Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health…This Week In Our Room:  February 3-7, 2020

This weekend we are re-posting one of most popular blog posts ever.   Cold and flu season is here. We have had teachers, office staff, Educational Assistants and students all away.  Some of these folks have been away for five days, an entire week of school, and are still not feeling 100% when they return; that’s how bad this flu has been.  

We’ve been teaching long enough to know when sick children are coming to school.  It’s more than just having an “off day.” We know because the first thing some of the children say to us when they walk in the classroom is, “I feel sick.”  If we’re quick enough to find out that your child had a fever the night before, or threw up, we’re going to ask you to come back to the classroom to take your little one home.  Please do not leave a sick child with us in the hopes he or she will feel better “once they get to school.”

We’re here to remind you that we take sickness very seriously at school.  We have to because there are so many students, their siblings, parents and grandparents who can be affected.  Not to mention the teaching staff and all of their families. We simply are unable to look after sick children here at school.  We all have our teaching or office responsibilities so we really do not have extra adults to sit with a sick child. Besides, your children would really prefer to be at home, in their own bed, with you to look after them.  We know it’s inconvenient taking a day or more off from work to be at home, but the health of the children has to come first.

It goes without saying that a classroom is a hotbed for germs; nobody wants to talk about it but it’s true.  In Kindergarten, we share all of our school supplies. Germs move around from pencils to crayons to felt pens to gluesticks to scissors – just like that.  We all share math manipulatives, building blocks, dollhouse figures and puzzle pieces. That’s why we have such a huge emphasis on self-care, particularly handwashing before students eat and after using the bathroom; and noseblowing with a tissue, not picking noses or wiping noses on sleeves.  We’re reminding the children daily not to touch their faces, or put their fingers into their noses or mouths.  Good health and social habits start at a very young age and must be continually reinforced by parents.

Parents are the adults who make the responsible decision if their children are healthy enough to attend school, or not.  If your child has vomited, had diarrhea or a fever, your child needs to be at least 24 hours symptom free before returning to school.  That means for a full 24-day your child has not vomited, has not had diarrhea and has not had a fever.  No child wants to vomit at school, it is horribly embarrassing for your child and very difficult to deal with for the rest of the class.  Even a “little fever” is still cause for being cautious.  

Your child should, and must, stay at home to rest and make a full recovery.  We ask you to do this out of respect for the health of the Kindergarten classrooms, the teaching staff and the wider school community.

We know your child wants to come back to school and may appear ready.  But the expectations of following classroom rules; the pro-social demands of self-regulation and cooperating and sharing with peers; and the academic requirements are more than they can handle when they are not feeling healthy.  Allow your child the time to get back to feeling they are ready to face a busy day of school, with patience, resilience, stamina and energy for learning, getting along with friends and playing outdoors. Not one of us is able to enjoy being at school or work when we are not feeling at our best.  You know when your child is not well and it is our responsibility as parents to intervene and insist they take the extra day to rest. 

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, continues to be one of the most read posts ever at theselfregulatedteacher.com.  You can read our original post here.

 

Lunar New Year Fun…This Week in Our Room:  January 27-31, 2020

We had a very productive week finishing up a variety of activities.

The children were very pleased with their “p is a pig” craft.  We will send those home next week.

In Math, we continue our work with developing number sense.  The children love using the WorkJob red game boxes with counters and numerals to create sets.  We’ve incorporated this activity into our Centre rotations during Math time. You can read more about WorkJobs and the work we’ve done in Math Their Way, a child-centred, play-based Mathematics program.  Christy and I have both completed the Math Their Way program for teachers’ professional development.

We had our Lunar New Year lunch tasting on Wednesday.  Thank you again to the many parent chefs and volunteers who made this special event possible.  We were delighted with the adventurous eating by the Kindergarten, and the number of children who wanted second helpings!  The children received these shiny red envelopes with strawberry candies at the end of the day from our parent helpers.  

We finished some of our beautiful artwork and crafts this week.  

These Winter landscapes show perspective for “here, near and there.”  We painted and colour mixed the backgrounds, free hand cut the trees and used pastels to draw in the trunks and branches.  Very impressive for Kindergarten!

 

Here are our colourful dragon masks.

Our pretty Chinese banners with special symbols.

We’ve read a variety of fun and interesting stories to fit with our theme.  We really enjoyed the fairy tales with a twist, and how wonderful it was for us to hear some of the children share with us their knowledge of the traditional fairy tales.

Image from Google

Our favourite story is Lon Po Po by Ed Young.  It is a delightful retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.  For our literary response, the children drew the characters and setting in pastel, and then we will give it a watercolour wash next week.  The paintings will be cut into panels and mounted before we display them for you to see.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We will have a small Valentine’s Party on Thursday, February 13.  The children will be making their Valentine card holders in class.  If your child would like to bring Valentine cards for the class, we will have a class list of names available for you this upcoming week.  Please ensure there is a card for each and every child so everyone is included. The teachers will help the children distribute the cards during class time from February 10-13.

