There are only a very few days left before preschool starts! We have been hard at work in the classroom getting things just right for our students. We’ve sanitized, organized, stocked supplies, and Miss Vicki created another fabulous bulletin board to welcome the children. If you enlarge the picture, you and your little one just might be able to find his or her fish.
This is truly a huge moment in all of your lives. Many of you will be sending your children off to fly solo for the first time. I promise that Miss Vicki and I will take good care of your little ones and guide them through one of the best school years they’ll ever have.
I’m a fan of lists. A good list informs and organizes. Here’s a list with a few items you should review over the weekend:
- The Backpack. Your child will need to bring a backpack to school each day. Plan to keep a complete change of clothes (right down to socks and slippers) in the backpack all year. We have plenty of classroom materials (pencils, scissors, crayons, etc.), so your child should not pack these. Children tend to be possessive of such personal items, which are often “absorbed” into the classroom bins filled with crayons, pencils, scissors, etc. School is a lot more fun when you’re not worried about keeping track of your “stuff.” Please either write your child’s name on the outside of the backpack, or attach a luggage tag inscribed with your child’s name. It’s hard to tell which kid belongs to which Spider-Man or Disney Princess backpack!
- Health Form. Our goal is to protect and enhance the health and safety of all children and adults at Hogarth. Hogarth is licensed by the State of New Hampshire (license number 0563) and meets or exceeds the legal requirements for the protection of the health and safety of children in group settings. Children must have documentation of immunizations on file on the first day the child is in attendance at Hogarth. [He-C 4002.19(a)] Children must have a Child Health Form completed by their physician and on file at Hogarth within 30 days of enrollment, and they must be immunized according to the standards of the American Academy of Pediatrics. [He-C 4002.19(c)] Physical exams must be conducted annually through the child’s 5th birthday, and semiannually thereafter.
- Food Allergies. We have a child allergic to nuts in both EK and PK2, and another child allergic to pumpkin in PK2. If your child is in danger of anaphylaxis and requires an EpiPen, please read through our Allergies Policy to see what is required from you by the first day of school. We will provide light, nutritious snacks that all the children can eat. If you’d rather send in snack for your allergic child, that’s fine. Even if your child doesn’t have an allergy, if you want to send in his or her snack, feel free. I only ask that you do not send in sweets — cupcakes, candy, Twinkie-type snacks — or foods that we would need to prepare (including peeling apples) in any way. If you send in grapes, they must be cut in half to reduce the risk of choking.
- Personal items. Toys, gum, cough drops, water bottles, Thermoses, and such need to stay at home. Now is probably a good time to review our Policies. You’ll find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!
- Orientation. There are only 4 more sleeps until Orientation Day! (I had a student years ago who counted down to events by how many times she had to sleep until the day arrived. I loved it!) The schedule (which you’ll find on the Calendar page) looks like this:
Wednesday, September 3rd –Orientation Day
- Early Kindergarten (EK) orientation is at Hogarth from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Prekindergarten 3 (PK3) orientation is at Hogarth from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Prekindergarten 2 (PK2) orientation is at Hogarth from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
What can you expect at orientation? The hour is very loosely structured, with the children playing in the classroom (there is simply not enough time to go out to the playground on orientation day) while the teachers circulate among them. Be prepared to play yourselves, because you will most likely be your child’s preferred playmate, at least at first.
When things get rolling, you’ll see some children jumping into the social scene with both feet. You’ll see other children observing from the sidelines for a bit, before cautiously venturing out among their new classmates. You’ll see some children spending most of the hour by their parent’s side. All of these reactions are typical, which just goes to show how socially diverse the preschool population is.
By the end of the hour, the teachers would have spent a bit of time with every child. Parents may have discovered other parents from their neighborhoods and set up carpools. Most (if not all) of the children will leave looking forward to coming back for the first “real” day of school. I always end the hour reading the same story I read every year (you’ll have to come to orientation to see what that story is!) and showing the children the book I plan to read on the first day of school. This gives them something to look forward to, and something for you to talk about with them when you pick them up after that first class. (It’s always better to ask specific questions about a child’s day at school. Questions like, “Did Miss Murphy read that story she showed us at orientation? What was it about?” Those kinds of questions elicit more detailed responses than general questions such as, “What did you do in school today?”)
If at all possible, please try to arrange childcare for any siblings so that you can devote all your attention to your preschooler and his or her transition at orientation.
- Brace yourself. Plan on seeing more than a few tears from more than a few kids during those first few weeks of school. (And maybe from a couple of parents, too.) Not every child is going to have separation anxiety, but some surely will. I’ve written an article with tips on how to make separating a little easier for both you and your child. You can read it here. If you’re still not sure, just look at what other parents have said about their children’s Hogarth experiences. I promise that once your child makes it over the separation obstacle, s/he’s going to have a fabulous time at Hogarth!
- Here’s a wonderful book to read with your little one. It’s Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney and it should help take the edge off any “nerves” your little one has about starting school.
Enjoy these last few days of vacation!