Newsletter - Fostering a Positive Climate

Dear Parents,

This week we welcomed a new teacher into to our little school! Maureen Matthews (Miss Maureen) has 15 plus years in the early care and education field and an educational background in early education. Miss Maureen has a passion for early education. She will be joining us as a classroom assistant teacher/floater. Please help us welcome Miss Maureen!

It is very important that your child arrives in the classroom before we begin circle at 9am. Circle time is the beginning of our day. When children arrive after 9am, in the middle or after circle, they feel they have missed a large portion of the day. Think of it this way. What if you arrived at work every day after the morning meeting? You are not sure what is happening, what your coworkers have talked about, what the plan is for the day, and what they are working on. When you stop your coworkers/friends to tell them about your evening they have already talked about this and want to move on to what the day should be like. It can be confusing and disruptive to the rest of the day. This is what it feels like for children if they arrive during circle time or miss it completely. It is very important for children to arrive to school before circle time and have time to transition into the group. Children really need to arrive by 8:45am in order to transition into the group and then begin the formal school day.

One thing that we make a point to foster here at Bell’s School is a positive climate. Positive climate refers to the emotional connection between the teacher and students and among students. This includes the warmth, respect, and enjoyment communicated by verbal and nonverbal interactions. In classrooms with a strong positive climate, teachers and children are enthusiastic about learning and respectful of one another. Teachers and children develop warm, supportive relationships with each other and clearly enjoy being together and spending time in the classroom.

So how do we build this positive climate? We start by enjoying our time with children. We share in fun, relaxing moments and we take the time to interact with children and enjoy being with them. We also look for opportunities to make everyday learning activities fun for children. We think about the things that make children laugh and smile and find ways to integrate these things into everyday activities. We look for ways to comment positively on children’s actions, efforts and participation. We engage in social conversations about children’s lives outside of the classroom. We take the time to listen when they come up to tell us something that happened to them. We also facilitate positive peer interactions. We encourage children to engage in positive interactions with each other and we model and teacher the importance of sharing, helping others and being respectful. This helps children start using these strategies in interactions with peers.

Why is a positive climate important? Children are more motivated to learn when they feel happy, relaxed and connected to others. They get more out of lessons when they are excited about participating. When the classroom climate is positive, children have a secure base for learning. Teachers and children enjoy being with each other and are able to get the most out of their time together. These daily interactions provide children with a secure base for learning and exploration of academic and social skills.

These strategies are all something that can be repeated at home. Encourage positive communication, sharing and cooperation among friends, peers, and family. Comment positively on your child’s efforts and participation. This does not mean praise. This means positive comments that reinforce positive behaviors. For example, “I know you didn’t want too but you tried anyway. Thanks!” or “I really like the way you and your brother worked together to clean up the blocks.” Also, use respectful language and encourage children to do the same. Just saying please and thank you on a regular basis helps children foster respect. And most importantly, as adults we must model these positive behaviors for children. If we expect children to have respectful language and positive interactions, we have to model those things ourselves. Children look to adults to learn social interactions and reactions. The more we model what we expect from children, the more likely we are to see these actions.

Couple of reminders:

  • It is HOT! Please don’t forget to send a water bottle with, name and date, daily!

  • We will be closed August 21st for the eclipse/teacher workday. This is the only teacher workday that will not fall on a holiday. Make sure you enjoy the eclipse! This is a once in a lifetime event!

  • If you change sunscreen, send new sunscreen, or change/send new bug spray, we need a new permission slip. There are extras in every classroom, just ask your child’s teacher.

Have a great week as together we teach,

Miss Catherine

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