The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

This Week in Our Room: September 18-21, 2017

This week we continued with the letter A.  At the beginning of the year, not only are the children learning about the letter names, sounds and formation of upper and lowercase letters, we are carefully teaching the structure of each of our Alphabet activities. After all, we’ve got 25 more letters to go! Like how we organise much of the Kindergarten, routines are safe and familiar for our little learners whether it be in how we line up, get ready for snack and lunch or remember to print our name at the top of the page

We’re completing two alphabet printing tasks at school, in addition to our stories, brainstorming and other literacy activities. We’ll start sending home one printing sheet every week and the other we are collecting for the children’s Alphabet books which they will proudly bring home at the end of the school year. Attached to it will be the children’s Alphabet craft. You can help your child practise their sounds by posting each craft in a highly visible space such as your kitchen or in your child’s room. Next up: Letter B.

The children have been free exploring the classroom math manipulatives. Now, they are ready to start taking on a few small tasks while working in their small groups. September’s math pattern is AB, so the children have been creating AB patterns at their table groups. The children have been rotating through the five tables, each with a different kind of manipulative. They are extremely creative as you can see from these teddy bear patterns.

We also reinforce what we’re teaching in class through our morning Centres time where we will invite the children to apply their skills to a new manipulative.

We started an informal round of Special Helper this week without Sharing. We’ll include Sharing, which always has a theme in our classrooms, after each child has had a chance to be the Special Helper, be the line leader, sit in the Special Helper chair and lead the class through the morning Calendar. The Special Helper rotation is always posted outside our classrooms on the Parent Notice Board.

In Social Studies, our focus is on Personal Identity, and we started with making a fun project with our names, Bean Names! We were super impressed with the children’s fine motor skills and perseverance in placing the beans carefully along the glue lines.

We encountered quite the rain deluge earlier this week. Please send your child with a coat everyday. We are trying to get into a good habit of at least starting with a coat for the beginning of the morning and lunch recess. We know the children get very warm from running, so they may ask permission from the duty supervisors to return to the classroom with a friend and hang up their coat. We do not want children leaving their coats on the benches or hanging from the playground. Finally, if you’ve not yet sent in an extra change of clothes in a small shopping bag to hang on your child’s hook, please support us in getting these things organised.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Thank you to everyone who made a Scholastic purchase. Please return your child’s order form on Monday as we cannot complete the ordering process without it.

Your student verification forms and emergency comfort kits are now due.

We have many students whose families have not yet completed the Policy and Procedures online forms. This is the online form which gives permission for students to do a walking field trip off the school grounds (Terry Fox Run, events held at WVSS and the Kay Meek, nature walks to Chatwin Park). We receive a daily notice from Mrs. Lytle of which families have not signed off on this requirement. If you are not certain this includes you, please check in with us or at the office. And a form must be completed for each of your children, not one for your family.

Tuesday, September 26: Terry Fox Assembly for Primary students. We realise the Terry Fox Run may be new for some students we so will take some time with the other Primary classes to have a short talk about Terry Fox’s courage, his dream to run across for Canada and his legacy for all Canadians.

Wednesday, September 28: All West Vancouver Primary students will be participated in our District Physical Literacy Program. We will be gathering a baseline for basic movement skills so each student can work towards a personal goal. Please ensure your child is wearing running shoes to school on Wednesday.

Library Book Exchange for both Kindergarten classes.

Thursday, September 28: Ridgeview’s Terry Fox Run. The Kindergarten children will be joining up with their Grade 7 Big Buddy to run a lap or two around the gravel field (please note we do not leave the school grounds). First, we will participate in a group warm-up. Then, following our run we will wait on the playground for the rest of the school to complete their off-site run before we finish with some closing remarks from the Grade 6 student organisers. At this time, the draw for the Terry Fox t-shirt will be held. We encourage our children to wear red and white clothing (your Canada Day t-shirts are perfect) and everyone must wear runners.

Please remember to bring your toonie for Terry. All proceeds are donated to the Terry Fox Foundation. For donations of $5 or more, students will receive a raffle ticket for the t-shirt draw.

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This Week in Our Room: September 11-15, 2017

It’s been a very, very busy week in Kindergarten but we’re pleased to say the children have held up extremely well under a fairly challenging schedule.

Our children were dismissed early on Monday and Friday this week as we held our Parent Intake Conferences as part of the Gradual Entry for Kindergarten. Thank you very much for attending your Conference. We are missing many of the Developmental Questionnaires we sent home as part of the Conference. Please take some time this weekend to fill it out and return to your classroom teacher. We will contact you to speak further if we have any questions or concerns.

