Parent Handbook for Kindergarten

Lost your handbook? Below is the full text of the handbook sent home at the beginning of the year. It answers some of the more frequent questions. It is very lengthy, I know, but hopefully answers your questions with thoughtful depth.

Welcome to Kindergarten!

I am so pleased that your child will be part of our class this year. Below are some answers to questions that parents have often asked me.

What to bring every day?
1. Each day your child will need to bring a backpack and the home-school folder. When homework is completed (in the see-through pocket) it may be returned. When purchasing a backpack, consider that it needs to be big enough to hold the 2-pocket folder.

2. The firm plastic 2-pocket folder will be a ‘home-school communications folder’. This will need to be looked at each night and brought to school every day. This is the communication folder between you and me. I will be putting notes in it. (NB: Please note that on days when I do not have a planning break, the folder may not be going home.)

3. Please send appropriate shoes for PE, which is on Mondays and the first Wednesday of the month. When the weather is good the children go outside for recess and need a jacket in case the weather is cool. Have your child ready for weather changes. If your child is wearing short sleeves, please also send a sweater to keep in the classroom. The temperature in our classroom may seem cool to your child.

What are the classroom rules?
In my classroom are five simple rules. The children are expected to be respectful, courteous and industrious. These five rules can be remembered on their hand. Please go over the rules frequently at home.

Our Class Rules

1. Listen well
Eyes on speaker
Be quiet and still
Do what is asked

2. Keep hands, feet and body to self

3. Be respectful
Don’t talk back
Don’t take other’s things
Be honest
Use an appropriate voice

4. Be kind and thoughtful
Be helpful
Don't laugh at other's problems

5. Work hard
Complete your tasks
Use pencils, crayons, markers and scissors appropriately.
Work quietly
Let others work

What supplies are needed for kindergarten?
May I suggest that the school’s PTA provides a little shop selling the items below at a very reasonable cost? They also have a list for each of the grades. The PTA shop will be open one morning a week throughout the school year. This is usually Wednesday before school. Watch for the notice in the Trailblazer newsletter!

Kindergarten Supplies

4 large triangular or round pencils.
two 10 1/2" x 8" spiral notebooks (non-perforated please) for journal & math
1 pair small Fiskar scissors (rounded end)
2 boxes of 24 crayons
1 pink pearl eraser, not pen-top
2 bottles Elmer’s washable school glue (4 oz.)
1 box of (large size) Crayola markers, 8 or 10 count
4 black Expo dry erase markers (low odor please)
2 boxes of facial tissues
2 boxes or refills of baby wipes (unscented/fragrance free please)
2 boxes Ziploc bags - gallon size and sandwich size
1 package large paper plates, not foam

2 firm all plastic folders with pockets (for home-school communications)
1 cardboard folder with 3 prongs (for poetry)
1 black 1 ½ “ clip notebook with 2 pockets (for portfolio

Please send along a plastic pencil box. Crayons, scissors, and the large pencils will be kept in their own pencil box.
Please note: If your child is particularly rough on crayons he/she may need a new box of crayons after each quarter! Check in with your child - does he/she have a box of broken crayons? If so, then buy them a new box.

Many of the supplies, like glue, tissues, and markers, etc. are put in a common pot and shared in my class all year long. Please don’t label these.

What about homework?
Your child will bring home a 3-4 page homework packet and a reading book on Monday. You will need to sign this homework packet and return it on Friday

1. A small packet of 3-4 worksheets will come home once a week for your child to work on.
Please check it over to observe your child’s progress. You will need to have a special box of crayons and a pencil at home especially saved for ‘homework time’. You may choose to have your child work steadily one page a night. Or you may choose to have the packet done all at once. Either way the completed packet should be placed in the plastic home folder and returned any time during the week.
2. Your child will also bring home a little reading book.
Please arrange your schedule (or another adult/older sibling in the family) to read each night or morning with your child. To pick up the beginning reading skills, your child will need nightly practice. Make it a really fun time together. Children learn reading best when a parent makes that simple but important commitment.

When my child is ill, whom should I call?
It is very helpful to leave a message with the attendance secretary. It is useful for me also to know, so leave a message on my voice mail. If you know that your child has caught something very contagious, like pink eye or chickenpox, you may want to alert the school nurse.

May my child have medication at school?
If your child is ill, please keep him or her at home. If your child has gone 24 hours without a fever then coming back to school is ok if he /she seems fit enough. Try to arrange any medication schedule so that you are able to provide the meds at home. If, however, there is a need for a dose to be given at school, phone our school nurse and arrange it with her.

If your child has an on-going medical need, for instance he/she is asthmatic, please also ring the school nurse who will be a great help.

