Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Welcome to Kindergarten 2016-17!

Dear New Kindergarten Families, 

Welcome to Summers-Knoll Kindergarten 2016-17!  I am honored once again to be teaching Kindergarten here at SK.   This is my 6th year and I am starting to get that special feeling that comes with each new school year. Presently, we have 10 amazing students enrolled in our class and a wonderful new Head of School, Walter!

Included in this blog (and also repeated in my email) is some general information about our class that you may find helpful.  However, please feel free to contact me at vtwynne@summers-knoll.org with any of your additional comments, questions and/or concerns.  

Our classroom blog, "Kindergarten Capers" is my main avenue for classroom activity communication.  Please sign up to receive immediate notification of new entries at vtwynne2.blogspot.com.  I have also been told that the blog is also a great way to keep the Grandparents informed!  More specific or confidential/personal information will be shared in person, by phone call, or by email.  Also, please expect a special note from me to your wonderful Kindergartner very soon via U.S. mail!:)

General Info

Entrance to the school and the Kindergarten classroom should be 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 or care provider.  There is no curbside drop off/pickup for Kindergartners.  Additionally, and for a small fee, 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. Participants will be escorted by an adult to After Care as well.  Kindergartners are released to adults only, please.

The K-2 Coat Room Area is located right outside of our classroom.  Please provide a complete labeled change of clothes–shirt/dress, pant/skirt, underwear, socks and store them in your child’s area in the coat room.   Individually labeled hooks and a green storage bin are provided for your convenience.  A back pack or tote bag is also recommended to transport personal items.  Seasonal items should include a jacket/raincoat, rubber boots, hat, water proof gloves, snow pants, scarf etc.  (I know, it’s hard to think about them right now, but sometimes they are much harder to find later on).  Your child may also be required to periodically have rubber-soled gym shoes for Physical Education classes.   Additionally, some Kindergartners enjoy wearing house shoes/slippers in the classroom.   We encourage this (the children love it, and it saves the carpets) but we do not require it.   Again, it is very helpful to label all of your child's clothes and foot wear.  We do, however, have a lost and found area in each of the three coat rooms in the building. Items left for an extended period of time are donated to charity.

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

All classroom materials including notebooks, journals,  and journal (mail) boxes for each student are provided. Individual school supplies are not necessary (but classroom donations are always welcome.)  Kindergartners use a lot of tissue, glue sticks, markers (especially sharpies), and pencils.  
School begins promptly at 8:45 A.M. and it is imperative that your child arrives on time. Also, 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 for easing separations.  Children generally recover very quickly when their loving adult shows confidence in them and their ability to be a 'big kid.'  If your child will be late or absent, please call the SK school office (734.991.7991) and email me to inform us.

Please call the office and email me 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 of the individual picking up should be listed on the emergency card or in an individual note/email.  Proper picture identification is mandatory for your child's prompt release.

A complete "Flow of the Day" schedule is listed below and a "Monthly Calendar at a Glance" is forthcoming in the next blog entry. Kindergartners generally begin each day with "Circle Time." This very important Large Group activity includes taking attendance, classroom community building exercises, announcements, and a story related to that day's lessons.  Again, please 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!  Information about scheduled trips and outings are sent out via the blog generally.  Emails of unplanned excursions are sent out to you prior to departure.

General Flow of the Day (Some domains are combined depending on the activity 


Circle Time 
9-9:40ish        Math        
9:40-10:00      A.M. Snack/Recess
10:00-11:00    P.E.
11:00-11:30   Science    
11:30-12:30    Lunch/Recess
12:30-2:30      HR/Language Arts/ ChoiceTime activities
2:30-2:50        P.M. Snack and Recess, Quiet Time
2:55-3:25        Latin


8:45-9:00       Circle Time
9-9:40            Math
9:45-10:20     A.M. Snack/Recess
10:20- 11:00  Choice Time/Small Group
11-11:30        Story time with Madame
11:30-12:30   Lunch/Recess
12:30-1:20     Art
1:30-2:40       Sharing Day/Choice
2:40-3:00       Quiet Time/Journal writing
3:00-3:30       P.M. Snack and Recess


8:50-9:40      Music
9:45-10:05     A.M. Snack/Recess
10:10-11:30  Circle Time
11:30-12:30   Lunch/Recess
12:30-1:30     HR (includes Language Arts and Global Experiences)
1:30-2:30       Choice Time 
2:30-3:00      Library Story Time 
3:00-3:30       P.M. Snack/Recess


