• Kindergarten FAQ’s

    What else do students learn besides reading, writing and math?
    We have a variety of learning environments for our students. They will go to a different teacher for Art, Library, Music, garden/forest time, and PE called “specialists.” At recess, under the supervision of our Playground Monitors, the students will learn the rules of our playground. Our school counselor will also visit classrooms to introduce learning social skills using the Second Step curriculum. We integrate science and social studies and encourage self-directed exploration.

    What kind of active play time will my child get?
    We keep kindergarten students busy with the following:
    • Recess
    • PE
    • Movement activities in the classroom
    • Trail walks in the woods

    What is Kindergarten?
    Kindergarten is a transition year, a bridge between early learning experiences and the K-12 school system.
    • It is a place for children to learn and grow in a variety of domains: physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and language.
    • The beginning of the year will look and feel a bit more like preschool. At the end of the year, it will look and feel more like first grade.
    • Academically, we establish foundational skills, explore and discover, and develop a love for school.
    • Socially we listen, follow directions, play, solve problems, negotiate, honor differences, make friends, and navigate friendships.
    • Emotionally we form bonds, monitor ourselves and learn to self-regulate.
    • We know that play and academics are not an “either or.” For children birth-to-age eight, play is an essential element in learning (WA State FDK Guide 2016).

    What if my child is going to be absent from school?
    Call the school 206-463-2882 press 1 to report the absence with the reason. If requesting an absence in advance not due to illness or doctor appointment, an Absence Request Form (available on our website) must be submitted 3 school days PRIOR to the absence.

    I want to volunteer in my child’s class. What next?
    We require all volunteers to complete our volunteer background paperwork. We love volunteers and thank you for your help! Check with your classroom teacher for volunteer jobs. Whether volunteering or visiting, be sure you sign in and wear a badge! We love kindergarten parent volunteers at lunchtime, in the cafeteria and recess, and also in classes during the day.

    Is there anything special I need to know about having my child ride the bus home?
    You must meet the bus at your child’s bus stop. If an adult is not there, the child will remain on the bus and go back to the Bus Garage awaiting pick up. The Bus Garage staff or the school office staff will be trying to reach you or an emergency contact. You can contact the Bus Garage at 206-463-2525.

    What happens if my child gets sick at school?
    We have a nurse in the office who will check on your child. If necessary, the nurse will contact you or one of your emergency contacts to come pick up your child.

    What if I have some concerns about what is happening in my child’s class? How do I handle that?
    Start the conversation with your child’s teacher. They are the expert on what happens in their classroom. Our principal is available to meet with families in the event the issue could not be resolved by the teacher.

    What if I want to observe a class before school starts in the fall? How can I arrange this?
    While we cannot allow parents to observe classes, we do offer many opportunities to introduce you and your child to our school. Coming to our Open House is one way. Another way is to attend one of our pre-arranged tours. Call our office to sign up!

    What if I want to volunteer, but I don’t have childcare for my student’s younger sister, can I bring her with me?
    Unfortunately, no. While siblings are welcome at performances and holiday parties (with teacher permission), they are not allowed by district policy to be with you when you volunteer including attending field trips as a chaperone. Your entire focus is needed for the project at hand and supervision of the students.

    What supplies will my child need for school?
    A supply list for all grades will be available on our school website in June through the beginning of the school year. Teachers may have special requests and, if that’s the case, they’ll let you know that at the start of school.

    Should my child bring a snack to school? Will they get a lunch?
    Yes, please pack a snack. Sometimes there are restrictions on foods due to a student with an allergy, but you will be notified if that is the case. Please pack your child a healthy snack each day that is small enough to be finished in 10-15 minutes.

    For lunch you can either pack a sack lunch or they can purchase a school lunch. Each meal in our lunch program is made from scratch and we get as much as possible from local producers. We offer delicious entrees, fresh fruit and salad each day. There will be a calendar with the monthly meal offerings. Students can also purchase milk only. You can put money on your child’s lunch account online or in the school office.

    What is my child loses something?
    We keep a Lost and Found bin and rack for most clothing items. Things left on a bus will be kept on that bus for a few days before being brought to the school to be put in our Lost and Found. Please label your child’s coat, clothes, lunchbox and backpack with their name.

    Approximately three times a year, we donate all the items left in our Lost and Found to charitable causes or they go to Granny’s Attic. We provide notice via email reminders when this is about to happen. Items with names in them are reunited with their owner. Do not allow your child to bring valuable items to school with them.

    How do classrooms celebrate student birthdays?
    You can arrange with the child’s teacher if you wish to bring treats for the class. Just make sure you are aware of any dietary restrictions the class may have. Please do not send birthday invitations to school to be distributed unless they are for every student in the class. We also respect a family’s decision not to celebrate a child’s birthday. If this is the case, please let your child’s teacher know.

