Ms. Kimberly & Ms. Sue's Gazette
Getting to know your children
Over the last two months, Ms. Sue and I have had the pleasure of getting to know your children. Your children have adapted to their environment very well. Your support and confidence helped to make the transition go smoothly.
Your children have all had several works presented to them by now. When they arrive in the morning they have a well established routine. I have observed that once the children have been greeted by Ms. Sue or myself, they are spending less and less time removing jackets, backpacks and shoes. Next, some children may socialize for a few minutes before finding a work, while others choose a work right away or even ask for a new work to be presented to them. This is extremely important as it shows that they are comfortable in their new environment.
Many Practical Life Exercises have been presented. These exercises are intended for several reasons. First of all, they allow children to feel more comfortable in the classroom as they recognize and have already used most of the objects found on the shelves. Secondly, these materials allow children to work on fine motor skills. They encourage children to slow down and pay attention to their movements. As Practical Life materials are real life objects that are breakable, children gain self-confidence and appreciate the fact that we (the adults) also have confidence in them. There have been a few water pitchers or bowls broken but that is part of the learning process. We don't reprimand a child for breaking something, but encourage him or her to help clean it up. We take the time to talk about how to hold and carry fragile objects. These materials encourage children to take care of things by keeping them clean, dry, orderly and in once piece. Practical Life exercises help children concentrate so that they can move on to more challenging work later on. These exercises are also done by older children as they are considered 'restful' works especially after a more challenging work.
Tip: At home try to allow time for children to 'take care' of themselves. In other words, dressing themselves, setting the table, clearing plates, etc. To feel more independent, children need to be able to make choices (about clothes, activities, books). For example, when a child has trouble finding a work in the classroom, I often give him a choice: Would you like to work on Constructive Triangles box 1 or wash a table? What's important though, is that he chooses something for himself (by offering him appropriate and good options).
I have spent some time focusing on Practical Life in this newsletter but your children have been doing many other things of course! Some are busy working on Sensorial while others are exploring the Sandpaper Letters. Some children are concentrating more on Mathematics. I have been able to observe and better understand what your children's needs are. I have a lesson plan for each of your children. When I present a work to your child it is because I feel he or she is ready and interested in the work. I am doing my best to touch on all areas (Practical Life, Sensorial (which includes-geography and Science), Mathematics and Language for each of your children. Some months there may be more of one skill being worked on than an other.
This month I will attach some pictures of children working on Practical Life exercises. If you have a moment please come into the school and look at out bulletin board. There are several more Practical Life shots posted. I will also try to email you pictures as often as I can.
Some Practical Life Exercises
Several types of Dressing Frames are used in the classroom. Children feel less frustrated practicing (buttoning, snapping, tying) when they are using the frame instead of their own clothes. It's a way to decontextualize the situation.
First practical Life work that involves several steps. Child will have already worked on opening and closing bottles, nuts and bolts, sponge transfer, folding). These skills are needed for this work.
A Care of Self exercise. Exercises like 'washing hands' remind children that it is important to stay clean and take care of oneself. There are also several steps involved and a child works on controlling his movements. A beautiful work ;)
A few words on Snack
Your children have enjoyed preparing snack with Ms. Sue. Snack preparation is a big work! It gives them a sense of responsibility. Your child begins by choosing a 'free' table to prepare snack, then cleans the table, washes any fruit or veggies, collects the snack tray, prepares food, fills up a water pitcher and then sets the table for his or her friends.
I would like to take the time to thank Lillian's parents for donating biodegradable plates and cutlery! What a wonderful initiative. Over the next few months please don't worry about bringing any of these things into school. In the event, we run out I will let you know. I'd like to add for the month of November we won't be needing any paper cups or napkins either. Water and snack would be greatly appreciated though.
I would like to add that Ms. Sue and I have spoken a lot about how we can make snack an even more independent work for the children. Starting next week we are going to ask two children to prepare snack. Miss Sue will be taking a step back and watching how children work together.
Please keep this in mind when choosing a snack to bring to school. Your children will be responsible for this work. I would also like to encourage healthy snack options like fruit, vegetables, yogurt and cheese. Why not dried fruit or nuts? We have an allergy free classroom; let's take advantage of that!
If possible please bring in one or two items to share with friends. When there are more than two things to prepare, children might get bit overwhelmed. Plus snack time is a time to re-energize, socialize and try something new.
*Just a reminder: Please bring in 2/3 bananas as well when bringing in snack. This is for the 'banana work' that we currently have on our Practical Life shelves. I think next month I will have a grocery list sign up. That way it might be easier and more organized, plus you can get Parent Participation Points.
Thank you again for all that you have brought in!
A few things that happened in October:
*Please bring in a photo of your child's favorite tree from his or her yard. Thank you!
We will continue to talk about the parts of leaves next month. I will be adding a Classified Nomenclature to reinforce our learning of this subject.
For the Monday/Wednesday/Friday group:
- The Stony Brook Fire Station came for a visit a few weeks ago to talk about Fire Safety. The children were able to go inside the Fire Truck and check out the equipment on board. They were very excited!
- As your children may have told you, Ms. Jenny has found a new job and will not be returning to our classroom. We wish her all the best! The staff is currently working on finding a permanent replacement. We will let you know when someone has been hired.
For the Tuesday/ Thursday group:
Michael joined our class last week. The children are doing a fantastic job giving him a warm welcome.
- Library books are due back to the classooms on Mondays. Library is on Wednesdays.
- Children go to gym on Mondays and Fridays with Ms. Annie.
- Art is on Wednesdays with Mrs. Flood.
- Music is on Mondays and Fridays with Ms. Valerie.
*Children who attend school 5 days a week attend gym on Wednesdays as well.
- Bryce will be joining our classroom this Friday November 1st. We will also be celebrating Sarah's 3rd birthday.
- Library books are due on Tuesdays. We attend the library on Thursdays.
- Children attend gym and music on Tuesdays.
- Please don't forget to check folders every day your child attends school.
- Picture day is coming up!