I read through the feedback from parents about the Student led Conferences, it is great to know that almost all of you have found this to be a valuable and meaningful format for your child to share their learning with you. Most parents comment on how confident their child is. We are also proud of them of course, but it makes me wonder if, as a community, we can further deepen this confidence. I observe our students, in general, to be confident with some tasks, but there are areas where they need more support. Confidence with self management skills, motor skills, interpersonal skills also need to be developed. As a child centered and play based Early Years program, we are constantly setting up opportunities to develop these skills. There are many opportunities to support this development at home also. We want them to develop confidence with expressing their own creativity, ideas and wonderings, and not being afraid of the unknown. This type of confidence is fostered by the way that we talk to children, the words we use, and how often we let them continue wondering, and stop ourselves from answering their questions. I wanted to recommend that parents read the article that is linked below. I have not read the book that is referenced there, but plan to! Let me know if you want to discuss these ideas further!
We work hard at school to remind children to wash their hands with soap frequently. This is a habit that should be continued at home as well. When I lived in Bangladesh, I was instructed to wash my hands with soap:
- after using the washroom
- before and after eating
-anytime they looked dirty
-AND at least 5 more times per day
I have noticed that many of our students rinse their hands, but need reminders to use soap. Please encourage good hand washing at home, and we will continue to do so at school!
We look forward to seeing you and your child on Friday, March 10, 2017. In case you have more than one conferences to attend, we will offer supervision for EY children in the play room on the first floor. Please be sure that you only leave your child for 40 minutes and that you sign them in and out. Other play areas will not be open for children on this special day, because there are curriculum related activities scheduled. Please see the letter posted on your child's homeroom blog for specific information regarding the event!
The Senior Kindergarten reports for Unit of Inquiry #4 have been sent to parents last week. They are also available on MyschoolOne. In case you have not received this, please check the accuracy of the email that we have on record for you on MyschoolOne.
First of all, I would like to thank the many EY students and parents for remembering that students need to wear their own backpacks! There has been a lot of improvement, which I am proud of! However, this morning I had to remind many students and their caregivers and parents about this. Most of them immediately put their backpacks on. There were several, though who said that the child was feeling unwell, or had a stomach ache and therefore could not wear their backpack today. These backpacks are not (should not) be heavy for this age group. If the child really has a stomach ache, they should stay home until they are well. Otherwise, please remember that carrying bags for your child is NOT helping them. It is hindering their independence and gross motor development. These are habits that need to begin right away and be consistent. Let's work together to support your child's development. Thanks for your continued support!
Student Led Conferences are scheduled for Friday, March 10, 2017. The scheduling link will be sent to you toward the end of next week. Student-led conferences involve the students and the parents. The students are responsible for leading the conference, and also take responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents. The conference involves the student discussing and reflecting upon samples of work and learning centers that they have previously chosen to share with their parents. Students will be leading the conference and explaining to you what they have been doing in various subject areas this year. Your child has been collecting information throughout the year, and is preparing to present to you these efforts and achievements. The conferences cannot be rescheduled on a different day due to the logistics of setting it up.
We have scheduled an information session for parents who are new to OIS and this sort of conference. Please sign up here if you plan to attend. goo.gl/forms/BO1rNMLe86dkfj5H2
The session will be on February 24th at 8:00 am.
Today the semester 1 report cards will be open to parents on MyschoolOne. You will also receive an email with a pdf attachment. It is our hope that you are informed about your child's progress throughout the semester, and that the semester report is a summary. As always, you can make an appointment to discuss your child's progress with their teachers.
All of the EY classes have been taking turns painting the tyres. This activity allows for students to cooperate, collaborate and express their creativity on a large 3 dimensional object. The are able to use different tools and determine how to organize the paint since there is a lot of space available to fill in! We will keep you posted on how we use them...it is a surprise!
The end of semester one is fast approaching and I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a safe, cheerful and relaxing break. We appreciate all of your support for the many school activities and the LEARNING so far this year!
In order to give teachers sufficient time to thoughtfully review all of the children's progress over the semester, we will be sharing the semester report cards with parents on January 20, 2017. We have been sharing updates and progress with you throughout the semester through the students SeeSaw portfolios and classroom blogs. I hope that this broad view into your child's learning has provided you with important information regarding your child's growth, development and learning!