Lunch went very nicely this week, as it was the first time we’ve all eaten together other than snack. Please note our classrooms are NUT AWARE. We ask everyone, in the spirit of goodwill, to please carefully check all packaged food items such as granola bars, cookies and crackers and breads. Cashew nuts, walnuts and pistachios and of course, peanuts, are the nuts we are particularly wary of in both classes.

 

 

In class, we’ve begun working on our Alphabet, starting with the letter A as our Letter of the Week. We complete a variety of activities for each letter:
-read an Alphabet story
-work on sound production (making the sound) and sound recognition (recognising the sound), -teach the correct formation of each letter
-brainstorm words beginning with the sound
-draw pictures in crayon and label in pencil each one

 

We’ve also began the first of our monthly self-portraits for Kindergarten. We love to watch the children draw and how they see themselves. Our general criteria for all artwork is:
Big – fill your space (use the whole sheet of paper)
Bright – use five colours or more
Beautiful – do your personal best

Wednesday was a big day for both classes. We have our Music and Library classes back to back. We were very pleased to see how well the children are self-regulated as they move through the hallways, quietly walking and watching the teacher ahead of them.

Our school Library has been newly renovated. Thanks to the fundraising by the RPAC (Ridgeview Parent Advisory Council) the Library has a whole new look with new shelving and furniture. It’s calming tones of grey and white certainly make it a self-regulated environment in which the children will be relaxed, focused and ready to learn.

Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian, clearly set out the behavioural expectations while in the Library.
-quiet voices
-walking feet
-be responsible and do not leave any messes (no books to be left on the floor)
-be respectful (kind and polite behaviour is expected from everyone)

On Thursday we held our Kindergarten Curriculum Morning for parents to talk specifically about our classroom routines and class expectations. We used the app Haiku Deck haikudeck.com to build a slide presentation on our iPad mini of pictures around our classrooms and school. We had an excellent turn out and thank you to everyone for taking the time to stop by and meet the teachers.

As part of our Meet the Teacher Curriculum Day, our school also held an Ice Cream Social mixer for all students afterschool. Students were all treated to a free ice cream cone. Naturally, the Kindergarten was in an elevated state of emotions (yellow zone and very excited in the sweetest ways possible) for the rest of the afternoon as everyone anticipated their ice cream cone…which was extremely delicious. Thanks to Mrs. Brady for providing ice cream tickets for the school staff as well.

Next week there is talk of rain. It’s a good idea to use a small shopping bag, labelled with your child’s name, to place an extra set of clothes to be hung on your child’s coat hook. Also, if it’s raining, children should bring boots to school and indoor shoes they can put on themselves. Children should not wear their boots in the classroom as it makes the floor wet and slippery. If your child wears shoes with laces, he or she must be able to independently tie them. We really encourage slip-on, or velcro fastened, runners.

Reminders and Upcoming Events

Next Wednesday is going to be a very big day for us.

Wednesday is Library Book Exchange for both classes. Please help your child to return his or her book on time. We strongly recommend bringing your book back on Tuesday so you have an extra day in case you forget. Students are not allowed to borrow a new book unless the previous book has been returned.

Wednesday, September 20 is Photo Day. We always start with the Kindergarten classes to capture them at their best before snack and recess playtime. Please arrive promptly for school at 8:50 am as we begin shortly after the morning announcements.

Friday, September 22, is a Professional Day. Students are not in session.

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This Week in Our Room:  September 6-8, 2017

copyrighted to Susan Winget

Welcome back to school, and especially to Ridgeview Kindergarten!

We were delighted to meet all of our children.  We’ve had a really fun first week of Gradual Entry, taking our time to get to know the children, the children meeting their new classmates and everyone is learning about classroom rules and routines.  There will be a lot of changes moving from preschool to Kindergarten, and in a big school like ours it’s important for everyone’s safety that we review the expectations.

We will be continuing with Gradual Entry for September 11-15.  Next week’s schedule is as follows:

Monday, September 11:  9 am-12 pm for all Kindergarten students.  Please bring a snack and a non-spill water bottle.  Please be on time to pick-up your child.  Intake Conferences for Kindergarten parents begin promptly at 12:40 pm.  

Tuesday, September 12:  8:50 am-2:55 pm for all students.  Please bring two snacks, lunch and a non-spill water bottle.  Please indicate to your child that one snack is for the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 13:  8:50-2:55 pm for all students.  Please bring two snacks, lunch and a non-spill water bottle.

