The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health: 2017 Update

"A sore throat germ!"

“A sore throat germ!”

We’ve entered flu season here at Ridgeview. We have had teachers, office staff, Educational Assistants and students all away. Some of these folks have been away for five days, an entire week of school, and are still not feeling 100% when they return; that’s how bad this flu has been. We’ve had many sets of siblings from a single family sick at home as well.

We’ve been teaching long enough to know when sick children are coming to school. It’s more than just having an “off day.” We know because the first thing some of the children say to us when they walk in the classroom is, “I feel sick.” If we’re quick enough to find out that your child had a fever the night before, or threw up, we’re going to ask you to come back to the classroom to take your little one home.

We’re here to gently remind you that we have to take sickness very seriously at school. We have to because there are so many students, their siblings, parents and grandparents who can be affected. Not to mention the teaching staff and all of their families. We simply are unable to look after sick children here at school. We all have our teaching or office responsibilities so we really do not have extra adults to sit with a sick child. Besides, your children would really prefer to be at home, in their own bed, with you to look after them. We know it’s inconvenient taking a day off from work to be at home, but the health of our children has to come first.

It goes without saying that a classroom is a hotbed for germs; nobody wants to talk about it but it’s true. In Kindergarten, we share all of our school supplies. Germs move around from pencils to crayons to felt pens to gluesticks to scissors– just like that. We all share math manipulatives, building blocks, dollhouse figures and puzzle pieces. That’s why we have such a huge emphasis on self-care, particularly handwashing before students eat and after using the bathroom; and noseblowing with a kleenex, not picking noses or wiping noses on sleeves. We’re reminding the children daily not to put their fingers into their noses or mouths. Good health and social habits start at a very young age.

If your children have had a fever the night before, and seem a little better in the morning, please keep them at home. They probably did not have a good sleep and should take it easy. Even a “little fever” is still cause for being cautious.

If your children have vomited, or been vomiting, they should stay at home. Ideally, your child would have cleared at least 24 hours of no vomiting before they come back to school. No child wants to vomit at school, it is horribly embarrassing for your child and very difficult to deal with for the rest of the class.

We know your child wants to come back to school and may appear ready. But the expectations of following classroom rules; the pro-social demands of self-regulation and cooperating and sharing with peers; and the academic requirements are more than they can handle when they are not feeling healthy. Allow your child the time get back to feeling they are ready to face a busy day of school, with patience, resilience, stamina and energy for learning, getting along with friends and playing outdoors. Not one of us is able enjoy being at school or work when we are not feeling at our best. You know when your child is not well and it is our responsibility as parents to intervene and insist they take the extra day to rest.

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, continues to be one of the most read posts ever at theselfregulatedteacher.com. You can read our original post here.

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Elmer the Safety Elephant Returns to Ridgeview

IMG_5390We had a fun visit from Elmer the Safety Elephant on Bicycle Safety.  Thank you so very much to Mrs. Young from the North Shore Safety Council for coming to speak to us.

With our mostly wonderful early summer weather, families are getting into the bike season and everyone needs to be safe.  When shopping for a bike helmet, we need to ensure it fits safely.

We see many people in our community wearing helmets.  The children are very aware of this and were able to think of many times when they wear, or have seen, people in the community wear a helmet.  This includes, but is not limited to, cyclists, hockey, football and baseball players, motorcycle riders, race car drivers, construction workers, skiers and skaters.  We should wear a helmet in any activity where your head might get hurt or banged, such as scooters and pogo sticks.

Mrs. Young explained that we don’t just wear a helmet:  we have to wear a helmet correctly.

2-4-1 Rule

2 – cover your eyebrow with two fingers.  The helmet should rest in the middle of your forehead.  With your fingers, you would be able to feel the edge of your helmet on your top finger.   It is very common to see many adults and children wearing their helmet too high up on their head.

4 – make a “V” with two fingers on each hand and place on either side of your head at your ears, with one finger on either side of your ear; that’s where your straps should be.

1 – you should be able to tuck one finger comfortably under your strap, so it’s not too loose. This strap is tricky so the children will need an adult to help adjust it.

FullSizeRender-4More Bicycle Safety Tips from Elmer:

If you see someone when you are riding and you think there’s not enough room for you or for someone walking by, you may need to stop. We need to be respectful of others who are on the sidewalk, and practise safety.

Stop when crossing a driveway in case a car is coming towards you, either backing out or driving in.

