The Importance of Rituals and Routines

We’ve often heard people say, “I just need to get back into routine” after an extended absence or a deviation from the norm. Routines have a way of defining our day, and for many of us, they create order and stability. For our children stability equates to safety. Imagine living life not knowing what task or meeting was coming next? It would make prioritizing and planning quite difficult, wouldn’t it? Our children need to prioritize and plan, too.

Our curriculum supports teaching routines within the first few days and weeks of school, and to re-teach as often as necessary. There are routines for every situation you can imagine: entering the classroom, washing hands, lining up to visit the playground, etc. Routines provide a safe context in which our students and children navigate their days. (Bailey, B., 2015). (Wong, H., & Wong, R., 2009).  You may notice that we post routines in our rooms in pictures with accompanying text. These posted routines provide the “how to” or reminder for our children as they are learning and practicing routines. Once we know the routines, we are all free to think about the ideas and concepts that have caught our attention!

Rituals are the glue that binds our school family together. We have rituals for Morning Meeting, absent children, greetings, and goodbyes, and the list goes on! Again rituals promote safety for both adults and children alike. There is comfort in knowing that you can count on your teachers and peers to take time to greet you in the way that is comfortable to you, or that you know there will always be a very special ritual when leaving the playground. Rituals bind us as a community, and create connectivity in our classrooms. A connected classroom is a productive and peaceful classroom.

We wish you well as you learn new routines and rituals within your child’s school family. If you don’t already have hello and goodbye rituals in place in your home, perhaps this is the year that you introduce them. A special high five or handshake is creates a powerful moment for families as they go in different directions during their busy days!

 

Bailey, B., (2015). Building Resilient Classrooms. Oviedo, Florida: Loving Guidance, Inc.

Wong, H. & Wong, R. (2009). The First Days of School. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.

Weekday School Office Closed During the Month of July

The Weekday School office will be closed July 1 – July 31.  We shall return on August 3.  You are welcome to send us an email and we will respond when we return.

First Days of School 2015 2016

Our first days of school for the 2015 2016 school year will be September 8 and September 9!

Meet Our Teachers for the 2015 2016 School Year

Families are invited to come and meet our teachers on Friday, September 4, 2015.   Come anytime between the hours of 9:30 and 12:00.  There will be information about our school set up in Loudoun Hall.  We will also have members of the Weekday School Team available to answer any questions you may have.  Looking forward to seeing our returning families as well as those new to our school family!

Warmer Weather Creates an Outdoor Learning Environment!

The month of May brings with it warmer temperatures and longer days. The once-dormant landscape comes alive again with a multitude of colors. This provides a wonderful opportunity to explore colors, changes during the lifecycle of plants, and discussions about changes in temperature. From these experiences, children learn that changes can be observed, and those observations can be recorded through pictures and text. Changes in plant life and temperature also lay the foundation for the concept of measurement. (Retrieved April 20, 2015 from http://creativestarlearning.co.uk/literacy-outdoors/lets-get-writing-outside/ )  Young children are capable of observing flower growth, the length of leaves on trees, and making comparisons between the feel of a warm sidewalk against a cool breeze on a spring day!

Milder temperatures also mean more opportunities for literacy experiences outside. Consider taking your favorite books outdoors for read alouds under a shady tree. Props can be included for use in storytelling, and sidewalk chalk provides a wonderful tool for children to retell a story through pictures, and to practice fine motor development.  Seasonal weather offers a context for such songs as “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Rhyming songs and fingerplays host many literacy benefits as children develop phonological and phonemic awareness.

When you are looking for science and literacy activities for your child(ren), consider adding the great outdoors as a venue for learning. The real life experiences in nature provide authentic, meaningful learning experiences for everyone in the family!

 

Sources:

Literacy Outdoors. ( November 19, 2010). Let’s Get Writing Outside. Retrieved from: http://creativestarlearning.co.uk/literacy-outdoors/lets-get-writing-outside/

JIM GILL IN CONCERT

All Weekday School families are invited to bring their children to see Jim Gill, a musician and author, on Friday, April 10 at 10:00 in the church’s fellowship hall.  Jim will provide an interactive and fun time of singing.  The children have heard many of Jim’s songs, including:  “The Sneezing Song,”  “The Goodbye Song,” and “Onomatopoeia Pizzeria.”  Jim’s book Soup Opera has also been a hit at the Weekday School!

Calendar Changes

The following changes have been made to our school calendar:

April 1, 2, and 7 will now be school days.  April 1 will be a noon dismssal.  The last day of school will be May 29.

Process Art

 

What is Process Art?

 

 “Color it just like this.”  “Glue it on the paper to look just like the sample.”  “Cut here and paste here.”    These are statements that are not heard in our developmental classrooms.  While those statements may have relevance in other settings, they would not be appropriate to use in order to encourage children to create an artistic masterpiece.

 

Art activities are child-centered, open-ended, and explorative in nature. Children are encouraged to “explore”, “experiment with”, and “discover” a variety of media.  Emphasis is placed on how children use the materials and what learning is taking place and not on the finished product.  In other words, focus is on the process.

This process is supported by:

  • offering and not “making” the children “do” art;

  • having H-U-G-E sheets of paper available;

  • seeing the possibility of painting with things other than brushes;

  • not using dittos, patterns and cut out art;

  • not making models or examples for the children;

  • not drawing for the child; and,

  • refraining from over-commenting, especially with words such as “Great picture!” This tends to place a value judgment on the picture.

 

A free resource entitled:  “A Few of Our Favorite Projects and Unique Things to Paint With” can be found on: www.ooeygooey.com.

 

 

 

 

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things After Christmas and the Holidays

Christmas and the holidays come and go with a flurry of excitement. Our children have encountered cheerful seasonal decorations, visits with relatives and friends, and a departure from their normal schedules. Arriving back at school after an extended break may be accompanied with separation anxiety, slower-than-usual movements while getting ready for school, or all-out confusion when faced with routine tasks. Adults may find themselves feeling curious about the fact that their child was able to master tasks three weeks ago, and is now struggling.

Consider the following when planning to go back to school:

  • Re-set your child’s normal bedtime if you have strayed from it. Changes in schedules happen; especially, when Great Aunt Barbara who is only in town at Christmas wants “just ten more minutes with the little ones.”
  • Break tasks into smaller chunks for your child. Getting dressed prior to the Christmas and holiday break may have included putting on shoes. To scaffold your child, tell them to get dressed, and then tell them to put on their shoes.
  • If you don’t already have a picture schedule for routines, consider implementing one in your home. Pictures of children engaged in activities work best; however, there are a number of routine ClipArt icons on the web. Loving Guidance also sells Routine and Responsibility cards. For a sneak peak, please visit the following link: https://consciousdiscipline.com/store/pc/Routine-Responsibility-Cards-5p76.htm. These cards function in a similar manner that “To Do” lists do for adults!
  • Remember to include choice when a choice exists. Not brushing your teeth is not a choice, but making the choice between two shirts is.
  • Allow for a little extra time on the first few days back in routine. Planning ahead will save everyone from moments of extreme frustration.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is to focus on what you want the child to do. Focusing on what you want your child to do sounds like, “It’s time to get dressed.” versus, “Stop playing in the bathroom and come get ready.” The first statement is succinct, and tells the child what to do. The second statement calls attention to playing in the bathroom, and “get ready” most likely is not liable to register in a child’s brain after over two weeks of being out of routine.

We wish you well as you get back into the swing of things!

November 2014

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116 South Loudoun St. Winchester, VA 22601