John I. Dawes Early Learning Center October and November Highlights

A compilation of the school’s highlights from October and November.

The following highlights are submitted by Irene Policastro, the Secretary to Superintendent John J. Marciante of the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District.

Week of Respect

The week of October 1st through October 5th was a Week of Respect in all New Jersey schools. In the ELC, we dedicated each day to a different positive character trait. Monday was Compliment Day, and the students were rewarded with “I am Kind” tickets when this behavior was exhibited. For Sharing Day on Tuesday, students learned through role-play and participated in activities that required sharing such as board games. The children received “I Shared” tickets.

On Wednesday, the students were encouraged to be helpful and rewarded with “I am Helpful” tickets. The next day we celebrated differences through a variety of classroom activities. Classes created class banners of their handprints to illustrate how each child is special and different. “I am Special” tickets were awarded.

The week culminated on Friday with a Giving Day. All students and staff in the building brought in one canned good to donate to those in need. The children received certificates of kindness for participating in the week’s activities. I would like to thank Mrs. Jill Berlin, School Social Worker, and Mrs. Jessica Young, School Counselor, for planning the wonderful week!

PTA Events

The PTA continued hosting a variety of events for the students and their families. The Book Fair was held from October 2nd-5th. On October 11th, a Walk-A-Thon was held and the children walked around the entire ELC/CM facility. The children enjoyed crossing the finish line and receiving their gold medals! On October 17th the PTA created an outdoor pumpkin patch and all of the students had a chance to go pumpkin picking. The children were amazed that a pumpkin patch grew behind the school over night! Then the children did a variety of activities with their pumpkins in the classrooms.

Character Education

The ELC kicked off its “Paws-itive Behavior Program.” Mrs. Young, the guidance counselor, held mini-assemblies to introduce the kindergarten students to the ELC’s first character critter. The students met Tommy the Trustworthy Turtle and listened to a story about him. The children learned that to be trustworthy, you:

  • Tell the truth
  • Follow the rules
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours
  • Do what you say you will do
  • Keep your promises

Posters of Tommy the Turtle and the list of trustworthy traits are hung around the school. All staff members are reinforcing this trait, and the students are so excited to wear the paw print stickers they receive when they are caught being trustworthy. We will introduce the next character critter in December.


During American Education Week, parent visitation was held at the ELC on November 12th and 13th. The ELC was busy both days with many visitors! In addition, MEMS Future Teachers began helping in afternoon kindergarten classrooms on November 14th. These middle school students will visit the ELC weekly through December and assist the children and teachers. We love having visitors and sharing our wonderful school!

Thanksgiving Fun

The ELC held some exciting Thanksgiving activities. All preschool classes  gathered together in the community room for a Thanksgiving assembly. The students sang a variety of songs together, complete with movements, and dance as well. This event helped the children learn to transition out of their classroom environment and allow for socialization with a larger group of peers. This also helped to prepare our youngest students for sitting and attending in school-wide assemblies.

The kindergarten students also had a grade-level assembly. The children were treated to a Thanksgiving read-aloud and will sing and dance as well. It was a great opportunity for the students to come together as a grade-level and interact with their peers outside of their own classrooms.

In light of Hurricane Sandy and this difficult month, Thanksgiving had additional significance this year.


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