Thursday, September 14:  8:50 am-2:55 pm for all students.  Please bring two snacks, lunch and a non-spill water bottle.  Please Note:  “Meet My Teacher” for Grades 1-7 have an early dismissal at 2 pm.  Kindergarten is in session until 2:55 pm.  Kindergarten Families are encouraged to visit the sale of Ridgeview Spirit Wear and the Ice-Cream Social at the undercover area across from the portables after dismissal.

Friday, September 16:  9:00 am-12 pm for all students.  Please bring a snack and a non-spill water bottle.  Intake Conferences for Kindergarten parents begin promptly at 12:40 pm.

Reminders and Upcoming Events

Please sign-up for your child’s Intake Conference if you have not have already done so. If your child attends Camp Ridgeview, please inform them to make arrangements for early pick-up and which classroom your child is enrolled.

It’s very important to sign-up for Remind.  We send home many reminders and information for parents this way.  We also send you the link when we have posted our classroom newsletter or posted on our blog, theselfregulatedteacher.com  We have an information sheet posted on our Parent Bulletin Board on how to sign up, or if you need a paper handout then please ask.  We do a lot of parent communication online so all parents, particularly working parents, receive information about our classes at exactly the same time.  

We sent home our Developmental Questionnaire today for you to fill out.  Please return at any time before your conference, or bring the questionnaire on your day.

We sent home the Kindergarten September Homework for some fun activities for you to do with your child on Thursday this week.  Attached was the new Ridgeview Traffic Safety and Parking Map from our Principal, Mrs. Brady.  Please take some time to review this very important document as traffic safety affects everyone, students and adults alike.

Although we are sending this newsletter home on paper, it will be the only time this year. We have also posted it on our classroom website: theselfregulatedteacher.com.  All future newsletters will be posted on the website.  Please check our website weekly.  We will send you a link on Remind when the newsletter is posted.  

 

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Kindergarten to Graduation:  We’ve Come Full Circle

Courtesy of Pinterest

This past school year was a particularly busy one for Christy and myself as we each had a child graduating from Grade 12.  This Labour Day weekend marks a new beginning for us as parents as our children move on to University, no longer living at home.  We hope that the foundation we’ve laid with them since they were young is solid enough as they experience new found independence, freedom and challenges.  We’ve tried to teach them resilience and perseverance when faced with difficult times, establish a strong moral compass based on family values when it comes to doing the right thing, along with empathy, compassion and a healthy dose of common sense.  We will see if our modelling and lessons on the beauty of our mindfulness to stay in the present, underpinned with a self-regulation structure has transferred now that they are out of the house!

Our own self-regulation certainly came into play as we navigated our way through the Grade 12 Graduation year.  Beyond the regular classroom instruction was University applications, Scholarship applications, Graduation photos, Graduation events, performances of all kinds from musical theatre, choir and dance…and that’s just what our kids were involved in.  University and Scholarship applications all have due dates and demand references which needs to be organised well ahead of time.  Special events require early ticket purchases.  It’s hard not to be constantly harping at your kids with reminders about when things are due, emotions on the rise.  But for the strength of our husbands to “let the chips fall where they may,” that meant allowing natural consequences to happen.  Truly, we found out that our kids are much more resourceful than we believed them to be.  

Having now gone through the complete cycle of K-12 public education (twice for me with two kids graduated), we’ve been talking and reflecting on our roles as parents.  We want to emphasise the importance and responsibility of our life-long commitment as parents to be involved in our children’s education and schooling, beyond the needs of shelter, nutrition and care.   We might think that support doesn’t begin until Kindergarten or even Grade One, but it actually starts much earlier than we think.  

For our University bound children we know there will be many opportunities and temptations that will present themselves.  We can only send our kids off, confident in that as parents we have communicated openly about the issues and difficulties young people face today and the repercussions of those actions.  Our Principal wisely reminded us that our young adults are able, and we should see and trust that they are able as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

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All We Really Need to Know We Learned from You, Our Kindergarten Students

Every year we write a letter to our Kindergarten children, reflecting on the past year and the connections we formed. We were inspired by Robert Fulghum’s poem “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” So with thanks to him, here is our letter for 2017. Please note: This post has been slightly modified from the original our students received.

 

To our Dear Kindergarten Children,

There’s a wonderful poem called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. It’s a beautiful poem, and talks about important things such as sharing with others, cleaning up after yourself and washing your hands before you eat. These are important life lessons and when people think back about what they learned in Kindergarten, these are the kinds of things they remember learning and doing. They are lessons that stay with us always.

