Dear Berrybrook Families,
Welcome to the new Family Matters link on our school website.
Here is how it works:
1. Families send their early-childhood questions confidentially to our
e-mail address: email@example.com
2. Staff present and answer questions in an anonymous format on the Family Matters web page.
3. Families go to http://www.berrybrookschool.org and click on the Family Matters link where they will be able to read the questions and answers.
We hope this provides a sense of community where support and encouragement are offered as families strive for balance in their daily lives with young children.
We look forward to hearing from you because at Berrybrook...Family Matters!
How do I get my child to dress appropriately for the winter? It's a battle getting dressed in the morning! All he wants to wear are spring/summer clothes because they are his favorite.
Any part of getting the family ready for the day and out the door on time can be frustrating, especially getting dressed. Parents want their children dressed appropriately for the season, temperature, etc. Children usually want the power to choose. There's your solution! Offer choices for your child from which YOU approve!
For example: Lay out your child's choice of clothing preferably the night before. Typically, the fewer the choices, the better. The choices you offer should be ones that you approve of regardless which one they choose, however you are respecting their right to decide what they like for that day. Make it easier on yourself by only having in their closet clothes appropriate to the season. Many factors are involved in why children choose the clothes they do - comfort, color, clothing similar to a friend's clothes, control and sense of power, etc. In extreme cases where a t-shirt, for example, might be their absolute favorite, you may consider letting them wear it under more appropriate clothing. Practice encouraging independence while getting dressed. Words such as, "You know just what to do! You must be very proud of yourself!" or "I'll help with your socks, you can do your shoes." It also helps to show confidence that your child can get dressed by saying, "When you're all dressed then you can help me make the pancakes!" This shows your confident expectation that they can and will do it, rather than posing it as a question or a request such as, "If you get dressed all by yourself then maybe I'll make you pancakes..."
And lastly, when it comes to putting on all those snow clothes to brave the cold outdoors...we often say at Berrybrook, "Today, the temperature tells us we need to wear our snowpants (mittens, hat, etc)" Therefore, the reason to do so is on an uncontrollable factor (the temperature) rather than a person who they may feel they need to try to control by refusing to do so. Try it! It usually works! You'll feel proud of yourself by realizing you are respecting your child as they understand how to use the power that comes along with their naturally developing sense of self.
I would love to hear from my 4 year-old what he does at school. Yet, when I ask him he says "nothing". He enjoys school but I am curious what he is doing. How do I elicit more of a response from him?
Children are often tired, mentally & physically after a busy time at school. It's the last thing they feel like talking about. Most often they are willing to share their thoughts later in the day, dinner table or at bedtime. It may help to ask specific questions..."What was today's story about?", "Did you build in the block room today?", "What was in the water table today?", "What was today's project?", "What was your favorite part of your school day? etc. Good luck!
My daughter will be starting kindergarten in the fall, but I don't know how to answer her questions because she is our only child. Are there any books that you can recommend that I can read with her? I also have no idea what to expect and I don't know if there is anything I need to be doing now to start the registration and screening process. Should I call the Elementary School directly to inquire about these things, or is it too early?
Going off to kindergarten is both exciting and anxiety provoking for children and parents. Balancing the here and now with questions about next fall can be overwhelming. Adults don't always have all the answers, and it's ok to let children know that. You can ask your child "What things do you want to know about kindergarten?" Just as when they were very young, give simple straight forward answers.
If she asks about the bus, give a simple answer. "The bus driver will stop at the end of our driveway. I'll wave good bye. I will be waiting here for you at the end of the day."
Most schools will provide information about the transition to kindergarten at the time of registration. The district's screening process will be explained to you as well. Depending on the school district, there may be activities over the summer and/or an orientation for the new students. Parents can call their Elementary school or check the local newspaper for the date and times for the registration process.
Your classroom teachers are a great resource. During Spring Conference time, kindergarten transition is an important topic. Berrybrook students will visit Chandler School in Duxbury during the spring. The bus ride is always exciting. Even if your child will not be going to Duxbury Public School, this visit helps children begin to understand what kindergarten is and this is the time when they may have very specific questions.
It is important to help temper her excitement so that she is able to enjoy the rest of her pre-k year. You can help answer some of her questions about the future while redirecting her to what is happening now. "Do you think you will be painting at school tomorrow?" Or "I wonder if you will learn a new song at circle?"
One favorite book about Kindergarten is from the Berenstien Bears series of books. This collection offers parents and children positive ways of dealing with a number of childhood struggles such as fear of the dark, a new baby, going to kindergarten, sibling relationships and many more.