Tag Archives: child

Open House Fall 2012

We had a great turn out for Open House on Thursday.  The families of nine children visited the kindergarten room–thank you so much for coming!  If you were unable to attend, I will send the information home with your child on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Many people expressed interest in volunteering either inside or outside of the classroom so I have been looking at our schedule to see what times and days will work out best.  I will be in touch soon.  We have a large class this year so I am especially grateful for your help.

We will spend the first days of school learning routines and procedures for kindergarten as well as doing evaluations in reading and math.  This will help students get adjusted to school and will help me plan the best instruction for your child.

Please email or stop by if you have questions or concerns.  The step into kindergarten is a big one for both children and parents and I look forward to helping all of you enjoy your child’s first year in school!


Mark A. Hicks, illustrator



What the School Expects from You

August 18, 2012

What the School Expects From You

by Alice Wellborn

It’s already time to go back to school! What does the elementary school staff really want from you and your family?

The school really wants your child to be safe and secure in any situation that arises. In elementary school, that includes bathroom accidents, getting sick at school, and skinning knees or breaking an arm on the playground. Sometimes school lets out early because of weather or a power failure, and children are worried about getting home. Many children have medical issues that might have to be addressed during the school day. And sometimes elementary school children just get upset about something that happens at school. So it’s extremely important that the teacher knows exactly who to call (primary and back-up), all the contact information for those folks, and the names of everyone who is allowed to pick up your child from school.

If there is a messy custody issue or legal situation going on, the school cannot protect your child unless the court orders are on file. And if your contact information changes during the school year, please let your child’s teacher know right away. The teacher and the principal have to be able to get in touch with a child’s family at any time. Emergencies happen every day, and children get very upset when parents cannot be reached. You would be surprised how many parents change their phone number or place of employment without notifying the teacher.

Teachers in the primary grades often ask parents to bring a change of clothes to school because little ones have bathroom accidents, spill food and drinks, and get muddy on the playground. Please make sure that you always keep a clean set of extra clothes at school for your child — if he has to change at school, having his own clothes available will make an embarrassing situation a little better.

And while we’re on the topic of clothing, elementary school teachers really appreciate it when parents send children to school in clothing that is appropriate to the weather, comfortable, and appropriate for play at recess and P.E. This includes shoes! It’s hard to participate in P.E. or play with friends on the playground if you’re wearing flip-flops or heels. And remember that your child should be able to independently handle their own clothes in the bathroom. This means that if your child cannot handle buttons or zippers, don’t send them to school in clothes that have to be buttoned or zippered.
Lunch time in elementary school is usually 30 minutes long, and the teachers eat their own lunch while supervising their class in the cafeteria.  If your child comes to school with a lunch box, a thermos, and/or packaged food that he can’t open independently, it makes it very difficult to move the class in and out of the cafeteria on time. And if your child comes to school with food that she won’t eat, it can make for a hungry, cranky afternoon. Please send a lunch that your child will eat, packaged in a way that your child can handle independently.
Many parents have complicated lives, and the plans for after school transportation and child care can change from day to day. These inconsistent arrangements can be very difficult for the teacher to keep up with and very stressful for children. Children feel most secure in a predictable environment, which means that they need to know what’s going to happen every day. It’s especially difficult for teachers and children if parents routinely call at the last minute to make changes. Every year mistakes are made and children are sent to the wrong place or put on the wrong bus. That’s scary for everyone! It is very helpful if parents have an established schedule that is the same from week to week. Then the teacher and the child know what’s happening every day and get into a routine. If this is impossible for you, please consider enrolling your child in an after-school program that can provide safe, consistent after-school child care.

The teachers (and the other parents) really appreciate it if you keep your children home when they are sick. I know it can be a real challenge to find child care or take a day off work, but sick children do not learn. What sick children do is spread germs all over the classroom! Please figure out a way to handle it when your child is sick, so everyone else can stay well. So exactly what can parents do to make sure their child is safe and comfortable at school?

-Give the teacher detailed, complete information on how to contact you or another family member, and who has permission to pick up your child. Keep this information updated through out the year.

-If you have legal custody papers, make sure the school has a copy on file in the office.

-Keep a set of clean clothes at school if requested by the teacher.

-Send your child to school in clothes and shoes that allow him to participate fully in all school activities. Make sure that your child can independently handle his own clothing.

