Friday, August 15, 2014

September/October Dates at a Glance!

This Month's Theme:  
"Magic/Alice in Wonderland"

(left) Salvador Dali's Alice in Wonderland "Caterpillar on Mushroom" 

August 26-28th Thursday      Teacher Professional Development
August 28th      (Thursday)     Find Your Cubby Night!  5:30-7 P.M.

September 2nd  (Tuesday)    SK School Year 2014-15 for students begins!
September 5th   (Friday)           Trip to Howell  Nature Center trip  (Lower School) 8:45-3:30
September 12th (Friday)           Friday Coffee with Joanna (8am-10am)
September 16th (Tuesday)       School Picture Day 
September 16th (Tuesday)       Curriculum Night (Lower School)
September 24th (Wed.)             Rosh Hashanah begins

October 2nd & 3rd (Thurs/Fri)  No School!  Professional Development for Teachers
October 9th (Thursday)             School Picture retakes!
                                                     SK Community Meeting
October 10th (Friday)               Friday Coffee with Joanna (8am-10am)
                                                     Field Trip to Wild Swan Theatre's "Frog and Toad"

October 20th-24th                    Kindergarten Parent/Teacher Conferences
October 31st (Friday)                Eco-Fair 

Welcome to SK Kindergarten!

Featuring the amazing artwork of British Mosaic Tile Artist Martin Cheek- creator of our SK Dragon!

Dear Families, 

Welcome to Summers-Knoll Kindergarten 2014-15! German educator Fredrik Froebel stated that originally the teacher was actually the "kindergartner." He would know, because he was actually the inventor of Kindergarten! Froebel believed that it was the teacher's role to provide a rich environment for learning, to nurture the tender "plants" that reside there, and to assist with cultivating their collective growth. So kindergarten literally means "child garden." How exciting is that?  This reminded me that I, now in my fourth year at Summers-Knoll, have the honor and awesome task of doing just that.  And I am so looking forward to it!  One thing I don't recall reading is that a flower had to be taught how to be a flower.  They just are.  Colorful, unique, wild, majestic, and, hopefully, blooming.  I am looking forward to spending time with your flowering Kindergartner really soon.  

Below is some general information about our class that you may find helpful.  Also, please feel free to contact me ( with any other concerns.  

General Info

Entrance to the school and the Kindergarten room is made through the main entrance (north rear) of the school each morning.  Parking is available in the lot across from the entrance and, for the first couple of weeks, overflow parking is located at County Farm Park across the street.  Kindergartners are required to be escorted directly to the Kindergarten classroom daily by their parent/guardian.  There is no curbside drop off or pickup for Kindergartners.   Also,  A.M. Childcare is available from 7:30-8:30 A.M and P.M. Child Care 3:30-6 P.M.    If you enroll in these programs, Morning Care supervisors will escort your child to the Kindergarten room at the appropriate time.  I escort the children to After Care daily.  

Our Coat Room Area is located right outside of our classroom.  Please provide a complete change of clothes–shirt/dress, pant/skirt, underwear, socks, and store in your child’s area in the cloakroom.   Your child's Individual labeled hooks and a green storage bin are provided for your convenience.  A back pack or tote bag is also recommended to transport papers and artwork.  Seasonal items include- a jacket/ raincoat, rubber boots, hat, gloves, snow pants, scarf etc.  
(I know, it’s hard to think about that right now:) It is very helpful to label all your child's clothes and footwear with their name.  

All classroom materials including journals,  journal (mail) boxes, and a pencil/storage box for each student are provided. Individual school supplies are not necessary but classroom donations are always welcome. Kindergartners use a lot of glue sticks, markers (especially sharpies), and pencils.  Your child will also be required to have rubber-soled gym shoes for Physical Education classes.   Additionally, Kindergartners also enjoy wearing house shoes/slippers in the classroom if desired. We encourage this (the children love it, and it saves the carpets) but we do not require it.
School begins promptly at 8:45 A.M. and it is imperative that your child arrives on time, with a goal of 8:40.  Early arrival allows your Kindergartner time to relax and to feel more empowered in his/her environment and may ease transitions as well.  Prompt goodbyes are also very helpful with easing transitions. If your child will be late or absent, please call the SK school office (734.991.7991) and email me to inform us.

The nearest restrooms to our classroom are between the two 1/2 grade classrooms that are across from the Library and children are allowed to (after informing an adult) go as they desire. 