Library Day is Tuesday!  Please remember to bring your Library Books.

Special Event:  we will have an in-school presentation from the Vancouver Planetarium for each class this week!  Mrs. Daudlin’s class will attend on Thursday, and Mrs. Campbell’s class will attend on Friday.

This and That Highlights Edition:  This Week in Our Room: January 20-23, 2020

We couldn’t decide on a title for this week’s newsletter.  We’ve been unbelievably busy going here and there, doing this and that and finishing up our bits and pieces.  But we absolutely accomplished a lot, we can promise you that.

So we’re just going to focus on the highlights of the week:

Alphabet:  This week was printing of the letter “o,” which, the teachers have decided, needs more work in the coming weeks.  Many of our children have a habit of starting from the bottom and forming the letter clockwise. Actually, we start at the top and our pencil moves counter-clockwise, “around and close.”  We will continue to develop mindfulness in printing the “o” and work on improving letter formation next week.

Good thing we had these cutie-pie “O is an octopus” alphabet crafts to complement our printing.


Math Centre Rotations:  The primary focus during the second term for Kindergarten mathematics is on number sense.  Although many of the children are very skilled in rote number counting, we are developing their sense of number through subitizing (recognizing “how many” in a set eg., dot patterns on a dice); part-whole relationships (the number of objects remains the same even if arranged differently); creating and counting (one-to-one correspondence) sets of objects; partitioning (breaking down numbers into units which are easier to manage such as 5s and 10s; and cardinality (the actual count or number of items in a set)

Badminton:  We had the most wonderful instruction from our wonderful coach, former two-time Olympian Anna Rice.  The children learned so much about badminton basics (equipment, stance, racquet grip, shuttle hold) while incorporating physical literacy skills.  Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell) has finished all four of their lessons; Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin) will have their final lesson (due to the snow day) on February 19.

Lunar New Year Celebration:  Gung Hay Fat Choy! It’s the Year of the Rat and we celebrated with some amazing learning centres in our Ridgeview Library last Wednesday.  Many, many thanks to the numerous parent volunteers who created the five centres (candy making, make and take dumplings, Chinese symbol window decorations, Chinese brush painting and the traditional game of Touhu).  We created a lot of fun memories and the children enjoyed all of their take home goodies.

Winter Art:  We’ve been making lots of winter themed art and we’d have to say, it’s almost as much as playing in the snow!  We made the most adorable snowglobes, and we are mid-way through finishing our winter landscapes. We’ll have more to share with you next week!

Upcoming Events and Reminders
Lunar New Year in the Kindergarten.  All this week we will be celebrating Lunar New Year with a set of on-going crafts and colouring pages during Centre Time.  It’s going to be a fun and colourful time!

On Wednesday, we have asked the Kindergarten parents in our Chinese community to bring some food to school for a fun tasting of noodles, dumplings, oranges and fortune cookies for our children.  We’re going to begin around 11:30 in Mrs. Daudlin’s classroom.  

Children should bring a small plate or bowl so we can serve them a few food items to try; we will provide forks and chopsticks.  We understand some children may be reluctant to taste some new foods and that’s ok if they just want to have an orange slice and a cookie.  This is meant to be a fun time to celebrate the new year and enjoy the company of our friends.

Tuesday is Library Book Exchange.

The weather seems temperamental again this week so raincoats, rainboots and an extra pair of pants and socks are a good idea to have on hand.

 

Snow Day!  This Week in Our Room:  January 13-17, 2020

Snow was our watch word all week and we certainly had a #snowmageddon here on the Westcoast, and indeed, through much of BC.  The snow was a delight for the Kindergarten. They really enjoyed their time to play, at home and school, in the snow. There was a lot of snowman building on the playground and we were delighted to see the Kindergarten children working together on a common goal.

One of the things that became quite noticeable this week is the level of independence the children need to be to be dressed appropriately for the snow weather.  There is only one teacher for a Kindergarten classroom. The children learned quickly to put on their snowpants first, followed by ski jacket, snow boots, hat and finally, waterproof gloves or mittens.  They’ve discovered that pulling on their gloves first is not conducive to putting on their jacket, and doing up their zipper; and boots before snowpants just doesn’t work.  

You can support your child by allowing them to dress themselves at home, and getting ready to go outside.  We know it takes time and practise, and we’ve been through it ourselves with our own children and many classes of Kindergarten children.  With only one teacher assigned to a classroom full of children; it’s impossible to help each and every child at the same time. Fortunately, Kindergarteners usually figure out it’s faster to just do things for themselves (get their own crayons, put on their shoes, open their own food containers, put on and zip up their jackets) instead of waiting around for the teacher.  

