February Fun and Festivities…This Week in Our Room: February 13-16, 2018

You won’t find any February blues around the Kindergarten because everything is all pink and purple, red and gold! We often find February to be a month of double celebrations, even double happiness when you consider that we celebrated Valentine’s Day and the start of Chinese New Year in three days. Yes, that might seem like a lot of activity but the Kindergarten loves a good party and we can keep up with the best of them.

For many children in our class, this was their first Valentine’s Day at school so it was a very exciting time of writing Valentine’s, selecting sweets and then placing them in our sweet cardholders.

We heard some very sweet stories about the Valentine’s cards from our families. The children were fascinated with the individual small cards, each one printed by hand, sometimes with help from a grown-up. They couldn’t believe everyone in the class would write a card for them. We think these heartfelt messages and acts of kindness are a gentle reminder to us as teachers and parents about actively teaching pro-social skills, helping the children to develop their social connections and relationships and modelling positive problem-solving strategies so everybody feels calm, comfortable and good about each other.

Thank you to our parent helpers who brought in the most delectable cupcakes and yummy fruit platters for a perfect Valentine’s snack.

We had a fun morning of food and Centres, and then we painted Valentine hearts using a mix of pink and purples with white to practise making and painting tints.

We had a lot of courage in painting the hearts because we had just come off a very successful completion of our owl paintings.

We all have our favourites, and we cannot stop painting these owlets every year! We have finally finished them and they are gorgeous! This is an amazing process for five year old children, an entire class, to all be painting at once. In a carpeted classroom, no less (my room).

First we do the backgrounds…

Followed by “snow” and outlining and painting in the owl…

Then the fun comes by adding to the paint palette and we paint in the eyes, beak and branch.

The final details in black paint and precious! As always, thank you to our inspiration, Deep Space Sparkle!

Chinese New Year

According to the Chinese zodiac this is the Year of the Dog. For people born in the Year of the Dog you have the traits of loyalty, honesty, leadership and hard-working. Well, our Mrs. Campbell is born in the Year of the Dog so this will be a very special year for her!

Christy and I would like to thank so very much our extraordinary parent volunteers who created an amazing Chinese New Year of the Dog celebration for staff and students. Many of the volunteers were Kindergarten parents and we thank you for coming out to support your children.

Our school entrance and hallways were beautifully adorned with decorations our parents brought back from China. Special wall hangings were created and shipped here to Canada for our school.

Inside the gym, the children were dazzled with the sights and sounds of an amazing festival. Red streamers and lanterns hung from the ceiling, colourful wall decorations were everywhere and seven stations provided lots of opportunities for the children to learn about the Chinese culture. There were Chinese painting and calligraphy, the Dragon Dance, games such as hoop rolling and jianzi and making Chinese knots. As each activity was completed, the children asked for a stamp on their stamp collection card.

The children received many trinkets, a bag and balloon, and a special red packet (which symbolises good luck) on the way back to their classroom.

As a final note on Chinese New Year we should have known there was something special going on. I’m born in the Year of the Dragon…and so are this year’s Kinder Cuties! People born in the Year of the Dragon are leaders, passionate about what we do, honest and proud. That’s a lot of personality for one classroom but we’re loving it!

We have a little book addition to our: Celebrating the Family: Kindergarten Social Studies post from a couple of years ago. We’re always searching for great new books to read to our children and that we can recommend for you as well.

Upcoming Events and Reminders
Library Book Exchange is Wednesday. Please remember to return your book to the class basket

Another exciting Grade 7 Popcorn Sale is in its way. This Friday popcorn will be on sale for $2 a bag. The Kindergarten always pre orders so send in $2 anytime this week and we will collect in and order the popcorn.

Sweet Things….This Week in Our Room: February 5-8, 2018

We might have only been at school for four days this week, but we had lots of sweet activities going on. It’s a really wonderful time to be teaching Kindergarten. Our children are changing and maturing. They are so much more at ease in the classroom, initiate many interesting conversations with us (“that might be something best to share just at home”) and are fully participating members of the Ridgeview student population.

We are now up to “r is a rainbow”! The rainbow is one of our favourite alphabet crafts. The children love to use felt pens and we get a chance to review the order of the rainbow colours, introduce “indigo” and “violet” and just enjoy their company as they are happily colouring.

It’s the beginning of the month so of course we had to make our self-portraits for February. We’re still using our same criteria (big, bright and beautiful) when creating beautiful art. The children are familiar with it and they know what they are working towards. Haven’t the children’s drawing and colouring skills improved this year? Looking back at their September work in our scrapbooks is an authentic and exciting way to see the true growth of our Kindergarten children this year. We can’t wait to show these to you your children’s scrapbooks during our Student Led Conferences in April.

We had a special Big Buddies class on Tuesday to make these gorgeous Valentine cardholders! We love the connection between the Big and Little Buddies. There is definitely a fondness between each pairing (or threesome as we have many more Big Buddies than Littles), and the excitement of our Grade 7s as “teachers” for their Kindergarten Buddy is evident. Of course our Kinders love the undivided attention they receive from their Buddy! It’s a really special and happy time for everybody.

