Austin ISD PK3 Newsletter
From the Director
Change is in the Air
I am not a big fan of change. I eat the same thing for lunch each day, go to bed and wake up at the same times each day and I even bought a car that looks EXACTLY like the car I had before this one. Yup, not fond of change. I have put off writing this article because it involves a big change. Brian Mowry is leaving AISD Early Childhood. Brian will be leaving to finish his doctorate and work for a publishing company. While we will greatly miss him, this opportunity affords Brian the ability to impact many more children across this state and nation. Brian is an incredible co-worker, excellent educator and amazing friend. His leaving will be a big loss to our department and district.
Brian has done so much for our district, we certainly want to tell him goodbye. One goodbye is not enough. We will be saying goodbye at each team leader meeting in April, so even if you are not the team leader, you are invited to come to say goodbye to Brian. We will be at Lucy Read on April 6 for kindergarten, Uphaus on April 13 for kindergarten, Brian can not be at Lucy Read on April 20 for prekindergarten, but will be at Uphaus on April 27 for prekindergarten from 3:30 – 5:30. You are welcome to attend whatever meeting meets your schedule, regardless of grade level. We want to wish Brian the best in his new adventure.
News & Information
Birth Certificate Information
With Kindergarten Roundup approaching, Texas.gov asks your help to remind parents that they can go directly to Texas.gov and order a certified birth certificate for $22, the same price as a walk-in or mail order. This online service, offered in English and Spanish, provides parents with a straightforward, secure option for ordering their child's birth certificate . The orders are fulfilled by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Attached are flyers, in English and Spanish, with more information and a link to a helpful video demonstration found on the Texas.gov YouTube channel on how to order a birth certificate online. We encourage you to share this information with your parents, Thank you!
PK REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Timeline for Prekindergarten registration and Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Orientation
* Online Registration opens March 31 and parents can utilize that method after April 1 for prekindergarten.
* Prekindergarten registration will begin April 4, 2016
* Optional Prekindergarten Orientation will be held April 5, 2016
Prekindergarten Registration SY17 Update
Prekindergarten registration will take place beginning April 4, 2016, on every AISD prekindergarten campus. The yellow pre-K applications will arrive on your campus no later than March 4, 2016. The pre-K registration packet will be sent to your email March 4, 2016. You will not need lunch applications for prekindergarten students for SY17.
Pre-K teachers can be paid to register students beginning April 4, 2016. A stipend is available through the Early Childhood office for pre-K teachers who choose to assist specifically with registration and testing of potential pre-K students. Each teacher is eligible to work a total of eight hours (8 hours @ $25 = $200) to complete the identification process for eligible students and contact parents. In order to be paid, teachers must:
1. Have completed AISD 2016-2017 registration training either online or in person (March 1, 2016 at Sanchez Elementary in the library) and provide the completion certificate from HCP. This training is different from 2015-2016 training as new processes have been defined.
2. Login to Workforce on the day they are working. All time MUST be logged into Workforce. The routing ID for prekindergarten registration is 814. Comments should read "Pre-K Registration 2016-2017". All work must be logged between April 4 and April 29, 2016. Failing to login to Workforce could risk you not being paid by the next pay period for the work done.
3. HCP certificates for all who worked and the 2016-2017 registration payment spreadsheet must be turned into the Department of Early Childhood, CAC, Box 155, ATTN: Diane Smith.
The registration payment spreadsheet will be attached to the April newsletter. Please be sure the amount of work on the spreadsheet matches the number of hours allotted to each campus. Each campus has an allotment of eight hours per prekindergarten teacher for registration. If a teacher chooses not to work the eight hours, another prekindergarten teacher(s) on campus may work those hours.
LPAC for New Prekindergarten Students
An LPAC meeting for all ELL qualifying students that register in April must be held before they attend school in August.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at Jacquie.email@example.com
Summer Professional Development
AAEYC Week of the Young Child: Celebrating our Youngest Learners Texas Style
AAEYC's Week of the Young Child is April 9-16, 2016.
Click the link below for more information and activity ideas for the week.
Check out this article about one of our very own AISD PK teachers, James Butler!
Reduce the need for purchasing materials for classroom activities by using saved materials.
Ask families to save and share materials that can be reused in the classroom. Children help sort the items and use them in creative arts or other classroom projects.
Set up a recycle center in the classroom and teach children which materials can be recycled and which materials go into the garbage.
Last month I received an email from Amazing Pre-k Teacher, James Butler. James is leading the district implementation of mindfulness in our classrooms. The email that James sent asked that for just a moment, the email reader should sit calmly and be mindful of the sounds around them. As I sat at my computer, I heard my neighbors lawn mower, another neighbor playing on the swing set in their back yard and the sound of my golden retriever snoring under the computer. It occurred to me that I had been working for over 2 hours and could use a mindfulness break. My husband and my two dogs agreed and soon we were out for a walk. With the trees and flowers in bloom, it was a great time. I was thrilled to be out in the neighborhood looking at nature and breathing fresh air. With Earth Day coming up, it may be a great time to take a walk with your class. I found a wonderful printable at the SoFestive! Website. It is a free printable and would be great fun for the children to use as they take a walk or to inspire them to make their own checklist!