    What happens if my child comes late to school?
    If your child arrives at school at or after the 9:15 bell, they are late and must come into the office to be signed in. If a student is not signed in through the office, they may remain marked as absent for the entire day.

    Where do I park to drop off or pick up my child?
    Park in the school parking lot. Be sure not to park in the bus lanes, which are located directly in front on the school, at any time. They are reserved for buses and emergency vehicles.
    • At the end of the day, kindergartners will be walked to buses by their teacher, and seated near the bus driver, before grade 1-5 students load.  
    • Adults picking-up students should be at the school by 3:25 for release outside their classroom door.
    What if my child needs to take a different bus or be picked up by a different person?
    There are 3 different ways you can make a change to your child’s after school plan:
    1. Send a note with your student or
    2. Send an email to cesafterschoolplan@vashonsd.org or
    3. Call the office with the information related to the change
    These changes should be made PRIOR to 2pm.

    What if my child has specific health concerns or allergies?
    Our District Nurse is available to discuss any health concerns and help implement any care plans pertaining to your child.

    Where can I learn more about school rules?
    On our website (www.vashonsd.org/Chautauqua) under Student Life/Student Handbook, you will find a link to the handbook which is a valuable resource, not just for rules, but much more information.

    How do I communicate with the school?
    You can call the school’s main line - 206-463-2882. If you know the extension, enter that to reach the person. If you do not you can follow menu prompts for the directory or press 0 for the office.

    All staff have email and use the same format for their email address of first initial followed by last name @vashonsd.org. For example, John Smith would be jsmith@vashonsd.org. 

    Do kindergarten students receive report cards?
    Yes they do. At Chautauqua, report cards come out three times per year. The first is available in early December, the second late March and the final one after the school year has finished. Upon a child’s enrollment, a username and password is generated by our database system to allow you to login to Skyward Family Access. This is where report cards are posted (under the Portfolio tab). You will be sent an email once the report card for a grading period has been posted.

    You can also use Family Access to verify your contact information is correct, view student attendance, lunch account balances and even pay for lunches through a third party vendor with a credit card (some fees apply). Near the start of the school year, you will be emailed your login name and a temporary password. Upon your first login, you will be asked to change your password.

    What do I need to do to make sure my child is ready for kindergarten?
    The best things you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten is to:
    • Attend our Kindergarten Open House or sign up for one of our tours with your child so that they can see the school. Also plan to attend our Icebreaker just before school starts for another opportunity to visit the school. This is especially helpful for students who have never been to Chautauqua before.
    • Read to your child daily.
    • Help your child adjust to a daily routine that includes a regular bedtime, waking time and healthy breakfast.
    • Find opportunities for your child to practice sitting still and paying attention for small periods of time.
    • Provide positive opportunities for your child to practice sharing with friends and also problem-solving with others.
    • Most of all, share your excitement and enthusiasm for learning with your child!

    Who are Kindergartners?
    • 5 and 6 year-old children who bring unique experiences, expectations, emotions, attitudes, and abilities to the classroom.
    • They show more flexibility in their thinking than younger children and greater advances in reasoning and problem solving (NAEYC 2009).
    • Forming and sustaining relationships with adults and other children is central to their development (WA State FDK Guide 2016).
    • They may struggle with fine motor tasks such as writing, drawing, and precise cutting.
    • We can strengthen skills through painting, working with clay, constructing with blocks, stringing beads, zipping, buttoning, using scissors, and pouring liquids.
    • Gross motor skills are developed through running, skipping, hopping, climbing, kicking a ball, aiming for a target, and balancing.
    • Vocabulary varies widely and they still make frequent incorrect generalizations and grammatical errors when speaking.
    • Expect to see a wide range in students’ abilities to self-regulate and control emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.
    What Can You Do?
    • Talk with your child. Oral language development is key to future reading success.
    • Children must hear rich language in meaningful contexts and have plenty of time to use language for meaningful purposes (Lynne Ameling, early childhood literacy specialist).
    • Include counting and math throughout your day in fun and meaningful ways.
    • Make trail mix and count out how many nuts or raisins will go into the bowl.
    • Before helping you set the table, your child counts the number of plates and forks she or he will need.
    • You are pouring bulk food items into containers at home. Your child guesses if the container can hold it all. If so, how full will it be?
    • Slow down to notice things around you and ask open-ended questions.
    • Meet big emotions with love and understanding.
    • Work towards independence with toilet use, thorough hand-washing, eating, opening food packaging, and dressing (especially shoes and fixing inside-out jackets).
    • Attend your one-on-one, September meeting with your child’s teacher in the spirit of collaboration.
    • Volunteer in the classroom, or from home, to support your child’s teacher and the learning environment.
    • Share your expertise with the class! Come in as a guest speaker, storyteller, gardener, artist, poet, scientists…and share your talents with us.