The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Kindergarten Curriculum Night

on September 26, 2015

Our school’s Curriculum Night was held this past Wednesday.  We usually begin with the Principal’s Talk and then classroom teachers have two 15 minute sessions, to accommodate parents with more than one child in the school, to learn more about their child’s classroom routines and curriculum.

However, we have found since teaching Kindergarten, that 15 minutes is not enough time to say everything that needs to be said!  Particularly for families new to our school, and for first time Kindergarten parents, there is an plethora of information about the classroom and the school.

For the past few years we have held one Kindergarten parent session and it runs for about 30 minutes.  We invite all K parents, from both classes, to one of our rooms and talk to everyone.  That way we can ensure parents are hearing exactly the same information and questions and concerns can be discussed by all the teachers.  We run our session before the Principal’s Talk so all Kindergarten parents are able to attend.  At this time we also give out our jointly prepared curriculum overview.

For the first time ever we used Haiku Deck, a presentation app, for our talk; it was recommended to us by our School District Innovation Support Teacher, Cari Wilson @kayakcari.  After a few false starts, we found it to be very easy, and enjoyable, to use.  We loved the variety of options we had for images, layout and text.

Here is an abbreviated version of our Kindergarten Curriculum Night presentation, September 23, 2015. This year we also welcome our friend and colleague, Charity Cantlie, to our Kindergarten teaching team!

IMG_1857Kindergarten Curriculum Night.  We are really enjoying teaching our classes this year.  The children are settling in well and adjusting to their new teachers and the classroom routines and expectations.  You may find your child is tired at the end of the day and that is for good reason, because they are all working extremely hard.  By the time Thanksgiving arrives, we will all begin to notice remarkable changes in their maturity, and their ability to self-regulate and manage their day.  We remind ourselves every day to be very patient as they make this important transition to being a full-day student.

IMG_8257Pick-up and Drop-off Routines.  The Kindergarten day begins at 8:50.  Please encourage your child to line up and wait quietly by the classroom door. The teachers will open the door at 8:50 am. The children can independently hang up their coats and backpacks. A quick kiss and a goodbye at the door and a prompt exit really helps reduce any separation issues and allows us to start our day on time.

“O Canada” is sung by our entire school population promptly at 8:55 am.  If you are dropping off at that time, please assist your children by encouraging them to come in silently and limit conversation in the cloakroom or hallway.

If you arrive after 9:00 am and the attendance has been sent up to the office, your child is considered late. You will need to walk up to the office with your child, sign in, and then bring him or her back to class. You must also sign your child out at the office if you need to pick up early.

Your children should know each day how they are getting home.  Sometimes they tell us they don’t know who is picking them up, or wonder if they are going to the after school care centre.  We always reassure the children that we will look after them, but they will feel more secure and confident throughout the day knowing who will be there to greet them at 3:00 pm.

At dismissal, we make sure we see a parent or caregiver before we dismiss your child. If there is a change in pick up, such as with another child’s family, please let us know.  If your plans change at the last minute please call the school office, not another parent in the class.  Our school office will communicate your message directly to us.  We are able to release your child to another parent only with your permission.

IMG_1859Snack and Lunch Routines.  The children should use a lunch kit to bring their food to school.  It’s very awkward for them to be taking numerous containers and a water bottle out from their backpack and juggle them into the classroom.  Their lunch kit then goes into their backpack, which is also used to hold their weekly library book, notices and artwork for home.

We have snack twice a day.  We eat morning snack at 10:20-10:40 am, when the rest of the school is having outside recess time.  Our Kindergarten classes go out for recess from 10:40-11 am, and the children are supervised by playground supervisors as that is when the teachers take their break.  Our second snack time is around 2:40-2:50 pm, after our afternoon outside recess.

You might consider placing the morning and afternoon snacks in separate ziplocs or label the snacks to make it easier for your child.  Please tell your children what bag or container is for snack, and which one is for lunch, because sometimes they do get confused as they are still very young.

Please send a water bottle that is non-spill and refillable.  We are allowed to use the hallway water bottle refill so the children can drink fresh, filtered water.  We encourage you just to send water, rather than juice, as it’s healthier and part of our healthy eating philosophy

Lunch begins at 12:00 pm and the children have about 25 minutes to eat. Currently they are supervised by a lunchtime teaching assistant and Grade 7 monitors.

We encourage your children to eat but we cannot make them eat and finish their lunches.  We always send home the uneaten food so you are able to see what your child is eating on a daily basis.  Have a discussion with your children about what they like to eat, and have them help you to choose what goes in their snacks and lunches.

We’ve had many parents ask about the Hot Lunch Program.  In the next few days there should be news.  We ask that you do not use the Hot Lunch Program as an opportunity for your child to try new foods here at school.  If you are going to make some selections, please continue to send some snacks and a lunch from home until it’s certain that your child will eat the preordered food.  It creates a difficult situation when your child will not eat their Hot Lunch and there is no other alternative in their lunch bag.  Please send your child’s water bottle everyday, even if he or she orders lunch and drinks.

IMG_1867Pack In/Pack Out.  We call our waste management system at “Pack In/Pack Out.”  Children can bring a ziploc bag to collect their organic garbage and packaging waste to take home.  Many children simply put the garbage in their lunch bag which they seem to be comfortable doing.


