Dear Parents, 

Welcome to St. Mary’s kindergarten.  I am anxious to get to know you and your child(ren) this year.  Here are a few things I thought you’d like to know as the year begins.  

We will be setting up a routine for arrival and dismissal, and hopefully we will all have things down pat very soon.  Please send me the Kindergarten Information as soon as possible telling me how your child will be going home this year.  This is extremely important to be sure to get them in the right car or on the right bus.  Please tell me who is in the carpool, the usual pick-up schedule, and who to call if the kids are forgotten. Please bear with us as we get the new system running smoothly.

I have prepared a list of some important topics for you to keep for future reference.  You may want to post it on the refrigerator or in another easy to find location.  If you have questions please let me know by sending me a note, an email (jsmith@stmarysgreensburg.com) or calling me (663-3837).

Sincerely,

Mrs. Jenny Smith

 

THE ABC’s of KINDERGARTEN

 

Alphabet:  This year we will designate a letter for each week for handwriting practice and homework, but we will discuss and review ALL letters all year.  You will find these letters in the classroom newsletter.


Birthdays:  Children may bring in treats on their birthdays.  Drinks aren’t necessary since we have milk/juice every day.  Summer birthdays can be celebrated sometime in the next few weeks; just send me a note or email to set up a date.  The Birthday Bag will be sent home with your child when we celebrate his/her special day.  There are books to read and a journal for you to record what things you do for your child’s birthday that will be read to the class.


*Bookmobile:  The GPL Bookmobile (mobile library) will visit us this year.  You will soon receive a form to fill out to apply for your child’s library card.  This card will be kept on the Bookmobile all year and then will be given to your child at the end of the year.  Your child will be allowed to choose one book each week from this library.  When one book is returned another book may be checked out.  If your child forgets his/her book then he/she will have to wait to check out another book.  Please always return the bookmark that I provide with your child’s book so I know who has returned a book.  


Church:  The class will be attending every Wednesday for all-school mass  as well as on Holy Days.  We will sit as a class and pray together with our schoolmates.  A “buddy” (an eighth grade student) will sit next to your child to help with the routine.  This buddy will become a special friend throughout this year.  We will get together with them several times for some fun activities.  

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Drop off/Pick up:  Children arriving between 7:40-8:00 should come directly to our room.  If your child arrives before 7:40, he/she will need to report to the gym.  Please remind students to enter school by door #1 (by main office) if arriving by car.  After the first few days most children can handle coming to the room on their own, but if you need to come in, please park in a lot to avoid blocking other cars.  ½  day classes are from 8:00-12:00.  Please pick up at door #1.  Students staying all day will be dismissed at 2:40 for bus riders and 2:45 for those going by car.  Dismissal is at door #1 for those students as well.


*Discovery Time:  Every afternoon we have what we call “Discovery” in which students work for awhile in a center to review skills we have learned in the morning and then, once their center is completed, students have free choice activities in the classroom.  It is a good time for building social skills and the important imaginative play that is vital to a young child’s development.  I also use this time to meet one-on-one with students who need some extra attention.


Envelopes: Anytime you send money to school for milk/juice, book orders, etc., please put it in a sealed envelope clearly marked with name and purpose.  Sometimes even the most reliable students forget what they have and why.


*Email:  I have found that email is a very handy way to keep kindergarten parents informed of things that come up during the course of the year.  If you are a person that uses email fairly regularly, I would love to add you to my address book so that I can send information and reminders without using reams of paper!  Since I have a busy schedule, it is also a good way to get questions to me while the ideas are on your mind and I can answer you when I have a minute to think.  I check my school email daily, but sometimes not until after the students leave so always call with time-sensitive issues like dismissal changes, etc.  I do not receive emails on my phone so late afternoon or evening emails will usually be seen the next morning.  

Family Photos:  During the first several weeks of school we will be doing many activities revolving around getting to know each other and our families.  Please send a family photo for your child to share at circle time.  It is a good idea to have it in a ziplock bag to avoid finger marks.

 

Getting to Know You:  Your child’s first homework assignment includes a sheet to fill out with your child’s name (one letter in each box) at the top followed by a recent photo of the child (glued in the large box) and then some questions to fill in about brothers and sisters, etc. Please fill this out with your child ASAP and return to school.  We will make a class book out of the pages.  It is always a favorite choice when students visit the reading rug.



Homework:  There will be weekly homework assignments for your child to complete.  They may be paper/pencil tasks or something to bring in or something to read or discuss at home.  Please check the book bag each night to be sure there is nothing you need to do or read.  I will try to send home all written homework on Monday night to be turned in on Friday (or before). Books will come home on a rotating schedule so be watching and please return them promptly so I can keep them circulating.




