Kindergarten Routines and Self-Regulation:  This Week in Our Room: September 9-13, 2019

Thank you to everyone for attending our Open House and coming to “Meet My Teacher.”  Mrs. Campbell and I were delighted to have met so many parents and grandparents, and for you all to get a glimpse into Kindergarten Life.

For your enjoyment, here’s one of our most popular posts, A Day in the Life of Kindergarten.  It will give you further insight into what your child will be learning and thinking about during this very special year.

We’ve come to the end of our Gradual Entry this week.  The children have learned about classroom Routines, (Self) Regulation and we’ve started some Language and Literacy activities, beginning with Alphabet work.  

Routines

One of the first routines we’ve taught is Listen with My Whole Body.  We have practised this routines several times a day as a whole class since school started, and are now using a self-regulated learning chart with picture cues for reference during meeting time and instruction.  

Eye contact with your child is extremely important.  We’re teaching the children that what they are looking at tells us what they are thinking about…if your children are making eye contact with us when we are speaking, we know they are thinking about us and what we are saying.  If your children are looking at the pictures in the book we are reading, we know they are thinking about the story. Using their eyes to observe their teachers, or checking to see what the other children are doing (peer referencing) is a necessary and vital part of learning.

Self-Regulation

From the name of our website, you’ve probably surmised that self-regulation is a large part of our teaching practise; indeed, it’s the lens by which we view all student behaviour and it is the foundation of everything we do in Kindergarten.  We introduced the “breathing ball” this week (it’s actually called Hoberman’s Sphere) and we use it as a tool to teach the children to use deep, slow breathing as a strategy to help them down-regulate from our fun and exciting recess time (yellow zone) so they are feeling calm, peaceful, focused and ready to learn (green zone).

Literacy

This week we started with reviewing the alphabet letters and introducing “a is an apple,” from Itchy’s Alphabet.  We’re teaching letter names, letter sounds and the correct formation of each letter. We add a little alphabet craft for each letter we teach; each week we will send the letters home. and these can be collected and hung up at home for your own alphabet wall.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Kindergarten is now in session full-time.

First bell:  8:50 – children should enter their classroom/school building calmly and walking.  

10:20-10:40 – Kindergarten children eat their snack

10:40-11:05 – Kindergarten children morning recess time (on their own with playground supervisors)

12:00-12:20 – Lunch (although we allow the children to eat until 12:30 with our Grade 7 monitors)

12:30-1:00 – Kindergarten children lunch recess time (from 12:45-1 pm on their own with playground supervisors)

2:55 Dismissal

As we move forward with our full days, the children need 1-2 snacks, lunch and a water bottle everyday.  You can help your child by labelling and showing them what they should eat for morning snack and lunch; many children wanted to eat their lunch at recess time.  The children have about 15 minutes to eat their snack, and 20-25 minutes for lunch so please plan appropriately.

We are not using the hallway water fountains currently; it’s more hygenic for the Kindergarten children to use their own water bottles (not all students know how to use a water fountain correctly), and the teachers or monitors will refill their water from the water bottle filler which has filtered water.

Thursday, September 19 Terry Fox Kick-Off Assembly for students

Friday, September 20 is a Professional Day.  Students are not in session.

Thursday, September 26 Terry Fox Run (all students wear Canada’s flag colours, red and white, please).  More details to follow.

A New Kindergarten Year:  This Week in Our Room: September 4-6, 2019

During a week of glorious sunshine, we began a new school year with our Kindergarten children.  We’ve really enjoyed meeting our Kinder Cuties, and considering it’s the first time they’ve been to school, they have settled in beautifully to their new classrooms and become familiar with their new teachers and classmates.  Gradual Entry is a gift of time so no one needs to feel rushed. We’re on an exciting, magical journey of learning and laughter, surrounded by the love and support of each other, and taking as much time as we need.

Right now we’re in the middle of Gradual Entry, where our children have been attending Kindergarten for two hours a day this first week of school.  We have about half of the class in the morning and the other half in the afternoon; we’re a mix of genders, language and abilities learning together.  The past three days have been focused on creating a calm and peaceful classroom environment, classroom routines and expectations. We’re already introducing the language of self-regulation with our children, going outside to play and met the many teachers who will become an important part of our school life.

Starting on Monday, the children will be able to meet everyone in their class and we know this will be a very joyful experience as there are lots of preschool friends who want to see each other.

Here’s what you need to know for next week:

Monday, September 9:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-12 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids) and a healthy snack.  Kindergarten dismisses promptly at 12 pm so we can commence with the first interview for 12:10 pm.

Tuesday, September 10:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-12 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids) and a healthy snack.  Kindergarten dismisses promptly at 12 pm so we can commence with the first interview for 12:10 pm.

