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  Welcome to Kindergarten!

 

Dear Parents,

  As you are reading this, your child has just completed his/her first week of kindergarten!  You should be extremely proud of your child.  We had a great time together!  This letter is to let you know what to expect in kindergarten this year and answer any questions you may have. 

I have many objectives as your child’s teacher.  The first is to establish a positive, loving, and nurturing environment.  I want the children to feel like they are at home; surrounded by the things and people they love.  I want them to be as excited about kindergarten as I am.  I am a very enthusiastic and energetic teacher.  I hope that your child will pick up on this energy and get excited too!  One of my many goals as your child’s teacher is to provide an atmosphere that encourages discovery, fosters decision-making, and encourages social integration in order to nurture curiosity and responsibility.  I want your child to develop self-confidence and self-discipline.  I want them to have many successes in their day-to-day experiences so that they can also cope with occasional failures.  Another goal of mine is to give the children a positive outlook toward school that will hopefully result in a lifelong pursuit of learning.  Children learn best by using their senses, by doing, and through concrete materials.  Using this knowledge, the kindergarten program at Noecker is developmentally appropriate; it allows for the many individual differences and growth patterns of each child.

            The next few weeks will be a major adjustment for your child.  Your child will be busy getting to know the school, routines, their classmates, and myself.  Your kindergartner will be learning to work with a group of 18 children, who are also learning to be independent and self-confident.  Depending on your child, you may find that he/she is cranky and hard to live with for the next few weeks.  He/she may complain of stomachaches and the desire not to come to school.  These are all normal emotions and normally do not last for very long.  If your child becomes upset about something that has happened at school or on the bus, please do not hesitate to contact me.

            In the following paragraphs, I would like to explain some important routines and classroom procedures.  I hope this letter will help answer most of the many questions you must have.  This will be your survival guide to kindergarten!

 

 

Parent/Teacher Relationship:

            I believe that a good parent-teacher relationship is necessary for maximum school success.  Throughout the year I will communicate with you through notes, telephone calls, report cards, parent/teacher conferences, and email.  I encourage you to contact me with any questions you many have.  Sending your child to a new school can be very overwhelming at times, especially if this is your first child attending Noecker.  Please do not hesitate to reach me no matter how silly you think the matter may be.  You may contact me by phone (973-226-7644 ext.342  ) or by sending a note with your child.  If you have access to e-mail and that is the most convenient and fastest way for you to reach me, my school e-mail address is: lmcgrath@roselandnjboe.org

 

 

Supplies:

   You were sent a list of supplies in your summer letters. Some of you took advantage of the HSA’s supply kits. If you did not take part in that fundraiser, you chose to get the listed items on your own.  Please make sure you have those supplies in ASAP.

  

 Transportation:

  School begins at 8:30.  The children arrive off the buses and head out to the playground until 8:45.  At 8:45, the children report to their classrooms to begin the day.  If you are dropping off your child, please do not arrive before 8:30.  If you do, please wait in your car or in the drop off zone until the 8:30 bell rings.  If you arrive between 8:30 –8:45, please have your child walk to the side playground, so they can arrive to the room with their class.  If you arrive at school after 8:45, please walk your child into the office.  Your child will receive a slip that they must bring to me.  Once you have received the slip, your child may walk to the classroom.  If you are late, please do not walk your child down to the classroom.  It tends to be a disruption.  Once your child is familiar with the school, they will be able to walk to the classroom on their own.  Don’t worry…you can keep an eye from the exiting door and blow those extra goodbye kisses from there!

            The office has arranged for all children to ride the bus to and from school everyday.  If you plan to pick up your child on any given day, please send in a note with your child and also send an email to the line 8 school address.  Do not rely on your child to verbally give me the information because children often become confused and can often relay incorrect messages.  

If you plan on picking your child up everyday, you may just write one note to me stating your intentions.  This note will be kept on file. 

Sometimes, due to after school activities, children need to be picked up on just one particular day for an extended period of time.  You many just write one note for this as well stating what day(s) that you plan on picking up your child and for what period of time. 

If no written note is received, your child will be sent home by his/her usual method of transportation.  This is done for the complete safety of your child.

            If your child is attending the aftercare program, please send a note stating what day(s) your child will be going.

 

 IMPORTANT: PLEASE REVIEW THE NEW POLICY FOR LINE 8.  ANYONE WHO PICKS UP YOUR CHILD MUST BE LISTED ON YOUR PICK UP FORM

 

 Birthdays – Invitations – Candy:

            We are happy to celebrate your child’s birthday in class, but Noecker has a new school policy that is in the parent handbook.    Please use the buzz book for addresses and mail the invitations from home. If there is a child not in the buzz book, contact the class mothers and they can find out the information for you.  I am not permitted to give out personal information.
          

    WE ARE A PEANUT FREE SCHOOL.  So, snacks and lunches that contain peanuts/nuts are discouraged. Please see Parent handbook for acceptable food items.

 


Lunch Money:

           Lunch money is always an issue in Kindergarten. Although we would like to think the children are responsible enough to handle the idea of money, the reality is that most Kindergartners are not. They try to “share” their money with friends and then do not understand why they don’t get it back. They often lose their money. They confuse dessert money with lunch money or learn that if they don’t buy lunch they can buy 3 desserts with their lunch money.  So please make sure that you discuss buying lunch with your child in detail.

 

Noecker uses the POINT OF SALE LUNCH PROGRAM. Please refer to the school website before the first day of school for procedures and payment information. 

