GTMS Life > Blog August 24, 2020

Welcome New & Returning Families to the Toddler ADM Classroom!

Hello,   We hope summer has been treating you well! To our new families joining us- welcome! To our current and returning families, we are so delighted to have you and to see you again real soon.    We want to take a moment to acknowledge that some of you may be feeling uneasy, anxious, […]

Hello,

 

We hope summer has been treating you well! To our new families joining us- welcome! To our current and returning families, we are so delighted to have you and to see you again real soon. 

 

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. Dominique and I would love to set up a time to chat with you and address any concerns that you may have around your child in our classroom (lunch, rest, circle toileting, face masks, etc.), and  of course to get to know you!

Sign up sheet for phone call with Teachers

We also included a slide show of photos from our Summer Session (June 22-August 24) to provide a visual of the environment with children wearing masks along with our partitions on the tables. You will find at the end of the blog.  

 

Now we would like to introduce you to our entire staff: 

 

  • Ms. Michelle (Toddler Coordinator and Toddler ADM Lead Morning Teacher)
  • Ms. Dominique (Toddler ADM Lead Afternoon Teacher)
  • Ms. Anja (Toddler ADM Morning Teacher Assistant)
  • Ms. Jena (Toddler ADM Morning Teacher Assistant)
  • Ms. Elizabeth (Toddler ADM Afternoon Teacher Assistant)
  • Ms. Madison (Toddler ADM Afternoon Teacher Assistant)

 

Welcome to the classroom blog. Please read through the important information below. 

 

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 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 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 a time of difficulty for the returners, as they are experiencing a big change as well. These children say goodbye to their older friends and come back to school with a new group of children who are not 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 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. Michelle (mnowacky@gtms.org) and Ms. Dominique (dwells@gtms.org). Teachers are not available for communication during child contact times. If you have any quesitons/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. Dominique, as well as the Administrative Assistant at west@gtms.org

 

Items to bring with your child on the first day

  • 2 changes of clothes, weather appropriate (label with initials)
  • a water bottle (label with initials or name)
  • a blanket for rest (label with initials)
  • diapers, at least 20 (label with initials)
  • indoor shoes (label with initials)
  • a current picture of your child*
  • a photo of your family wearing face masks, and one without*

*Photos can be emailed to Teachers

 

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. Also,  the children really loved having their own water bottle this summer and it seemed as though they drank more water!

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. 

 

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 Routines

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. 

 

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 acitivities– like washing hands or sitting while eating. During the summer, we presented wearing masks as a Grace & Courtesy lesson during Circle. We first discussed germs, and that wearing a mask would protect people from them and from getting sick, just like when teachers put on gloves to serve food: “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!

 

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 dinousar 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.   

 

Normalizing Masks

As a working partnership, parents and school, we can combine our efforts to normalize wearing masks. In our environment, we have embeded this idea into the curriculum in a varitey of ways

  • Creating a matching work: matching photos of children wearing masks to themselves without masks
  • Making songs about Face masks
  • Drawing photos on characters in books
    • Sidenote: the book you will see in the slideshow is David, one of the toddlers’ favorite characters. He forgets the rules a lot and is very relatable to children. We love this book, however we NEVER read the actual words (very negative). Instead, we describe what is happening in the pictures and remind David of the rules. 

Ways that you can help at home:

  • Take 2 minutes to wear your masks together as a family
    • Talk about your masks and describe what they look lik
  • Facetime friends and/or family members while wearing masks
    • Encourage them to put on their masks before you meet  
  • Draw masks on your child’s favorite characters in their books
    • Talk about how that character is 2 years old and so they need their mask
      • Except if the character is sleeping, eating, or outside running 

 

Calendar Events

  • New Parent Orientation: September 2, 2020 @ 4-4:45 p.m.
  • Zoom Parent Social & Classroom Orientation: September 8, 2020 @ 7:00 p.m.

Parents, use each other as resources! Ms. Dominique and I are always here for any questions/concerns, but it is also nice that some of you have been through this process and can help others if needed. 

 

Thank you and looking forward to seeing everyone for phase-in! 🙂

Ms. Michelle and Ms. Dominique 

 

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