Transitioning to Kindergarten

I found a helpful article for all our graduating student’s parents’….we will miss you dearly and wish you only the very best life has to offer.

By Janis Strasser

Starting school can be scary and exciting for both you and your child. Effective kindergarten teachers know that children are individuals who each start kindergarten with a wide range of skills. You do not need to drill your child with letters, numbers, and facts, before school starts. But there are some things you can do to prepare both you and your child for kindergarten. Here are some ideas.

 

Before school starts

  • Send a note to the nurse and to the teacher if your child has allergies or special needs. Do this even if you have indicated this on other forms already. It may be critical for teachers to know that your child reacts to bee stings, has food allergies, or has hearing or vision modifications. As a parent, you have the responsibility to advocate for your child’s health and safety.
  • Visit the school and meet the teacher. If there is a visiting day to meet your child’s teacher and visit her classroom before school starts, make sure to participate. If you missed visiting day or the school does not offer one, call to see if you can arrange a quick visit to see the school and to meet the teacher with your child
  • Start your school routine early.To reduce stress and get used to new routines adjust new bedtimes or wake up times a few weeks before school begins. Routines are comforting for us and for children. Read a soothing bedtime story every night to help your child fall asleep with comforting thoughts. Do not watch the news or violent programs in the evening.
  • Label everything.Make sure to label backpacks, lunch boxes – everything your child brings to school. This includes her! If your child’s school has not supplied a name tag, make one. It should have your child’s name, address, and a phone number where a parent/guardian can be reached, the name of the teacher, and how your child gets home from school.
  • Read books together about starting school.You can ask your local librarian for suggestions or try some of these:
    • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, Joseph Slate (Illustrated by Ashley Wolff)
    • Seven Little Mice Go to School, Kazuo Iwamura
    • Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, Eric Litwin (Illustrated by James Dean)
    • Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten, Hyewon Yum
    • Yoko Learns to Read, Rosemary Wells

On the first day of school

  • Be positive.Give your child a smile and a hug, tell her you love her, and wave goodbye.
  • Help your child say goodbye.Saying goodbye in a new setting can be frightening for some children. When you say goodbye (either at the bus or at school), reassure your child that you will see her later. Mention a specific time and a concrete activity, for example “I will pick you up before lunchtime and we will have lunch together.”
  • Avoid behaviors that might upset your child.For example, try not to:
    • Cry as you wave to your child through the bus window.
    • Argue with the bus driver who may be late the first few days. (The drivers need time to learn the route and talk to anxious parents.)
    • Battle with your child about an outfit you want her to wear. (She doesn’t have to be the school fashion queen.)
    • Force your child to eat a big breakfast. (She may be nervous and it might be better to eat lightly than to have a stomachache, for the first couple of days).
  • Wait to ask the teacher your specific questions.The first day of school is not the time to bombard the teacher with personal requests and information. Remember, your child is one of 20 or 25 children. Trust that the teacher is a professional who will make your child feel welcome and help her feel like a member of the classroom community.

During the first week of school

  • Be supportive.Adjusting to school may take time. Ask, “What was the most fun thing you did in school today?” Then ask, “What was the hardest thing for you?” (Only ask this after you have discussed what fun was.) Don’t expect your child to tell you every detail.
  • Instill a sense of confidence in your child.Celebrate your child’s successes. Tell her that you are proud of the way she got on the bus and sat down all by herself, or the way she tried to print her name. Don’t dwell on how many friends she has made during the first few days. This is too abstract for most 5-year-olds and their friends change by the minute. Instead, ask, “Tell me about some of the children in your class.” It takes time to adjust to new people, new activities, and a new environment. Don’t expect perfection. If your child was perfect, she wouldn’t have to go to school!
  • Set aside a time, each evening, to share your child’s day. See if your child has brought home any drawings, paintings, or scribbling. These papers may be very important to your young student. If there are no papers, don’t assume that your child didn’t do anything worthwhile. After a few weeks have passed and your child has gotten used to school, ask her about what she played with in the classroom, what stories the teacher read, if she went outside, etc. Listen for clues about your child’s strengths and challenges. If you have concerns, contact the teacher and set up a time to talk.
  • Read everything the school sends home. During the first weeks of school children bring home a wealth of information about school routines, important dates and meetings that you will need to know about. Make sure to check your child’s backpack every day. Also, you may want to go over with your child, in a positive, calm way, the information you have supplied to the school on the emergency card (who may pick your child up other than you, where she can go if you’re ever not home, etc.).
  • Enjoy being the parent of a kindergartner!This is your child’s first step into primary school and a unique time in childhood. Enjoy!