Wednesday, September 11:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-12 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids) and a healthy snack.  Kindergarten dismisses promptly at 12 pm so we can attend the Kindergarten Teachers’ Professional Afternoon which starts at 12:15 pm.

Thursday, September 12:  Here we go!  Our first full day…Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-2:55 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids), lunch and two healthy snacks.  It’s going to be a long day for our Littles so let’s try to remember they are just in Kindergarten.

Friday, September 13:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-2 pm to “Meet My Teacher.”  You will be able to come into the classroom and your children can show you around  The children probably need just their water, lunch and one morning snack as they can attend the ice-Cream Social immediately following your classroom visit.   Please note:  you can “Meet My Principal,” Mr. Warren Zerbe, in the gym at 1:45 pm.

Notes to You:

We have incorporated many forms of parent communication into our Kindergarten program so that you are always in “the know.”  

-please sign up for Remind if you have not already done so – we will send you text messages with updates, reminders and the link to our website, theselfregulatedteacher.com where the weekly newsletter will be posted sometime over the weekend (occasionally a Monday depending upon what happened on the weekend)

-our website, theselfregulatedteacher.com, contains our archived newsletters over the past five years, and lots of articles about our current thinking about Kindergarten:  it’s a wealth of information for you and your family. Please take the time to read through some of our blog posts – we’ve tried to make them fun and informative (like a blog should be) and we work hard to stay away from “edu-speak” and jargon so you can just enjoy reading about what your child is learning at school.

-we’re happy to meet with you any time, but it’s best to ask us (send a note or email) for an appointment.  We are unable to have any in-depth conversation with you at drop-off.  Our focus is always on calmly bringing into the classroom, and following the classroom routines at the start of the day.  Please recognise that you ask us for “just a minute,” realistically, it’s going to take much longer and that time takes away from settling the children so let’s meet to talk that’s mutually agreeable.

This week we asked you to:

-sign-up for Remind, the teacher app to receive text messages about our class

-sign-up for a Parent-Teacher Conference on Monday or Tuesday next week

-think about the questions on the Kindergarten Gradual Entry Developmental Questionnaire (yellow sheet) to discuss at our conference

-review your Student Verification Forms to return next week

-post the Kindergarten Homework Calendar (blue sheet) on the fridge and help your child to complete the daily activities (this is optional, but fun)

 

A Place Called Kindergarten

June 2019

To Our Dear Kindergarten Children,

We are nearing the end of our Kindergarten year and we find ourselves thinking about you and everything that made our year together special, unique and really “us.”

As you were drawing and writing your June Self-Reflections, we were reflecting on the first day Kindergarten, and the many days that have followed.  We met you at the door each morning:  sometimes you came in with a story to share, sometimes with tears as you say good-bye to your parent, sometimes just with a smile and a big “good morning.”  But you always come inside the classroom, and you stay.  So that got us to thinking… what is this place we call Kindergarten?

Kindergarten is a place we know is safe.  Adults call it “predictability,” but in Kindergarten it means you could always count on the classroom to be the same each and every day, and just knowing that made you feel safe.  Your teachers, your classmates, your toys, blocks and art materials.  You always knew how things were going to be:  You knew our expectations and love for you would be steadfast and sure, no matter what.  

Kindergarten is a place that echoes with our laughter.  We’ve seen your wonderful sense of humour developing over this past year.  We’ve had some pretty awesome jokes, laughter and lots of winking!  Thank you for laughing with us during Storytime with our many character voices.   We love your giggling as you’re making coffee and breakfast pizza for the teachers in the House Corner.  How fun is it to get carried away with laughter because your teacher is laughing at her own jokes?

Kindergarten is a place inspired by your curiosity and wonder.  Boys and Girls, you are a very curious group of children!  Oh my goodness, we must have dozens of wonderful questions everyday!  Each time we brought out a new exploration you gathered around filled with questions and speculations about what we might do.  Our Mystery Box Inquiry, when you were developing your questioning skills, was a very exciting growing time for your brain as you were learning how to ask questions.

Kindergarten is a place rich in language and literature.  This has been one of the best years ever in the appreciation of a good book.  We have never had such an enthralled audience vie for the front of the carpet whenever we had a story to read aloud. We’re also proud to say, we’ve had more books brought in for “your choice” Sharing than ever before.  We’ve tried to read to you only the very, very best in children’s stories to build a solid foundation in all things literary.

Kindergarten is a place surrounded by love.  We have seen your love and affection for your friends.  We know you hold the hand of your classmates to bring comfort.  We see you walk the long upstairs hallway to get ice and a bandaid for a friend who got a bump.  The love in your eyes for your Big Buddies as you handed them a flower at their Promotion Ceremony speaks to your deep attachment for one another.

