Dear Family,

I would like to welcome you to my class for the 2014- 2015 school year. This letter is to address some beginning of the year details and to also invite you to visit the class. Please see the schedule for your allotted date and time. This is a time for your child to meet the teachers, for the teachers to meet you and your child, and for you to express any concerns or last minute thoughts you might have. Students look at the classroom and have the comfort of having parents with them as they view their new class. If you will be unable to attend in your designated time slot please let me know. The school phone number is (352) 375- 6773. Please leave a message for Crystal.

I am very excited about this upcoming school year. My full day assistant will be Kyra Akay. Ms. Kyra was my partial day assistant for the 2013-2014 school year and has worked morning care and after care here at MMS. Oksana Carlberg will be the partial day assistant in the class. Ms. Oksana worked as a substitute teacher last school year and in the After School Program here at MMS. In addition to Montessori lessons that are the center of our environment there will be a different thematic unit each month. These units will be explored in many different ways, tying in Montessori philosophy and principles. We stress in this beginning class the Montessori lessons in courtesy and grace and work heavily on children “using their words”. If you have questions about your child’s progress or behavior or need to discuss family matters please speak to me directly and not one of my assistants.

Please let me know now, or as the year progresses, if there are any holidays that your family celebrates that you would like covered during the course of the year. I am devoted to making this class as multicultural as possible. Celebrating various holidays is an important way to discover and develop an appreciation for other cultures. If you have objections to any holidays or specific celebrations, please discuss these concerns with me in advance of the holiday. We do have a Halloween celebration at the school, complete with costumes and trick-or-treating, for instance. We also love to have guest speakers share their special holidays with us. If you are interested in being a guest speaker please let me know.

You will need to provide several things for your child at the beginning of the year. It would be helpful if you could bring these when you come to visit on August 7th or August 8th. Your child needs a change of clothes including socks (and underwear if appropriate). If your child is full-day please send in a small blanket for nap time. Please do not send in standard size bed pillows, bed rolls, or large animals. Each week your child will bring home a canvas bag on the last day of the week with his/her blanket and folder. Please make sure that your child’s napping items will fit in this provided canvas bag. The class has limited space to store napping items. Items that are sent in for nap are required to stay for the entirety of the school week. Please do not allow your child to bring in the animal or blanket that they use at night. Items will not be sent home daily. Please label everything with your child’s name. If your child is in diapers you may send in an entire bag. You will be notified when your child needs more. The school provides wipes. If you use “Pull-Up” brand items we only accept the ones that have tabs/tape like diapers. We do not accept traditional pull-ups. Students have difficulty manipulating them and to put on a fresh pull-up we must completely undress the child. You will also need to provide a small picture of your child. The picture will identify your child’s cubby so she/he can find it independently. This is not the picture provided when your child enrolled. The office keeps that picture with your child’s file. Please bring in the small picture on August 7th or August 8th during your Meet the Teacher time slot.

You provide your child’s lunch if your child is a full-day student. If your child goes home at noon then he/she does not eat lunch at school. Please do not send in a lunchbox if your child is half-day. If your child is full-day please include healthy options in the lunchbox so your child may choose. Children are not allowed to share food. Please alert us to any allergies or food limitations your child has since we do provide morning snack. Children need to have a cloth napkin in their lunch boxes to be used as a place mat. Please provide spoons or other needed utensils in your child’s lunch. The school does not supply utensils. Often students do not eat much the first few weeks of school as they adjust to a group lunch setting. We expect students to be able to sit at a table and eat politely. We work on manners with the students during lunch time. Teachers do not hand feed the students. Not only does the ratio not allow for individual feeding but as our philosophy promotes age appropriate independence it is important for students to practice feeding themselves. If you have questions about our lunch policies please speak to me.

I ask that you do not allow your child to bring personal toys to school. It works best if they are simply left at home. The children have plenty of fascinating manipulatives to work with while attending class. Pacifiers are also not allowed at school. Please dress your child, or have your child dress himself/herself in clothes they can manipulate or practice manipulating. Shorts, pants, and skirts with elastic waistbands work best. Students who wear dresses should wear bloomers or shorts under their dresses. This helps keep sand out of diapers of underwear. We ask that you do not dress your child in one piece outfits that snap in the crotch. Children can not manipulate these independently. Please have students wear shoes they can practice putting on. Velcro shoes are a good choice. If you have questions about dressing a child this age to encourage further independence please do not hesitate to ask.

This may be your child’s first experience with school. Be prepared that your child may have a hard time dealing with you leaving. I advise parents to talk often and excitedly to their child about coming to school. Talk about what they will do each day (the included class schedule should help you). Be very positive about their experiences at school. When you arrive at class (or morning care) say a quick goodbye, reassure them you will be back at a specific time (“at lunchtime,” “3:00”, or “after nap”), and then leave. If your child begins to run after you or call to you, please do not return to say goodbye again.  We have found that this lengthens the adjustment period severely.

A teacher will comfort your child and redirect his/ her attention to something else. You may call to check on your child during the day. We realize it is very hard to walk away while your child is upset, but it will truly benefit your child as he/she learns to adjust to coming to school.  If you are always positive about your child coming to school this attitude will begin to show in your child. I try to post pictures to our school’s Facebook site often, especially at the beginning of the year so you may see your child having fun and working hard. If you decide to not allow pictures of your child then none will be taken.

Some parents ask what they might do to help prepare their child to succeed in the classroom. Having your child pick up and put away his/her toys at home is one way you can help your child adjust more quickly to the classroom environment. In class students choose one work at a time, work with the one item until they are done, and then return it to its proper location on the shelf. Students must also sit in circle with their legs crossed in a quiet manner during line time. If a child has never been in a formal school setting this may be a skill that takes time to develop. Having your child practice sitting quietly at home, while you read a book or talk, can help him/her develop sitting and listening skills.

Attached to this letter are the daily schedule, planned unit studies for the school year, and the class wish list. Each class makes a wish list of items that would enhance the classroom. If you would like to donate an item for the class please consult the wish list, or see me if you have other ideas.

I look forward to meeting you and your child. Please bring your child’s change of clothes, picture, and napping items (if full-day) in with you when you come to meet the teachers. If your child is full-day please also fill out the eating/ napping form and bring it with you. If you have any specific questions before August 7th you may e-mail me at csorrow@millhopper.com or call the school August 4th – August 8th.   I am anticipating a wonderful year with all of our new and returning families.

Sincerely,

Crystal R. Sorrow
Little House Lead Teacher

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