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.  https://theselfregulatedteacher.com/2016/10/17/the-zones-of-regulation/ 

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

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Hallowe’en:  This Week in Our Room:  October 18-21, 2021

We are beginning to really settle into our Kindergarten routines and the children are enjoying these busy autumn days of playing and socialising with friends, printing their letters, making crafts and creating art…lots of art as their teachers love to draw and paint.

This week we created our painted jack-o-lanterns.  What an AMAZING display of joy, skill and determination to create these delightfully funny jack-o-lanterns.  This is a HUGE two-day art project.  We started on Wednesday with drawing the pumpkin using white pastels.  The children were intrigued with the softness of the pastels and their ability to easily and successfully draw (stocking stuffer idea?).  We drew the ribs of the pumpkin, then took a break for a colour mixing lesson using yellow, red and orange tempera paint and a paint etiquette discussion when sharing a paint palette with your table group.  Then we set the children off with paintbrushes, paint palettes and the simple instruction to colour mix on their paper, not the palette.

The classroom was silent as the children painted, and the peaceful calm that descended over us was truly blissful as we noticed the focus and concentration of our classes.

We have never laughed so much as we did on Thursday afternoon.  Following our directions, the children cut out their pumpkins, and then cut and decorated their own stems and leaves. We shared cutting and drawing strategies to fold a piece of paper, draw once (a circle) and cut out two identical eyes; repeat again to make the eye pupils.   Onto the mouth by drawing and cutting a “u” and adding teeth…and now we had jack-o-lanterns!  The sound of the children’s laughter, their pride in completing the whole project independently and their appreciation of one another’s work is what makes us so excited for the next BIG art.  Stay tuned.

We finished the letter “d” this week and will send home the children’s “diamond d” and printing sheets with them this week.  We complete a second printing page for each letter which we are saving and gathering into an alphabet book for each child which they will bring home when it’s finished (22 more letters to go so it will be awhile).

The children are continuing to explore, create and extend patterns in Math, and we’ve also begun to record and label them.  Patterns are a huge part of our Kindergarten math curriculum and we take the time to see their application in all aspects of our world, in addition to circling back many times throughout the school year to review and introduce new patterns.

In Social Studies, our theme is “Personal Identity.”  We’ve been talking about ourselves, our unique appearances and the first gift we’ve received from our parents, our names.  

We had fun on Monday at the Library at our first Library Book borrowing session.  Here are a few reminders from Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian, that you can review with your child in anticipation of next our Monday Book Exchange:

When browsing for book please:

  1.  Be responsible with your words and actions
  2. Tidy up after yourself.  Pay attention to where you found your book.

Read your books quietly after check-out.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, October 25:  Library Book Exchange.  Please return your Library Book so you can take out a new one.  We are unable to allow more than one book out at a time for Kindergarten children right now.

Friday, October 29:  Hallowe’en Parade.  Our big excitement for this week is the Ridgeview Hallowe’en Parade.  We look forward to seeing the children’s costumes, if they are comfortable wearing one to school.  We will send home a letter on Monday with a few more details.

-the children may wear their costume to school on Friday.  They should have their regular school clothes on underneath and a bag to bring home their costume as we will remove our costumes after the parade.

-costume masks are allowed, but please do not send any “weapons,” including lightsabres, to school.

-parents may watch the parade from a social distance if the parade is held outdoors; if the weather is poor we will be parading inside and unfortunately, parents will not be able to view us.  Let’s hope for a good day.

Autumn Updates:  This Week in Our Room:  October 12-15, 2021

Well, that was quite the river of rain we had on Friday!

image from Google

These rainy days are hard when the children have to get themselves ready to go outside to play, usually twice a day.  We are helping as much as we can but there are a few things you can practise at home to help increase your child’s independence.

-practising the snaps of the raincoats – very tricky because the snaps are stiff

-practising how to zip up your coat

-pulling sleeves out when you take off your coat and rain pants– this makes it easier to get ready for the next playtime recess and allows the outdoor gear to dry properly

-shoes for classroom use and rainboots for outside – the children can wear a hybrid “shoe/boot” for indoor use provided they change into rainboots for outdoor play.  

The children notice the number of woodchips accumulating on our classroom carpet when other students do not change their shoes – and no one likes sitting or playing on a dirty carpet.