We have loved being your Kindergarten teachers this year, teachers who helped you to find out about yourselves as learners, teachers who led you to new discoveries and teachers who inspired you to dream that anything is possible.  You’re going to Grade One now, but we will always be here looking out for you.  You’re our Kindergarten children, and we love you very much.

We wish you a happy, wonderful, safe summer filled with sunshine and fun, your family and friends and lots of good books!  You’re in our hearts, forever and always,

Love, your Kindergarten Teachers

 

Where We Say Good-Bye to Kindergarten and to Mrs. Brady…This Week in Our Room: June 24-27, 2019 Our final recap for the last week of school…

We had so much fun at our Kindergarten Fun Day last Monday.  The children were almost giddy with excitement as they blew bubbles, played with sand, measured and poured water at the water table, and created sea creature crafts and pictures.  

Thank you so much to our parents who brought in the delicious watermelon and scooped ice-cream!  It’s been awhile since Christy and I have had to wipe tiny faces from ice-cream on cheeks and noses!  It was all very cute.

We continued our Beach theme with Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle and a Deep Space Sparkle art project – we each made a seahorse!  The children are amazingly skilled at cutting using a template and we tissued, mod podged and glittered them to completion.

Wednesday afternoon was a presentation from Life Saving Society Water Wise.  There were four main points for your consideration:

Prepare It

-prepare by checking the weather to see if it’s a good time to be going out in a boat, the lake, beach or in an outdoor pool

-prepare by putting on sunscreen and showing your sun safety:  slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and sunglasses and slop on some sunscreen

-prepare by making a trip plan (who, what, when, where)

-prepare by bringing a whistle — 3 whistle blasts means I need help

Wear It

-wear a life jacket -whenever it’s cold, dark, deep and wavy

-wear a life jacket that fits properly and is suitable for the activity you are doing.  It should be in bright colours and have flotation in the front so you can float on your back.

Know It

-know how deep the water is and what is down below– look before you leap

-know that you should swim with a buddy, not an adult who is watching you from their deck chair or poolside, but somebody who can already swim, is older and in the water right beside you, preferably in a lifeguard supervised area

-know that you can call for help, throw a noodle or floatation device, or reach for someone using an oar or paddle (caution:  Kindergarten children are too light to probably do this)

Share It – share what you know with others!

We sent home the Edu-Pac school supplies for Grade One if you ordered them.  If you left school early, your school supplies are being held in the school office which you may pick up in the last week of August.  Please check the school website for our office hours.

Here’s a message for you from our Grade One Teachers:

Please label the following supplies with your child’s name or initials:

-pencil crayons (each one, just not the box)

-felt pens (each one)

-pencil boxes

-scissors

-pencil sharpeners

Please do not label these supplies:

-notebooks, duotangs, glue, pencils, erasers

On Thursday morning, we gathered one final time as a school community for our beloved Principal, friend and mentor, Mrs. Brady, as she prepares to retire at the end of this school year.  As you remember, we collected $2 from each student to contribute to Mrs. Brady’s gift from the children and staff.  We decided to purchase a Pandora charm bracelet, with a special charm from each grade.

The Kindergarten chose the Fairy Tale Princess charm.  Two children from our classes presented the charm and here’s what they said:

The Kindergarten classes chose this Royal charm to represent our love of fairy tales and all things sparkling and magical.  You are our Queen!

This is the last newsletter for our Kindergarten year.  We want to thank all of our Kindergarten families for their love and support through the year.  We hope you will drop by and visit us from time to time as you pass through the hallways and doors to Grade One!  Have a happy, safe summer!

Big Buddy Grade Seven Promotion Ceremony

Image from Google

It occurred to me this weekend that we do not have a child graduating this year.

I’ve been pretty busy until the last two school years with teaching Kindergarten, layered with a busy home life of my own with children going to school, performing in the Fine Arts and playing sports. I was in a non-stop graduation mindset for 24 months.  My daughter graduated from high school in 2016, then Christy and I had the double whammy of her daughter and my son graduating in 2017.  THAT was a very busy year.  There’s a lot of shopping for special occasion clothing, driving kids around for graduation events and watching them fill out University and mandatory (in our minds) Scholarship Applications (yes, it’s a lot of work but there is scholarship money available for students if they are willing to put in the effort).  

I can put it all behind me now until University graduation.  This year no one from my home is graduating.  Christy has a year of reprieve until her youngest graduates next year so for now we’re breathing a big sigh of relief.

But, we do have our Kindergarten children’s participation in the Grade 7 Promotion Ceremony to look forward to on Friday, June 21.  

So you are not rushed this week, here are our expectations for Kindergarten attire for the big event:

Girls– dress or skirt and top, dress shoes or sandals (no flip-flops)

Boys– a button-up shirt with a collar and tie or bowtie if you have these items(please do not go out and buy them), pants or shorts (not athletic wear), dress shoes or cleaned up runners.

