Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome SK Kindergartners 2013-14!

August/September Special Dates at a Glance:

September/October Theme:  
"Explorers of the World"

Thursday, August 29th Cubbie Check & Open House 4:30-6:30
Tuesday, September 3rd  
First Day of School for Students 
Sunday, September 8th Back to School Picnic, County Farm Park, 12-3 P.M.
Tuesday, September 10th  Picture Day
Thursday, September 19th  Curriculum Night 
Tuesday, 24th Picture Retake Day              
African Mask, country of origin unknown, taken outside of the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York, June 2013.  

Henry Moore piece located in Sculpture Garden of the MOMA, New York
Hello New SK Kindergarten Families!

Welcome to Summers-Knoll School and welcome to Kindergarten!  I am once again excited to be teaching Kindergarten (for the third year) at SK!  Each year brings new excitement as I await your child's presence in our classroom!   Speaking of which, there will be a special Open House/Cubbie Check prior to the beginning of the year on Thursday August 29th from 3-8 P.M.  This event could be a great opportunity for your child to release some of those "1st day jitters" and take a peek in our beautiful building and classroom space beforehand!  Our awesome Head of School Joanna and the entire staff have been working very hard to continue to provide a school that is a creative, inviting, and nurturing, where your child can feel safe, grow personally and socially, and be challenged academically.  

Our Kindergarten Class size consists of  13 children and that brings the addition of an awesome assistant, Shan Cook!   You may have already met Shan during camps this summer.  She will be joining me and the Kindergartners part- time while still assuming the position of our school's P.E. Teacher.  We are excited about this opportunity for this collaboration! 
both flower pics from my sister and brother in law's yard, Waldorf MD
Below is some additional Kindergarten Classroom information and reminders to hopefully answer some of your initial questions.  Please feel free, however,  to email me at with any of your other concerns as I attempt to make this a smooth and enjoyable transition for your Kindergartner as well as your entire family.   The SK "Kindergarten Capers" Blog will be our primary venue for general classroom communication, curriculum activity recaps, and photos so please 
subscribe to receive notifications.  (As a note, Grandmas and Grandpas love to to see what their little babies are up to so feel free to have them subscribe as well.)  More personal/confidential classroom information from me, however,  will come via email.  I am available most days before and after school for chats if you desire.   Or, feel free to call me at the school and leave a message and i will get back with you as soon as possible.  My classroom extension is 101.  I try to reserve time during the school day for your Kindergartner and for Planning Time to provide optimal attentiveness to their needs and concerns.  While we are on the subject of conferences,  formal Kindergarten Parent/Teacher Conferences for the Fall will be scheduled for October 14th-18th.  Various A.M. and P.M. time slots will be available. More details soon.  

You may already know that  SK students and families have been voluntarily participating in a summer-long activity based on the book titled  "How to be an Explorer of the World: Portable Art Life Museum by Keri Smith.  These books were distributed at the end of the year to all students and hopefully received by your family as well.   Students were asked to participate in projects #30-"Travel History", #41 "Found Faces," and #54 "The Language of Trees," and  any  additional projects that they desired.  Our culminating activity is #9 (page 47)-"Miniature Museum."   Once again, this project was designed to be fun, engaging, and reflective and as a way to connect the whole SK community during our time away from each other this summer. 

If your Kindergartner has been participating in the project and has something to contribute, they may begin bringing in items/notes/thoughts starting the first week of school and we will incorporate them into our daily classroom discussions.  There will also be a display area for our final school-wide project (#9) as well.   If your child did not get a chance to participate in the project, no worries, we have a whole school year of exploring to do!  Also, other specific Kindergarten Curriculum content will be included in a forthcoming Kindergarten Capers blog entry-stay tuned!

P.S.  A note to your child from me should be arriving soon via U.S. mail. The photos depict some of my own "Explorer of the World" travels this summer.