 

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Secrets to Raise a Creative Child

“Preempt the time spent on television and organized activities and have them spend it instead on claiming their imaginations. For in the end, that is all we have. If a thing cannot be imagined first — a cake, a relationship, a cure for AIDS — it cannot be. Life is bound by what we can envision.

I cannot plant imagination into my children. I can, however, provide an environment where their creativity is not just another mess to clean up but welcome evidence of grappling successfully with boredom. It is possible for boredom to deliver us to our best selves, the ones that long for risk and illumination and unspeakable beauty.

If we sit still long enough, we may hear the call behind boredom. With practice, we may have the imagination to rise up from the emptiness and answer.”
-Nancy H. Blakey

 

Creativity might be defined as putting things together in novel ways, or seeing the world, or a given problem, with fresh eyes. While some people are born with talent in certain mediums — an artist’s eye, for instance, or perfect pitch, or a writer’s way with words — I believe that everyone has the capacity to be creative. All of us need access to creativity to solve the problems of daily life, and all of us need creative outlets to live fully.

We can’t give people talent, but we can train the eye and the ear and the mind, and we can help our children gain access to a creative way of seeing. We can also help them gain the concentration, competence, perseverance, and optimism necessary to succeed in creative pursuits.

Recent studies examining creativity have surprised researchers. The researchers began with the assumption that the kids recommended by their art teachers as most creative would be the “artist types” — offbeat, disorganized kids who performed more poorly in other classes at school. They were wrong.

High School art teachers named as most creative the same kids who excelled at getting their work done in other classes. These kids exhibited concentration during demonstrations of technique, the competence to plan their projects, the optimism to take the risk of tackling a more difficult or original idea, and the perseverance to put in the extra time required to do a thorough job completing the project. While this does not speak to talent, it highlights the point that putting creativity to use in the world requires the same qualities of competence addressed elsewhere on this website. It also implies that the same parenting that helps kids become emotionally healthy encourages creativity.

…the same parenting that helps kids become emotionally healthy encourages creativity.

So How Do You Help Your Child Develop His Creativity?

  1. Neatness is over-rated.

Whether it’s because they’re afraid to get their hands dirty, or because they can’t leave their art supplies visible and easily accessible, or because they live by too many rules and don’t think outside the box, kids who live in households with a focus on neatness are rated as less creative. As Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School bus says, “Take Chances! Get Messy!”

  1. Children who experience frequent limits train themselves to think inside the box.

Babies should learn NO about safety issues, like the stove. But otherwise, you want her to see the world as full of possibilities. Why NOT let your baby empty the bookcase, or the kitchen cabinet? Why shouldn’t your toddler “paint” the patio with a paintbrush and a pail of water?

  1. Focus on play and process, not productivity.

When kids do art to solicit positive comments from adults, sometimes they can’t wait to finish another picture. Obviously, it isn’t how many pictures they produce, it’s how engaged they are in the process. If you affirm how hard they’re working on that picture, they don’t have to rush through it to the next one for your approval.

  1. Give your child permission to be different.

Inventive, original kids are often seen as different by other kids. A little wacky, perhaps, or just plain odd. Make it okay for your child to be out of step with the norms of her peer group, to be unique, to see the world through her own glasses. To develop her individuality, she needs your support against the pressures of popular culture.

You’ll probably have to start by confronting your own fears about her not being “popular.” Don’t worry, at the high school reunion, it’s commonplace to find that the nerd has become a self-made millionaire, and that odd, silent girl is now a famous novelist. In fact, popularity is a risk factor for peer-pressure related problems. As long as your child has a good friend or two, that’s healthier than being “popular.”