IMG_1861Self-Regulation
.  Self-regulation is the foundation of our Kindergarten program.  One of our primary roles is to be a model of self-regulation.  Our ability to stay calm and focused, and to regulate and articulate our own emotional state, means we are better able we are to assist your children with regulating their optimal state.  Your child’s optimal state is one that is calm, focused and relaxed — ready to learn.

We are teaching our children to be aware of, and understand, their energy, emotions and feelings.  They are learning that different situations require different responses depending upon the context of the current social situation.  We practise “up-regulating” our energy if we’re feeling tired during a lesson; and “down-regulating” our excitement if we’re returning to our classroom after PE or being outside.

We’ve made many references to the Zones of Regulation and no doubt you have heard them already at home.

When we’re in the green zone we are feeling calm, focused, relaxed and ready to learn.

When we’re in the yellow zone we are scared, excited, frustrated or getting carried away.

When we’re in the red zone we are feeling very frustrated, angry and our body is out of control.

When we’re in the blue zone we are feeling sad, tired or sleepy.

We actively refer to the zones throughout the day, to describe how we are feeling, what we observe about the energy in the classroom or where we should be for a specific activity and what should we do to get there–up-regulate or down-regulate.

We practise a variety of self-regulation strategies in class, including calming countdowns, deep breathing and listening to quiet music.  We use self-regulation tools such as the breathing ball and Zenergy chime to teach and practise those strategies.

You might consider creating an area for self-regulation for your family in your own home.  Taking that time for a “self-regulatory moment” is very healthy, leaving one feeling refreshed for the next part of the day.

IMG_1862Self-Care.  The children are managing their washroom situations, which is washrooms located  in Division 15’s classroom, and the children in Division 16’s class use the hallway washrooms.  We’re very diligent about hand washing and we try to check in with the children as they are returning from the washrooms.

We do remind the children at every break opportunity to use the washroom, but many of them are so excited to go outside or they don’t want to miss anything in class so they try to wait.  This is an important discussion for you to have with your child.

In the case of a bathroom accident, your child should have an extra set of clothes to leave at school in a small shopping bag to hang on his or her hook.  It’s a good idea in the event of rain or puddles or muddy spills to have clothes here.

When Should I Keep My Sick Child at Home from School?  We have found over the years, that even though a child is not feeling well, he or she still wants to come to school.  However, your sick child does not have the patience or energy to deal with the demands of the school day, friendship issues or school work expectations.  For the mutual benefit of the children, the children’s families and our teaching staff, a sick child needs to stay at home.

We spoke with Vancouver Coastal Health as they developed their new poster “When Should I Keep My Sick Child Home for School?” when we were writing our blog post, Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, this past January.  Please keep your children home from school if they have are vomiting, have a fever or diarrhea.  This includes known communicable diseases such as pink eye, chicken pox, strep throat, measles or an undiagnosed rash.

If your children have a very runny nose they cannot manage independently, or a bad chesty cough, those might also be reasons for them to stay at home.  We understand fully as working parents ourselves that it is not always convenient to take a day off from work to stay home with your sick child; however, we are unable to look after a sick child at school, nor are we able keep sick children inside during the playtime breaks.  A child who has taken a day or two to rest and get well at home is going to be back to health faster and be more able to fight a future illness.

If your child is sick, we ask you to call the school call back line each day your child is away.

IMG_1863Remind.  This year we will be using “Remind,” a communication system to keep you informed through text messages or email.  Please subscribe if you have not yet already done so, and remember that this code is for parents and caregivers only.  Please feel free to come and see us about your child at any time during the year.  We are usually available for a quick chat after school.  If you would like to speak with us and need a longer time, please arrange a meeting time with us. We will often call parents in at 3 pm if we need to share something with your briefly  or talk about your child’s day

theselfregulatedteacher.com. We also author theselfregulatedteacher.com, our Kindergarten website for keeping our class parents informed.  We post twice a week; we will send you a link through “Remind” so you can see what we’re learning and thinking about in Kindergarten.

IMG_1864 (1)

Email.  You can also email us should you wish to contact us.  If your child is in Division 15, please copy your emails to both teachers.

On Thursdays our school issues the weekly ebulletin.  Please speak to our Administrative Assistant if you are not receiving these newsletters.  They contain important reminders and updates for our school, and community news as well.  They are a great way to stay connected with

Thank you very much for coming out this evening!  We’re looking forward to great year of fun and learning with your children.

This Week in Our Room:  September 21-24, 2015

Thank you for attending our Curriculum Night.  We have now sent home our curriculum overviews with all students.

We finished our first Alphabet Letter!  We’ll be sending home an alphabet page and craft every week.  Our children are also working in their beautiful Alphabet Books which will be a special keepsake from Kindergarten.

We started Patterning this week in our Math groups.  September’s pattern is AB.  You can ask your child to create some AB patterns for you using simple object at home, or look for them in the natural environment.

Next Wednesday, September 30, is our annual Terry Fox Run/Walk.  Our children will run or walk on the school field with their Grade 7 Buddies. Show your Ridgeview spirit by wearing red and white!  We are collecting donations for the Terry Fox Foundation.  Our school goal this year is $2000.

Remember to return your Homework Calendar this week for a sticker!

A reminder that it is Early Dismissal for all students on Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 for Parent-Teacher Intake Interviews for Grades 1-7.

 



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