And So We Begin….This Week in Our Room:  September 13-17, 2021

Our Gradual Entry time is now complete and we begin our full day Kindergarten program.  Our children worked very hard over the past two weeks to build their stamina, learn the classroom rules and routines and enjoy meeting all of their new classmates.  Our classrooms are full at 20 students per division.  

We are beginning full days from 8:40 am-2:40 pm this week.  The children may be tired at the end of each day.  We encourage them to eat and sleep well, have lots of outside time and cosy, relaxing evenings at home so they are rested and ready for school.  The expectations of Kindergarten are different from even full time daycare and preschool as our context is now a large Elementary school with over 400 students, numerous school staff, bells and schedules and school rules and procedures to keep everyone safe.  We recognise that we have many children in our classes who did not attend preschool or daycare last year, and that many families have had a lot of life changes as well.  

We want to review a few of the health and safety protocols for COVID-19 and our school routines and procedures.

School Start Time:  8:40 am

Kindergarten starts school at 8:40 am.  Kindergarten students should be lined up and ready to quietly and independently enter their classroom when the teacher opens the door.  

Right now, during these early days, we can allow a few more minutes for the children to enter at their Kindergarten doors until 8:50 am when the next set of students enter the building.  But after 8:50 am we must ask you and your child to walk around to the front of the school and enter by the front doors.  

The first time your child is late, you are permitted (masks are mandatory for adults) to enter the school building via the front doors to take your child to the office.  Please do not come directly to the classroom.  Your child will be signed in at the office, marked “late” and walked down to their classroom by school staff.  You will need to sign the Visitor’s Book according to Health and Safety protocols.  School attendance, including late attendance, is taken and noted daily.  

If your child is late again, and each time thereafter, he or she will walk independently into the school and make their way to the office to sign in at the office.  We ask you to remain outside the school building.

Due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, only staff members and students are allowed in the school building.  Please do not open the doors to the school to talk to us and pass on a message.  

We cannot really speak to you individually at drop-off time unless it’s a super quick message such as you are picking up your child early.  We are working on and reinforcing the entry routines with the children in a calm and consistent manner and this includes daily hand-washing for our children at the start of school.  Regular and predictable routines help your child to feel safe and secure and that is our focus at this time.

West Coast Recess and Lunch

A lot has been written about the West Coast Recess and Lunch but we’re going to review what we’re doing here at Ridgeview .

Friday was an absolute soaker of a day.  

At Ridgeview, the children play outside for morning recess and lunch recess.  We can have quite severe rainstorms and the children are best prepared with the proper rain gear so they can enjoy the fresh air, time spent playing and exploring with their friends on our huge playground and an appreciation of West Coast weather and lifestyle.   As well, we have our Outdoor Learning time every week where we will investigate various parts of our school property together.  It’s important for everyone’s mental and physical health to get outdoors as much as possible.

We are unable to keep children inside during recess times if they are not feeling well.  If your child is ill, he or she will best recover at home, with you, to be ready for the rigors of school.

We are also unable to keep children inside during recess times if they do not have the right outdoor clothing.  We do not have the staff to supervise students in other areas of the school when they should be outside.

On occasion we may keep the children inside for recess but that is due to a special event (eg., concerts, photo day).

The children need the following items to be kept at school.  We will keep these items at school until the holidays (when we send them home for washing).

-raincoat (not nylon jackets or windbreakers)

-rainboots

-extra clothes stored in the new drawstring bags we sent home on Friday (see details below)

-inside shoes (easy on and off slip on or velcro)

-rain pants or a muddy buddy (optional, and only if your child can put them on, take them off, and pull out the legs so that the rain pants can dry out)

-please do not send umbrellas

Good outdoor gear for children can be found at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) (North Vancouver and Vancouver stores), Hatley’s (Park Royal South, West Vancouver), L.L.Bean (online) and Lands’End (online).

Extra Clothes and Drawstring Bags

We sent home labelled drawstring bags on Friday.  The bags are for the children to keep.  We’re using these bags rather than shopping bags because they take up less space in our cloakrooms.  Please return your child’s drawstring bags with clothing for Monday.  If your child comes home with their drawstring bag mid-week, you know there are wet clothes inside which need to be removed and replaced with clean, dry clothes for the next school day. Your child needs:

-one pair of pants

-one top

-underwear

-two pairs of socks

We do not store our raincoats or shoes in these bags.  

Health and Safety Protocols

In the West Vancouver School District, and specifically at Ridgeview, staff and students are working towards creating a culture of mask-wearing.  While not mandated for Kindergarten to Grade Three children, we encourage all Primary students to wear a mask, and to bring their own to school.  We have many children in both classes wearing their own, comfortable masks, and keeping extras in a ziploc bag in their backpacks.  Kindergarten children should have their mask on before entering the school building.  We emphasise daily that wearing a mask, washing our hands regularly, social distancing and keeping our hands to ourselves are ways we show we care about each other.  Thank you to our families for your support in keeping all Ridgeview students and teachers safe at school.

Kindergarten Self-Care and Motor Skills

We have been very pleased with the level of independence shown by our children.  We’re often asked what should the Kindergarten child be able to do before starting school during Welcome to Kindergarten.  Here are some of the skills we talk about:

On My Own, I Can:

-take off my coat

-put on my coat

-begin to use a zipper independently (the teachers can help with snap buttons)

-take off my shoes and boots

-put on my shoes and boots

-change out of wet clothes

-change into dry clothes

-go to the bathroom independently

-wash and dry my hands

-wipe and blow my own nose

-find my lunch kit

-open and close my snack and lunch containers

-use a spoon and fork by myself

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Wednesday, September 22, 2021:  Library Visit

September 23rd, 2021: Terry Fox Run, 

Friday, September 24, 2021:  Professional Development Day (students are not in session)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021:  Photo Day (individual)

Thursday, September 30, 2021:  National Truth and Reconciliation Day (school is not in session)

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