Our summer session has quickly come to an end as we squeezed in or last summer adventures including trips to the park, water play and nature explorations. This last month has also been full of playdates and “visits” to children’s fall classroom to be. It is our goal with every transition to provide as much fluidity and transparency for the child as possible. Providing the summer playdates as well as classroom visits in August are measures we take to get prepared for the new school year and classroom communities. It’s been such a pleasure to meet our newest families as well as have the opportunity to bring the new classroom communities together. If you didn’t get a chance to attend any of the Saturday playdates and/or meet other families from your child’s classroom, you will have another chance at the fall potluck. Each classroom will be holding their own class potluck. Please keep your eyes peeled for those dates as they will be announced soon! Once these dates are established they will be announced on both the blog parent board as well as the physical parent board located in the arrival areas in each classroom. Classroom and school wide events will be posted on the website calendar. ALL important dates, closures, work parties, community events, etc. are also posted to this calendar. PLEASE take a look now and get them on your family calendar so there are no surprises!
We have been achieved a 5 STAR PROGRAM quality rating from Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)! Escuela Viva has chosen to participate in the QRIS, a program designed to raise the quality and consistency of child care and early learning programs across the state. Experts in the field of early childhood care and education evaluated our materials using research-based standards that address children’s learning and development, health and safety, personnel qualifications, family partnerships, and administration and business practices. Thank you for continue to support us as we focus on growth and improvement of our program. Our #1 priority, as always is to ensure we are bringing our best to your children every day.
Living Wages Campaign
As many of you have seen in the lobby display, we have a Living Wages Campaign in the works. This display was put up in April, though it has come to our attention that the blog post that was developed and intended for publishing in April as well was somehow NOT published!!!! We feel that it is very important for us to be transparent in our work and want to recognize our failure to communicate more directly in regards to this campaign. Please, if you haven’t already, visit the Living Wages blog post. We welcome your first impressions and feedback as we are dedicated to the continued movement to professionalize early childhood education (ECE).
Emergency Food Drive
We will be holding a food drive as a way to build our emergency food supply. At any given time we have quite a stock of food onsite, just with what we use for food preparation throughout the month, though we would like to build what we have in stock solely for emergency purposes. We do currently have some emergency food, though would like to build the amount to ensure that we are prepared in the case of a natural disaster or any other emergency event. Please bring any non-perishable food items that you already have in your pantry that you would like to donate. Suitable items would be things such as canned food, dried goods or vacuum packed dried goods. We will have bins up in both entry ways until we have built a strong enough supply of emergency food.
ASQs and Volunteer Commitment Survey
In the first weeks of school we will be giving all families both an Ages and Stages Questionnaire as well as a Volunteer Commitment survey to be filled out by the end of the month and handed back in to teachers. Both of these documents will then be reviewed with each family individually at the fall parent teacher conference (PTCs). Please note, there will be NO SCHOOL October 9th (Inservice) or on October 22nd & 23rd (PTCs).
Thank you everyone for paying your supplies fees! We are excited to share that with your contributions we have been able to invest in cots versus sleeping mats. These are a major improvement for a variety of reasons, but most of all because they are more comfortable for the children as well as better for our environment. Because of the high wear and tear that the mats see, we were having to replace many of them annually (meaning lots of foam and plastic going into landfills – even though we were able to reuse SOME of the plastic part that a parent used her magic to sew them into smocks for the children). The cots we have purchase have a 20 year warranty and will therefor allow us to save both financially and environmentally! We are excited to be able to put future funds toward other important classroom materials that will contribute to your children’s experience at school.
This is always a hard time of year as we inevitably have many goodbyes with all of our Pre-Kindergarten students moving on to Kindergarten programs. As a team of 18 full time teachers and teacher aides, we also inevitably say some goodbyes to some of our teaching team each year. Parents have asked me the “whys” and “what’s wrong?”, “how come so many transitions?” in relation to our having to say goodbye to some of our team each year. High turn over is an unfortunate reality of the early childhood profession, especially for infant/toddler teachers. There are many layers, but what it comes down to is the disproportion of the work load to pay and recognition as a professional (as early childcare professionals we are often viewed as “day care providers” or “babysitters” versus professionals and asked frequently by friends and family what we think we are going to do as a profession or if we are going to go into “teaching”). For others, working with children is a passing profession or a stepping stone into other work they plan to do with families or youth. One of our motives for the Living Wages Campaign is sustainability for our teaching team as well as retention, though we also hope it to be an avenue to advocate for our teachers and spread awareness about the development of our field and the importance of having trained and educated teachers to work with young children.
It important that all families take care to lock any items left outside of the school. There have been a few cases of theft, including bicycles within our fenced area. PLEASE make sure you secure your things! We are proactive in our measures to report any kind of activity, as well as vigilant as a team AND it is important that all of our community members are active participants in the continued vigilance and security as well. A big THANK YOU to those who have shared pieces they have witnessed or experienced with the administration. It is helpful to have all of your input, perspectives and diversity as contributing factors to our community school.
Every year, a new group of children come together in each of our classrooms. Sometimes the children are already familiar with their school and classroom community. Many will have strong friendships and established relationships with their teachers. And for some preschool will be a brand new adventure for them. As adults we know how hard change can be, the same is true for small children. Some would argue that change can be even more difficult to digest when your are small.
Whether or not you agree with this premise, helping children feel more connected to their classroom and school community is important in the work with small children. Experts agree that the social skills that young children learn in early childhood settings, contribute to their readiness for school and their ability to meet a variety of challenges throughout their lives.
As parents who may be saying goodbye for the first time this upcoming week, we hope this article will give you some helpful tips for making the transition as smooth as possible. We will be working on creating comfort and warmth in our classroom environments, so that the children will experience the least amount of discomfort these first few days of school. Here are a few tips that will make our partnership as strong and comforting as possible:
First, know that your children will want to be with you more than they will want to be with us. Healthy child/parent attachment means your child will most likely cry when you leave, not always, though is to be expected and will not surprise us. Our staff are trained in allowing your child to feel sad while simultaneously providing warmth, comfort and love.
Second, children adapt. Especially in the care of loving teachers, the time your child spends being upset at your departure will decrease with time. After several days at home, their reaction to separation may seem to peak, though know this is to be expected as well.
Helping your child know what to expect is an important part of the equation. Being as specific as possible. For example:
“When we get to school, we will put your shoes in the shoe basket, hang up your coat and say hi to all of your friends and teachers. Then we will read two stories together. I will sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with you, give you three kisses and a hug. Then Maestra will put you in her arms and give you hugs until I get back” (makes this your own routine).
One of the most important steps a parent can offer their child is to create a routine/ritual for saying goodbye and then follow through. Prolonging the “good bye” allows children to get worked up for a longer period of time, increasing their anxiety and delaying their recovery.
When even the smallest of change can seem scary, creating a routine that is familiar eases a child’s anxiety, and helps them to enjoy their preschool experience as fully as possible. If at anytime you feel you are struggling, partnering with your child’s teachers is always a helpful next step. At Escuela Viva we believe children always do best when the adults in their lives work together. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any helpful suggestions as how to help your child with transitions such as “saying goodbye”. You are the expert when it comes to your child. We welcome your input!
THANK YOU FOR READING!!!