The children met their Grade 7 Buddies again on Friday, and we reviewed some autumn vocabulary and had more time to chat and colour together.  We will hopefully complete our Scavenger Hunt together on a sunny day.

We are continuing the letter “d” for another week with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the upcoming Professional Development Day so close together.

We’re working on patterns in Math using a variety of math manipulatives, through “snap/clap” body actions and during the morning Calendar.  We’re learning about the following patterns:  AB, AAB and ABC.  You can support your child by looking for patterns in their environment (fence railings, crosswalk lines, lamp standards) through creating and extending patterns with small objects (beads, coins, dry pasta) and how patterns occur in our everyday lives (eg., the seasons (ABCD), meals in a day).

We completed our October self-portraits this week, and will begin decorating our classrooms with the Hallowe’en art we’re creating in the next few days. We also finished our Warm Coloured Pumpkins as we have been learning about the warm colours in our Autumn art.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Friday, October 22:  Provincial Professional Development Day (school is not in session for students)

We’ll be starting the next rotation for Special Helper by adding “Sharing” to your child’s Special Day.  “Sharing” is similar to “Show and Tell” except we usually have a theme where your children will bring something specific to school on their Special Helper day.  We are still finishing our first rotation so this week’s Special Helpers do not need to bring their Sharing to school yet.  We will post the new calendar rotation in Remind so you can see what day is your child’s Sharing and Special Helper Day.  

Beginning in the last week of October, the theme for our first Sharing will be “Alphabet.”  Your child needs to bring 3 objects that begin with the first letter of their first name.  This is a fun way to focus on the initial (first) sounds of words, as part of developing the children’s phonological awareness.

These three objects should fit into a ziploc bag (nothing too big).  You can support your child further by helping them to print the names of each of the objects on a piece of paper and send that in along in the ziploc bag as well.

Please note:  If your child forget their Sharing on their Special Helper Day, we usually ask them to wait till the next rotation.

If you have not yet paid your school fees, please do so.  You’ll need to access School Cash online which was linked within the September school ebulletins.

If you have not yet signed off on the 2021-2022 Policy and Procedures Form, go to our Ridgeview website, then to “Parents” and then “Forms.” It’s located there.  This should be done ASAP.

Mandatory Mask Mandate:  This Week in Our Room:  September 27-October 1, 2021

Image from Google

This week we begin with the new mandatory mask mandate for children in Kindergarten to Grade 3 in BC.  Many children in our classrooms already wear a daily mask, and we are continuing to encourage a school culture of mask wearing at Ridgeview.  Kindergarten children are amazing!  They are keen to learn, flexible in their thinking, show kindness, care about others and love deeply.  We also had very high numbers of children wearing masks last year in school.  It’s important that we as teachers and parents continue to be positive role models, demonstrate patience and focus on the benefits. As Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her announcement on Friday,  the children are our “Super Heroes” and “they wear their mask to keep their community and the people they love safe and healthy.”   This is a message you could follow up with at home as we transition to mandatory mask wearing tomorrow morning.  

Everyday we talk about the importance of wearing a mask for each other’s safety.  As we mentioned previously, it’s our personal and social responsibility to safeguard the health of the people in our school building, and our families.  We always say, the teachers and students wear a mask to protect ourselves, our families and each other.  As we walk through the hallways to go to the Library, Music class and ELL, the children can pass individual students, classes of students and staff members.   Our prime directive is simply to protect our Kindergarten children in every way possible that we have available to us.

We have many children in our classes who want to wear a mask every day but do not bring any to school.  We’ve currently supplied over 100 masks between our two classes.  We’d like to encourage you to send along your children’s own masks, reusable or non-surgical, and keep a small supply in their backpacks. Please make sure they fit appropriately.  

We have noticed some children struggling with the fit of their mask, complaining that they are too big or the ear straps have become too loose.  An improper fit makes a mask difficult to wear all day.  Reusable masks should be washed daily. Non-surgical masks are single use only (eg., one school day unless it gets dirty), and should have the ear straps cut before disposing in the garbage.  The children have observed us cutting the straps when we throw away a soiled mask.  This is for the protection of animals who may be scavenging in the garbage and landfills.

The children go through a lot of masks because masks can become uncomfortable or dirty with food or wet from breathing, become lost or dropped a few too many times on the floor.  A few children change their masks twice a day which we support completely. 

