July 2013

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year! The beginning of the school year is such an exciting time. I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to work with your child this year and I am looking forward to meeting with all of you.

The first day of school is Monday, August 12th. We will have orientation on Friday, August 9th. Attached you will find an Orientation Day Schedule. If this time is not convenient or if you have multiple orientations that you need to attend that day and would like to better coordinate the times, please feel free to call the front office to schedule a different time. During orientation, your child will become acquainted with the surroundings of the classroom so it will be familiar to him/her on the first day. The orientation is set up in a way that there will be a few other students with their parents in the room at the same time. This allows your child to recognize some familiar faces on Monday, and become oriented with the classroom in a comfortable, peaceful setting. For the benefit of all those at orientation, please refrain from bringing siblings to the orientation.

What to bring for orientation?

1. A recent photo of your child (3X5 or smaller). We will be displaying it in the classroom.

2. A change of clothes including shorts, shirt, socks, and underwear. Place the clothing in a zippered plastic bag and put that bag into a grocery store plastic bag with handles so it can be hung up in the bathroom. Please label all clothing items and both bags with your child’s name.

I will be sending a special invitation addressed specifically to your child approximately one week before orientation.

During orientation:

1. Have your child find all of the places with his/her name on them: cubby, name card, work in progress folder, and hook in the bathroom.

2. Enjoy the room. Work with the materials and/or read a book to your child. If your child senses that you are comfortable and enjoy the room, he/she will feel the same way.

3. We take the safety of our students very seriously. Therefore, your child will receive instructions pertaining to the rules of the playground. Lessons on how to use all of the equipment will be given during orientation. The ground rules of our classroom will be presented on the first day of school.

During the first weeks of school:

1. Good-byes:
Make good-byes short and sweet. For parents who are leaving children for the first time, this is a big milestone for both parent and child. Long drawn out good-byes actually make it harder for children to separate. “I love you, have a good day,” and a kiss work well. Say good-byes at the door of the classroom. Ms. Lily or I will be there to help if needed. Use the safety patrol drop-off service as soon as you feel comfortable. For many children it is easier to say good-bye at the car. Using the safety patrol service is also a great way to increase your child’s independence. If you have concerns about your child separating from you, please let me know so that we can work together to make the transition as smooth as possible.

2. Clothing
The school dress code is outlined in the Millhopper Montessori School Student/Parent Handbook. For safety reasons, it is school policy that children wear tennis shoes. Children will not be able to play on the playground without appropriate footwear. Girls should wear shorts under dresses and skirts. Clothing should be comfortable “play clothes”, as they will be on the playground and moving around the classroom. We will be doing a lot of art in our class, and though we take measures to protect clothing, they do sometimes become permanently stained. Children at this age should be dressing themselves in the morning. Please do not send them to school in clothing that could affect them going to the bathroom independently, or changing clothes independently if an accident should occur. We also ask that you refrain from sending your child in anything that could be a possible distraction (shoes or clothing that light up, jewelry … ).

Please put your child’s name on all of his or her clothing, including sweaters, jackets, lunch boxes, and anything else that is brought into school.

Reminder about Prerequisites for the Preschool Classroom

The following list of prerequisites has been revised for the 2013-2014 school year. Please review this list and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Preschool (3-5):

The child is comfortable separating from parent and parent is ready to encourage child to be independent.

Child is able to use toilet independently and be able to wipe him/herself. If an accident does occur, the child should be able to undress and dress him/herself with minimal assistance. He/she should not be wearing diapers or pull-ups. Wipes cannot be used since they clog the toilets – child must be able to use toilet paper.

Child can follow a one-step direction the first time it is given such as responding appropriately when asked to come to line, putting work away, lining up to go outside, coming to a teacher when asked, etc.

Child is able to communicate his/her needs to teachers such as when they are hurt, hungry, tired, etc.

Demonstrates body control: shows respect for others’ personal space (i.e., hands to us) and walking inside the school building.

Handles classroom materials carefully.

Child is able to go to his/her cubby to retrieve or return lunch box independently.

Showing Progress During First Six Weeks of School:

• Child can keep objects out of his/her mouth.

• During group time the child is able to demonstrate the ability to sit quietly with their legs crisscrossed and hands in their lap without interrupting those around him/her.

• Child uses a quiet voice in the classroom.

• Demonstrates use of manners and shows respect for others.

• Demonstrates the ability to choose work independently.

• Child is able to work independently without the need of repeated adult direction.

• Can complete a cycle of work: chooses work, takes work to workspace, engages in the material, and puts work back in order so it is ready for the next student, returns work to its proper place on the shelf.

You will receive a classroom packet at orientation with detailed and pertinent information concerning the daily schedule, unit studies and other important aspects of our classroom. I am looking forward to meeting you, and to the exciting year that lies ahead. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Ms. Christina Eckstein

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