But we’ve been teachers for quite a long time now, and many of those years has been as Kindergarten teachers. So what we might say is that All We Really Need to Know We Learned from You, Our Kindergarten Students.

We learned about patience, one block at a time. This was a year for Master Builders. You’re one of the most amazing groups of children we’ve taught who not only love to build, but do it very well. You understand about creating a sound foundation to build a strong structure. Whether you were using Keva planks, Lego, sticky bricks or soft blocks you were meticulous in taking your time to create and re-create the ideas in your head.

We learned about sharing and the many forms that it took in our class. You took turns to share the Smelly Markers and the most popular treasure boxes. You waited calmly for your chance to use a sand tray. You also liked to share your ideas during class discussions. And you loved bringing a Sharing to show the class on your Special Helper Day. We thought you really grew in your ability to share with others, we know it’s not easy. But one of your greatest strengths is your willingness to please, so we know that between your self-regulation and your tenacity, you were always able to do the right thing.

We learned about acceptance and empathy as you were getting to know all the children in Kindergarten, your brother and sister’s friends and your Grade 7 Buddies regardless of gender or language. We loved how you used the language of social play as your common language whether you were making books at the Imagination Station, walking the forest creek or running races down the grassy hill.

We learned about love and affection as we watched you and your Big Buddies this year. The attachment you and your Buddy have for each other is strong. Your eyes are always searching for one another in the big group. There is devotion in the way you look at each other. We see how hard you work together to accomplish a task. You’re learning valuable lessons in getting along with others and building a relationship. We’ve never had a class who always remembers Wednesday is Buddy Day and you looked so forward to seeing them.

We learned about courage and risk-taking when you discovered all that the playground had to offer you. From the fireman’s pole to the tire swing to the monkey bars…you never failed to show your courage and resolve to conquer these activities. We know this for sure because you’ve got the callouses to prove it! When the swings were flying high or you were reaching for that next ring, you were confident in your abilities and willing to take the risks to achieve your goal.

We learned about friendship by the way you supported each other. Whenever a classmate was feeling poorly, or had been hurt, you were always there ready to hold your friend’s hand and walk him or her to the office or to the classroom. You seemed to know when another student was feeling sad or lonely; and you tried to engage your friend by inviting him to play or making her laugh. You show a level of empathy that is very grown-up for your age.

We learned about perseverance and grit as you practised over and over again, the careful printing of your name. This was a significant year for printing your names. Some of you had not printed your name in full before but you were so determined to master this important skill. For those of you who were already printing your names, you’ve been working on using upper and lowercase letters perfectly. We’ve watched you develop precision in your printing, and we can say with confidence that many of you print as well as us and sometimes, even better.

We learned about finding joy in the little things. Glitter, sparkle mod podge, playdough, printmaking with an acorn squash, a Hello Kitty colouring sheet and eating cupcakes were just a few of those little things that made you say, “Oooohhh.” We loved how excited you were to work on a new alphabet craft, or the wonder on your faces when you saw our decorated Christmas tree. Who knew there was so much happiness to be found in a small container of turquoise sparkles?

Each September we receive a new class of children; some of us already know each other, while others are new friends. Each year we wonder how we will bond together as teacher and students. And we thought that this year was very special, our heartfelt connection with each of you and between all of you. You started off your Kindergarten year as young children from different places, to become classmates and friends held together by shared learning, experiences and fun.

Your next step is Grade One. There is excitement and uncertainty, looking ahead yet taking one more glance back. We’re going to miss you so much, but we know it is time for you to move on to Grade One.

We’ve had many great teachers in our lives, but none so great as you. Our wish for you is that your love for learning and literacy remain with you always, and that you continue to find joy in all the little things. We know we will. You have taught us well.

Love,
Your Kindergarten Teachers

 

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This Week in Our Room: June 19-23, 2017

It’s been a Royal Week in the Kindergarten. It really has just been so much fun watching the growing independence of our amazing children.

We had a wonderful time at the Vancouver Aquarium on Monday! The natural curiosity and wonder of 5- and 6- year old children as they asked hundreds of questions, shared their knowledge and tried to make connections with their understanding of the Ocean World is truly astounding. It was so clear to us how many discussions the children have had with their parents, read books and watched movies together and taken in so much information. We’re proud that our students have such a keen interest and awareness of the natural environment and as are all stewards of the Earth, we’re motivated to help conserve as much as we can for their learning and enjoyment in the future.