One change we are making for our classes is that the children should have their mask on before they enter the school building.  This means that the children are putting their mask on while waiting in line to enter the classroom.  Then, they will enter the school in their usual manner to hang up their coats and hang up their backpacks before they wash their hands.

We will ask the children to put their masks in their pockets or leave their masks in their backpacks when eating and when they play outside during the morning and lunch recess and outdoor learning activities.  A few children prefer to keep their mask on the whole day and so long as they are comfortable, we’ve allowed them to continue wearing it but they know they are free at any time to change their mind.

If your child is unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons please email Mr. Zerbe, our school principal, (wzerbe@wvschools.ca) to let the school know so it can be added to their file. 

Here are some good resources for you if you’re looking for children’s books about mask wearing and a virtual classroom with links to SafeShare YouTube videos about masks.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Wednesday, October 6, 2021:  Early Dismissal for Kindergarten at 12:50 pm

Thursday, October 7, 2021:  Early Dismissal for Kindergarten at 12:50 pm

We were able to meet with most Kindergarten parents in September for our Intake Conferences.  During the Early Dismissal times for our parent-teacher conferences we have scheduled conferences with families that were unable to meet during the Intake Conference time.  We have also requested meetings with some families.  If you have any urgent or private concerns (new family changes, medical situations or allergies) please let us know and we will try to arrange a mutually agreeable time for a virtual meeting.  Otherwise, we are more than happy to have a casual chat with you outside, socially distanced wearing a mask, on the playground after school.   

Image from Google

First Week…This Week in Our Room:  September 20-23, 2021

We had a great first week of full and busy days.  We can see the changes in our students as they are learning about their self-regulation, and working on managing their energy throughout the school day.  You might have heard your child mention the “green zone” which is the optimal zone for learning.  When students are feeling peaceful, calm, relaxed and focused, they are more likely to feel happy and able to direct their attention to their learning.  We establish clear and consistent classroom expectations, rules and routines to make the classroom a safe and predictable space.  The children know not only what is expected of them, but of their classmates as well.   The children feel more secure in their understanding of expected classroom behaviour, and can now put their energy into learning and having fun with their classmates.

Being in the “green zone” begins at the start of the day when the children are lining up to enter the classroom.  We encourage the children to wait quietly in line, no running around on the playground (this would be considered the “yellow zone” when energy is elevated), for when the teacher opens the door.  Even just this simple routine makes for a smoother transition to the classroom.

Being self-regulated in Kindergarten includes these expected behaviours

On my own, I can:

-pay attention to the teacher

-sit quietly at meeting time

-follow directions

-understand and follow rules

-follow safety commands such as “no,” and “stop”

-share with a friend

-talk and listen to others

-play by myself

-play cooperatively with others

-use strategies to stay calm when I’m feeling frustrated

(from “Welcome to Kindergarten” which occurs in the Spring prior to Kindergarten classes beginning)

a is an apple

We started work on our Alphabet this week.  We made an “a is an apple” craft, learned the correct letter formation for uppercase and lowercase A and practised our printing.  We are also learning correct printing posture while sitting at the tables:

-bottom on the chair seat

-pull the chair in towards the table

-feet on the floor

-printing hand holds a pencil

-helping hand holds the paper still for printing and drawing

We review this process once or twice a day, everyday, with the children whenever we are completing written activities.  

During Math this month we are working on exploring a variety of math manipulatives.  The children are learning to share and cooperate and follow a rotation of different activities in small groups.  Everyday we are practising counting, patterning colours, the days of the week and completing our weather graph as part of our Math Their Way calendar activities. The Special Helper leads us through these integrated math tasks.

Tuesday was an exciting day for our classes.  We planted about 80 succulents, strawberry and rose campion plants in the school garden.  The garden has been landscaped to include picnic tables and benches and we are replanting all of the garden beds.  We were thrilled that our children will be able to watch the garden grow over their next eight years at Ridgeview.

We had a fabulous weather day for our Terry Fox Run.  Thank you to everyone for your generous donations.  We ran laps around our gravel field with the Grade 1 students, and were supervised by Grade 7 students and staff.  The children showed their Canadian spirit in their red and white clothes.  It’s really wonderful to see the Kindergarten participating in our full school events.

