Our Community Week was a huge success! We had plenty of opportunities to explore, pretend and imagine while learning about different occupations. We first built our community, making roads, houses, signs, people and modes of transportation. Then we transformed our room into a restaurant, pet shop, veterinarian’s office, nurse’s station, hospital, x-ray office, hair salon, repair shop, kid’s boutique and a lab! Oh, don't forget, we also had an x-ray “machine”! We were glad to see so many parents come in for a tour of our “Community”! The children were so excited when they got to be the one to take a parent on their tour!
A huge thank you to all the parents who came in to present their hobbies and occupations to the children. We had delightful presentations by a teacher, a synchronized swimmer and a doctor! The children were thrilled by these visits!
Another thank you to our snack parents who truly outdid themselves during our Community Week: Bread and butter, cookies, fruit, Pirate’s Booty, birthday cake snack and mini “hamburgers” (vanilla wafers with mint in between) and “fries” (pound cake cut to look truly like French fries!) Simply amazing!!
This week we are all getting back to normal. The room has been transformed back into a classroom where we will begin our Abraham Lincoln Unit. Our goal is to allow children the opportunity to see what fun learning about different people and things can be. They will learn where they can find out about someone, who can they ask, where can they go and what can they do to learn. Our goal is to let them use their developing writing skills, speaking with self-confidence, learning songs, drawing pictures, working together and continuing to develop a love of learning. Remember, remember, remember that at five and six years of age, it's all about the PROCESS of learning. It's all about developing the skills that will last a lifetime. It’s all about loving school and learning!!
The children are truly beginning to internalize those concepts that put the icing on the cake of our Life Skills Program. They can stay focused with distractions when they work. During our Work Time the children have learned that "when the music goes up, the voices go down." Calming music is played in the background and the children remain focused (well, at least 95 per cent of the time!)
Your children will be bringing home their "Tt" letterbook in the next few weeks. This is the book where the children read their first “Tag” story. Children are always excited about bringing home their first story. Some children are more than ready to read the words. Some are sounding out the words with ease and some children are more than ready to tell you a story about the picture. All of the stages of reading are on target for this time of the year in Kindergarten. The children are doing very well. Please continue to encourage this process by being enthusiastic listeners. Remember the goal is to have them enjoy reading. Stop when something gets frustrating and come back to it later.
We are working on coins this month. (This fits in well with good old Abe Lincoln!) Coins are a very hard concept for children of this age so we sing about coins, do coin rubbings, play with coins, sort coins, etc., etc. This would be a perfect time for you to get out all your change and use the names of the coins while you are playing with them. Sorting is a great way to do this. We also will continue to work on counting on, number recognition and addition and subtraction, all while using manipulatives.
Valentine's Day will be here before you know it! Please take time with your child to write their friends’ names properly on their Valentines. The more children practice writing with the proper formation the easier it will become. Our goal is to make their writing efficient, with the proper grasp and the correct formation. On the back of the February snack calendar you will find the names in our class showing how to make them. If they only do a few names on the Valentines a night, they will be far more focused and far more enthusiastic about this task! Check out the app “Letter School” …. a really good APP!!
I am sure that your children have told you that we are proud owners of three brand new IMac computers. The children are thrilled! The donation came from my son. I thought he had outdone himself with the donation of the Smart Board and the Smart Table, but we are very grateful!!
Colds, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia are rampant at this time. We are trying our best to continually disinfect tables, chairs, etc. We NEED your cooperation in not sending your child to school with symptoms and keeping them home for 24 hours after they no longer have a fever.
It is really, really important that when your child is ready to return it is your decision and not your child’s. Children want to come to school even when they should stay home. When in doubt ask your doctor. Hopefully, these illnesses will be behind us soon!
We continually soul search, continually check with REALITY, continually read and read and read research to make sure that BVMS Kindergarten provides a bridge between private and public education; a bridge between what is academically expected in today's society and what is important to a child's future success as a learner and as a person. Below is a list of things that we know to be facts:
- Childhood should be guaranteed to every child. It is a disservice to children to expect them to be learning things that are developmentally inappropriate.
- Children learn by doing. It is the process that should be the goal.
- Life Skills and the process of learning trumps the product at this age any day of the week.
- Imagination, learning to be independent, learning to love what you are doing come with play.
- Young children become frustrated and stressed when they are required to sit still and handle academic tasks their brains are not ready for.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and many doctors endorse play as the best way to nurture young children. A CNN.com headline reads, "Want to get your kids into college? Let them play.” NPR reports, "Old-fashioned play builds serious skills." (by Heather Schumacker)
At BVMS we are passionate about giving children the time they deserve to play and to be their age. We are very thankful that the parents that send their children to our school agree. We promise that we will continually search for innovative, creative ways of allowing children to be children and still expose them to skills and tools that they will need in the "real world”. Maybe someday the "real world” will be what research continues and continues to prove is best for our children!!