One Sunflower

review of something new

on September 1, 2011

“Thanks to everyone who came over to help out with Nooksack’s first round- up!

It went very smoothly I thought, except ……”  ” I think if we do this again….”

When we try something new, it is important to review — or maybe the correct word is reflect.   This year the three early childhood classrooms in our district are experimenting with a new configuration of start-up routines.  In the past, the teachers received the lists of their students in mid-August and began home visits with the goal of completing most of them and a mound of paperwork before the first day of school.
The problem with this schedule is that some of our sites have a large number of Spanish families and coordinating translation services for home visits became a complex scheduling issue.  The paperwork that families have to fill out at the beginning of the year is crazy and even though we’ve tried and tried to streamline the process, it is still complicated.
So this year, we decided to invite families to school for a “round-up” day where the children get to meet the teacher and be introduced to the school space while their parents begin filling out paperwork.  We included initial health screenings as a part of the visit.  All the teachers came together at each site to support the process.
I think it was a success.  Besides being able to support the process by having more staff available to answer questions, we were also able to play with the children and keep them happy and occupied while their parents were busy.  Getting the health screenings done this early is a benefit for the nursing staff who can now take these 3 classes off of their October screening dates. Of course we didn’t have a hundred percent attendance by families; some parents can’t take time off from work.  But my initial data is that we met at least 80% of our students.  The first day of school will include a parent orientation session as well but I think we’ll have less instances of separation anxiety when the parents head to the library and we head to the classroom.
An unexpected benefit of this plan was that we, the teachers, were able to see each others classroom and talk about our plans for starting the school year.  We hardly ever get into each others spaces!!   

3 responses to “review of something new

  1. Tara says:

    This sounds like a great success – you were able to get paperwork done AND interact with your students, their families and your colleagues. What an enlightened way to begin the school year!

  2. Juliann says:

    What a great idea! I am always looking for new ways to launch the school year and to make sure parents are involved from the start.

  3. Excellent plan! We are hoping to do something similar next year with our pre-school and KG students. In one school in our district, the KG teachers came in voluntarily to complete initial testing with their students. It saved so much time that the teachers never even demanded compensation.

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