  1. Let toddlers experiment with manageable messes

Let toddlers experiment with manageable messes that they help clean up. Examples: water on the kitchen floor, bubbles on the porch, watercolors or chalk on the sidewalk (just get out the hose), food coloring in an unbreakable bowl with almost anything (snow, whipped cream, cornstarch or water). My daughter at age four loved breaking eggs to see what was inside; we occasionally let her smash them into a bowl.

  1. Establish a place for art supplies

 

Establish a place for art supplies early on, that is both easily accessible and neat. It should include drawers or bins for washable markers, paper, clay, and anything else you feel comfortable adding as your children get older (beads, collage materials, stamps and inkpads, etc.) I don’t suppose I need to say this, but coloring books don’t exactly foster creativity; plain paper is infinitely better. Blocks, with their infinite possibilities, generally offer more creative play opportunities than more sophisticated building materials. Many four year olds can build with blocks for hours every day; it helps develop mathematical, spatial and problem-solving abilities.

  1. Make creative art play easy.

If your child can initiate art activities without your help, he’s more likely to create art when the spirit moves him. The best gift we ever received was a small plastic tray for our daughter to put her paper in as she worked, but a designated cookie sheet with a rim works just as well. (You’ll need one for each kid, and to wash them after messy projects.) Kids can do art with no worry, since crayon marks, glitter, play dough, etc all have a contained space. You still need rules (“Playdough stays on the tray”, “Mom has to supervise pouring the glitter” “We always put newspaper down when we paint”) but creative arts become more a part of your child’s everyday life, as they become “his.”

  1. Help your budding artist stay centered.

From Vincent van Gogh to Sylvia Plath, the stereotype of artists being mentally imbalanced pervades western culture. It’s possible that these examples of talent paired with emotional disturbance are simply coincidence. It’s also possible that the agony of a painful childhood expresses itself best through art. It’s certainly conceivable that people who break with society to follow their own drummer are more likely to come unmoored. And it may even be possible, as some spiritual adepts say, that people who open themselves fully to the creative energy of the universe, without the emotional and spiritual maturity to handle it and without the guidance of a spiritual teacher, can be overwhelmed by the power that comes through them.

Regardless of the reasons for the association between creativity and mental health issues, it can be argued that creative people may well need extra help to learn how to stay centered. You can protect your budding artist by helping her develop structures that support her.

Some ideas: Be sure she gets enough physical exercise to stay grounded. Help her regulate her body clock so she doesn’t stay up all night painting. Teach her to meditate. Promote a balanced diet sans caffeine. Introduce her to artists who have healthy, balanced lives, whether through biographies or movies or in the flesh. Make sure you’re there when she wants to talk.

And most important, introduce your child to the time-honored idea that creativity comes THROUGH us, not FROM us. The idea of the muse, of spirit looking for an artist to record that snatch of beauty to share with humanity, removes much of the stress of performance that can otherwise trap creative people. It also moderates the highs (which lead to arrogance) and lows (fear, shame, self-doubt) that pervade the creative life. (For a much better description of this process than I can offer, check out Liz Gilbert — author of Eat, Love, Pray — speaking about this issue in her TED Talk.)

  1. Encourage kids to create together.

While we usually think of creativity as an individual pursuit, sometimes the most rewarding creative experiences come from people working together. The most creative and innovative organizations are known for encouraging teamwork, because the best ideas are often a product of collaboration. So whether children are building with blocks or writing a story, it’s worth supporting them to work through the challenges inherent in creating with another person, because the experience can be transformative.

  1. Don’t be afraid of boredom.

Parents often respond to kids’ boredom by providing structured activities or technological entertainment. But unstructured time challenges kids to engage with themselves and the world, to imagine and invent and create. Kids need practice with unstructured time, or they will never learn to manage it.

Even more important, children need empty time to explore their inner and outer worlds, which is the beginning of creativity. So how to respond when kids complain that they’re bored? Help them brainstorm about possible activities, but make it clear that it’s their job to figure out how to enjoy their own time.

