December Newsletter

Oshkosh Early Learning

December 2019: Issue 4

Message from Principal Schendel

Give the gift of your presence this holiday season!

I hope your holiday season is filled with opportunities to enjoy your little one with some one-on-one time, enjoying a few special moments talking and playing together. Please remember that the best present you can give your child is your presence. The holiday season can be filled with big changes in routines for children and extra stress for parents. A few tips for setting your child up for success include:

  • Prepare your child ahead of time for changes in routines and schedules. Too much time and children may forget or become anxious, but not enough warning and children are caught off-guard which can often increase behavior. You know your child best regarding how much lead time they will need. A little advanced notice on your part could prevent meltdowns, hurt/scared feelings, and lead to an overall more peaceful and enjoyable holiday experience for everyone. 

  • Review expectations before you go somewhere new. Make sure you talk with your child about how you expect them to behave when they go visit a friend or relative’s house, go out for dinner, etc. Telling children what you want them to do vs. not do helps children. Children think in pictures and if you say don’t run, all they tend to picture in their head is running. Help them focus on what they should do such as: “At Grandma’s it will be important that we ask before touching things that do not belong to us and use inside voices.” Providing praise for meeting those expectations can go a long way as well! This could sound like “You asked Grandma to look at the sparkly bells on her table before you grabbed them to go play. That was respectful!”

  • Think from a child’s perspective and plan accordingly. Many holiday gatherings are not designed with your child in mind. When and what will your child eat? Is the eating and sleeping schedule significantly different than what your child is used to? What is available for your child to do that will be fun for them and be appropriate for the environment you are going to? Who will be there and does your child know them? 

We look forward to welcoming your children back in the classroom on Thursday, January 2nd. They always come back with many fun stories about all of those special moments they have had while they have been away.


Beth Schendel

Principal of Early Learning

Important Upcoming Dates


Sunday, December 8th

Sunday Night Storytime

Watch for the video in your email and on Facebook!


Wednesday, December 11th 


*12:30 dismissal K-5

*1:26 dismissal 6-8

*1:30 dismissal 9-12


Sunday, December 22nd

Sunday Night Storytime

Watch for the video in your email and on Facebook!


December 23rd - January 1st 




Thursday, January 2nd 

1st day back from Winter Break - School is in session!


Social and Emotional Tidbits

An Elf On the Shelf Tweak (Positive Intent)

“Our choice of where we put our attention teachers children what we value. If we focus on what children have done wrong, we will teach them to value judgement and problems. If we focus on what we want to have happen, we will teach respectfulness and solution-seeking” (Creating the School Family, Dr. Becky Bailey, p.251).

Using this powerful idea that “what you focus on you get more of”, we are hoping that this holiday season Elf on the Shelf can be a powerful tool for behavior change in your home. There is an abundance of research that supports developing our power of attention to focus on behaviors we want to see from our children instead of those we don’t. At any given time, in classrooms and homes all over the world, there are children being helpful and some being hurtful. Which ones will get your elf’s attention? Where do you want to put your elf’s focus?

  • Allow your elf to be the vehicle that retrains your eyes to see the love and positivity that surrounds you. You can help the children in your care grow up seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty. We can also teach our children that when there is an oops, it is an opportunity to learn, focus on a solution and find the beauty in the situation.

Here are a few ideas to shift your elf’s attention to the positive: 

  • Create some family agreements. What do you value as a family? In our home we created some agreements as a team (including our children) and have the following family agreements: Be safe, be kind and stay calm, be helpful, be trustworthy. We talked about what it did and didn’t look like. We signed our agreements as a sign of commitment from each family member.

    • 3-5 positively stated agreements that apply to everyone in the family at home, at school, at work, in the car, at grandma and grandpa’s will help you be successful! 

  • Write your agreements down on a piece of paper or poster (adding pictures can be powerful for young children as they cannot yet read - take a picture of your child following the agreements and put that up as an easy and powerful example)! 

  • Tell your children that your elf will be watching for the best in them. When your elf (or anyone else in the family) notices someone following the family agreements they will write that person’s name down and stick it up to the poster you made. Your children are typically amazing observers. They want to be noticed for doing these things and are usually quick to point out others following the agreements as well. Encourage them to add people’s names as well!! What a powerful visual reminder of all of the positive things happening in your family and home. 

  • Have the Elf leave little notes that contain encouraging words and notices helpfulness: “You _____ (describe what the child did) so (describe how it contributed to others). That was helpful!


  • You cleaned up the race cars so no one would fall. That was helpful!

  • You reminded your Mom to put on her seatbelt so she would be safe. That was helpful!

  • You raised your hand quietly so others can learn. That was helpful!

Here are some examples of our elf visiting and writing positive notes for our family. After just one day we already had a few stickers up. Our kids had put them up as well! We can’t wait to see how this might look in your family too. :)

Literacy Corner

Our school-wide goal for Literacy in 4K is to have students use emergent reading skills by looking at familiar books and pretending to read, using language that closely matches the text on each page and using reading-like intonation. That means it sounds like they are reading a story when they look at the pictures and read through the book. 




What would this sound like with Worm Weather? Your child has probably heard you read Worm Weather a few times, and now it is a familiar book to them. Now ask your child to read the book to you!!   

See if they can name and talk about what they see on each page like the boots, puddle, dark cloud, rainbow, and the playground.

See if they try to use some of the language from the book like “Splish, Splash” and “Worm, Worm, Wiggle, Squirm” or “Worm Weather, “ if they don’t, you can tell them those words.  

Ask if they remember what sound words the author used to describe the children splashing in the puddle or the thunder (crash)!

The more opportunities your child has to hear stories and books read to him or her, the better he or she will be at reading books to you. They don’t have to read the words to be able to read the book to you. Some people call this “pretend reading”, but I call it the first and most important step to becoming a reader!

Questions, Comments, Suggestions


In the Oshkosh Area School District, we are dedicated to providing the best educational program possible for our children. Should something occur that you have a question about or are unhappy with, please give your child's teacher a call first and then your child's principal so that they can work together with you to address your need. Beth Schendel can be reached at 424-1004.  If you have a concern that you have been unable to resolve with a staff member or the principal, you may call the district office at 424-0395 and they will help you address your concern and/or connect you with others who can help.


Office of Early Learning Leadership Team

Principal of Early Learning

Beth Schendel

Instructional Support Teachers

Darcy Trebiatowski - 4K

Sara Nagel - 4K

Traci Soeller - Literacy

Valery Splittgerber - 4K

Program Support Teacher

Lisa Brull 

Preschool Diagnosticians

Janel Retzlaff

Kristy Miller

Nichole Beckman


Stephanie Thiel