Ms. Elizabeth and Ms. Jessica’s PreK-Kindergarten Classroom
Parent Information/Classroom Rules and Guidelines

August 8, 2013

Dear Parents,

We hope you are having a very nice summer! Welcome to our class and to Orientation Day!

The first few weeks of school are very important in making a smooth transition for everyone; students, parents and teachers. In order to achieve this, it is important that some simple guidelines be stipulated. We would like to briefly highlight some of them for you and we would like to encourage you to carefully read the MMS Parent Handbook that will be available on our school’s website. For information pertaining to our school and classroom go to www.millhopper.com.

Here is a collection of some important parent information regarding our classroom:

Arrival/Dismissal and Healthy Separation:

It is very important that your child arrives on time. Our class will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. Routine is very important and our class begins each day with a line time. This is a very important part of your child’s day. When children arrive late to line time, they often miss the teacher explaining the activities that will occur that day. When a child is late for our work cycle, he/she often misses valuable lessons and precious time to develop social/emotional development as well as academic skills. It also does not allow your child a few minutes to get acclimated before his/her day begins. Children who come in late take longer to adjust and often accomplish less on that day than do children who arrive on time.

The first day of school is an exciting day. It may be a day filled with many emotions! If your child is new to the school, or if you or your child is anxious about separating, this is OK, and here is what we suggest:

1. We strongly recommend the use of drop off drive-through (beginning the second week of school, August 19th). This service begins at 8:40 a.m. and lasts until 9:05 a.m. Drive-through drop off ensures every child’s safety, helps to ease separation anxiety, and encourages independence on the part of your child.

2. Allow your child to carry all of his/her things (lunchbox, etc.) and place them in his/her cubby. This promotes independence.

3. Do not force an emotional goodbye. It is common for children to almost push their parents aside to get into the classroom because they are so excited to go to school. We have found that a short and positive goodbye is easiest for the child. A secret goodbye sign and/or the blowing of a kiss may help make the transition special and easier for all. We do not recommend parents bringing their child into the classroom. The prolonged goodbye often makes the separation more difficult. Please come see me if you are having some difficulties/concerns. We can work together to help make this new transition as smooth as possible. (NOTE: During the first week of school, I will be standing near the door ready to say “Good Morning” and to see that each child is ready to start another great day!). We know that it may be hard for you but it is really the best for your child.

4. Please feel free to call the school to see how your child is doing. You may also observe through the classroom door’s one-way window. Make sure to stand at least five feet away from the window so that the children do not see you.

5. Class dismissal is at 2:40 p.m. We encourage you to use the afternoon drive-through (open until 3:05 p.m.). Please have your pick-up tag visible. The Safety Patrol and I will see to it that your child is safely returned to your loving arms each day! Because we will be concentrating on each child’s safety, we will only be available to talk to you after afternoon pick-up; inside the classroom.

Classroom Policies for Parents:

Parents in the Classroom:

While we respect and appreciate your willingness to be involved in your child’s classroom life, we need you to also respect your child’s place of work. For this reason, we ask that you do not enter our classroom during school hours unless you have made prior arrangements. This can be disruptive to the children who are working. If you need to pick up your child during school hours, you will need to stop by the front office to pick up a Student Release.

Parent Communication:

I will be keeping you up-to-date with what is happening in our classroom through written communication (newsletters and monthly calendars). These will be coming home to you in your child’s Take Home Folder. You will also be able to access these from our classroom page on the school’s website.

Open and frequent communication is of the utmost importance in the development of each child. We invite and encourage you to come and visit the classroom for observation beginning in October. Please schedule your visit in advance with myself. I consider myself very accessible and no concern is too small! You may call the school and leave a message for me on my voice mail and I will return your call as soon as I can. You may also drop a note to me in my “Parent to Teacher” communication basket which can be found on top of the students’ cubbies or you may send me an email at efalls@millhopper.com.

Your Child’s Clothing:

Children at this age should be able to get dressed by him or herself. During class, students are expected to be able to manipulate their own clothes in regards to the bathroom. These skills are taught and practiced in the Montessori classroom but we need you to have your child practice these skills at home as well. Have your child completely dress him/herself in the morning. This is a great way to practice and learn Practical Life skills!

Clothing should be comfortable “play clothes”. Girls should wear shorts under dresses or skirts. We do a lot of art projects and food preparation in our class; although we take measures to protect the children’s clothing, accidents and spills will happen.

1. Please supply us with a complete change of clothes, including socks and underwear. Please place these items in a zip-lock storage bag labeled with your child’s name.

2. Please put your child’s name on all of his/her clothing, especially sweaters and jackets, as well as his/her lunch box.

3. Please send your child to school with a minimum of accessories (i.e., jewelry, watches, etc.). These items cause distractions from work and often get lost in the classroom or on the playground. Children may be asked to remove these items and place them in their cubby at the teacher’s request.

4. Please have your child wear only rubber-soled sneakers, no dress shoes or boots. This is important not only for inside the classroom but extremely important on our playground. At this age, generally speaking, children are developmentally ready to learn to tie their shoes. Therefore, tie sneakers are recommended. We will be giving lessons and providing the materials to teach this skill in the classroom. Please reinforce this skill at home by allowing your child to tie his/her own shoes. Our goal is for all Kindergartners to know how to tie their shoes by the end of this school year. Shoe tying is an excellent tool for increasing finger/hand dexterity which is so necessary for all aspects of life!

