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Outer Space Week

Outer Space week was out of this world!  Read on below to learn about all the fun that was had!
On Monday, the children learned about space travel by reading a classroom favorite – Spaceman Sam by Beck Ward.

In the story, Spaceman Sam and his dog, Rigby, prepare for their rocket’s launch into space!  The children helped countdown from ten for the rocket’s take-off!  With the push of a button, a little rocketship pops out from the back of the book.  Just when the story seems like it is over, the launched rocketship opens up to reveal the second half of the story.

After hearing the story, the children learned that they would be just like real astronauts as they learned all about outer space throughout the week!  They also found out that they would be turning into real Spaceboys and Spacegirls, just like Sam from the story!

With a little help from a camera, the children created and decorated their space helmets using glittery star stickers.  Needless to say, they were a huge hit with both the children and their parents!

In the afternoon, Park Prep Academy children were paid a very special visit by a larger than life Surprise Guest.  Prior to the guest’s arrival, the children brainstormed a list of guesses as to who the surprise guest was.  Here is the list they came up with.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang and the surprise guest appeared.  The picture below shows the faces of the children as they realized who would be spending the afternoon at Park Prep!

The Surprise Guest was…

Patrick Starfish, best friend of the one and only, SpongeBob SquarePants!

The children greeted Patrick warmly as they ran to embrace him!  They could hardly contain themselves as they shouted out greetings along with many questions for Patrick!

At one point during his visit, Patrick became a bit sad as he noted that he missed his good buddy SpongeBob.  The PPA children knew just what to do to help cheer up their underwater visitor!

Their singing and dancing surely cheered up Patrick!  The children showed Patrick around Park Prep and even brought him into their afternoon stations.  The day ended with Patrick saying goodbye and heading back to the bottom of the sea!

The children in Early Birds on Tuesday morning had the opportunity to view something truly remarkable – the last butterfly breaking out of its chrysalis!  Watch the video below to see it working its way out and also to see the moment after it broke through.

Once his wings had dried off, the last butterfly began to start flying around just like all the others who arrived before him.

As the morning progressed, the teachers brought Outer Space Week back into focus by reading a solar system story and even viewing some real-life photographs from space!  After seeing the photographs and discussing the different things that make up “outer space,” the children began creating their Outer Space Art Project.

Using black paper and a spray bottle full of white paint, the children spritzed their paper to create the look of stars in space!

Once the stars had been added, they then used circular stampers to create all different sized and colored planets and of course a LARGE circle one for the sun!

A little gray paint on the end of a tiny circle stamper created the perfect meteoroids (space rocks) throughout the space picture!

Seeing that all of the butterflies were out and flying about, the children and teachers decided that Wednesday would be a great day to release them!  Watch below to see the video of their release into the wild!

After a few minutes, the children began their outdoor recess time where they played in the company of at least one butterfly.

The friendly butterfly eventually headed on its way.  The children will surely miss their class pet butterflies!

After returning to the classroom, the children read another silly space book.  This one was all about aliens!  After hearing the story, Miss Jocelyn held up a picture of an alien that she had created using assorted craft materials.  The children were very eager to begin the construction of their very own aliens – particularly when they realized that the planets would be colored in using Silky Sticks!  Although they look like crayons, Silky Sticks mark like oil-pastels and can be used as watercolors!

First, the children “colored” their planet with the Silky Sticks.  They then blended the colors (with their fingers) into each other to create a beautiful silly planet – much like the ones we see in our solar system!

(a student created planet)
After the aliens had been assembled, the teachers informed the children that like people, all aliens need to have a name!  Read below to see some of the silly alien and planet names the creative Park Prep children came up with!

In the afternoon, the students took turns coming up in front of the class to “introduce” their alien friend to everyone!  The classroom erupted full of laughter as names such as, “Monkey-tu-tu-juicebox” and “Cooka-Pooka” were said.  The laughter continued as planets called, “Planet Zapu” and “Planet Stinky-wa-winkee” were announced.

