Favourite Links

We will continue to add links here throughout the year. If you have any link suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment so that we can add the website here. We would love to hear your ideas!

School Board/Information Websites

2017-2018 Calendar – This is a link to the 2017-2018 School Year Calendar. Here’s the Day 1-5 Calendar for 2017-2018 if you’re interested.

Transportation Department For The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board –This is a link to the Transportation Department Website. By clicking on this link, you will be able to find the phone number of the Transportation Department as well as the e-mail addresses of different people at the department. Please pose all bussing questions directly to this department.

Rousseau Website – Please subscribe to this website to find and read all important school information.

The Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program Document – You can read here about the Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program Document as well as the new Growing Success for Kindergarten. Our play-based/inquiry-based program supports these programs.

Volunteering In Schools – This page includes important information about volunteering in schools.

Parent Resources

6 Secrets Of Kids Who Rarely Get Sick – In the midst of cold and flu season, we thought that you might find this article helpful. We definitely suggest a lot of additional hand-washing in our classroom.

A Level Is A Teacher’s Tool, NOT A Child’s Label – This is a fantastic article on levelled reading by Fountas & Pinnell. Lots to think about here, especially for our beginning readers.

“As Safe As Necessary”: A New Way Of Looking At Risk  This article on risky play supports our thinking, and the kinds of experiences that we support in the classroom and outside. There are some great suggestions at the bottom of this article that are worth considering. A fantastic read!

15 Fun STEM Activities To Do Over Winter Break – Many of the suggestions here for children 6 and over, could also be done with our Kindergarten students if given a little more time and support. These are great activities to promote math skills, problem solving, thinking, perseverance, and language (reading, writing, and oral language). We’d love to hear more about what you try out together and how your child does!

50 Outdoor Summer Activities For Kids – These are some great, inexpensive activities that allow children to develop their reading, writing, oral language, math, social skills, and fine and gross motor skills. They’re also lots of fun!

Active For Life – This is a great resource for parents to help with developing physical literacy skills.

Back-To-School Jitters – Suggestions To Help – While some students are really excited to start school, others are nervous/scared about coming back (or beginning for the first time). Here are some great suggestions that might help with this.

The Best Questions To Ask Around The Dinner Table – This article provides some great questions to consider when talking to your child at home.

Building Relationships Between Parents And Teachers – TED Talk – This is a fantastic TED Talk that really speaks to the value of home/school connections.

Case For Cursive Infographic – Recently, we have spent a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of cursive writing. As Kindergarten educators, we haven’t taught cursive writing to young students in the past, but information, such as what’s highlighted in this infographic, give us a lot to consider. One of our students came to us earlier in the year, having learned to print her name in cursive, and this sparked some interest in other students. Our class has been incredibly interested in letter formation, and we’ve explored letters in different ways, from finding letters in sticks to seeing them in media texts. Cursive writing merges this interest in letters, as well as student interest in visual arts. We’ve introduced cursive writing, and shown the link to “lines.” Some students are starting to write a few letters in cursive, and also reading letters and words in cursive. It’s the information in here that makes us interested in continuing to expose students to cursive writing (meaningfully) in addition to print.

Climbing Trees: Learning To Make Good Choices In Childhood – This post echoes many of our thoughts about tree climbing and time spent in the forest. I (Aviva) added a comment on the post that further extends my thinking on this topic. 

Dear Parent: About THAT Kid – This is a blog post that was published almost three years ago that is as meaningful to us now as it was back then. It’s a post worth reading, and will hopefully have as big an impact on you as it does on us.

Doing Mathematics With Your Child: A Parent Guide – There are lots of great suggestions in this resource of ways that you can support your child’s math learning at home and through everyday activities.

Enough – 6 Things Kids Really Need (And They’re Free) – We recently read this article, and it’s a great one to consider over the March Break. All of these things benefit kids, and they’re free! 

The Downside Of Year-Round Hockey – I think that this article supports the outdoor learning environment that we have at our school. A very interesting read.

The Exception That Proves The Rule – There are lots of different thoughts on homework, and over the years, I’ve thought differently about it too. This wonderful blog post details the kind of homework that I think is worth exploring at any time of the year. With the summertime here, and people heading off on vacations or doing some exciting activities together, maybe there’s a little wisdom in this teacher’s letter to her student that you can also use. Enjoy!

The Family Dinner Project – We’re big believers in the benefits of family dinners, and this website shares some great tips about how to make them happen, why they’re beneficial, and some family dinner success stories. Worth reading! The post titled, “Want Kids To Be Better Readers: Have Dinner Together” is one of our favourites!

