1. Sarah Miller-Hair

    I read “30+” letters as capitals and lower case letters, meaning there are 52 letters to know. Anyway, as a teacher, I would not send home a letter like this. My district sends home a calendar with parents when they register a child for kindergarten. The calendar has small daily activity suggestions to help the parent ready their child for kindergarten. I think giving a list like this without offering suggestions on how to get there is wrong. Most parents aren’t teachers.

  2. Patricia

    As an ECE who has responsibility for these children before they get to you, I have my own opinion of what I believe school readiness is and the skills I hope the children have when they leave my centre. These include dressing themselves, turn taking, asking for help when they need it, offering help to others, resilience (not overreacting to name calling etc), problem solving, cleaning up after themselves, self regulation and a love of learning. Of course we offer many activities that encourage literacy and numeracy but the things on the list in your article are never a priority and will be much easier to accomplish once a child has developed the things on my list. There are always parents pushing for academics, which are not developmentally appropriate, and maybe it is because they get lists like this from schools. I love your intro letter and believe it sets a tone of cooperation and caring that I’m sure serves the children and families well.

    • mbe543@mail.usask.ca

      Thanks for your opinion on this. I completely agree with you. Even the things that I think about, are based on school division requirements of students and teachers, not necessarily my own beliefs.

  3. I love this post. I read the 30+ letters to include accented letters. é, ê, Ñ… So there’s three educators with three different ideas… imagine the poor parents! I don’t feel a letter like this one does what you’ve done so well with your letter- invited the parent to join you on the journey through Kindergarten.

    I know that I’d be talking down two of my best friends if they received a letter like this! As it is, the amount of questions I get from them regularly, is astounding. They are so scared of being judged- have they prepared their child well enough for Kindergarten? Have they done enough? Did they miss something huge? Have they failed??

    This letter would stop my heart for a second too, because it’s so easy to feel judged now as a parent. I try to remind my friends how fortunate their kids are BECAUSE they have such caring and concerned parents, because, as you well know… not all kids are as lucky to have parents able to give as much as others sometimes.

    Question- how often do you hear back from your parents? I often send a letter home on the first day similar to yours (introducing myself, etc.), but I’ve usually only ever heard back from about half of my students’ caregivers. Any tips? Maybe I should provide some sort of prize? 😉

    • mbe543@mail.usask.ca

      I think you’re absolutely right, Dani. Well said and I agree that many families would be intimidated.

      As for your question…I’ve always been fortunate to have families respond well, but I think teaching Kindergarten helps because this is the first school experience for many of them with a child and they have so much to tell me. Teaching older children, even Gr 3 or 4, may change the way parents respond. My suggestion would be to keep inviting families into the classroom through engaging opportunities. You could ask families on that first day of school to write down any hopes and dreams they have for their child that year and invite them to write a letter again.

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