Welcome to Harmony School!
Harmony Union School District: 1935 Bohemian Hwy. Occidental, CA 95465
Dear Families and Students,
TK (Transitional Kindergarten aka KinderLeap) is the first year of a two-year Kindergarten program. Students engage in a variety of play and hands-on activities that prepare them for their ensuing academic years at Harmony Union School District.
CLASS MEETING TIMES: M-F 8:30-12:30
PLEASE BE ON TIME! Being on time is an important life skill that we can model each day for our children. When we are on time we model the very important life skills of respect and responsibility
PLEASE NOTE: All TK students need to be dropped off and picked up in the classroom each day.
•Please plan to arrive each morning at 8:25 in order to put snacks in snack basket, lunch ticket in "home lunch" or "school lunch" take off coats, etc.
If you are late, you will need to go to the Office and get a late slip from Suzi, the District Secretary,. Class begins 8:30 on Monday -Thursday, with a "soft start" 15 min. of activities at the tables. •Parents are encouraged to stay for the first 10-15 to help student at tables.
•On Fridays we have 10 min. of reading before we go on our all-weather walk* and again, parents are welcome to join us. *In Sweden, students are required to spend one day each week outside, rain or snow. They say, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing."
Please provide a healthy SNACK for your child each day and put it in our snack basket at the front door
Folders are passed out every THURSDAY. Please plan to take papers out of folders and leave folders here or return them the next day. Inside the folders will be a combination of student work, “homework” (optional), school information, monthly newsletters, reminders, field trip permission forms, etc. Please sign and return any paperwork ASAP.
On Fridays, we do basic tumbling/gymnastics in class, so please make sure students can tumble (shorts or leggings may be worn under skirts).
SHOES If possible, please have students wear VELCRO SHOES to school unless they can tie their own shoes.
If your child is absent, please either write a note and give it to Suzi in the office or call or email her: email@example.com (874-3280). In addition, if you are planning a family vacation and will be gone for more than five (5) school days, please see Suzi to get an Independent Study form. This is very important because unexcused absences mean the school loses funds and the student is marked as "truant."
If someone else is driving your child home, please sign the “Who’s Driving Me Home? List on the bulletin board by the front door.
Please plan to volunteer for a morning or whole day once a month. Our sign-up list is done at our Welcome Tea Party, the first afternoon on the first day of school. When you volunteer, please go to the Office to get a VISITOR’S PASS.
FIELD TRIPS/EMERGENCY CARDS/FINGERPRINTING
Please turn in all school forms as soon as possible. (Given the 1st day of school) Regular classroom volunteers and field trip volunteers MUST get fingerprinted (we offer a free service on Back-to-School. Also, please also fill out the Emergency Page in the Student Handbook and return to the Office.
Good socio/emotional skills are the foundation of Transitional Kindergarten and ones that will serve students well their entire lives. Conflicts are settled by either mediation process, Compassionate Communication (NVC skills*), "I" statements from "Fair Class Rules!"or with help from our school counselor Ms. Rebecca or Vice Principal Ms. Raef.
The more parents are aware of and use our socio-emotional skills listed below, the better parents and students will be able to manage any conflicts that may arise.
HUSD SCHOOL RULES
SAFETY, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY For example, parents can ask children each morning when they drop off their children. "What are the school rules?" (answer: I'm safe, I'm respectful, I'm responsible.")
We can also discuss how important it is to be safe at school so no one gets hurt, be respectful to our care providers by listening politely and following instructions, be respectful to other students and other people by being "bucket fillers" (see below), and finally being responsible by completing our tasks to the best of our abilities .
Conflicts are opportunities to grow in compassion and understanding for others.
When needed, we resolve conflicts with NVC (non-violent communication skills are based on communicating feelings and not resorting to name-calling. ) mediations. Students in conflict each have a chance to tell their side of the story without interruption. They name their feelings and common feelings are pointed out. Usually both people involved will have turns to talk about their feelings using the following formula:
"I feel__________ when you ____________. I need you to ___________.
Next students brainstorm what they can do differently next time if a similar situation arises and students may also choose an activity on our "Caring Menu*" to help resolve the conflict. We point out the values of respect, responsibility and safety and brainstorm behaviors that model these important values.
*CARING MENU: Usually we begin with an apology and patting the person on the shoulder while saying, "I'm sorry, you're my friend, I like you. I will ___________." The person to whom the apology is directed is asked, "Do you feel better?" If the answer is "No," suggestions are made to follow up by playing a game with the person, writing him or her a letter, bringing a flower . . .
FAIR PLAY RULES!; We also daily repeat out loud our Fair Play Rules. We being with breathing: (Breathe in the flower, blow out the birthday candle) and then repeat together: "I help out. I say please. I say "Please Stop." I ignore. (meaning we ignore behaviors that we don't care for instead of saying something hurtful in return) I play together, I share. I wait and take turns. I play gently."
BUCKET FILLERS: (Based on a children's book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids") The premise of this book is that we all have "invisible buckets" and when we are bucket fillers and do good things for other people, we not only "fill" up their buckets, we fill up our own buckets as well. If we are bucket "dippers" by acting unkindly, we not only make the other person feel badly, we feel badly about ourselves. We can daily ask children, 'Are you being bucket fillers?"
We have a classroom library of rotating books students “read” after snack time. Stories are read in class daily and during the second semester, we visit our school library once a month for story time. Phonics (letter sounds) are taught through Action Alphabet, Handwriting without Tears (HWT) curriculum, hands-on manipulative materials, and music. We also use our book room as a resource for guided reading groups.
We practice writing in many ways. (i.e. playdough, magnets, tracing with fingers) We use Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting practice. TK students are expected to be able to write their names by the end of the year with a beginning capital letter and the rest lower case letters.
Students also dictate poems and a story to myself and parent volunteers and we have our own mailbox in the classroom. We also practice writing reflection sentences (journal style) with support from adult/teacher in small group.
Students learn to count, read and write numbers, from 1-10 and up to 20. We have many math songs we learn in circle. Students also work with a variety of hands-on math manipulatives, such as: Unifix Cubes, Cuisenaire Rods, Geometric Shapes, puzzles, and more.
We have garden classes every week during the dry seasons. We have a science box in our classroom and students “play” scientist by examining materials with magnifying lenses. We usually take several science “place based” oriented walks on campus every year, such as: spider web walks, cloud walks, etc. and our "Nature Sharing" times focuses on students asking "science" questions (Who, What, Where,When, Why and How)
In the beginning of the year, we focus on ourselves, our homes, and community. We have a human history timeline in our classroom that goes back 10,000 years and we refer to in when we study Indigenous People's Day, Thanksgiving, "Castles and Kings" (middle ages), and dinosaurs. We study a lot of geography in class through stories and songs and in holiday studies and celebrations.
Students sing every day in class. We have a morning song and a closing song. Throughout the year we have parties around various holidays where we have sing-alongs and parents join us. Components of Social Studies, History, Math and Reading skills may be taught through music.
Students have art lessons at least once a week. They learn to cut and paste (glue), draw basic shapes, people, and animals. Often we draw in the style of famous artists using the "Meet the Masters" art program. Artists studied include: Gaugin, Georgia O'Keefe, Vincent Van Gogh, and many others.
Almost every day we do “action” songs In class. We have lessons using a curriculum called "Spark" P.E. and on Fridays we have small group simple gymnastics classes with tumbling and "doubles". We get plenty of exercise on our wonderful play structures before school and during recess.