February Fun Part 2:  This Week in Our Room:  February 19-22, 2019

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


February Fun Part 1:  This Week in Our Room:  February 4-8, 2019

February is off to a cold start with our below zero temperatures.  We’re expecting the children are going to wear warm coats at morning and lunch recess, even if they are driven to school.  Please remember to show your child how to do up their zipper (we’re happy to help during Kindergarten but all children should be independent before Grade One) on their jackets.  And toque and gloves are necessary winter accoutrements right now! To make things a little easier for the children, we’re trying to teach them to put on their coats and do up their jackets BEFORE they put on their gloves.  It’s a tricky process, dressing for the cold weather, but there you have it – we’re in the middle of a Canadian winter!

To keep the frosty temperatures at bay, we decided to keep warm and cuddly with this adorable “q is for quilt” craft!  The children loved all of the pretty scrapbook paper designs and did a very nice job of attractively arranging all the “quilt squares.”  Qq is a difficult letter to print with all of its parts (around and close, down, dig, slide up), but we were so pleased our children’s efforts!

We had a very exciting Thursday at the Multicultural and Diversity Day Celebration in our own Ridgeview Gym.  What an amazing mix of colours, sounds and smells to excite the senses! Our children visited various countries to see the visual displays, participated in cultural activities games and collected their “passport” stamps.  Their Grade 7 Buddies were laden with the lanterns and goodie bags of collectables belonging to their Kindergarten Buddies. Thank you so very much to the RPAC for sponsoring this amazing event for Ridgeview students.


For Chinese New Year in our classroom, we read some delightful stories, including a new publication, Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee and Joey Chou, which focuses on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  We invited the children to celebrate with some fun activities, including making Chinese banners, lycee bags and using tangrams. We even did some decorating with these colourful dragons!


We’ve had a challenging time of illness at Ridgeview this past week.  We have many children with very bad coughs, fevers, runny noses and fatigue.  If your children are sick, particularly vomiting, coughing and with fever, please keep them at home. We’ve mentioned this before as we are unable to look after sick children at school.  We know your children still want to attend school, but they simply do not have the energy or stamina to complete regular classroom activities (sharing, taking turns and playing cooperatively with others comes quickly to mind) which includes going outside for playtime.  As parents, we make the decision for our children to stay home.  Although it might be inconvenient for you to have to stay home with your sick one, as a school community we must also consider the “greater good,” which in this case means we want the classroom to be a healthy place for everyone.

Our last health note is a reminder for you from our Public Health Nurse.  At Kindergarten Entry there are various boosters your children should be receiving.  If your children’s immunizations are now up to date, please send a copy of their records to school or to NSimmunizations@vch.ca.  If your child still needs their latest immunizations, you are able to make an appointment through your local Community Health Centre.  Questions? Please come in and speak to us. We’re happy to help.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange this Monday.  Please return your book.

We will be exchanging Valentine’s Day cards next week.  We made these pretty card holder bags with our Big Buddies on Friday.  In Kindergarten, we write a card for each child in our class and put the cards into the individual bags.  We will tie up the bags for you to open at home with your child on Thursday.

Friday, February 15:  Reading Break – school is not in session

Monday, February 18:  Family Day – school is not in session


Good-Bye January, Hello February: This Week in Our Room: January 28-February 1, 2019

We can’t believe it ourselves, but did you realise we are halfway through Kindergarten?  We were kind of caught off guard with how quickly this year has gone by.  So were the children as we all paused to consider what that meant.  There are not a lot of things we can say we know for sure, but this is one of them:  while the days may be long, the years are short and every single day is a precious day.  

My daughter Christina turned 21 years old this weekend.  As we celebrated her birthday and reflected back on her birth and childhood, and the teenage years into young adulthood, we recognise the time we spent together when our children were younger, sharing our personal interests and developing common interests, have been essential to building and strengthening our relationships with them.  As parents of young adults we’re happy that our children are still wanting to travel, ski, sing, cook, watch movies and talk about books with us.  So let’s take the time to be present with our children each day, share their interests and teach them about ours, and delight in these wondrous, innocent days of their Kindergarten year.  

Our huge focus this week has been on DancePlay.  What an amazing program this has been for our children.  Our children learned about many different kinds of dance including disco, country, hip-hop, funk and rock and roll.  They listened to many different songs and worked on specific dance moves.  But the most important part of DancePlay is their messaging for the children:  Be Positive, Be Fun and Be Yourself.  We loved how positively every class ended (a 3-peat of “I am Awesome”).  Dance which encourages free expression and values the individual effort, without criticism or constraint, has been wonderful for the children’s mental and physical health.  We want to say thank you so very much to our PAC for providing this wonderful opportunity for Ridgeview’s Primary students.

Back to classroom activities….In keeping with our cute animals for alphabet letters, what do you think about “p is for pig”? The children are continuing to develop their cutting skills when using templates and did such a cute job drawing in the facial details.  The most fun was watching the children twist the pink pipecleaner into a curly tail.  They were really amazed at what they could do!

Our UBC Teacher Candidates have bravely taken on mine and Christy’s legendary Penguins Science unit.  We have loved teaching about Penguins as part of our Kindergarten curriculum but feel we are all so fortunate this year to have such talented and innovative student teachers working with us and our children.  We love their enthusiasm for teaching and new ideas for fun and learning activities.  

Our beautiful art project for this week was “Snowmen at Night” based on the same book by Mark and Caralyn Beuhner and created by DeepSpaceSparkle.  We are loving using pastels and started this project by drawing a snowman and adding colourful details.  The trickiest cutting task so far this year has been cutting around the snowman’s stick hands but true to form, Kindergarten determination and perseverance took over and most children independently cut out theirs out.  The second part was painting the snowy background which we all did with the enthusiasm of those who have not yet had a chance to play in the snow (although at the time of writing, this could be changing).

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your books.

January Homework Calendars can still be returned this week.

Our big Multicultural Celebration is on February 7.  Our classes will be attending with the Grade 7 Buddies.