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Solar System Week is Next!

Hello all,

Caterpillar and Butterfly Week has come and gone and boy, was it great!  Read on below to learn about all the fun that was had and learning that took place!

A staple of the Park Prep Academy Camp, Caterpillar and Butterfly Week kicked off with the arrival of two jars containing five caterpillars each.  Over the next few weeks, the students will observe the different ways that the caterpillars change.  With a little help from Eric Carle’s hit children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the students got a preview of the entire metamorphosis (or complete cycle of change).   They are so excited!

By week’s end, some of the caterpillars had made their way up to the top of the jars and began hanging upside down.  The students hypothesized (or guessed) why they might be doing this?  Were they sleeping up there like bats do inside caves?  Were they playing or hanging upside down like the students do at the playground on monkey bars?  Some of the older students suggested that the caterpillars were getting ready to go into their cocoons.  I guess the students will have to wait and see what happens next week and beyond!

For their morning craft on Monday, the students created their very own fuzzy caterpillar!  The teachers selected the most fuzzy craft material of all – Pom-Poms!  One by one, the students added the pom-poms to their craft stick to create their very own caterpillar!

For their craft on Tuesday, the students created the final and most eagerly anticipated stage of the butterfly metamorphosis.  Using assorted colored paints and thin paintbrushes, the students created beautiful and unique designs on what would late become their butterfly wings.

The students added eyeballs and a smile to a Popsicle stick to create the body of the butterfly.  One student commented that the caterpillar from Monday also was made using a Popsicle stick.  The teachers asked why the student thought that both the caterpillar and butterfly would have some parts that were similar.  The student thought about it and articulated beautifully that since a butterfly starts out as a caterpillar and then changes into a butterfly, there had to be some parts that stayed the same and some parts that change a bit.  The teachers were blown away by the students deep understanding of butterfly metamorphosis!

Here is Tuesday’s butterfly craft.

Wednesday was CrAzY hAt DaY and the students did not disappoint!

Take a peek at the CrAzY hAt DaY Parade that took place!

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Since the students would be heading to the Jersey City Firehouse on Thursday and seeing the Jersey City Police Officers on Friday, the students created special thank you cards on Wednesday to show their appreciation for the AMAZING July field trips!  Here is the card they created for the Firefighters of Jersey City!

On Thursday, the students headed off to their August Firehouse Field Trip!  The students trekked down to the local firehouse where they were warmly greeted by several firefighters.  The students impressed the firefighters by answering all of their questions correctly.  The first question was, “What do you do if there is a fire in your house?”  The students shouted, “Get Out and Stay Out!”  The next question was, “What do you do if there is fire on your clothes?”  The students again shouted, “Stop, Drop, and Roll!”  Next, the firefighter continued as he asked, “What’s my phone number?”  In unison, the students yelled, “9-1-1!”

The firefighters were clearly impressed.  Sensing some feelings of shyness, possibly even fear in the students’ eyes, the firefighter began dressing in his special and safe firefighting gear to help make one thing very clear – Firefighters are our friends!

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Watch below as the firefighter begins showing the students the various parts of his uniform while proving that Firefighters are just regular people dressed in special gear who are trained to help people who need help!  The students saw firsthand that there was nothing scary about that!  They even gave them hugs and high-fives!

The students then practiced how to Stop, Drop, and Roll with the firefighters!

After that, the students headed onto the fire engine!  They looked all around the inside of the truck then posed for photographs.

Just when the students thought the trip could not possibly get better, the firefighters brought out the fire hose!   Each student took a turn spraying the hose.

The spray felt so nice that one of the playful firefighters ran under the stream like a sprinkler at a water park!

What a silly firefighter!  But from the looks on the students’ faces, it was clear that he was not the only one having fun!

As the trip was wrapping up, the firefighters brought out someone REALLY special who helps not only firefighters but police officers and nearly every type of rescue worker too!  Meet Tug, a two-year old explosive-sniffing dog!