Thursday marked the return of Park Prep’s favorite Jersey City Policemean, Officer Lorenzo Tosado!  This being Officer Tosado’s second visit to Park Prep Academy, the children spent their morning creating a very special Thank You card to present to him at the end of his visit.

Officer Tosado arrived in his police van and led a very important discussion about police officers, the job they do and of course, STRANGER DANGER!  He also made the children take a pledge to be safe, be smart, and have fun!

Seeing that the children did such a great job role-playing what to do when a stranger comes up to them, Officer Tosado announced that he would be presenting each child with their own Jr. Police Officer Badge!

Officer Tosado was not the only one presenting something special.  After the badge ceremony, the Park Prep children presented him with their very special thank you card.  Officer Tosado LOVED it!

After he looked at his card, Officer Tosado allowed the children to come out to his van and take turns “driving” and turning on the sirens!  The video below reveals how much the children (this child in particular) enjoyed Thursday’s visit from Officer Tosado!

A special thank you to Officer Tosado for coming and spending the day with everyone at Park Prep!  We hope to see him again soon!

Outer Space week ended with a field trip to the Jersey City Fire Department located on the corner of Palisades Avenue and Congress Street.  This firehouse always puts on a great show for the PPA children but Friday’s trip was by far the best one yet!

Before heading out, the teachers reviewed some important fire safety tips and discussed the different gear that firefighters wear to protect themselves.  This knowledge came in handy later when the children had the opportunity to see the gear up close!  Upon the arrival of Park Prep, the loud speaker at the station boomed out a warm welcome for all the Park Prep Academy kids!  That was not the only thing that boomed over the loud speaker!  Within minutes of the children arriving, a fire alert went off and the firefighters had to head out on a call!

The children waved goodbye and continued on with their tour of the fire station.  Firefighter Mario Moody and his friends helped lift the children up to ride on the fire truck!

By the time each child had a turn to hop into the truck, the fire group that left earlier was back!  Fortunately, the call did not require much assistance and they were able to return in time for the field trip.

The firefighters spilled out of the fire truck and began showing the children all of the gear they wear, how they put it on, and also the reasons why they wear it.

They also demonstrated exactly how a firefighter would approach someone was who trapped in a fire.  Crawling on the ground, the firefighter approached the PPA children, all of whom are well-versed in firesafety.  Without reservation, the children greeted the firefighter warmly as they reached out to touch his jacket and hands.

The children learned firsthand that despite the strange-looking mask and loud air tank, the firefighter was very nice and definitely a helpful friend.

Next, the firefighters showed the children one of the most helpful pieces of equipment that they use when looking for people trapped in a fire.  An infrared thermal imaging camera helps firefighter see through smoky, fire-filled rooms by “highlighting” where a human body is based on the level of heat that a human body radiates.  If a room is full of fire, the temperature of that room is extremely high or hot (upwards of 1,000 degrees F).  A person that is trapped in a fire-filled room stands out in the camera because a human body is at a much cooler temperature (approximately 98 degrees F).  Look carefully to see the way the students’ bodies appeared on the screen of the camera while at the firehouse.

The firefighters informed the children that they would have a chance to spray the hose like a real firefighter.  Not surprisingly, this was a highlight of the day!

After everyone had taken a turn, the children thanked our favorite firefighter friends by presenting them with a very special Thank You card they had created.

Like their fellow serviceman, Officer Tosado the day before, the firefighters LOVED it!

The Captain said that he would keep the card prominently displayed in a special place at the firehouse to remind everyone why they work hard to do what they do each and every day.

The excitment continued as the firefighters presented the children with special gifts.

The children said their goodbyes and headed off back to school.  Thank you again to our favorite Jersey City Fire Department group. What a day!

Well, that is all for Outer Space Week.  As always, thank you for reading and we will see you next week!