We hope that your family is enjoying your summer! It’s not quite over yet, but here at FCP, our thoughts are definitely in September and starting the new school year. We have missed the children and are eager to see them, and you, again in a few weeks! There is a lot of information to share with you as September approaches. If you have any questions as you read the information, please contact the office.
This newsletter will contain general information to assist you in starting the school year. Over the next couple of weeks, you will receive additional newsletters. Each newsletter will contain specific information. For example, we will send a newsletter with just Covid info; another newsletter with specific info for the first week of school; etc. Also, we will be sending you our updated Family Handbook via Brightwheel. This will be updated on our website as well by the end of this week. Please look for the Family Handbook message as it contains all the information you need to know. We will be asking for the Family Handbook read receipt signatures as it is a State Requirement.
Please be sure to print a copy of our updated calendar, found on our website www.firstchurchpreschool.org, for the full list of school dates. In addition, we are utilizing the calendar feature on Brightwheel where school and classroom events will be shared with you. You will be added to your classroom calendar in September when your child’s classroom placement is announced.
Here are the important dates you need to know to start the year:
- 8/26 – Story Time with Ms. Jen on the Front Lawn (more info coming)
- 9/1 – Classroom placement and teachers will be revealed!!
- 9/3 – Virtual Meet & Greet with teachers (more info coming). PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE CORRECT IN BRIGHTWHEEL TO RECEIVE YOUR EMAILED INVITATION.
- 9/8 – Classroom Visitation Day (more info coming)
- 9/9 – Parent Orientation Day (virtual)
- 9/9 – 1st day of school for 2-day and 5-day children
- 9/10 – 1st day of school for 3-day children
- 9/16 – No school – Yom Kippur
- 10/27 – No school – Family conference day
- 11/2 – No school – Teacher development day
- 11/10 and 11/11 – school photo days
- 11/24 to 11/26 – No school – Thanksgiving Break
- 12/20/21 to 1/3/22 – No school – Holiday Break
- 1/3/22 – School resumes
Allergies, medical, special needs
If you haven’t done so already, please be sure to get your child’s State of Connecticut Health Assessment completed by your pediatrician. This form is REQUIRED for your child to start attending school. Please contact Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Please let us know if your child has allergies, a chronic medical condition or any special needs. You may have already indicated any relevant information of this kind when you submitted your paperwork, but if you haven’t turned those forms in yet, it is helpful if you email us and let us know. In addition to telling us about things such as if your child has allergies to bee stings or certain foods, we also like to know if your child wears glasses or receives services for speech or occupational therapy. When we are aware of special circumstances such as these, we can prepare and make any accommodations that would support your child’s optimal growth and development.
Begin establishing a school routine for bedtime and wake-up times. Do this several days before the first day of school. Children need comforting routines, such as a bedtime story and consistent bedtimes. Having a good night’s sleep is key for having a great day at preschool – at the start of and throughout the year!
What to send to school
Make sure your child’s name is on all his or her belongings that are sent into school. This year we are limiting the types of items your child can bring in, however, here is a list of items you SHOULD send with your child:
- A complete change of clothes – this includes a shirt, pants, underwear, and socks – that will all need to be labeled. Don’t forget that the children will be spending a good deal of time outside each day, so rain gear (boots, a light jacket) and sub accessories (hat, sunglasses) may also be needed. Please speak directly with your teachers for any additional suggested items as the year progresses.
- Extra masks – as per the Office of Early Childhood, all children ages 2 and older now must wear masks in a school setting. Please send your child into school each day wearing a new, correctly fitting, clean and dry mask. We also need you to provide an additional 2 masks to keep in the classroom as extras.
- A water bottle – the teachers can refill it as needed, so it can be kept at school if you want and will be sent home every week or so for cleaning.
- A supply of diapers/wipes (ONLY FOR 2’s CLASSES) – all children in our 2s classes should have a labeled supply of diapers and wipes that will need to be replenished each week or so.
- A nut/tree nut-free snack in a lunch box – we will send an additional newsletter featuring our Nut/Tree Nut-Free Policy, containing important information about what is appropriate to bring to school.
- Lunch in a lunch box – if your child is enrolled in our 3s or 4s Extended Day or Pre-K classes, please send them with a nutritious lunch in a lunch box that is clearly labeled. Please don’t forget to label ALL the component parts that may be included in the lunch box, including utensils. All foods in the lunch should also be nut/tree nut free.
Toileting – Required for entering the 3s program
One focus of our curriculum for the 3s is to support the children’s increasing independence in completing basic self-care routines, such as dressing, washing, and toileting. We do understand that children can and do have toileting accidents sometimes, no matter their age or level of competency with using the toilet. We do not shame a child for having an accident, nor would we penalize them somehow. We offer verbal assistance through instruction, reminders, and support to encourage the children to complete as much as they can on their own first, however, we will also provide hands-on assistance if needed. If a child is having chronic instances of toileting accidents, is resistant to using the toilet at school or receiving hands-on assistance from a staff member or is otherwise struggling with the safe and hygienic use of the toilet while at school, we may need to contact parents or someone designated by the parent to come to the school to assist.
Children are not allowed to wear diapers or “Pull-Up” type diapers at school. We feel that the Pull-Ups are so absorbent that they can hinder a child’s awareness of their own body signals that they need to use the toilet and in realizing that they have wet themselves. We ask that you please provide a clean change of clothing just in case a child has an accident.
The Zero to Three website offers some very helpful guidance and resources about toilet training: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/266-potty-training-learning-to-the-use-the-toilet.
Preparing for the transition
Read books about going to preschool! There are so many wonderful stories to choose from on this topic, but here are a few titles to get you started:
- Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins
- My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards
- What to Expect at Preschool by Heidi Murkoff
- Little School by Beth Norling
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- My Preschool by Anne Rockwell
- I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
- Preschool Day Hooray! By Linda Leopold Strauss
What to do on the first day of preschool
Convey a positive attitude about going to school. Let your child know that school will be a fun, safe place where he/she can play with a variety of interesting materials and make new friends.
Help your child say goodbye. This may be the most difficult part for parents. It is best to keep it short and simple. Give your child a smile, a hug, tell her you love her and she will see you again at (or after) lunchtime, wave goodbye and leave. Even if your child is teary when you go, most of the time her teachers will be able to redirect her attention to a fun activity. If she remains very upset for more than 15 minutes after you leave, we will let you know and strategize with you as to how we can make her next drop-off more comfortable.
What to do beyond the first day of preschool
Review with your child the highlights of his day. Your child may or may not be very communicative about what happened during school. We will send home daily messages via Brightwheel with specifics about what activities he did so you will be able to ask appropriate questions, such as, “I see you had music class today. Which instruments did you play?” If you are not sure what activities took place, simply ask him, “Tell me about something fun you did at school today.” You may or may not get a lot of details from him, and that is fine. Continue to ask each day. Taking an interest in your child’s day send him a message that you care and helps build open communication between you and your child over time.
Stay informed about school activities. Check Brightwheel for daily messages from the teachers and weekly newsletters from the office. Important school announcements will be sent via Brightwheel newsletters so all of the information can easily be found by you in one place. If your email or phone number changes, please update it immediately on Brightwheel and let the office know.
Ask questions. Please contact your child’s teachers or the preschool administrators if you have any questions or concerns.
Jennifer DiCarlo, Director: email@example.com
Melanie Garnett, Administrative Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office phone: (203) 637-5430
Enjoy being the parent of a preschooler! Savor this special time in your child’s life and marvel at the tremendous growth that occurs over these next several months.