Kindergarten Mask Etiquette 101: This Week in Our Room: October 13-16, 2020

Now that we have settled into the classroom routines, and falling into a rhythm of our Kindergarten day, it’s time to return to talking about the COVID health and safety protocols.

As your Kindergarten teachers, we are very careful in the classroom with handwashing, hand sanitizing, cleaning the tables, individual Kindergarten school supplies per child and resources and Centres on a 3 day rotation to help reduce the spread of germs.  We usually follow most of these practises, COVID or not.

Today, we want to talk about mask hygiene and etiquette for our Kindergarten classes.  For the protection of the children, and the teachers who come into contact with our students who are wearing masks, please go over the following points with your child:

-ensure the mask fits properly, over the chin and nose – the mask must be worn over the nose, not beneath, to be worn correctly

-reusable masks should be washed daily 

-disposal masks are a one-time use and should be replaced daily – please remember to cut the ear straps before disposal as small animals can get trapped in the straps in the landfill

-do not touch the mask – this is becoming a problem in both classrooms; the children cannot touch their mask.  When we see them do this, they are asked to wash their hands again.

-do not pull down the mask to talk to another student, the teacher, or to cough

-if your child is going to wear a mask, our expectation is that the mask would be worn for the day and taken off only to eat at snack and recess; not on and off whenever they choose

-when the mask is removed for eating, it should be placed in your child’s lunchbox, not on the table.  We have addressed this every day with the children.  The masks cannot be left on the tables while eating.

We are working very hard every day to keep our children, the classroom, hallways and school safe.  It’s important to remember that each of us has a responsibility to keeping our Kindergarten community, and each learning cohort (each Division) safe and healthy.  We are really proud of the Kindergarten children and how they have been flexible, resilient and compliant with the myriad of healthy and safety protocols.  Let’s keep working together because we are all in this together.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

These rainy days are hard when the children have to get themselves ready to go outside to play.  We are helping as much as we can while wearing our masks due to close proximity; but there are a few things you can practise at home to help increase your child’s independence.

-practising the snaps of the raincoats – very tricky because the snaps are stiff

-practising how to zip up your coat

-pulling sleeves out when you take off your coat – makes it easier to get ready for the next playtime recess and allows the raincoat to dry properly

-running shoes for classroom use and rainboots for outside – please do not send your child to school in a hybrid “shoe/boot” and not plan for them to change.  Students must change their shoes on a rain day and have some kind of indoor shoe to wear.

The children notice the number of woodchips accumulating on our classroom carpet when other students do not change their shoes – and no one likes sitting on a dirty carpet.

If you have not yet paid your school fees, please do so.  You’ll need to access School Cash online which was linked within the September school ebulletins.

If you have not yet signed off on the 2020-2021 Policy and Procedures Form, go to our Ridgeview website, then to “Parents” and then “Forms.” It’s located there.  This should be done ASAP.

Sharing and Special Helper begins tomorrow!

Friday, October 23, is a Professional Day.  Students are not in session.

September Wrap-Up: This Week in Our Room: September 28-October 2, 2020

It was a full week with the Kindergarten here all day, everyday  And we’d have to say the Kindergarten was pretty awesome as they persevered through a week filled with activity.

The week started with a long wait to get our photos taken, but the children were very excited to see the gym where the photos were being taken.  They waited quite calmly and were able to see lots of other classes as they were coming through.  The children were pleased to finally walk up the big staircases to the main floor, our classrooms being downstairs.

We usually complete our Alphabet work a letter per week, but we always take a little more time at the beginning of the year.  The children completed their Itchy’s Alphabet A page and “a is an Apple” craft.  The children will complete a craft for each alphabet letter.  These little crafts will look fantastic in a long line in your child’s room, or the kitchen, where the children can see it and say the alphabet names and sounds.

During Math, we’ve been using a variety of concrete materials to explore. We know the children need time to explore and play with the math manipulatives before starting to use them intentionally for patterning, developing number sense and counting.  The children did a great job of using the pattern blocks, wooden blocks, multi-links, beads and connectors. 

The children have enjoyed their Music teacher, Mrs. Soderling, who is teaching them new songs and dances.

This week was our first Library Class Book Exchange with Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian.  The children will get a new book every two weeks and they must bring back their Library Book to get a new one.  We are very strict about that rule, so we recommend bringing back the book well in advance of the due date.

Our Ice-Cream Social was delicious and enjoyed by all!

We sent home the following note today:

Today your child is bringing home two reusable face masks provided for them by the West Vancouver School District.

