New Parent Information
Welcome to Stepping Stones Preschool! We all remember the first days of school and many of us remember being slightly confused about this or that detail of the school routine. We hope this resource helps you feel a little more oriented to your child's day at school! Also, don't forget to check out the other site resources including the Frequently Asked Questions for New Parents, the Calendar and the directories of Teachers.
Note, for the youngest group (Yellow Class), the schedule is modified slightly. This class eats their morning snack at 9:15am, leaves for the park around 9:45 AM, and has Circle Time and Project Time when they return from the park around 11 AM.
7:00 - 9:15 Free Play, Arts & Crafts
Early arrivals are greeted in the big classroom. As more kids arrive, the group splits into two. One group plays on the indoor playground, and the other stays in the big classroom. In the classroom the kids are often led through games or dances. Then the two groups switch spots.
9:15 - 9:30 AM Morning Snack
A typical snack might contain muffins, crackers, dried fruit, yogurt or applesauce. The weekly menu is posted on the fridge.
9:45-10:00 AM Circle Time
The kids are divided into their age-based classes, and go to their respective classrooms. Classroom time begins with circle time, where the kids sing songs, learn rhymes and read books that focus on core preschool skills (letters, numbers, counting, shapes, colors, etc.) as well as on the weekly theme.
10:00-10:30 AM Activity Time
During activity time the kids work at tables on small projects. This includes both arts and crafts and skill-based worksheets. The work that your child completes will be put in their art folder (to the left of the sign-in area).
10:45 AM - 12:00 PM Outside Time at Golden Gate Park
This seems to be everybody's favorite time of the day. The kids walk to the Botanical Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Baseball Field, or the Garden for the Environment.
12:00-12:45 PM Lunch Time
Except on Thursdays, the kids return to school for lunch. All the kids eat together at the tables in the main room. Teachers will heat up appropriate items and deliver them to the kids at the table. Anything that your child does not eat will be sent back home in their lunch box. Please do NOT pack nut items in their lunches. We are a nut-free preschool to protect the children with allergies.
01:00-03:00 PM Nap/Rest Time
3:00-3:15 PM Wake Up, Quiet Table Activities*
The kids wake up from their nap and are directed towards quieter, table-based activities until the whole group is awake and ready for snack time.
3:15-3:30 PM Snack*
Afternoon snack might include fruit, vegetables, pasta, bagels, etc. The menu is posted on the fridge.
3:30- 6:00 PM Free Play, Storytime*
Once again the kids split into groups. In the big classroom, the kids may be led through games or dances, sit down to read a story, or sit at the tables for a simple art activity like coloring. After about a half an hour, the groups switch places. The children get to participate in the scheduled afternoon activities listed below.
* If it's a nice day outside, the afternoon schedule is sometimes shuffled about a little to allow for a second outdoor playtime. On these occasions, snack time is at 3:30 PM and about half the kids will go to the baseball diamonds from about 3:45 PM to 4:45 PM.
Some days of the week have special events that deviate a little from the overall schedule.
Monday afternoons the children participate in a simple cooking class with Miss Mary.
Tuesday afternoons the children have a half hour dance class with Miss Shireen from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The children dance in two groups, one from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM, and the other from 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
Wednesdays are book share days. The kids always like a new story - please bring in a favorite to share.
Wednesday afternoons the children have Music Class with Mr. Radu from 4:00-5:00pm. They are divided into three groups for 20 minutes sessions.
Thursdays are Picnic Day! On Thursdays, the kids leave early for the park - around 9:45 AM. After an extended park play session, the kids have a picnic lunch at the park, and then return to school by 12:15 PM. Please note - your child is expected to carry his/her own lunch box to the park on Thursdays (a back pack is a great idea!) and be mostly self-sufficient about eating the contents. Please keep the total weight appropriate for your child, and don't send tupperware or food items that need to be heated.
Thursday afternoons the children have a half hour Science class with Miss Nahid from 3:45-4:15. The children have opportunities to use their observation skills and their prediction skills to find out about things in nature and in their bodies that they are already naturally curious about.
Fridays are movie day. Ending the week on a calming note, the children watch an age appropriate movie starting around 4:00 PM.
Don't forget to pick up your child's bedding. Please bring it home for a wash over the weekend and then bring it back on Monday.
Got the drop-off blues?
The most important thing to remember is we've all been there! Starting school (or a new school) is almost always hard on both the parents and the child. As a parent you may feel sadness for your child, or even embarassment that they are creating such a scene. Your child may act sad, or angry. Whatever it is that you're feeling - it's normal and it will pass.
It's hard to provide a "magic bullet" for surviving drop-off, as the experience is so dependent on the personality of the individual child and parents. A few tips that may keep you sane :
It very well may get worse before it gets better
It's quite common for a child to be only moderately phased their first day, a little more upset the second day, and a complete disaster the third day. It may even keep getting worse for a week or more. Eventually, it will turn around!
Try the other parent
Is your child particularly clingy with one parent? If possible - try having the other parent do drop-offs for a few days.
Make sure shoes stay attached to the feet
On their daily walk to the park, these tiny tots sometimes forget to look down and step on the heels of the child in front of them. Please make sure your child's shoes are resistant to these small mishaps and easy to put back on if they do fall off. Shoes with secure velcro straps are best.
Leave appropriate outdoor clothing
The teachers trust your judgment about what your child should be wearing. If you leave a jacket on the hooks for your child - your child will wear the jacket to the park! So, if it's warm enough that you think your child would be happier without their coat - tuck it away in their cubby for the day.
Leave plenty of extra clothing
Often the younger children in this class are in the final stages of diaper-free potty training. Make sure that they have plenty of dry clothing if they need it. Extra shoes can sometimes be important too!
Tips for Pre-K (Blue and Orange Class)
Think homework sounds odd? Don't worry, your kid will love it.
Many preK parents think that "homework" sounds a little strange for four year olds. However, most also discover that at this age their kids are very interested in completing their assignments and feel a really positive sense of accomplishment.