Ride single file, making a line. Cyclists should be one behind the other to make room for the pedestrians.  You need to slow down and be mindful that you are sharing the sidewalk.

To cross a busy street, walk your bike across the street.  Make eye contact with the driver first to be certain the vehicle has stopped before you enter the intersection.

If you come to a busy area, or there are lots of cars or construction, stop and walk your bike.  You are looking after yourself if you slow down and stay safe.

You can’t make other people wear helmets  But, you can wear yours and show others you are keeping your head safe.

If you have a lot to carry, place your belongings in a backpack or a bike carrier so you can keep both hands on the handles.

After a bike ride, you want to keep your bike safe.  You can learn how to look after your bike by putting it away in the garage or other safe place to keep it dry.  A wet bike, left out in the driveway, gets rusty.

This Week in Our Room:  June 6-10, 2016

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It was a week of fairy dust and magic this week in the Kindergarten.  You’ve probably guessed that Cinderella’s back in town.  We will be posting more on Cinderella in the next day or so.

Next week we will read “Snow White.”  “Snow White” will be the last fairy tale we will study in our theme study.  We’ve had a wonderful time sharing so many different stories with the children, building upon their knowledge of the story and story structure with each new version and listening to them compare and contrast key elements of the stories.

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We created these beautiful castles for our fairy tales folders.  This was a fun idea we found in an Usborne art book.  We’re embarrassed to say we cannot find the original book among our resources.  But what we essentially did was pre-cut rectangles and triangles (more integration with our Geometry Math unit) and glued them together into a castle with towers and turrets.  Some felt pen details and a whole lot of glitter (fluffy Christmas sprinkles) turned these simple castles into something very special.  

We love to make special folders for the children’s classroom activities.  We believe it honours the hardwork and diligence of these very tiny people by creating something beautiful, that they can be proud of to show their parents.

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We also made these wonderful geometric creations for our Geometry Shape books. We gave each child a simple construction paper cover and some shapes we found in the school basement storage area (note to self: sort out that pile of stuff growing in the guest room at home). This was a lucky find as they are the pattern block shapes we use in class, with a few leftover squares thrown in as well.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We have a very, very busy upcoming week with the Kindergarten.

Tuesday, June 14:  High Touch High Tech “Newton in a Nutshell” Scientist visit.  Our children will participate in a variety of activities on Force and Motion, one of the Kindergarten Science curriculum components.

Tuesday, June 14:  West Vancouver Memorial Library Visit to talk about the Summer Reading Program and how your children can participate.

Thursday, June 16:  Primary Talent Show with Grades 1-3 students.  Our children have been invited to the Primary Talent Show in the afternoon.  We will be reviewing appropriate audience behaviour with our classes.

Friday, June 17:  Prince and Princess Day.  Your child is welcome to dress-up if he or she wishes.  Some of the children were concerned about what to wear, but we’ve explained that what they have at home for costumes will be fine.  Princes, Knights or pirates would be fine attire for the boys, but please, no weapons.  Girls may wear their princess gowns if they wish.  This is optional so only if your child wants to participate.

Friday, June 17:  Kindergarten Cookie Sale.  Our children have been extremely flexible and understanding about not participating in the myriad of bake sales and freezie sales this year.  We’re reluctant to take part in every sale because of our healthy food philosophy, and the fact that the children could be standing in line for a long time during their playtime.  There are many more years at Ridgeview for your child to purchase a treat.

That being said, we voiced our concerns to Mr. Blackburn, our Vice-Principal, and he and the Grade 6 students have kindly offered to have a Kindergarten Cookie Sale just for us.  The Grade 6 students will sell the cookies just prior to lunchtime on Friday.  The final price has not yet been determined, but it will be $0.50 or $1.00 a cookie.  Each child may purchase one cookie only.

 

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Forest Play

Our school is located in West Vancouver, on an extensive property that has much to offer in the way of natural beauty and physical activity for our children.  We have a large grass field, in addition to a gravel field, a newly paved playground with painted hop scotch, four square and tether ball lines, a huge playground climbing structure and the jewel in our crown… a small forest.

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Our forest is a tiny gem, tucked into a corner of our school grounds, sparkling with the dappled sunlight shining through the trees and a glittering creek running through it.  Step across the bridge from the playground into the forest and you’re suddenly engulfed in a world of calm, quiet and clean air…perfect for a self-regulatory moment.