Please label your child’s mask as each child has exactly the same one.  Students are encouraged to have a mask with them at school during the day and to wear it if they feel comfortable doing so.

Upcoming Events and Reminders:

Early Dismissal on Wednesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 8 next week.  School will dismiss at 12:50 pm.  Grades 1-7 will have their Parent Teacher Conferences.
Thanksgiving Day on Monday, October 12 is a holiday.  All schools will be closed.

First Week Together:  This Week in Our Room:  September 21-24, 2020

We had a lot of fun together this week, bringing all of our children together.  For the first hour of the day, they were very quiet, looking at each other and trying to process who all these new children were in their classroom!  But by the end of the morning, and certainly by the end of this week, the children were finding new friends, continuing to settle into their routine and enjoying being part of “the big school.”

The main routine we are working on is Centre Time where we have two “shifts” of play time.  Centre Time is essential for the children as it’s their opportunity to play, to use the social language of play, to practise the skills of sharing and cooperation and to enjoy the friendship of their classmates.  We see the children using their creativity to colour, draw and build whether they are drawing a picture of themselves or using Lego bricks to make a tower.  We observe them work through social situations in the House Corner that they might be thinking about, during sustained, imaginary play.  And we listen to their use of oral language to ask for a specific toy or spot to sit – the children are very familiar with, and use phrases like “be nice,” “take turns,” “make it fair” and “share with your friend,” so not only are they well-versed in UN diplomacy and negotiation, we think the future looks very bright.

The other part of our Centre Time routine is the regular hand washing or hand sanitising we do “between” play shifts (in addition to before and after eating and after outside play).  The children have adapted to their routine very quickly and everyone remembers to come over for a “hand sani.”

This week we started with the literacy instruction of the Alphabet.  Although many children are familiar with their letters, our main focus for the next 26 + weeks will be on developing the children’s phonological awareness, or their ability to attend to the sound structure of language.  When children have strong phonological awareness, they understand language is made up of sounds (phonemic awareness), syllables, rhymes and words.  While we do not teach the children to read per se, in Kindergarten, we are, as with self-regulation, working on establishing a firm foundation upon which to build an understanding of language and love of literacy (reading and writing).  

We have written an extensive blog post on our perspective of a balanced approach to reading instruction and phonological awareness which you can read here.

We also teach the formation of the printed letters for both uppercase and lowercase, and strongly encourage the children to begin printing their names in upper and lowercase letters as they learn each one.  We usually average one letter a week; however, as we are just getting started, you’ll notice that it’s about two weeks.  We send home a completed printing sheet and our delightful alphabet craft, so as soon as yours comes home, you know we have moved onto the next letter.  

Upcoming Events and Reminder

It’s a big week, everybody.  But at least the weather is calling for sun.

Monday, September 28:  Photo Day for Individual Pictures.

Tuesday, September 29:  Terry Fox Day.  We will be running a lap around the field (runners are a must) with Mrs. Campbell’s class.  We will be mindful of social distancing as we complete our run.  Our school goal is to add up all of the laps the students run, and see how many marathons we will have completed.  Please wear red and white, to celebrate Terry and our country’s colours, on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 1:  Fire Drill.  We will explain the fire drill procedure to the children before the actual event on Thursday.  We will reassure the children and explain it’s like an earthquake drill, it’s just for practise so we know what to do in case of a real emergency.  The bell will be loud, but the children should not really cover their ears in an emergency situation:  they must be able to hear the teacher at all times.  The children will line up and follow us across the playground and we walk down the stairs to the grass field where we line up by Division number (we are the last two Divisions).  The most important thing we emphasise is no talking so students can hear the teachers, and to walk for everyone’s safety.  This is one of the many times where we can observe the children’s growth in their self-regulation.  We will do better as a class if everyone is calm and focused on the teacher at all times.

We have traditionally held Ridgeview’s Ice Cream Social in early September as a mixer for parents and students following a Meet My Teacher event.  However, as we are unable to have parents in our school building during this time, we still wanted to do something special for the children, so the Ice Cream Social will go ahead on Thursday.  The children will be given individually wrapped ice-cream sandwiches as they leave the classroom and can enjoy them with their parents after school.  

*students attending Camp Ridgeview will eat their ice-cream at after school care; we will send their treat along with them

Classroom Schedules:  Finalised at last!

Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell):

Monday:  Music, PE

Tuesday:  Music

Friday:  Library 

Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin):

Monday:  Music, PE

Thursday:  Music

Friday:  Library 

 

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.