Welcome to Kindergarten! St. Philip’s Academy 2010-2011 Ms. Neary and Ms. McNeill
Communication • Open communication and working together is vital for the success of your child. There will be a newsletter posted on my blog every other month and the blog will be updated frequently to keep you abreast with what we are doing in class. spaneary.wordpress.com • Your child will have a two-pocket folder for notices from the school and classroom. One side of the folder will be marked “Return to School” and the other marked “Keep at Home”. Please be sure to check you child’s folder on a daily basis and help your child ensure it gets returned back to us the next morning.
Communication • Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to send me a note in your child’s folder or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are the two most efficient ways of communication. If the matter is not urgent, feel free to leave a message on my voicemail, 973-624-0644 ext 304, with the understanding that I may not be able to return your call immediately. • If you would like to meet with me, I am available by appointment before or after school. I would like to have enough time to address your concerns and questions, therefore making an appointment for a conference will ensure that your time is uninterrupted.
Parent Volunteers • We will need two class parents to help with special classroom events and to help contact other parents to pass on information. I may also need parental help in the classroom on occasion. Please let me know if you are interested in helping out by completing the Classroom Helpers form on my blog. • Beginning in October, I will send out a list of available times for ‘parent readers’. I encourage you to sign up to read to the class at least once this school year.
Curriculum Overview 2010-2011
The Kindergarten Learner • A kindergartener’s curriculum needs are divided into four equal parts. They are Cognitive, Social, Emotional and Physical. In order to best serve your child, we ensure that our curriculum provides them with ways to grow in all four ways. • This is done mostly through interactive activities that encourage our students to work together and through hands-on lessons where students are active learners.
Language Arts • The Language Arts curriculum is an integrated literature based program. Focus is placed on developing skills in letter recognition and sounds, reading, reading comprehension, phonics, spelling, grammar, mechanics, writing, and literary appreciation. Children are encouraged to use their life experiences to enhance their learning and understanding and are exposed to authentic literature and poetry. • Students writing in Writer’s Workshop, Reader’s Workshop, journaling and other independent and shared writing exercises are used to strengthen phonics, vocabulary, spelling, sequencing, and comprehension skills. Students are also encouraged to develop their creativity and draw from their own experiences when writing.
Language Arts • Students will be introduced to critical thinking processes through literature. This is done by reading stories that range from retellings of popular fairy tales to folk tales from all corners of the world. Students then ask and answer questions about the text. This further enhances our Language Arts curriculum and strengthens comprehension skills.
Mathematics • The Everyday Mathematics curriculum is one that supports all students in acquiring mathematical knowledge, skill, and confidence to become active mathematics learners who can reason about and represent mathematical ideas and relationships.
Mathematics • Activity-based investigations encourage students to think creatively, develop their own problem-solving strategies, and work cooperatively. Students write, draw, and talk about math as well as use manipulatives, and computers. Content in Kindergarten includes the number system; addition, subtraction, measurement, patterns and functions, geometry, and data analysis. Assessment is embedded within the investigations.
Science • The Science curriculum involves a variety of hands-on activities. It teaches scientific processes and critical thinking. Students plan, investigate, wonder, reflect, share, record their observations, and apply their knowledge of everyday life. As part of our Science program, we will take a few field trips this year. We will also participate in our annual Science Fair along with the rest of the school this Spring. • Our Science units are: Body Parts, Exploring with the Senses, Pushes and Pulls, Looking at the Earth and Sky, and Characteristics of Living and Non-Living Things.
ECO-Spaces • During the school year, the kindergarteners will be visiting the Rooftop Garden and Teaching Kitchen. • These resources will be integrated across all core content areas.
Social Studies • The Social Studies curriculum has a holistic approach which focuses on inviting students to be active learners. In Kindergarten, students focus on learning more about themselves and the communities they are part of. This involves learning more about their families, friends, and neighborhood and school communities.
Social Studies • The Kindergarten classes will focus on learning about one country in the world for United Nations Day. They will then focus on this country for the Multicultural Night performance in December. We also learn about the world around us through our Flat Stanley project and explore the heroes in our lives during Black History Month. Naturally, we also learn about the history and significance of holidays we celebrate.