Health and Safety:  We are working really hard on incorporating all of the health and safety protocols.  The children are washing their hands diligently before they enter the classroom, before they eat and after using the bathroom, and after we come in from morning and lunch recess.  They are using hand sanitizer when we change activities and after eating.  We’re encouraging all of our students to wear a mask inside their classrooms.  We have several children requesting a mask each day.  Please check with your children so they can bring their own to school.  Most children wear the same mask for the entire school day, but some like to change their mask mid-way.  We’ve noticed that many children have a ziploc bag of extra masks tucked away in their backpacks which we thought was a fantastic idea!

Mask Etiquette:  We’re expecting that masks are being replaced daily so the children have a clean, fresh mask to use each day.  Reusable masks should be washed each day.  Non-surgical masks should have the ear straps cut before disposing of them.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Our weekly schedule has now been finalised.

Monday:  Library (for both classes)

Tuesday:  Music (Division 15, Mrs. Campbell)

Wednesday:  Music (for both classes)

Friday:  Music (Division 16, Mrs. Daudlin)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021:  Individual Photos

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

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)

Springtime Notes for You: This Week in Our Room: May 10 – 14, 2021

Spring is in the air and we’re loving these beautiful warm and sunny days.  The children are very much enjoying their increased privileges, including Forest Friday play and roaming Cherry Tree Hill, which is located at the most northern part of the school playground.  We’ve set up quite a few boundaries (no climbing the fence, no picking leaves from the trees) which everyone is following at this time.

We’ve finished our Alphabet!  Y and Z pages were sent home this week to add to your child’s Alphabet Books.  

We got caught with a rainy day mid-week on Wednesday.  We’d like to remind everyone that the children should keep a raincoat, rain pants and boots at school for when the weather turns.  As well, we’ve noticed quite a few children not wearing coats when they arrive at school.  When the children do not bring a coat to school, or have a raincoat in the cloakroom, this creates a challenge because all students are expected to go outside for morning and lunch recess even when it’s raining.  Our age group does not do so well in the rain without a coat, so please support us in ensuring your child has the correct outdoor clothing for living in the Pacific Northwest.

Forest Friday has been a fun, social and successful afternoon outing for our classes to enjoy together.  The children are keen to wear their boots and stroll up and down the creek, look for rocks, fallen leaves and flowers and explore this hidden gem on our school grounds.  We’ve had a few cases of water overflowing into boots so extra socks are always a good idea.

We’re starting Fairy Tales in Language Arts.  This fascinating genre of stories is a perennial favourite for teachers and students alike.  This week we started with reading Once Upon a Golden Apple by Canadian author Phoebe Gilman.  It’s a wonderful story about a Dad reading a fairy tale to his children, but choosing different alternatives to completing each sentence; each alternative is based on another fairy tale or nursery rhyme.  The children recognised some of the stories and rhymes, and we looked up the ones we didn’t know.

You can support your child by reading fairy tales at home for bedtime stories, even if they’ve heard them all before.  Each time your child hears the story, they will bring more literary experiences to the story which deepens their comprehension and appreciation of this genre.  Fairy tales are frequently referenced in other stories and books, used as idioms and form an excellent foundation to the meaning of “what is a story?” and the story elements (plot, character, theme, setting).  So a thorough knowledge of fairy tales is essential in a child’s repertoire of familiar stories from childhood.

Our storytime reading for the next few days is Yummy, a fairy tale volume of stories by British author Lucy Cousins.  Delicious!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

MaxFruit Bars – you can order on Fridays for the following Thursdays.  We believe there are two more Thursdays to support this Grade 7 Fundraiser.

Library Books – Book Exchange is always on Friday so please return your books when you are finished reading them.

Friday, May 21 – Professional Development Day – students are not in session

Monday, May 24 – Victoria Day – statutory holiday, students are not in session

Communicating Learning: Student-Led Conferences at Home: Special Edition Newsletter April 25, 2021

The weeks fly by so quickly and here it is time again for our absolutely-best-ever-most-favourite day of the school year, Student-Led Conferences!  We’re reblogging this post (with a twist) from April 2019 (the last time we held Student-Led Conferences in school) with our best suggestions for having a successful Student-Led Conference at Home with your Kindergarten child. 