-Send your child to school with a lunch that she will eat, packaged in a way that she can handle independently.

-Figure out a safe, reliable, consistent system for after-school care.

-Keep sick children home from school.

If your child has special needs that require accommodations for self-care and other school activities, some of the suggestions above may not apply. In that case, your child’s IEP or 504 plan will spell out the necessary accommodations.

It’s going to be a great school year!


Our very own education specialist Alice Wellborn is now a regular contributor at FlyLady.net and we are thrilled to share her wise words with all of you. Alice is a school psychologist and the author of the amazingly helpful book No More Parents Left Behind. Get the book at:http://www.nomoreparentsleftbehind.com/

You can follow Alice on Facebook:

Retrieved August 18, 2012 from http://www.flylady.net/d/br/2012/08/16/what-the-school-expects-from-yo/

Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes

Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes

We all learn from our mistakes. Every situation is an opportunity for growth. Obviously there are certain mistakes you want to protect your kids from, such as playing on a busy road or sticking their hand on a hot burner. But in other situations, they’ll learn more if left to discover the consequences themselves.

You probably remember a time as a kid when you were corrected by an authority figure and wondered what the big deal was. After all, wouldn’t you have figured out the situation on your own? As a parent, you can learn from this and assess when to step in and when to stand back.

Consider these points to help you be more patient and accepting of your children’s mistakes:

1. Children are children. Because of a child’s age, coordination, lack of judgment, or simplified thought processes, kids are not going to be able to perform a task the way a teen or adult can.

2. Children are works in progress. Because children are developing, learning and growing every day, each new day provides them with opportunities for success.

* Children grow and mature at their own speeds. One child may be able to make his own bed when he’s 5 years old, while another will struggle with this at age 7.

* Depending on the task, a child might be unable to do a job one day, but can do it successfully the next. For this reason, a parent’s patience is required when a child is attempting to complete an assigned job.

3. Sometimes when children err, they have a natural tendency to want to try again. Because this behavior shows perseverance and great effort, parents can reinforce these positive characteristics by simply allowing them to try the task again.

* Showing that you recognize they want to perform goes a long way toward building your child’s sense of self. Applaud your child’s perseverance in this case and tell him he can try again later.

4. Learning from trial and error is still learning. If you observe your child trying a task over and over again without frustration, he’s probably learning something on each try.

* Think about your own experiences of trying to tie shoes or learning to ride a bike without training wheels. The more you did it, the better you got at it.

5. There are other things more important than doing a job “right.” So what if, when your child is done making the bed, the bedspread is crooked? If you consider what matters most, you’ll come up with some characteristics your child demonstrates that you can be proud of.

6. Your child’s self-esteem depends on your reactions. How you react when your child makes a misstep shows him what you think and believe about him.

* When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, allowing him to err at something while at the same time, accepting him the way he is, sends powerful messages of unconditional acceptance and love to your child.

7. Provide encouragement when your child struggles to perform. Since most tasks have various parts to them, look for the portion of the task that your child did well. Tell him he did a good job on that aspect. Acknowledge the task is difficult and that he’ll eventually catch on and do the whole task well.

8. Avoid generating or expressing strong emotions related to your child’s blunder. It’s wise to remain neutral and objective when speaking to a child about his performance of a task.

* If you find yourself feeling frustration or anger about your child’s mistakes, it’s best to give yourself a “time out.”

* Later on, it will be helpful to examine within yourself why you’re experiencing such strong, negative feelings about your child’s actions.

Letting your children to make mistakes will go a long way toward solidifying his sense of self and building his self-esteem.

If you consider and apply these ideas when parenting, you and your child will be more comfortable when they experience errors. Because of your approach, they’ll embrace life with optimism, perseverance and feelings of confidence.

What Do You Say?

If a child says,                               You can say…

“I don’t know how… “           “Do the best you can”

“Give it your best shot”

“It doesn’t have to be perfect”

“I can’t…”                                 “How will you start?”

“Let’s think about it together,

What part comes first?”

“How do you spell…?”           “Listen to me say the word,

What do you hear? Put down what you

Can hear.  Remember, if you can’t

Remember a sound, use a magic line.”

“Does this really spell….?”   “Oh! You are SO close.  Look you heard

The ___.”

“Can you read this?”       “Why don’t you read it to me so I don’t

Make any mistakes?”

