Communication- I will be posting pictures, videos, and posts on the app Class Dojo throughout the week so you can see what our everyday looks like in the classroom! These posts are private and will only be shared with parents in our classroom. It is extremely important for you and I to maintain an open line of communication pertaining to your child. Please feel free to write a note or send an e-mail to make an appointment regarding any concerns or questions you may have. The best way to contact me is through an e-mail message: email@example.com. I check my e-mail periodically throughout the day. Expect a response within 24 hours during the school week.
Independence- Independence is a goal for kindergarten students because it builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Kindergarteners are very capable of doing many things on their own and we encourage them to do as much as they can for themselves in the classroom. Please continue to work on buttons, zipping, and tying skills at home. We expect children to carry in their own backpacks every morning, put them in their lockers, and unpack to get ready for their school day. We will teach them how to take care of their things and we will practice this a lot. Thanks for your support in letting your child grow more independent! To help encourage independence, please kiss your little one goodbye at the door. Remember, quick goodbyes… leave dry eyes!
Arrival and Dismissal
8:40-8:50- Drop your child off at door 5 (the outside door closest to our classroom) during this time. Please park and walk your child to the door. Students will be lining up outside during the first week of school, but we will begin indoor lineup after that. Students may not enter the building until 8:40, as there is not adult supervision until this time. Please say goodbye to your child at the outside door and let them walk in by themselves to help encourage independence.
8:55- Second bell rings and our day begins. If your child arrives after 8:55, you must walk them around to the front doors of the school and check them in at the office before they come down to the classroom.
3:55- Kindergarten dismissal (kindergarteners are dismissed a couple minutes before the big kids to help with parking lot congestion). Park and walk to pick up your child outside at the door 5. Because your child’s safety is our #1 concern, make sure that ALL people that pick up your child are listed on their pink emergency card. If they are not listed on the card, we will not be able to release your child to that person. Any child that is not picked up in a reasonable amount of time will be taken to the office to wait for their ride.
Absences- If your child will be absent, use the Absence Verification Form on the Kennedy website (from the homepage, go to the “Parents” tab, you will find it from there). Feel free to let me know via email or note if your child will be absent for multiple days. If you will be going out of town, I will collect your child’s absent work and they will receive it when they return. Because our schedule can be unpredictable in kindergarten, I typically don’t send home absent work ahead of time.
Office Staff- We are fortunate to have such an amazing office staff here at Kennedy. Dr. Daniels (principal) and Mrs. Wichmann (secretary) are here to help you in any way they can. Calling the office is a good way to reach us if you have an urgent message (734) 744-2745, as I do not always check my email during the school day. Office hours are 8:30am to 4:20pm.
Transportation- If your child's form of afternoon transportation changes at any time during the school year, please let me know by sending me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or sending a note with your child. If your child is to go home on a bus with another student, both parents need to sign a note and the students need to take their notes to the office in the morning.
News From School- While I will not be sending home a hardcopy weekly newsletter, I do send a weekly electronic newsletter via email for those that complete the Parent/Guardian forms on my website (http://bit.do/Msalberts). Let me know if you need a hardcopy form of the newsletter.
Home Communication Folder- Your child will receive an orange two pocket 'Home Communication' folder. This folder will travel back and forth daily in your child's backpack. Please use it for any completed homework or notes that need to be sent to school and check it daily with your child for notes to read or school work that needs to be finished (I don’t check kids’ backpacks on a daily basis). Remove any notes or work from the “Keep at Home” side of the folder on a daily basis. If you need to send in money for your child, make sure to put it in a labeled envelope or baggie and put it in your child's orange folder.
Labeling and Lost & Found- Please label all personal items that your child brings to school, especially his/her backpack, lunchbox, coat, boots, and sweatshirts. These items get lost easily! The Lost and Found can be found in the hallway near the office.
Snack Time- Time will be set aside for a midmorning snack, and an afternoon snack provided from home. Healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables are encouraged. Please do not send in candy or cookies for your child to eat during snack time. Make sure to label your child’s snacks with their name, as they will be put into a snack bin in the morning. Please choose snacks that can be eaten quickly and easily. Feel free to send in a labeled water bottle with your child daily for the classroom (no juice or flavored beverages, please!).
Lunch- If your child is planning on ordering lunch, please review the lunch schedule so they know which lunch they would like to pick (there are 2 choices each day). We highly recommend that you prepay. If your child brings lunch money to school, please make sure it is labeled (in an envelope or baggie) with your child’s name on it, placed in their orange folder. Domino’s Pizza Day is every other Tuesday at Kennedy. A pizza order slip will be sent home with your child the day before. If your child is planning on ordering pizza that day, please send the completed form (and money, if not prepaid) in your child’s orange folder.
LMC- We will have a scheduled library time once a week. Kindergarten students will listen to a story and check out books. Be sure to remind your child to bring his/her library books to be returned on this day. There will be a tub for library books outside of our classroom.
P.E.- We will have 45 minutes of physical education once a week. Make sure your child is wearing gym shoes on this day. It is recommended that students wear closed-toed shoes on a daily basis at school, as flip flops and sandals can be dangerous on the playground.
