Kindergarten during a Pandemic by Jennifer Neafcy, Kindergarten Teacher
As we have begun this school year, I’m sure we can all agree that things are different this year. This is my 26th year in education, and these past two school years are the most unique ones I have experienced. The same can be said for the students. At the beginning of each school year; I’m always excited and eager to meet my students; this year, I also began with trepidation, fear, and anxiety. I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out, especially for some of our younger learners at Hope. With a lot of support from our administration, the parents, and our Hope community, we are off to a great start!
Kindergarten has always been a big transition year. Children are moving from preschool into a more structured learning environment. The spring break coupled with our Covid-19 protocols, had me nervous for a successful transition into Kindergarten. Other than preschool, Kindergarten is the only class where all of the Hope students are 100% in person. That has been extremely beneficial in making a smooth transition into Kindergarten. As I was planning for the year, I had to figure out how I was going to keep children, who naturally want to be close to other children, 6 feet apart. How were we going to keep the masks on? How was I going to be able to meet the physical and emotional needs of my students and give them the opportunity to move their bodies? How was I going to keep these little bodies at their desks all day? How were we going to do small guided reading groups, which are one of the foundations of our literacy program in Kindergarten? I wrestled with all of these questions before school, and even during the first few weeks.
We have made it work in our classroom through the creative use of movement, humor, and meeting sensory needs. Here are some of the things that are happening in the Kindergarten classroom. First of all, I realize that these young learners cannot sit at a desk all day. We take multiple brain breaks throughout the day. Brain breaks are a physical or a mind stimulating activity that lasts 1-3 minutes. It gives the brain a chance to take a break and then refocus on the task at hand. I have also given my students clipboards and have told them that, while they have to remain in their desk area, they can work on the floor next to their desk or even under their desks. That flexibility gives them the chance to make their bodies comfortable and to focus on their work. This year, I do not have a shelf full of building materials and games that the students could use during free time. I realized that this was not going to meet some of the sensory and emotional needs of the class this year. To solve this problem, I assembled sensory kits, which the students call goodie bags, for each student. They include slime, kinetic sand, squishy balls, and building materials. Students can pull out these materials when needed. They LOVE having the opportunity to explore with these kits.
While this school year is different, I am excited to be back in the classroom with my students!
Calendar of Events – Click Here
Wed. 10/14: 8:40 AM Chapel Online Led by Mrs. Neafcy, Kindergarten Teacher
Thurs. 10/15: 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM Picture Day Group B 5-8 & All Virtual Students
Wed. 10/21: 8:40 AM Chapel Online Led by Mrs. Mueller, Family Life Minister
COVID-19 Protocols Reminder
If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19, including the usual symptoms associated with a common cold such as runny nose, cough, and congestion, they will need to remain home until they have a negative COVID test and are feeling better. We realize this is inconvenient and not Hope’s usual practice, but because we don’t know if it’s a cold or COVID-19, we must follow these protocols set forth by the King County Department of Health. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to Principal Kristen Okabayashi at email@example.com or call the school office at (206) 935-8500. Thank you!
Chapel Offering Envelopes
Offerings are typically collected during our chapel services from the students using their weekly offering envelopes. These will now be collected in class for now as Hope School continues to sponsor a child, Christopher Tano, through Compassion International. Your students offering envelopes will be sent home each Tuesday starting today. These offerings allow students to develop a pattern of giving as part of their Christian lives and to share God’s love by supporting missions and charities. Therefore, we encourage students to give from their own money (allowance or other earnings).
Picture Day for Group B & Virtual Students is Thursday 10/15 – 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM
All students will go through Covid19 Screening before entering the building prior to getting their picture taken, and will be properly spaced out while waiting. We ask that parents wait for their student outside or in your car. Students may wear classy dress for their picture or their uniform, and are not required to wear a mask while taking their picture. Students will hold their mask while taking the picture; the mask will not show in the picture.
Parents may still PRE order fall picture day packages online until the images are received by our lab for processing; this is usually about 48 hours after picture day.
To do this please go to www.my.lifetouch.com and enter your schools Picture Day ID.
10/15 = EVTTGSDVW
PTH General Meeting Minutes from 9-29-2020 – Click Here
Minutes from our 1st general meeting are now available on your school website.
Directories will be complied today with our goal to have them available by the end of October. These will be sent home to the oldest student through our Tuesday communication envelope or mailed home for our virtual families.
Parent Involvement Program or PIP Opportunities
We need help to keep our campus clean and tidy! Contact Mrs. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sweeping of our playground wood chips. This can be done afterschool hours or on weekends. We do have tools available or you are welcome to bring your own.
Church Happenings – Click Here
Drive-Thru Coat Collection – Saturday, October 17th from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Hope Lutheran Church is hosting a coat drive that emphasizes keeping children warm during the winter months. Help us spread joy over the holiday season by giving to a child in need!
You can help by donating NEW warm coats. We are accepting coats for either boys or girls from children’s size 6 – Adult 2X. In addition, we will also be accepting used Men’s coats in sizes M, L, XL. Financial donations are also accepted.
No Contact Donation: Enter our parking lot by turning in on 41st Ave SW and exiting to SW Oregon Street. Volunteers will be on hand to unload your backseat or trunk so you don’t even have to get out of your car.
HOPE 101 Are you interested in learning more about whom we are and what we believe? Contact email@example.com for more information and to be added to sign up.