Mrs. Nealley

Graduated from Hood College/Johns Hopkins
Teaching experience: 23 years
Years at Calvary: New this year
Email address:
Classroom Assistant:  Tracy Racheff


October 2019 Newsletter

Mrs. Nealley’s & Mrs. Racheff’s M, T, Th 3s/4s Class


September has been a great start to our year. Thank you for helping us get into the routine of school! The children are settling into the flow of the school day, enjoying turns at being the Star, and they are having lots of fun in class. We worked hard to learn how to work in a large group, to share, to walk in a line, and allow others to take a turn. Parents, thank you for helping your children arrive at school and ready to start the day. It is not always easy and we appreciate you making the schedule work. Routines allow for easy transitions to play and learn in the class and helps your child feel secure at school.  Also, please continue to have them try to use the bathroom when they arrive. This helps us move into our work and learning time more smoothly.


October will be a busy month. Our main theme is Community Helpers. We will meet fire fighters and talk about fire safety. We have already had our first successful fire drill. We will learn 911 and Stop, Drop, and Roll. We will talk about many other Community Helper jobs. Some books that you might enjoy reading with you child include:

  1. Clifford the Firehouse Dog by Norman Bridwell
  2. Fire Engine Man by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
  3. The Firefighters Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts
  4. Five Little Firefighters by Thomas Graham
  5. Whose Hat is This and Whose Tools Are These by Sharon Katz
  6. Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling


Our Math focus this month will be on sorting and counting. We will also continue with shapes through sorting and calendar activities. We will begin identifying numbers 1-5 and using counters to count out sets that match each number.


In Language Arts, we will work on visual discrimination, sorting things that are the same and different. Visual Discrimination helps with the visual part of developing the concept of letters. We will identify the letters Dd, Ee, Hh as well as the sound for each letter. We will sort letters by those with just sticks and those that have a curve or ball. Please continue to help your child identify the initial letter in his/her first name. We will also introduce the concept of rhyming words by using Nursery Rhymes and Finger Plays.


In Science, we will focus on how two primary colors can mix to create a new secondary color.   We have some fun art activities planned to along with some great books about color such as, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr., Dogs Colorful Day by Emma Dodd, and A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni, to help us learn about these concepts


October has some special events. We begin our Specials including Spanish, Music, and Media. Our class will have Specials on Thursdays October 10 (Spanish), 17 (Music), and 24 (Media).


On October 21 we will go on our first field trip to Summer’s Farm. Please look for sign-up sheets posted in the hallway. Students will not pay for the field, but all other children over 2 and adults will need to purchase admission at the farm on the day of our visit. Please note: I will meet you at Summer’s Farm and enjoy circulating with all the students, but transportation and supervision is provided by a parent/guardian.


Claire’s Gourmet fundraiser begins October 1st and runs until October 24th.  The money raised will go towards updating classroom materials. All fundraising activities are optional.


Box Tops for Education will be collected throughout the year. We have a blue bucket on the window sill in the hall where you can put Box Tops you have collected. Box Tops fund are used to purchase playground equipment. Thank you so much for any fundraising support you are able to provide.


We love to have parent volunteers. If you wish to volunteer, please attend the Volunteer Orientation on October 7th. This is the same day as the Coffee Chat.  The orientation is offered at 9:15 am and 12:45 pm. Parents can volunteer when their child is the Star or for a special activity. When you want to volunteer, please let the classroom teachers know and sign your name on the snack calendar posted in the hall. Please know you are always welcome to visit our classroom!


We are heading into cough and sniffles season. Thank you so much for getting into the routine of washing hands before coming into the classroom each morning. It really does lessen the chances of spreading germs. Similarly washing hands as soon as you get home is a good routine. If your child is sick, please keep them at home so they can recover comfortably, quicker and return to school. It is also helpful if you can call the school office (301) 662-6783, if your child will not be coming to school. Here is a link that offers some additional guidelines for when to stay home:


Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


Happy October!

Claudia Nealley & Tracy Racheff


Upcoming Important Dates:


Claire’s Gourmet Fundraiser – October 1st through October 24th.

Volunteer Orientation for parents/caregivers – October 7th (one at 9:15 AM and one at 12:45 PM)

Specials:  Spanish – Thursday, October 10

Music – Thursday, October 17

Media – Thursday, October 24

Fire Department Visit:  October 15th @ 9:30 AM.  We need two or three volunteers to hold hands with the children on that day.

Summer’s Farm:  October 21st @ 12:30 PM

Fall Party:  October 31st – There will be a sign up in the hall to bring items for our party and spots for parents to volunteer. No costumes, but a festive t-shirt is a great alternative choice.

Fall Walk:  November 5th @ 10:30 AM


Home/School Connection:


One of the most important things you can do to make your young child feel safe is to establish routines. An article entitled Routines: Why they matter and How to Get Started by provides an overview of this concept. Children (and adults) feel most secure when their live are predictable. Children do not fully understand the concept of time, so they order their lives by events that happen. When events happen in the same order every day, children better understand their world and feel more secure.  When your child knows what to expect, they become more confident in themselves and the world around them. Routines are especially important during difficult times of the day, such as bedtime or getting dressed in the morning. Here are some ideas for starting routines in your home.


  1. Plan at least one meal per day that you have together as a family. The meal does not have to be dinner. Even 15 minutes at breakfast allows everyone to share their plans for the day. Turn off the T.V. and phones during your family time. This is a great time to start a routine that allows children to take responsibility like carrying the silverware to the table.
  2. Have a bedtime ritual, which will help children slowly calm down. Think about what calms your child. It might be reading a story or listening to music. One great item to include at bedtime is to tell about your day. Let your child tell about what he/she did that day and prompt him/her if they forget. This part of the routine not only helps with memory, time orientation, and language skills but it also shows that you care about what they did that day.
  3. Include preparation for transitions in the routine. For example, “We have 10 minutes left before we start getting ready for bed. When the big hand gets on the 12, it is time to put on your pajamas.”
  4. Work together to make pictures of each step of your daily routine. Put the pictures in order on a colorful piece of paper and hang it up. You are not only helping build creativity in your child, but it also helps promote self-sufficiency as your child will be able to look at the pictures to identify what step comes next.
  5. Although routine is very important for young children, do not be too rigid. Children need to learn how to be flexible and deal with minor changes. If there is an interruption to the routine, tell your child “I know we usually do X, but today we are going to do Y because of (reason).

Tomorrow we will go back to our usual routine.”


The earlier that you begin to order your child’s life, the easier it will be. It is never too late to start a routine! At first your child will try to get you to break the routine, but do not give in to old habits. Young children need consistency and limits. When you stick to a routine, you teach your child how to arrange his/her time in a manner that is efficient, productive, and cuts down on stress. This sense of order is not only important for making your young child feel secure at this moment but it will also allow your child to internalize a sense of how to organize his/ her own life as he/she grows up.


This article can be found at: