Kindergarten Weekly Note

 Dear Kindergarten Families,

Thanks to all of the families that were able to come to Back-to-School Night. We enjoyed sharing our program with you. If you have any questions or topics about which you would like more information, please email us and we will try to include the information in future Weekly Notes. Following this note is the “Administrative Details” information we shared at Back-to-School Night.

Our rooms parents this year are:

  • Kindergarten A: Zach Klehr & Lauren Harel
  • Kindergarten B- Jennifer Mantini & Rebecca Selvin

We were excited to be back in school for four days in a row! It was a week of reestablishing routines and creating classroom rules. The students continued to learn more about one another, make new friends and explore new ideas. In thinking about the year ahead, we started to talk about our hopes for kindergarten. We read The Ok Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal to frame our conversation around what we hope to accomplish during our time in kindergarten. Here are some examples of this year’s kindergarten hopes: “I hope to get better at the monkey bars,” “I hope to do more math,” “I hope to make new friends,” and “I hope to read lots of books.” The students illustrated their hopes with Sharpies and watercolors. Our goal is to help all of our students recognize what they can do to bring their hopes to fruition this year!

In order to fulfill these hopes, we acknowledged the need for class rules so that we can be safe and take care of one another in the process. Both classes generated a long list of rules, up to 25 items! We discussed how it would be very challenging to remember all 25 so we needed to find a way to narrow them down. After some categorizing the children came up with four rules. Here are the rules in their words:

Detectives and Investigators: 

  • Listen to each other.
  • Be careful with our bodies.
  • Treat our classroom carefully.
  • Help people who need help.

Riddles and Clues:  

  • Be a good listener  
  • Be safe and calm with your body.
  • Take care of our classroom.
  • Play nicely.

All the students signed their names, like on a contract, promising to try their best to follow these class rules.

This morning today was exciting as we spent time with our Family Groups. Family Groups are groups of children consisting of three to five children from different grades who work together and spend time together. These mixed-aged groups give the youngest children an opportunity to connect with older children and give the older children a chance to take on the responsibility of being a Family Group Leader. Family Groups meet in Family Circles, groups of three to five Family Groups led by two TPS teachers. All-School Theme activities are often tackled in Family Circles. Family Groups change every school year.

In mathematics this week our focus was using a number line. We touched on the following skills:

  • Count backward from any number in the range of 10 to 1
  • Count forward from a given number, rather than starting at 1
  • Read numbers from 1 to 10. Practice writing some of those numerals.
  • Count objects one by one, saying the numbers in the standard order and pairing each object with only one number name
  • Beginning to locate numbers on a number line.

Despite the light rain (sorry about the “lightning” misspelling in yesterday’s email), we went to the Schuylkill Center today for a quick hour-long visit. We visited the Pine Plantation, where the boughs acted as a natural umbrella. Before our visit, we discussed how to look for evidence of life in the woods and become “nature detectives.” We brought some observational tools: magnifying glasses, tweezers and cameras. Upon return to the classroom the children watched a slideshow of the photos they took at The Schuylkill Center. Be sure to check the TPS blog for a few of the photos. The students then put on their detective hats trying to solve the mystery of what lives in the woods based on the evidence. Next week each classroom will narrow down which of those might be interesting to focus on as a science study. We will keep you posted about what each classroom chooses.

In Seed to Table, the children learned about harvesting and then harvested mint, potatoes and celery. They also made eggplant fries with eggplants picked fresh from our garden.

Things to ask or do with your child this week:

  • Ask: What mysterious activity did you do with your Family Circle this morning?
  • Ask: How did you find evidence of life in the woods? What tools did you use?
  • Ask: What evidence did you find at The Schuylkill Center of life in the woods?
  • Ask: What does it mean to have a “Spanish Morning Meeting?”
  • Ask: Which math work place did you enjoy the most?
  • To Do: Go on a shape hunt in your home. Keep track of how many circles, squares, rectangles and triangles you can find. You can predict which you think you’ll find the most or least, and estimate how many of each you might find.
  • To Do: Go on a walk in your neighborhood. Use your senses to be “nature detectives” to find evidence of creatures that are living there.

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Administrative Details about Kindergarten

MORNING DROP OFF:

7:30 - 8 am: Early Risers: Keisha is available in the office for children dropped off between 7:30 and 8 am.

8:00 - 8:20 am: Garden: You may come into the garden with your child at any time between 8 and 8:20 am, or drop him/her off as the garden is under constant supervision by teachers. There is a drop-off-only lane in front of the building; a staff person will open your car door and help your child out of the car. Please do not park in the drop-off-only lane.

8:20 am - Table Time in the Classroom: This is the first fifteen minutes of the day. It is a time when all the children will come into the classrooms together. You are invited into the classroom if your child would like for you to join them in their transition from the garden. We do ask that parents leave before our Morning Meetings begin. There is an activity waiting for the children on the tables. The activities vary daily and are often connected to our current curricular studies. Please try to get your child(ren) to school by 8:20 a.m. when our day begins.

LUNCH: Please have your child bring a lunch, including a drink (a bottle of water is great). Lunch is a social time. We allot 30 minutes for lunch, and allow children who aren’t finished with lunch another 15 minutes to finish, if they would like. Many children, especially at the beginning of the year, do not eat much of their lunch as they are busy talking with friends. We remind the children often to be sure to eat what they have brought. We also have children put uneaten food back into their lunch boxes so you can see what has been consumed.

