amazing volunteer librarians with cards thanking them for all of their dedication and service.  If you would like to have your child make a card at home in addition to the ones we will make as a group in school you can send them in their folders by next Thursday for Ms. Clare and Ms. Therese.  
Next Friday, 1/31, each class will perform a song or skit for the school.  Both PK4 classes are working on a song about our school to the tune of "Hey Mickey" which is why we requested Mickey and Minnie headbands on Amazon (THANK YOU FOR PURCHASING FOR US!!!).  
That day, all students are encouraged to come to school decked out in ST. STEPHEN SPIRIT - please feel free to go all out - pigtails, tutus, red/white socks, accessories, the more the better!
Stay tuned for more updates and photos from our week and what we will be working on next week.  As always, thank you for your support - we appreciate you!

SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY - Thursday 1/9/20

Tomorrow is St. Stephen Spirit Day!  You probably saw information regarding this in the Parent's Page, but in case you missed it, here's what is happening:
- Students can wear St. Stephen Clothing and Accessories - Field Day Shirts, Gym Clothes, SSHS fleece or sweatshirt, etc.  
- Flare is fine :) - this includes red/white socks, hair accessories, and more.  
Reminder - Friday is a 1/2 day - dismissal at 11:15 am
- NO dress down, students wear FULL uniform Friday 

Merry Christmas PK4A!
Merry Christmas PK4A!!!  All the children did an AMAZING job in our concert this week, we are bursting with pride.  Tomorrow we have PAJAMA DAY and Cookies and CoCoa.  We will dismiss right after cookies at 11:15 am sharp!  Please send a snack and water only tomorrow.  Although we are having cookies we'll still have a small snack in the morning.  
Thank you for all your beautiful cards, gifts, hugs, and love.  We wish you are very Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.  xoxo

Christmas Concert 12/1719

Dear Families,
  Below is a note you probably received or will receive from Ms. Genova-Hall.  In case it is helpful to you, we will be performing on the left (east) side of the altar.  We ask that you bring your child to the room tomorrow BY 8:00 am and if you plan to take them home early let us know today or in the. morning, and then sign them out after the concert from the classroom.  
  We are looking forward to a beautiful show!

Tomorrow morning, the Lower School Christmas Concert will take place in the church promptly at 8:30am. The Main School Doors will open, as usual, at 7:45am. Here are some very important reminders:

  • Children should be dressed in their Christmas Best! Please, no sneakers, jeans or sweatshirts/tshirts.
  • Students should arrive by 8:00am and go directly to their homerooms. Parents may accompany them. 
  • East and West Doors from the School into the Church will open at 8:00am for seating. 
  • Center pews are for the audience only. Students will be sitting on the far right and left of the church near the stained glass windows.
  • There is no standing allowed in any of the aisles. 
  • Immediately after the concert, all students will go back to their classrooms with their teachers and continue their regularly scheduled school day. If you want to take your child out early, you may walk up to the classroom and sign him or her out.

Information - Friday 12/13/19

Happy Friday!
  Please check folders for re-registration packets.  If you did not receive one, it went home with your child's older sibling and there is one per family.  
  Next week will be a review week - letters, numbers 1-20, 10-Frames, Graphing, and Holiday Crafts. We are still checking our Advent Calendar daily and working on good deeds as we prepare to celebrate Jesus' Birthday on Christmas!
  Friday 12/20 is a half-day (11:15 dismissal) and Cookies and Coco AND Pajama Day!!!  If you are leaving to go out of town and will be away before Friday please let us know so that we can send home a holiday keepsake your child is making for you a little early.  
Have a great weekend and please let me know if you have any questions. 


Good Afternoon PK4A.  We had a FABULOUS trip to the Robot Foundry today - pictures coming soon.  
Reminder that tomorrow is SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY and children may wear their red or white school t-shirts we sent home a few weeks ago with pants/skirt of their choosing :).  
Happy Almost Friday!


Dear All,
 We have JUST confirmed a walking trip for next TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29 to La Mia Pizza on 1st Ave.  It is literally less than a block from school and makes an excellent first trip for us as we don't have to go far :).  We will be sending home permission slips today with further detail - PLEASE check your child's folder and sign and return the forms by Friday, October 25 if at all possible.  We will be selecting 5 chaperones - there is a space to check the form if you would like to volunteer to be selected (at random).  

Field Day Shirts

Field Day T-Shirts went home in backpacks today.  If your child was absent, we have their shirt and will send home when they return.  Please check backpacks tonight and keep your shirt somewhere safe - we will wear them multiple times this year!