Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September Newsletter

Click here to view our September newsletter!

September's Oral Language Activities

"Reading and writing float on a sea of talk."

Help your child's oral language develop by using the following prompts for discussion. Aim for one or two a day!

Tell how to make a ham and cheese sandwich. Use the words “first”, “next” and “finally”.

Name 3 things you take to school.

September has 3 syllables. Clap them out. (Sep-tem-ber)

Tell three things about an ‘apple’.

Name 3 things a ‘backpack’ is used for.

What would you do if you were a teacher?

What is another word for “paste”?

Start with a ‘bike’. What’s faster than that?

Play “I’m going to the apple orchard and I will see…”

Say these words, /gym/, /jacket/, /jump/. What first sounds do you hear?

Listen to a story. What happened in the beginning, middle and end?

How are a /pencil/ and a /crayon/ the same? Different?

How many red foods can you think of?

Repeat in order: teachers, friends, principal, gym, cat.  Which doesn’t belong?

What kind of food do you pack in your lunch?

What is it? Clues: white, sticky, squeeze me from a bottle, use me for crafts.

Describe your favourite thing in the classroom.

Name 3 words that begin with “d”, “l”, and “m”.

Think of rhyming words for the words “bag”, “play”. “shoe”

What is another word for “giggle”.

Find 5 things at school that begin with /p/.

It rhymes with ‘ball’.  It starts with /h/.

Think about a playground. Name 3 things you could see there.

How many sounds are in the words “pen”, “shoe”, “class”? (answers 3,2,4)

Explain the meaning of “delicious”.  Name 3 “delicious” things. What is another word for “delicious”?

What is your favourite cartoon/TV show.  Tell someone about it.

Name 3 things that are hot. Name 1 thing that is cold.

What is the opposite of: “sad”, “up”, “off”, “soft”?

What do you use an eraser for?

How are a “car” and a “bus” the same? How are they different?

Clap out the syllables in “crayon”, “library”, “snack”, and “paper”.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Importance of Play

Play equals learning.  As children learn how to play, they learn how to learn. Here are some frequently asked questions about Kindergarten:

  • Why are they playing all day?
  • When will my child do seat work?
  • What are they learning?
As adults, we learn the most complicated of skills through experience. While one can read books about driving a car or parenting a child, there is no substitute for the actual experience. The same is true of young children. They learn through doing the active experiences provided to them in Kindergarten.

Active, enjoyable play is the basis of our Kindergarten program. We are trained to support and facilitate learning through play. Our kindergarten classroom is designed to promote developmentally appropriate, curriculum-based activities that are interesting and fun for our students. The skills children must have to participate in play are the cornerstones of successful learners. Through play children learn to negotiate, to share, to communicate needs and wants, and to join a group and get along with others. Children learn to focus, to concentrate, to test and use trial and error, and to stay focused on a task.

Research shows that children who develop strong play skills at an early age have future academic success in school. You can be confident that you child is indeed learning through play in our classroom!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kindergarten Anxiety

Freshly pressed school clothing, a new backpack full of supplies, and a child clinging to your legs refusing to let go...welcome to the first day of school! Although children are eager to begin kindergarten, it's understandable for most to experience first day (first week, or even first month) anxiety. Imagine what it must be like to suddenly leave the comfort of home and be dropped into a new environment where everything and everyone is different. This anxiety is normal and we will help you and your child to get through it!  Please speak directly to us if you are concerned about your child's anxiety at starting school and we will do our best to provide support and strategies for helping with the transition to school.  

Here are some tips you might also find useful:

Downplay the milestone. For some children highlighting the first day of kindergarten as a really big deal makes them more nervous than they already are. Instead of making a huge fuss about starting school, try comparing kindergarten to something your child is already familiar with, such as going to daycare, the Ontario Early Years Center, or a music or sports class.  Explain that kindergarten will be a place where he or she will make friends and have fun, just like he or she may have done with groups of kids before.

Connect school to home. Bring your child with you to all events that happen before school including parent interviews. This will provide your child with an opportunity to meet us and see our classroom ahead of time. Please send in a 4 by 6 inch photo of your family (all members included, pets too) that we will display around the classroom. This will help your child to feel more connected to their home life while at school. When your child goes home at the end of the day, engage him or her in a conversation about what they did during the day. Talking to your child about his or her day at school can help connect school to home life.

Read books together about starting school. Reading about other children who might have fears and anxiety about starting school may be comforting to kids who are experiencing the same feelings. Here is an excellent list of books about starting school.  

Try to minimize your own anxiety. Just as it's perfectly normal for your child to feel some anxiety on the first days of kindergarten, it's absolutely normal for you to feel anxious when you see your child upset or when a life change like your child starting school occurs. It's also understandable that you may experience some frustration when you see other children playing happily in the classroom while yours is still clinging for dear life to your legs. Don't hesitate to speak with us about your concerns and how we can help plan for a smooth transition for your child into our classroom!

Don't stay too long. Reassure your child that you (or another caregiver) will be back at the end of the day (or waiting at home) and say a quick goodbye at drop-off time. Lingering will only make it more difficult for your child to see you go, and he or she may cry harder the next time because he or she may see that it's an effective way to get you to stay. As heart-wrenching as it may be for you to walk away while your child is upset, chances are that he or she will be playing happily soon after you are out of sight. We recommend that you don't sneak out without saying goodbye as this may undermine your child's trust and could worsen his or her separation anxiety.

