Counselor's Connection

from Ms. Kraatz, School Counselor at La Villita Elementary

Welcome to La Villita!

I love September! The students are settling into their new classes, classroom guidance lessons begin, and I'm learning more names every day. I try really hard to learn the students' names and build connections with them. You will notice that our specials teachers, office and support staff do the same (better than I do!). Our students are important to us and whether we have 20 to get to know or over 500 we want to build relationships with them.

How has the start of the year been for you and your family? For me, it's a fresh start with my boys to stay organized with schoolwork, get back to a schedule and routines, and encourage more responsibility from my boys than I expected last year.

You may have heard a lot about routines and procedures at Curriculum Night from your child's teacher. These first few weeks, teachers spend a lot of time teaching, practicing and improving routines. Having procedures in place provides security to students (they know what to do when and how to do it!), cuts down on idle time, and increases learning time in a classroom.

What a great time to do the same at home! When your children come home from school, what do you want them to do? Take some time to teach and practice home routines to help this go better all year. Want some ideas? Scroll down to read more!

I look forward to working with you and your family this year at La Villita! Please feel free to contact me anytime I can help you or your child.

Parenting the Love and Logic Way

Friday, Sep. 11th, 7:30am

1601 Camino Lago

Irving, TX

This six week class will take place on Friday mornings at La Villita and starts September 11th. Click here for more information and to register online.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 8-15

MAP Reading Test

Window for 2nd-5th

Sept. 11

Session 1 of Parenting

the Love & Logic Way

Week of Sept. 14 Guidance classes begin for K, 1st, & 5th

Sept. 15

PTA Popsicle Party and 1st Meeting

Sept. 16-23

MAP Math Test

Window for 2nd-5th

Sept. 18

Session 2 of Parenting

the Love & Logic


Week of Sept. 21

Guidance classes

begin for 2nd, 3rd, &


Sept. 25

Session 3 of Parenting

the Love & Logic Way

Sept. 24-Oct. 2

MAP Science Test

Window 4th-5th

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence..” – Denis Waitley

Guidance Classes Start in September!

Be sure to ask your child about Ms. Kraatz’s visits to the classroom. Character education, communication, school success, and personal safety are some of the topics we will work on this year.

MAP Testing

As we have done the last few years, our 2nd – 5th grade students will be taking the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) online test several times this year. These assessments will help teachers determine what skills and concepts students know in the areas of reading, mathematics and science (4th and 5th only) and measure growth over time.

Students will take their tests on the computer three times during the year – fall, winter, and spring. Please review the fall testing schedule below. We ask that you avoid scheduling doctor appointments during the school day especially during our testing window as all tests must be made up.

Your child does not need to study for these tests. However, you can help your child do his/her best by ensuring that he/she:

  • Gets adequate sleep every night.
  • Eats a healthy breakfast.
  • Arrives to school on time.

Thank you for your support! Parents will receive individual scores at the end of the nine weeks. Refer to the upcoming events for specific dates.

Morning Tears

The beginning of the year can be a tough time for students and parents. Tears are common among our Kindergarten students. Older students may also have difficulty. Separation can be just as stressful for parents! After spending lots of time together during the summer, it can be hard to transition into the rhythm of the school year. Here are some tips to make separating easier for both of you:

  • Establish bedtime and morning routines. Be sure your child is getting plenty of sleep and that your morning goes as smoothly as possible. Stress over lost shoes or packing lunches will make the morning more difficult. (By the way . . . did you know 5 year olds typically need 10-12 hours of sleep? 6-9 year olds need about 10 hours. 10-12 year olds still need a little over 9 hours.)
  • Once you arrive at school, say “Goodbye. I love you. I’ll see you after school.” Staff members are available to help your child out of the car. If you do walk your child into the cafeteria, say goodbye and have them go to the gym to join their class. Don’t linger. This only makes things more difficult for both of you. Remember that your child is watching you. If your child sees that you are worried about leaving him/her, this will increase his/her own worries.
  • Know that this will get easier for both of you! Usually crying or sadness only lasts a minute or two and then your child moves on with his/her day. The teachers will help your child cope with separation. Within a few weeks, most children settle into the school routine and tears subside.
  • When you pick up your child, give him/her your full attention. Tell your child you are happy to see him/her. Hold off on phone calls, TV, etc. for a few minutes and discuss your child’s day. Give specific prompts like “Tell me what you worked on today,” “What did you eat at lunch?” or “What was your favorite part of the day?” Share something about your day too!

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a great story to read and discuss about a raccoon that doesn’t want to go to school. You can even watch online for free at

Routines at Home

Consider putting a few new routines in place to help your school mornings and evenings go more smoothly. Read on for some examples that you may want to try.

One incredibly helpful idea many of you already do is to designate a particular place for backpacks, coats and shoes to eliminate an early morning hunt for these items. Students should unpack their bags and put their folder/planner in your designated place to review. Then once you've had a chance to look it over and sign it, they can pack the bag for the next day. If your child brings a home lunch, have them help pack it the night before and put it in the fridge. They will often eat better if they are excited about having chosen the food themselves and having it ready to go saves precious morning minutes.

Many students arrive home in the afternoons ready for a snack or dinner and may need a little downtime before diving into homework or evening reading. Using a timer can help with schedules at home. For example, "You have 30 minutes of playtime before we start homework. What would you like to do?" If you know your child has a hard time stopping their play, give a five and maybe even 1 minute warning. I like to use "beat the timer" too. I'll ask how long my child thinks it will take him to shower and get pjs on, ("Do you think you need 10 minutes or 15?"), then we set the timer and see if he can beat it and still do a good job. Not only does this help him get the job done but it gives him real world experience estimating time needed for particular tasks, something I still struggle with sometimes!

Depending on the age of your child, you may have chores for them to complete too. Even Kindergartners can do tasks like help put groceries or dishes away, help sort laundry, and picking up their toys. This creates a feeling of importance and belonging in the family as well as teaching responsibility.

Do you find your self sounding like a broken record? I know I do! Try implementing a checklist or written schedule to have your child refer to for repeated routines. Bedtime might include put on pjs, brush teeth, read a story with Mom or Dad. Include pictures for young children to refer too. Children love discovering they can do things on their own! Morning checklists work well too.

How is bedtime going? Remember that 5 year olds typically need 10-12 hours of sleep, 6-9 year olds need about 10 hours and 10-12 year olds still need a little over 9 hours. With working parents, busy activity schedules, homework and dinner, it gets difficult to squeeze it all in and still get to bed on time. If you are getting reports that your child is having trouble listening and focusing, try increasing sleep time. Does your little one take awhile to wind down before falling asleep? Avoid TV, video games and exciting activities just before bed. Try reading a story or listening to calm music and see if things improve.

Need some more suggestions on how to put these routines in place? Check out the free parenting articles on, search around on Pinterest, or come to Love and Logic at La Villita which starts September 11th!