A complete "Flow of the Day" Schedule and monthly calendar are forthcoming but Kindergartners begin each day with Circle Time. This important Large Group Time includes taking attendance, classroom community building exercises, announcements, a story and/or songs.  I'd like to remind you again to let us know if your child will be late or absent: we have many specials and activities throughout the building and will be attending many field trips and outings (some spontaneous) and it is essential that your child is properly accounted for.  Field Trip Volunteer opportunities are available and your presence is welcomed!  I will  inform you in a timely manner about scheduled trips and outings and send out emails of unplanned excursions as they occur.

It is also important to know if your child will be picked up early and/or have appointments during the school day.  Also, please inform us if your child will be picked up by someone else.  Release permission notification (individual picking up listed on the emergency card or in an individual note)  and proper picture identification are mandatory for your child's prompt release. 


Physical Education (P.E.) -Mondays & Fridays 10:00-11:00
Art Mondays 1:25-2:15, Thursdays 10:40-11:25
Music Wednesdays 12:30-1:20, Fridays 2:00-2:55
Latin  Wednesdays 2:55-3:25
Science Thursdays 12:30-1:20

Group Snack Time is a Kindergarten tradition and a wonderful opportunity for socialization and community building.   Please look for a "Snack Providers Sign-Up Sheet" located inside of our classroom. This consists of each family (and myself) signing up and providing the classroom snack for one whole week, 2 snacks per day, and several times during the school year.   A list of classroom allergies will be provided. Summers-Knoll is a food-aware school; we do everything we can to keep our children safe. We do not allow nuts (peanuts or tree nuts) in school, and we take care to avoid other known allergens when we have sensitive children present.  Please consider ingredient and nutrition content while snack shopping. The classroom and school’s ongoing goal is to provide a healthy, safe, nutritious environment for all students as much as possible. A suggested snack list will be provided to all families (fresh fruits and vegetables are always great choices).  Also, feel free to provide an alternative individual snack for your child at any time if desired. If anyone would like to sign up for Snack Providers September 3-5th or 8th-12th right away, it would be much appreciated! Just respond to this email and let me know.

Sharing Family Traditions is very important to us and enhances our global experiences!  Please feel free to share your family’s traditions/celebrations (e.g. a special tradition on your child’s birthday) and we will work them into our classroom plans wherever possible. 

Lunch is at 11:30 daily, followed by a recess at 12:00.  Children bring their own lunches (usually a lunch sack or box) from home and are escorted to the supervised Atrium area to eat with the 1st/2nd Graders.  Limited microwaves are available but tend to significantly delay time for eating; children have to wait their turn to heat their food and it can take a while.  A  thermos with  preheated food is ideal for warm food that does not require the child to wait.  We have water fountains and cups for water if desired. Hand washing is required before and after eating.  After lunch, children are escorted to the playground area for recess. and a restroom break is also encouraged during this time.

I am available for chats generally any morning (I'm generally here by 8 A.M.) and after school most days.   I try to reserve other times during the school day  to provide optimal attentiveness to the children's needs and concerns, collaboration with colleagues,  and for planning.  I check my email several times a day and will respond to your emails at my earliest opportunity and usually the same day.  Our amazing Office Manager, Karen, will inform all families of any school closings, early dismissals, or other general school matters.  We will call or email you (both parents) directly and immediately for more urgent concerns, i.e. injury or illness.

My SK School Blog "Kindergarten Capers" is my way of keeping families informed of current classroom activities. (It's also a great way to keep the Grandparents informed!)  I try to generally make entries several times a month and include photos and other specific information and anecdotes about our classroom’s learning experiences.  Please subscribe at to receive notification of new entries. Feel free to make comments about what you find most enjoyable or helpful.  More specific or confidential/personal info will be shared in person, by phone call, or by email.

Curriculum Night (Thursday, September 16th) is designed to inform families of our classroom's general goals and objectives, explain my teaching philosophy, and to answer your general questions and concerns.  It is scheduled for Tuesday, September 16th for the Lower School.  I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as can attend!  It will be partly held in the Kindergarten classroom with the time to be announced shortly. 

Our first formal Fall Kindergarten Parent/Teacher Conferences will be scheduled for October 20th - 24th.  A sign-up sheet with numerous A.M. and P.M. time slots will be available online and in the classroom.   This mandatory exchange is a great opportunity to discuss your child's progress and successes so far and create individual plans and goals. An individual portfolio of your child's class work and art work is generated and maintained throughout the school year and available for your viewing.

Finally, "Find Your Cubby" night will be on Thursday, August 28th and is a great way for your child to get familiar with our building and where to put their belongings. (Very important to a Kindergartner!)  Please, however, understand that the classroom will still be in the stages of preparation, and forgive the mess.  It takes a while for gardens to be constructed!   Again welcome, Happy Labor Day, and I’ll see you all on the 2nd of September if not before! -val