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August 3, 2015 Dear Parents, Welcome to First Grade! ​ We hope you had a

August 3, 2015

Dear Parents,

Welcome to First Grade!We hope you had a wonderful summer holiday. The following letter contains important information about the first grade team and program that you will need to refer to frequently so please keep it for future reference.


Monica Tindallis Australian. She graduated with Honours in her Early Childhood Education Degree from Newcastle University and has a Masters Degree from the Southern University of New York. She has taught in Australia, Singapore and Venezuela. This is Ms. Tindall’s thirteenth year at ISKL. She enjoys keeping fit, visiting the spa, traveling and dining out. As a hobby she runs a blog, theyumlist.blogspot.com where she posts all of her favourite spots to eat, stay and spa.

Araceli Arismendi is from Houston, Texas. She received her Bachelor's of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and her Master's of Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Araceli has twelve years teaching students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade. This will be her 4th year working at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, and she can’t wait to work and learn from her new group of learners! On her free time, she enjoys yoga, running, cooking, dining, and dancing to great beats.

Karin Martin is from Honolulu, Hawaii. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and has a master’s degree in Education from Chaminade University in Honolulu. She has lived overseas for over 20 years (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing). She is married and has two daughters who attend ISKL high school. This will be her seventh year teaching and her fourth year at ISKL. She enjoys reading, eating and spending time with her family.

Alasdair Hamilton is from Toronto, Ontario Canada. He received his bachelors of Arts from University of Guelph and his bachelor of Education from Trent University. This is his second year at ISKL. Previous to working at ISKL he worked in Kuwait. When he is not working, he loves to be outdoors. Skiing with his wife and running are some of the activities he loves to do.

Ashley Varney is from Long Island, New York. She went to Lehigh University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business & Economics and a Masters in Elementary Education. She has spent the last seven years specializing in Early Childhood and working closely with Literacy Development. Ashley enjoys being active and loves walking her dog, going hiking, running with her husband and doing yoga. It is Ashley’s second year at ISKL and she feels

excited to be a part of this warm community. Ashley’s passion is education and she is greatly looking forward to meeting her new students.

Sungeeta Singhis from New Zealand. She is originally from South Africa. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Durban-Westville and her Master’s degree (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Tasmania. Although this is her first year at ISKL, she brings over 30 years of teaching experience to the classroom. She has taught from Prep Senior to Grade 12. She is passionate about teaching literacy. In her leisure time, she enjoys walking, yoga, travelling and learning about new cultures. She feels very privileged to be part of the ISKL family.

Diane Foudyis from Canada. She received her undergraduate degree from Bishop’s University, her Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the

University of Strathclyde, and has a Master’s Degree from the State University

of New York. Diane is entering her 19

experience in Kuwait, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Oman. She is married and has two daughters in ISKL’s Middle School. This is her seventh year at ISKL. Diane enjoys reading, cooking and hiking.

th year of teaching with international


Miss Salama was born in Kedah, Malaysia. She has worked for ISKL for twenty one years. She has three grown-up children. Salama enjoys cooking, sewing, and exercising.

Miss Jagwas born in Negeri Sembilan Malaysia. She has worked for ISKL for nine years. She has a young son. Jag enjoys listening to music and cooking.

Miss Josephine was born in KL. This is Josephine’s nineth year at ISKL. She has two teenage boys and worked in preschool in Children’s House. Josephine loves teaching and loves working at ISKL!

Miss Priscilla was born in KL. She has worked at ISKL for seven years. In her free time, she loves to be with her friends.

Miss Elainewas born in Selangor. This is Elaine’s seven year at ISKL. Previously, she has worked in a renovation firm and a Kindergarten classroom. She has two children, one in high school and one in college. In her free time she likes to listen to music, shop and visit with friends.

The Student Resource Team (SRT) TEAM

Grade one is supported too by Kate Balsamo (Speech and Language therapy), and Chris Wright(counselor). They are a vital part of the First Grade team and will be working with students in classrooms over the year.

SPECIAL CLASS DAYS​​- Your child will enjoy the following classes, taught by talented specialist teachers: Physical Education (PE); Music; Art; Library; and; World Languages.