 

 

Snack:

            Please remember to send in ONE snack and ONE drink each day for the afternoon.  Your child will have snack time everyday.   We spend about 15-20 minutes on snack time, so try to keep it simple and healthy.  PLEASE keep your child’s lunch separate from their snack.  It is just less confusing for them.  Again, please send in peanut free snacks.

           
 

Parties/Activities:

            Throughout the year, we will have different activities and parties that you will be invited to participate in.  Before coming to our room, you must sign in at the office.  Also, during these special events, no siblings will be permitted to attend.  This will allow us to focus on the kindergartners and their activities.    

  

Folders:

            Folders are the key to communication between home and school.   Everything I send home to you will be placed in your child’s homework folder; such as class activities, projects, homework, and notices.  It is imperative that you go through your child’s folder everyday.  It is also imperative that your child brings a folder back to school everyday.  To help instill responsibility in your child, make it his/her job to take the folder out of their backpack for you to look at and then they put it back into their backpack for school each day.

            Please send anything for me or for the office in your child’s folder.  Do not just place it in their backpack; things tend to get lost.  Talk with your child about what you put in their folder so they know to hand things to me.

            On Wednesdays, a special red school folder will be sent home.  This Wednesday folder will contain any papers or notices from the office that were not sent via electronic mail.  The red folder must be returned to school the following day. 

 

Homework:

  Daily homework is meant to reinforce the skills learned throughout the day.  It also provides you with the opportunity to see what your child is learning.  If you notice your child is struggling with the homework, this may be an area of weakness and would be good for you to provide additional practice at home.  There is no homework given on Fridays unless it is a long-term project.  In addition, there is a monthly calendar of activities. You will have to print this calendar from your home computer starting in October, and is located on this website under the main menu.  You are to choose 3 activities a week.  (Feel free to do them all!)  The activities are fun and involve the family.  On the back of the monthly calendar, there is an answer and question section for you to fill out.  It allows both your and your child to reflect on what your child does well, or may need help with.  Please return the calendar at the end of the month.

 

 

Scholastic Book Orders:

            Your child will be bringing home a form to order books once a month from Scholastic.  These orders are provided as a convenient way for parents to buy quality books for their child at a low price.  As an added bonus, for every dollar that is spent on books, I earn bonus points that I can use to purchase books for our classroom!  You are under no obligation to order!  If you choose to order, you can complete the entire ordering process online.  Instructions for online ordering will be included with the book form.  The date that the form and money are due will be on my notice, as well as on online.

 

  
Class Parents:
  Each classroom at Noecker is assigned two parents to help out with activities in the classroom throughout the year.  Our class parents for this year are: Alyson Dorchak (908.313.6417) and Lida Cotugno (973.289.8098)   I’m sure they would also be happy to answer any questions you may have. You will meet them at Back to School night.  Sometimes, our class will need more adults to help out on occasion.  Please let me know if you are free to come in and help out once in awhile.


 Schedule for Specials:

Monday: LIBRARY

Tuesday:  MUSIC 

Wednesday:  ART      

Thursday: P.E.   

Friday:  P.E.

     

*Please remember to have your child wear sneakers to school on Phys. Ed. Days. (THUR & FRI)

 

 

 Playtime:

            Playtime is a very crucial part of your child’s day in kindergarten.  One of my most important goals for your child is that he/she learns to socialize and get along with other children.  A question that often arises with parents is the amount of playtime their child is receiving in school.  Everyday, your child will be involved in learning centers.  During this time, your child will have the opportunity to explore blocks, picture books, puppets, puzzles, Legos, Play-Doh, painting, pretend play, etc.  There are also academic learning centers in which I sit with a small group of children and we work on a particular skill or project.  Your child will also be going outside for lunchtime recess which also provides additional playtime interaction, (weather permitting.)

           

 

Classroom Management:  A Positive Classroom Environment

            Kindergartners are social beings.  Sometimes personalities will clash with one another.  I try to always overemphasize the children who are displaying good behavior and making positive or good choices.  These children become models for the rest of the class.  Recognizing individual children also provides an incentive for other children to work harder to improve their behavior. 

If necessary, teacher, parent and child will need to set up an individual behavior plan to address any challenges that your child may be dealing with in school.  My goal is to maintain an environment that is conducive to learning for everyone.

 

           

Discipline:

There is a specific behavior/discipline system that I follow in the classroom. I have used it every year and I feel it is very effective. It is called, “It’s easy being green!” The children will each get a pocket and have a green card.  The children are taught that green is the desirable behavior. When on green, the children are making good choices.  If they are doing something undesirable, their green is changed to yellow. I then explain that the yellow is a warning. A “please go over this rule” note may go home.  If they continue to behave inappropriately, they will lose their yellow and be placed on red. If a child is on red they will lose free playtime and possibly a center time.  At this point a note, phone call or e-mail will be sent home to you, the parent.  In the beginning, you will hear your child talk about the "name clips' and the color everyone is on.  Many children do get upset when they are placed on yellow and red and I discuss the issue with each of them.  Encourage your child to be open and honest about what color they were on and discuss it with them. Why were you on yellow or red? What are you going to do differently to stay on green? In the beginning of the year it is very common for colors to change.  Almost everyone at some point will move off green. The children are aware at all times of how well they are doing. I find that by starting this type of program right from the beginning the children adjust well to the rules and routines of the class and by half way through the year I find I hardly even refer to them!  

 

            I know this seems like a lot of information at one time, but you will find that this is all very helpful.  I would suggest printing this out for future reference.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.  I am looking forward to spending this year with you and your child!  It will be a great year!