Specials • The following specials enhance the curriculum for students: French, Art, Physical Education, Computer Science, Music and Library. • Students generally have 2 specials a day. Please remember to send your child in his or her gym uniform on Mondays and Thursdays as these are the days the children will go to Physical Education. The gym uniform includes appropriate gym shoes. Children who are not in their gym uniform will not be allowed to participate.
Homework • Research indicates that a Kindergartener learns through interactive and hands-on activities. This is why our school’s policy is not to assign homework in Kindergarten. • Whenever appropriate, you will receive suggested activities in Math and Language Arts. These are activities that we encourage you to do with your child because they help reinforce the concepts we teach in the classroom. However, these activities do not need to be returned to school for grading or evaluation. • We do require that parents read to their child daily. More information on this follows.
Reading Logs • You play a vital role in your child’s learning by reading to him or her at home on a regular basis. Research has shown that children benefit academically by reading with their parents. To encourage reading and appreciation for literature, ‘Reading Logs’ will be an important part of kindergarten parent and child collaborative work. • At the beginning of every month, a ‘Monthly Reading Log’ will be sent home in each child’s folder. You and your child will be asked to read a minimum of 20-25 minutes a day and complete a minimum of 3 books/chapters a week. It is expected that a completed reading log be returned to me at the end of the month. Also, to reinforce the importance of reading and to make it fun, we will be integrating technology into their daily reading. (iPadio)
Reading Logs • Suggested reading lists will be sent home, however, students are not limited to books on the list. In fact, in order to develop a love for literature, we encourage you to choose titles that your child is interested in. • Beginning in October, your child will complete one book report a week at home with you. You will receive more information about this as the time nears.
Field Trips • Kindergarten will be going on various field trips this year. In general, both Kindergarten classes go on field trips together. You will be notified in advance of such an event and parents are welcome as chaperones and volunteers on a first come first served basis.
Daily Routines 2010-2011
School Start Time • School begins at 8:15 AM. Students are to enter the classroom alone by 8:15 AM; any child who comes to class after that is marked ‘Late’. Children who are dropped off at school before 8:15 should head directly down to the cafeteria until they are sent up by the teacher in charge, it is vital that your child comes to school on time. • A lot of the learning in Kindergarten is based on hands-on activities and interaction with other students. If your child is late, it may not be possible for him/her to make up this work.
Attendance • Your child’s regular and prompt attendance at school is crucial to his/her success. Learning at the Kindergarten level is very social, therefore a lot of our learning activities are group oriented and involve interaction with classmates. For this reason, it is next to impossible to make up this work at home. Please view school as a priority and see to it that your child attends everyday except on cases of illness or emergency. • Of course if your child is sick, it is best not to send them to school. (Germs spread quickly in Kindergarten!)
Naptime • The school day at St. Philip’s Academy is a long one for our kindergarteners and naptime is essential for the children. The school provides a nap mat for each child to use during the school year. Please send a small sheetthat will fit in your child’s cubby if you feel it will make him/her more comfortable. Please do not send any toys or stuffed animals.
Snack and Lunch • Healthy snacks can help boost a child’s mental and physical skills. Our lunch period is at 1:00 PM this year and children are likely to be hungry in the morning. For these reasons, we will be having snack every morning at approximately 10:15. • If your child participates in the After Care program, please send an extra snack for after school. Students are often hungry at the end of the day and need a small snack to hold them over until they go home. All students will have the opportunity to eat their snack before the after school activities begin.
Snack It is the goal of St. Philip's Academy to teach students healthy eating habits. With this goal in mind, the following is a list of acceptable snacks for morning, aftercare and on a daily basis: . Pretzels/yogurt covered pretzels . Fruit and/or vegetables . Yogurt/pudding . Granola bars . Cereal . Popcorn . Rice cakes . Applesauce . 100 calorie packs . String cheese . Mini-muffins . Raisins . Trail mix • Crackers
Snack • Please know that students who bring an unhealthy snack will not be permitted to eat it during our class snack. When available, a healthy alternative may be provided to your child. We at St. Philip's greatly appreciate your understanding and assistance in helping St. Philip's Academy meet our nutrition goals. If you feel that you have a healthy snack alternative suggestion, please speak with your teacher directly. If any unhealthy snacks are brought to school with your child, a letter will be sent home with your child, along with the unhealthy snack.