We had a serious chat with our children about the importance of representing our school while we were away on our field trip. Attendance on a field trip is a privilege; as the teachers, we need to be able to trust our children while they are being supervised in a non-school setting by us, parent volunteers and interacting with the Aquarium staff. As we moved through the exhibits, we watched our children walking between the crowds, staying within sight of their adult leaders and taking turns with students from other schools at the shared activities. For Christy and myself, observing the transfer of self-regulation strategies to multiple social environments is key for us in confirming our teaching practises.

Our next major event of the week was a day of great excitement: Division 16’s William was Ridgeview’s Principal for a Day. William’s family had the highest bid for this special privilege during the live auction at our school’s Library Modernization Fundraiser Gala back in May. William was able to spend half a day with our principal, Mrs. Valerie Brady, to learn all about the different responsibilities and decision-making the principal of a large school has to take on.

For his first principal decision, William extended the morning recess by five minutes, much to the delight of the student body. A tour of the custodial offices, a visit to the school kitchen to check on the leftover Sports Day Freezies and a ride on the school elevator down to the Primary wing to deliver the Grade One school supplies “suitcases” made for a busy and productive morning.

It just so happened that Principal of the Day coincided with the Kindergarten Prince and Princess dress-up day. We welcomed our handsome princes in their suits, jacket and ties and our lovely ladies who wore their beautiful fairytale gowns. We made beautiful Fairy Tale castle covers for our Fairy Tale activities and decorated them with glitter. After recess, the Kindergarten children walked through all of the Primary classes on a Royal Parade. And at lunch, we ate some of the yummiest cookies we’ve ever tasted (Circus Circus cookies from Fresh Street Market) courtesy of the “Principal’s Office.”

We finished off the school week with the annual Primary Variety Show featuring children from Kindergarten to Grade 3. Students performed on the piano, sang, played guitar and we even had an amazing hoola hoop dance! Division 16’s Maaike played the piano for an appreciative audience and we were very pleased and proud that one of our own was up on stage.

All in all, it was a very satisfying week.

This is the last Kindergarten newsletter! We can’t believe how quickly the time has gone and how our little ones have grown to now be entering Grade One.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

This week we are collecting all Home Reading books. Last Friday was the last day to take home books. Please return all books you might have a home.

Tuesday, June 27: It’s our “Beach Day” for Kindergarten. We’re not actually going to the beach; rather, we’re going to do some beachy activities in our undercover playground. The table we use in the House Corner for a baby change table was just recently discovered by some students to actually be a water table, so we will bring it out and put it to its proper use. We’ll have sand trays, bubble blowing, hoola hoops, and lots of outdoor games such as chalk, skipping ropes and hopscotch going on. Thanks to our parent volunteers for bringing in snacks!

Wednesday, June 28: It’s the Grade 7 Graduation Ceremony and our children are playing a very important role. We will be presenting flowers to our Big Buddies. We would like our children to dress-up for this formal occasion. Children can bring clothes to change into for the afternoon. We will open the staff washroom for them and the children can change one at a time in private if they wish.

Girls: dresses, skirt and top; dress shoes
Boys: dress shirts, pants; dress shoes or cleaned up running shoes

We should be “on” around 11:40 am, if the schedule is the same as last year’s. Parents are welcome to come and watch but please leave room for us to enter the gym and walk up along the East wall.

Thursday, June 29: It’s the last day of Kindergarten and we will just be enjoying some time with our students. Please remember that dismissal is at 12 noon for Kindergarten only.

 

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This Week in Our Room: June 12-16, 2017

We’ve had a lot going on this week. Our music for calming the past number of weeks has been “Deep in An Ancient Hawaiian Forest” from the soundtrack The Descendants. We can just feel the sun on our faces, the sand beneath our feet and the ocean breeze ruffling our hair. We continue to be amazed at how easily the children have slipped into the routine of taking their places on the meeting area carpet, cross legged, eyes closed and breathing blissfully.

We finished our last Fairy Tale in class, “Cinderella.” We made “glass slippers,” read three different versions of Cinderella, including the class favourite Cinderella Penguin by Janet Perlman talked about magical objects and the recurring theme of “3” that permeates most fairy tales. Next Tuesday is Prince and Princess Day so please dress-up if you wish!

We learned about what a seed needs to grow (soil, water, air, time, love) and enjoyed “The Garden” from Frog and Toad are Friends by Arthur Lobel. We also made a paper seed. Our bean plants were sent home last week, a crossover activity between “Jack in the Beanstalk” from Fairy Tales and more talk about seeds.

But the big focus for this week was Sports Day. And we can say Sports Day 2017 was a fantastic day for our Kindergarten children.

