September 2017

Dear Parents and families,

Welcome to the new school year and the month of transitions. Transitions for children, adults and nature.  Trees are changing colours, farmers are harvesting, weather is cooling, and clothing is layering. The children are adapting to classroom routines and making new friends. Summer is over and now we welcome autumn.  Our newsletters are a way of informing families about what we have done and what may be coming up. This may sound a bit repetitive to second year families, and parents who now have a second or third child with us. But everyone is busy, so it is always good to have a reminder.

Every class begins with Circle and the Helping Hands of the day selection. Helping hand names are on rotation that will allow every child equal turns. Helping hands introduce the calendar, with days, months and weather watch. They are also in charge of setting the table for snack and will be such great helping hands at home for Thanksgiving. Being a helping hand supports confidence building and is a first time leadership exercise. Circle also allows teachers to share and read stories, sing songs and demonstrate classroom materials. After Circle, the children are welcome to choose their activities from the materials they have been shown, or are on the shelves for use. This is all done at an age appropriate level for all children, so the younger children are not overwhelmed and the older children are still interested. It is a delicate balance.  We maintain a basic routine to each day allowing a beginning, middle and end to each class. This allows children enough time to accomplish their work, or place it in their file to finish another day. Children find comfort in routines as they come to know and expect what will happen. Clear boundaries and consistency are key elements for helping children with self-confidence and transitions.

The ‘All About Me’ theme starts each year. Circle discussions are about our five senses, parts of the body, families, feelings, emotions, moods, and respecting friends. This week we began autumn, apples, the harvest, animal migration and other aspects of the changing seasons. The children are welcome to bring a single item that depicts autumn, which is placed on a nature tray. The children are welcome to bring the tray to a table and investigate each item with a magnifying glass. Our themes are listed on the yearly calendar sent home in every child’s file folder. Although the general curriculum is pre-planned, we are always willing to add something to the weekly themes that is an interest of the children, and take advantage of those curious moments

Documentation is kept for every child, marking their level of understanding and building upon that foundation.  Lessons are given in groups and on an individual basis. We have started the Sound Game with first year children and working on sounds and sandpaper letters with the pre-K students. Counting and tracing sand paper numbers is the introduction to math concepts. There are many Practical Life exercises out on the shelf, and Miss Lori has already started sewing with many of the morning and afternoon children. 

Your child’s Take-Home folder goes home with them on the last day of the week that they attend and it is to be brought back the first day of the week they return. Children do many activities in class, as well as free art that help develop fine and gross motor skills. When folders go home at the end of each week, you may find papers that may not appear to be much more than a few scribbles and little bits of cuttings. Your child has spent a great deal of energy, time and concentration making these works while strengthening their dexterity. Please be sensitive and gentle with these precious scribbles, and bits and bobs, that your child is so proud of. It is about the process, not the product.

Children are welcome to bring an item to class that enhances the theme we are working on. Sometimes it is a gift and sometimes it is a loan. Either way, we are always very appreciative. We try to take great care of all items brought into the classroom, but sometimes a friend may get a little enthusiastic. For this reason, we ask that you do not send items that are delicate, family heirlooms or very dear treasures, or anything potentially dangerous. We do our best to keep loaned materials safe, and allow the children to only ‘touch with their eyes’. We like to keep items for at least a week so all of the children can be part, but please let us know if you need it back sooner. If you are travelling and have some time, we may have a shopping list.

We like sharing, but not everything. We have introduced the proper way to cough and sneeze and practice and reinforce these lessons daily. If your child is sick, please phone and leave a message, as we check the phone more often. Attendance sheets must be maintained daily. It is very helpful for us to know the symptoms of your child’s illness, so we may monitor the class. Please notify the school as soon as possible if your child has a high fever or a contagious illness such as chicken pox or measles, as some children are at high risk. We will notify all families if there has been confirmed cases, but with privacy and discretion. When in doubt, please

check your ‘Sneezes and Diseases’ book that we are sending out this week (email attachment). The weather is changing so please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for outdoor activities. Provincial and Licensing standards require that outdoor play be a daily part of childhood programs. Outdoors will be part of the daily program at the end of every class for all of the children unless the weather is too harsh. Please make appropriate clothing choices. We can always take layers off.

We check, and re-check all registrations to ensure nothing has been missed. Please let us know if your immunization records need to be updated. We will contact all families who have something missing from their paperwork or clothing packs.

Please make a note of the school calendar and dates. We follow the Vancouver school district calendar but do not close for every school closure. If unsure, please refer to our calendar for dates, or simply ask. We will try to give advance reminders of upcoming dates with as much notice as possible. With that said, please make note of the following upcoming closure dates:

  • Thanksgiving – Monday, October 9th
  • SD39 District Closure – Friday, October 20th
  • SD39 District Closure – Friday, November 10th
  • Remembrance Day (in lieu of Nov 11) – Monday, November 13th

Things to note:

  • We are happy to send out requests from registered families who are seeking help with nanny shares, pick-ups, drop-offs, etc.
  • If you have recently changed any personal contact information, or wish to add someone to the authorized pick up list, please let us know.
  • If you have any last minute changes for pick up or drop off, please do not email. We always check the phone messages through the day.

Last but not least, if you have an abundance of fruit on your trees you can spare, feel free to send it to school. The children enjoy cutting and peeling to bake or make jams, apple sauces and dried fruit chips, and then snacking on the end product.  Happy harvest time!