September Letter

Dear Rainbow Garden Families,

 

It’s hard to believe school is about to start when the weather just started feeling so summery again!  I have had so much fun visiting many of the children and gathering at Cass Park to play.  It has been such a delight to meet you and all of these wonderful children and I can hardly wait for school to start.  I am humbled by this opportunity to share such a tender time with them as they begin their journey through school.

 

The first weeks may be difficult for some children who need a little adjustment period.  Others will simply jump right in as though they’ve been waiting their whole lives for the opportunity to start school.  For some of the children entering the Rainbow Garden, it is their first experience away from the comfort of their homes.  Other children have already been in school or daycare settings and are anticipating new friends.  Although the classroom is a fun and safe place, there may be some tears as you say goodbye.  Saying goodbye can be difficult at any age, but knowing they will be in a safe, nurturing classroom offers a sense of security.  Please let me know of any concerns you may have for your children in dealing with this difficult, yet exciting change.

 

Most of you have met the Rainbow Garden assistant teacher Mrs. Alya.  You will also have an opportunity to meet Ms. Jo who is a long time assistant at Tamarack.  She rotates through all of the kindergartens so that the assistants can take lunch breaks.  Ms. Jo will also be in the Rainbow Garden during nap on Wednesdays and Fridays with Mrs. Alya.  This gives me the opportunity for class preparation and office hours.  If you would like to call me at school, my office time will be on Wednesday from 1:30-2:30.  If you need to set up an appointment for another time, please send me an email at faith.danneil@tamarackwaldorf.org.

 

Please make sure your child has a healthy breakfast before coming to school. A nutritious snack will be provided every day.  Please let me know as soon as possible (if you have not already done so) about any food restrictions.  You are invited to send a piece of fruit (organic if possible) for fruit salad with your child on Tuesdays or a vegetable (organic if possible) for stone soup with your child on Thursdays.  Families who attend five days a week can feel free to choose one or the other.  Although I know some of the children like to shop and pick out a favorite fruit or vegetable, it is also wonderful if you just happen to have a little something extra in your refrigerator.  The children love to wash and chop, and they feel very proud when they eat the fruit salad or the soup they helped to make.

 

All children should bring a lunch to school.  Please send lunches that are  healthy and low in sugar (refer to your parent handbook for healthy suggestions and items not to be sent).  Half day children may be picked up after lunch at 12:30.  Please wait in the hall outside the classroom for Mrs. Alya, Ms. Jo, or me to open the door to dismiss the children.

 

When choosing clothes for school, please keep in mind that we go outside every day and play.  We will probably get dirty.  Please send your child to school in clothes that can withstand some serious playtime.  We also go outside in the rain so each child needs proper rain gear and especially rain boots that can stay at school year round.  We also ask that these items and any item that is brought to school (i.e. indoor and outdoor shoes, clothes, lunch boxes, and bags) be free of any lights, commercial logos, cartoon characters or television icons.  When in doubt, ask yourself, “is it plain”?  Please refer to the parent handbook under our dress code policy.

 

As you may know, many kindergartens use “symbols” to help the children identify their cup, coat hook, or painting.  In some classrooms, a child’s symbol may be called when it is time to line up or wash hands.  After conversations with teachers from various schools this summer, I am choosing to use symbols only as a visual representation.  In other words, I will not say to a child, “your symbol is the butterfly,” nor will I call their symbol when I want them to line up.  Rather,  they will learn that the chair with picture of the butterfly is theirs.  Many of the children have been excited to show me their gardens, and with that in mind I have chosen a series of garden critters for symbols this year.  These symbols will find their way into our stories and circles, and if we’re lucky we’ll even see most of these friends outside!  Please see the attached list so you can help your child find his or her coat hook in the classroom when you arrive for the first day of school.

 

Birthday celebrations are a special time for the young child, as well as their parents and friends.  In the Waldorf early childhood program, we celebrate the birthday with love and simplicity.  Because there are many food sensitivities, we bake the cake in the classroom so that everyone can have a piece.   You will be asked to bring fresh fruit for your child to share with the class along with two or three pictures of your child as an infant.  Before your child’s birthday, I will be either calling you or stopping you in the hallway to go through our birthday celebration.  Our birthday celebration generally begins at 8:00am and lasts under fifteen minutes.  We ask that parents attend this celebration with their child.  I welcome siblings to the celebration as well, but because our room is quite small, only immediate family should plan to attend.  We will make time to celebrate summer birthdays at the end of the school year.

 

Each class at Tamarack has two class leaders.  These are parents in the class who are willing to help the teacher and the parent association with a variety of things.  They might help create a phone tree, organize volunteers for events, or encourage parents to attend TPA-CC (Tamarack Parent Association, Community Circle).  I would like to have both a parent whose child attends school Monday and Tuesday as well as a parent whose child attends school Wednesday through Friday.  If you are interested in being a class leader, please let me know as soon as possible.

 

Children become ill throughout the school year.  It is our policy to send any ill child home at the first sign of symptoms.  Please have a backup plan for your child’s care if they become ill at school.  Especially in preschool and kindergarten,  sickness travels quickly and the teachers, unfortunately, are not immune.  Please help the class as a whole stay healthy and keep your children home if they are ill.

 

Thank you for your time and feel free to call me if there are any questions at 372-5478 (home) or 277-0009 (school).