5. All prescription and non-prescription medications (i.e., Tylenol, etc.) need to go through the front office.

Lunchtime:

Lunchtime will be from 12:00-12:30 p.m. We would like to stress the importance of nutritional lunches. Please do not send “Lunchables”. Have your child help pack their lunch. In our experience, this cooperative effort increases the chances that the entire lunch will be loved! As part of our Grace & Courtesy curriculum, lessons in using good manners are emphasized while eating. Please pack a cloth napkin to be used as a placemat as well as a paper napkin. Please do not send in any glass containers. We will assist the children in opening any items they may need help with.

Birthday Celebrations:

Birthday celebrations are integrated into the normal classroom day. The Celebration of Life is a simple but special ceremony honoring your child’s life and the years he/she has spent on the earth. Parents are invited to attend this ceremony. Here are some guidelines for your child’s birthday:

1. We suggest that you assemble a small and simple “timeline” of your child’s life, with a photograph from each year of his/her life. This will be displayed in the classroom and will be used during the Celebration of Life.

2. Birthday Snacks – Numerous studies have shown the negative effects of excessive sugar on children, their behavior, and their performance in school. To that end, we ask that you provide a special, nutritional snack to be served in the morning instead of our normal snack. Some suggestions are granola bars, small muffins, fruit, yogurt, etc. If you would like to bring a treat to be served as a dessert after the children eat lunch, please ask what would be appropriate.

3. Please do not bring in Party Favors or Goodie Bags. Any additional gifts for the birthday child such as balloons or flower arrangements are best presented to your child at home.

“Practical Life Snack Sign-Up Sheet”:

A Practical Life Snack Sign-Up Sheet will be posted on the classroom door for items those of you might want to contribute for our Practical Life work. Snack preparation provides us the opportunity to give wonderful lessons in how to properly wash, prepare, serve, and clean-up food preparation. It is also a great way to talk about nutritious and healthy food as well as provide an opportunity for the children to try new and different foods!

Scholastic Book Orders:

Scholastic Book Order Forms will be sent home periodically throughout the year. This is a wonderful, inexpensive way for your child to increase their “at home library.”

Show and Tell:

On Fridays, your child may bring in something special to share with the class (“Show and Tell”). Children will be invited to bring an object to share with the class that fits a theme for the week. The theme will be on the monthly calendar. Good examples are a favorite book, an item of nature (i.e., a rock, shell, etc.), and items picked up on a recent trip! Items pertaining to our current Unit Study are of particular interest. Toys are not appropriate and should be left at home.

Take Home Folders:

Each student will receive a Take Home Folder. Every week we will send home a collection of work your child has completed. Please keep in mind that the material that may come home in your child’s folder may not always represent what your child is actually learning in the classroom since much of the work is hands-on and involves little paperwork. Please return this folder on the following school day. This folder will also be used to relay any announcements from the administration and any classroom news.

A monthly calendar highlighting special events, holidays, and an overview of classroom activities and curriculum will be sent home monthly.

Reading Folders:

When your child is ready to start bringing home beginner reader books, he/she will be provided with a Reading Folder. If your child is a reader, but started reading from a different teacher or at a different school, I will assess his/her reading level before providing a reading folder. Please read with your child and have them read to you several times for fluency and accuracy before returning the book(s) to class. Practicing to read is just like practicing to play a musical instrument.

Reading Folders will begin coming home soon for returning students. For new students, they will be beginning to come home after a short assessment of their current reading level.

Curriculum:

Your child will receive small group and large group lessons throughout the year in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Science, Geography and Cultural Activities (Art, Music, Movement, etc.). In all of these areas, we are careful in teaching your child; we are careful to balance our attention to emotional and social growth as well as meeting your child’s academic needs. A complete outline of this years’ curriculum will be handed out at our Preschool/Kindergarten Parent Orientation on Thursday, August 22nd at 6:30 p.m. This meeting is for parents and teachers only. Child care will be provided for children 3 years and up (potty trained); please R.S.V.P. At this meeting, I will be discussing our philosophy and curriculum in depth and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Kindergarten Mid-Year Testing:

In March, the Kindergartners will take the ITBS (IOWA) Standardized Test. This is a standardized test (more information will be sent home closer to this time) that takes approximately four days (in the morning only) to complete. Most of the children enjoy this test and it teaches practical life experience they will encounter further into their education. A Parent-Teacher conference can be scheduled to discuss the results.

Special Friend!

Throughout the year, I will be sending home (every child will have an opportunity) a “special friend” (stuffed animal and sometimes a book) to spend a few days and nights visiting. Your child can draw pictures, take pictures, etc. This is a fun activity that also promotes responsibility and creativity (writing and drawing in the enclosed journal) as well as encourages children to read.

Volunteering:

Due to the many specials and small/large group lessons at this age level, we do not have regular in-class volunteers. However, if you have a special expertise that you would like to share with us or would like to work on projects (i.e., preparing material for the classroom) at home, please let us know. For example, you may be a police officer or fire fighter interested in talking about being safe. For special events, we will post a sign-up sheet on our classroom door.

Conferences:

Communication between parents and teachers is so important. We will have two, formal conferences during the school year to meet and discuss your child’s progress in detail. You may always conference with me informally whenever the need may arise. You can call the school and leave a message on my voice mail, place a note for me in the “Parent/Teacher Communication” basket located on top of the students’ cubbies or send me an email.

I know we are going to have a wonderful year and we are happy that you will be a part of it! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We are excited about this year! Thank you for sharing your child with us!

“Children are our most valuable natural resource”
-Herbert Hoover

Sincerely,

Ms. Elizabeth and Ms. Jessica

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