Mother Nature smiled upon us and gave us a glorious (with a touch of cloud) weather day for our Ridgeview Sports Day. Thank you so much to our Vice-Principal, Mr. Blackburn (@njblackburn) for organising a great day for our school and our Grade 6 Leaders who were outstanding in looking after our little ones so well.

We’re really fortunate at Ridgeview that our Principal, Mrs. Brady, (@vjbrady) who understands early childhood development so well, and in consultation with us, makes thoughtful and wise choices regarding our Kindergarten children.

At Ridgeview we scaffold participating in Sports Day for our students so they complete a reduced number of activity stations, enjoy a Freezie with their team, then return to their classrooms for a big, healthy snack, Centre time and Face Painting (courtesy of our Grade 7 helpers) for even more fun. We’ve been doing this for just three out of the past 11 years we’ve been teaching Kindergarten. The Kindergartens get a glimpse of a super high energy day but can return to the safety and comfort of their classmates and classroom when we’ve deemed that they’ve had enough, something they’re not able to measure quite yet because they are so young.

Over the last 11 years we’ve taught 16 Kindergarten classes (due to the half day program until 2011). Here are some of the things we’ve learned about Kindergarten, Sports Day and Self-Regulation:

The children need to eat a good snack (more than a Freezie) and close to their regular snack time to help with their self-regulation;
The children need a time to centre themselves again in their self-regulated, familiar classroom environment to calm their bodies and relax before continuing on with the rest of their day;
The children want to participate in play with their own age group for part of school their day;
The children can enjoy the fun “Fair” like atmosphere of Sports Day but in graduated amounts of time; we do not need to give every opportunity Ridgeview offers in Kindergarten. Your children will be here for 7 more years to experience the many programs and activities we provide when our school determines it is age-appropriate.

We can say that Sports Day has been “tear free” for these past three years and remembered as a happy day, filled with fun and friendship, just as it should be.

And finally, Happy Father’s Day to all of our Dads!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, June 19:
We did not send home Home Reading Books on Friday. But we will go back to our routine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week. Next Friday will be the last book exchange and chance to take books home; and we would like all of our home reading books returned to the classroom during the last week of school.

Monday is our Vancouver Aquarium field trip and we are all so looking forward to our special day out together. Please remember to send your child’s lunch, snacks and water bottle in their backpacks, and dress for the weather.

Tuesday, June 20:
Division 16’s William will be Principal for the Morning on Tuesday. William will complete a few Principal duties with Mrs. Brady to learn what being a Principal involves and make some “executive decisions.” We’re really excited to hear what they might be!

It’s also Prince and Princess Day so our boys and girls are welcome to dress-up. They may also dress-up as fairy tale characters if they wish. In previous years we’ve also had some of our boys dress up as heroes (Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker) who save princesses. Dress-up is optional; however, no swords may be brought to school.

Thursday, June 22:
Primary Variety Show — Division 16’s Maaike will be performing.

Friday, June 23:
Forest Friday – please bring your boots.
Parent Volunteer Tea in the Library

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This Week in Our Room: June 5-9, 2017

We can tell the end of the school year is approaching when we take a look back over the course of this week.

We had another relay practise with both classes for PE this week. Sports Day is on Friday so it’s important to us that the children have had lots of opportunity to try a variety of relays in mixed groupings. They are getting really good at listening to some quick instructions, then they’re off either running, skipping, balancing or tossing in some combination as they go down the length of the gym, around the pylon and back to their team to pass the relay item on to the next child.

A reminder for all parents that Mrs. Campbell’s class should wear RED and Mrs. Daudlin’s class is wearing BLUE. Parents, show your school spirit and dress up in the colour of your child’s team and come and cheer us on.

Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 12 pm on Sports Day from their classrooms.

We had lots of Library action this week as Tuesday was the last library book exchange for Kindergarten! The next time your child borrows a book from the school library will be when he or she is in Grade One. We also had a wonderful visit from the West Vancouver Memorial Library to talk about the Summer Reading Program.

We really encourage all of our children to register for this great summer reading event. They have all been working so hard on their home reading and this is a great way to maintain those literacy skills over the next two months. Please keep in mind there is a summer reading program at ALL public libraries so you can register at your neighbourhood library. As avid readers ourselves, a weekly visit to the public library for more books to read are something we very much anticipate on the holidays. You can read here and here about our summer reading adventures.

You need to go to the library in person to register for program; this year’s theme is called “Walk on the Wild Side.” Each child is given a form to fill in after 15 minutes of reading per day. If your child is not reading yet, then he or she would sign up for the “Read to Me” program and parents would read aloud stories. There are weekly prizes for all participants as they would check in at the library every week to borrow new books.

