Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year.  The time has finally arrived and Ms. Christina and I are excited to meet you and for you to have a chance to visit your child’s classroom and meet a few of his/her classmates.  We are looking forward to a wonderful year of learning, making new friends and enjoying the Montessori experience.

Two of my favorite quotes of Maria Montessori are, “Through movement the mind goes from unconscious to conscious levels.”  It is through movement of the hands, having experiences with the objects of the environment, that the child becomes conscious and constructs himself.  “The hand is the instrument of the intelligence.”  (Absorbent Mind, p.26)

The first day of school is Monday August 11th.  We will be having orientation on Friday, August 8th.  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 leave me a message at the school and I will call you to reschedule.  During this time your child will become familiar with the classroom and will make a smooth transition on the first day of school.  The orientation is set up so that a few other students and parents will be in the room at the same time.  This will help the children to recognize some familiar faces on Monday and become familiar with the classroom and know where to put their things when they arrive.  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 (size 3 x 4 inches or smaller).  We will display the photo on our “Welcome Board” in our classroom.

2. A change of clothes to leave at school (shorts, shirt, socks and underwear).  Please put the clothing in a zipper plastic bag and put that bag into a grocery store plastic bag with handles so it can be hung up in the bathroom under your child’s name.  Please put your child’s name on all clothes and both bags so it is easy for your child to recognize it.

During orientation:

  1. Your child will find his/her name on their cubby, hooks in the bathroom (where his/her clothes will hang), name card, and work in progress folder.  You can help your child locate all the places.
  2. Enjoy your visit with your child.  Work with the materials and/ or read a book in the nook to your child.  If your child senses that you like the environment and feel comfortable, he/she will feel comfortable too.
  3. We take the safety of our students very seriously.  Ms. Christina will take you and your child on the playground after getting familiar with the classroom and go over the rules pertaining to safety.  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.  The orientation will conclude after the playground visit.

During the first weeks of school: 

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. Christina and I will be there to help if needed.  To ensure that all of the children feel safe and are able to remain focused on their work, please refrain from entering the classroom with your child after 8:45 a.m.  Use the safety patrol drop-off service (begins August 18th) as soon as you feel comfortable.  For many children it is easier to say good-bye at the car than at the door.  Using the safety patrol service is also a great way to increase your child’s independence.

If your child has experienced separation problems in the past, please talk with me beforehand so we can come up with a plan to make the transition into the classroom a smooth as possible.  We can talk on the phone or meet between 9:30 and 3:30 during the week before school starts.  If you wish to meet please call ahead of time in case I am in a meeting so that we can set up a time to talk.

Clothing:  The school dress code is outlined in the Parent Handbook that can be found at (millhopper.com/parents/resources/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 art with painting, glue and other items that can get on the clothing even 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 your child in clothing that is too difficult for them to manage so they will be able to go to the bathroom independently, or changing clothes independently should an accident occur.  We ask that you refrain from sending your child in anything that could be a possible distraction such as:  (shoes or clothing that light up, jewelry etc.).

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.

Lunches:  Please refer to the school website regarding hot lunches if you are interested in this option; otherwise, you will need to pack your child a lunch.  Snacks are provided by the SchoolYour child will need a cloth napkin (placemat size) in their lunchbox to place their food on and an additional napkin for wiping hands and mouth.  Please have your child assist with choosing nutritious foods that he or she will eat.  Please pack in unbreakable small child size containers that are easily opened.  

Reminder about Prerequisites for the Preschool Classroom

The following is the list of prerequisites for the preschool classroom as stated in the Millhopper Montessori Parent Handbook.  Please review this list and let me know if you have any questions of concerns.

  1. Following a one-step direction the first time it is given, such as responding appropriately when ask to come to line, putting work away, lining up to go outside, coming to a teacher when asked, etc.
  2. Use toilet independently and be able to undress, wipe and dress oneself with minimum 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.
  3. Be able to change his/her own clothes with minimum assistance should an accident occur.
  4. Sit quietly and listen to a story without interrupting those around him/her with actions or words.
  5. Use a quiet voice in the classroom
  6. Manners and respect for others and classroom materials.
  7. Walk when inside the school for safety.
  8. Choose activities independently.
  9. Handle work carefully.
  10. Complete a cycle of work:  choose work, take work to workspace, engage in material, put it back in order so it is ready for the next student, and return it to its place on the shelf.
  11. Use understandable words and be verbal enough to communicate needs to teacher, such as when she/he is hurt, hungry, tired, etc.
  12. Use kind words and soft hands with friends and respect other’s own personal space.
  13. Keep objects out of mouth – this includes hands and fingers.
  14. Is comfortable separating for parents and parent is ready to encourage child to be independent.
  15. Is able to go to his/her cubby to retrieve or return lunch box independently.
  16. Arrives to school on time consistently. 

Please fill out the Information concerning your child’s pick up and additional information that will help us to better know your child.

You will receive a classroom packet at orientation with detailed information concerning the daily schedule, unit studies and other important aspects of our classroom.  Ms. Christina Wegner and I are looking forward to meeting you and looking forward to your child getting familiar with their classroom.  We hope the rest of your summer is enjoyable.

Sincerely,

Ms. Martha Dolan
Ms. Christina Wegner

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