“Do you like my picture?”        “Tell me about your picture.”

“I like how you…used red (blue,green,

Purple, etc.)

… Stretched out the lines”

“Made it look like _____.”

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”       “We’re almost done.”

“We need to finish”

“It’s not a choice”

“Mrs. Verrall wants everyone to…”


Kindergarten Article–Bullying and Teasing

November 25, 2011

Bullying and Teasing: No Laughing Matter

Bullying: Know the facts about bullying, even if you don’t think bullying affects your child.

Unfortunately, teasing is often part of growing up — almost every child experiences it. But it isn’t always as innocuous as it seems. Words can cause pain. Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another child. It can be verbal bullying (making threats, name-calling), psychological bullying (excluding children, spreading rumors), or physical bullying (hitting, pushing, taking a child’s possessions).

How Bullying Starts
Bullying behavior is prevalent throughout the world and it cuts across socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and cultural lines. Researchers estimate that 20 to 30 percent of school-age children are involved in bullying incidents, as either perpetrators or victims. Bullying can begin as early as preschool and intensify during transitional stages, such as starting school in 1st grade or going into middle school.

Victims of bullying are often shy and tend to be physically weaker than their peers. They may also have low self-esteem and poor social skills, which makes it hard for them to stand up for themselves. Bullies consider these children safe targets because they usually don’t retaliate.

Effects of Bullying

 If your child is the victim of bullying, he may suffer physically and emotionally, and his schoolwork will likely show it. Grades drop because, instead of listening to the teacher, kids are wondering what they did wrong and whether anyone will sit with them at lunch. If bullying persists, they may be afraid to go to school. Problems with low self-esteem and depression can last into adulthood and interfere with personal and professional lives.

Bullies are affected too, even into adulthood; they may have difficulty forming positive relationships. They are more apt to use tobacco and alcohol, and to be abusive spouses. Some studies have even found a correlation with later criminal activities.

Warning Signs

If you’re concerned that your child is a victim of teasing or bullying, look for these signs of stress:

  • Increased passivity or withdrawal
  • Frequent crying
  • Recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Sudden drop in grades or other learning problems
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Significant changes in social life — suddenly no one is calling or extending invitations
  • Sudden change in the way your child talks — calling herself a loser, or a former friend a jerk

How to Help 
First, give your child space to talk. If she recounts incidences of teasing or bullying, be empathetic. If your child has trouble verbalizing her feelings, read a story about children being teased or bullied. You can also use puppets, dolls, or stuffed animals to encourage a young child to act out problems.

Once you’ve opened the door, help your child begin to problem-solve. Role-play situations and teach your child ways to respond. You might also need to help your child find a way to move on by encouraging her to reach out and make new friends. She might join teams and school clubs to widen her circle.

At home and on the playground:
Adults need to intervene to help children resolve bullying issues, but calling another parent directly can be tricky unless he or she is a close friend. It is easy to find yourself in a “he said/she said” argument. Try to find an intermediary: even if the bullying occurs outside of school, a teacher, counselor, coach, or after-school program director may be able to help mediate a productive discussion.

If you do find yourself talking directly to the other parent, try to do it in person rather than over the phone. Don’t begin with an angry recounting of the other child’s offenses. Set the stage for a collaborative approach by suggesting going to the playground, or walking the children to school together, to observe interactions and jointly express disapproval for any unacceptable behavior.

At school:
Many schools (sometimes as part of a statewide effort) have programs especially designed to raise awareness of bullying behavior and to help parents and teachers deal effectively with it. Check with your local school district to see if it has such a program.

Schools and parents can work effectively behind the scenes to help a child meet and make new friends via study groups or science-lab partnerships. If you are concerned about your child:

  • Share with the teacher what your child has told you; describe any teasing or bullying you may have witnessed.
  • Ask the teacher if she sees similar behavior at school, and enlist her help in finding ways to solve the problem.
  • If she hasn’t seen any instances of teasing, ask that she keep an eye out for the behavior you described.
  • If the teacher says your child is being teased, find out whether there are any things he may be doing in class to attract teasing. Ask how he responds to the teasing, and discuss helping him develop a more effective response.
  • After the initial conversation, be sure to make a follow-up appointment to discuss how things are going.
  • If the problem persists, or the teacher ignores your concerns, and your child starts to withdraw or not want to go to school, consider the possibility of “therapeutic intervention.” Ask to meet with the school counselor or psychologist, or request a referral to the appropriate school professional.


