The Bear Necessities

August 23, 2018

The Importance of Play

Several of us had the opportunity to spend last Saturday with Amanda Morgan being reminded about the importance of PLAY. In your quest to cover all your plans, make sure that you do NOT eliminate the opportunity for free choice play and outdoor play. I'll be including quotes and blogs about PLAY throughout the fall, I hope you enjoy them and share them with your families in your weekly newsletter, let's just remember that play time is valuable and it is not ours to control!


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Parent Volunteer Opportunities

I hope that you will consider implementing a Parent Involvement Opportunity that parents can individually sign up for. Last year several of you offered the "Mystery Reader" type of opportunity, where parents came in to read a book to the kids. What a great way to build connections with parents while allowing them to build connections in the classroom.

Another teacher is going to try a "Playtime Parent" type of opportunity this year. She will allow parents to come in and assist at playtime. This will give her the opportunity to educate parents about how very important ENGAGED PLAY is and allow them some time to practice in the classroom.

Keep Connecting!!

More to come about our volunteer clearance procedure, watch for a Google Doc from Jeanie!

Conscious Discipline

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Jeanie and I will be touring the first few weeks to ensure that you have all the resources you need in order to meet the following expectations.

Tier 1 Checklist:

  • Teacher/para consistently greets kids upon arrival

  • Visual classroom schedule is present, has been taught and is used consistently

  • Visual school job assignments are present, have been taught and are used consistently

  • “I Love You Rituals”/individual connection activities have been taught and are used consistently

  • Safe Place is present and kids have been taught how to use it

Safe Place should include:

  • A location specifically designated for the Safe Place

    • A soft/comfortable place to sit (pillows, beanbags etc.)

    • “My Five Steps” sequence visual

    • Visuals of breathing techniques (pretzel, STAR etc.)

    • Feeling Buddies

    • Self-calming items available (paper, crayons, manipulatives, books etc.)

  • Breathing techniques have been taught and are consistently used/modeled

  • Language of safety has been taught and is used consistently (i.e. “My job is to keep you safe, your job is to help keep our classroom safe.”)

  • Play centers present / opportunities for kids to have free play using centers daily

  • Quiet / modified workspace and/or extended time to complete work tasks, if needed

  • Sensory support (cube chair at circle, weighted blanket, manipulatives etc.)

  • Children are provided at least 20 minutes of gross motor activity, indoor or out, daily

  • Children are given an opportunity to greet each other through a connection activity/ritual daily

  • Children have opportunities to listen to books read aloud to them and look at books independently daily

  • Children have the opportunity to create using art materials without requiring a specific “product” or outcome

  • Short-term Social Worker support provided to families/children in situations of immediate need (ie death in the family, divorce etc.), as needed

  • Naturally embedded tangible and/or social reinforcement used as needed

  • Communication with parent/caregiver has occurred

  • Opportunities for positive practice are available consistently

What To Do When You Have A Concern:

Please watch for a google folder shared by me today or Monday outlining who to call and when. We generally want you to include our Social Workers, who are working on the same alphabet system as last year, when a child or family has any sort of trauma. We generally want you to call a tier one meeting for any child who is struggling with a behavior. Remember, if you've called team numerous times for a child, it's probably time for a tier one meeting if they have no plan in place. More to Come!

NEE Teacher evaluation

Jeanie will be sending you the new NEE template for 18-19 teacher evaluations. There is one change to note, we changed from 5.3 to 5.3 a little different.

Lunch Plans:

Your 30 minute paid lunch is a great time to complete those "Safe Schools Videos", especially for staff who do not work on Fridays.


All known dates are currently on the calendar. If you committee is in charge of an event, you might find the date and time on the ECC Staff calendar or you may need to send it to us to place on the calendar.

We also placed big events on the parent calendar that is on our webpage, please see that if you are wondering about what parents can see (I did not put Halloween Parade, as doors swing open and I don't want it published to public).

APPOINTMENT CALENDAR: when you have someone walking in the door to meet you, it should be on the appointment calendar. Put the child's name so that we can help our parents navigate through their appointments. They often call front office to confirm time and we need to be able to quickly view that information. THANKS this is important for a professional feel as families come to us.

Home Visits

It looks like we will plan for all home visits to occur on September 12 and 13th, leaving the 14th open for meetings. The exception will be the Title Only rooms, which will plan to use Friday as well due to numbers. If you need to see a family at night and want to flex your time out on Friday, please let me and the front office know your plans.

Screening Question

We would like to know if you really use the DIAL screening that PAT does in March/April. We are trying to determine if this is a useful tool and if the timing of it matters to you.

Jeanie and Kerry:

We will include our weekly comings and goings at the end of each Bear Necessity. Please know that this schedule is every changing.

Monday - Kerry speak at checks for children 11:00-12:00

Tuesday - here

Wednesday - here

Thursday - here, lots of different visitors meeting here

Friday - here