Welcome to the 3-AM classroom! We are delighted to see the children gathering and getting to know each other during these first days of school. The phase-in schedule was extremely helpful for the children to get settled into the classroom environment. The children explored the classroom materials while beginning to notice their peers playing around them. Some children started singing the "Old MacDonald" song in the barn cave with me. A few other children collaborated to make ramps and roads with the moving trucks. There was a group of children who "cooked" and poured "tea" in the kitchen while other children and teachers pretended to consume the "refreshments." Thank you to all the families who have contributed to our harvest/garden area at the science table. Some of the children are beginning to notice these items and have been very curious to see the various types of corn, touching the kernels with their fingers. Peely has been a wonderful addition to our classroom as well. The children constantly look at her with a magnifying glass to see what she is doing. While Peely curled her body up at the corner of the terrarium, a couple of children noticed that she was "hiding her face because she is sleeping."
As the children begin to feel comfortable in the environment, they start showing preferences for teachers, children, and toys in school. In the past few days, we noticed more pushing and grabbing of the toys as the children have been learning how to live in a shared space. Children in this age group have great difficulty sharing materials. We are encouraging the use of the phrase, "Can I have a turn when you're done?" or a shortened version of "my turn next?" to provide opportunities for children to gain experience with strategies for dealing with sharing. There will be bumps along the road as hitting, grabbing, and biting may occur, which is all normal but difficult to see our children go through. Please know that we are watching to make sure children are kept safe, yet our longer term goal is to have the children learn how to engage with each other appropriately. This may also mean that we talk through what happened and give alternate strategies to the children for next time. These changes take time but begin to take root as we work through this process.
We are observing each child's play so we can incorporate their interests into future lesson planning. This is a wonderful way to stimulate their interests and motivate their learning. We will continue to get to know each other through various forms of play such as: art, sensory activities, dramatic play, manipulatives, science, literacy, block construction, and large motor activities.
As this is the beginning of the school year, we have a few important announcements. From now on, we will meet regularly on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 8:30 to 11:15am. During pick-up time, we will have until 11:30 to dismiss all the children. We appreciate your punctuality as the student teachers have classes to get to and we need the time to clean up the classroom and review the day.
For the next few weeks, we will be leaving a permanent marker out at drop off time for you to label your child's jacket and backpack. Since most children this age don't always remember which coat is theirs, it will help us out when we are assisting them to put on their jackets and sweaters. As some of you may have noticed, after snack time while it is still warm outside, we ask the children to either put on their sweaters and coats in the classroom or place them in the big laundry basket before going out to the playground. We teachers may not be aware of whose jacket belongs to whom unless we see them wearing it in the morning. It would be very helpful if you could take the time to label all of your child's clothing. Thank you.
The curbside drop-off and pick up policy will begin October 5th (8:30-8:45am drop-off, and 11:15-11:30 pick-up). Please refer to the parking letter on the drop-off and pick up policy. Thank you for your cooperation.
There are also some reminders and policies that are very important for you to know:
*Birthdays are celebrated in the classroom during snack time. It is a very low-key event, however, parents may join us during snack time if they like. The State of Minnesota licensing guidelines require that all snacks be either store bought or prepared at school. Suggestions include: popsicles (Edy's 100% juice bar, and at the organic section of Cub: All Fruit Bars and Little Cuties - tofuti) and yogurt (Yo Kids from the Cub organic section or Dannon's all natural yogurt.)
*Each child has a folder with school information, newsletters, artwork, etc. for you to take home. Please check this folder on a regular basis.
*Please have your child come into school with a backpack, labeled with their name inside or out. The backpacks are helpful to put school materials in as well as accessory clothing once winter begins.
*Favorite toys, books, and other materials from home are often very difficult to share. Please try to leave these items at home. We also have a NO WEAPONS policy, meaning such toys or items must stay at home. Security items, such as a blanket or a stuffed animal, can be helpful for children getting acclimated to school. To avoid getting lost, they should be left in the cubbies unless needed by your child.
*Due to the hazards of extreme allergies, we are a PEANUT-FREE school. Please check the ingredients carefully on any snack items and make sure the products do not contain peanuts, and are not processed in the same factory where peanuts may have been handled (it will be written on the label).
*If you or an authorized caregiver picks up your child in person during dismissal time, please make sure to notify the lead teacher when you are leaving school with your child. For safety purposes, we want to make sure that every child is dismissed properly.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.