Play- Play is such an important part of a child's development! Though most of the learning that occurs in our kindergarten rooms is "play-based learning" (including games, movement, songs, imaginative play, etc.), we have dedicated times just for play throughout the day. In addition to the two 30-minute recesses that all Kennedy students have each day, the kindergarten teachers take students outside for an additional morning recess during the first marking period. This is an important time for students to develop gross motor skills, learn social skills, establish friendships, and feel comfortable on the playground equipment. We also give students "free choice" time most afternoons. During this time, students are free to choose from various activities in the classroom, such as the sand table, kitchen area, puppets, play doh, doll house, legos, puzzles, blocks, and more. This time is not only important for students to develop social skills, but to also work on fine motor skills, problem-solving, independence, and build imagination!
Fine Motor- In kindergarten, we do a lot of activities to strengthen student’s fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are imperative so that students have the muscle strength and stamina to write. To improve these skills, we use scissors, thumb tacks (for “pin poke” activities), play dough, clay, beads, shaving cream, paint, clothes pins, and stickers to encourage cutting, grasping, pinching, squeezing, and squishing. Your child may come home with a lot “cutesy” projects, but these projects have a purpose… we are building writers, and having fun while doing it!
Toys- Toys and trinkets can be a distraction in school should be left at home. If your child chooses to bring a toy into the classroom, they will choose to have it placed into the "June Box" and their toy will be returned to them at the end of the school year. We have lots of toys, games, and puzzles in our classroom that students can use during free choice time and indoor recess. Please discuss this no-toy policy with your child. Toys that are brought to school for SACC will need to stay in their backpack once the school day begins.
Movement and Brain Breaks- Throughout the school day, I give students lots of opportunities to give their brain a "break" through music, movement, dancing, and yoga. I encourage you to check out the website, "Go Noodle," and the YouTube channel, "Kids Yoga," to do brain breaks at home! Movement time gives us a chance to get our wiggles out, while yoga gives us a chance to unwind, relax, and stretch.
Quiet Time- Although we do not have "nap time" in kindergarten, we will have a dedicated Quiet Time during the first marking period, right after lunch. During this time, students can rest while they listen to calm music, listen to a story, or watch a short educational show. Quiet Time will be phased out as the year progresses, but I will allow kids to rest on a beanbag chair if they need some rest during the day.
Restrooms- We have restrooms in our classrooms and children are allowed to use them as needed, although it is not encouraged during direct instruction time. Consider the clothing your child wears to school, and make sure it is something they can manage in the bathroom…especially when they wait until the last minute and have a “bathroom emergency”! You are welcome to pack them a change of clothes in their backpack in case of an accident.
Behavior- We use a program called Class Dojo to manage behavior in the classroom. We like this program because parents can monitor their child’s behavior throughout the week on their personal device or computer. For positive behavior, students can earn Dojo points. As students are just learning the expectations in kindergarten, they will be given many opportunities and reminders to redirect negative behavior. If the behavior persists, they will be asked to visit The Think Spot in our classroom- a place where they will be able to reflect on their behavior. If your child visits The Think Spot, a note will be sent home to be returned with a parent signature. To focus on positive behavior, we will continually be working towards fun rewards for positive Dojo points!
Homework- Throughout the week, homework may be sent home. Some homework will be optional and for extra practice. Every few weeks, a small math packet will be send home for homework. Students will be given ample time to work on the packet. It is important that these are completed and sent back to school by the due date listed. Towards the end of the first marking period, I will begin sending home Take-Home Books so that students can practice their reading at home. Once students have read and mastered all of the books in their bag, send them back to school I will give them new books soon.
Birthdays and Birthday Invitations- Due to various food allergies, your child may bring in a non-food item to share with the class (i.e. pencils, stickers, treat goodie bags, etc.) on their birthday or half birthday. Please bring individual and equitable items that students can quickly and easily pass out to share. We will set aside a few minutes during the day to celebrate. Birthday invitations may only be passed out at school if the entire class is invited. Otherwise, they will need to be passed out outside of school. A google doc will be provided for you to share contact information (email & phone number) with other parents in our class.
Field Trips- Throughout the year, we will schedule field trips to enhance our curriculum. Sometimes we will leave the building and other times, the field trip experience will come to us. If and when we need parent volunteers for any trips, we will let you know. Anyone who plans to attend a field trip as a chaperone will need to complete an ICHAT form at least 2 weeks prior to the field trip, and return it to the office. ICHAT forms are available in the office.
Volunteers- Volunteering in the Kindergarten classroom is encouraged and welcomed! If you’d like to sign up to volunteer, visit my website (http://bit.do/Msalberts) and click on the Classroom Volunteer Form link. We will invite parent volunteers to begin volunteering after the first marking period. Occasionally in Kindergarten, students will behave very differently when their parent helper is in the room. If this becomes a problem, we may ask that you help prepare projects in the teacher workroom instead of helping in the classroom. In addition, younger siblings are not permitted to join you on your volunteer day if you are working in the classroom.
Meetings- Please respect that teachers are not available before or after school unless you have a scheduled appointment. As you can imagine, our schedules are quite full with weekly staff meetings, staff development trainings, or other committee or school obligations. We also often have supervision duties before and/or after school, keeping an eye on your children. We are more than happy to meet with you; we just need a little notice.