Kindergarten Handbook

 Welcome to Kindergarten at Stonecrest Elementary School!  

This is a very exciting time for you and your child and we are very honoured to be part of your child's introduction to formal schooling. To help answer some questions you might have, we have prepared this information book. We hope that you will find it helpful.

Kindergarten Hours

In the Full Day Learning Kindergarten Program we follow the same school hours as the rest of the school.  These hours are as follows:  

9:00-9:15:  Bus Arrival Time
A teacher will meet the buses at the bus drop off area and the children will be brought children into the kindergarten yard.  A teacher will remain with these students until the morning bell.  On inclement weather days, a teacher will send the children directly in.

9:15:  Morning Bell

11:15 – 12:00:  Morning Nutrition Break and Outdoor Recess

2:00 – 2:45 Afternoon Nutrition Break and Outdoor Recess

3:45 Afternoon Dismissal  
Kindergarten classes dismiss at this time. 

Please do not leave your child unattended in the school or outside the school.  Make sure that a teacher is present and your child is with that teacher before you leave the school property.  Please encourage your child's growing independence by letting them enter the school independently under the teacher’s care.

A Typical Day in Kindergarten

The kindergarten day encompasses many activities. The following is a description of those activities with the goal of giving you an insight into what your child may be experiencing each day at school.

Carpet Time

Most days have several large or small group carpet times. This name comes from the fact that often teachers have students sit on the carpet for this part of the day.  Carpet time will also often include songs, poems, stories and learning activities that direct the children toward certain learning goals.

Table Top Time

This is a time when the children are expected to stay at a table and play with an activity that is directed toward a learning goal. These activities can be a hands-on exploration in nature, a small group game, etc.. Although these activities can be goal directed, they are also often "just for fun."

Uninterrupted Free Play

There will be two large block of uninterrupted free play most days.  During this period of time the children are directed towards independent play. They may choose any activities of their choice. These could include puzzles, painting, playhouse, water table, playdough, dry table, educational games, computers, blocks, books and many more. This often becomes a favourite part of the day for many children!

Physical Education

Usually there is a gross motor break during the day, when the children play games, use gym equipment or move to music, inside or outside.  Outdoor free play also occurs daily.

French

All kindergarten students receive 50% French instruction and 50%.  

Library

The children are allowed to choose one book each week at the library. 

Student Absences

Our safe arrival procedure identifies students who are absent from school. If your child will be absent, please telephone the school’s attendance line (832-2369) and leave a message. For extended absences or vacations, please notify the teacher in advance when possible. Students arriving late must be signed in at the office. Students who leave school early must be signed out at the office.

Sign-out procedures for Kindergarten

When you come into the school to get your child. . .

  1. Sign in at the office
  2. Ask for a Visitor badgeCome down to the classroom to get your child (for Kindergarten parents/guardians only).
  3. Return your badge to the office
  4. Sign your child out in the binder provided—this step is very important as it is the method of tracking your child’s whereabouts for the office staff and teachers.

 

Please Remember:

If you are picking up your child please send a note to school the morning of the pick-up to inform the teacher. Also, please come to the classroom by 3:45pm to ensure that you get your child before we leave for the school buses.

Please do not assume that we have seen you come into the classroom or yard, instead, come to a teacher directly, either in the classroom or on the yard to let us know that you are taking your child and that they are safe with you.

Should another family member or friend come to pick up your child, they will require a note, signed by a parent or guardian.

Busing Information

When waiting for the bus, please be sure that your child waits well away from the road.  Also, please instruct your child to wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before moving towards the door.  Parents/caregivers are asked to remain at the pick-up point until the bus leaves.

Parents/caregivers are required to meet the child at the bus drop off point at the end of the morning or afternoon class.  If the parents/caregivers are not at the drop off point the child will remain on the bus and the driver will return them to the school.  Once the child is back at the school, it is the parent/caregiver's responsibility to pick their child up at the school.

Bus buddies will be assigned in September.  We choose responsible older students to bring kindergarten students to and from their buses every morning and afternoon. 

Communication

Communication between the school and parents is essential. In order to ensure that we are communicating effectively, we ask that parents check their child's school bag DAILY for "mail".

To help facilitate communication, both Year 1 and Year 2 Kindergarten students will have Note Totes or Sac à lettres. These will be distributed at the beginning of the school year and are used to carry “mail” such as newsletters, permission forms, or personal notes from school to home.

Open communication is very important throughout the year. If at any time you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact your child’s teachers. An email or note, sent in the Note Tote/Sac à lettre is usually the most effective means. If you are returning permission forms, tear-off slips or money for field trips or performances, please also be sure put the money and forms into an envelope or Ziploc bag that is labelled with your child’s name.

Personal and Caregiving Information

It is of vital importance that the school be kept informed of any changes made to the personal information provided to us when you registered your child for kindergarten. This information includes home and work telephone numbers, street and mailing addresses, emergency contact name and telephone number, custody arrangements as well as caregiving information and phone numbers. If the information we have on record is not up to date, it can result in delays reaching you in the case of an emergency, creating a very difficult and stressful situation for your child and for the office staff.

If there are any changes in your personal information, please inform the school office as soon as possible. Your co-operation is appreciated.

Curriculum

The kindergarten years represent an important time in children’s total development, and as such, the foundation for the kindergarten classes are the expectations found in The Ministry of Ontario’s revised version of The Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program.  The Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten program is a child-centered, developmentally appropriate, integrated, extended-day program of learning for four- and five-year-old children. The purpose of the program is to establish a strong foundation for learning in the early years, and to do so in a safe and caring play-based environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of all children. The learning expectations outlined in the Kindergarten program focus on the following six areas of learning – Personal and Social Development, Language, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Health and Physical Activity and The Arts.

