Welcome to our Kindergarten Information Page
Using data from the City of Northampton’s annual street census and information from area preschool and daycare programs, we will mail a packet to families of young children with additional information about our public preschool program, kindergarten program, playgroups and other services and activities for families with young children. This mailing will be send out in mid November. If you are new to Leeds, Florence or Northampton and did not complete the city census or receive our mailing, please contact the Registrar via email at Registrar@northampton-k12.us or via phone at (413) 587-1328. Children must be 5 years old by August 31, 2023 to enter kindergarten.
- INFORMATION MEETING: December 6, 2022 (Virtual) from 5:30-6:30pm: View last years event below and/or review the Q&A. Feel free to sign up so you get the emails!
Kindergarten Info Night Dec 6 5:30-6:30pm Sign Up Genius Link The day before the meeting, we will send registrants an email with the Zoom link. On Dec. 6 we’ll post the zoom link for anyone signing up late.
- OPEN HOUSE: January 17th, 6-7pm for parents and their child to see and explore kindergarten classrooms, and talk with kindergarten teachers, school principal and parents
- CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONS: January 23, Jan 30, Feb 6: 8:50am- 10:00am (sign-up to be a quiet observer in an active classroom during school hours)
- REGISTRATION/ENROLLMENT – February 27-March 10 (one at each school and an opportunity to meet the Principal and tour the school and classrooms)
- ORIENTATION: Getting to Know You Visits – first 3 days of school – scheduled time for parents and their child to meet with the teacher in the classroom.
- FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – each school will offer a variety of activities like family dinners, school picnics, and Open House events for families to connect with their school communities
- Volunteer opportunities for classroom and school involvement are available including our volunteer program, Parent-Teacher organizations, school councils, etc.
INSTRUCTIONS ON KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION
CURRENTLY ENROLLED STUDENTS attending our Bridge Street Preschool OR Leeds Preschool OR who are enrolled to receive SPECIAL ED SERVICES are already enrolled. You do not need to submit any paperwork. Please call or email with any questions (413) 587-1328
HOW TO COMPLETE THE FORMS:
OPTION 1: CALL TO REQUEST A PACKET IS MAILED TO YOU. Fill it out and bring it to Registration. FORMS PACKETS will be available at all Registration Sessions but filling it out first will save time.
OPTION 2: USE THE FILLABLE PDF FORM: Download THEN OPEN the attached file (do not use in your web browser). Next enter your student’s information into the fillable PDF File. When complete, “Save As” (Not Save) and rename the document to your child’s name (or print to pdf and rename). The source file is protected to stay blank. When complete PRINT SINGLE SIDED and bring to registration. If you do not have a printer, you can email the file to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will print it out and start a file for your child.
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: We will copy and scan your documents: you will KEEP YOUR ORIGINALS
- Student’s Birth Certificate (certified document -not hospital record – request from the City Clerk in the town where your child was born)
- Health Records: Please provide the one-page “patient exam form” from the pediatrician (NOT the after-visit summary). This must have the physician’s electronic signature AND MUST show a vision exam was completed within a year of the child starting kindergarten. The form should also contain a list of all vaccinations and related dates. Valley Medical’s form does not list the vision screening. If this is your doctor’s office, you will need to request the most recent vision exam result be included.
- Photo ID of Parent(s)/Legal Guardians – *MA ID showing your current home address (if no drivers license: passport is acceptable)
- Proof of residency: Signed/dated Lease showing address and occupants, section 8 agreement, or deed/recent mortgage statement/property tax card (http://northampton.ias-clt.com/parcel.list.php)
- Proof of occupancy: recent utility bill for gas, heating oil, electric, home phone, cable, or trash. If your lease includes utilities, please provide your car registration or insurance, or the top portion of a bank or credit card statement showing your name/address.
- If applicable: any court documents such as parents’ custody agreement, legal guardianship, DCF Care, Legal name change, etc.
If you are unable to acquire any of these items due to your circumstances, please contact the Registrar for additional support and assistance.
Welcome to Kindergarten at the Northampton Public Schools! We provide full-day kindergarten to all children turning 5 by August 31 who live in Northampton, Florence and Leeds.
Kindergarten is a critical year for all children—a year of transition from preschool programs or home to formal schooling. Most children arrive in kindergarten filled with curiosity, wonder, and an enthusiasm to learn about themselves, others, and the world. We see our role and responsibility as nourishing this hunger for knowledge, motivating and challenging the children, while protecting and nurturing them.
