Monday, January 30, 2012

New School Attendance Policy


Each child must attend school beginning in September of the calendar year in which he or she attains the age of six (per Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education*). A child entering kindergarten must have attained the age of five by August 31 of that year. Effective January 1, 2012 a child entering:

• First grade must have attained the age of six by August 31 of that year

• Second grade must have attained the age of seven by August 31 of that year

• Third grade must have attained the age of eight by August 31 of that year

• Fourth grade must have attained the age of nine by August 31 of that year

• Fifth grade must have attained the age of ten by August 31 of that year

There are two possible exceptions for consideration:

1. For grades K – 5 students who move into the district: who were enrolled in kindergarten through grade 5 in their prior community and do not meet the above age requirement may be considered for an exemption. (This provision respects a grade level reciprocity for students moving into the district from other public schools within the United Statesonly.)

2. For an exception to be admitted to first grade: for students who do not meet the kindergarten age requirement - if a child turns six years of age between August 31 and October 31, exceptions may be made by the Principal and Superintendent for those children who, in the opinion of the Principal and Superintendent have:

a. Attended and completed a rigorous kindergarten program, and

b. Can demonstrate academic, social, and emotional readiness for first grade in accordance with criteria established by the School Department

All kindergarten exemption requests must be made in writing to the Superintendent’s office by June 1 prior to the child beginning the new school year.

The decision on whether to grant either exception to the age policy can be made only by the Principal and the Superintendent and their decision is final with no further appeal.

Legal Reference: *Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Adopted by the Burlington School Committee: 12/13/11

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Early Writing

Last week I shared a blog post from the Cub Cadet's that showed all the fun and hand-on ways we can begin to teach children how to form letters. I found this blog post that talks about reversals and what do do. It is a questions that is asked over and over again by parents. I hope this post helps to explain beginning writing skills.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reverse, Backward, and Upside Down: When to Worry When About Your Child's Writing

Some parents may worry when their preschoolers begin to reverse letters, write words from right to left, or confuse letters like b, d, and p in their writing. Even preschoolers who previously "got it right" might begin to reverse letters and words. But not to worry! This is a normal stage in learning to write. Between the ages of three and seven, it is quite common for children to write some or all of their letters and words backwards. Sometimes called mirror writing, research shows that this phenomenon is not only normal, but is likely the result of normal brain development.
As a former preschool and kindergarten teacher, I can tell you that such writing does not worry me and in fact it lets me know that often children have moved on to the next stage in their literacy development. Often, children "get it right" in the beginning because they have learned to write by copying something that a grown-up has written for them. When children start to write on their own without an example, they will make more errors. They are using their brains to figure things out and that is a good thing! When you watch a preschooler write, you can often see a level of concentration that says, "My brain is working OVERTIME over here!"

What should parents of preschoolers do?

  1. Avoid making a big deal and correcting your child. Over corrections may discourage your child from future attempts at writing.
  2. Model writing for your child. For example, when he or she asks you to write their name or a sentence on their artwork, start in the upper left corner so children see the direction of print.
  3. Sometimes (but not always) point to the words books that you are reading so children learn that text is read from left to write and from top to bottom
  4. Relax and don't worry! This is an awesome stage in your child's development and if they are taking an interest in writing, NURTURE it rather than over-analyzing it!

What if my child is in Kindergarten and is still writing backwards?

The same rules apply. Up until age seven or eight, children may continue to display mirror writing. Most of the time, children will learn the correct way with lots of practice that they are likely to get when they enter elementary school. If you are still concerned, speak to your child's teacher and your child's pediatrician.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Handwriting and Letter Play

Lisa Bottiglio, teacher of the Cub Cadets, shared this post with the families in her classroom. This approach to beginning writing skills is used throughout the program. I thought it was a great post to share with all of our families at the Burlington Early Childhood Center.
Handwriting and Letter Play

Our program has using been using the researched based curriculum called Handwriting Without Tears. It focuses on fine motor readiness skills as well as promote the correct way to form letters and numbers. We have been using a variety of materials to explore how letters are formed with this program. This is a part of every day in school. The children really love it.
We use Ipad apps to promote letter writing as well. This app is called Iwrite words. It is an interactive way to have the students write letters.

We have used snow(really shaving cream) to hid letters. Then students were asked to use their pointer finger to trace the letters. This was a fun way to promote left to right progression and letter awareness.
We have HWT letters on rice trays. The children use their fingers to move the rice to reveal the uppercase letters hidden in the colored rice.
Along with these hands on activites, we use handwriting books, songs to promote letter formations(ie;"Where do you start your letters?), and building Mat Man. He is a man that is formed using big and little lines and big and little curves. The children love him.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fun Ideas

The cold winter weather is upon us and it's hard to get out and play. Here are some fun indoor sensory ideas to keep your children busy and continue to develop fine motor skills.

Messy play ideas

Don’t be afraid of a little mess! Sensory play is so beneficial for children: it’s creative and good for role playing, relaxing, great for fine motor skills, and teaches lots of science too. Try some of these ideas.

Ice Cream Playdough recipe

Top 10 playdough ideas

Foot print painting

Air drying clay models

Top 10 water play ideas

Car wash

Bubble painting

Jelly play ideas

Snow play

Sand pictures

The Messy Play Carnival 2010

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kindergarten Registration



Interim Director of Special Education BURLINGTON, MA 01803


FAX (781)270-1990



Registration of children entering Kindergarten in September, 2012 will be held at the Fox Hill, Memorial, Pine Glen and Francis Wyman Schools on Monday through Friday, February 6, 2012 through February 10, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each day. A child entering kindergarten must have attained the age of five by August 31, 2012.

At the time of registration, parents are required to bring:

1. Birth certificate for child.

2 Proof of residency in the Town of Burlington. This requirement can be satisfied with the presentation of a lease or a recent utility bill.

3. Medical form must be completed by your family physician, and returned to school two (2) days prior to the opening of school. Children will not be able to attend school in September 2012 unless a complete medical form is provided. Your family physician must detail that your child has been given the following immunizations and also indicate the dates the immunizations were given:

5 doses Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus (DTaP)

4 doses Polio

3 doses Hepatitis B

2 doses Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

2 doses of Varicella Vaccine or Chicken Pox disease

Proof of Lead Screening

Vision and Hearing Screening

4. Pre-school form will need to be completed by the pre-school provider and returned at the time of your child’s scheduled kindergarten screening in the spring of 2012.

The medical forms can be picked up at registration or by clicking the following link: