August 30, 2016
Dear Red Oak Parents and Guardians,
Brandy and I are so happy to start the school year with you! We welcome back our returning students and families, and we extend a warm welcome to all of our new friends and their “people.” It was wonderful to chat with those of you who visited us at open house!
Our carefully prepared environment is the foundation for all of the great work your children will be doing. Respect and courtesy is at the core of everything we do and each child will be learning important skills. Your child is going to feel empowered in our classroom, and they are going to feel great doing things on their own. Brandy and I are here to nurture, support, and guide them each and every day and we are so happy you are sharing your children with us.
Here is some basic information about our classroom, but Brandy and I are here for you if other questions or concerns pop up at any time.
Daily Schedule: Our day will begin with a work period from 8:00 am until 11:00 am. At any time during this work time, your child will be free to stop and eat snack. Don’t worry if your child “forgets” to eat when they are busy, Brandy will be reminding them to eat before snack is put away. After our work time, I will ring the bell to put our work away and use the bathrooms. Then we will head to the cubbies to change shoes, etc. to get ready for outside time. We will be going outside at 11:15 this year. We will be playing and enjoying the fresh air until 11:45. *This is a different outside time than last year, so that each classroom can have that important 3 hours of work time. Accordingly, lunch will now be eaten from 12:15-12:45. When we come in after lunch, we will have a short circle time at approximately 11:55, where we will play games, sing songs, and/or have a group lesson. Then it will be lunch time, where we will all eat together in the classroom. After lunch, the children may look at books, and the nappers will again use the bathroom and then be escorted to Evergreen for their rest. The children that remain in our classroom will begin another work time until 2:30, at which time some children are picked up, and the rest will go to Evergreen for play and another snack until they go home.
Saying goodbye is often a stressful time for children and parents, especially the first few weeks of school. As hard as it seems, it is normal. From experience, we have learned that long goodbyes often add to the child’s (and parent’s) anxiety and stress. Please give your child a hug and say goodbye quietly at the door, and let one of the teachers welcome your child to our classroom. We are here to reassure and comfort your child. Often if your child is upset, they have recovered by the time you have gotten to the parking lot! Feel free to give Heidi or Angie a call in the office if you want to check on your child after a particularly rough send-off. We are here for you!
A peaceful classroom is very important to your child’s learning. We keep our classroom door closed for this reason. If you arrive after 8:00 am, please bring your child to the classroom quietly. If you need to talk with a teacher, Brandy or I can meet with you outside the door. On the occasion that your child would like to show you something they have been working on, please remember that other children are working and getting lessons. A quiet “inside voice” is much appreciated!
Conferences will be held twice a year, one in the fall, and one in spring. We will post sign-up sheets outside the door when the times near. If none of the offered times work for you, reach out and we will schedule something that does work!
Birthdays are celebrated in a special circle time with your child. You are welcome to join us for this special celebration! Our circle time will begin at around 11:55. Some families like to bring a special treat to share with their child’s friends. This is great, but please remember we have a peanut free school, and all snacks must be store-bought, and not processed in a facility that manufactures nuts. Thank you for understanding and making our school safe for everyone.
Supplies needed and volunteer opportunities occur often throughout the year. We understand that your time, talents, or finances don’t always allow for that, and that is perfectly fine! If you feel you can contribute, please let myself or Brandy know. In particular, we are looking for a laundry volunteer: a family (or two, it can be traded off!) to take home the children’s dirty rags and towels, etc. weekly would be very much appreciated! We would also love to incorporate fresh flowers into our prepared environment, so if you have a flower garden or would like to purchase them once a week, we would love it! Grocery store flowers are awesome! We will also be putting up notes with supplies we need periodically, such as pickles, apples, etc. for food work out on our bulletin board. If you are able to throw a thing or two into your cart when you shop, that would be great! If anyone has access to a giant sunflower (with seeds intact) that would be wonderful. As fall approaches, some large pumpkins will also be needed. Thank you in advance for any way you feel like you can help!
If you have a career or hobby you would like to share with the children, we love having guest speakers. In the past we have also had “mystery readers,” where during circle time or in the afternoon you can come in and read a favorite book to the children. We keep it a surprise and have the child with the mystery reader come to the door to invite them in. They love it!
Show and Tell can be an excellent time for your child to practice speaking in front of a group about things that are important or special to them. Items from a special trip, a craft they have completed, a trophy, or items from nature are all great things to share. Please leave toys at home.
Folders with your child’s progressing and finished work will be in a basket on the shelf near our door, or put outside the hall (if we remember!J.) Feel free to check the folders at pick up time and take home your child’s “finished “work. Do not be concerned if your child does not seem to have a lot in his/her folder to take home. Especially at the beginning of our school year, your child will be learning many new things that are using the Montessori apparatus and do not require any paper at all.
If you have concerns or just want to check in with me about your child, I will typically be available Tuesday-Friday from 11:15-11:45 (Mondays I will be outside with the children) and afternoons from 2:30-3:00. Again, if you need a quick word in the morning as you drop your child off, Brandy or I can sneak out the door if needed. You can email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to a meaningful and educational year with all of you!
Kristen and Brandy
A Poem for Parents: Nothing
When children come home at the end of the day,
The question they’re asked as they scurry to play is,
“What did you do at school today?”
And the answer they give
Makes you sigh with dismay.
“Nothing, I did nothing today!”
Perhaps nothing means
That I played with blocks, counted to ten, or sorted some rocks.
Maybe I painted or learned to tie my shoe
Or learned what happens when you mix red and blue
Maybe I learned to tuck in my chair and put my work away
Or maybe I learned to be kind to a friend while I was playing outside today.
Maybe my scissors followed a line and I learned to write my name.
Maybe I learned some sounds or numbers or learned to play a new game,
Maybe I made a craft or sang a song from beginning to end,
Or maybe I learned to play with a special, brand new friend.
When you’re in preschool
And your heart has wings,
“Nothing” can mean so many, many things.