The process of learning for children at this age is as important as performance and products. When children see themselves as competent learners, they tackle challenges with confidence, and develop attitudes and dispositions that encourage their curiosity and eagerness to learn. And, as research and common sense tells us, these skills and attitudes lay a solid foundation for future academic success.
In addition to inviting children to learn and grow, we want to invite families to partner with our schools. Parents are truly their child’s first and most important teachers and we encourage your involvement in your child’s education and school!
Young children are forming a sense of themselves as learners and doers. They are growing and developing at their own rate, each with their own strengths and interests. Some may be adept at relationships with children, some may be very interested in learning to read, others may be great explorers of the natural world, while still others may have highly developed physical skills but all are curious, and eager to learn!
At the kindergarten level, children are developing sensory integration which enhances their abilities to stay focused. Routine physical, spatial and manipulative activities stimulate this sensory development. Through physical activity and movement, a sense of directionality (left/right, up down, in, out) and position in space (over, under, behind) is developed. These concepts support children’s understanding of pattern and relationship (vital to mathematical thinking) and to reading and writing skills (seeing how letters are formed and fit together in patterns to create words).
Children’s perceptions of their own skills, abilities, and sometimes their “worth,” are based on relationships and experiences with others. Learning to engage in successful interactions with family, friends, schools, and community builds their sense of self-competence. We support this development by encouraging children to:
- Take turns and share
- Negotiate and cooperate
- Ask for help when appropriate
- Tolerate frustration
- Develop self-esteem
- Appreciate other people
- Feel connected
- Develop a sense of humor
- Use imagination
- Know right from wrong
- Learn from mistakes
- Show feelings appropriately
Tips for Parents
Getting off to a good start
- Share your child’s excitement about school – talk positively about school and teachers
- Talk with your child daily about arrangements for going to and from school, and familiarize him/her with the route to school
- Teach your child his/her full name, address, telephone number and birthday
- Provide your child with opportunities to play with other children – indoors and out
- Encourage your child to dress and undress themselves, tie shoes, and zip, button, and snap outer clothing
- Teach your child to take care of him/her own toilet needs without assistance
- Send your child to school with a backpack, lunch, snack and other belongings
- Don’t forget to check the backpack daily for your child’s work and notices from school
- Label your child’s belongings, e.g. lunch box, coat, backpack, etc.
Throughout the Year
- Set regular bedtime routines for your child – make sure s/he gets enough sleep
- Allow enough time in the morning for routines and breakfast to give your child a calm start to the day
- Ask your child what happened at school today (everyday)
- Praise your child for his/her efforts
- Read to your child daily and visit the public library
- Allow your child to make choices and assume responsibility around the house
- Make time for outdoor and active play daily
- Limit television and other screen-time; be aware of TV choices and make sure they are appropriate
- Dress your child appropriately for the weather and for an active day, which may include painting or other messy activities
- Keep your child’s teacher updated on any changes that may affect your child (moving, separation, trips, serious illness of any family member, death of a pet, etc)
- Remember that children’s abilities vary. Your child is an individual with his/her own rate of growth, interests, strengths and talents – celebrate those strengths!
Relax, enjoy and have fun with your child during these early years. They pass all too quickly!
This is information to help get you started- there is more information in the elementary school handbook and beginning of year handouts.
Orientation and the First Day of School
- Buddy Day- children visit a kindergarten room in late May or early June
- Playground play dates- meet other kindergarten families at the school playground in August
- Kindergarten starts 2 days after the upper grades so Kindergarten children and their families can have a special orientation
- Each family will be scheduled to have a half hour “Getting to Know You” visit one of the two days before Kindergarten starts
- Parents, children and teachers can share thoughts, questions and information and begin to develop relationships
- The first day of Kindergarten is a full day; transportation is available for bus children
- Parents are welcome to walk their children into the classroom and get them settled!