At this time, we are still trying to fix the exact time our children will be walking the Grade 7s down the aisle.  We know for sure it will be in the morning, around 11:30 am.  You are welcome to come and watch and shed a few years with us as we realize how quickly this magical year has gone by.   We suggest you arrive for 11:20 am and wait for us in the hallway to pass you. Then follow us in.  As soon as more details are shared with us, we will inform you.

 

Starting Over with Self-Regulation: This Week in Our Room: June 10-14, 2019

We spent the week adjusting and regulating ourselves after the excitement of last week’s Sports Day, and changes to our classroom schedule over the last number of weeks.  We are reviewing the structures we’ve had in place since September so that the children are cognizant of the behavioural expectations as we move into the final weeks of Kindergarten.  Now, more than ever, there is a need for self-regulation as these sunny days, late nights and a myriad of evening activities have entered our calendar.  As you can tell, it’s still “business as usual” in the Kindergarten.  We will be working and playing hard right up until the last day of school.

We’ve been over the classroom routines, and focused on what does listening look like?  How do we listen with our whole body?

-eyes on the teacher

-ears are listening to the teacher

-hands and feet are still

-mouths are quiet

Something to consider and talk about at home is direct eye contact.  Who or what we are looking at is what we are thinking about.  So when the teachers ask your child to look at them, we want them to look at us.  Not around the classroom, playing with a shoe or trying to get another child’s attention.  This is especially important during instruction as nobody wants to miss the teacher’s directions for an activity.

We’re going to catch up on some work that was not complete from earlier.  So you’ll notice Math upages for 8, 9 and 10 are coming home.

We have some special art projects we’ll be working on to finish our scrapbooks.  We’ll let you know if the children need to wear play clothes to school because we’re going to be messy.

It was a tiny bit of a flurry this week as wrapped up (literally) our gifts for Father’s Day.  But what fun we had in preparing this very special gift for the Dads, Papas and Poppas in our lives.  We hope you like it.  Please ask your child to tell you a little bit about the process!  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

This coming week is the last week for Home Readers.  We need to count up our books and put them away for the summer.  All books should be returned by Monday, June 24.

Monday, June 17 is the Primary Talent Show.  We have some Kindergarten Performers this year!

Friday, June 21 is the Grade 7 Promotion Ceremony and our children will be presenting flowers to their Buddies and walking them down the aisle.  We always dress up for this occasion.  We expect to be “on” around 11:30 am.  You are welcome to wait for us in the hallway and follow us in so you can see your child at this very special event.  Please watch for the next newsletter on Sunday.

Monday, June 24 is our Kindergarten Fun Day!  We have a “beach” theme (we don’t actually go to the beach), but we will bring out bubbles, our water table, outdoor toys and we’ll be eating ice-cream cones for a fun treat!  If we could please ask one parent from each class to slice up a watermelon for us, then the children could have some fresh fruit as well.  Please let us know if you can help!

 

Sports Day 2019 and our Weekly Wrap-Up: This Week in Our Room: June 3-7, 2019

It was the age old question we address almost every year on Sports Day…will we have to hold Sports Day indoors because of the weather?

Thankfully, the sun smiled upon us and we were able to enjoy a very fun and pleasant day outside for Sports Day 2019.  And our Kindergarten had a marvelous time!

Our Grade 6 Leaders did a fantastic job looking after our children, ensuring they stayed with the group, helping them where needed for the relays and making sure everybody had fun.

The children participated in a myriad of relays, from dressing up to filling up buckets with water, the “over under” ball game and the perennial crowd favourite, the Tug of War.  We know that because we had a shortened Sports Day not all of the Kindergarten were able to participate in the Tug of War, but we have it on good authority that our Grade 7 Buddies are going to set-up that activity again for us so everyone will get a chance to pull the rope.

After a delicious snack of donuts and watermelon, the Kindergarten returned to their classrooms to eat again, followed by Centres and face painting.  It was very satisfying day.

It was a big week at school because not only was it Sports Day, but it was the last day for our UBC Teacher Candidates.

We would like to say Congratulations to Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang as they have now finished their extended school practicums.  We wish them the very best in all their future endeavours!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday is Library Day.  All books are due to the Library tomorrow for summer inventory so please have a good look around at home for any outstanding books.

Home Readers can be returned tomorrow for exchange.

We will be going outside whenever good weather permits so please ensure your child always has runners at school.

Save the Date:  Friday, June 21 is the Grade 7 Promotion Ceremony.  Kindergarten children will be participating as we walk our Grade 7 Big Buddies down the aisle as the prepare to leave Ridgeview for high school.  We will be sending out further information about this special day.

Save the Date:  Monday, June 24 is a Kindergarten Fun Day.  We will have lots of fun summer Centres outdoors for the two classes!