Summer is coming to an end and school is just around the corner. I have already visited the school and the kindergarten room is ready for your children. Making the transition to school is easier if you spend some time in the weeks before establishing some important routines. I suggest that families work together to prepare for a smooth transition. Here are some suggestions you might find useful:

Preparing for new schedules:
  • move bedtime a little earlier each night 
  • wake up earlier in the morning
  • adjust your meal schedules i.e.: snack and lunch to school times
  • get dressed before or after breakfast
  • plan some morning activities to get you up and out of the house
  • plan a visit to the school playground

Take time to organize for school:

  • have your child practice packing a lunch and later eat their lunch - this will ensure that your child can open and close all of the containers
  • have your child practice packing and unpacking the backpack
  • designate a spot where you will put backpacks, lunch boxes, back and forth folders, library books and school papers

Build independent habits with your child:

  • have your child take off and put on his/her shoes 
  • dressing including zipping up jackets
  • helping out doing small chores like emptying the dryer or setting the table and tidying up after themselves
I hope that these suggestions help to make your school transition a little easier. Enjoy the final weeks of summer with your family.

Each marker colour represents a different day that the children added new information to the Thinking Chart.

The children had their final plant lesson with Mrs. Boulton on Tuesday afternoon. In our classroom we had a few activities going on to support their plant study. While reading lots about plants, comparing seeds, seedlings and mature plants, and some art/science activities. Some favourites were the pollination activity (using cheeses and bee finger puppets), celery water experiment, Eric Carle author study and flower measuring. 

When we visited Milner Gardens Pam supported the study by doing a lesson on pollination and looking at pond plants. We also completed a Circle Thinking Map to track our learning. The final activity was for each child to choose a plant fact and illustrate it for a hallway learning display.

This month we are wrapping up our Kindness Project and it has been an amazing learning journey. We have had many, many discussions about kindness and throughout it all the children continued to be enthusiastic and demonstrate expanding understandings and skills. The adults who work with our class; parents, EA, guest teachers and community volunteers have commented that they see a collaborative, caring sense of community embedded in our classroom program. If you have been following the project, the last activity that we did was collect quotes from the children which complimented our understandings of kindness. 

This week as we wrapped up our project, the children sorted their thinking (collected on sticky notes) into categories. As they sorted we needed to add more categories such as courtesy and gentleness.

We have learned the importance of listening to each other and trying to understand why someone is mean. This has probably had the biggest impact on our classroom community as I observe the peer to peer conversations beginning to show children trying to figure out why a peer was mean. 

We have been intentional in our kindness by sharing with other classes, decorating the hallways with beautiful art and hanging hearts in our school foyer. The children baked cookies for two classrooms and then when they delivered the cookies they explained (without an adult) what we were learning. 

Our final act was to sort some of the hearts on our heart tree and match them to their new vocabulary.

This was the longest project that I have done with Kindergarten. We began in October, stopped in mid March while I was away in Italy for three weeks and then resumed in mid April. It happened alongside all of the other wonderful Kindergarten learning that has been going on but the children never lost interest and the conversations continued to be more sophisticated.

This week's story was Mushroom In The Rain. Much like The Mitten by Jan Brett, the animals grow in size as they escape the weather. The new home grows as each larger animal is added. I had to be inventive as I did not have an expanding mushroom (who does???) but loved the creative use of our tunnels from the block centre.

I have been using this green bath mat as my storytelling mat which has worked wonderfully.

Later we retold the story using a blanket and the children took turns hiding under the mushroom!! These beautiful felt animals were made by Char Waters, a parent at our school. If you don't have felt animals you could use your rubber animals, pictures and of course substitute different animals such as an owl, deer or squirrel to mirror your local forest or seashore.
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