Dates to Remember:
Aug 5 – UCD Closed for Cleaning
Aug 1 – Annual Back to School Night
Aug 15-19 – TESTING week
Aug 24-28 – 1st Day of School!!
Aug 1-5 – Welcome Back!
Aug 8-12 – Carnival / Circus
Aug 15-19 – TESTING
Aug 22-26 – All About Me!
Aug 29-Sept 2 – Colors & Shapes
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself! My name is Rachel Johnson and I am the Lead Teacher in the Kindergarten Readiness room, as well as UCD’s Assistant Director. My work schedule is Monday-Thursday, 7:30 AM-12:30 PM in the classroom and 12:30-5:30 PM in the office. I have been working with children since September 2002 and have been a Preschool teacher since June 2009. I attended Highland Community College and received my CDA (Child Development Associate Credential) in 2015. My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have one daughter, Aislynn, who will be 3 this January!
I am one of the few people out there who can honestly say that I LOVE MY JOB! Nothing brings me more joy than watching a child learn and grow! It probably doesn’t help that I’m really just a big kid myself. I still love Superheroes, Scooby Doo, watching cartoons with my daughter, singing silly songs, and just plain acting goofy!
About Kindergarten Readiness...
Here in Kindergarten Readiness we use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. This curriculum prepares children for kindergarten in a developmentally appropriate way. Young children are not ready to sit still and focus for long periods of time. They learn best when they move, manipulate objects, build, sing, draw, and participate in dramatic play. In a nutshell – when they have fun! But don’t worry, we’ll be learning how to sit quietly, too.
As the year progresses we will begin adding more “sit down” time to help our children get set for school. "Journaling" is encouraged and has many advantages in the classroom; learning that print can be read and has meaning, turning pages from front to back, one at a time, following print from top to bottom and left to right, communicating thoughts with words, proper crayon grip, demonstrating positive self esteem, and much more.
Each child will also be given their very own workbook that will help them to develop coloring, drawing, counting and beginning writing skills.
It is best for your child to be completely potty trained before moving into Kindergarten Readiness. Students go to the bathroom independently with little-to-no assistance from the teachers. This includes wiping and changing their clothing. Teachers will, of course, step in if a child is struggling, but we encourage children to at least try before asking for help. As learning to dress oneself is part of becoming self sufficient, this may mean that every once and a while your child will come home with their pants on backwards or their shirt inside out. If you have questions or concerns about this, please feel free to talk to us!
Kindergarten Readiness operates under a structured schedule that includes Group Time and Small Groups, as well as free choice Center Time. This allows children to work together in a large group, learn to function in a small group, and choose where and how long they would like to play at the individual centers. We try to keep this schedule as consistent as possible for the children’s sake.
For nap time we require all bedding, including pillows, to fit into a zipped book bag that the child can pack on their own. This is to reduce the spread of communicable diseases, such as lice. When making mats, we highly encourage our children to be self-sufficient and at least try to put their sheet on their bed by themselves. Help is given as needed and once they have shown that they have tried.
To prevent conflicts between children and eliminate distractions, we have a No-Toy policy in Kindergarten Readiness. Children are allowed to bring one “Snuggle Buddy” for nap time, and we ask that their buddy remain in their cubby until needed. Please note, special items used for transitions and security (comfort objects, such as a blanket or stuffed animal) are OK to bring to ease the child.
We have Show-and-Tell every Friday and we use it to reinforce the current week’s theme. Please note, because we use Show-and-Tell as a learning tool, if a child brings an item to school that does not correlate with the theme, they will not be allowed to show it. Having said this, we set aside one week a month as FREE CHOICE, for those items that children are excited to bring, but yet do not fall into any particular category.
We use an app called Remind to help bridge communication between teacher and parents. Parents are not required to download the app and can access their messages through text and email once they are connected. We use this app regularly to make announcements, remind parents of upcoming events and send out small reminders (such as what to bring for Show and Tell). Remind also allows parents to message Ms. Rachel at any time during the day and allows her to do the same if necessary.
Discipline Policy/Reward System
To help the children comprehend that destructive or disruptive behavior is unacceptable, we use a reward system that is very visual for them. The two most important tools to this system are located in the classroom: a bulletin board that reads “Good Days” and a Dixie cup full of colored sticks, one for each student. The system works as follows:
A “Good” day - no offenses. At the end of the day the child is allowed to choose a sticker for their own personal sticker book, and on Fridays they may choose an alternate reward from our treat box.
First offense – the child receives an oral warning and redirection.
Second offense – the child loses a YELLOW stick. They must pause and talk to a teacher to discuss their actions after each stick loss (to make sure they understand why the stick removal was necessary) before they are allowed to return to their activity. At the end of the day, if 1 stick is all that the child lost, the child will still receive a sticker/treat and they are praised for “fixing” their offense.
Third offense – the child loses a GREEN stick and is removed from their current activity. They must sit and talk to a teacher to discuss their actions. No sticker/treat is received at the end of the day, and the child is encouraged to try again next time.
Fourth offense – the child loses a RED stick, is removed from their current activity, no sticker/treat is received, and parents will be notified of their behavior.
The only time this policy changes is if the offense is dangerous or physical, such as running off or hurting someone on purpose. If one of those things happens, a stick is automatically lost, as we do our best to discourage violence and unsafe behavior.