A crucial tip: It helps enormously to prevent kids from depending on screens to entertain them. Kids who regularly use the TV or computer are more likely to feel bored than other kids, and even after eliminating the habit it can take months for them to find other activities about which they are passionate. But don’t despair. Just start cutting back on screens. Your child will object, but you’ll see a new engagement with his own creativity begin to develop.

 

“The artist is not a special kind of person; rather each person is a special kind of artist.” 
-Ananda Coomaraswamy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Health Policies at SWS

Please do not send your child to school with a cold accompanied by excessive cough or nasal secretions, or any of the following:

  • Fever over 100 degrees
  • Mouth sores with drooling
  • If awaiting the results of a throat culture
  • Severe abdominal pain or discomfort continuing more than 2 hours and/or associated with fever or other signs/symptoms
  • Blood in stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore Throat or severe coughing
  • Yellow eyes or jaundiced skin: red eyes with discharge until treatment initiated
  • Infected, untreated skin patches
  • Difficult or rapid breathing or wheezing
  • Skin rashes
  • Vomiting illness: until vomiting free for 24-48 hours
  • Flu: please keep children home from school for 7 days from the start of illness

 

 

Six tips to keep children healthy during cold and flu season

Six Tips to Keep Children Health During Cold and Flu Season

What can parents do to lessen the chances of their kids getting a cold or the flu?

Here are six easy steps for parents to help keep their kids healthy and less apt to spread colds or flu due to their close contact with kids in school or daycare.

How to keep your kids healthy during flu season

Have kids wash their hands frequently at home and school.

Since kids often touch their mouths and faces, parents should make sure their kids’ hands are washed with soap and water to remove germs before eating, after using the bathroom, and when they come inside from playing. Hand sanitizer can be used for times it’s not possible to wash.

Indoors or outdoors, get active.

Kids should get regular, moderate exercise to boost their immune systems. Studies have shown that being active can help reduce cold and flu episodes.

Get plenty of sleep.

Children need between 9 and 14 hours of sleep a day depending on their age. Sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of getting sick.

Eat a well-balanced diet.

Provide meals with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to help boost children’s immune systems. Look for foods rich in vitamin C and vitamin D, and avoid foods high in additives, preservatives, and sugars.

Decrease stress.

Elevated stress hormones can lead to decreased immunity. Give kids plenty of down time for rest and creative play to help lower their stress levels and keep them from getting sick.

Avoid germy sharing.

Sharing is good for kids, but many commonly shared items can be breeding grounds for germs. Teach children to never share straws and cups, caps and scarves, or anything that comes in contact with their mouths and faces.

When kids do get sick, it’s important for parents to keep them home and take steps to prevent germs from spreading to others.

If you’re unsure whether an illness requires a doctor’s visit, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

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Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

By: Reading Rockets

Kindergarten is where most children learn to read and write. Though some kids can do this before entering kindergarten, it is not required or expected. Being ready for kindergarten means having well-developed preschool skills, and being academically, socially, and physically ready for the transition. Here are some signs that your child is ready for kindergarten.

Academically (pre-reading skills)

  • Can retell a simple story
  • Speaks in complete sentences of 5-6 words
  • Writes name or recognizes letters in name
  • Recognizes the title of a book
  • Matches rhyming sounds
  • Counts to ten

Socially

  • Feels comfortable in a group
  • Asks for help when needed
  • Knows personal information (name, age, gender)
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Recognizes authority
  • Is able to share

Physically

  • Exhibits fine motor skills (holds pencil, traces shapes, buttons shirt, etc.)
  • Exhibits motor coordination (rides a bike with training wheels, hops, skips)
  • Manages bathroom needs

Is my child ready?

Most children start kindergarten at age 5. If your child’s birthday falls in late spring or summer and will have just turned 5 at the beginning of the school year, or if you feel your child would benefit from another year of preschool, you might consider waiting until the next academic year.

