This week marked the last week of Ms. Shearer's teaching placement with us. You might recognize her from a junior placement here earlier in the school year- and we were lucky enough to get her again! She has been a wonderful addition to our class during her practice teaching, gradually taking on all my responsibilities, including planning, instruction, assessment, and communication. I know she has delighted in seeing how the Kindergarten child thinks, feels, and understands! We're having a little send-off party for her on Friday, and we wish her well in her summer jobs in Cookstown and then a year's teaching placement in England next year.
This week we went ahead with our planned fundraiser, our Dance-a-Thon! It was great to see all the children who came in with their floral shirts, skirts, flowers, even flip flops! A big thank you to Tiffany Gallagher who bought leis for everyone in the class and even 2 grass skirts for the teachers! It was so fun to dance and sing together. We went down to the gym right away, with only Grade 1 and 2 students, and our DJ was ready! The gym was decorated, the lights were up, and we learned a lot of specific dances like 'YMCA', 'Cha Cha Slide', the Mexican Hat Dance, and everyone's favourite, The Chicken Dance. The DJ did a great job keeping everyone engaged, busy and happy!
Everyone who donated money will get tickets for the draw, which is a gift card to the Georgian Mall! We'll draw on Monday. Thanks for supporting our efforts to raise needed funds for the school. You can see from our pictures that we had a great time!
It was very hard to hear that our loved and loving Mrs. Wilmott, an EA at our school and in our classroom, died very unexpectedly on Tuesday. Even as we were reeling from this news, the school board and our administration did an excellent job guiding us through our own feelings, what to do, and above all how to talk about it with our students. From the grief team, superintendent, refreshments, classroom resources, and and overwhelming feeling of shared loss, we've been well supported through this dark time.
I wanted to share the advice we were given from the team about how to talk about death and what children might do or say. We used the proper word 'dead' and 'died' so that children don't wonder how someone was 'lost' or how you 'pass'. We found that when we started the conversation by talking about pets and grandparents, that they understood, and used these terms themselves. We know that Kindergarten children might react like this: bedtime anxiety, seeking physical contact, showing signs of sadness or anger, and even violent play or death reinactment. They may ask lots of questions but should be made to understand that death is not reversible or temporary.
At school, they have been offered ways to express their feelings, through making cards and pictures, talking about our love for Mrs. Wilmott and what we will miss. We will have a special assembly on April 30th to remember her, and her family has asked us to plant a tree in her honour on the property. Do take some time to discuss these things with your children, so we don't create a taboo subject.
Mrs. Wilmott was hired to work with specific students but it was her joy to help everyone. She loved working with the kindies and her eyes lit up when she talked about them. We will not forget her sweet loving ways with each child, her stories, her listening ear, her blue coat, her water bottle. She was a huge part of our loving Tos family and we will miss her for a long, long time.
Here comes Peter Cottontail! We're getting ready to welcome him with our annual Easter Centres. We make sure each centre addresses either a math, language, arts, or physical education expectation from the K Program document. That doesn't mean they aren't fun! The expectations in the Ministry of Ed document are beautifully written to allow us to reach children where they already are and play and work through them to the real learning underneath. When we ask the children later what they learned at each centre, we wonder if they remembered what they did and why it was important- and fun!