As an elementary school administrator a lot of people ask for advice related to school, especially on how to approach the first few years… I thought it would be helpful to put together a comprehensive list of what to expect/look for…
The’s ABCs of Kindergarten
Allergies: Always let your child’s teacher know about any allergies that your child may have and if he/she takes medication to treat those allergies.
Arrival: The beginning of the day is so important, morning meetings and greetings take place and expectations are set make sure your child arrives on time each day.
Attendance: Attendance is very important in Kindergarten. Each day is essential to your child’s overall academic success and social development. Please make every effort to have your child at school each day.
Birthdays: Your child may celebrate his/her birthday with the class by having a “special snack”. For health and safety reasons schools ask that anything shared at school be store-bought with the ingredients label still attached.
Book bags: Your child will need to bring his/her book bag to school EVERYDAY. Book bags help children stay organized. Please check your child’s book bag nightly for important information and completed projects.
Change of Clothes: Please send a complete change of seasonal clothing for your child to leave at school should your child have a spill or an accident.
Cooking: Occasionally we may complete a recipe as a class. Donations of cooking items are always appreciated.
Conferences: Parent teacher conferences are vital to communicating about your child’s academic, social and behavioral progress. Make every attempt to attend the conferences in person.
Contact Information: Always update all contact information for your child. Please make us aware of any changes as soon as possible, including phone numbers, addresses or pick up and/or emergency pick ups.
Dismissal: Dismissal for students can be hectic. Make sure to let your child’s teacher know if you are picking up early.
Field Trips: Let your child’s teacher know if you can chaperone field trips.
Folder: Identify a folder for home school communication. This is a folder that should be checked every day and will help you and your child stay organized.
Hand washing: Please remind your child to wash his/her hand upon entering the classroom each day.
Independence: Independence is an important concept in K. Help your child build his/her independence by having them practice the following skills: buttoning and zipping clothing and outerwear; tying shoes; writing his/her name; blowing/wiping his/her nose; sneezing and coughing into their elbows.
Labels: Please label EVERYTHING your child wears to school. Many children have the same lunch bags, backpacks and sweaters. It is easier to identify your child’s belongings if they are labeled.
Lunch: Your child may bring a lunchbox to school or sign up for a school lunch. All schools have a lunch program which also includes free and reduces lunch. Check in with your child’s school to see if you qualify for any of these programs. Please send in any lunch money in a sealed envelope labeled with your child’s name and how many lunches you will purchase.
Medication: The school nurse or designee will administer all medications. Please see the nurse if you have any questions. DO NOT EVER send medication in with you child.
Newsletters: Many teachers will send home a Class Newsletter; if they do not, check to see if the school sends out a Whole School Newsletter. The newsletter informs you of what we are learning in our classroom, special events, volunteer opportunities and school news.
Parent Teacher Communication Log: This is helpful to send in with your child, usually putting in the home school folder is a good idea. The Communication Log will be used to send small notes to and from school.
Rules: Classroom rules are put in place to keep everyone safe. Please help your child understand these common kindergarten rules by reviewing them at home.
- Raise your hand and wait for a teacher to call on you. This prevents everybody from talking at once and allows you to be heard.
- Stay in your seat unless you have permission from a teacher. This keeps you safe and organized.
- Keep your body parts to yourself. Even “play” touching can bother somebody.
- You are in charge of your things! This will help you develop organizational skills and personal responsibility.
Snack: Many schools are doing away with “unhealthy” snacks. Healthy snacks include fruit, fruit snacks, graham crackers and animal crackers. Please make sure the fruit is pre-peeled or sliced. Allergies are much more common now than ever. Please do not send in food with nuts of any kind or chocolate as some students may be allergic to them.
Volunteers: Classroom volunteers are always welcome in schools; however with schools focusing on safety more than ever, it is always necessary to contact the teacher and/or main office to arrange your visit.
Website: All schools will have some sort of website, whether it’s school or district based. Use these sites to help familiarize yourself with the basics of the school.
Winter Gear: Make sure your child to school with appropriate winter gear (hats, gloves, snow pants and boots). We will go outdoors daily – even in cold weather!
All schools and classrooms will differ, but this A-Z list of basics should help guide you and your child as you ready for the amazing adventure in front of you… Kindergarten!