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
Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin):
Monday: Music, PE