- Class assignments are made over the summer by the principal
- Parents can give the school information on their child’s learning style and other factors that will help us to make the best placement for your child (forms available at registration)
- If your child is in a preschool program, we will ask your permission to get transition information from their program which will also assist us in class placement
- You will receive class placement information (along with other beginning of school year details) the third week of August
School Hours/Drop-off and Pick-up
- School starts at 8:00AM and ends at 2:10 PM
- Playground supervision begins at 7:50 AM; please do not drop off your child earlier
- Contact your school or the Early Childhood Office for info on before and after school care
- Parents are always welcome to walk their kindergartners into their classroom to ease the transition
- Teachers will give you specific info on end of day pick-up routines, keeping in mind that children are always released only to adults/older children authorized to pick them up
- Pick up and drop off can be hectic, so it may not be the best time to have an extended conversation with teachers – let them know if you want to make a time to talk
Lunch and snack
- Children can bring or buy lunch; free and reduced price lunch and breakfast are available for eligible students (breakfast and lunch available daily)
- Additional information on school lunches and menus are on our Food Service Websitet
- Kindergartners eat in the cafeteria under the supervision of paraprofessional (teachers aids) from their classroom
- Kindergartners have recess just before or after lunch
- Children should bring a nutritious snack and beverage each day; some classrooms share whole-group snack – check with the teacher
- Regular attendance is required and helps your child settle in, make friends, and enjoy school
- Arriving on time is important – children feel most comfortable and successful at school when they begin the day with their classmates
- If your child will be absent, please call your school’s “absence line” by 8:30 AM
- A copy of the NPS school calendar will be sent at the beginning of the school year
- The calendar includes all school holidays, vacations, and days schools are closed for teacher Professional Development
- Elementary schools have a week of half days in late October for parent-teacher conferences
- Cancellations due to inclement weather will be posted on local TV and radio stations and automated phone call from the school department
- The bottom of the school calendar has additional information about snow day make up
School/Parent Communication (or how will I know what is happening in school?)
- Each school has a regular newsletter including school activities and news, monthly calendars, and updates
- Newsletters are available electronically and in hard copy
- Teachers provide classroom news and updates through bulletin boards, newsletters, notices, or websites
- Also, you can send a message with your child or call the office to let teachers know a good time to reach you – they will call you back
- Annual conferences are held in late October with all parents
- Parents or teachers can request/schedule additional conferences at any time during the year
- Don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or the office if you have questions – we want to help!
Ways to be involved in your Child’s School
- Attend school events: Open House, potlucks, performances, workshops
- Be part of the PTO (Parent/Teacher Organization
- Work on specific tasks/projects: making classroom materials, playground building, gardening, fundraising, collecting materials, whatever you can think of!
- Volunteer in the classrooms, library, playground, office
- Participate in special activities with children: cooking, music, art, reading, world languages, sewing, etc.
Dressing for Kindergarten
- Since play is the work of young children, kindergartners should be dressed comfortably so they can actively play
- It is best if clothing can be washed easily since children will be painting, glueing, sitting on the floor, etc. and may get dirty
- If children are concerned about their clothing, they may not feel comfortable fully participating in activities
- We go outdoors for recess all year (unless it is raining or extremely cold), so please send your child dressed for outdoor play; hats, mittens, snowpants and boots in winter
Toys at School
- In general, it is best that children not bring toys to school, they are often lost or broken
- Your child’s teacher will provide additional info on specific classroom policies
SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICES:
Each school has a School Nurse (RN) who is available on site at all times to:
- Handle illnesses and emergencies, contacting parents whenever necessary
- Act as a health resource to children, parents, and staff
- Administer medication as necessary
- Promote health and wellness in the school community
- Perform vision and hearing screening on a regular basis
Additional health information (see Elementary Student Handbook for further details):
- Before a child can start school, we must have a current record of physical exam and immunizations
- The School nurse will review this information with you at registration or before your child begins school
Illness or Emergency:
- Parents will need to complete updated emergency contact forms annually or when information changes
- Parents (or designated emergency contacts) will be notified in case of illness or emergency
- Parents are responsible for arrangements for their child’s transportation home or to a medical facility
- In cases of life-threatening emergencies, an ambulance will be called to transport your child to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
- Whenever possible, medication administration should be scheduled for before and after-school hours
- If medication must be given while a child is at school, written verification from both the parent and physician is required (forms available in school office)
- Medication to be administered at school must be in a pharmacy container with proper identification and directions
Northampton Public School Kindergarten Curriculum
Northampton’s kindergarten curriculum is integrated across learning domains, always keeping the development of the whole child at its core. Children learn to take risks and solve problems, develop relationships, explore new concepts, acquire academic skills and knowledge, and enhance their physical, social, and emotional competence.
