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National Bullying Prevention Month at Playworks

Playworks Halloween Party October 29

Welcome to PW’s Playhouse As the leaves change and the air gets chillier, fall is the perfect time for children to enjoy extended outdoor play sessions before the onset of winter. Our curriculum this month features an exploration of trees and shadows— timely topics for Halloween! If you’re up for a mild spook, take a hike in the forest at twilight and ask your kids to share their observations on the towering trees and their shifting shadows. It’s a great way to enjoy the crisp weather and learn a little in the process.

Wear Orange and Unite for Kindness, Acceptance, and Inclusion

Important Dates OCTOBER 19-20: MEA Break OCTOBER 25:

Unity Day


Playworks Halloween Party, 3–6pm



How long have you worked at Playworks? 1 year

Favorite board game: Pictionary

What is your position at Playworks? Educare Operations Manager

Favorite food: Shrimp

Describe your personality in one word: Committed

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite children’s book: Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border

Favorite animal: Dog

Suggested Reading

With playdates and school activities in full swing, the season is also an opportune time to teach children about the importance of treating each other with compassion and kindness. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time for us all to come together to raise awareness on the issue of bullying and what we can do to prevent it. At Playworks, we foster an environment of inclusiveness and encourage all children to be thoughtful and considerate of others. Raising an empathetic child starts at home though, and we ask you to join us in taking steps to eliminate the issue of bullying by instilling kindhearted habits in your kids. Together, we can make a difference.


Playworks Staff Spotlight: Sally Everson

Unity Day is October 25

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Educare Early Learning Classrooms

By Joe Troiano

What Makes a Shadow?

Shadows and Trees Learning is a top priority at Playworks— we’re always looking for fun ways to encourage kids to explore the world around them. This month, we’re investigating shadows and trees! By the time children are 4 or 5 years old, they are very curious about shadows. Concepts about the earth’s position in the solar system and how night and day relate to the sun are very complex and abstract. To understand these ideas when they are older, young children need

October is Nationa l Bullyin g Prevent ion Mon th !

By Clyde Robert Bulla direct experiences with the earth and space, where they can observe, conduct experiments, and explore familiar objects from a new perspective. Our curriculum offers them a meaningful way to begin building that understanding of earth science and social studies, while also using skills in mathematics, literacy, the arts, and technology.

Oscar and the Moth: A Book about Light and Dark

Like shadows, trees are often a source of fascination and curiosity for children. As such, this month’s curriculum also features an exploration of trees and the role they play in our environment. Rather than emphasize naming specific trees, this study focuses on helping children develop an understanding of the characteristics of trees and the functions they have in our natural and man-made world. Children will also learn about the creatures that inhabit trees and the foods that trees produce. Take a walk or drive with your children this fall and ask them about the trees and shadows in the neighborhood— you may even learn something yourself!


By Geoff Waring

Gus is a Tree By Claire Babin By David Ezra Stein

the Wonderful w

rlD of trees

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Do you ever wonder how trees live, survive, and flourish in a four-season state like Minnesota? Trees are beautiful, miraculous plants that are necessary for clean air and provide the planet with many benefits. Trees are great for shade, hanging tire swings, playing hide-and-seek, harvesting maple syrup, and much more. Now, let’s dive into the wonderful world of trees!

Seeds Most trees drop seeds in the late summer through the fall. When a seed lands in a favorable spot, it will begin to grow.

Saplings Saplings are trees from 1 to 4 inches in diameter. They compete with many threats that mature trees do not, such as lack of nutrients, space, and wildlife.

Sprouts Seeds that land in favorable spots open, grow, and expand to become sprouts.

Life Cycle of a Tree

Snags A snag is a dead tree that no longer grows, eats, or produces. When a snag falls, it returns its nutrients to the soil and helps new trees grow!

Declining Trees Stresses, such as diseases and insects, begin to take a toll on mature trees, and their days become numbered.

Mature Trees Mature trees will continue to grow as big and as long as their species allow (you can measure how old they are by the number of dark rings in their stumps!). They also develop flowers, seeds, and fruits.

Changing of the Seasons So why do trees change colors during the fall? Leaves are full of a material called chlorophyll, which allows trees to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. Chlorophyll is also the material that gives leaves their bright green color. In the fall, chlorophyll production slows down in trees as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. When the green color

Learn about acceptance this month by reading The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano. Spookley is a square pumpkin who lives in a round pumpkin patch. The story helps encourage tolerance and kindness in children through a fun and easy-to-read format that resonates with children.

from chlorophyll fades, it presents the “true” colors of the tree’s leaves. Trees’ yellow and orange pigments come from materials called carotenes and xanthophyll, while red, pink, and purple pigments come from anthocyanin. Deciduous trees eventually lose their pretty fall leaves to conserve water and nutrients to help them survive the cold weather.

