Dear Pre-Kindergarten Families,
My name is Lyndell Locker and I am thrilled that I will be your pre-kindergartener teacher this year. This will be my 6th year at Peck Slip. Over the last 12 years I’ve taught pre-k through second grade.
Pre-K is an exhilarating year! It is an exciting, fun and messy place. Kids are learning how to interact with each other, building a classroom community as well as leaning about our larger school community. I acknowledge that you or your child might be excited or apprehensive (or a little of both) at the start of a new school, especially in the first few weeks. I hope this letter will inform you of some expectations and answer some of your questions.
Below are some specific nuts-and-bolts about phase- in and some classroom routines.
Please talk about phase in with your pre-kindergartener a day before. It is beneficial for parents to talk about how the start of school will work with their child. Knowing what to expect can go a long way to relieving anxiety. By working together we can achieve our common goal of a happy, secure pre-kindergartener.
On Wednesday, September 5th, pre-kindergarteners will come in half groups and stay for 90 minutes; parents/caregivers are welcome to stay for 30 minutes. This will give you an opportunity to explore your child’s new classroom together and meet the teachers. The office will send the schedule.
On Thursday, September 6th, pre-kindergarteners will stay for 2 hours and 35 minutes; parents/caregivers will come in for the 30 minutes. Please be aware that you or your caregiver may need to be available during the phase-in process. The office will let you know where to go for parents/caregivers who need to stay nearby.
On Friday, September 7th, pre-kindergartners will have a full day of school and parents/caregivers can come in for 15 minutes then prepare to say good bye.
On Wednesday, September 12, parents can come in for 10 minutes then say goodbye. On the following days, parents/caregivers say goodbye at the door to pre-kindergarteners.
We know that phase-ins can be tricky, and we thank you for helping us make it work. Smaller groups and shorter days provide more opportunities for children to begin developing trust with their new teachers and build familiarity with the classroom materials and environment. Here are some brief, practical guidelines for phase-in week:
- We encourage you to talk with the teachers in the room. It’s good for children to see us developing relationships.
- As you begin to give your child some space, be clear in letting them know where you are going to be.
- Let a teacher know where you will be when you leave the room.
- We ask that parents do not work with the materials (play dough, drawing, etc.). When adults work with materials, children focus on the adults’ work rather than their own. It also raises issues of competency, as children cannot work in the same way as adults.
I understand that the first few weeks of school may be harder for children to separate from their parents. Separation is an individual process, so remember there is no right way for your child to separate. Each child handles emotions differently. Some will feel comfortable right away while others will need more time to adjust. Listen to your child’s needs, develop a routine if it helps, and always say good-bye rather than leaving when your child is distracted or immersed in work or play. We will help you and your child when needed. Here are some books that can help children prepare for Pre-Kindergarten:
- The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Geoff Stevenson
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
- Any Mo Willem’s Pigeon books
- Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney
Your child should come to school well rested. It is important to have a consistent nightly bedtime. Reading with your child daily is one of the most valuable gifts you can give him/her. Talking with your child about school is a wonderful way to show your support and build a successful year!
Pre-kindergarten children are brought directly to the classroom door. Pre-K students and parents use the red staircase. School begins promptly at 8:15 AM. Please remember to say goodbye to your child before you leave. Communicate when you’ll be back and reinforce that you support and feel comfortable with them being here. Finally, please be on time – especially in the first few weeks. It helps with separation and is essential for a smooth transition.
I am asking parents to provide a simple snack donation for the whole class. On the first full week of school, I will send home a suggested snack list and a snack schedule.
Dismissal is at 2:35 PM in front of the classroom. Please wait for teachers to open the door and say goodbye. We will send your child to you or your caregiver. Your child will not be released to any adult that is not on their pick-up list without a note from you. It is imperative that you pick your child up on time. Children become anxious and worried when they have to wait for a grown-up, especially when everyone else has left. It can impact their attitude toward school no matter how much they enjoyed their day.
Email is the best way to contact me at email@example.com . In the event of an emergency you can leave a message for me in the main office (212) 312-6260 during teaching hours. If there is a change in dismissal plans or early pick-up, please notify the main office and they will notify me. Dismissal and arrival times are difficult times for longer conversations; if you need to talk feel free to email and we can set up an appointment.
Birthdays are special occasions for all children. Parents are welcome to celebrate their child’s birthday in class. Parents can bring in a favorite book or baby pictures to share with the class. If your child wishes, he/she can bring treats for the class on his/her birthday. Please send a note a day or two in advance, so we can prepare and set aside time for the party.
THINGS YOUR CHILD WILL NEED
- You will receive a labeled Zip-Loc bag for a change of clothes that should include: two pairs of socks, underwear, two tops and two bottoms. Label all clothing.
- A crib sheet for rest and a light small blanket. Children are allowed one small soft toy during rest time. All other toys should stay at home. Sheets are sent home at the end of a full week to be laundered.
- Back pack big enough for a full-sized folder.
Please label everything.
I look forward to working with you as partners to create a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment. If at any time you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or send an email.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you in September!