Hooray! It's time for kindergarten!
If your child is half as excited about school as mine, then they have probably been anxiously waiting for this day for the past
week monthyear. The good news is that they have every reason to be excited! Kindergarten is full of fun, learning, fun, hard work, fun, friendships, and... well, more FUN!
For anyone who doesn’t already know me, my name is Aaron Schaff and I am absolutely thrilled to be your child’s kindergarten teacher this year! If you have had any children already attending Swanson Elementary in the past few years, I will probably be a familiar face.
In this letter I have tried to anticipate many of the beginning of the year questions and to clarify any school rules that I think will be especially useful to kindergarten parents. I realize it is somewhat lengthy, but I have tried to limit it to the most frequently asked questions. If nothing else, this letter may stimulate some questions that you didn't even know you wanted to ask.
This year Swanson is using a “rotating specials schedule” – meaning that there will not be set days of the week on which students will be scheduled for PE, Music, or Library. Instead, we will constantly be rotating between the three specials for every three days in school. For example, the first days for our class may look like this:
This sounds complicated, but we should get into the routine as the year progresses.
Water bottles help students stay hydrated during the day. I encourage anyone who wishes it to send a water bottle to school with their child. These bottles will be sent home daily for cleaning and refilling. AVOID WATER BOTTLES THAT ARE MADE OF GLASS (they break) OR THAT HAVE LIDS THAT NEED TO BE UNSCREWED (they spill). Pop-up and flip-top bottles are usually your best bet.
Homework folders will be traveling back and forth between school and home with important announcements, papers, and (of course) homework. Please remember to send homework folders back to school on the day after they are sent home. This quick turn around will help ensure that you receive any and all papers and homework safely.
As for the homework itself, don’t worry! It will mostly consist of reading books or the occasional math game. Homework should never take more than 10-15 minutes to complete.
A 30 minute recess will be part of every day in kindergarten. Recess will be taken outdoors unless the temperature falls below -10 degrees (including wind chill). This is a district policy. Because children will be outside on some very chilly days, please remember to send them dressed appropriately for the weather. Winter will be here soon and every child will need a coat, snow pants, hat, mittens/gloves, and snow boots.
Additionally, please try to label ALL gear with your child’s name. Sorting 25 identical pairs of unlabeled black boots will significantly age this kindergarten teacher.
I will be sending home volunteer signup sheets in the third week of school. By waiting a couple of weeks before having parents join us during our day, it allows our classroom to set some of the routines that are so important in the first weeks of kindergarten. I love having parent volunteers and encourage anyone who has the time to come and join us. Look for more information soon! J
Please do not send lunches from home that require heating. I DO NOT have a microwave in the classroom and will not have access to one during the student lunch time. If your child prefers a heated lunch, I have seen families use thermoses to send everything from hot soup to warm chicken nuggets with great success.
Loose change/cash is easily lost on the bus or in the hallways so if you decide to purchase school lunches, please send lunch money in either an envelope or a baggie marked with your child’s name, the dollar amount, and the words “lunch money.” Alternatively, you can also use the online payment option to put money into your child's lunch account. See the School District's website for more information.
We do celebrate birthdays at school. Hooray! Treats for the whole class (cupcakes, cookies, etc) are welcome if you wish to provide them on your child’s special day. If your child has food allergies, please feel free to send an alternate and safe treat that can be saved in a cupboard for birthdays.
The first bell rings at 9:05 each morning and students may come to the classroom at that time. The second bell rings at 9:15 and this is when the day begins. The kindergarten day ends after a very full day at 3:30. I will need to know your child's bus number if this is an option for your family. If you are unsure of your child's bus number – please consult with our wonderful and knowledgeable front office staff. They know everything!
Have a wonderful week and I look forward to getting to know you all throughout the year! If you have any questions, comments, concerns (or even compliments) don’t hesitate to contact me.Aaron Schaffphone: 861-5307email: Aaron.Schaff@matsuk12.us