Dear Parents,

We have had another excellent week!  Over the past few weeks, the children have been adjusting to the classroom and have begun learning new concepts in large and small group lessons.

In Language, daily journal writing (for Kindergarteners) continues to be a favorite activity.  Each day, the children copy the date and a written journal prompt from the board.  They answer the prompt phonetically (“inventive writing”) and then get to illustrate their answer.  As the year progresses, the children love to see how far they have come in their writing ability since the beginning of the year!

To help unlock the meaning of language, we teach children to apply sense to symbols.  They learn to associate sound pictures with letters and then to combine letters to make sounds.  This progression happens naturally.  Some children can decode single words and next can read sentences, paragraphs, and chapters with ease.  For others, each step comes with great effort, and success is not always at hand.  Some children may be able to decode at an early developmental age and others may take longer.  They each seek what the proficient readers have – fluency.  Fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression – which are essential to comprehension – the primary goal of reading.  This fluency comes with practice.  Exposure to print, immersion in a rich linguistic environment (not limited to books) and practice, practice, practice all lead to fluent reading.

Some of the children are working on becoming more solid with their letter sounds.  They enjoy working with the Waseca Reading Program.  The Waseca Reading Program was designed to phonetically break the English language down into manageable pieces to be presented sequentially.  The phonetic elements presented build cumulatively toward mastery of the language in terms of reading and spelling.  The sequence of presentation follows that used by the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading and compliments the Phono-Graphix and Montessori approach.  The Orton-Gillingham approach was developed for use with dyslexic students and is very thorough in terms of breaking our language down and isolating phonetic elements.

Reading Folders – When appropriate, reading books will be sent home weekly.  Because the proper progression of language is so important, I have the children read to me (isolating each letter sound and then blending the sounds together) before the reading book is sent home.  Please have your child read the book(s) several times to you, their relatives, their neighbors, and even their pets and stuffed animals!  Please return them to school no later than one week from the day they have been brought home.

In Math, some Preschool children and those new to our school are working on one-to-one correspondence (0-9), number rods, bead stair activities, teen numbers, the 100 board and the bead chains.  Some of the children are working on the concept of addition, using counters and the golden beads.

In September Unit Studies on Vertebrates and Invertebrates and the Food Pyramid will begin; at the end of September we will begin to study the Solar System.

Fall is almost upon us (my favorite season – I am from the North (Upstate NY) and the fall holds so many special memories for me and my family.  I will try to share some of these with the children.  On Friday, September 26th, we will be devoting the day to Johnny Appleseed’s birthday!   One of my favorite lessons is how to “Make a Homemade Apple Pie” with the children!

This informational letter will be sent home approximately every two weeks; in additional to memos/brief notes when necessary.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by a note put in the basket on top of the children’s cubbies, leave me a voicemail or you can email me at efalls@millhopper.com.  I will get back with you as quickly as I can.

Dates for your Calendar: 

NO SCHOOL/Labor Day               Monday, September 1st

Fall Picture Day                              Friday, September 5th

PTO Meeting                                    Tuesday, September 9th - 6:00 p.m.

Autumn Begins                               Tuesday, September 23rd

Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday    Friday, September 26th

Six-Week Interim Reports            Monday, September 29th
Sent Home

Have a nice Labor Day Weekend; see you on Tuesday!

Sincerely,

Ms. Elizabeth Falls and Ms. Jessica Pytko