Consider your child’s academic skills, but also his or her temperament. Remember that if your child is on the older or younger end of the class, this has an impact not only on kindergarten, but also on middle school, high school, driving, and going to college. If he is the youngest in his class now, he will be then, too!

When in doubt

  • Discuss your concerns with your child’s preschool teacher.
  • Discuss your concerns with the future principal and kindergarten teacher
  • Tour the school and observe a kindergarten classroom
  • Trust your instincts! You know your child best. Listen to others, think about your child, and then go with your gut

 

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Happy Holidays from all of us at SWS!

The month of December was filled with much fun and excitement for our children! The classes started celebrating Hanukkah at the beginning of the month.  Spinning dreidels and making and eating potato latkes.

Last week we celebrated Christmas with a Holiday Sing a long a visit from Santa and a pancake breakfast.  This week we had pajama and pizza parties.

We wish you and your families a joyous holiday season and a healthy and Happy New Year!

SWS will be closed from Wednesday, Dec 19-Tuesday, Jan 1st School reopens on Wednesday, January 2nd.

On January 2, 2019 we open registration for our current and alumni families to register for the 2019-20 school year.  This gives you an opportunity to register for the class you would like before we open up registration to the public on January 31st.

All registration forms are in the SWS office or on our website.

Looking forward to a great 2019!

Roberta Cenci, SWS Director

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Special Events at SWS

Saturday, December 1st 10AM-12PM-OPEN HOUSE for the 2019-20 school year.

This event is for new, prospective students for the 2019-20 school year.  Please help me spread the word about how great SWS is but telling friends and family about this event.  THANK YOU!

Friday, December 7, 2018 6:30PM- The Purplicious Fashion Show

The Purplicious Fashion Show includes a pasta dinner, fashion show, raffle & music from our very own Mr. Benny.  This annual fashion show is in honor of Margaret Rose a former teacher at our school who passed away.  Her family started a memorial fund in her honor.  All funds from this event will go to SWS for teachers to purchase items for their classrooms.

One of our teachers, Chris Mallico is out on an extended medical leave all raffle prize funds collected at the fashion show will go to Chris Mallico to help offset medical expenses.

Let’s make this a successful event for both of these amazing ladies!  Here’s how you can help:

Buy a ticket to the Fashion Show only $20 includes dinner

Buy Raffle tickets only $1 a ticket with many prizes to choose from

Donate a Raffle Basket or Gift Card

THANK YOU!

Starting in December we will be collecting unwrapped new toys for boys and girls for the TEAM TOYS 4 KIDS-please bring in a toy and put it in the box in the EdWing hallway. THANK YOU!

 

 

 

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Tips for Parents of Preschoolers about Reading

 

The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. You can’t start reading to a child too soon!

  • Read together every day.

    Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close together. Bedtime is an especially great time for reading together.

 

  • Give everything a name.

    You can build comprehension skills early, even with the littlest child. Play games that involve naming or pointing to objects. Say things like, “Where’s your nose?” and then, “Where’s Mommy’s nose?” Or touch your child’s nose and say, “What’s this?”

  • Say how much you enjoy reading together.

    Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Look forward to this time you spend together. Talk about “story time” as the favorite part of your day.

  • Read with fun in your voice.

    Read to your child with humor and expression. Use different voices for different characters. Ham it up!

  • Know when to stop.

    If your child loses interest or has trouble paying attention, just put the book away for a while. Don’t continue reading if your child is not enjoying it.

  • Be interactive.

    Engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story. Discuss what’s happening, point out things on the page, and answer your child’s questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child’s responses.

  • Read it again and again and again.

    Your child will probably want to hear a favorite story over and over. Go ahead and read the same book for the 100th time! Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills.

  • Talk about writing, too.

    Draw your child’s attention to the way writing works. When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.

  • Point out print everywhere.

    Talk about the written words you see in the world around you and respond with interest to your child’s questions about words. Ask him or her to find a new word every time you go on an outing.

  • Get your child evaluated if you suspect a problem.

    Please be sure to see your child’s pediatrician or teacher as soon as possible if you have concerns about his or her language development, hearing, or sight.

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