Fountas and Pinnell Say Librarians Should Guide Readers By Interest, Not Level – A wonderful, thought-provoking article shared by a fellow educator that also supports the change in our Home Reading Program. Worth reading.

Four Crucial Ways Playing Outdoors In Winter Benefits Children – Janet Raymond, another Kindergarten educator at our school, shared this wonderful article on her class blog. It’s a great reminder about the benefits of outdoor play during the winter months. Even though the weather has seemed more spring-like lately, another shot of winter is likely on its way. 

Games For Phonological Awareness – This resource shares some simple, but meaningful, activities for developing phonemic awareness skills in children. We play a lot of similar activities during transition times in the classroom.

Get Outside And Connect: Roll Down A Hill – Mrs. Raymond shared this great article on their class blog. It discusses the benefits of rolling down a hill, and other types of outdoor activities that we encourage in our students.

Growing Up Royan: First Day Of School – As a Kindergarten educator, this post really spoke to me. I think it can help us see the school experience from a child’s perspective, and even think more about how we can support students in this new environment. I’m hoping that this post might inspire a discussion around these important topics.

Growth Mindset Questions – These are some great questions to ask your child to help them develop a growth mindset. They may be some questions to consider when problem solving or conversing with your child this summer.

Guide To The Four Frames – Anamaria Ralph, a Kindergarten teacher in Toronto, wrote this blog post to explain the Four Frames in the new Kindergarten Program Document to her parents. It’s a great post that includes many pictures to help connect the play that you may see in class to the learning expectations. Hope you find it useful.

HWDSB Math Help – Parent Resource – We recently spoke with some parents that wondered what this “new math” is all about. While math is different in Kindergarten (thanks to the Four Frames), this new HWDSB Resource is worth looking at, even for the parents of Kindergarten students. It explains what math looks like in the classroom across the grades, and it gives some fantastic resources for parents of all children, including Kindergarten. Enjoy!

I Love You More Than The Moon Loves The Stars – In this blog post, Susan Hopkins and her daughter, Siena, share a game that they play. Not only is this game a great one for developing connections with each other, but also reinforces vocabulary and word association skills. This would be a wonderful, calming game to play together at home.

Inspiring Your Child To Learn And Love Math – There are some very interesting resources and information available here

Instill A Love Of Math – This is a great article for parents with some links to home options available at the bottom. It really align’s with Jo Boaler’s thinking on mathematical mindsets. Worth reading.

Interactive Reading Tips – These great reading tips that came from our Board’s Speech Language Pathologists align well with our Home Reading Program. Hope you find these useful.

Jo Boaler At #OAMELeadership2016 – Royan Lee, a fellow Ontario educator, made the Sketchnote in this blog post after listening to Jo Boaler speak today. I think that the points in here are worth thinking about when it comes to teaching math. 

Jo Boaler’s TEDxStanford Talk – This was a great video shared during a PA Day inservice last year. I think that it’s further complemented by this blog post by Kristi Keery-Bishop.

Jump, Wiggle, Learn? Self-Regulation – This is one of my favourite TED Talks. So much to think about here for parents and educators.

Linking The Forest To Self-Regulation – This is a wonderful blog post that captures how we feel about our time in the forest at Rousseau School.

Nature Activities For Kids – These are some great summertime activities for kids that align with the Four Frames of the Kindergarten Program Document, and allow you to build oral language skills, social skills, and gross motor skills with kids.

New Study Finds The Real Key To Early Literacy – More interesting reading that Mrs. Raymond shared with us this week. This article really complements how we approach literacy instruction, and aligns with the information that a Speech Language Pathologist shared with me a couple of years ago at Dr. Davey School. Her recommendation was to take down word walls, and here’s why.

One In Five – Kristi Keery-Bishop wrote this blog post on Bell Let’s Talk Day, and it’s a great look at the pervasiveness of mental health problems. It actually made me think about the statistics differently. What about you?

Ordinary Moments – This video really sums up the pedagogy behind the new K Program Document. “Noticing and naming” allows students to see the links between these ordinary moments and the learning that they’re doing.

Outside Play – We definitely believe in the value of outdoor and risky play, and the Kindergarten Program Document supports this kind of play. This website provides some great parent supports around risky, outdoor play. 

Parents, it’s time to get out of the way and let your kids just play! – I think that this statement is true for educators as well, but this article definitely speaks to the value of free play for kids. A great read that Janet Raymond shared on their class blog.