Bullying in Young Children
Becky Flynn, Social and Emotional Learning Specialist
These tips were taken from a High Scope Extensions Curriculum Newsletter - Volume 25, No 3 on how to help teachers address “bullying” with pre-school children. In addition to the tips, I included a few steps for helping teachers resolve conflicts.
Strategies for Preventing Bullying by Young Children
- Understand the difference between a pattern of bullying and predictable preschool behaviors.
- Problem-solve when there are conflicts or harmful comments.
- Set limits on any intimidating behaviors and follow up with positive interactions.
- Recognize hurtful behaviors that are intense and repeated as a possible red flag that children need more attention to the reasons behind their behaviors and support as they learn to express their feelings constructively.
- Eliminate bullying by adults: examine adult behaviors for the use of yelling, shaming, threatening, and/ or punishing in interactions with children.
Steps in Resolving Conflicts
1. Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions.
- Place yourself between the children, on their level.
- Use a calm voice and gentle touch
- Remain neutral rather than take sides.
- “You look really upset.”
- Let children know you need to hold any object in question.
- “What’s the problem?”
- “So the problem is…”
- “What can we do to solve the problem?”
- Encourage children to think of a solution.
- “You solved the problem.”
- Stay near the children.
Feed the Baby Bird
Fill your sensory bin with crinkled paper and chenille stick worms and baby birds of course. Add clothes pins that students can use them to feed the baby birds. They'll be building fine motor skills while having fun!
Birdseed Sensory Bin
Add bird seed to your sensory bin along with funnels and containers. To stick with your recycling theme, have students bring recycled items from home such as paper towel tubes, yogurt containers etc. to add to the bin. The birdseed can eventually be recycled by making bird feeders toward the end of your unit of study.
Provide items for students to plant their own flower with teacher supervision. They will enjoy watching their plants grow.
Feed the Baby Bird
Birdseed Sensory Bin
Gail's Gardening Gazette
April is Earth Month: Thinking Beyond April 22!
It is so hard to realize that teaching children to care for the earth on Earth Day each year is enough to impact their lives and the lives of others. Consider the month of April and beyond the start of something special for your students by implementing some of the following activities:
- Begin recycling every bit of paper trash in your classroom
- When going outside, take a trash bag with you and have the students pick up anything that is considered litter (wear disposable gloves), get back to the classroom, predict what kind of litter they found the most of, then sort it to check predictions, and finally make a litter pizza with the size of the slices being proportionate to the amount of litter – paper, aluminum, glass, plastic, other
- Start a worm bin – vermicomposting can be great fun. The PK wiki has a ppt with directions and pictures on starting a worm bin
- Weed a garden, plant a garden
- Go on a plant and animal identification walk by the creek – the students could take their science journal and record their observations
- Find a rainbow growing outside – red leaves, flowers, orange flowers, etc.
- Write poetry about the earth Poetry
- Make recycled paper with your students
- Talk about how everyone can make a difference in caring for the earth
- Do some Earth art – using recycled materials
- Sing some Earth songs
- Set up a discover/science center in your room with books and bits of nature
- Make some birdhouses for the big trees along the creek
- Make a classroom book about caring for the earth – each student could illustrate and write a page
- Go on a sensory walk outside or around the classroom – smells of wonder – flowers, herbs, spices, baking; sounds of wonder – humming/buzzing of bees, laughter, voices, birds, silence, mood music; touch of wonder – mud, rocks, sand, clay, fragile things, hugs; Sights of wonder – smiles, looks of intense concentration, living things; tastes of wonder – think of all of the things that children can experience by eating and tasting
What ever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Chief Seattle
This month's gardening tips are in the form of a vegetable, flower, and herb gardening article put out by The Natural Gardener. Enjoy!
Children at Pecan Springs painted a box that then became a bus. This dramatic play opportunity supports oral language development and important social skills.
PK3 children at Pleasant Hill practice their cutting skills by cutting pictures of buildings from magazines. By putting the pictures and scissors in the sensory table, children can work in a seated position and the mess is contained.
The block corner at Galindo became a Home Depot! Environmental print and a variety of materials for creative play allows children to make choices about their work.
PK3 Professional Learning Community: Exploring Creative Art in PK3
Tuesday, April 12th, 3:30-5:30pm
73 San Marcos Street
Register on HCP: Section #80243
Jacquie Porter, Director
Debra Caldwell, Administrative Assistant
Diane Smith, Data Processing Assistant
Marlene Beldin, Clerk
Irene Campos, EC TLI Specialist
Brian Mowry, EC Specialist
Robbie Polan, Childcare Liaison
Melinda Servantez, EC Specialist
Sylina Valdez, Administrative Supervisor
Liana Young, EC TLI Specialist