8:45-9:00       Circle Time
9:00-9:40        Math
9:45-10:30     HR, A.M. Snack/Recess
10:30- 11:30  Physical Education (P.E.)
11:30-12:30   Lunch/Recess
12:30-1:30     HR/Language Arts
1:30-2:15       Choice Time & Quiet Time
2:20-2:40       P.M. Snack and Recess
2:45-3:30       Science 

8:45-9:00       SK All School Meeting in the Atrium 
9:00-9:45        Math
9:45-10:10      Snack/Recess
10:15-11:30    HR/Choice Time
11:30-12:30    Lunch/Recess
12:35-1:25      Art
1:25-1:45        HR/Choice Time 
1:50-2:40        Music
2:40-3:00        P.M. Snack/Recess 
3:00-3:30        Elaine Buddies with the 1st/2nd Graders

Group Snack Time is a Kindergarten tradition and a wonderful opportunity for socialization and community building.   Please look for our "Snack Provider Sign-Up Sheet" located inside our classroom by the entryway. This tradition consists of each family (and myself) signing up and providing the class' snack ( 2 per day) for the entire week and several times (averages to about three turns each) during the school year.  A list of classroom allergies will be provided. Summers-Knoll is a food-aware school and we strive to keep all of our children safe. We do not allow any 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. Our 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 can be provided upon request, however, fresh fruits and vegetables are always great choices.  We also have a mini fridge located right in our classroom for perishables such as cheese sticks, yogurt, and vegetable dips. Also, feel free to provide an alternative individual snack for your child at any time if you desire. If anyone would like to sign up for Snack Provider for September  6th-9th or 12th-16th it would be much appreciated! I can also pencil you in for any other weeks as well.  Just respond via email and let me know.  Thanks!

Shared Family Traditions are very important to us and enhances our global experiences!  Please inform me of your family’s traditions/celebrations (e.g.  your child’s birthday, holidays) and we will gladly work them into our classroom plans whenever possible.  

Lunch Time is 11:30 daily followed by Lunch Recess at 12:00. Hand washing is required before and after eatingChildren 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 and 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. A beverage (water bottle, juice/milk box) should be included and water fountains  are readily available.  Your child is also encouraged to bring in their own reusable water bottle daily.  After lunch, children are escorted to the playground area for recess. and a restroom break is also encouraged during this time.

I am generally available for chats after school on most days.  I try to reserve other times during the school day to provide optimal attention 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.

Again, our SK School Blog "Kindergarten Capers" is my primary way of keeping families informed of our current K classroom activities.   I try to generally make entries each week and include photos and other specific information and anecdotes about our classroom’s learning experiences.  Please subscribe at vtwynne2.blogspot.com to receive notification of new entries. Also, feel free to make comments about what you find most enjoyable or helpful.  

Curriculum Night 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 about Kindergarten.  It is scheduled for Thursday, September 15th 6:30 P.M. for the Lower (K-4th) School.  I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as can attend!  It will be partly held in the Kindergarten classroom and includes presentations from our new Head of School, Walter and Specials Teachers. 

Our first formal Fall Kindergarten Parent/Teacher Conferences will be tentatively scheduled for October 17th- 21st.  A sign-up sheet with numerous A.M. and P.M. time slots will be available via email and in the classroom.   This mandatory exchange is a great opportunity to hear your goals, comments, and concerns and to discuss your child's progress and successes so far.   A portfolio sampling of your child's classwork and artwork is generated and maintained throughout the school year and available for your viewing. Feel free, however, to contact me at any time for more immediate concerns.  A formal Written Narrative Assessment is distributed two times per year; in January and June.

Finally, "Find Your Cubby" night and our SK All School Potluck Picnic at County Farm Park will be on Thursday, September 1st from 5:30-7:00 P.M. This annual event is a great way for your child to get familiar with their classmates, classroom and the building layout as well as where to put their belongings- (very important to a Kindergartner!)  Please understand that the classroom will still be in the stages of preparation, so please forgive the mess.  It takes a while for Kinder-"gardens" to bloom! :)

Again, welcome to Summers-Knoll! Have a happy and safe Labor Day, and I will hopefully see you at our SK Kindergarten Playdate this Friday, August 26th from 6-7 P.M. on the Kindergarten Playground. -Val Tibbs-Wynne  

(P.S.  Our 1st day of school is Tuesday September 6th!)