THE PROGRAM​​We are looking forward to having a successful experience together. The first month the children will need time to settle in and adjust to their new surroundings. Grade One students will have a full year adding new skills to their personal, reading, writing, math, science and social studies toolbox. At Open House and throughout the year, via newsletters and curriculum letters, you will receive more information about the program specifics.

THE MELAWATI WAY– The Melawati Way is an integral component of our community. Within each Grade One class, we will emphasize this theme:

Make a difference by… Taking care of yourself Taking care of others Taking care of this place

ISKL SLRs (School Learning Results) In addition to the Melawati Way, the children’s learning in Grade One will be guided by our SLRs which are:

Collaborate Constructively Think Creatively Reason Critically Communicate Effectively Learn Enthusiastically Live Ethically

SCHOOL HOURS– Children should arrive between 7:40 and 7:50am as

supervision is not available before this time. Children should go

directly to the playground - there is no supervision in classes before 8:00am. The first bell rings at 7:55am, at which time students line up with their class and First Grade assistant in the playground and walk in a line to the classroom. Classes begin at 8:00am First Grade students attend school from 8:00am – 2:45pm daily. Optional after school activities begin on September 7, starting at 2:45 and ending at 3:45pm.

TARDY– Children who arrive to school after 8:00am must first go to the main office to get a Tardy Slip before entering the classroom.

UNIFORMS– Children should come to school in dark blue shorts and the official white or blue shirt and a hat. On P.E. days, children should wear rubber soled, closed-toe sports shoes. (Sports shoes are recommended for everyday use to enable your child to make the most of their recess times in the playground.) Children will wear their P.E. clothes to school on P.E. days and

change into their uniform after P.E. Please label ALL of your child’s belongings with name and class.

SNACK AND LUNCH- Students may bring food from home or purchase snack and / or lunch from school. You will need to top up your child’s account in the front office with a minimum of RM100 per top up. Please do not send money

to school as Melawati is a cash free campus. For children who bring

home-packed food, we cannot stress enough the importance of sending healthy (low sugar, low fat, high fibre) food and drinks. This provides the nutrients your child will need throughout the day and will promote physical and mental development. Please have your child eat a healthy breakfast before coming to school as well. Children bring their lunch in a lunch box or small cooler bag. We encourage a trash-free grade one – please see the separate note with suggestions for how to do this. There are no heating facilities for lunches for children in grade one.

The Grade One children use the tables outside Prep Senior for snack and lunch times. The ordering routine will be the similar as the one that students follow in Prep. Senior. A menu and order form will be sent electronically at the end of each week, to be filled out for the entire following week. You must open your school email account to access this. Please support our positive efforts in becoming trash free.

An important note about snack time:PLEASE ensure your child knows what

they are having for lunch before they come to school each day – lunch from home or lunch from school. They also need to know if they have snack from home or snack from school. Help your child differentiate between the two.

WATER BOTTLES- Students should bring a small, clearly labeled water bottle, which they can keep in class for use during class hours. A clear, large label will make it less likely that bottles are lost. To ensure the most of instruction time children are encouraged to go to the bathroom during their break times and to have their water bottles filled before coming to the classroom to minimize distraction to the learning periods.

SUPPLIES- Children​​should bring a regular sized backpack, big enough for carrying A4 sized folders, lunch box, library books, hat and water bottle. No roller bags please, as these are too big for the cubbies provided.

CHANGES IN A CHILD’S MODE OF TRANSPORTATION​​- Student safety is of utmost concern to us. School policy states that if parents wish to make a change in the way a child goes home at dismissal time, the teacher must be

informed in writing. If written permission is not received, your child will go

home in the customary manner. If your child must go home in a different way than normal, you must contact both the school busing office and the classroom teacher. melawatibusing@iskl.edu.my Jane or Grace: 012 3973466 or (03) 4104 3061

A change in activities, such as your child missing an activity one day, should be communicated to the classroom teacher and also Jessie Leong in the main office, jleong@iskl.edu.my, (03) 4104 3000

HOME/SCHOOL FOLDER- From Monday to Friday your child will bring home a zipped folder. Once the routine is established, books will come home inside the folder and also any special notes. Your child must return their home/school folder to school each day. Most notes and information however will be sent via email or posted on the class’ webpage or blogspot.