First, some background information about Student-Led Conferences:

Christy and I have been holding Student-Led Conferences (SLC) for many years; in fact, my first Student-Led Conference as a teacher was here in West Vancouver at Chartwell Elementary School in 1990 when I was teaching Grade 3.  We’ve gradually refined our practises to make it perfect for Kindergarten but the core tenets of the Conferences has always stayed the same:  to provide an opportunity for students to communicate learning to their parents in a meaningful format; self-reflection for students to identify their personal accomplishments, strengths and areas for improvement; give parents an insight into how their children learn; and an inside look at student work, their classroom and school.

We’ve written extensively about Student-Led Conferences at theselfregulatedteacher.com.  You can use the search tool on our website to find our posts.  You can also read about Student Led Conferences in my Grade 3 classroom during my Chartwell days in Evaluating Literacy:  A Perspective for Change (1991) by Robert J. Anthony, Terry D. Johnson, Norma I. Mickelson and Alison Preece.

Our Kindergarten Student-Led Conferences are a twist on the traditional Student-Led Conference.  In the years we were teaching Grades 1-4, each student would welcome their parents to his or desk, where a curated selection of work would be waiting in a file.  A letter of welcome for parents, plus a class created agenda, provide structure for the Conference time.

In Kindergarten, however, we use a Centre approach, in much the same way we use Centres during the morning Activity Time, Math Centres, or our focus afternoon Centre Time.  Parents can expect to see an Alphabet Centre, Math Centre with tasks and participate in the daily Calendar activities as part of our Student-Led Conferences.  

Kindergarten is a special grade, the first formal schooling for most children, the first Student-Led Conference for most parents, and it’s important for us to set the tone and expectations for how the Conferences are conducted because you’ll be enjoying them for the next eight years while at Ridgeview.  As one of two informal Communicating Learning opportunities, we want this to be a positive and successful experience for you and your child.  The format will be different as you move through the grades, but its value is always the same:  priceless.  

This year, due to the restrictions of Covid-19, we’ve been planning and thinking over the past two months about how to bring the same energy and excitement to Student-Led Conferences at home.  Using the same Owl envelopes the children have been using to take home their special artwork once a month, we’re putting them to good use by packaging everything your child needs for their conference.  Inside your child’s envelope you will find an introductory letter from us, an agenda for the conference with some paperwork attached, and then the children’s schoolwork to be enjoyed at your leisure.  We’ve included some artwork in an Art Gallery folder.

We have practised with the children how to conduct their conference; remember, this is a student led conference, so your child is in charge of leading the conference which is the same as we would have done at school.  Your role is to provide support, encouragement, praise and notice improvements in their schoolwork, skills and confidence over the past year.

Please note:  At the end of the conference, your child may keep all of their schoolwork at home.

-we will send home the Y and Z alphabet sheets when they are completed and marked for you to add to the Alphabet Book.  Then the Alphabet Book is complete, from A-Z.

-we need you and your child to fill out the Two Stars and a Wish Self-Reflection sheet and return it and the Owl envelope to school

Here’s our Top 10 tips for a successful Student-Led Conference at Home:

  1. Please schedule your child’s Student-Led Conference into your day.  Set aside 20-25 minutes to be with your child.
  2. This goes without saying, but our cell phones are a distraction so please put all electronic devices away for the duration of your special time together. Your children are very, very excited to be the centre of your attention and share their learning with you.
  3. Keep your child’s Owl envelope with the Student-Led Conference work in a safe place until you sit down with your child.  We will be sending them home on Wednesday.
  4. Arrange for care for your other children, particularly toddlers and preschoolers, so you can focus on your Kindergarten child.
  5. Give praise and specific, positive comments to your child eg., “I like how you used a variety of colours in your drawing;” recognise that your child might find some tasks difficult so encourage them to keep trying their best.
  6. Be mindful of your Conference duration.  If your child wants to review every page and activity with you, please feel free to divide the conference package over the two afternoons (there are 24 pages in the Alphabet Book alone).
  7.  Let your child be the leader.  They can choose the order in which they wish to share their work.  You do not need to follow the order of the activities, just ensure you have completed each one by the end of the conference.
  8. After each activity is completed, please have your child place a sticker beside it on the line.
  9. You may notice some work is incomplete due to absence.  Your child is free to finish any missed activities at home.  There is no need to return them to school.  
  10.  Please return your child’s Owl envelope and the purple Two Stars and a Wish Self-Reflection sheet, completed.