The first few weeks of school are an exciting and busy time for both new and returning students and for the teachers as well. Even though we have just begun the school year (our 35th!), things do seem to be settling down nicely. Not surprisingly, there are still some tears at the door when the children enter, but we always expect this during the early weeks of a new school year. We truly understand how difficult it is to leave a child who is upset, but usually within a short amount of time, with some individual help from a teacher, the student has quieted down and become distracted by and interested in a classroom activity.
While many of the Covid protocols are still in place, our experiences last year have prepared us well for the implementation of state guidelines. So for us and for our returning families, it is business as usual including drop-off and pick-up procedures, temperature taking, hand washing, and careful cleaning of the classrooms after the sessions. You have all received our “Parkside Guidelines and Regulations” explaining the different requirements for this year related to Covid, and all is going fine so far. Last year we were amazed by how well the year progressed despite the Covid challenges we all faced. We never closed, and it was because of the unwavering cooperation and understanding of all of our Parkside families. We anticipate that our success last year will continue through this school year, and you as parents will play a crucial part in helping us achieve this…perhaps the most important piece of our keeping students, teachers and other family members safe and Covid-free. We have already seen this as parents have kept a youngster home who has cold symptoms, and taking it a step further, taken the child for a Covid test. We appreciate your extra caution so much.
September is a time for our children to accommodate themselves to their new schedules and routines, to get used to spending an extended period of time without Moms, Dads or Caregivers, to make new friends, and, for returning students, to reconnect with old friends. Our students will also have ample opportunity to work with new classroom materials and activities and to enjoy playground time. The teachers’ most important task during these early days is to gently guide the children through all the September newness and to support them as they transition from summer to back-to-school mode. We want to make sure that they feel safe, secure and accepted in their new environment.
As our returning families may remember, each month a new concept is introduced and activities exploring this learning theme will be found in all classroom areas along with our usual Montessori materials as well as in the art area and classroom library corner. With many families returning from summer vacations, September seems like a good time to focus on beach and sea life. We will be talking about the different kinds of shells that we can find at the shore line such as conch, clam, moon, spindle, slipper, cockle, scallop and tiger cowrie. There are trays of these shells in each classroom. Later in the month we will study the many wonderful sea creatures that inhabit our oceans such as the playful dolphin, the shy octopus, the slow-moving manatee, the giant whales, the swift shark hunter and the noisy and hungry sea gull. We will have baskets of authentic museum quality sea animals for the children to work with on a mat. In Practical Life the children will be “fishing” with a net into a bowl of water with small sea creatures, and they will also be scrubbing shells and going shell “digging”. The Sensorial area has many different sea life puzzles, large and small. There is also fishing with a magnetic rod as well as an exercise in discriminating between the different sizes of shells. In Language we are matching shells and sea creatures and reading many stories about trips to the beach, whales, dolphins and sharks, etc. In Math the children are enjoying shell and fish counting and stamping.
A normal concern of many parents is that your child may have very little to say when asked “What did you do today?” Answers may include “nothing”, “had snack” or “played on the playground”. Hopefully armed with some of the information in our newsletter, you will be able to ask more specific questions which may elicit more detailed feedback.
We appreciate all that our parents and caregivers have done to help us make the back to school transition a smooth one. A few important reminders below so that we can continue to move through these important early weeks of school in an organized, calm and peaceful way.
“And suddenly you just know
it’s time to start something new
and trust in the magic of beginnings.”