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									The Official Koala Class Handbook
Dear Parents, Welcome to our very own Koala Open House. We're so pleased to have the chance to get to know you and your child and to give your child the opportunity to get acquainted with his/her new classroom and classmates. In this handy packet is an overview of all the little organizational details that will help our class run happily. You might like to hold onto this packet for future reference.
COMMUNICATION We know you want to hear about our class adventures and plans. Our Treehouse Tribune newsletter will be on-line at the Quest website each Friday. This is the most effective way for me to keep you in the loop, so please be sure to take a peek. I will be happy to show you how to find it at Meet the Teacher Night! Every Friday, you will find a "Friday Folder" in your child's backpack with other important information from our classroom and from the office. This is our trusty way to get important updates and reminders to you. Please be sure to check this promptly and return the empty folder each Monday. I am always happy to hear from you and to help in any way I can. The best way to reach me is by e-mail at cindy.riess@questacademy.org, which I check periodically throughout the day and evening. You can also leave a message on my voice mail (847-202-8035 X437), which I generally check before 8AM and before dismissal. I will get back to you promptly, certainly within 24 hours. You can help us by communicating any concerns or questions that you have to me personally, rather than passing them on through our assistants. This allows me to be sure I am on top of our children's needs. Drop off and pick up times can be very busy, and we want to have the chance to greet and say goodbye to the children. Quick chats with me about upcoming birthday treats or an afternoon schedule change are fine, but it is better to email or schedule a conference for anything more involved, so I can give you my full attention. PARENT ORIENTATION I am looking forward to meeting with you at our Meet the Teacher Night on Thursday, September 10th at 7PM. Just a reminder: this is an evening for adults only to acquaint you with our curriculum and classroom goals, to give you a feel for our daily schedule, and to offer opportunities for supportive volunteer positions, if you are so inclined. CONFERENCES Conferences will be held October 22 and 23. This will be our time to celebrate your child's unique contribution to our class. With 7 weeks of class time behind us, we will be in a good position to begin discussing your child's progress, and we can trade notes from two perspectives on your child's adjustment to school. ASSISTANTS/ PHONE NUMBER/ DROP OFF, PICK UP The Koala Class is very fortunate to have two wonderful assistants. They are Mrs. Jill Kessler and Mrs. Annie Johnson. The children address them as Mrs. Kessler and Mrs. Johnson. Our Koala program emphasizes a "Can-Do" theme. Especially at this age, children love the wonderful sense of "doing it myself." How can you help?

CLOTHING Please help your child choose appropriate play clothes for school. Layering, as the weather changes, allows us to resolve overheating complaints common to busy learners. Clothes your child can fasten and unfasten independently are important. We will always be there to assist, but "fours" take great pride in dressing independently. Shoes that facilitate climbing, running, and jumping are critical for safety and large motor development. Gym shoes with Velcro are wonderful! We go outside whenever weather permits. We have P.E. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and gym shoes are a must. (Some parents leave a pair in school if they are not the usual shoe-of-choice.) EXTRA CLOTHING Accidents will happen, whether it's spilled juice or "waiting too long." Your child needs to have a full set of clothing, appropriate to the weather, including underwear, two pairs of socks, and shoes in a labeled ziplock bag in the bottom compartment of his/her cubby. (The two pairs of socks are for wet winter feet.) Please feel free to see this as a recycling opportunity for stained clothes or hand-medown shoes as long as they fit. They won't get much use. LUNCHES/ BACKPACKS/ FOLDERS Along the same "Can-Do" lines, your child will especially enjoy simple lunches with small portions of just a few foods cut for small hands. Especially at first, do not send more than 3 items. Koalas can spend an amazing amount of time unpacking, showing, repacking, unpacking again…you get the gist. Containers should be ones that your child can open by him/herself. Please, no candy, gum, soda, microwavable items, or metal pull-top cans. We do have a refrigerator to keep lunches cool. Your child can have fun practicing opening and closing that new backpack and lunchbox as we count down to our first day. Please send a backpack with your child every day. It helps to choose one that is roomy, rather than tiny and cute. Some Koala creations are sizable! NOTES/ INVITATIONS FROM CHILD TO CHILD On a related note: we want all our children to feel special at school. Please send party invitations by mail to children's homes or give them to us to include in the Friday folders. Notes put in cubbies often do not make it home! KOALA OF THE DAY/ SNACKS/ BIRTHDAYS/ SHARE TIME We will be eating lunch early this year, so our Koalas will be ready for a snack mid-afternoon. Rather than ask you to pack a snack each day for your child, our parents take turns providing a snack and juice for the entire class about once a month. This way, snack time becomes an integral part of our curriculum, as well as a special day for your child. We can talk about the particular kind of food, record our choices on a graph, sort and classify, count, add, subtract, and make eating a learning experience. Each month, a calendar like those included will be sent home, giving you your date(s). Please hang it on the refrigerator or in a prominent place to remind you about your child's special day. The children are sad if they miss a turn. Birthdays have been taken into account, so your child's birthday--as close as possible--is automatically his/her snack day. Please feel free to switch days with another parent for expected conflicts. We will not have scheduled snack days on Fridays—Ice Cream Days.