OPTIONAL HOME ACTIVITIES- We understand that the children have a very long day at school and they need time to play and relax when school is over. This is a highly valued part of their physical and mental well-being and unstructured playtime develops skills that cannot be formed otherwise, such as creativity, lateral thinking, independence and social/ emotional skills.

We do however ask that you read with/ listen to your child everyday a book of his/her choosing. Feel free to read to your child in his/her native language as well as in English. At times teachers will send Suggested Home Activities that connect learning in class to the home. These activities are not graded and are not returned to school. In grade one and we trust parents to use the activities as appropriate for their child. We recognize that many parents already engage their children in meaningful activities such as cooking and reading together, playing board games and imaginative play.

LIBRARY- First Grade students visit the library once every 6 days. See the class calendar for your child’s library day.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES​​Please refer to our separate notice about celebrations at school. If you are holding a celebration at home, teachers are happy to send invitations home through the Home/School folders only if allstudents are invited. Parents must handle invitations for home parties to which only some children will be invited. We have a green policy for celebrations at school. Please see the separate note.

TOYS FROM HOME​​The Grade One classrooms are full of interesting items that belong to the entire “community” and therefore are a less potential source of conflict than are personal belongings from home. In order to avoid problems

among the children, toys from home are not allowed at school.

SICKNESS- We would like to suggest that our parents follow these guidelines in order to minimize absences due to illness.

Please do not send a child who may be coming down with an illness to school.

Please ensurethat your child has had at least one completely fever free day (24 hours) without medication before he/she returns to class.

Children with heavy colds may not be feverish; however, our little ones are often not yet able to cover their sneezes and coughs sufficiently. We would prefer them to stay home until their symptoms have calmed down.

If your child has allergies of any nature, inform the teacher.

If your child needs any type of medication during the school day, the medicine must be sent in with a note and given to the school nurse. She will administer it.

Students who are not feeling well or who have been absent due to an infectious health condition such as chicken pox, pink eye, whooping cough, impetigo, measles, mumps or head lice need to see the nurse and receive clearance before returning to class.

PARENT SHARING IN THE CLASSROOM- Children enjoy having their parents come to their classroom to share interesting information or to teach something. If you have a talent such as playing a musical instrument, singing, drawing, or even reading stories, please let the teacher know. We will set up a time for you to be with us and participate in our day. Your child’s homeroom teacher will make you aware of other opportunities for classroom participation after the students have settled into a regular routine.

ROOM PARENTS- Every class in ISKL Melawati needs at least one Room Parent volunteer who works both with the Grade Level Coorindator and with the teacher to organize class events like parties, parent gatherings and field trips and recruits other parent volunteers to help. Please notify your child’s teacher if you would like to take on this role.

COMMUNICATIONGREEN GRADE ONE To have the best possible education for your child we will need to work together and have open communication. Please feel free to contact your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns you may have. In Grade 1 we use email as the preferred way of communicating with parents. We use the @iskl.edu.my address only – so if you are not yet signed up please see our technology department immediately. All newsletters and communication pages will be sent home through via email or class websites.

Parents may contact teachers through Panther Apps.

Our addresses are as follows:

kmartin@iskl.edu.my(Karin Martin) aarismendi@iskl.edu.my(Araceli Arismendi) mtindall@iskl.edu.my(Monica Tindall)

avarney@iskl.edu.my​​(Ashley Varney) ahamilton@iskl.edu.my(Alasdair Hamilton) dfoudy@iskl.edu.my(Diane Foudy) ssingh@iskl.edu.my(Sungeeta Singh)

The ISKL Grade One phone number is (03) 4104-3020 for emergencies. Please be considerate of your child’s teacher’s time and be sure to arrange a meeting in advance via email if there is an important issue to discuss. Please remember that you may not be seen if you “just drop by” as these “drop-ins” may take away valuable contact time between the teacher and students.

We are all looking forward to a great year with your child.

Sincerely, The First Grade Teachers

Important points to remember:

LABEL everything

We have a green ethos and do our best to align our actions with this value

We’re one team (children, parents, teachers, school community) working together towards a better future for our students. Go Team!