To accomplish these tasks, they need sufficient time to become involved in projects and investigations to satisfy their own interests. Therefore, our kindergarten day offers a balance of child-initiated and teacher-selected activities to enhance learning.
Children benefit from our rich, multi-sensory learning environments that support different learning styles and kinds of intelligence. They are able to acquire symbolic thought as they represent their ideas and knowledge through drawing, painting, block constructions, dramatic play, speaking, and writing.
All students will have ‘specials’ which will include weekly art, music, physical education, library, computer lab, and gardening. Students should have sneakers for gym class.
English Language Arts Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are the foundations of English Language Arts. Direct instruction through our Readers and Writers Workshop model and authentic teachable moments allow for these skills to be intertwined during the day. Your child will experience ELA development through:
- Morning meeting and the message
- Listening to and Reading books
- Drawing and Writing stories
- Singing songs
- Acting out stories
- Talking together in small groups, during teacher directed activities, during snack time
- Drawing/painting in the art area
- Playing in the block, sensory, dramatic play and other centers
Science Young children have inquiring minds and are natural scientists. They wonder about how things work and why things change, and want to experiment, touch, and see what happens. Our science curriculum is integrated throughout the learning areas (math, literacy, art, music), building on children’s natural curiosity by supporting their investigation and exploration of the world around them. Our science curriculum includes:
- The study of natural and physical sciences as well as technology/engineering
- Activities that focus on properties of liquids/solids, weather/seasons, plants/animals, and measurement
- Outdoor time and walking field trips provide a natural laboratory for observation and exploration
Math Children form their first mathematical understandings through concrete experiences with the real world and with common materials. Our Math Investigations curriculum encourages children to explore mathematical concepts and learn to communicate those ideas to others.
- Math is integrated throughout the day – during choice time, morning meeting, snack, cooking, art, music and outdoor activities
- Children work individually and in small and large groups
- Math concepts include number concepts and relationships, patterns, sorting and classifying, geometry and spatial relationships, measurement, graphing, and data collection
- Math includes hands-on use of manipulatives, blocks, games, sand, water, and other classroom materials to develop mathematical concepts that lay the foundation for future achievement in math and science
Creative Arts Young children are naturally creative, and they eagerly explore new methods through which they may express their ideas, feelings and understanding of the world. Children use the arts to create or recreate imagined or real events. To provide opportunities for children to express themselves artistically, the creative arts are woven through the kindergarten curriculum, in the classroom on a daily basis and with MA licensed art and music teachers on a weekly basis. Some of the core activities/beliefs that ground our creative arts curriculum are:
Visual Arts: Children develop an awareness of their surroundings, a sense of color and design, an appreciation the role of artists through observation, abstraction, and invention. Children express themselves through various media: paint, clay, drawing, collage
Music: Music is an integral part of the kindergarten day; children express themselves through songs, chants, creative movement, rhythm instruments, and games.
Children listen, imitate, and improvise sounds, patterns and songs
History and Social Science At the kindergarten level, learning in history and social science is built on children’s experiences in their families, school, and community. Though the “learning strands” may sound sophisticated, our kindergarten curriculum allows children to gain an understanding of history, geography, civics, and economics as developmentally appropriate concepts in the following ways:
- History: Understanding of past and present by focusing on time and sequence – what has happened and what might happen (routines, seasonal changes, life experiences)
- History/geography: Developing cultural awareness and sensitivity, compassion, recognizing fairness and injustice
- Geography: Understanding of location and direction through exploration and mapping of the classroom, school and community; discussions about near and far places children have visited
- Civics: By creating a classroom community with rules developed by the group, children learn about respect, friendship, personal responsibility, fairness, justice, leadership and other character traits
- Economics: Understanding of the various kinds of work people do (outside and inside the home)
Physical Education Young children are active learners and our Physical Education (PE) curriculum capitalizes on this by helping them gain skills that will foster their physical, social and cognitive development. To provide opportunities for children to develop their physical skills, we offer PE classes with a MA licensed PE teacher twice a week. PE classes, recess, and daily classroom activities build and strengthen the link between motor development and learning through:
- Climbing, running, jumping, hopping, dancing and other gross motor activities that promote physical development
- Tumbling, balancing, swinging, spinning that promote sense of directionality and spatial awareness (left/right, up/down, in/out)
- Cooperative and team games that teach social skills such as turn-taking, following rules, listening, and waiting
- Throwing/catching balls, beanbags, etc. to promote eye-hand coordination