Tug came to firehouse today to meet the PPA students and show them how he works with the firefighters!  The students all wondered why a dog would have to work?  The teachers explained that sometimes animals can do things better than people!  For instance, animals like owls are able to see things much better than humans can in darkness.  This also is true for dogs and smell!  Tug’s strong sense of smell allows him to sniff things that are hidden, lost, or missing.  Just like the students, Tug had to go to school to learn how to be a sniffing dog.  With all the training he received, Tug can now help the firefighters find a person who may be trapped somewhere simply by sniffing!   Tug’s nose can also identify both large and tiny amounts of dangerous things including gas or materials.  With Tug’s help, the firefighters and other emergency workers can get to the person or the danger and save the day so that no one gets hurt!  Watch below as Tug and a firefighter do some practice sniffing for one of his training canisters!

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Tug continued to find all three canisters that were hidden around the practice area!  Way to go Tug!

Unfortunately, the time had come to say goodbye to the firefighters.  Before they did, the students presented the Firefighters with Wednesday’s Thank You card.  The firefighters were so appreciative of the students’ hard work but it was clear that the students were the most appreciative ones that day!

On Friday, the PPA students were paid a visit by their favorite Jersey City Police Officer, Officer Lorenzo Tosado!   The students welcomed Officer Tosado warmly into the classroom.

Officer Tosado began by asking a very important question – “Who knows what a stranger is?”  Hands flew into the air and the students quickly revealed that a stranger is someone that you do not know.  Officer Tosado then asked, “Am I a stranger?”  The students all shouted back, “Nooooo!”  Officer Tosado then said “Well, before I told you my name did you KNOW me?”  The students were a bit puzzled – the students had just met Officer Tosado, they did not really KNOW him.  Just as things were getting a little confusing, one student chimed up and said, “You can’t be a stranger because you are a police officer!”  Officer Tosado smiled as he explained that all community helpers like Police Officers, Firefighters, and Paramedics are not strangers because their job is to help everyone!

Officer Tosado then asked, “How can you tell that someone is a police officer?”  The students all shouted out answers including, “by their clothes” or “by the badge”.  They were absolutely right!  Police Officers all wear similar uniforms so people can identify (or find) them quickly!

Officer Tosado read a story to the students to help explain the Danger of Strangers!

Officer Tosado taught the students all about some of the tricky ways that strangers try to talk to children including offering kids candy or toys, letting kids play with an animal like a puppy, asking kids for help, or even trying to get kids to go somewhere with them.  Officer Tosado explained that the students should NEVER talk to strangers!  The students practiced what they should do if a stranger tries to talk to them.  Watch below to see what they learned!

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After discussing the dangers of strangers, the students learned that they would be receiving Jr. Jersey City Police Officer Badges for being such great listeners and promising to stay safe this summer!

Much to the enjoyment of the students Jr. Police Officers, Officer Tosado arrived at PPA in a JCPD van!  The students could barely contain themselves when they noticed the police van as the door opened.  In small groups, they headed outside and took turns “riding” the police van!

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After everyone had a turn “riding” in the van, Officer Tosado asked if anyone had any questions for him.  Officer Tosado answered EVERY single question that came up – including the ones about the tools on his belt!  Here he is showing off some of his Police Officer equipment.

Unfortunately, the time had come for the students to go eat their lunches.  This also meant that it was time to say “See you soon” to Officer Tosado.  Before he left, the students made sure to let him know that his Police Officer presence would still be felt after he left!

With a big “Thank You For Keeping Us Safe!” and some hugs, Officer Tosado left PPA and went back to his busy Police work.

The students later learned that their favorite police officer had left behind some special police goodies for them including a coloring book about Strangers, a police badge sticker, a “Play Safe, Stay Safe Club” Temporary Tattoo, and a Fingerprint America Child Identification Record for parents to fill out and save.  What an amazing day with an amazing police officer!

Well, that is all for Caterpillar and Butterfly Week!  What an amazing week it was!  As always, thank you for reading.  Have a fun and safe weekend!



Next Week is Solar System Week!

Monday– Craft Day!

Tuesday – CrAzY oUtFiT  dAy!

All students should wear a CrAzY oUtFiT to school today!

Wednesday – Craft Day!

Thursday – Paramedic “E.M.T. Tom” Visits PPA!

Friday – Newark Museum and Planetarium Bus Field Trip!

Parents welcome to attend this trip!

Click here to view all of the photographs from PPA Students Visit the JC Firehouse!

Click here to view all of the photographs from JC Police Officer Tosado’s Visit to PPA!