Invitations:  Party invitations may be distributed at school as long as all of the students in the class or at least all of one particular gender are being included.  If your party is going to be smaller than that, please find another way to distribute your invitations so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings.


Journals:  We have a birthday journal and Kinderpup’s  journal that will be sent home sometime this year for you to help your child fill out.  We will also keep Junie B. Jones journals that will show progress in writing throughout the year.


King for the Day:  Each boy will have a turn at this honor for a day as we get to know each other and learn to recognize our names.  It will be a surprise as to whose day it is each day!


Lap Reading:  Beginning in Sept. I will send home Lap Reading sheets every month.  At the end of the month, those who bring them back completed will earn a special reward for reading at home.  This is one example of “Homework”.  For the months of October through March, Pizza Hut coupons will be the reward through the “Book It” program.


*Lunch Money:  Monday mornings are the best time to send in lunch money for the week.  Please have the money in an envelope with your child’s name and grade and the words “lunch money” so that we know what it’s for.  You will NOT receive change back, but your account will be credited.  You can pay a large sum at one time and then add more when that runs out, if you’d rather do it that way.  The office will send home a notice you when your account gets below $10.


Mascots:  Kinderpup, our class mascot, will travel to someone’s home each weekend.  Please help your child fill out the journal and return it to school on the next day of school.


*Milk/Snacks:  Please send $45.00 as soon as possible for morning milk/juice for the first semester.  This discounted price allows a few days off for absences and “not thirsty” days.  I will send a reminder home in January to send in $45.00 for the second semester.  Snacks will consist of the occasional treat for someone’s birthday or something to go along with a theme or holiday.   I do not plan to have a daily snack, so breakfast is important.  Our lunch is at 12:00.


Newsletters:  I will send The Kindergarten Connection home weekly to keep you informed of what we are doing at school and important dates to remember.  Watch for one each Friday.


Our Aide:  We are fortunate to have a full-time classroom aide.  Mrs. Laura Rather will be available to assist in our kindergarten classroom this year.  She will do clerical work as well as helping with centers and giving students some one-on-one assistance as needed.


Physical Education (gym):  We will have gym class every week on Thursday morning, so please be sure your child has on tennis shoes.  Dresses are not recommended on gym days.  


*Portfolios (a manila folder) will be sent home with each report card containing samples of work and your child’s report card.  These need to be returned and kept at school all year.  



Queen for the Day:  (same as King for the Day, see above)





Reading:  Please encourage your child to read.  There are three types of reading:

  1. Reading by telling stories with the pictures

  2. Pretend reading

  3. Reading by decoding all of the words (“real” reading)


Star Words:  These are words that we have encountered in our writing/reading that your child should be able to read on his own.  We review these words daily and have them posted in the room.  Your child will also have a copy of each word on a laminated slip of paper and all of them will be attached to a ring.  This “Star Word ring” should be in your child’s book bag every day so that we can add new words when we get them but still go home each day for practice with you in the evening.  


Tags:  If your child rides a bus home from school, please keep the tag that I put on his/her bookbag visible.  This will help any adult know where your child needs to go to be sure that your child is comfortable with the bus routine in the afternoon.  It is also a good idea to have your child’s name on the outside of the bag where it is easy to see.


Upon returning to school following an absence of any kind, please send a note for me to keep on file for my records.  This is school policy.


Visiting school:  We would love to have you as guest, but kindly give us the first three weeks of school to get routines established.  Then if you want to come in, just send a note or call to set up a time.  All visitors must sign in at the office and receive a visitor’s badge.


Word books:  We will use a phonics book called “My Word Book”.  We will add words we use in our journal writing for future reference.  These will come home at the end of the year.


X:  When we study the letter X, we will not stress it as a beginning sound since it acts differently than most letters.  We will focus on the sound it makes at the end or in the middle of words.


Young children:  They respond best to a variety of approaches.  Please do not be alarmed if you do not see a lot of papers coming home, especially if your child has to miss a day or two of school.  We will use various ways to practice and learn.


Zoo field trip:  In the past kindergarten has gone to the zoo in the spring.  We will likely go there again.  We will send home information well in advance of this trip.


This may seem an overwhelming amount of information to absorb at once.  That is why I suggest you keep it handy so that when you have a question as the year goes on you can refer to this and hopefully have your question answered.  A copy of this document will be on my web page all year so you can refer to it there as well.  Of course, you can always call me to ask any question that comes up at anytime this year.  I look forward to talking with you!



Sincerely,

                                                            Mrs. Jenny Smith