Gretchen Oppermann's Classrooms: Discovery 3's (Th 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.) & 3+ Preschool (T/TH 8:45 - 11:45).

Dear Families,

Welcome to Jackson Early Childhood Center's 3+ Preschool Program (Tuesday/Thursday Morning) and Discovery 3's Preschool Program (Thursday afternoon)! My name is Mrs. Oppermann and my teaching assistants are Mrs. Hendra. It is our great pleasure to welcome your children into our classroom!

Both of my introductory preschool classes will emphasize literacy and wonderful children's literature - books open up the world for children! Dr. Marilyn Applebaum, a leading early childhood educator and therapist shares her view that "Every child's life is like a book. Every day holds a new page. The pages become the child's life story". She challenges us all to help them fill the pages of their books with wonderful memories, great learning, self-confidence and fun! This dear families, is our goal this year!

Childhood is, by definition, a time for learning and testing many ways of responding to the physical world and to social situations. Remember the old Chinese proverb:

I hear, and I forget,

I see, and I remember,

I do, and I understand.

This saying captures a central truth about childhood learning: Children are doers. They do not wait passively for others to load them up with information. Children have active bodies and minds, which they use to make sense of social experiences everywhere they go. They do this by observing, exploring, acting on objects, experimenting and reflecting on what happens, interacting with other people and making adjustments to their own thinking. Play is the heart of learning!

As parents, you know that your little ones are filled with energy and are enjoying their growing sense of independence. They are skillful and persistent explorers of their physical environment with an interest in objects and people. They are making rapid gains in motor development (experiencing greater control over their large and small muscles), in social/emotional development (becoming increasingly socialized, acting independently and beginning to regulate their own feelings and behavior), in Language Development (both referential and expressive language) and in Cognitive Development as well.

My classrooms provide a safe, nurturing environment with a flexible routine recognizing that this age group needs more time for play and exploration. They will learn to share, get along with others, and perform tasks that require longer attention spans. We emphasize nurturing and respect for each other and will focus, on age appropriate play and exploration (exercising both gross and fine motor skills). It is important to note that developing fine motor skills is essential for writing readiness and in this classroom, our young students will have increased fine motor opportunities/working and manipulating objects with their hands (i.e. using chunky crayons, markers, little pencils, safety scissors, etc.). Our daily Circle/Group Times will include theme storybook readings, flannel board stories, songs, finger plays, introduction of basic concepts including colors, shapes, and sizes. Our early mathematics activities will include counting, basic number recognition, quantity, basic geometric shapes, sorting and classifying. Our Sensory & Art Exploration will introduce the children to a wide variety of art activities as well as fun with playdough, shaving cream, sand table, water table, colored rice table, colored noodles, buttons, etc.

We will be encouraging the children to use their words to communicate their ideas, needs and wants (language skills), helping them to learn how to solve simple problems themselves and supporting their growth in sharing and helping behaviors.

Our classroom calendar is filled with fun Literary Themes, incorporating and emphasizing:

  • Basic Concepts and Skills (including colors, shapes, sizes, same and different, etc.).
  • Early Mathematics (counting and number recognition; recognizing and identifying basic geometric shapes; patterning; sorting and classifying by size, shape and color).
  • Early Language and Literacy (Receptive language - listening to stories, following simple directions and responding to questions. Expressive language - using verbal and nonverbal communication, beginning to recite rhymes songs and familiar text in stories. Comprehension - answering simple questions about what is read and making connections between story events and personal experiences).
  • Zoophonics (3+ Class only)!
  • Self Help Skills (Washing and drying own hands, independent toileting, active assisting at group clean-up time, sharing with friends, etc.).

At Jackson Early Childhood Center we are committed in our goal to make your children feel secure and loved while they are here. We value our families and believe that good communication supports better understanding and improved continuity of care for your children.

I invite all my families to visit my teacher website at (click on Schools, click on Preschools, click on Jackson Early Childhood Center, then click on Teacher Websites, finally click on "Gretchen Oppermann's 3 Plus Classroom" site). You will be able to view our monthly calendars, weekly themes, daily activities, monthly newsletters. A family information board, located just outside our classroom entrance contains copies of our monthly calendars as well as our monthly newsletter, etc.  The Jackson Early Childhood Center Information Packet will provide you with essential information as well as our center’s policies and procedures.

I am excited and looking forward to an amazing school year!


Gretchen Oppermann