Some really fun books were read aloud to the children, and you may wish to borrow them again for lots of giggles at home:
Explorers of the Wild (Cale Atkinson)
Bob, Not Bob (Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick)
One Day (Rebecca Kai Dotlich)
They All Saw a Cat (Brendan Wenzel)

We had a super day on Wednesday with High Touch High Tech’s science workshop, “Newton in a Nutshell.” Our children were excellent listeners and participated very well in the group discussions. We were particularly impressed with how well they remembered to raise their hands to ask a question or make a comment, and then wait to be called upon…good self-regulation!

There was a lot of movement between the tables and the carpet and our children managed their bodies, enthusiasm and curiosity well as they just focused on the task. We flung pompoms with catapults, used spinner pens, raced mini cars and watched marbles spin down a vortex! It was an amazing experience for everyone.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Home Reading Books: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

ALL Library Books must be returned on Tuesday so Mrs. Kennedy can begin inventory.

Sports Day is on Friday, June 16. Please remember to wear your team colour. We will begin promptly after the singing of O Canada and the morning announcements; please try to arrive on time for school. Traditionally, Sports Day is a very well attended event so parking is going to be at a premium and you’ll want to give yourselves some extra time.

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Change, Routines and Self-Regulation

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a “normal” schedule. It’s probably going to be like this until the end of the schoolyear. We’ve had a lot of schedule changes this term and numerous special visits and activities which has thrown us off our regular routine. Well, it’s a very good thing for our Kindergarten cuties and their self-regulation: they’ve helped us to stay steady, grounded and in the green zone.

Now, don’t get us wrong. It’s been a very FUN time. We’ve been doing lots of interesting activities but when you are schedule, routine oriented people, as we are, it does require quite a bit of flexibility to change. When we fit in all of these extra events, we still have our regular classroom lessons to teach and projects to finish up with our students; we don’t let all of that go.

But it made us realise how much we rely on our timetable, which we know to be a good thing. A sense of structure, predictability and knowing what’s going to happen next is really important to help reduce uncertainty and anxiety. We see our children check the visual schedule in the classroom everyday, at most transitions. If we’ve made an error in the schedule, or forget to change it, they certainly notice and we are duly informed. The children want to know where we are in the schedule; it gives them a sense of comfort in counting down the activities until they can see their mom and dad at the end of the day.

When the children are aware of the expectations for themselves and others they feel calm and confident. They know what’s expected of them and what to do, so they can bring their focused attention to learning. This is a vital part of our self-regulation, being able to centre ourselves to be ready to learn. Being cognizant of what we need to do to down-regulate, whether through deep breathing, calming countdowns, or quiet activities such as walking, colouring or reading, is learned as we explore our emotions, how we’re feeling and connecting them to words and strategies. The Incredible Flexible You and the Zones of Regulation are two of the pro-social programs we use in our Kindergarten.

We practise daily strategies for self-regulation. Everyday we listen to calming music and feel our bodies relaxing. Then, we listen to the Zenergy chime and practise deep breathing to develop our mindfulness. Sometimes, we do stretches. We’re getting outside more as the weather has improved, and started our Forest Fridays, so adding some springtime walks is the next strategy to add to our repertoire.

While change is healthy and necessary for growth, we also know that too much change too quickly leaves one feeling out of control, upset and frustrated. This is why routines are such a necessary part of Kindergarten. We want the children to feel safe and secure during their day. When we do have to make changes to our daily schedule, we make sure we explain very carefully to our classes what is going to happen and why. We try to make certain that there are not too many changes in a day or week, although that can be difficult to control sometimes.

So when and where we can, we start with small changes and practise.

We might change the order of how we do things in our day.

We might change the children in the groups for Centre time.

We might change the way we print our name – in crayon or felt pen, rather than a pencil.

These seem like small things, but experience has taught us that we cannot expect five and six-year old children to accept change and adapt ”just like that,” or that “it’s good for them,” without practise. The teaching and scaffolding around changing set routines is necessary so that our children develop an understanding of why things change and the resiliency to cope with them. While we love our routines, we also want our children to learn to embrace change, without fear or hesitation. We’re looking to build strong, flexible students for a constantly changing world.

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This Week in Our Room: May 29-June 2, 2017

This week, Thursday was our most anticipated day of the week as we were looking forward to a walk in our playground forest with our Vice-Principal, Mr. Blackburn, to review safe, appropriate play.

