Hickory Preschool Class Information 2018-19

Welcome!  We are so glad to have you as part of our community! Useful information about the Hickory half day class follows.

CLASSROOM COMMUNICATION

There are a few important means of communication that will be used throughout the school year.

  • First of all, you will receive an email about one week prior to any major classroom event informing you of the details, times and opportunities for participation for students and families.  
  • Additionally, there is a whiteboard and bulletin board right outside the classroom door.  Daily events will be recorded there to inform you of what is happening in the classroom. Various sign-up sheets and school information may be posted on the bulletin board as well. Under the bulletin board will be posted a monthly calendar of classroom and school events.
  • To the left of the classroom door are “parent pockets” with one assigned to each family.  Feel free to use these to communicate with each other. Occasionally you will receive communication from the office in this location.
  • We have a classroom facebook page on which will be posted photos from classroom work periods and special events.  There will also occasionally be articles about Montessori philosophy and other topics available.

While we would love to provide daily accounts of each child’s progress, it is not possible due to the number of students and the importance of the long term process that occurs within the Montessori classroom.  A daily or weekly “snapshot” of the child is not very helpful in assessing long term growth, and can often be misleading. We will have a parent-teacher conference once each semester at which we can touch base about your child’s development and share our observations.  If you have pressing concerns you may request a short meeting at the door or send an email to the lead teacher. Class emails will be checked once a day.

If the teacher and parent agree that an issue needs more in depth follow up, a meeting can be scheduled outside of class time.

ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES

Transitions can be difficult for both parents and children. If you and/or your child are anxious about saying goodbye on the first few days of school, it might help to discuss your routine in advance. A kiss and a hug, along with a statement such as, “I’ll pick you up at 11:30,” is reassuring for the child.  Encourage your child’s independence by having him or her walk into the school, rather than being carried. Timeliness is important to young children, and they can easily become upset if they arrive or are picked up late. Because the classroom is set up for the children’s independence, parents are asked to remain outside of the classroom.  If you are concerned about your child’s transition, you may watch from the observation room. Please do not wave or observe your child through the front windows of the classroom, as this can be very distracting to the children. Please do not return to the classroom door after drop off, as this can upset your child, who may think you have already returned for pick up.  If you must speak to the teacher after you have left the door, ask the office staff to hand us a note. A confident, purposeful goodbye contributes to your child’s sense that he or she is in control and can cope well with leaving his or her parents for short periods of time. If you must pick up early for some reason, please stop in the office and they will alert us that you have arrived.  Please plan a few minutes around pick up time, as the children take several minutes to gather their belongings, put away their work or play items, and to get cleaned up from the playground.

BRINGING OBJECTS TO SCHOOL

Please do not allow your child to bring any toys, dolls, costumes, flashy jewelry or blankets to school. If you begin the practice of leaving these personal items at home from the first day, your child will not have any difficulty with this in the long run. If your child chooses to wear jewelry, it must be subtle and should not be distracting to the child or his or her friends.  We may place items in the parent pockets located outside the classroom if they become distracting.

Children do not need to bring any type of backpack or school supplies.  Each new student will be given a canvas bag, which he or she will decorate in class.  This bag should come back and forth each day as a convenient way for your child to carry his or her work home.  In cold weather, it will also transport hat and mittens, etc. Please do not send your child to school with any work that you have provided for him (notebooks, handwriting sheets, etc.).  We have a full curriculum of materials to teach developmentally appropriate skills and concepts to children from age three to six.

Each child will have a work cubby near the door in which he or she will place the items completed at school.  These things should be taken home daily. Your child will also have a clothing cubby for jackets, sweaters, etc.  All items from the clothing cubbies must be taken home daily, with the exception of a pair of inside shoes (see Footwear) and hat and mittens during the cold seasons.  The cubbies are shared between AM and PM students, so leaving sweater or jackets at school uses the space needed by another student. Full-Day kindergarten students will have their own cubby and may keep an additional sweater or light jacket at school.

If your child is being picked up by someone else, feel free to leave a labeled booster seat outside the classroom.  If they have other items that should go with them after school, such as a backpack, they can be left outside the classroom door against the wall as well.

Children have the option to participate in show and tell once a semester.  The dates for each age group will be on the calendar posted outside of the classroom.  We encourage children to bring books and objects relating to our themes of study as well as natural specimens or culturally interesting objects to share with the other children.  Objects handmade by the children, such as art projects, are also welcome. Please avoid bringing toys or books with media or popular culture references.  These things can become very distracting in the classroom and tend to be problematic.   We also have a nature table in the classroom, and the children can bring found natural objects to add or lend to the collection.  Books from home may go into our classroom bookshelves for a day or two if desired. Please avoid books that depict media-oriented culture. If your child has a special presentation he would like to make to the class, such as a trip, or a hobby or interest with educational relevance, it can be arranged ahead of time for her to make an in-class presentation.

DAILY SCHEDULE

Half-Day Schedule (Times are approximate, and activities may vary.)

AM Session

8:15 -8:30         Drop Off at classroom door, day begins on the playground

8:45-11:00        Work Period

11:00 – 11:15   Morning Meeting, Singing Time

11:15 – 11:30   Lunch Time for those who stay, Outside Time and Pickup for those who go home

Lunch Program

11:10 -11:15     PM Lunch Students may be dropped off

11:15                Wash hands and go to the lunch room

11:45                Lunch Dismissal

11:45 -12:15     Outside Time

12:15 -12:30     Pick Up Time for AM Students

PM Session

12:15 -12:30     Drop Off at classroom door, time on the playground

12:45 – 2:55     Work Period

2:55 – 3:10       Afternoon Meeting, Singing Time

3:10 -3:30         Outside Time

3:15 – 3:30        Dismissal

Full-Day students may be dropped off between 8:15 and 8:30 and picked up between 3:15 and 3:30.  

