Guide on the Side October 26, 2021


  • October 28th– Harvest Festival 5:30PM
  • November 6th– Helping Hands Work Day 10 AM
  • November 11th– School Closed, Veterans Day
  • November 17th– SMFA Meeting at 7 PM
  • November 19th– Parent Social Night

Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival is almost here! This Thursday, October 28th from 5:30-7:30 we will be celebrating fall, and a bit of halloween at SMMS.

Any parents wanting to help set up please come at 5PM.

We anticipate powering through our muddy weather. The rain forecast is stopped for Thursday, so we hope we will stay dry from above. With all of the most recent rain, it does mean that our yard will be quite muddy. We anticipate that adults and children will all want to wear boots if possible.

We are so excited to be able to get together this year for Harvest Fest for our kiddos. Families will be invited to bring and set up a table that they may decorate for trick-or-treating. Families may choose to hand out candy or treats of their choosing, though snacks will be provided. 

PLEASE NOTE: while many children will be in Halloween costumes, this is not a requirement! Additionally, please also be aware that children of all ages will be in attendance. Please keep all costumes and table themes age appropriate. 

For planning purposes for those gathering treats or items we anticipate roughly 55 adults and children in attendance.

Parent Social Night

Attention SMMS Parents!

Please save the date for a Parent Social night on Friday, November 19th

Details are forthcoming but the plan is for the staff to host students (and siblings) at the school for a “campout” while parents meet in East Aurora (location TBD) to mingle. We hope you’ll plan to attend – watch for updates in the coming weeks. This event will be approximately 5-7PM, more details will be out shortly.

Classroom Consequences and Discipline

Discipline isn’t something that is done to the child, it is something that is developed within them. Natural and Logical consequences build resilient children.

Natural Consequences: Whatever happens naturally as a result of someones action (or inaction). They are not imposed by an adult, the just naturally occur. A great example of this is if your child decides to not wear a coat and it is wet or chilly outside, they will feel wet or cold. If they do not eat, they will become hungry. 

Natural Consequences leave little to control expect for the person they occur to, however they are the most effective teacher! Children learn best through a learned experience, yes even our littlest Toddlers. Learning that you are cold without a jacket makes them more likely to want to wear the jacket in the future, by reminding them of the experience of when they were cold.

These natural consequences are often called “control of error” when we talk about our classroom work. When a child works with pouring water, spilling it or getting it on their bodies teaches children that we need to have a more careful pour. This prompts them to refine their skills. If they are carrying a tray, and all the items fall out, they will learn to carry it more evenly. This is all one without adult interference, they are naturally occurring consequences.

There are of course times that natural consequences should not be used like in dangerous situations, or when the natural consequence actually encourages the child to repeat the behavior or is a long term item. For instance a child who eats a lot of candy, the immediate natural consequence is a yummy snack, but the long term natural consequence may be some trips to the dentist.

Logical Consequences: These are consequences that are implemented by an adult, and are directly related to a child. A great example of a logical consequence in our classroom is that if a makes a spill, they then are reminded to clean it up. While the spill occurring is a natural consequence to be more careful, the logical consequence on top of it is that its their responsibility to clean up their mess.

The hardest part for some with logical consequences is to make sure the intention and structure is not a punishment, but rather a learning opportunity related to the behavior that happened. The goal isn’t to punish the child, but to give them an opportunity to correct an error.

A big goal with logical consequences is knowing what is or isn’t developmentally appropriate. We wouldn’t expect our toddler students to pick up every piece of a 100 part puzzle they spilled, they would need help or guidance. We would expect that from the same scenario with most Elementary students. 

These two types of consequences are very empowering for children. They are in control and get valuable learning opportunities. These take a lot of time and patience, and practice for us adults. It can be difficult, but the studies show that these two types of discipline and consequences are the most effective long term!

Outdoor Play and Weather Appropriate Gear

The winter weather is almost here. We are at the time of year that we layer, layer, layer! We never know what it will actually feel like outside. We have our school mud suits, fleece and boots. These items will be kept at school and used when the weather calls for it. On very cold days, before true snow gear is needed, you may want to send a jacket, hat and waterproof gloves to the school as well. It never hurts to send extras! We will encourage them to wear these items for outdoor play depending on the weather for the day. As always with Buffalo weather some days you will need them and some days you will not.

While we encourage the use of all of the outdoor gear, we do give students autonomy when it is safe to do so. This means that some students may not want to wear gloves and would prefer to play in the mud or snow without them. We monitor them and the weather to ensure that they are exploring the muck, mud, snow and cold safely. They may also not want to wear their jacket or sweater on days that it is safe to do so, or when waiting for a parent at the end of their day. We allow the students to use their discretion (remember natural consequences from above) on how comfortable they feel as long as it is safe to do so.

We use information from many scientific sources to guide our outdoor policies. This ensures proper safety, while still allowing students to be in control of their clothing choices as long as it is deemed safe by staff. 

Many studies have proven the benefits of outside play in all weather conditions. Often times with forest and nature schools there can be worry about hypothermia, pneumonia, frost bite, sunburn, and bug bites. Since we do go out in all weather, rain, cold or shine. All of our staff are trained in CPR and First Aid, and trained to recognize and treat those listed above. 

It may surprise many to find out that neither cold weather nor wet weather can cause you to catch pneumonia. Pneumonia is caused by a bacteria or virus, not from being wet or cold. The time of year it is rainy and cold is often the time that viruses and bacterias are spread more easily. We can safely play in the wet and cold weather without a concern.

Below are a few charts that we refer to in regards to child safety and outdoor play.

This first chart is a UV chart, this indicates the UV radiation levels of the sun and suggested gear. At SMMS we put on sunscreen if UV is above a 3, and if UV is above a 9 we stay inside during those times. The UV levels change throughout the day and throughout the seasons, not necessarily only on sunny days. We constantly monitor these levels during outdoor play.

This chart from the national weather service indicates the time and temperatures for frost bite. It is important to notice that we do not go outside if the weather is below 0 degree wind chill. This means that even with exposed skin, we are not at risk of frost bite at SMMS.

This chart is from a Canadian company so the degrees are in Celsius. Please note the conversion here: 20C= 68F,  10C=50F,  0C=32F,  -10C=14F,  -20C=-4F. We use this Canadian chart as some of the other charts that are available often indicate that we should wear winter gear at 50 degrees. We feel this chart is a little more true to the hardiness that we have here in Buffalo to the winter elements. We don’t use this chart as a steadfast rule on what to wear and use other guiding factors including wind chill, heat from the sun and how the children feel. It is a great guidance if you are interested in knowing how to layer your child, and what gear they will probably wear that day during outdoor play.