Dear MPS Family,
Welcome to the start of our 2016-17 school year. For the kids, the parents AND the teachers, the start of a new school year can be fraught with many mixed and conflicting emotions. I know I worry about getting everything done and meeting all the new children and families and helping them to feel truly welcome in our space. I mentioned at Orientation that I am an introvert so those first few weeks with all the new faces, the excitement and noise can take a toll! My dear husband knows that when I come home from work in those first weeks that I really need some quiet time to reorder my thoughts and assess my day.
Your kids will probably have the same reactions but in a developmentally appropriate manner for preschoolers! Take it easy on them for a few weeks and try not to schedule any big or exciting activities right after school as it is often a perfect recipe for a meltdown. Maybe make sure to have a simple snack and some water in the car for them. A special blanket or stuffed animal, a favorite book to look at, gentle music – all can help them come back down from the tired that they might be feeling. I will try to write some notes to let you know what happens in those first days so that you can try to have a tag to begin conversation with your child.
I can pretty much promise you that most kids respond to the question “What did you do at school today?” with a big “Nothing”, “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember”. It is very hard for them to organize their day in a way that allows them to give a succinct summary. There was so much going on and so many different people. And especially for students new to the school/class, it takes a while to learn all the names.
Rather than asking the big open ended question, you could zoom in and add details that you noticed about the classroom during drop off. For example – what were the art materials on the table? What color was the play dough? You could begin with, “I saw that Teacher Marty had yellow play dough out on the table and there were scissors and animals and jewels out with them. I wonder if you played with any of that today?” Or something similar about the art materials -“Did you put your hands in the foam paint today? How did that feel?” Another way is to ask “I wonder what kind of story Teacher Marty read at circle time today? I wonder if there were any animals in it?” You can lob some of those types of observations/inquiries out there and let them sit and see if your child has a response. But most of all try not to push. With space and support most kids will give you some clues as to how their day went. And if you are super curious or worried you can always send me an email and I will let you know how things are going.
Rest assured if your child is struggling, I will not keep it a secret from you. I will let you know right away so we can work together and make a plan for success. You and I need to be such a strong team working together to make our cooperative community work for your child and your family. I am eager for your thoughts and observations as we move into and through the year.
To kick off things in the classroom we will really be focusing on getting to know each other, learning names and creating relationships. For our youngest students the first month is pretty intense because not only are they learning about saying goodbye to a parent/care giver and learning about the kids in their class, they are also just learning about what it means to ‘go to school’! That is big stuff – so many routines, expectations, and new social skills to learn and practice. So the pace will be slow, the materials simple and the focus on getting settled.
Our All School Back to School Picnic is coming up on Saturday, September 10th at Hamilton Park from 11am to 1pm. Bring you own lunches and beverages and enjoy some time as a community relaxing, watching your children play together and hopefully connecting with some of the other parents and beginning your own new friendships.
Also we will have our first Field Day at the end of the month. All classes will meet at Tryon Creek State Park for a morning of hiking and exploring. Beginning and ending times are slightly adjust for travel times (see below for specifics) You are welcome to stay if you can and hike with us (younger children are included in this invitation). If you cannot stay that is fine too, you will drop off at the main entrance to the visitor center and pick up again at the same location. Please plan to send your child with their own snack and water that day – there will be no group snack. They should be able to carry their snack/water in their own backpack. And remember, all foods still have to be free from all peanuts/tree nuts or risk of contamination. Also make sure they are dressed for the weather and have comfortable walking shoes!
Field Day Schedule:
3’s Class — Thursday, September 29th. Drop off/meet at 9:15am
Pick up at 11:15am
Pre-k Class — Thursday, September 29th. Drop off/meet at 1:15pm
Pick up at 3:15pm
4’s Class — Friday, September 30th. Drop off/meet at 9:15am
Pick up at 11:15am
Your class representative (Mariah Fairborn, 3’s; Brittany Lindhe 4’s; and Sarah Bain, Pre-k) will provide you with permission slips in advance that must be filled out and turned in prior to the trip in order for your child to participate. This is required for all children, even if being accompanied by their own parent as this will ensure that they are covered by our accident insurance. The trail we hike is good for littles in carriers. Rugged strollers can make it but may need some assists in a few places where there are rocky sharp turns on the down hill or some stairs on an uphill section.
Leading up to our trip to Tryon Creek State Park, I will be reading some books to the kids about spiders and insects. Part of our focus will be on looking for spiders and their webs and other interesting elements in the woods that show up in later summer/early fall (tree fungus, cool mushrooms, seed pods and more). Keep your fingers crossed that we have some lovely late summer weather!
That’s it for now! I am happy that we have finally arrived at the start of this year and am excited to get to know you and your children. Happy September!