ATTENDANCE   

We encourage children to be at school every day (except in case of illness). Absences are hard on the children as the developmental needs of this age include consistency and a sense of order.  Regular attendance greatly influences the social life of the class, affecting a child’s relationship with his or her peers and teachers. If you know your child will not be in school, please let the office know.

SICKNESS

The school Illness policy states that if your child has a contagious illness please keep him or her at home and call the school to let us know.  Children should not come to school within 24 hours of vomiting or running a fever of 100 degrees or higher. A slight cold or runny nose is usually not reason enough for a child to miss school, but each family will have to use judgment here. Children who attend school are generally well enough to go outdoors to play. In the half-day preschool we administer no medications to the children. If your child needs medicine, a parent must administer it before or after the class.  If Full-Day Kindergarten students need medication administered we can make special arrangements.

INFORMAL CONFERENCES

Passing comments or questions at the door about a child’s day are welcome, but for more involved conversations a time should be set up with the lead teacher so as to not detract from the teachers’ time with the children. Please do not hesitate to express any concerns you may have, especially in the early weeks of your child’s adjustment to school.

SCHEDULED PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES  

Check the school calendar for conference dates.  You will have two conferences with your child’s teacher(s) each year.  In the fall semester, conferences for parents of 3-year-old children (the youngest group) and for other new students, will be held one day several weeks prior to regular conferences.  There will be no school for any half-day students on these days. Parent-Teacher Conferences for children in the middle groups and kindergarten groups will be on the scheduled October and April conference days, when we will not have class.  Youngest group spring conferences will take place several weeks prior to regular conferences and there will be no school for any half-day students on this day. Sign up for conferences will take place through the office prior to the scheduled dates.  There will not be an opportunity to make up a missed conference, as the teachers have put aside four entire days to meet with parents for this purpose. If you are unable to attend the scheduled conference, the teacher may choose to arrange a short meeting if there are concerns about your child’s progress.

CHILDREN’S EVENINGS

Twice a year the classroom will host a Children’s Evening to which children may bring parents and/or other guests to visit their classroom.  They will demonstrate the materials with which they have been working and share their favorite parts of school. These events will end with a short group meeting.  

INDOOR CLOTHING

Children should wear comfortable clothing that can be dirtied with paints or art materials of various kinds. While the school is temperature-controlled, we ask that your child dress appropriately for the outdoor weather.  The youngest children should bring a spare change of clothes to be kept at school, including pants, underpants, socks, and a shirt, marked in a gallon ziplock bag with his/her name on it.

Because children are so easily influenced and distracted by what is printed or pictured on their own or others’ clothing, we ask that your child not wear clothing that depicts violence or images from popular culture. We also request that your child not come to school wearing dress up clothes, such as princess dresses or crowns.  Simplifying clothing helps both the staff and the children to settle in more readily to classroom concentration.

OUTDOOR CLOTHING

The children will play outside daily unless it is storming or the temperature is below 20 degrees.  When the forecast calls for rain, please send your children with rain gear as we play outside in the rain, as long as there is no lightning.  The classroom has a few extra raincoats to share. When the temperature is between 10 and 20 degrees the children are given a choice to go out. In the winter each child should have mittens, a hat or hood, and boots and snow pants when there is a significant amount of snow. All outdoor items should be clearly marked with the child’s name, please!  Masking tape can be used to do this if you do not wish to write on the clothing.  Without labels, things go missing! Bulky items such as snow pants should be carried in a cloth bag with your child’s name clearly printed on it.

FOOTWEAR

Tennis shoes, sturdy shoes with good soles, or sandals with back straps are recommended (no backless flip flops for safety). Please be sure your child’s footwear is well-fitting, and appropriate for climbing and outdoor play. Winter and rain boots are not allowed in the classroom as footwear, but of course, are appropriate for outdoor play when rain, or snow and ice are on the ground. Hard-soled, well-fitting, slippers or inside shoes with a back are recommended for in class, and may be kept in your child’s clothing cubby year-round.

NATURE WALKS

Our class enjoys nature walks in the woods and gardens adjacent to the school approximately once a month.  The whiteboard and class calendar will specify the dates, times, and themes for each walk. On those days, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and arrive on time.  We will apply sunscreen and bug spray if needed.

SNACKS   

The children will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks during the school day.   They will also have opportunities to develop their kitchen skills and tastebuds through food preparation work.  Please let us know if your child has any food allergies. When packing after school snacks or bringing snacks for birthdays or class events, please remember we are a NUT- FREE campus.

BIRTHDAYS

Each month we set aside one day on which to celebrate the birthdays that fall during that month. You will receive an email from us at the beginning of the month to detail the birthday routine. In general, our procedure is that each family shares a brief history of the child’s life, as the child, holding the globe, walks slowly around the ellipse to represent the passage of time.  After each birthday child has done this, we will share a nutritious snack provided by the families involved. At the beginning of the month we ask each family to send a baby picture of their birthday child, which we will display for the month on a bulletin board. For those children with summer birthdays a day will be set aside in May to celebrate the summer birthdays all together. You will receive a birthday letter prior to your child’s celebration date.