Lunch • As you are aware, lunch will be provided by St. Philip’s Academy. This is an extremely exciting since all food will be prepared with the wellness of the community in mind. Participation in the lunch program is mandatory for all students. Students may not bring in their own lunches from home.
Uniform • Students at St. Philip’s Academy are required to wear their uniform in accordance with school policies and procedures. A copy of the uniform policy is in the parent/student handbook. Please know that for the safety reasons, students are not permitted to wear any jewelry except for small stud earrings to school. • It is very important that your child’s name is written clearly on all articles of clothing. If you child misplaces an article of clothing, such as a sweater, it will be virtually impossible to find unless labeled with his/her name.
Change of Clothes • Each child must have a complete change of clothes at school, including socks and underwear. This is important, not just in case your child has a bathroom accident, but for a variety of other spills or messes that might occur during the school day. Clothing that is of similar color to our uniform will make your child less conspicuous in case he/she has to change. • Please send your child with his/her change of clothes on the first day of school. This change of clothes will stay with us until the end of the year. Please ensure that every item of clothing is clearly labeled with your child’s name and placed in a zip-lock bag.
Change of Clothes • Each child needs to have an art smock when painting in class or in Art. If your child does not have a smock, her/she will not be allowed to paint. Please send this in with your child’s change of clothes and ensure it is labeled with your child’s name.
Celebrations • Birthdays are exciting times in the life of a child. We happily celebrate each child's birthday in the classrooms. This year we will be holding monthly birthday celebrations. During these monthly celebrations, we will have a party for all those students whose birthdays occurred during that month. For these occasions, birthday treats will be offered in a variety of settings: utilizing the teaching kitchen to bake nutritious treats, snacks prepared by our lunch program, or a healthy snack brought in from home (ex: fruits/veggies). As always, the class will recognize your child's actual birthday!
Celebrations • Since we will be hosting monthly celebrations we will not be having individual parties on your child's actual birthday. If you would like to volunteer be a part of your child's celebration, or would like to bring in any additional party snacks, please contact me at least two days before the last Friday of the month. Thank you! Thank you for your understanding and commitment to a healthier lifestyle for the St. Philip's Academy community!
Kindergarten Supplies • Parents are asked to contribute some general consumable supplies, listed below, that students require in class. These supplies are used throughout the year. We cannot store these supplies if everyone brings them in at the beginning of the year. • This is why we ask that you sign up to bring in supplies in a month that is convenient for you. I will send you a reminder, along with the list, before the beginning of your month.
Kindergarten Supplies • At the beginning of your month, please send in: • 3 large boxes of tissue • 2 large bottles of hand sanitizer • 5 large rolls of paper towels • 1 bottles of hand soap • 2 large packs of wet wipes • Please be sure to clearly label all uniforms, clothing and other belongings.
Logical Consequences • “If you broke it, you fix it.”This consequence is self-explanatory. If a child knocks over blocks that another child is playing with, it is only logical that the child should help pick things up. Likewise, if a student hurts another's feelings, they need to fix it. This is done by having what we call an “apology of action,” (an action that helps to mend the other person’s feelings).
Logical Consequences • Loss of Privilege In our class everything is a privilege. If a student does not make good choices he/she will lose privileges. For example, if we are working in groups and someone is making poor choices he/she will go back to their desk and work independently. If a child is not using equipment or materials properly, that child will lose the privilege of using that equipment or the materials.
Logical Consequences • Time Out or “Taking a Break” When students are having difficulty following our class rules they may need to “take a break.” There are designated spots within our classroom where students are to go when they need to take a break, so they may regain their self-control. While there, students are asked to calm down and come up with a plan so they will be successful when they rejoin the group. If a student continues to have difficulty regaining self-control while in our classroom, they will be asked to “take a break” in a different classroom. It’s important to note that time-out is intended to be non-punitive, but rather it’s a time where the child can regain self-control. • In the event of a serious or dangerous behavior, the parent will be contacted by a note or a phone call, and if necessary, disciplinary action by the dean may be taken.
Information • If you have not done so already, please visit my blog to complete the parent questionnaire, student information sheet and the classroom helper form. (Laptops in Admission’s Suite)
Thank you! Ms. Neary and Ms. McNeill