Our job as parents (and teachers) is to teach independence so our children can practise self-care, learn, work, play, make and sustain friendships and manage on their own.  Every time we give our children the gift of independence, we are giving them skills for life.   

Part of the fun of winter is indoor activity, so we’ve started badminton with former two time Canadian Olympian, Anna Rice.  Coach Anna has taught badminton to all of our Ridgeview students over the past few years and we are so fortunate to have her at our school again.  The Kindergarten is starting with the basics, learning badminton terminology (shuttle, cork, feathers; racquet, grip, body, neck, head) and how to hold the shuttle and throw underhand over the net — all of this in just our first lesson!  Coach Anna is emphasising the physical literacy skills with our children and teaching them an appreciation for the world’s fastest sport!

Back in the classroom, our week was somewhat disjointed but we carried on with our alphabet work (“n is the night sky”) and play based activities for developing number sense in Math.  We’ve also been reading some wonderful stories about winter, including the classic, Sadie’s Snowman by Allen Morgan (illustrated by Brenda Clark) and Charlie and Lola’s Snow is My Favorite and My Best by Lauren Child.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, January 20 is Badminton for both K classes.  Children must wear running shoes.

Tuesday, January 21 is Library Book Exchange for both k classes.  Please return your book so you can borrow a new one. Tuesday is Badminton for Mrs. Campbell’s class so please wear runners to school. 

Wednesday, January 22 is our school Lunar New Year (Year of the Rat) Celebration).  Our children will be participating in a variety of stations set up for us in the Library.  Many thanks to our parent volunteers who create these special events for us and for the beautiful lantern decorations throughout the school.

Thursday, January 23 is Badminton for Mrs. Daudlin’s class.

Friday, January 24 is a Professional Development Day for teachers.  School is not in session for students.

 

Happy New Year!  This Week in Our Room:  January 6-10, 2019

Happy New Year and welcome back to Kindergarten!  We’ve had a strong start following our routine to school.  The children have done well settling back into the routines, and they’ve remembered quite well the expectations for self-regulated listening and behaviour.  We’re so proud of them and it is wonderful to see how much they’ve grown in only two weeks.  

We got right down to business on Monday morning with our Alphabet work on the letter “m.”  The children are working hard on their printing, especially following the correct formation for printing the letters.  This is very important because in the next year or two, speed will also become necessary in printing. We’re not worried about that yet…rather, our priority is taking the time to lay a strong foundation for correct letter formation which will contribute to increased speed, in addition to the correct shape, size and spacing between letters and words.

After much anticipation through the week, we finally got to make our “m is a mouse” craft.

We’ve been blending three sounds into words (CVC – consonant, vowel, consonant) as part of our phonological awareness to train the ear to listen for the sounds, the sequence of the sounds and manipulate the sounds to say and read words.  For example, b-a-t is bat. We can manipulate the “b” to a “c” and say c-a-t- is cat. (Remember, we’re saying the sounds, not the letter names).

A fun way to practise is to say rhyming word families:  bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, vat.  

Manipulate the “a” to “e” and you can say:

Bet, get, jet, let, met, net, set, vet

We had lots of fun with our District Physical Literacy teachers on Tuesday.  The children participated in a variety of circuit training stations using small equipment.  They listened very well and participated fully in the different activities.

It’s the start of a new month so we drew our January self-portraits.  They might look chilly, but each drawing is warm with love!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

The big news for next week is the weather.  It’s going to be cold. The children should all have waterproof mittens or gloves they can put on themselves.  They are managing their boots, rain pants and jackets to the best of their ability. Some children still find zippers and snaps challenging but they are persevering.  We are teaching them to pull out the sleeves from their wet jackets to dry properly between the morning and lunch recess.

We’re playing badminton now (Mrs. Campbell’s class started on Friday) in PE so students must have running shoes to wear in the gym.  Crocs, slippers, dress shoes and fashion boots are not suitable footwear for PE. Please keep a pair of runners at school all the time.

Library books should be returned for Tuesday.  

 

A Time for Giving…This Week in Our Room:  December 9-13, 2019

The weather outside this week was indeed frightful, but inside was so delightful with our Christmas Elves and Reindeer we could not help having fun, fun, fun.  

There was a lot of rain this week, never mind the utter deluge that poured upon the Kindergarten on Thursday.  Coats, boots and extra clothes are certainly getting a workout. We’re anticipating more rain this week so please check in with your child regarding that extra set of dry clothes and changes of socks.  We’ve noticed the children want to change their socks more than anything else when they get wet.