QUIET TIME: We do not nap in kindergarten, but we do have a 15 minute calm, resting time after recess, following lunch. The children relax and either listen to music, or listen to a story. It is a time when they can regroup and calmly prepare for the rest of the afternoon.

DISMISSAL PLANS: If your child is in ASEP or a club, s/he will be walked to the ASEP program or club by kindergarten and ASEP teachers. If your child is being picked up directly after school, s/he will be brought out of the classroom around 3 o’clock on Monday-Thursday when the children play in the garden. Dismissal is officially called for 3:15 pm on Monday-Thursday but you may come and be in the garden with your child at 3pm. Friday dismissal is at 3pm, and we come out to the garden around 2:55 pm. Kindergarten dismissal is through the South Street exit of the garden (this is a change from previous years). Please be sure to leave the garden with your child when you hear the bell ring. It is important that the teachers return to our classrooms to prepare for the following day and we were asked not to leave the garden until every student has departed. If you are not here to pick up your child on time, s/he will be brought to Keisha in the office. We also ask that you not pick any vegetables with your child when in the garden. Part of our curriculum is harvesting those vegetables, and we want to be sure to have enough for the entire class to harvest. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.

SCHUYLKILL CENTER: Kindergarten typically goes to the Schuylkill Center every Friday before Thanksgiving and after Spring Break.

Lunch at the Schuylkill Center: Students will eat lunch at the Schuylkill Center and are expected to "pack out" their own trash. Please do not send your child with yogurt or other items that will get sticky in his/her lunch box. No trash, recycling, or compost will be collected or can be left at the Schuylkill Center; students will be able to dispose of those items back at TPS. We suggest lunches that are easy to clean up with minimal waste. Students should pack a water bottle. Water is available at the Schuylkill Center, but access is not guaranteed in all locations. Please do not pack sweet foods as they can attract yellow jackets. It would be helpful if you could pack some wipes or hand sanitizer in your child’s lunch so s/he can wash hands before lunch.

How to Dress for the Schuylkill Center: On Fridays in the Fall and Spring, students should dress for an active day outdoors. Check the weather and dress appropriately; even in inclement weather we may go to the Center, even if it is just for a half day. The temperature at the Schuylkill Center is often cooler than in the city, so students should bring an extra layer, if needed. Students should wear sturdy shoes that are good for all weather, as well as for hiking and active play. Rain boots are not recommended. Students should wear clothes that can get wet and muddy; in case of rain, students should wear a poncho or other rain gear (no umbrellas). Light-colored clothing is best for both the sun and spotting ticks and insects. On Schuylkill Center days, we recommend that children wear:

  • sturdy shoes and socks (no open-toed shoes)
  • long cotton pants (that can be tucked into socks)
  • long-sleeved t-shirts
  • hats

CONNECTING WITH THE LARGER TPS COMMUNITY:

All-School Theme: This is a study that the entire school spends time learning about both in separate classrooms and together as a school. This year’s All-School Theme is “Mysteries.”

Family Groups/Family Circles: Family Groups are groups of children consisting of three to five children from different grades that work together and spend time together. They give the youngest children an opportunity to connect with older children, and give the older children a chance to take on the responsibility of being a Family Group Leader. Family Groups meet in Family Circles, groups of three to five Family Groups led by two TPS teachers. All-School Theme activities are often tackled in Family Circles. Family Groups change every school year.

Encuentro: This is an all-school assembly. We have them many Friday mornings. They range from presentations from the Student Council, to All-School-Theme presentations, to Talent Shows.

Book Buddies: Each kindergartner will be partnered with a third-grader. These “book buddies” will meet to read together a number of times during the year. We may also meet during the year for other activities.

COMMUNICATION

We have two formal means of communicating your child’s experience and progress in kindergarten.

Conferences: We have two scheduled parent-teacher conferences. One in early November and another in late March. We will email you a number of weeks prior to conferences so you can schedule yours.

Reports: We also send out two progress reports. The reports have both narrative and check-list components. Reports are sent out in January and in June.

Friday Classroom Notes: We work hard to try to communicate what is happening in our classroom through Friday Notes. A link (red button) to the notes is provided in the weekly Progressive EDge email sent to you every Friday.  

Communication with you is important to us. If you have questions or want to check in with us, please email and we can schedule a time to meet or chat on the phone.

PLAY

Play is an important part of our curriculum. Kindergarten is a time when children become more interested in socializing. We work to empower our students to navigate their social world. We work on how to build relationships as well as how to resolve the inevitable conflicts.

Activity Time: A free choice time when children are given a number of choices of activities in which to engage. We try to offer many types of choices: building toys, gross motor toys, toys that encourage fine-motor skills, puzzles, art activities, as well as academic and theme-related activities.

Recess: Twice weekly we go to Markward Playground (Taney Park) for half an hour, and twice weekly we play in our garden space in the mornings. We also have some recess time in the garden after lunch as well.

SICK POLICY

We ask your help with keeping our children healthy. Our school policy is that your child must be fever-free without Tylenol for at least 24 hours before sending them to school after an illness.