Identify his or her anxiety. Find out exactly what your child is afraid of. Talk to him or her and find out what he or she is worried about. Concerned that you won't return? Afraid someone will be mean to him or her? Worried he or she won't know where the bathroom is or that he or she won't know what to do in the classroom? Once you establish what the specific fears are you will be better able to address your child's concerns and work with him or her and our teaching staff to find ways to handle them.

Send along a favourite comfort object or reminder of you. If your child has a favourite lovey (e.g., blanket, stuffed animal) send it along the first few days. We will ask children to keep their object in their cubby unless needed to help through a transition period. Sometimes having a favourite comfort object nearby helps provide children with a sense of security. Another wonderful item is a mini photo album filled with pictures of your family and home.

Don't put a time limit on how long it should take for anxiety to pass. For some children, first day anxiety may not last beyond a few days if it happens at all. For others, tears and school fears may go on for weeks. Just as each child has his or her own individual set of experiences and personality, the time it takes to adjust to school will vary from one child to another.

Don't hesitate to talk to us! We are here to help make your family's transition to full day kindergarten as smooth as possible.

Read professional resources to help you cope. An excellent book that we have recommended in the past for families is Nancy Balaban's "Everyday Goodbyes: Starting School and Early Care. A Guide to the Separation Process".

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Making the First Day Great!

Before the first day...

In the weeks leading up to school, practice walking to school or to the bus stop often so it begins to feel like a familiar routine. If you child will be riding the bus, attend the bus orientation and go over the bus safety rules a few times.

A few days before school starts, begin getting your child and yourself used to the bedtime and wake-up schedule that will be required during school.

Get everything ready a day or two in advance.

The day before, let your child pick out what they will wear on the first day of school. Let your child choose a favourite outfit from clothes that are already 'broken-in' and comfortable.

Try to get your child, and yourself, off to bed a bit early so you're both well rested in the morning.

The first day...

Get yourself and your child up early enough to eat a calm, unhurried breakfast. Keep things as normal as possible; if your child normally has cereal for breakfast, make cereal this morning.

When you say goodbye to your child the first day, make it quick, light, and reassuring.

Your child will be reassured by a warm hug and a reminder that you, or their usual caregiver, will be picking them up or waiting at home after school is finished.

Some parents feel a temporary sense of loss when their child goes off to school. If you're feeling that way, plan a special activity for yourself that you can look forward to during the first days of school. 

After school...

Plan a special dinner with your child's favourite foods to celebrate the first day of school.

Use the first day of school to start some routines for the rest of the school year. One of these routines is to talk with your child every day about what happened at school. Here are some questions that can help to start the discussion:

  • Did your teacher read you a story today?  Tell me about it.
  • What did you do in school today that you really liked?  Tell me why this activity was so special for you.
  • What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow at school?
Another great routine to get started on the first day of school is displaying your child's school work. After you and your child have discussed what he or she has brought home from school, display it on the fridge or hang it on an inexpensive bulletin board hung in the hallway or bedroom at your child's eye level.

Use those precious few minutes before bedtime to snuggle with your child and read him or her a bedtime story. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


This year Amherstburg Public School is proud to be embarking on a new adventure by initiating the province's Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program. The purpose of the program is to provide children a strong start in school. The Early Learning Team (ELT) consists of a teacher (Mrs. McLennan) and an Early Childhood Educator (Mrs. Oshar), who will collaborate to create an environment where our youngest learners can engage in activities to help them develop physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually.  This will be accomplished through a balance of teacher-guided and child-centered activities. Play-based learning will be our primary method of instruction.

Our program will be integrated - this means that each classroom will consist of both Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten children. Integrated classrooms have many benefits: they help build self-esteem, self-confidence, and risk-taking while developing problem-solving strategies in children. Younger learners have more models to imitate and benefit from practising skills in a safe and supportive environment. Older learners have the opportunity to build on what they already know and refine their knowledge and abilities while developing leadership skills.

Some important information for you as we begin our kindergarten journey together:

1.  Clothing: Our program is a very active learning environment for young children. They will paint, cut and paste, climb, jump, run, and work with sand and water. Messiness is a sign of hard work in kindergarten. Please dress your child so that they are in comfortable play clothes that can get dirty.

2.  Supplies:  Please send your child to school with the following: a backpack, a pair of indoor running shoes to be left at school, an extra set of clothes (shirt, pants, underwear, socks) to be left at school, and a lunch bag. Please label all items that come to school including jackets, shoes, boots, etc. We appreciate donations of the following items: package of thick colouring markers, package of coloured pencils, package of crayons, package of glue sticks, and a box of kleenex.

3.  Mail Bag: Every child will bring home a plastic communication bag each day. This bag will be used to send information back and forth from school to your home. Please ensure you check this mail bag each day for important notes home and your child's work. If you have any notes for us please send them in the mail bag and remind your child in the morning to hand the bag into us by placing it in our mail bag bin.

4.  Changes in Routine:  We will be asking each family to provide names of any emergency contacts who have permission to pick your child up from school. Children will not be sent home with any person not on our list. Unfamiliar faces will be asked to show I.D. to a teacher before a child is released to them.  Please ensure you contact the school if a change in pick-up is anticipated. If your child will not be attending school due to illness, please ensure you contact the school to let us know at 519-736-2189. Your child's safety is our first priority. Thank you for your cooperation with this.
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