Welcome to our classroom and the 2014-2015 school year. On Friday August 8, we will have an orientation day for your child to come and meet Ms. Kathleen and myself as well as a few peers. Giving your child the opportunity to become familiar with the classroom and some of the people should help to ease the transition into the classroom this coming Monday. The orientation will only take about a half hour or so and the schedule is attached to this letter. If there is a problem with your time slot you can contact me and I will make adjustments as necessary.
Also, in order to facilitate a smooth transition into a new school year I am providing you with the following guidelines and expectations that have been established to help you and your child get off to a great start. Additionally, please, become familiar with the MMS Parent Handbook, read it carefully and sign and return the back page.
What to bring to orientation
Please bring a wallet size photo of your child and a Change of Clothing, including underwear, shorts, a shirt, and socks. We ask that you put these items in a large plastic storage bag (the one’s with plastic zippers are easy for the children to open and close), and then put the zippered bag in a plastic shopping bag or library bag so that we can hang the bag on a hook in the bathroom. Please put your child’s name on the outside of all of the bags, as well as on all his or her clothes.
Children who arrive before 8:45am will wait in the big room at morning care until the classroom doors are opened at 8:45. During this transition time the Children may greet their classmates quietly and choose a book to look at or begin a lesson.
Class will begin promptly at 9:00am. We will begin each morning with Line Time (group time). It is a time in which we will go over many necessary concepts such as calendar skills, grace and courtesy, language, and most importantly, set the tone for the day.
The first week or two of school will be the most difficult, especially if this is the first time you and you child are separating for several hours a day. Here are some suggestions to help ease any anxiety you or your child may have.
- We strongly recommend using our safety patrol drop-off service, which is available from 8:40-9:05 each morning. The drop off service exists to ensure each child’s safety, to ease separation anxiety, and to promote independence on the part of your child.
- Allow your child to carry all of his or her things and place them in his or her cubby. This encourages independence and likewise promotes self-esteem.
- Years of experience have proven that a short, positive good-bye is easiest for both child and parent. If you have concerns please see me so that we can work together to make the transition as easy as possible.
- It can also be reassuring to call the office after about 20 minutes to check on your child if when you departed he/she was crying or distressed.
- Make your good-byes sweet, but quick and matter of fact. “I love you”, “Have a great day”, a kiss and a wave good-bye work well.
School ends at 2:30. You may pick up your child between 2:40 and 3:00 with the drive thru, or you may have your child attend the after-school program (available until 6:00). You may take advantage of the after-school program at any time, any day, however if you plan to have your child attend the after-school program every day, a note to that effect would be helpful
We will have two conferences during the school year to meet and discuss your child’s progress in detail. However, I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns outside of these meetings. Please also let me know during the school year if there are any important changes in your or your child’s life (divorce, death, change of residence). Even joyous occasions, such as a wedding or a new sibling can affect a child’s performance at school. I welcome any communication from you that will help me understand your child and become a more effective teacher for him or her.
There are different means to contact me. You may call the school and leave a message or you may place a note for me in the basket outside the door on top of the cubbies. Any sentiment that you would like to communicate to me can be dropped in that basket. For very brief comments or questions, you may catch me before or after school or we can set up a meeting time for longer conversations. My email address is email@example.com. I try to check it daily but it is not my first priority so if it is imperative that you reach me right away place a note in the basket on top of the cubbies.
I will be communicating with you primarily through letters in your child’s “Friday folder”. We will be keeping you up to date with what is happening in the classroom through our classroom newsletter. Please read these letters on a timely basis. They will keep you informed about the various events and activities that will be taking place.
Take-Home Folders “Friday folder”
Your child will be provided with a take-home folder for the year. Folders are sent home every Friday, and should be returned empty on Monday. The folders contain important information from the school as well as any paper work your child has done over the week. You should be aware that children in a Montessori classroom will often not bring home very much paper work, as the majority of work is hands-on. Young children are process oriented as opposed to product oriented. Children that are reading and writing will be encouraged to keep track of their daily work on a daily work chart/plan, these should be brought home in their folders at the end of each week. Please teach your child the responsibility of bringing home, emptying, and returning his or her folder every week. It is a small responsibility that you can build on as your child gets older and his or her responsibilities increase. If you should lose your child’s folder please replace it with a similar new one and write your child’s name and “Friday Folder” on the top right corner.