Prioritizing Free Unstructured Play May Reduce Teenage Anxiety And Depression – We love the Kindergarten Program Document that speaks to the value in this free play. It looks like there are benefits to it way beyond Kindergarten.

Putting The Risk Back Into Play – A great article that really sums up our thinking about outdoor play. Mrs. Raymond wrote an excellent post about it here. Thanks for sharing this article with us!

Raffi’s Self-Regulation Song – As mentioned below, self-regulation is reinforced a lot in the Kindergarten Program. Here’s a link to the recent Raffi song about self-regulation and different ways that we can self-regulate. There are many different ways to self-regulate (get to “calm”) — dancing and gardening are some other ideas. How do you self-regulate? This could be a great topic for home discussion.

Reading Tips – These are three great, easy reading tips that will continue to support students as they learn to read.

Research Finds Play Vital To Turning Out Healthy And Well-Adjusted Children — And Adults – This article echoes many of our thoughts around play. It’s a great read! We’d love to know what you think. 

Risky Play: Why Children Love It And Need It – Mrs. Raymond shared this link on ELP 2’s blog, and it’s a wonderful article to read and think about. We definitely support the thinking in this article, and try to support students as they engage in “risky play.”

The Secret Power Of Play This article speaks to the value in free play and the kind of play that we support and value in the FDK program.

The Self-Reg Myths #2 – “Self-Reg is going too soft on kids.” – This is such a great video for educators and parents to watch. Think it helps us re-look at punishment, and also consider how we can deal calmly with different problems as they arise.

Self-Reg Website – This website provides links to numerous resources and strategies to support self-regulation at home and at school. Aviva has recently also started blogging once a month here.

Self-Reg Stuart Shanker Resource – Here’s a link to a wonderful new book by Stuart Shanker about self-regulation that is geared for parents. There are lots of practical ideas shared in the book, and even as an educator, I’ve (Aviva) found it to be a very interesting read.

Self-Regulation Tips For Parents And Teachers – Here are some self-regulation tips that you might find helpful at home. Self-regulation is discussed and supported a lot through the Full Day Kindergarten Program.

Self-Regulation: A Parent’s Guide – Some great information in here about Self-Reg and recognizing signs of stress. June can be a stressful month for parents, educators, and children, and this guide could prove helpful during this time (and others).

Separation Anxiety During The First Days Of Kindergarten – I wish that we found this resource to share earlier, but in the meantime, the suggestions here could be useful as we start our first full week of school on Monday. 

Sir Ken Robinson Speaks On Outdoor Play – While this article was from a couple of years ago, I think it’s as valuable today as it was then. So glad that I came across this link in a post done by Mrs. Raymond. A great article and a wonderful video that speaks to the value that we see in outdoor play. 

Subitizing Pictures – We use these pictures together at school to discuss math concepts, particularly around number amounts. We’re encouraging students to recognize these amounts without counting them (e.g., “I know there are 3 kids because I see 2 on the bottom and one on top, and 2 + 1 = 3”). Enjoy talking about these pictures together at home. You may even take some of your own number talk photographs when you’re out together over the holidays. Feel free to email them to us, and we’ll add them to this document. Thanks!

Subitizing Resource – Subitizing (or recognizing number amounts without counting them) is something that we work on a lot in Kindergarten. This resource provides some games and activities that you can play at home (and that we will use during transition times) to help further develop these skills. You can even create your own dot plates using the template shared in this resource.

Summer Reading Activities – While this is an American website, and depending on the skills and interests of your child, all of these activities may not apply, there is still a really comprehensive list given here. We hope that this website gives you some summer reading options.

Summer School Lesson Plans – While I would argue that probably all of these activities have a literacy link (not just the one listed under “Literacy”), this is still a great list of summer activity ideas.

Superhero Costumes Come To Parents’ Rescue – This is a very interesting post about play, superheroes, and self-regulation.

The Secret To Raising Creative Kids Is Easier Than You Think – This is a great article on “raising creative kids” and “boredom.” While it speaks to parents at home, we wonder about the implications for educators in the classroom. The article really aligns with the large blocks of free exploration time and the use of loose parts, which are both emphasized in the finalized Kindergarten Program Document.

Teaching Kids To Be More Independent – As Kindergarten educators, we really encourage this kind of independence. Here’s a great article with some practical tips for home.

