GTMS Life > Blog August 17, 2021

Toddler ADM: Welcome New & Returning Families

Hello Everyone, We hope summer has been treating you well! To our new families joining us- welcome! To our current and returning families, we’re so delighted to continue this journey with you! Within this blog post, you’ll find a lot of information that we would like for you to read through. We also included a […]

Hello Everyone,

We hope summer has been treating you well! To our new families joining us- welcome! To our current and returning families, we’re so delighted to continue this journey with you! Within this blog post, you’ll find a lot of information that we would like for you to read through. We also included a slideshow at the end that shows photos from our Summer Session to provide a visual of the enviornment with children wearing masks.

We want to take a moment to acknowledge that some of you may be feeling uneasy, anxious, and/or curious whether it stems from your child going to a new environment with new adults or due to concerns surrounding the pandemic. Ms. Olivia and I would love to set up a time to chat with you and address any concerns pertaining to our classroom (lunch, rest, circle, toileting, face masks, etc.), and of course to get to know you! You may sign up by clicking this link: Toddler ADM Parent Call Sign Up. If any of these times listed does not work for you, please let us know.

Transitioning into the New School Year

We are very excited for this new school year and to welcome back our returners, and our new families. Transitions are changes, and big or small they require effort and energy. Your children may show strong emotions during their transition into this new school year, and they may not; but we would like for you to be aware of some of the normal behaviors that you may see during this period.  

New children

Parents, you may see some changes in sleeping patterns, eating patterns, toileting, and behavior/mood (tired and clingy). The children will be meeting new people, presented with new limits and boundaries, working with new materials, and learning new routines. To put this transition into a relatable context, think about how it feels to start a new job– it is exhausting! Our first priority with your children is to help them to feel safe and comfortable in their new environment, so building relationships is crucial in the beginning. We will do a lot of singing, which children love. Also if your child has a favorite animal, color, or song we want to know all about it! Having items that are familiar or of interest will draw in your child.   

Returners

The beginning of the school year can be a time of difficulty for the returners, as they are experiencing a big change as well. These children have said goodbye to Ms. Michelle and their older friends. Then, they come back to school with a new group of children who aren’t accustomed to the routines of the classroom. Just as our current returners did last September, the new children may take others’ work, leave out their work, forget to get a rug, run in the classroom, sit too close, or hug without asking etc. Imagine being at work and having your mentors being replaced with new staff– it can be overwhelming for this group because their sense of order is disrupted; but it is also a great time for learning and growth. We suggest speaking to your children and empathizing with them, “It can be really hard to have new friends;” but remember to empower them also, “It is hard, but you are so brave and you can do hard things!” You may also mention their ability to show the new children how to do certain things, “Your body is so strong and you can show them how to sit at circle!” Also, remind them that they were new before: “There was a time when you were new and you would not sit for circle- isn’t that so silly to think about now?”

Email and Communication

Please direct all emails to Ms. Dominique (dwells@gtms.org) and Ms. Olivia (opowers@gtms.org). Teachers are not available for communication during child contact times. If you have any questions/concerns, please email us and we will get back to you within 24 hours. 

If there are ANY changes in schedule- vacation, child is home sick, or child is arriving late/leaving early etc., please email both myself and Ms. Olivia, as well as the Administrative Assistant at west@gtms.org

Items Needed for School

  • 2 changes of clothes, weather appropriate (label with initials)
  • Water Bottle (label with initials or name)
  • Blanket for rest (label with initials)
  • Diapers, minimum of 25 (label with initials)
  • Indoor shoes (label with initials)
  • Current photo of your child*
  • Current photo of your family*

* Please email photos, so we can print them out before Phase-In

Water Bottle

We are asking that each child has their own water bottle. Typically, we have one water source with glasses available for the children to pour their own water for drinking. Individual water bottles will help to limit the amount of surfaces being touched by multiple children. Water bottles will be sent home at the end of each day.