Kindergarten News October 27–Ask About School

My CGI training today was very good.  There is so much to learn that every opportunity to work with other teachers brings more understanding.  Teachers are learners too, and presenting CGI techniques will develop over time.

Here is an interesting Scholastic article written for Grades 3-5 but is appropriate for students of any age:

10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His Day at School

Get a sense of your child’s life at school by asking questions that elicit more than a one-word response.

10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His Day at School

The trick is to ask about things that are specific, but still open-ended. Move beyond “fine” and “nothing” by asking your child to describe his world. It’s also great to start the conversation with an anecdote from your own day. Try one of these conversation-starters:

  1. Tell me about the best part of your day.
  2. What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  3. Did any of your classmates do anything funny?
  4. Tell me about what you read in class.
  5. Who did you play with today? What did you play?
  6. Do you think math [or any subject] is too easy or too hard?
  7. What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
  8. What rules are different at school than our rules at home? Do you think they’re fair?
  9. Who did you sit with at lunch?
  10. Can you show me something you learned (or did) today?


Kindergarten News October 24–When Volunteering Isn’t An Option


Helping at School When Volunteering Isn’t an Option

by Ann Barbour

Ann BarbourDr. Ann Barbour is Professor of Early Childhood Education at California State University, Los Angeles, (CSULA) and Series Content Advisor for the Peabody Award winning daily television series A Place of Our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa. Read more »

As you settled into the new school year, did you receive requests to volunteer at your child’s school? I thought so!

Schools encourage parent involvement primarily because children do better academically and have fewer behavior problems when families are involved. Schools also benefit from the resources and support families can provide, which are particularly important in these economic times.

Even though we know this type of involvement is a good thing, parents with overloaded work and family responsibilities can find participation difficult. If helping out at school isn’t possible for you, there are many other ways to participate. The most important type of parent involvement happens at home. And it involves much more than overseeing homework. On the most basic level, you can encourage your child’s learning during every day conversations and activities, by paying attention to his interests and questions, and by reading together on a regular basis.

Also, whenever you can help your child make outside-of-school connections to curriculum, you’re reinforcing and extending classroom learning. Being able to do so hinges on actually knowing what’s happening at school. And since kids aren’t always the best sources of information about this, it’s good to keep in touch with your child’s teacher.

The teacher may already have established regular communication channels to help you keep up-to-date with and give feedback about your child’s educational experiences. Whether or not that’s the case, you can take the initiative to let her know you’re interested in your child’s learning and offer whatever kind of support you can. If she knows something about your other responsibilities, schedule and preferences, she’ll be more likely to tailor messages and requests accordingly.

Understanding what your child is learning will also help you talk with him about it and connect other experiences to it. You’ll be able to say, “Tell me about Curious George (your poem, the neighborhood map, the mealworm habitat” rather than asking “What happened in school today?” which can yield a “Nothing” reply. If information about curriculum topics, lessons or investigations isn’t part of the teacher’s regular communications with families, you can respectfully request it. You can also follow up by letting her know what your child does outside of class that’s related e.g., “Emma emptied out my change purse to look for nickels so she could count by 5s.”

Here are some other ways you can be actively involved without volunteering at school or committing a huge amount of time:

  • Make sure you review with your child any work he brings home. Think about displaying it in a prominent place in your home to show how much you value his education.
  • Schedule occasional phone conferences or ask the teacher if you can “talk” by email when you have a question, concern or something to share.
  • If your child brings home a weekly folder, include short notes in it for the teacher to read.
  • Make a point of briefly touching base with the teacher when you drop your child off at school. A quick greeting and comment will continue to let her know you’re an active partner in your child’s learning.
  • Ask the teacher how you can support classroom activities at home. You can even make suggestions based on your particular skills or talents. For example, you could offer to:
    • Help make learning activities or repair broken equipment.
    • Donate materials.
    • Use your technology skills to help publish a class newsletter.
    • Organize or participate in a telephone tree that informs families about school activities.

You might also consider thinking about how you might be present occasionally. If you have a flexible work schedule or a vacation day, consider joining your child for lunch. You might even decide to help out at a one-time event such as a field trip or school festival. Your child will look forward to and remember these special times, and you’ll further reinforce the importance of his school experiences.