Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

March 4th Newsletter

Social Emotional Well Being

This winter I have been part of a teacher inquiry on Social Emotional Well Being. This has included professional reading, connecting with kindergarten teachers to share strengths of our programs and attending workshops to learn about new programs and resources. As a  Reggio Inspired Educator/Researcher relationships of child and family are integratal to our work. With Covid many new challenges have emerged, one of which is a need to reflect on our programs and ensure that your child's SE Well Being is cared for. I am excited at the changes in the program and wanted to share some highlights with you.

I also wanted to welcome Natasha to our classroom team. Natasha is a Education Assistant and is working with the District Team to help build a strong foundation of safety and social emotional well being for your children. This includes a district teacher shadowing her in the mornings, working with us on developing supportive strategies and also providing critical reflection as part of my professional learning plan. 

I am so grateful for this opportunity. She is a kind, gentle and caring professional, attentive to children and working collaboratively to build a strong team for our class. Natasha also works as a recess supervisor and will have many opportunities to connect with all of the children outdoors. 

Miss Macdonald is also continuing to support SE Well Being and has continued as a volunteer while she returned to class to support your children.  Her VIU volleyball team is travelling to Charlottetown, PEI  in March for a competition and I am hoping that my Charlottetown family will find time to cheer her on at her games as I wish I could. She will return for a final teacher practicum in April for seven weeks.

The February and March focus has been to  strengthen your child's social emotional well being here at school by incorporating their needs and interests into our program, building a caring learning community and whenever possible offering joyful learning. 

I wanted to highlight some of the new strategies or materials which have been integrated into the program. 

  • a calming corner in the classroom which includes soft seating, a quilt, familiar sensory books, a sensory tub with some calming tools like a  timer, sensory bottle, a tangle and fidgit tools
  • training students in mindfulness, and incorporating social emotional learning into the classroom including five finger breathing, yoga stretches, expressive vocabulary, reflective thinking and structured talk  TPS-if interested follow this  link think pair share
  • using positive behavioral supports such as the WITS program, structured talks on topics such as forgiveness, not giving up, holding a grudge..., an increase in cooperative activities i.e.: oversize erasable colouring blackboards, cooperative drawing, increase centre group numbers, guided play groups, increase in outdoor play
  • daily read alouds such as Shelter, The OK Book, Little Hummingbird, In My Heart and so many more
  • Photo cards for conversational SEL prompts including grudge, forgiveness, taking turns, sharing and inclusion 
  • Adding new structures to the program through weekly picture graphs which focus on classroom changes and integrate student voice
  • Meaningful celebrations to recognize the work your children are doing
  • Purchase additional classroom materials through grants and a generous $150. from our PAC, which support larger group play and interests which have emerged in your children such as building structures and art
  • Providing an inclusive nature program with parent support 
  • Tweaking the physical environment to add a homey feel with soft lighting, adjusting zones around the room and adding more soft play materials like blankets and pillows to learning centres.
If you are interested in spending time in the classroom please ensure that you have completed the parent volunteer form and criminal record check and then connect with me to see which days work well for you.

Thanks so much, Liz McCaw

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