We’ve been learning about the different kinds of families in our classrooms and we’ve been developing a lot of “family vocabulary” and what it all means. We had read the children some excerpts from Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder) earlier this year, and it was gratifying to see the children remember and make connections between what we might call our Mom and Dad to include “Ma” and “Pa,” besides Mother and Father. We have Grandparents, and in our class we call them Grandma, Nana, Grammy; and Grandpa and Poppa. We talked about “sons” and “daughters,” “nephews” and “nieces” and “aunts” and “uncles.” All in all, it’s wonderful for the children to be able to talk about their families and extended families, who is living in their home, the birth order of brothers and sisters and who has “just brothers” or “just sisters” or both or neither. Although this work is in progress (labeling still to be completed), look at these delightful family portraits from our young artists!

We had our own Olympic story this week as we saw more courage and determination in our children than we ever have at their first skating lesson. Our children were so organised with their skating gear, gloves and snacks…thank you to the Home Team (all of our parents) who were working hard behind the scenes. We watched our skaters, both experienced and new to skating, get on the ice with enthusiasm and a “can do” attitude which belies their young age and small stature. They may have fallen down many times on the ice, but they got right back up onto their skates. The children really pushed themselves hard to overcome any hesitations they might have had, and had fun doing it at the same time. Girls and Boys, you’ve made Team Canada proud.

Finally, we have to say a heartfelt good-bye to our wonderful Kindergarten lunch time and playground supervisor, Mrs. Tanya, as she leaves us at Ridgeview for another professional opportunity. Mrs. Tanya has worked with the Kindergarten for four years now, and come to know many of the children and their families. Her patience, kindness and gentle ways with the children are so treasured and she will be truly missed. We send her off with our love and best wishes!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

If your child had made Valentine’s Day cards for their classmates please bring them to school tomorrow or Wednesday. We will help them put their cards into the card holders during our morning Centre Time. The Kindergarten students are also welcome to wear red, pink, purple to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Wednesday.

Library Book Exchange is in Wednesday so please remember to return your book.

We are quite excited about the upcoming Chinese New Year Celebration on Friday, February 16th. The students will be visiting the gym to participate in a variety of activities. Students are encouraged to wear red and gold.

Last call for February Scholastic book orders.

January Rain Means Cosy Times in the Kindergarten…This Week in Our Room: January 29-February 2, 2018

Just when we thought the rain could not get any worse…then we saw this bit of sunshine in our cloakroom!  Wow…this is really impressive.  Your children must be keeping super neat bedrooms at home if they are doing this at school.  (Note:  this photo was not altered in any way.  Really!)

It might be rainy outside but we are doing our best to make sure everyone is warm and dry at school.

We’re keeping very cosy under our “q is for quilt” craft this week.


We finished our beautiful “Snowmen at Night” painting project, based on Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and pictures by Mark Buehner.  This was a three day activity that began with painting in the snowy backgrounds, then pastel drawing and sparkle mod podge for the snowman, and finally a tricky cutting out and gluing of the two pieces together.  The children did an amazing job with this multi-skill assignment.  Thanks always to Patti Palmer @Deep Space Sparkle for her amazing ideas!

The bad weather called for more painting to chase away the rain so we read Caldecott Winner The Snowy Owl by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr, turned on the Baroque music and started painting the backgrounds.  Next week we can show you the finished owls!  

More winter stories to warm our hearts in the Library with our Teacher-Librarian, Mrs. Kennedy.

For more cosy times, we saw our Big Buddies this week!  We’re starting our digital literacy project on Polar Animals.  We spent our first session researching penguins with our Buddies to record the facts for penguin appearance, habitat, food and life cycle.  As you can see, we are well on our way to gathering the information we need!  We hope to have our projects finished by Spring Break to show you at Student Led Conferences in April.

If you’ve come into school by the main entrance, you’ll notice the #choosekind bulletin board.  We’re focusing on a school wide Choose Kind Challenge throughout the month of February.  We’re keeping our eyes open for acts of kindness and filling up our kindness jar.  So far in Kindergarten we’ve seen:

-a child picking up coats from the floor and hanging them up in the cloakroom

-helping a friend tie their shoe, open their snack or zip up their coat

-a child gently guiding a classmate back into line

-children being mindful and demonstrating patience with each other

-letting a friend take a turn first

If everyone could be as caring, empathic and thoughtful as a Kindergarten child, then we are very fortunate indeed.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library is Wednesday. Please remember to return your book for book exchange.

February Homework Calendars went home this week. Please return your January Homework Calendar to the classroom for a winter sticker.

February Scholastic Book Orders were sent home this week. Please return order forms by Thursday, February 8.

Our first skating trip will be Wednesday, February 7th. We will leave promptly at 9:15 so please have your child to school on time. Students will need to bring their own skates and helmets if they are not renting. They will also need snow pants, warm gloves and a warm jacket. A fleece hoodie over a long sleeve t shirt is also a good option as it lets them move more freely. We will send out more information Monday. We will also need each child’s shoe size for the rentals.

We start a new round of Special Helper and Sharing next week. Our sharing theme is Family. We are asking each child to bring in a photo of their family that we will display.  The photos will be returned.  We would also like the children to share three things their family likes to do together. You could help your child write them down on a piece of paper the three things and bring it in along with their photo.  More information is posted on the parent board.