For more information, view a copy of The Kindergarten Program.  

 

Assessment, Report Cards and Interviews

In The Kindergarten Program, the Ontario Ministry of Education states that “observation should be the primary assessment strategy used in Kindergarten”.  Teacher assessment tools and strategies may be formal and/or informal; they might include: student portfolios, daily observations, anecdotal comments, photographs, conferences, work samples, charts, checklists, etc.  

The document goes on to say that “young children actively explore their environment and the world around them through a process of learning-based play - for example, manipulating objects, acting out roles, experimenting with various materials.  Play is a vehicle for learning.  It provides opportunities for learning in a context in which children are at their 

most receptive.  Play and work are not distinct categories for young children, and learning and doing are also inextricably linked for them… generic worksheets should be used with caution; they are rarely effective because their focus is narrow and they provide only limited assessment information on the child’s level of understanding”.

Kindergarten students will receive one informal mid-term report card in late Fall, and two formal report cards—one in January and one in June.

 

Lunch

Lunch

During the day there are two lunch times, referred to as ‘nutrition breaks”.  Parents are encouraged to choose nutritional items for these breaks.  Some suggestion include: a sandwich or wrap, fruit, raw vegetables, yogurt, cheese and crackers, popcorn, a muffin, granola bar, etc.  You know your child’s appetite and eating habits best.  Please do not send soft drinks, candy, or excessively sweet snacks.  We encourage students to bring “garbage-less” snacks whenever possible.  Please ensure all re-usable containers are clearly labeled with your child’s name.  

Food allergies are becoming more prevalent in the schools.  All classrooms are nut-free.  If there is a specific allergy that parents need to be aware of, and pack special food for, the teacher will alert parents as soon as possible.  We appreciate your cooperation and consideration.  

Birthdays & Holiday Celebrations

Birthdays

Birthdays are special events for kindergarten students. Please feel free to send in a special treat to be shared with the class. Please do not send in birthday cakes as these are too messy for a busy kindergarten room. Some great ideas are cupcakes, stickers, licorice or treat-sized boxes of Smarties.

Holiday Celebrations

A small party will honour certain holidays/special occasions in the classroom.  Parents who choose to send in special goodies will sign up for a designated holiday/special occasion during the month of September.  Teachers will send a reminder to all parents involved before each celebration.

Dress For Success

The Kindergarten day is a busy and active one.  Please ensure that your child is dressed so that he or she is comfortable and able to manage clothing on his or her own.  As each day includes an outdoor play time, they must be prepared for the outdoors.  In the case of rainy weather, please send your child in a rain jacket, rather than with an umbrella; please do not allow your child to bring an umbrella to school. A hooded raincoat is a much better option for a child this age.  Children often use an umbrella as a toy, and they often do not know how to collapse or open an umbrella independently.  Once inside, each child must have a pair of indoor slip-on or velcro shoes.  

There is a bathroom in each classroom.  Children should be taught to manage buttons, zippers, snaps, etc. independently, so as to reduce the likelihood of an embarrassing moment.  A regular day will likely include painting, pasting, playing with water, sand, or playdough as well as working in the gym.  Your child will want to be dressed casually so that he or she can take part in the fun.  

It is imperative that EVERYTHING that comes to school is LABELLED with a permanent marker so as to reduce the number of lost items. 

Volunteers

Volunteers are always welcome at Stonecrest E.S. Volunteers are involved in many ways in kindergarten.  In the classroom they are sometimes involved in preparing materials, helping the children with activities, etc.  Volunteers are also needed for field trips or special days, to make play dough, and to prepare materials for crafts.

What to Send to School

Besides the items on the OCDSB school supplies list, there are certain objects that your child will need for September. Here is a shopping list to help you buy the necessities. 

  • One large permanent marker ... for you to use at home to label shoes, backpacks, clothes, snack containers, snack packs etc. It is important to remember that your child will be sharing a cubby with another child, so there is great potential for mix ups.
  • One back pack. Please be sure to buy a large, simple, sturdy back pack.
  • Running shoes (sturdy, labelled, no-laces, preferably with velcro). These shoes will be kept at school. You may bring these to the intake interview.
  • A lunch bag with the family name on it (use permanent marker please).
  • Emergency set of clothes kept in a labelled Ziploc bag.  Please be sure to label all of the clothes (underwear, socks, pants). 
  • One box of kleenex for class use. 
Some Suggestions to Help Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

Help your child to learn their teachers’ names.  They will have an English teaching team and a French teaching team, each with several members.

Encourage your child to practise using their new backpack as well as their snack containers.  Encourage them to dress themselves when getting ready to go outside for play (putting shoes, coats etc. on) before September.  They must be able to manage the shoes they wear to school as well as the ones they leave at school!

Encouraging your child to be independent when dressing themselves is very important for two reasons.  First, the more independent your child is, the greater his or her self-esteem will be.  Second, if your child is able to dress himself/herself quickly it is a huge help to their teacher!  It is nearly impossible for one teacher to assist up to 30 children at the same time.

Encourage your child to tidy up after play, listen to and follow instructions, share, colour, and use scissors and glue appropriately.

Getting A Head Start - What Can To Make the Transition Easier?

Let your child use quality "kid" scissors often. Be sure that their hand holding the scissors has the thumb on the top and that they turn the paper rather than the scissors when cutting.

Practice bathroom skills such as toileting, flushing, putting the seat up or down, washing hands and fastening clothing correctly and independently.

Teach your child their last name.

Teach your child their teachers’ names.

Be sure your child's immunization is up to date.

If you are concerned about your child's vision or hearing be sure to have it checked.