Welcome to Kindergarten 2022-2023!

Hello everyone! Welcome to our first newsletter of the school year! Here I will recap our week to give you all some insight into what we are learning about in Kindergarten, and keep you updated with some reminders. I want to first start off with a safety reminder:

Please do not send your student with any foods containing peanuts! We have two students in our classroom that have severe peanut allergies, and it is also against the school’s food policy. We do not allow peanut products in classrooms or the cafeteria. Even the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches provided at lunch are not actually made with peanut butter, but with sun butter (which is made from sunflower seeds). If anyone would like to donate more snacks for our classroom please bring them to the front office or to me!

We have nine students this year! I am excited to have a smaller group so that we can build strong relationships with each other and so that each student can get time for small group and one-on-one instruction.

On the first and second days of school we read a few books to help us get familiar with starting in a new class. We discussed all of the feelings we could be having: nervousness, excitement, sadness, etc. We also got a quick introduction into some of the fun things we will be doing over the course of the year! Students also got a chance to meet the new principal, Mr. Barr, and learn about his 3 R’s: Respect Yourself, Respect Others, and Respect Our School.

We also created our own rules for our classroom on the first full day of school. Students collaborated on what the rules should be and then each one came and signed their name. We discussed how when you sign something with your name you are agreeing to what is said, and you are promising to follow the rules. These are hanging up in our room so students can see them and they can be referred to often. On this past Thursday and Friday, we began our Social Studies curriculum which begins with talking about rules and being a good classmate to others. We discussed the importance of sharing, asking for things the polite way, and working together to solve problems.

To start the school year we take a whole week to go over the different kinds of supplies we use in our room. For example, on Friday we discussed crayons, Monday we discussed pencils, Tuesday we discussed markers, Wednesday we discussed scissors, and Thursday we discussed glue. We had activities to go along with each lesson such as tracing the alphabet and their names, and coloring pieces to a puzzle that students later cut out after learning how to use scissors. We also read the story Purple, Green, and Yellow to learn about how we can safely use markers!

For glue, we did a project that is now posted in our hallway in which students glued pieces of tissue paper to their name after listening to the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. This was a great way for students to practice some fine motor skills and letter recognition.

Students have started their Handwriting curriculum already, as it begins with learning how to trace, how to hold a pencil correctly, and how to make different kinds of motions with their hands. We want to encourage correct posture and having students learn how to write correctly on our writing lines.

This week we also introduced our classroom library and the importance of reading. We discussed the way you hold a book, that we read (and write) from left to right, and that we can learn a lot about what is happening in a story by looking at the pictures. To reiterate the importance of pictures, we read the story Good Dog, Carl which only has two short sentences within the whole book. Students had to look at the pictures and use critical thinking to figure out what the story was about. This helps encourage students who might feel like because they don’t know how to read that there is no reason for them to look at books. But exploring books and print helps develop their reading skills!

Later in the week we read the story Madeline Finn and the Library Dog.¬†This story is about a young girl who struggles with reading but when she starts practicing reading with a service dog she flourishes! Afterwards, students were then able to practice reading to their own “animal”, which was a stuffed animal from our classroom. This is something we will be doing often as giving students time to read independently is vital to encouraging a love for reading, and practicing without the pressure of making a mistake.

We also have been practicing how to appropriately play with one another. This is something we will be working on for the whole entire school year. Students have time to play for a bit in the morning as they trickle in, and at the end of the day they have Free Play in which they can choose between 4 toy choices and play for about 20-30 minutes. In order to negotiate working with others in a calm way we have already started our social-emotional learning curriculum by talking about how to name our emotions by reading a story called In My Heart. We also read the story Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It’s OK to Back Away and discussed how we should take some deep breaths, walk away, and do something that makes us feel good when we are feeling extremely angry so that we do not make a choice we regret.

In our Cozy Corner, we have something called a Calm Down Kit where students can go to use some fidget tools, coloring books, and other things to help calm their body when they are feeling extremely sad or angry. There are also pillows and a couch for them to lay on and relax if that would be what they need. We discussed the rules and parameters around this space and we will utilize this throughout the year so that students can develop the tools needed for healthy emotional regulation.

This week we will begin working on reviewing the letters in the alphabet and beginning an introduction into the sounds they make. We will also be working on patterns in Math and talking about the color red! I completed an assessment with the students this past week that I sent home to you all, so you can see what academic skills they need to work on. I will be keeping in touch regularly so that we can have ongoing communication about how to work on strengthening these skills.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you so much and have a wonderful week!

 

Love,

Ms. V

 

 

 

 

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