Other General Information

Ornate brownstone hand rail, New York City
Daily entrance to the Kindergarten Room should be made through the Main Entrance of the school (North rear.) 
School begins promptly at 8:45 A.M. with an introduction of the day and a quiet meditative time so it is imperative that your child arrives on time.  (Before and/or After School Care is also available.)  Arriving early allows your child time to feel more empowered in his or her environment and eases transitions as well.  Our Coat Room/Cubbie Area is located right outside of our classroom across from the South entrance of the school.  For your child's comfort, please provide a labeled, complete  change of *clothes (or two)–shirt/dress, pant/skirt, underpants, socks- to be stored in your child’s cubbie. Your child may also be required to have rubber-soled gym shoes for Physical Education classes most days.   A storage crate for personal items fits nicely under benches and/or your child may desire a backpack to be stored on cubbie hooks.  Also, your child needs to bring in a **lunch box daily.  Water Bottles or Thermos' can also be brought in if you desire.  I supply all classroom materials (paper, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, etc.) but classroom supply donations are always welcomed.

 *Optional/seasonal items including a jacket/ raincoat, rubber and waterproof boots, hat, waterproof gloves etc. (I know, it’s hard to think about that right now) should also be considered.

** Some days, the entire school spends Lunch Time (11:30-12:25) across the street at County Farm Park, weather permitting, so please, as a general rule, pack a non-microwavable lunch.  

The nearest Restrooms to our classroom are across from the Library.  Generally, individual Kindergartners will be allowed to go the restroom on their own as needed and class restroom breaks are planned during transitions throughout the school day.

Attendance in the classroom is taken daily and in each Specials Class, at lunch and at dismissal. 
Fancy bicycle spoke decor parked near Central Park, N.Y.
 Please call or email me if your child will be late, absent, or to be picked up by another individual (picture I.D. is required.)  Kindergartners will be attending many *field trips and outings (some spontaneous) and it is essential that your child is properly accounted for.   It is also important to know if your child will be picked up early and/or have appointments during the school day and returning.  I will also attempt to inform you as soon as possible via email about  unscheduled trips and outings.    
In case of illness or injury, one or both Parents will be contacted directly and as soon as possible.  Our amazing Office Manager Karen will inform all families of any school closings and/or early dismissals.

*Volunteers and/or  Chaperons on field trips are always welcome!

Our "General" Classroom Schedule

Morning Meditation 8:45-8:55
Math M, T, TH, F  9:00-9:45
Snack/Recess 10:00-10:30 daily
Music Mondays 10:35-11:30, & Fridays 9:00-9:55
P.E. Wednesdays 12:30-1:15 and Fridays 10:35-11:30
French Mondays 2:30-3:00, Wednesdays 1:20-1:50, Fridays 12:30-1:00 (additionally, Latin Classes begin in January)
Art  and Science times TBA and is integrated into our Homeroom schedule
Lunch/Recess 11:35-12:25 daily
P.M. Snack/Recess 3:00-3:30 daily
All other Times-Homeroom and transitions  
Other Kindergarten Classroom collaborations and activities i.e. K Buddies, field trips, and Yoga- TBA.   

Visited Alice's Tea Room for finger sandwiches, N.Y. City
There will be a Sign Up Sheet in the classroom for Snack Helpers.  This consists of each family and myself providing the classroom’s snack for one whole week, 2 snacks per day, several times during the school year.
A list of classroom allergies will be provided A.S.A.P.  Although nothing can  ever be 100% certain, SK attempts to be a "Nut Aware/Allergy Aware" school as much as possible.  Please consider ingredient and nutrition content while snack shopping.  Our classroom and school’s ongoing goal is to provide a healthy, nutritious environment for all students as much as possible.  A suggested snack list will be provided to all families.  Fruits and vegetables are generally an ideal choice.   Additionally,  Family Traditions are very important to us!  Please feel free to share your family’s traditions/celebrations i.e. your child’s birthday.  We will work traditions into our classroom snack plans wherever possible.  Also, feel free to provide alternative snacks for your child at any time.    By the way, any takers for our Snack Providers the weeks of September 3rd-6th or 9th-13th?

Whew!!  I think that's it for now.  Again welcome to Summers-Knoll, have a happy and safe Labor Day, and I’ll see you all on August 29th and/or the 3rd of September if not before!  

val tibbs-wynne, Kindergarten Teacher

A pretty pest