Take-Home Folders “Reading Folders”
Children that are reading will be given a reading folder to bring home reading material at their current reading level. A guide for helping your child with reading at home is contained in the folder, as well as a chart for you to keep track of books read and make any comments or ask questions. It is not necessary to return the folder each day. The book and folder should be kept at home and practiced until reasonable fluency is achieved.
For safety reasons it is school policy that children wear sneakers. (Please refer to the parent handbook for guidelines, the administration is very particular as to what qualifies as sneakers, and strict enforcement is upheld for playground safety). Girls should wear shorts under dresses or skirts. Do not send your child to school in overalls, or pants and shorts that require belts or difficult snaps: if you have to help them in the morning, then they shouldn’t wear it to school. Cumbersome clothing interferes with your child’s ability to go to the bathroom independently and also to change independently should an accident occur. Clothing should be comfortable “play clothes”. Please no jewelry that may get broken, lost, or become toys in the classroom. At this age your child should be able to get dressed in the morning by him or herself. Your guidance should only be needed to determine what is weather and school appropriate. Mismatched clothing is fine; children sometimes have their own sense of style at this age. Please put your child’s name on all of his or her clothing, including sweaters, jackets, lunch boxes, and anything else brought to school.
Pocketed Classroom Materials
If your child brings home small objects from school in his or her pockets, they are most likely classroom materials. While it is natural for children to covet these materials (after all the objects were selected to be appealing to children!), we will need them returned to the classroom. Sometimes they are a part of a set and can be very costly, as well as time consuming, to replace.
Show-and-Tell will be on Mondays. Children will be invited to bring a special object from home to share with the class. Items that pertain to the current theme being taught are of particular interest and I have made a schedule of topics to help guide you and your child on selections. Objects include those from nature, household items, souvenirs from trips, pictures and books. Please keep in mind that Show-and-Tell is optional and while your child may not have something to share every Monday they do enjoy sharing their treasures when they can. Show and tell preparation also gives parents an excellent opportunity to relate with their children on topics the class is exploring.
We celebrate each child’s birthday with a celebration of life. To prepare for the celebration please choose one photo from each year of your child’s life beginning with a newborn picture and ending with one that is rather current. You may choose to make a poster board for display or a book type format. During the celebration the birthday child take a birthday walk around the sun showing the pictures while the story of his or her live is read to everyone present. (the child “orbits” around a symbolic sun for each year of his or her life). I am including a template for the story, but feel free to adlib. Parents are encouraged to attend this ceremony if possible. You are welcomed to bring low sugar birthday treats for the class to share such as muffins, health-minded cookies, yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit, crackers, etc. Juice boxes and plates are also appreciated. To foster healthy eating habits at this impressionable age, foods such as frosting covered cupcakes, cakes, doughnuts, and candy are discouraged. A week or two before your child’s birthday, please contact me, so that we can make arrangements concerning the time.
You may visit the school website to find out about hot lunch choices, or you will need to pack your child a lunch (snacks are provided by the school). Children in the class need to pack a cloth napkin or small place mat with their lunches (in addition to the napkin they use to wipe their mouths). The placemat denotes each child’s eating space and encourages good manners. If your child is a finicky eater, I recommend giving your child choices by packing a variety of foods (i.e. small plastic containers filled with fruit (raisins), cut vegetables, nuts, cheese cubes, small crackers, pasta items, or whatever nutritious food s/he will eat). Having your child help pack his or her lunch also works for some families. Please do not pack any candy in your child’s lunch; we are trying to promote healthy eating habits. Also, please do not send food in glass containers. Spill proof drink containers, straws and necessary table ware are also helpful.
Please call and leave a message with the front office or send an email if your child is ill and unable to come to school. We would like to know how s/he is doing and when we might expect him or her back.
The classroom is greatly enriched when parents volunteer. There are many different ways to volunteer. If you are interested, please fill out our volunteer sheet, so we can determine the best way to utilize your skills. Also, I will at times place sign-up sheets on the door if you would like to help by sending in needed consumables.
Please retain this packet to refer to as needed throughout the year. I welcome any comments or questions you have about the classroom and your child’s education. Ask any time!
We are excited about the new school year and are looking forward to working with the children and watching their growth.
Ms. Renee Brohamer and Ms. Kathleen Bastien