Bullying prevention is important to us at Playworks, and making these concepts easy to understand can help stop bullying before it starts.

Parts of a Tree Leaves A tree’s leaves create its food through photosynthesis. They use the sun’s energy to turn carbon dioxide into sugar (the tree’s food) and oxygen. Branches A tree’s branches house its leaves and transport food throughout the tree. Trunks The outer bark of a tree protects it from injuries, diseases, and wildlife. The inner wood provides support and transports food. Roots A tree’s roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil and store excess food. They also create an anchor for the tree so it doesn’t fall.

Family-Friendly SMSC




Here’s a fun activity to encourage your child to experiment with (and learn about!) light and shadows. With just a few building blocks, crayons, and some paper, kids can create and trace an endless variety of shadows and shapes. Plus, by allowing them to explore and experiment on their own, children can discover new and exciting things about the shifting nature of shadows.

1. In front of a large window or other light source*, lay a blank sheet of paper. 2. Have your child stack their blocks to make different shapes, so that the shadow is cast on the paper.


3. Give them crayons to trace the shadow on the paper.

• Building blocks or other stackable toys • Large sheets of paper • Crayons • Flashlight (optional)

4. Move the blocks around to create new shapes and shadows, and repeat! *If it’s a rainy day or there’s not enough light, feel free to use a flashlight to make the shadows.

Raising an Empathetic Child

October 11 Mdewakanton Public Safety (MPS) Fire Prevention Week Open House

5-8pm MPS (2525 Flandreau Trail NW, Prior Lake) Bring the whole family to the MPS fire station to learn about fire safety and equipment at their annual open house event, featuring a chili cook-off, fire engine rides, an appearance from Sparky the Dog, and photo opportunities with firefighter gear!

October 29 | Playworks Halloween Party

3-6pm Playworks Atrium (2200 Trail of Dreams, Prior Lake) All are welcome to join the bone-chilling fun at the Playworks Halloween Party—if you dare! The afternoon will be filled with frightening fun and games, including a ghost walk, mummy wrapping, Halloween limbo, and more. Don’t forget to take home a loot bag! Costumes are encouraged.

Creative costumes, sweet treats, and fun scares make Halloween an exhilarating time for many children. To ensure that everyone enjoys the celebrations safely, check out these tips before you take your little ghouls and goblins out trick-or-treating this year: • • • • • • • •

Walk in groups Use a flashlight and/or reflective tape Check treats for tampering before eating Do not eat homemade goods from strangers Choose well-fitting costumes to avoid trips and falls Keep to sidewalks (or the far edge of the road) Only visit well-lit houses Don’t walk near lit candles

And most of all,

have fun!

It is every parent’s goal to be the best teacher and role model that they can be to their child. With October marking National Bullying Prevention Month, there is no better time to teach our children caring behavior. Babies and toddlers have trouble understanding empathy, but children a little bit older often demonstrate streaks of caring behavior. To help teach your child about caring behavior and empathy, consider these four tips: Talk about feelings. Ask about your child’s emotions, as well as the emotions of their friends and family. The more you talk about it, the easier time they will have understanding when something is wrong. 2. Encourage inclusion. Talk to your child about making friends with those who are being excluded. Children will learn empathy and inclusiveness through encouragement and your own modeling behavior.

Address your child’s needs. It’s important

to address your child’s emotional wants and needs, even if they seem trivial. By reasonably addressing your child’s wants and needs, they will learn how to respond to inconvenient situations politely and appropriately in their own lives.

Teach social cues. Practice facial expressions

and body language with your child, then talk about how you feel when you make those expressions. Say the same sentence using different tones and ask your child to identify how you’re feeling.

These are only a few of the different ways you can help teach your child about caring behavior. The more children see and talk about empathetic behavior, the more they will express it in their own social situations!




Tree Snacks Let your child create their own snack forest full of beautiful trees with this quick and easy Tree Snack recipe! While you follow the recipe, encourage your child to explain the different parts of the tree and what functions they serve (look inside for more information).



Pretzel sticks Grapes Wax paper

1. Lay wax paper down on a flat surface. 2. Begin adding pretzel sticks to the wax paper as the tree’s roots, trunk, and branches. Feel free to break pretzel sticks in half to create varying branch sizes! 3. Cut grapes in half so they lie flat on the wax paper. 4. Fill in the branches with leaves (grape halves).

If you’re looking for a little extra flavor, spread peanut butter over the pretzel sticks and drizzle trees with chocolate.

Connect HERE. Learning about Playworks is now easier than ever! Check out our new website, where you can read about our many programs, sign up for our e-Club, and follow our social media accounts. 952.445.PLAY (7529)

Owned and Operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

952.445.PLAY (7529) | 2200 Trail of Dreams, Prior Lake, MN | Owned and Operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

Playworks PW's Playhouse October 2017