On our beautiful school grounds, our children are particularly fortunate to have many choices: a large soft surface playground with a climbing structure, a black top area for games such as hopscotch, skipping and outdoor chalk, and as they get older, a huge grass field and gravel field for baseball, football and soccer.

 

But more so than any other area, the small forest on the edge of our playground has always held the greatest attraction.

What is it about the woods? On Thursday the air smelled spicy and delicious after the rain fell. There’s a very pretty creek that runs along two sides with a bridge, large boulders and a huge tree stump for climbing. It’s a magical place, perfect for imaginary play, daydreaming, digging and dam building. We really couldn’t ask for more for healthy, outdoor play for our Kindergarten children.

You can read more about our thoughts on outdoor play here

But today’s post is for parent information about the expectations for our students during their forest play time.

We’ve decided to call it Forest Fridays: during the school day, our children will be able to use the forest area on Fridays during their morning recess and during our afternoon playtime. Our Playground supervisors, or Christy and myself, will supervise the children.

At the start of our walk, at the entrance to the forest, Mr. Blackburn asked the children what they noticed: a creek, birds in the trees and berries. The children learned the forest is a living, breathing thing; it’s alive, it grows just like we do, there are living creatures in the trees and on the ground. They also found out they are not to eat anything from the forest, including the berries. Leaves, branches and flowers stay on the trees and shrubs; it’s ok to pick up things from the forest floor.

The children will always enter the forest via the bridge. They are expected to walk in the centre of the bridge, not the sides as the wood trim is very slippery when wet.

The best kind of footwear for forest play is rainboots. This way, the children are always prepared to play in the creek if they wish. Shoes and socks are not suitable attire for creek play because shoes can absorb water, wet socks are uncomfortable and wet feet…well, wet feet do not feel good. Children are to be respectful of others in the creek – no splashing or kicking water.

Sticks and rocks are acceptable tools for forest play when they are used for building and digging. It’s unexpected for students to use sticks for hitting and rocks for throwing; it’s expected students will use sticks and rocks respectfully in their imaginary play. Sticks should be pointed down while walking.

We want the children to be respectful of life in the forest. That means the many roots they see on the ground are to be treated carefully. There is to be no kicking or digging up of tree roots. Bugs are to be observed and allowed to carry on in their daily work.

The forest boundary for the children includes not going further than the group of large rocks at the entrance of the creek and not on the upper bridge. Glass found in the forest is not beach glass and should be left alone.

 

Here are some fun photos of our first Forest Friday!

Navigating the rocks…

 

Exploring the hole in that tree!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Home Reading Book Exchange: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

Library Book Exchange: Tuesdays

Wednesday, June 7: High Touch High Tech Science Workshop, “Newton in a Nutshell.” Please remember to visit SchoolCash Online to make your donation of $11 at your earliest convenience.

Thursday, June 8: West Vancouver Memorial Library Summer Reading Club Presentation

Friday, June 16: Sports Day. Sports Day is just around the corner. Please note that Kindergarten students only will be dismissed at 12 pm. We do not eat our lunch at school that day. If your child attends Camp Ridgeview on Fridays, please inform them about the early pick-up.

Mrs. Campbell’s Class is on the Red Team.
Mrs. Daudlin’s Class is on the Blue Team.
Our children should be dressed in their team colours – at least a t-shirt, please.

You’ll see that our school really dresses up, so matching hats and socks, hair paint (optional) all help to show our team spirit. Parents are welcome to watch.

Kindergarten Sports Day Schedule:
Kindergarten students should eat a good breakfast so they can sustain their energy and be self-regulated for the morning.

8:50 AM School Begins; Team Cheer on blacktop area outside our classrooms; Sports Day begins
10:30 AM (approx.) Freezie Break
10:45 AM (approx.) Kindergarten students return to their classrooms for their regular snack (they will be very hungry so please pack a big snack).
11:00 AM Centre Time and Face Painting (optional) by Grade 7 Students
12:00 PM Dismissal from our classrooms

Wednesday, June 28: Grade 7 Graduation Ceremony. Our children will be presenting flowers individually to their Grade 7 Big Buddies. This is a formal event and we ask the Kindergarten to wear their best. You are all welcome to attend. We expect to be onstage around 11:30 am but we will update you with more details to come. This is a very important moment for the Grade 7s and quite an emotional one for us, so come and shed some happy tears with the teachers as we see our Senior students off to high school and what the future looks like for our little ones.

Thursday, June 29: This is the last day of school for students. Please note that Kindergarten students only will be dismissed at 12 pm.

 

 

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