Kindergarten Self-Regulation…This Week in Our Room:  November 15-19, 2021

We’ve been working very hard on our self-regulation this term.  Your child may have started talking to you about the Zones of Regulation.

We’ve written an extensive post about Self-Regulation and the Zones for your reference. 

As we head towards the end of the first term (we blinked and the term has already gone by in Kindergarten) we’re noticing important changes in the children’s maturity.  First, a significant improvement in focusing on, and listening to, the teacher.  We’ve created a visual chart around listening behaviours for the meeting area.  We refer to this chart daily at the beginning of the year and bring the children’s attention to it to help them self-regulate their learning.  

Second, from the first day of school we know that behavioural expectations must be clearly and explicitly stated so students know what is expected from themselves and their classmates; there must be no doubt in the children’s mind what the teacher is looking for and expecting.  We explain to the children our expectations before we begin any new experience, and remind and revisit expectations for familiar activities.  The children have done well to understand the differences between “expected behaviour” and “unexpected behaviour.”  We use those phrases frequently as we try to gently shape and reinforce the expected behaviour (“It’s unexpected to be running out the classroom door; it’s expected we will all just walk for everybody’s safety.” 

Finally, when classroom structures and routines are put into place, the children are able to reasonably predict what will happen next and feel calmer, and more secure in their connection with the classroom, teacher and friends.  As their classroom teachers, we work very hard to be clear and consistent in our classroom routines.  The children love knowing the classroom routines; we know how important it is for the children to feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment.  

From the first week of school beginning with Gradual Entry, we have slowly and carefully established the routines and built upon them daily and weekly.  Now, we can see the results of our teaching as the children remember and follow the routines for washing their hands and sitting on the carpet at the start of the day; gathering and returning their school supplies; how to line-up and stay quiet; and putting away their food bags and water bottles before going outside to play.  These are just a few of the many routines the children have learned and become part of how we do things in Kindergarten.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

The Grade Four students are collecting new Adult sized gloves, toques and socks.  We appreciate your generosity to help those in need.  All donations are due at the end of this week.

Our new rotation for Special Helper begins later this week.  Please note there is no Sharing by individual students as we will be doing our Christmas Advent Calendar as part of the Calendar Time.

Monday – Library Book Exchange.  Please remember to return to your book to borrow a new one.

Remembering:  This Week in Our Room:  November 8-10, 2021

This week we held our virtual Remembrance Day Assembly. Many thanks to the students and staff for putting together this thoughtful and inspiring Assembly to give all of us a chance to reflect and consider our priceless freedom, peace and sense of belonging.  

Based upon their previous experience, and the shared knowledge we work to create among the class, our Kindergarten children take what they are able to from the stories, art activities and gentle discussions we have in class.  Many of our children have an innate sense of what “peace” or “peacefulness” means to them.  Other children may have family history of war veterans, visits to the Cenotaph to draw upon.  But what we have in common is a mutual understanding is that home, and where our families are, is peace to us. Here are some of the thoughts our Kindergarten students about what peace means to them….

PLEASE NOTE: It has come to our attention over this four day weekend that with the US border opened, some families are travelling now, or beginning to make travel plans.  We want to remind you, as mentioned in the Ridgeview Bulletin November 10, 2021, that unvaccinated children under the age of 12 returning from international travel must not attend school for 14 days after their arrival back in Canada.  

Reminders and Upcoming Events

Library Book Exchange on Monday–please return your library book to take out a new one.

Post-Halloween Notes:  This Week in Our Room:  November 1-5, 2021

Important:  School begins at 8:40 am.  We have been reminded by the school office that our students are expected to be on time for school.  This means the children are waiting for us to open the doors at 8:40 am.  Your teachers are allowed to wait for a few more minutes (1-2 minutes) until the last child in the line has entered the building.  At that point, we will not be admitting any more children through our doors.  Parents, you will need to go around to the front doors of the school, and your child needs to sign-in at the school office.  Your child will be marked late on the school attendance.  A staff member will bring your child down to our classrooms.

Well, most of the Halloween decorations came down this week, although we are still enjoying our painted pumpkins, Halloween wreaths and cutie-pie October self-portraits.  We are beginning to decorate for autumn, and that includes making some owlets for the classroom tree, and peace doves with our Big Buddies.

We are working hard on developing fine motor skills and strength in our classrooms.  We loved watching the children use templates to cut out the circles, ovals and triangles to make our sweet baby owls.  They demonstrated a great deal of independence in cutting out the pieces and gluing them together.

We used a different kind of template….tracers and our hands…for the body and wings of our peace doves.  We are able to see our Grade 7 Buddies about twice a month.  Because of the large number of children, half of the Big Buddies and their Little Buddies work in the Grade 7 classrooms with our Grade 7 teachers, and the other half of the Buddies work in the Kindergarten rooms with us.  The Buddies will alternate so they get to enjoy both rooms.  It’s a great opportunity for the Little Buddies to see more of the school under the watchful eye of their Big Buddies as they walk down the Intermediate hallways.  

Just a friendly reminder about masks…as masks are mandatory in school for all students, K-7, we encourage your child to bring their own masks to school.  Many children are changing their masks in the middle of the school day.  We are supplying a large number of masks to students who forget to bring their own.  Mr. Zerbe mentioned in the last school bulletin that each child should have 2-3 extra masks in a ziploc bag in their backpacks.  Please help your child to get their masks ready the night before, and check the number of your child’s masks each day to replenish their supply.  One final note:  if your child is using a reusable mask, please wash these daily.

We continue to have a bad cold moving through the Kindergarten classes.  Please allow your child a few days of rest at home if they have a runny nose or persistent coughing, fever or generally not feeling well.  As working parents ourselves we know that it is not easy to take time off work to stay home with your child, but we do not have the facilities or staff to look after sick children at school.  We are calling all parents of sick children to come and pick-up their child.

A sick child does not want to be at school.  A sick child wants to be at home resting in their own home, with you to look after them.  Sick children lack the energy, self-regulation and resilience to deal with a full day’s worth of classroom activities.  When your child returns to school, feeling good and well-rested, they are more able to listen to the teachers, share and play with their friends and cope better with the inevitable ups- and down- of a school day.  A healthy child is also going to be more resistant to subsequent illness at school.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, November 8:  Library Book Exchange.  Please return last week’s book to take out a new one.

Wednesday, November 10:  Virtual Remembrance Day Assembly at 11:00 am.  We will watch the Assembly from our classrooms.

Thursday, November 11:  Remembrance Day:  School is not in session

Friday:  November 12:  Professional Development Day:  School is not session for students