Well, the past two weeks have been a bit discombobulating since our last newsletter. A lot has happened so let’s have a quick review of where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to.
Monday, February 11 started off innocently enough, but then the snow came that night, which was immediately followed by a Snow Day! We know this was a very exciting day for our little ones as we do not often get a lot of snow in the Vancouver area. And we were happy to extend their playtimes back at school the next day so the children could run in the deeper snow on the field, roll snowballs, make snow angels and climb on top of the huge snowballs made by the Intermediate students. For some of the children, we know this fun time with friends in the snow might be remembered as one of the best days of the year!
No sooner did we get the snow jackets, gloves, mittens and boots sorted out then it was Valentine’s Day! What a very special day for our children, many of whom had not experienced the giving and receiving of Valentine cards, sweets and mementos. We were touched by the many hand-made Valentines and hand-written cards from the children. The children loved dropping their Valentines in the card holder bags and it was fun for them to peek inside and see how full their own bags were becoming.
We would also like to thank all of you for our own sweet Valentine’s. While the chocolates and gifts are so thoughtful and appreciated, we also love to look at the dear little cards and see how the children’s printing has changed over the year. Card writing is a wonderful, purposeful writing activity that we hope you continue with your family over the years.
In between all of this winter excitement we somehow finished our printing of the letter Q while continuing to work on developing number sense in Math. We introduced a new activity, “bean spills,” with double sided counters to explore the possible number combinations we could make to 4. We’ll be using this strategy again with other numbers.
We also finished our pastel watercolour resist paintings of Lon Po Po by Ed Young, which are absolutely spectacular. In these paintings we focused on the setting of the story. The children did an amazing job drawing with pastels and they very much enjoyed using tempera paint pucks for the watercolour wash. We’ve cut and mounted the paintings in panel style which is a traditional Chinese art form.
Well, we’ve made it to the Family Day weekend and where were we? Christy and I were in San Francisco attending a Learning and the Brain Conference — Educating with Empathy: Cultivating Kindness, Compassion, Cooperation and Good Behaviour. Our heads are swirling with outstanding presentations, research and practise, new books, mindfulness and meditation, self-regulation, strategies and a lot of fresh thinking for us — good thing for our flexible mindset!
We learned a lot of new ideas at this conference, but we also had a lot of our beliefs about our current teaching practise confirmed. We know that self-regulation is the foundation of the children’s development and learning. When the children are regulated, they are able calm and ready to learn. When the children are ready to learn, they can focus on where to look (their teacher, the book, the lesson) and what to listen for (directions, instructions, procedure). In Kindergarten, our children are learning how to learn. This is absolutely essential, not only in the teaching and learning of academic knowledge, but in the teaching and learning of the social and emotional skills of empathy, kindness and compassion. We will be sharing the mindfulness and self-regulation strategies we learned with our children so we can support them in being the best learners they can be.
Our return post-holiday found ourselves catching up on work we had set aside. We can’t compete with snow and chocolate! In our study on Families, we read the delightful I Love You book by Todd Parr. We brainstormed about the different ways in which our families show how much they love us. We made these beautiful drawings with our ideas scribed for us by the teachers.
It was our Sweat Workshop on Wednesday with our WV Physical Literacy Teachers and sweat we did! Wow! What amazing energy from the Kindergarten and Grade 1 children – that’s about 80 children in the gym together working through a locomotor movement warm-up and then a series of stations including squats, planks, incline push-ups and knee to elbow movements. Although we tried to take photos of our athletes, they were moving too fast. We were able to get a final picture, though, of everyone at rest.
We apologise for not more advance notice about Pyjama Day on Thursday but I read the staff e-mail incorrectly and thought it was postponed (this was all happening at the same time as my school e-mail was in a state of flux but it’s finally been fixed) so thank goodness you are all reading the Ridgeview Bulletin! The children looked very cute and cozy in their jammies….
So we are finally here at Friday, wrapping up the busiest two weeks ever. We completed our colourful “r is a rainbow” so we’re back on track for our alphabet work.
And what a better way to end off the week with Buddies! We saw our Big Buddies today and started the research for our penguin digital literacy projects. We look forward to showing you this very special activity during our Student Led Conferences in April.
Our newsletter has reach gargantuan lengths so consider yourselves caught up until next week!
Upcoming Events and Reminders
Library Day tomorrow so please return books for book exchange
Wednesday, February 27th is PINK Shirt Day
Each year, on PINK T-Shirt Day, we encourage students to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a school and a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere….at school, in the workplace, at home, and over the Internet. It is important that all of us and especially victims of bullying know that they are not alone and there is help and support available. Wearing a pink shirt on this day sends a strong message to them that others care. Often, the simple act of wearing a shirt can start conversations – conversations can be a big step towards healing and helping!
Friday, March 1 is Popcorn Day. Popcorn bags will be on sale for $2 per bag. Send in a toonie any day this week as we will pre-order the bags Friday morning