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Childswork Learning Center

Education Director Winter 2017

In early childhood education, we strive for consistency and routine. We believe that children feel safe when expectations are consistent and the routine is predictable. The predictability allows them to focus on their exploration and learning rather than "what comes next?" or "what should I be doing?"

Then a winter like this comes along. Returning to school in January already has a mixed feeling of happy reunion with a touch of starting over. Here we are in late January and just getting the routine reestablished. Due to the exceptional winter, we will change the way we approach Spring conferences to incorporate more school days for children and families.

Each year, teachers write a narrative style conference form for each child in their class. These are shared with families and important points are usually discussed during the face-to-face conference. In order to recover a couple school days, we will not have those two days dedicated for face-to-face conferences.

Instead, teachers will write that narrative style conference form and share it will families. These will be distributed to your Communication File by April 27. Please make sure you know where your communication file is and check it regularly. Parents are encouraged to contact their child's teacher if they would like to coordinate a face-to-face conference. Teachers are also encouraged to contact parents to request a face-to-face conference. There are many reasons for either party's request - Kindergarten readiness, advice and input on options for Kindergarten or the next year of preschool, challenging behaviors, general awesomeness, etc. We will work with our teachers to make sure they have the time and support for any and all face-to-face conferences that need to happen. Please do not hesitate to make that request. As always, I am available for conferences and discussions about your children and the next steps for school.

While conferences are months away, our placement process for the 2017-18 school year is just about to get started. This Friday you will receive and email with a Choice Form for next school year. It will be due back the following Friday, February 3 to be included in our first round of placement.

You will be asked to list your first, second, and third choice. Please choose classes that are real options for your family and your child - some families will get their second or third choice. There is a space on the back of the form for comments and additional information that will help us with placement. Use this space! It is incredibly helpful for us throughout this process.

Many parents have already stopped by to chat with me about enrollment and I encourage you to do the same. Since there will be many of these conversations, it will be helpful to email me and let me know when you'll be stopping by. I look forward to working with our families throughout this entire process.

On a final note, we have an exciting Professional Development day coming up for our staff. Last November we had a facilitated discussion on bias, race, our role as educators, and some of the current research surrounding this topic. This was designed as an opening of the conversation and we are bringing a trainer from the Early Learning Consultant Group to facilitate a deeper discussion and reflection on why and how we address bias in the early childhood classroom. In these socially tumultuous times, this conversation is especially relevant. Look for a letter from me after this experience (the training is set for February 25) that gives you more information and ways to be included in this important work.

While we strive for consistency and routine in early childhood classrooms, we also promote flexibility and learning to adapt to a dynamic world. I appreciate all of you modeling this through our snowy winter!

Cheers,

Garrett

Posted on January 25, 2017.
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About Childswork

Childswork Learning Center is a non-profit early childhood education school located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Since 1984, our school has served a diverse population of children and families, focusing on the development of the whole child with respect and compassion.

Childswork is a safe place for children to explore, take chances, make messes and learn through play. At Childswork we nurture wonder, we embrace joy, and we foster discovery.

Rights of Participation

No person shall be denied the services or facilities of this organization or be excluded from participation or services because of race, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed, religion, handicap, or national origin; discrimination of any kind is expressly prohibited.