Recommended water bottles: Camelbak and Thermos

Indoor Shoes 

We highly recommend Foamtreads due to their stability, nonslip component, and ease of putting onto the feet with little hands. The goal is for your child, over time, to be able to put on their shoes without any assistance, as well as comfort and safety when walking.  

Recommended shoes: Foamtreads (preferred) and Acorn.

Outdoor Shoes

Our goal for outdoor shoes is similar to our goal for indoor shoes: comfort, safety, and independence (your child putting on shoes without help). Avoid shoes that will set your child up for failure like laces (unable to tie themselves) and crocs (lack of stability and support while running). When shoes with laces come into school, we will place them into a bag and allow your child to wear their indoor shoes home. 

Recommended shoes: Pediped (option 1),  Pediped (option 2), and See Kai Run

Rest Blanket

It is helpful to provide a blanket that will cover your child’s entire body. Rest blankets are washed weekly.

Please, please, please– label everything: clothes (socks too), diapers (initials), indoor and outdoor shoes, and backpacks. Anything that your child wears/brings with them into the building MUST be labeled with at least your child’s initials if you wish for it to return home. This is something that you will hear from us throughout the year. Again, this also includes the clothes your child is wearing to school in the morning.

Daily Routine

Arrival

After your individual phase-in (new families), your child will be entering the building without you- be confident! I know this can be scary for you, but please be strong for your child- they will pick up on your emotions. After your child is screened, walk up to the gate holding your child’s hand and keep your goodbyes short. Carrying your child and prolonging a goodbye can make for an uneasy separation. Usually there are tears, but they tend to fade before the child gets to their classroom. 

Rest

This year, the children will be sleeping in two different rooms for rest, Toddler ADM classroom and Movement Room. This is due to us following the Department of Human Services (DHS) regulations on how many nap cots can fit into a particular area. Each room will have a Lead Teacher and 1-3 assistants. We’ll let you know which room your child will be sleeping in.

Dismissal

Please note that there will be times when you are waiting for your child. If you have somewhere you need to be, please arrive a little earlier so your child has time to finish a task, clean up work, use the toilet, and/or collect their personal items. Also, we ask that you are not on your cell phones when your child is being dismissed. Please be ready to receive your child, as they will be expecting your full attention after a long day of working and socializing. 

Face Masks

Children 2 years old and over are required to wear a face mask while at school. Our approach to toddlers wearing face masks is the same approach we use with other procedures and activities– like washing hands or sitting while eating. Throughout the last school year, we presented wearing masks as a Grace & Courtesy lesson during Circle. We first discussed germs, and explained that wearing a mask would protect people from them and from getting sick. We used the example of when teachers put on gloves to serve food during snack: “You don’t want my germs to touch your snack!” Then we spoke about children who are 2 years old and older must wear masks at school to keep their bodies safe from germs, and to keep their friends safe from getting their germs. We drew masks on one of their favorite characters, David (see photos below), and discussed how to wear them and when: covering nose and mouth and never wear one while eating or sleeping!

If your child has been wearing masks that work perfectly for them, that’s amazing! Feel free to share your recommendations with our Toddler ADM community. If you’ve noticed your child having some difficulty wearing a mask, here are some recommendations:

Reminders

Toddlers are toddlers: they are movers and doers! This means that they will know the rules and routines and will be able to repeat them to you. However, when it comes to following those rules and routines, they are distracted by a goal they have in their mind. So rather than using walking feet, they might see the dinosaur matching work and their desire to use it takes action and they will run over to it– maybe stepping on work or bumping into a friend along the way; and through reminders and time, they will grow more capable and use their walking feet. This is the same for masks. The masks will fall down or they will take them off of their faces, and that is ok! We will give them reminders throughout their day to fix their masks. 

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Thursday, August 2nd-Friday, September 10th: Phase-In
  • Monday, September 6th: Labor Day ALL GTMS CLOSED
  • Thursday, September 9th: Parent Social and Classroom Orientation at 6:30pm-7:15pm
  • Monday, September 13th: First Full Day of School

Thank you and we can’t wait to meet you!

– Ms. Dominique and Ms. Olivia

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