Hello and Welcome Back!  This Week in Our Room:  September 14-18, 2020

A very warm welcome back to school from your Ridgeview Kindergarten Teachers!

Christy and I are delighted to welcome all of our new Kindergarten children and their families to Ridgeview.  We have had an amazing first week of gradual entry for our students and they have been perfectly delightful and adorable all at the same time!

It’s been a long time since we have written our weekly newsletter and blog post.  We last posted just after we went to Remote Learning and decided to stop as we were in daily communication with our Kindergarten families and truly, we missed being able to talk about our children in person, and show their schoolwork.

But now we’re back so it’s time to get started again.  We will try to post weekly, or biweekly, as we adjust to our new normal back at school.  Cleaning protocols, a complete overhaul and re-organisation of school supplies and Centre Time, and thinking of new ways to make Kindergarten fun, thoughtful, intentional and sustainable in a COVID-19 aware learning environment is causing us a bit of a paradigm shift!  But it’s all good and we are so happy to be providing in-person instruction for our littlest learners.  The children are absolutely the best part of our day.

This week our primary focus has been getting to know the children, establishing classroom routines and going over the classroom rules and expectations.  Classroom routines are really important to us:  they give the children a sense of order and predictability so when they enter the classroom they know what to expect and what to do.  The children feel more confident knowing what is the expected behaviour in the classroom, not only for themselves but what is expected of their classmates.  In this way, we can kindly remind each other to be “our best self.”

We’re looking forward to meeting with you this week in our virtual Early Intake Conferences.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Remind:  we love to use Remind, the teacher app, so please make sure you have signed up to receive our text messages.  Depending upon your carrier, you may have to download the app, which we really recommend.

Early Intake Conferences:  if you have not emailed your teacher to confirm your time, please do so.

We are in session from 8:40-11:40 am from Monday to Thursday.  

Friday, September 25, is a Professional Day and school is not in session for the children.

Beginning Monday, September 28, Kindergarten will be in session from 8:40 am-2:40 pm.  Our children will require a morning snack, lunch and a non-spill reusable water bottle.

Happy Easter from Our Homes to Yours…April 6-9, 2020

This past week completes our first attempt at Teaching and Learning from Home.  Although it was something we had ever expected to put into place, we are so pleased to read the emails from our parents, and see the pictures of student work from our Kindergarten children.  We want to thank all of our Kindergarten parent community for working with us to support our young learners.

Today is Easter weekend and we wanted to wish all of our families a Happy Easter.  We wished so much to have been at school, having our traditional Kindergarten Easter with the children.  But seeing as we were not able to, and at a time such as this, our focus instead is on our families, that you (and we) are all together, healthy and safe.  With everyone staying at home, we’re finding there is return to more family time, more connecting, more reflection and an appreciation of, and gratitude for, the simple things.  

Spring is a season of renewal and change, a season of light and fresh blooms, new hopes and new beginnings.  Let us be hopeful in this time of uncertainty, and know we are all in this together.

 

Teaching and Learning from Home…From Our Homes to Yours:  March 30-April 3, 2020

When we said good-bye to our Kindergarten children at Spring Break, we knew there was uncertainty about when we would return to school.  But hopeful and ever-optimistic that we are, we thought perhaps we might all be able start together this past Monday. But over the past number of days, then weeks, with the steady cancellation of concerts, travel, professional sports, and provincial and national expectations to #stayhome #physicaldistance and #flattenthecurve, we now find ourselves in the unusual position of teaching remotely from home.

Mrs. Daudlin’s Learning Space

We count ourselves fortunate to be teaching and working in West Vancouver School District as communication has been excellent.  We have known exactly what’s been happening in our district through our district and school’s broadcast videos, Microsoft Team meetings and emails.  Because we are teachers with young children in our care, our concern is heightened for students and their families. We know and understand the importance of the daily routines for children and the structure and support that school provides for them.  And us.

So what is it like to be working from home?  Well, we’re kind of in the same position as most parents working from home (planning and tasks to be completed, virtual meetings and connecting with others) except that we don’t have young children living with us anymore.  Instead, our University-aged children arrived at the front door a week or two ago with all of their laundry, assignments, projects and up-coming exams. Universities have closed and our kids are also learning remotely. Good thing we never took over their empty bedrooms to turn into craft and wrapping rooms.  Suddenly, the kitchen is in operation 24/7 (lots of late night eating), the lights are on till late (watching Disney +) and the bathroom is really the last room left for privacy. And it is AWESOME that our kids are back. 