For those of you who are unable to attend, the event will be live streamed on the internet at: http://oislive.blogspot.in/
One Christmas - Three Celebrations on Friday, December 9
Christmas is almost here and we are ready to spread some joy! We bring three different opportunities to expand our circle of happiness to children not so privileged as ours.
1. Gift a Smile: Social Bazaar
While we make merry, let us remember the true spirit of the festival. This year, the PTA has arranged the OIS Social Bazaar from where we can buy gifts for our loved ones. This bazaar will be set up in the lobby between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will provide a single platform for several NGOs who will offer a variety of products. Each purchase you make will 'gift a smile' to someone somewhere.
2. Gift a Smile: Secret Santa
The PTA is initiating a Secret Santa drive for about 1500 children studying in educational institutions run by Aakanksha, an NGO actively engaged in education of underprivileged children. They have requested for stationery for their students. Other than the regular items like colours, pencil boxes, geometry boxes, please feel free to add items like writing boards, paint brushes, drawing books, chalk, slates, and long notebooks. These are Christmas gifts and should therefore be unused and unopened. Please do NOT wrap these gifts. Even be a single box of colours will be a welcome addition to this pool of happiness, but we are aiming to collect at least 1500 pieces so that each child can receive at least one gift.
3. Joy of Giving with Pressto:
OIS is excited to partner with Pressto, the global leader in quality dry-cleaning, in their endeavour called ‘Joy of Giving’. This is an opportunity to donate old soft toys for children. Soft toys which your children may have outgrown or which have been lying in the closet or attic can come out now. Even a single toy which your child may be ready to part with, so that it can become a treasure for another, is welcome.
A kiosk will be setup in the ground floor lobby throughout the day on Friday, December 9, where you can deposit your old soft toys. Please bring gently used toys which are in a decent condition. Pressto will clean, sanitize before gift wrapping them for the kids of 'Voice Sanjivani' (NGO) http://www.voiceofchildren.org.in/
Donate soft toys and gift yourself a 'Live Clean' experience with complimentary Pressto voucher.
It was great to see so many of you in attendance at Mondays' Field Day! I observed lots of team work, cooperation and fun amongst the students; I think you will join me in recognizing how important these events are in their overall development. This events also contributes to the sense of community at OIS! Thank you to those parents who shared photos with us to help us document this great event! In case there are more great high resolution photos that you wish to share with us, you can do so at the following link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B85F82Pf5azmXzhqeWxiY2NFMEU?usp=sharing
Nursery Field Day 8:15-9:30
JKG Field Day 9:30-11:00
SKG Field Day 9:30-11:00
We look forward to seeing you on the OIS field!!
Water Play is an important component in the Early Childhood curriculum. Water Play is a context where children are able to develop all of the following skills: creativity, language, social emotional, physical, math, science and problem solving. They develop all of these skills while having a great time! For these reasons, we offer water play as part of the Early Childhood day. If a child is not allowed to participate, they are missing out on a lot of learning. We supervise the children carefully so that no one drinks the water, thus avoiding the spread of germs. We hope you will continue to support our Early Years learning and allow your child to participate in the Water Play sessions that they have each week. Please remember to send the water play bag!
It is a special day for children at OIS and in India. A day to celebrate how unique and special they are! A day to celebrate their potential and positive influence on society!
For me, it is also a day to reflect on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We live in a country where many of these rights are in danger for many children.
I believe, as someone who defends the rights of the child, that many of these are things that we must work to protect for all children, every day. In our day-to-day teaching at OIS, working with our EY students, we must remember #13, #14, #31.
We must continue to educate our community about the importance of rest, play and recreation. Early Years age children cannot be involved in extra classes, as this takes away from their time to play. Play and free time are rights that we cannot take away from children! Please be sure that you are allowing your child free time and opportunities to engage in free and social play each day. Be sure that they get to bed early enough to ensure a good night of rest. It is their right to have these things to ensure that they develop to their potential!
We have been working toward offering our students more opportunities to express themselves creatively. The experience is empowering for them because they are able to be in charge of how and what they explore and express. Often the creative experience is more about the process than the product. How it feels while you are making something is important to young children and we adults must step back and allow the learning to happen!
Today our PYP coordinator Ms. Veena D'Silva led a parent workshop intended to share with Early Years parents how the Primary Years Program supports your child's learning all the way from Nursery through Grade 5. We focused on the key concepts (see below) and transdisciplinary skills (see below). These are followed and used to guide inquiry and planning through out the program. We hope you enjoyed the hands on learning engagement!
