Preschool Superhero

Picture of the Preschool doorway with a tree and pictures of students in colored circles.Mrs. Call is one of many teachers here at Chickering School. But she is special. She takes on the challenge of running the preschool with educational assistants. The kids come in at nine in the morning and have a wonderful learning day full of  amazing activities and opportunities!  So come and learn about the little known Chickering PreSchool!

We were curious to know why the school decided to make the preschool. Mrs. Call’s immediate response was that some kids had disabilities that needed extra special attention that they could nurture. Before they had sent the kids with disabilities to other preschools. Pine Hill’s school  (a school in Sherborn) was overflowing with bright toddler’s. Many of them could not get in because the school was too full. In the end, Chickering thought that they should have a preschool.

The benefits to the students is very important when they come to preschool and Preschoolers enjoying lunch in their classroomschool in general. When we questioned Ms. Call on this matter she explained that the preschooler’s get to grow and talk with each other and that it allows them to be active members in the Chickering community. Plus many people such as students, teachers, and parents see them around the school. Many benefits contribute to the preschoolers experience at Chickering.

When we inquired about the students schedule’s  Mrs.Call had a very long response. The kids neatly line up at the lobby of the school and walk to their classroom. Next they unpack and hang up their coats themselves. Displays chart for calendar and weather.They talk about the calendar and then rush off to the play at stations where they can pick what they want to to do or play for the next period. Some students do half days and some do full. The students who do half days only stay for snack; but the students who stay for a full day, stay for a quiet civilized lunch in their classroom. And go out for recess on there own private playground. At the end of the day there is more free time. And then they pack up and get picked up.

We inquired of Ms. Call on the matter of:  was she always teaching on her own or if there was another teacher with her. She responded that she has other teachers with her. Although Ms. Call is the main teacher in preschool there are other teachers with her like Mrs. Yanco the speech pathologist who helps kids with talking or swallowing disorders and Mrs. Hoffman who is an occupational therapy specialist who helps preschoolers nervous systems function. Other teachers include classroom teaching assistants who help with the children and things around the classroom. Teachers help the preschoolers prepare to be on on their way to kindergarten.

Ms.Call adores her students and  loves them but what is her favorite thing about them? Let’s get the scoop! Throughout the year Ms.Call has loved to watch them grow and get more mature and learn to love school. She remarked that watching them is an amazing adventure to go on with colorful learning experiences. Ms.Call truly enjoys teaching her wonderful class.

Part of the children’s days include play time so we asked Ms.Call what are the students favorite activities. And Ms.Call had a winner, Artwork created by children making different colored hand prints.triangular magnetic tiles, when she takes them out their inner engineer comes out and they create masterpieces. When she takes them out they’re so excited, they immediately want to play, play, play. The kids like to build with the magnetic tiles after a pleasing day of fun, it is exhausting!

Even though in the classroom kids learn many things there are so many opportunities that require them to get outside the classroom. We were curious to know if the toddlers’ specials are different from the other grades. Ms. Call told us that there were many specials like Gym or Motor Group where children stretch out from a long day at of learning. Another special that the kids have is Library where kids get engaged in books. Finally, music is a chance for preschoolers to sing songs. All in all, every part of the children’s day is fun but specials are extra exciting for the kids.

Ms. Call has been at Chickering for a jaw dropping 13 years. But what did she do before she came to our lovely school? Let’s find out. Ms. Call taught in another school district, but she felt she needed something fresh and new so she came to Chickering! 

We’ve always had that one dream job that we always wanted. We wondered if that dream came true for Mrs. Call or if she stumbled across it one day. She explained that the wish was sparked when she started babysitting at just 11 years old! When she babysat for a little girl she decided that she wanted to teach little kids for the rest of her life.  

Ms. Call is clearly a fantastic teacher. Ms. Call’s amazing connections with her students, help from other special education teachers, and the patience to set up individual play stations so her beloved toddlers can make the right choice … At the end of the day Ms. Call is truly a preschool superhero!


Reported by Emma and Alia

A Whole New Playground

We all know, this year, Chickering has collected some PreSchoolers to join our ranks. Now they are abiding by a state mandate by adding a playground to the school for the PreSchoolers! We are here to ask the Assistant Principal, Dr. Reinemann all about this new playground and to see if other students will be able to access it, too.

The first question I asked Dr.Reineman is why do the preschoolers need their own playground. She answered with multiple reasons:

  1. Children are smaller  [3 to 5 year olds]
  2. Cannot use regular playground because the equipment too big
  3. Need to be near their classroom but also near the other playgrounds

I asked if only the preschoolers would be able to use it, and if so why. She said that during the school day, only the preschoolers can use it but it would be open to the community after school and weekends. The equipment will be too small for the majority of the school population and there is some concern that the equipment may be broken if used by the older students.

Who designed the new playground? Dr. Reinemann said that we have been working with Nancy White, who is the school’s playground consultant, and she is helping us figure out what the playground will need for the preschoolers.

I also asked if we gave the designer, Nancy White, any information about what we wanted for the playground or did we let her suggest it. The answer is, we told her what we wanted for the playground and she helped us with locate it and design its location on the playground.
Image of proposed playground showing balance beam, tunnel and chin-up bar.What equipment will be on the playground?  I received quite an interesting answer. According to Dr. Reinemann, we are using the existing space to put in multiple equipment, of which one is a very interesting spider swing.I wish we were able to use it! At the May 16th School Committee meeting, Dr. Reinemann updated the committee. A new rubber base will be installed under the whole preschool playground. The existing equipment will be replaced and a multi-user swing will be installed. The total size is 27’ X 32’.It will be surrounded by a 4-foot high fence with two gates, each on opposite sides.

I wondered how long they’ve been planning this. Apparently they have been planning this since last summer and have actually wanted to begin since the Preschool was began in September.

What is the timeline for the new playground? Apparently They have begun working on the new playground, as of June 1st and hopefully it will be finished before school starts in August. The location of the new playground will replace an existing small-scale playground on the side of the school which houses the youngest children.

Since this the process of creating the new Preschool playground has begun, there may be more updates as it progresses. I hope you enjoyed my report.

Reported by Peter Johnston.

UPDATE – June 17, 2016

The new PreSchool Playground is almost complete … ahead of schedule! We are waiting for the new swing and fence.  Here is how it looks today!

Picture of some of the new preschool playground equipment ... tunnel and bridge.

New base has been installed along with the bridge and tunnel.





New balance beam with stepping seats, stones, to the tunnel.

PreSchool playground showing the balance beam and stepping 'stones' to tunnel.






Preschool Playground and two red posts, which will house the new swing.

Posts for the new swing. Preschool playground will be surrounded by a fence with a gate on opposite sides.