What is an appropriate snack? We encourage you to provide a small, healthy snack that you and your child have either planned or made together. What's been successful in the past? Cheese cubes and grapes Sliced cheese and crackers Mini-muffins Mini-bagels and cream cheese Veggies and a simple dip

Cut-up fruit with crackers Healthy cookies Go-gurts or yogurt cups Applesauce cups Pretzels with a soft cheese

What else should I bring? Along with snacks for 21 children, we also need one 32 oz. plastic container (the smaller size bottle—not the huge one) of real juice or one half-gallon of milk, along with disposable cups (5 or 6 oz.) and any needed napkins, spoons, or plates. What would be considered inappropriate? Peanuts or peanut butter Foods high in sugar Food that needs much preparation (a whole pineapple, unpeeled oranges, a bag of carrots that need peeling. (We'll be happy to cut up fruits that turn brown, but please wash first.) What if my child is sick on his/her snack day? Do not concern yourself with snacks on days your child is absent; we have back-up snacks and juice. (You can help us re-supply our back-up closet with crackers/goldfish/pretzels and juice if you like when your child returns.) Your child is welcome to bring his/her item to share when s/he returns to school. What about birthdays? Special birthday treats are such fun, and we welcome them. "Nutritious snack" rules need not apply. Please help us by sending individual portions, and continuing the no candy/gum/soda policy. Think small!! SHARE TIME Your child's Share Time day is the same as his/her snack day. We are asking that you support at home what we are telling the children at school; namely, that only non-toy items are acceptable at Share Time. Almost inevitably, toy show-and-tells become an "issue" at some point in the day. We do better if all play materials in the room are common property. What kind of Share Time items are we looking for? A quick guideline? Things that stimulate the children to describe the world outside their immediate and familiar home environment. Fragile or valuable items will be returned to backpacks once shown; others will be displayed in our science center. Some of the most successful shared treasures have been: Old-fashioned kitchen tools Sea shells, sand dollars, starfish An abandoned bee hive/nest A special rock A ginger root Frogs, insects, “discoveries” Parents sharing a special interest/skill/object Favorite books Programs from events children have attended Photos of family outings/pets A litter of beagle puppies (!) Model cars, planes, Lego creations

All children are welcome at any time to bring in words they can read to add to our Word Board. These can be cut-out cereal names, names cut from candy wrappers, a pet's name, pictures of signs, etc.
TRANSITIONAL TOYS FROM HOME We do have one exception to the toy rule. Many children appreciate a "warm fuzzy"-type toy early in the year, as they make the transition into class. Your child is welcome to bring a small, labeled, nonaction figure toy to keep him/her company at center time. We also have a collection of cuddly animals of our own here to enjoy. Please help us by checking your child's backpack for other toys, Mom's very expensive jewelry (yes, really!) and large sums of money (!). THERE'S A BIG WORLD OUT THERE One of the goals of our Koala Class is to provide your child with a wealth of exposure to new and interesting activities, ideas, and experiences. In addition to trips where we go to see the world, we would like to bring the world to us. Last year, we had quite a few parents join us, and it really is painless! What are we looking for?  Your child may know about building model planes because Grandpa builds and flies them. Another child may know about making pierogi or kolaczki because your family makes them. Are there traditions or interests that members of your family would be able to share with us? We are talking about 10-20 minute "events." A collection of antique trains with a demonstration, an uncle who plays guitar and would like to teach us a song, a traditional costume and a few words from another country…just let me know.  Do you know friends, neighbors, relatives whose work or recreational activities lend themselves to interesting demonstrations? Four-legged visitors from home or a pet store, "real" costumes worn by an aunt in a play, how to solder pipes so they don't leak, carpentry in action, medical/ dental/ veterinary equipment and x-rays, therapy or adaptative equipment used by people with physical challenges, changing a tire/ how a car starts…four-year-olds are endlessly fascinated with how things work, and short presentations are easy to prepare. Do you have family members who travel often for business or pleasure, either here in the states or internationally? Could they be persuaded to drop a picture postcard to the class from their destinations? We'll locate the place on the map, talk about near and really far, and learn some interesting facts about the location. (Wow! We’ve got mail!) Here's the address: The Koala Class Quest Academy 500 N. Benton Palatine, IL 60067

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Thank you in advance for all your support! We're off to a wonderful year. Fondly, Mrs. Cindy Riess Koala Teacher

The Official Koala Class Handbook 2009-2010

Mrs. Riess Mrs. Kessler and Mrs. Johnson


								
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