Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September Newsletter

Dear Families,

            Welcome to a new school year!  We are very excited to get to know all of our new families and can’t wait to let the children explore in the classroom.  We look forward to a busy school year.
            We wanted to start off by inviting our families to bring in a family picture.  These will be displayed in the classroom and will give the children an opportunity to see their family when they are at school.  Sometimes it gives the children comfort knowing they can look at their families while they are at school.
            We will have two early childhood student teachers in our classroom this term.  They are students at U of M who are towards the end of their teaching program.  Maya will be with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Sherrell will be with us on Thursdays and Fridays.  You will see them around the classroom and they will be working collaboratively with Charlene and I on explorations and learning groups with the children. 
            One of the important aspects about our program is the documenting that we do.  We take photographs, video clips, and write down notes about what the children are saying and doing.  This helps us to find out what the children are thinking so we can help scaffold them to the next level of thinking and learning.  You will see documentation around the classroom and notice webs of thinking, which children are in which learning groups, and documentation regarding specific things happening around the classroom. Please feel free to take a minute at drop off or pick up to check these out.  We would also love if you wanted to write down on our communication board interesting things you may have seen at home related to what we are talking about at school, or something you think we could expand on at school.  We would love for our families to be as much a part of this process as possible.
            Please know that we have some severe allergies in our classroom this semester.  For this reason, we ask that parents refrain from bringing in food from home other than what is in your child’s lunch.  Any breakfast from home or snack a child had in the car should be finished before entering the classroom.  We know you will join us in maintaining the safety of our children, which is our first priority. 
            We know that starting your child at school for the first time can be stressful and exciting at the same time.  One of the strategies we usually talk to parents about is maintaining consistency.  After signing your child in for the day, hang up coats, and put lunches away, we would invite you in to get your child acclimated to the classroom.  You are welcome to spend some time playing with them in the classroom.  When you are ready to leave, we will make sure to continue extending that play with your child.  We recommend letting your child know you are going to leave, telling them you will be back in a little while, and then leaving.  If a parent seems anxious at drop off time, their child will sense that and feed off of it.  You are welcome to call the front desk and they will transfer you down to the classroom so we can give up an update on your child.  We want parents to feel secure having their child with us at school, so if there is ever anything else we can do to help, please let us know. 
            Some parents have asked us about donations to the classroom.  At the beginning of the school year, we would be interested in non-toxic house plants.  Some examples of these are: African Violets, Bamboo, Begonia, Jade, Spider Plant, or a Boston Fern.  As we get to know the children and their interests, we will let you know if there are any types of recycled materials we might be interested in incorporating into the classroom.
            We will also start to update our classroom blog in the next few weeks.  We will post documentation from the classroom. It will be another neat way for families to keep track of what is happening, and something you can share with your family and friends.
            This school year should be exciting and we are very excited to get to know the children and all of our families.  If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.  Thank you in advance for all of your support this school year!

Catie Stone and Charlene Rodegher