This week was our week of giving…our first give was our wonderful Christmas Concert for our families.  The children looked charming in their holiday best clothing and sparkled with their tinsel garlands. They had a chance to use their self-regulation strategies of deep breathing and calming countdowns to help maintain their focus on their job (performing) and remain quiet behind the stage.  We were pleased to note that the children quickly engaged with our leading them and it made a noticeable difference as we saw all eyes on Mrs. Soderling and much improved singing over the two shows.

Our next give was our annual Christmas Party for the children, The Reindeer Games.  Thank you to all of our parent helpers for supervising our tiny Reindeer in their Christmas crafts and activities:  Reindeer Food, Reindeer Colouring Books, Jingle Bell Bracelets, Reindeer Gift Bags and Christmas Playdough. The children wore their bracelets home, but we will send home their colouring books, reindeer food and gift bags in the upcoming days.  We have one more special Christmas craft to make and package up in the gift bags.

Our last give this week were the beautiful Candy Bags we made with the donated Hallowe’en candy from November.  Every class in our school met with their Big Buddy class and put together these sweet treats for the Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House.  We’ve talked quite a bit about giving to those less fortunate than ourselves and the importance of being generous.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

This will be a quiet week in our classrooms.  We’re finishing up some Christmas writing and math activities and as we’ve already mentioned, we have another special craft to make.  Our schedule will return to normal with Library on Tuesday, and Music class in the portable on Tuesday and Friday.

Friday, December 20, is the last day of school before the holidays.  Please note we are dismissing at 2 pm.

 

Jingle All the Way…This Week in Our Room:  December 2-6, 2019

Our train to Christmas Town has left the station and we have been busy as Santa’s Elves getting our classrooms ready, practising for the Christmas Concert and just being all round jolly and happy.

We’re really looking towards working on our self-regulation these days, and no more than the Christmas Concert.  We had reminded the children that there is a lot of standing around and waiting patiently for our turn to perform, and using our eyes and ears to notice our social situation (rehearsing for the Concert) is essential.  On Thursday, our classes made their teachers so proud with their excellent attention to Mrs. Soderling in watching for their cues to step onto the stage, find their spots and sing like angels. You are in for a musical treat!  You’ll notice we are using our self-regulation strategies of deep, focused breathing and calming countdown when we are away from our classrooms, to calm our bodies so we are ready to listen and learn. We tell the children that their breath is their friend, and it can really help them to relax and centre themselves, something we all need during this busy season.

We’ve been getting our classrooms ready for Christmas.  Our Angel Christmas Tree hangers are hanging from the ceiling.  We love the sunlight flashing off the streamers.

Our December self-portraits are on display now.

We met with our Big Buddies to make a fun reindeer craft.

The children are very much enjoying looking at Christmas picture books by the Christmas tree.  

We’re already into the chocolate Santas and Snowmen in the Advent Calendar.

We’re having lots of fun with Christmas music.  We often play “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (the Michael Buble version) for our clean-up song, listen to trumpet player Chris Botti’s “The First Noel” or “The Christmas Song” for meditation and feel the Christmas vibe of music ranging from The Carpenters (we date ourselves) to Glee.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

This is going to be a very busy week, so early bedtimes, regular meals and lots of fresh air are some of our suggestions as we look at a fun, but unregulated few days.

Monday, December 9:  Christmas Concert dress rehearsal – our children DO NOT need to wear their Christmas best.  Please save it for Tuesday and Wednesday. We will wear the Christmas crowns we’ve made at school.

Tuesday, December 10:  All children perform in the first of two Concerts this week so even if you are not attending, we need all the Kindergarten voices.

Children should arrive at school in their Christmas best.  If they have a thin shirt to put over top to get them through pass recess and lunch eating that is great.  Then we can help them remove that shirt and they are good to go on stage.

Parents:  you will want to arrive by 12:30 as parking will be crowded and the line-ups will be long to get a seat in the gym.  Please bring your tickets with you as they will be collected at the door. A non-perishable donation to the food bank is appreciated.

Wednesday, December 11:  same as Tuesday.

Thursday, December 12:  Eat, Play, Rest.  The Kindergarten recovers from our two shows.

Friday, December 13:  in the morning, we will have our annual Christmas party for the Kindergarten, the Reindeer Games.  Children can show their Christmas spirit and wear Christmas themed shirts, their Christmas crowns, fun Christmas jewelry (Mrs. Daudlin) or their pyjamas, if they wish.  Please keep in mind that if your child is wearing pyjamas, they should wear something warm underneath, plus their heavy jackets, as it’s cold during playtime.

During the afternoon, we are working with Buddy Classes and creating Christmas Cracker Treat Bags to give to the Covenant House and the Union Gospel Mission to support their Christmas dinners for those in need.  Then, we will gather for a school assembly in the gym to celebrate the accomplishments of the first term at school.