Beautiful Oops!

Beautiful Oops - That is the theme of Mrs. Cummins’ art class this year!

We started the year off by reading Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg; a wonderful interactive book that teaches it is ok to make a mistake.  I have learned over the years that some children can become very discouraged and frustrated when they make a mistake. The GREAT news is…. It is O.K. to make mistakes in art. Actually, it is more than O.K.  HOORAY FOR MISTAKES!  A mistake is an adventure in creativity and a way to discover and solve new things!  As new artists, we are all going to make lots of mistakes…. So let’s have fun with them!!!

Over the fall we have been learning about some of the elements of art.  We started with Line studies… each project built upon the theme of learning about lines. As the holidays approached we enjoyed creating more seasonal projects. Fall trees, pumpkins, turkeys, and a nativity were some of the fun things the children made. My very favorite project was when the children collaborated in making my costume for the parade!  They turned me into an actual work of art!  AMAZING! 

As we resume for the spring semester, we will be learning all about colors. I will also choose one or two famous artists, and will learn about their life and work. I’m really excited!!

This has been such a fun and wonderful year so far!  I have enjoyed teaching your children so much!  I must tell you how delighted I am when I hear a student cry out,” Mrs. Cummins, I messed up!”, and then one of their friends will say…..” It’s ok!  I like it.  It’s a BEAUTIFUL OOPS!”


Melanie Cummins
Art Teacher

Full STEAM Ahead!

Hi Parents,

I am so excited to be the STEAM teacher this year at HPPDS, and I don’t think I could even dream of a more perfect job, because I am having a blast teaching your children!


What is STEAM?  

Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics

What are children doing in the STEAM lab?

They are: Inquiring, investigating, problem-solving, predicting, observing, explaining, analyzing, designing, constructing, innovating, modifying, creating, utilizing tools, calculating, graphing.


All of these things combined make my lesson plans pretty much endless. This school year we have the unique opportunity to follow, learn, and document with drawings, conversations, and photos the exciting renovations going on here on the Highland Park Presbyterian campus. Each of the Prek4 and kindergarten classes have walked over to the Hunt Building, and we’ve discussed the upcoming changes and what to expect. Each student then drew in their science journals what the Hunt Building looked like before the demolition. In the upcoming weeks, we will be walking over to view the progress.

Our STEAM classroom is a hands-on classroom, meaning that I like to provide the students with different materials to peek their curiosity, whether it be building materials, rocks, insects, science experiments, bones, bird nests, ocean life, microscopes, sewing table, and yes, even my grandfather’s dentures! I love for them to ask questions, use critical thinking, and problem solve!

Because we are always building something in our STEAM lab, we go through a lot of recycled items. I can always use cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towel, gift wrap, shipping tubes), PVC pipes and fittings, paper egg cartons, VOSS water bottles, yarn, small boxes, all kinds of tape, as well as consumables like flour, vegetable oil, salt, cornstarch, baby oil, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring (we go through A LOT of this stuff!). Feel free to drop any of this off in my classroom!

Thank you so much for sharing your children with me.


With Love,

Mrs. Dyer
STEAM Teacher

Hablas Espanol?

Hola Parents,

I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach your children Spanish while Senora Paniagua is on maternity leave. When I explain to my friends I’m teaching Spanish to ages one year through Kindergarten they are quite surprised!

Most people know there are many advantages for anyone who speaks a second language, such as communicating with greater numbers of people as well as expanding educational and professional opportunities. But did you know there are a number of research studies that show children who are exposed to a second language at a young age demonstrate cognitive advantages such as increased problem-solving skills and creativity? Every infant is born with the ability to mimic the sounds of any language. It is much easier for a young learner to adopt correct pronunciation than older learners.

In the classroom, I use various methods of engagement through play, songs, games and books. We have been focusing on greetings, parts of our body, colors and numbers. If you would like to reinforce your child’s Spanish language development, here are a few suggestions:

  • Develop an interest and curiosity in other countries and cultures.
  • Read to your child in Spanish.
  • Play music and games in Spanish.

Many songs we sing in class I have found on YouTube or streamed on Apple Music or Spotify. Once you start looking, you will be amazed at how many free resources you can find online.  

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Hola Amigos by Dr. Jean Feldman
  • Tu Ti Ta by Dr. Jean Feldman
  • Trepsi Boo! By Trepsi
  • Buenos Dias by Jose Luis Orozco
  • Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y Pies by Canciones Infantiles y Musica Infantil

I have enjoyed my time with your children! Senora Paniagua will return on November 5th. 

Alyce Lee
Interim Spanish Teacher