10 Sandwich-Free Lunch Ideas For Kids And Growups Alike –  A recent read aloud has our children talking a lot about healthy and unhealthy foods. Many children bring really healthy lunches, and they’re beginning to notice and comment on the impact that these foods can have on their brains and bodies. Some parents have mentioned that their children don’t like sandwiches for lunch, so when we came across this article, we thought that we’d share it. It includes some healthy alternatives to sandwiches.

That’s Life: Helping Kids Deal With Disappointment – This week, we had to work students through some disappointments. This great article gives some wonderful suggestions on what you can do to support your child during these challenging times. There are a lot of benefits to learning how to deal with these disappointments at young ages — as challenging as they can be! 

Tiny Trees – A wonderful video shared by Mrs. Raymond, which makes us realize, yet again, the value of outdoor play. 

To Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure – This is a wonderful TED Talk that Mrs. Raymond shared on their class blog earlier in the week. Her “brave girls” video is worth watching as well. Our daily visits to the forest help to encourage this adventure, and this is such a wonderful thing for all children: boys and girls. We love having a program document that encourages and supports this outdoor learning time. 

Understanding Your Child’s Reports – This year, instead of having observations in Kindergarten, there will be a Communication of Learning: Initial Observation sent home on October 30th with a follow-up interview on November 2nd (in the evening) or 3rd (during the day). This resource will help you understand the Communication of Learning: Initial Observation. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any questions.


Voices of Self-Reg – VoicEd Radio hosts a Self-Reg podcast every week. You can listen to previous episodes here. There are even ones around parenting and self-regulation that people might find interesting. Self-Reg continues to be a topic of interest for us.

Walking In Natural Environments Nourishes Parent-Child Bonds – This is a great article that speaks about the value of walking together in nature. Since our school is surrounded by nature, there are definitely lots of opportunities to do this with your child!

Ways To Lighten The Stress Load – At school, we spend a lot of time helping children understand their stressors and different ways to self-regulate. This wonderful resource provides some great options that might help your child at a time of heightened stress. What a wonderful talking point for talking with children too!

What Screen Time And Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain And Sensory Processing Ability – While this article really targets parents, it also makes me (Aviva) think about the classroom implications. How much is too much? How do we take this data into consideration when planning classroom activities and considering technology use in the classroom?

What To Say To Little Kids Instead Of “Say Sorry” – This post explores the problems with saying sorry, and another way that we can respond to problems between young kids. The ideas are worth thinking about.

What’s Hiding Behind The Misbehaviours? – A great reminder about stress behaviour vs. misbehaviour.

#WhatWeBelieve – An important quote by Stuart Shanker to think about at this somewhat stressful time of the year.

Why Does My Child Hate Math? – This is an incredibly interesting three-part article by Stuart Shanker that explores negative feelings of math through a Self-Reg lens. Worth reading! It’s very interesting to see the power that relationships can have in changing some of these feelings.

Why I Meet My Students At The Door Andrew Campbell is an educator that I’ve  (Aviva) known for many years, both through his online presence and through in-person discussions. Andrew always pushes me to think differently, and he often asks hard questions that get me (and others) to see various perspectives. He recently gave this inspiring (and incredibly sad) TedxTalk that I think every parent, teacher, and administrator should watch. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you think. And it will definitely make you see why relationships matter most of all in education. Thanks Andrew!

Why Kids Need To Spend Time In Nature – This is a great article that highlights the value of kids spending time in nature. Outdoor learning is an essential component of the Kindergarten Program, and this explains why this time is so important. Thanks Mrs. Raymond and Mrs. Carte Combs for sharing this article on your blog.

Why Kids Who Climb Trees Do Better In School? – This article was shared by Mrs. Raymond and Mrs. Carte Combs. It provides some very interesting information about the link between tree climbing and working memory. Definitely worth a read!

Why We Need To Make Math Relevant To Kids – This is a great article that speaks to the value of making math relevant to kids, as well as provides some home learning options. We’d love to hear what you try.

Favourite Websites

The Kid Should See This – There are lots of interesting videos here to inspire discussion, investigation, and further interest. Worth watching and talking about some of them together at home.

Oxford Owl – We learned about this website last summer thanks to Miriam Trehearne’s new educator resource. There are hundreds of free e-books and resources online that you can use with your child. On the cover of each book are suggested activities for before, during, and after reading. You’ll also notice that for the Kindergarten age range, there are a number of wordless picture books. These books are great for developing vocabulary and comprehension skills that are very important parts of the reading process. As you move through the books, they gradually get more difficult. We will email you the username and password information.