July, 2013

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year. Ms. Christina and I are excited for you and your child to have a chance to visit our classroom and meet your new classmates. We are looking forward to a wonderful year of learning, making new friends and enjoying the Montessori experience.

The first day of school is Monday August 12th. We will be having orientation on Friday, August 9th. Attached you will find an Orientation Day Schedule. If the time that has been assigned to you is not convenient, please leave a message at the school and I will call you to reschedule. 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 your child to recognize some familiar faces on Monday, become familiar with the classroom and know where to put things when he/she 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 4 by 3 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 be able to locate their name on their cubby, hooks in the bathroom (where his/her clothes will hang), name card, and work in progress folder. You can help him/her locate all the places.

2. Enjoy your visit with your child. Work with the materials and/or read a book in the nook with 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 to go over the rules pertaining to playground 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 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 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 art with paint, 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 them to school in cumbersome clothing (overalls, difficult belts, snaps and ties) 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 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 School. Your child will need a cloth napkin (placemat size) in his/her lunchbox on which to place their food and an additional napkin for wiping hands and mouth. Please have your child assist with nutritious foods that he or she will eat. Please pack in unbreakable small child size containers that are easily opened. Please no candy in your child’s lunchbox.

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.

Please fill out the Information concerning your child’s pick up and additional information that will help us to better know your child and prepare a year of a positive beginning.

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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