JK Newsletter

January 31, 2016

What is Kindergarten 'readiness?'

We believe that ‘readiness’ for Kindergarten and beyond includes academic skills, but does not stop there. Fine motor and gross motor skills also help the brain develop important connections that facilitate learning. However, research tells us that strong social and emotional skills are the most important tools for predicting future success.

Executive function skills only begin to develop in children around the age of 3. These skills include the ability to consider the other person’s point of view and stay on task. The opportunity to practice these skills, not perfection of these skills is what we’re looking to offer the children in our class.

When children have conflicts, we strive to teach instead of punish. If two children are fighting over the same toy, we move into the situation to prevent feels and actions from escalating and then support the children in talking about their point of view and their feelings instead of hitting or yelling. We encourage the statement, “I did not like it when ____.” Sometimes we have to help with the rest of the sentence, too. :-) The first attempt can go something like this, “I did not like it when you were super mean to me.” We are looking for something like, “I did not like it when you took that truck while I was playing with it.” When both parties have shared their feelings, we talk about what each person could have done differently in that situation. These conversations aren’t always easy to facilitate and emotions can run high, but we want to support those social/emotional skills. This feels like the most important work we do.

We encourage the children in developing the skills of staying on task by giving them the opportunity to sustain meaningful work. Building projects are allowed to continue throughout the day or over multiple days. We also strive to extend teaching times when the children are actively engaged… It’s not unlike working to build muscle strength in the gym. We’ll continue to give them opportunities to flex those muscles.

Classroom Needs, Wants, and News

Celebrating Valentine's Day and the 100th Day of School

What about Valentine’s Day?

We will celebrate Valentine’s Day in our class on Friday, February 12. We will enjoy a special snack, we’ll play with Valentine’s themed learning activities, we’ll make some creative projects with a Valentine’s theme - it should be a really fun day!

The children are welcome to bring Valentine’s to exchange with their classmates. Please bring one for everyone. You may also send in a Valentine’s box to collect Valentine’s in, but this is not required. We will have Valentine’s themed bags for children who do not wish to make a box in advance. Questions? Please ask.

Why do we celebrate the 100th Day of School?

In JK, we introduce the skill of counting to 100. We do this in preparation for elementary mathematics.

To celebrate, we’ll assemble our snack with 10 different ingredients. Each child will have the opportunity to count our 10 of each ingredient to make 100 pieces of snack. (Mrs. Gay and I will provide the ingredients).

We’ll see what we can build with 100 cups, 100 unifix cubes,

We will consider what it might be like when we’re 100 years old.

100 days smarter, indeed!!!

(As of right now, it looks like the 100th Day of School will be 2/17)