How is attendance counted?
The office keeps the attendance by the hours or parts of an hour the child is at school.

Please try to arrange appointments for doctor and dentist after school. If a child needs to leave with a parent for an appointment and then returns to school, the number of hours absent from school is counted. We have our 90 minute reading block in the morning, please try to schedule appointments for the afternoon or preferably after school.

Please try to have your child promptly at school in the morning at 8:05 am. It is good to arrive early. There is breakfast at 8:05. The first bell for classroom rings at 8:15 am. Try to have your child walking through the front school doors before 8:15 am. Children who enter the classroom at 8:20 will have sufficient time to put their home folder in the basket, hang up their coat, get ready for class.

The tardy bell rings at 8:25. Please send your child for 8:05 am so that she/he is in our classroom and not tardy. If a child is tardy, the amount of time missed in the morning is recorded in the office and on my computer. Children who are late must check in at the office and receive an admittance slip for the teacher.

When I had small children at home I found it helpful to be up out of bed an hour before I needed to leave the house. So say you leave the home at 7:45am, then 6:45 is a good time to wake your child on school days. Try to get your child to bed early enough that he/she wakes rested in the morning.

What about lunch?
If you think you qualify for free or reduced-fee lunch:
Please come to the school office and ask for a special form to fill out. Alternatively, write me a little note and I’ll send a form home in your child’s folder.

If you want to send a packed lunch every day:
This is fine. Please remember: no soda pop, no pop cans, and no glass containers. It is helpful to review with your child just exactly what wrappers may be thrown away and what you wish to have them return home. Also, if sending containers with tops, be sure your child knows how to open easily and close tightly the tops. Leave nothing to chance! It is amazing how many children in the first week forget to close the thermos top and then find juice leaking all over! Please practice this routine.

If your child wants to purchase a lunch:
The menu is posted online with the District's
daily menus listed. It is helpful to send the money for the meals in a plastic bag labeled with your child’s name. Please try to do this on Mondays. Money may however be sent any day and given for a whole week or month. Some parents worry about their child carrying lots of money. You may come into the cafeteria early in the morning (8:05am) to pay directly to the cashier. Children eating breakfast may enter school at 8:05.

Every child is given a lunch number. During the first few weeks your child will be given his/her own lunch number. Whenever your child receives any food from our cafeteria he/she enters the number on the keypad. Kindergarteners are given barcodes to use until they memorize their number. I will be sending home a photocopy of the little lunch machine. During the year please help your child memorize this number.

What if my child has an allergy?
You may have already alerted us to this, however, it is also helpful for me to know directly. Please send a little note to the school nurse and myself explaining the allergy. We often have treats in the classroom and I like to know ahead of time about your child’s needs.

What if I need to pick my child up early from school?
All parents must check with the office first before collecting their child. The office will then take a photo id and invite parent to go to the classroom to collect the child.

What if there is a mishap in the restroom?
Kindergarten visits the restroom two or three times a day. For the odd mishap, the school nurse has some panties and socks available. If you know your child has difficulties then please send along a spare change of clothes to keep in their backpack. Tell them that accidents sometimes happen and to just come quietly to Mrs. Bolton to explain the problem.

Now is a good time for all parents to review restroom hygiene. Does your boy know how to lift the seat and aim carefully? Does your child know how to wipe carefully from front to back? Does your child know how to flush the toilet each time? Does your child know what to do if he/she does have a little mishap and needs to clean up around the toilet using toilet paper (not brown paper hand towels!) and flushing it?

Does your child know to wash their hands straight away? Does he/she use the water prudently? When out-of-the-home does your child know to only use one squirt of soap and three turns of the paper towel machine? Does your child know how to place the soiled paper towel in the trashcan? Please help us by going over these step-by-step procedures frequently.

What if my child is being bullied?
Please do not tell your child to ‘hit back.’ Using violence will make the problem worse. Burke has a “no-hit” rule. Children fighting are sent to the principal. Please talk with your child now about this. Tell your child to move away from the problem and speak immediately with an adult. If the adult on duty is busy at the time, then tell them to speak with an adult as soon as possible about the problem.

If the problem persists, please write me a note or ring me and leave a message. We can discuss this on the phone or can arrange a time to meet together.

What should my child wear?
The children often sit cross-legged on the floor. Short shorts and mini dresses are inappropriate. Girls need shorts under their dress/skirt to be modest when sitting cross-legged. Girls should wear appropriate tops, not spaghetti straps. Logos on the clothes need to be appropriate. We have a school uniform policy.

Remember that the children often play outside on the slides, climbing frames, etc. where flip-flops often fall off hitting the heads of other children or can trip the runner up. School shoes need a back strap to stay safely on. If your child’s sandal/ shoe does not have a back on it, please leave the pair at home and send your child with safer shoes.