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In addition to our regularly scheduled morning and lunch recess, and afternoon play times, we’ve designated Friday afternoons as our Kindergarten Forest Play day.  We have an extended playtime where the children are free to bring their rain boots and explore the area under our direct supervision.  Although tempted to bring out purchased buckets and shovels, we’ve decided to just let nature truly run in its own course and ask the children to use whatever found objects they can find as they create their own imaginative play.  We’ve allowed the children to use sticks in a safe manner for digging, and with the fallen treasures from shrubs and trees, the forest is a place of learning.

Earlier this week, our Vice-Principal, Mr. Blackburn (@njwblackburn) reviewed the expectations with us for safe forest play:

  • the forest is our outdoor classroom and we treat it carefully and with respect
  • Kindergarten students can only go into the forest with their teachers during school time
  • we walk across the bridge; we do not stand on the sides of the bridge as it can dangerous and slippery when wet
  • we are mindful of the tree roots when walking and climbing
  • we walk in the forest so we can notice any living creatures on the ground and not step on them
  • we are respectful of other children in the creek and do not purposefully splash or kick water
  • we respect living things in the creek so sticks and rocks stay on the ground
  • we respect the trees and shrubs by not picking leaves, branches or flowers off of them; it’s ok to pick up things which have fallen to the ground
  • we wear boots for water play to keep our socks and feet dry and comfortable
  • it’s ok to use a stick for digging, but keep it pointed down while walking
  • we respect the boundaries of the fence, the large rocks at the base of the water drain and the walk way above the water drain.  Those areas are all out of bounds.

This Week in Our Room:  April 4-8, 2016

The big excitement in the Kindergarten this week has been our forest play and badminton!  We were super impressed with our classes during their badminton instruction with Coach Anna Rice.  The children were listening with their whole body!  This week we’ve learned how to hold the shuttle properly, the parts of the shuttle, care when moving around the nets and correct stance.  We will be continuing next week so please remember to wear your runners on your PE days.

We’re heading into the home stretch for our Alphabet Work.  We finished “w” and painted blue waves for our Alphabet craft.

Our April self-portraits theme was “April Showers Bring May Flowers.”

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We’ve been reading books about Spring and talking about seasonal changes and how that affects human and animal behaviour.  Today we completed our “Spring Is….” big books.

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Vancouver Coastal Health nurses came to visit us on Wednesday so vision, hearing and dental screeners are now complete on all Kindergarten students and you should have received your child’s results from your classroom teacher by now.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We sent home a Remind earlier this week, but we are planning now for Sports Day which will take place on Friday, June 3 and all Kindergarten students take part. We’ve had a request from the school office to find out if any of our children will not be in attendance that day due to leaving early for the school year or family travel.  Please let us know as soon as possible.

We’re still collecting Tombola bags for Mayfair, so if you are able to make a few extra, please let us know and we can supply you with some bags.

 

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Wash Your Hands!

IMG_0575We didn’t post a blog last week because I (Andrea) was sick with the stomach flu…and what a flu that was!  The entire family, starting with the teenagers, went down within a matter of five days.  That’s how contagious it is.   In fact, our family doctor, when informed that the teenagers were both sick, predicted that Brad and I would also get it.  I thought he was joking.  After all, we’re both dedicated hand washers and we both got the flu shot but he was right:  it was not enough to stop this particular strain.

When flu season begins, it’s always in the back of our minds with the Kindergarten.  Because we share all school supplies and learning resources, from pencils to crayons to puzzles to the individual write boards, we are well aware of how quickly germs can spread in the classroom, and then to students’ families and beyond.  There are lots of toddler and preschooler siblings, plus many grandparents in our school dropping off and picking up so we are well aware of the far-reaching impact the flu can have.

One of the most important things we can do to help prevent the spread of germs is to wash our hands.  We’ve always been diligent about hand washing, trying to find the balance between common sense hygiene and borderline fanaticism.  We don’t wish to appear as germophobes, nor do we want to create a sense of anxiety around it for the students.

So we’ve created routines around hand washing in class, before we eat at snack and lunch, always after using the bathrooms, and after nose blowing.  Thank you to all the parents in our classes who have been teaching their child to independently wipe, or blow, his or her nose.  If the children forget to cough in their elbow and cough into their hands instead, we’re also asking them to wash their hands.  As the adults in our children’s lives, it’s important for us to teach and re-teach, model and follow through on good hand washing etiquette ourselves.

To learn more on protecting yourself and your family to stay healthy, please visit the Vancouver Coastal Health website at vch.ca.

Upon my return to the classroom, we had a little discussion about why, when I was sick, did I stay at home instead of coming to school, even though I really missed the class.  The children knew right away that I wasn’t feeling well so that’s why I stayed at home, but some of them also understood that I did not want any of them, or their family, to get sick.  By staying home and getting better, so I felt healthy and had the energy and stamina to be teaching all day, to be able to calmly and patiently deal with any problems, meant that when I was back in the classroom we would all enjoy ourselves.

Last year Christy and I wrote a very popular post, “Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health,” that we’re reblogging here today.  If your child is sick, please keep your child at home until they are feeling strong enough to cope with the full school day.  Whether teacher or student, coming to school healthy is for the mutual benefit of us all.

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health

barbieWe have worked hard at reminding your children to wash their hands after blowing their nose, using the bathroom and before eating, but Kindergarten children are five years old and cannot possibly remember every instruction every time. We appreciate your support in reminding your child about these good habits when at home and school.

With our return to school, and the advent of flu season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to talk about when your Kindergarten child is sick.

Every year we are informed by parents at drop-off time that their child has “a little cough,” “a little fever” or “a bit of a runny nose” but is still well enough to come to school.

When a child is sick, as parents we have a responsibility to not only to care for our child but we also have a responsibility to the classroom and school communities.

A sick child should stay at home, for the mutual benefit of the child, the classroom students and teaching staff. It is good parenting to decide that your child should rest and recover quietly in bed. A child who is given one, two or even three days, to stay at home will get better faster, and be stronger and more able to fight the next cold or illness in the classroom.

We realize as working parents ourselves that it is not always convenient to have your sick child stay at home, as it means taking a day off, or more, from work. However, there are many implications of having a sick child at school.

A sick Kindergarten child often feels fragile, prone to tears and wanting his or her parents. Sending your children to school sick and feeling poorly sets them up for failure, not success.

When the children are sick, they do not have the energy to focus on the lessons of the day. It is very difficult for them to self-regulate their emotions in the classroom context. They lack the patience, because they do not feel well, to cope with challenging schoolwork, possible conflicts with their friends and making good choices.

Sometimes a sick child may still wish to come to school. But in the classroom we are very close to each other in proximity. The children are playing at Centre Time quite close together. They sit close together while eating at the tables. They still hold each others’ hands. Because our supplies are shared, including crayons, scissors, gluesticks and pencils, a sick child at school increases the risk of spreading infection to the rest of the children in the class.

Your child will enjoy their school experiences much more when they return to school rested and healthy!

When%20to%20keep%20our%20sick%20child%20at%20home%202015

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Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health

barbie

We have worked hard at reminding your children to wash their hands after blowing their nose, using the bathroom and before eating, but Kindergarten children are five years old and cannot possibly remember every instruction every time. We appreciate your support in reminding your child about these good habits when at home and school.

With our return to school, and the advent of flu season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to talk about when your Kindergarten child is sick.

Every year we are informed by parents at drop-off time that their child has “a little cough,” “a little fever” or “a bit of a runny nose” but is still well enough to come to school.

When a child is sick, as parents we have a responsibility to not only to care for our child but we also have a responsibility to the classroom and school communities.

A sick child should stay at home, for the mutual benefit of the child, the classroom students and teaching staff. It is good parenting to decide that your child should rest and recover quietly in bed. A child who is given one, two or even three days, to stay at home will get better faster, and be stronger and more able to fight the next cold or illness in the classroom.

We realize as working parents ourselves that it is not always convenient to have your sick child stay at home, as it means taking a day off, or more, from work. However, there are many implications of having a sick child at school.

A sick Kindergarten child often feels fragile, prone to tears and wanting his or her parents. Sending your children to school sick and feeling poorly sets them up for failure, not success.

When the children are sick, they do not have the energy to focus on the lessons of the day. It is very difficult for them to self-regulate their emotions in the classroom context. They lack the patience, because they do not feel well, to cope with challenging schoolwork, possible conflicts with their friends and making good choices.

Sometimes a sick child may still wish to come to school. But in the classroom we are very close to each other in proximity. The children are playing at Centre Time quite close together. They sit close together while eating at the tables. They still hold each others’ hands. Because our supplies are shared, including crayons, scissors, gluesticks and pencils, a sick child at school increases the risk of spreading infection to the rest of the children in the class.

Your child will enjoy their school experiences much more when they return to school rested and healthy!

When%20to%20keep%20our%20sick%20child%20at%20home%202015

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