Mrs. Campbell’s learning space

For the first week of “school,” starting tomorrow, we’re going to be working on setting up personal learning spaces with our Kindergarten children, creating a homemade Math Their Way calendar and completing a few Easter activities.  In our emails with parents, “routines,” “guidance” and “independent work” emerged as common themes as ways for us to support them at home. We’ve decided to provide a weekly overview of learning activities, and also create daily schedules for families who want more structure.  We want to make learning available for our children but allow all families to take what works best for them during this time.  

Our parents have told us their children are missing us (very tearful for everyone) and their classroom and friends.  The children (and certainly all of us) want to know when will this all be over?  Although none of us have the answer to that question, actions we can all take are to keep washing our hands, stay at home, and stay connected with our friends and family virtually.  

To our dear Kindergarten children, we love you and we miss you so much.  Be kind to your family. We are all in this together.  

 

 

 

February Fun….This Week in Our Room:  February 18-21, 2020

We’ve had lots of little projects on the go so here’s a peek at each of them.

We’d like to follow-up our last post on “Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health.”  First, thank you for keeping your child home when they are not well. We know the children want to be at school but it’s more important to get healthy and be well-rested.  We’ve noticed a significant improvement in tissue use by the children for runny noses caused by the cold air after recess playtime. Thank you for tucking in a tissue or two into their pockets.  The children are very good at immediately disposing of their tissues. We’ve also been absolutely vigilant about handwashing, and essentially questioning all of the children each time they emerge from the bathrooms with “did you wash with hands with soap and water?”  Let’s continue to all be diligent and maintain the good health of our children and classrooms as we move towards Spring Break.

We’d like to thank the PAC for sponsoring the DuffleBag Theatre for coming to Ridgeview on Tuesday.  What a fun way to start the week! They performed “Peter Pan” and it was so much fun. Our children were a fantastic audience, clapping, cheering and laughing in all the right places!  It is truly our pleasure and delight to observe how well our classes remember expected behaviour during school assemblies.

We’re into the final third of the alphabet letters with the printing of the letter “s” this week.  We made these patterned snakes as our fun craft.  

As the year has progressed, we are reminding the children daily we are looking for their alphabet letters to be correctly formed (top to bottom, left to right), printed approximately the same size and shape, sitting on the line with tails (eg., g, p, q) hanging below the line.  Almost everybody is printing their names left to right with an uppercase letter to start followed by lowercase letters.  That is truly amazing and we are certainly very proud teachers.

Badminton officially finished for Mrs. Daudlin’s class on Wednesday.  We missed one lesson due to the snow days so it was terrific to squeeze in the last lesson, the same as the other Divisions.  Many thanks so Coach Anna Rice and all our parent helpers for teaching us!

We know we’ve come to the end of our beautiful winter art with the painting of the Snowy Owl.  We were inspired by Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and illustrations by John Schoenherr.  “Big painting” is a welcome alternative to always working on a small scale.  The children were delighted to be painting in their entire background, then the snowy owl with details.  We used three different size paintbrushes for the background, details and outlining (two in one lesson so you can imagine the switching around of brushes for an entire class), a first for the Kindergarten.  This lesson required a lot of technical skills (hold your paintbrush like a pencil; use your helping hand (non-writing hand) to steady your paper; load your brush with paint only part way up the bristles); keen observation, and active listening and thinking to follow the multi-step directions given by the teacher.  

We’re on our way with the Card Project, which is a fundraiser sponsored by the RPAC.  Our classes are currently in progress but we can promise you the children are working very hard.  Each class is creating some art to be turned into cards! These cards will be available for purchase by you with proceeds going to the PAC.  Thank you in advance for your support!

We had a fire drill practise on Thursday and we’re pleased to note how well the children listened and followed Mr. Zerbe’s instructions to line up quickly, stay quiet and follow their teacher to their assigned spots on the grass field.  We talked a lot about what the word “practise” meant and how important it is to review procedures so that you were ready for whatever happens.

We also wanted to thank you for the lovely cards, chocolates and treats for Valentine’s Day.  We hope the children loved opening their Valentine card holder bags.

Upcoming Dates and Reminders:

Monday, February 24:  we’re in the gym so please remember to have your runners at school.

Tuesday, February 25:  Library Book Exchange. Please return our book so you may take out a new one.

Please let us and the school office know if you are leaving early for Spring Break.

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.