Tennis shoes are needed for PE days on Monday and 1st Wednesdays.

If the weather is cold outside, please be sure your child is wearing a jacket. During the warmer months when the air-conditioning is on, it is helpful to have a sweater at school. Some children like the comfort of having a familiar sweater left in the classroom. Please label these clearly and they may be left on the peg. If your child has lost a sweater or hat, please come into the office and ask for the ‘lost and found.'

What if my child needs to come home a different way?
If, for some reason, your child is coming home a different way than usual you should always alert us. You may send a note in the morning with your child. Encourage him/her to hand deliver the note to me. Otherwise you may notify the school office.

Sometimes a child will beg me to allow them go home with another child. If you send a note, then I will let them, otherwise I’ll tell your child to go home and ask their parent first. Older siblings or neighbor friends should not take that responsibility for changing the plans. A note or phone call from you is needed.

Please arrange for someone to meet your kindergartener at the bus stop nearest your home, then he/she will safely negotiate getting to the house/apartment.

Please talk with them about safely getting home. Again, I repeat, your kindergartener should always be walking with someone. I do not advise letting very young children walk on their own.

What if I am unable to get my child after school because I am working each day?
Linc - after school care is available at Burke for those that enroll. Ask the office about this childcare provider which operates both before and after school. It may take a few days to organize, so plan ahead.

What about ‘Classroom Celebrations’?
We will have some celebrations in our room during the year, i.e. Winter, Valentine’s Day & Spring. For each of these celebrations I will need a different parent to head up a team of parent volunteers that will organize games and the treat table.

If you are interested in being a Room Parent for one of the celebrations, please write a note to let me know. Tell me soon if you are interested in leading the team for any of the above, and I will let you plan a couple games and help set up & clean up. Please understand that the job isn’t easy. The 17+ children are Kindergarteners and get excited! I will be present, of course, to ‘hold the reins’!

If you’d rather not lead but would like to help the Room Parent then let me know that too. I encourage every parent to have an opportunity to assist either by sending along snacks for the events, and/or coming along to help setup/clean up.

If no parents volunteer then the snack time will be a normal snack time.

When my child has a birthday?
Many parents ask if it is acceptable to send in treats for their child’s birthday. In Kindergarten we enjoy celebrating special days. So yes, you may! Please ring me to set up an appropriate afternoon time and remember that I do not keep a large supply of plastic silverware, napkins or cups at school. Finger food or little cupcakes are easy. (If you send more elaborate things like ice cream tubs, don’t forget to supply the plastic spoons!) If sending juice, I suggest cartons are best. Remember to cater for about 17+ children. These celebrations will only occur in an afternoon time, never during our morning literacy time.

And if your child is unable to participate for religious reasons, give me a ring or write a note and we will certainly honor that!

What about snack time?
If your child is the 'Student of the Week' it will be nice to have your family take the turn to supply snacks for our class. Dry foods like cheap cookies, pretzels, popcorn, chips & crackers are all appropriate snacks. Alternatively, If you want to send in some carrots or grapes on the day, the children love them! Aim for about 17+ children once, twice or 3 times that week. Our snack time occurs in the afternoon.

What if we just feel like treating our child’s kindergarten class?
Fantastic! Just give me a phone call ahead of time and we can arrange it.

We generally have a snack in the afternoon in my class. That is dependent on whether the ‘snack box has anything in it!’ If you are in the grocery store and want to just buy an extra packet of cookies or chips for your child’s class – just send it along. That is very special and your child will get to be 'Cookie Monster' and hand it out to his/her friends.

When my child is Student of the Week...
Each week one child will be chosen to be the Student of the Week. We will begin with the order that the scrapbook pages come in. Your child will be featured in the hall display by our classroom. You may want to bring in some special paintings your child has done at home for the display. These will go up beside the scrapbook page.

That week your child will also be in charge of snacks and be the 'Cookie Monster'. Ideas for snacks may include fruit, fresh veggies, cheap cookies, pretzels, popcorn, chips & crackers etc.

Another special privilege for the Student of the Week is to
take our classroom Tiger home for one night and write in his Journal

What is the Literacy Block?
We spend 90 minutes each morning learning reading. Our literacy block time is 9:30 -11:00 am. We also do an additional 'Walk to Read' of 30 minutes in ability groupings later in the day. It is vitally important that your child is present for this block of time. Please make certain that your home arrangements for the mornings help your child be present at school not tardy. Also please note that I will not be answering the door or phone during that time. Your child’s education is so important to me.

I hope these are helpful in answering your questions.

Mrs. Bolton