Please be sure to sign up for your Parent Teacher Meeting (Nursery and JKG) or Three Way Conference (SKG). Most time slots are on October 14th, which will be a non-student day. Some slots are available on October 17th, 18th and 19th, but the regular student day will not be affected by these meetings. We look forward to seeing everyone at school in the coming weeks!
If your child is in SKG, this will likely be your first experience with a Three Way Conference. Please be sure to read the information in the attached document before you come to the conference with your child.
The JKG students took on a big challenge this week, to culminate their " Who We Are" unit. They planned and created games and play activities for the other Early Years students. Children from SKG and Nursery visited JKG and took part in new creative games that the JKG students had come up with. In the planning for this event, students created invitations, delivered invitations, planned their game, recorded their ideas, organized the classroom and their materials and practiced so that they would be confident when their guests arrived! This is just one of many hands on, meaningful transdiscplinary experiences that the Early Years students will have this year!
Some of you may have noticed that the teachers and I have been working hard to encourage your children to carry/ wear their own backpacks when they come in to school. If you or someone else carry your child's bag for them, please make sure that your child starts doing it themselves. It goes a long way toward them feeling confident and independent at that critical moment that sets the tone for the day. That critical moment is the moment when your child arrives at school! It also helps them to build some core strength, balance and a feeling of responsibility. Please support us in this endeavor.
Today we had a session for Early Years parents giving an overview of early literacy development and how it fits into the Primary Years Program. Some important points to remember are:
(Making the PYP Happen)
We work hard to develop a strong foundation for literacy development in the Early Years at OIS. This means developing strong oral language skills, a love of books and stories and making meaningful connections with the books that are read to students.
As parents the most important thing that you can do to support your child’s literacy development is to read them fun, interesting stories that have interesting and beautiful illustrations. The conversations and connections that your child will make during these positive experiences will form a solid foundation for a lifelong love of books. If it isn’t already a part of your daily routine, make sure that you have a special time to read to your child each day! You can check the previous post about the importance of reading aloud to children.
Singing songs with your child and reciting nursery rhymes is also important. Tulika Books is a place that you can look for rhymes and books with local Mumbai/ Indian themes and illustrations. You can also check with your child’s teacher about any rhymes that they are learning in class.
If you attended the session, I hope that you found it to be meaningful. You can send us your feedback here.
Through play our young students have opportunities to practice managing and expressing their emotions in a real, meaningful and fun context. When they are playing dress up or kitchen or even block play, they are able to try out different responses to pretend situations. This helps to develop their confidence and ability to respond when the real life interactions come up. They develop language too when they are playing. When they take on different roles in the pretend play, they interact from a perspective different from their own, giving them the opportunity to use different and new vocabulary. They also have a chance to develop their motor skills and spatial awareness. When they climb, duck through, stretch and jump they use more and different muscles than they would if they were sitting or laying down with an electronic device. We urge parents to consider this perspective when thinking about how your child spends their free time. We also urge you to ensure that they do have free time! In their free time, they have to use their own creativity to come up with ideas for play. They have time to take their ideas further in a relaxed time frame. In the Primary Years Program, it is important that our students develop their self-management skills and learn how to interact safely, work well with others, be aware of the space around them, and organize themselves effectively. These skills, which they develop through free play, are a big part of the essential foundation for learning that we are working towards in the Early Years.
We believe that the most important factor necessary for a child to learn to read is that the child enjoys books and stories. Learning takes place when kids have a great attitude and are enjoying the process. Since reading is a very complex task that involves many parts of the brain (for decoding as well as comprehension, processing and paying attention, making connections and remembering what has already been read), it is essential that children feel good about it and are not forced to do it independently before they are ready. All children are ready at different times, and start to pick up skills on their own when they are ready. Again, the most important component is that they love listening to stories, making up stories, illustrating stories and talking about stories!
Parents can support us by reading aloud to children each day. Please read stories that are fun to read and have quality illustrations. Beginning reading books are not the best ones to read aloud because they generally have less interesting illustrations and the stories are not as much fun! Take the time to look at the illustrations with your child and let them use the illustrations to predict what will happen in the story!
There are many lists of titles available online. This one can get you started: