New Kindergarteners – FAQ

Have a lot of questions about what the school day will be like for your kindergartener? You’re not alone. We have put together this collection of questions and answers for your use.

How do I receive the most up-to-date information about Madera?

The best way to stay informed of Madera events is to subscribe to the Madera Newsletter. The PTA sends out regular updates on upcoming events and important school-related information. To sign up, click on the home page of this website and just under the navigation bar you’ll see “ME! E-News”. Click on that to subscribe.

When do I receive official notification of my child’s placement?

The school typically sends out notification to families in July to let you know your child’s school placement and AM or PM designation.

When do I find out who my child’s teacher will be?

Typically, Madera posts teacher/class assignment the afternoon before school starts (Sunday afternoon).

This year we will also have a “Jump Start” event on Saturday, Aug. 19th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. You’ll be able to fill out your child’s emergency contact forms, get information about the coming year’s events and activities, meet many current Madera families, and also find out your child’s teacher and classmates.

Is there an orientation to help my kindergartener get ready for school?

There will be a Kindergarten Orientation held on Friday, August 18th. Your child will have an opportunity to see the classrooms and school yard and meet some of the teachers, as well as the Principal and other school personnel. You’ll be able to ask questions about the school, the PTA, etc.

How can I get in touch with other kindergarten parents?

Every year, there is a “Get to Know” Spring Play-date organized by other Madera parents specifically for incoming families. If you completed the roster information at the January registration, you should receive information about the play date. It’s a good opportunity to meet with other new families.

Sometimes, other playdates are organized through the summer. This summer (2017) there is a Monday evening playdate every week throughout the summer at Canyon Trail Park from 5:45-8:00 pm, and a Sunday afternoon playdate at Tassajara Park from 1:00-3:00 pm. Any and all are welcome! For more information about these playdates, visit http://www.facebook.com/groups/Playthissummer/.

What is the kindergarten class schedule?

There are two morning kindergarten classes and one afternoon class. Morning kindergarten goes from 8:20 am- 11:40 pm.

Afternoon kindergarten goes from 11:45 am- 3:05 pm. Classrooms are closed until 8:20 am. However, families may choose to participate in the morning running club held each day at 8:00 am on the lower yard.

Parents picking up their kids after class can meet them in the hallway or out in the yard.

How does drop off work?

Children line up on the upper yard outside their classroom until the teacher opens the doors and welcomes them in. On rainy days they can line up outside their door in the inside corridor and the kids may be allowed in the classrooms earlier. The kindergarten area on the upper yard is marked on the ground with blue paint so that everyone knows where to wait.

You might notice cones in front of the classrooms and in the first days children will be assigned a color and wait in line behind their assigned cones.

How does pick up work?

You or the designated person will pick your child in front of the classroom (same place as in the mornings). The teachers will have a list of which children are going with their parents and which are going to the after school program.

How do “minimum days” work for kindergartners?

Shortened (minimum) days only pertain to grades 1-6. The kindergarten day always remains on the same schedule.

How do I enroll my child in childcare for before or after school? 

The City of El Cerrito Recreation Department runs before/after-care program onsite at Madera, and also offers additional after-school enrichment programs. You can find more information here: http://ca-elcerrito.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=144

Contact recreation staff for detailed information about schedule, billing and other details.  El Cerrito Recreation Center: 7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito, CA 94530, Ph: (510) 559-7000recreation@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

How does my kindergartener get to/from the childcare program?

The childcare program is held at the Madera Clubhouse, which is the building on the Southeast corner of campus. Children enrolled in the morning program (opens at 7:00 am) are escorted to their classroom by the program staff. At the end of class, your child’s teacher will line up kids based on where they are going after school (home or aftercare), and after-care staff will meet them and escort them to the Clubhouse. If you enroll your child in the after-school program later in the year, be sure to let your teacher know so that your child is guided to the correct area.

Can parents stay with their child for a while at the beginning of class?

Parents are generally allowed into the classroom (especially early in the year) to get their kids settled, but typically, you should expect to drop your child off and leave so that the teacher can develop a relationship and dynamic with the children in their class. Every teacher is different in how they handle separation anxieties (both kids’ and parents’), so it’s best for parents to let the teacher lead the way on this.

How do I get my child to school?

Families can drive, carpool, walk, or use AC Transit (#7 drops off at Arlington & Madera Circle).

Most kindergarten parents drive to the school, park, and walk their kids to the upper yard, but you can also drop your child off at the front or back entrances if you feel they are mature enough to walk themselves to class. Kindergarten classes start and end at different times from Grades 1-6, so parking is usually not too difficult.

Please do not park in the yellow zones in front and back of the school; these areas are for quick drop-off & pick-up only. Also, these areas are often very congested, so use caution if dropping your child off.

Please be mindful of how you drive in our school zone; slow down and be attentive.

When do the Kindergarteners eat lunch?

Neither AM nor PM kindergarten has a lunchtime, however there is a snack period for both so you should pack a healthysnack for your child. The kids who participate in the childcare program can either bring their own lunch or purchase lunch through the WCCUSD meal program. The meal program allows you to pre-pay for your child’s lunches online. Children who purchase lunch are assisted in getting their lunch from the MPR by childcare staff.

For information on the hot lunch program, including applying for free or reduced price meals, see the WCCUSD website:http://www.wccusd.net/page/272).

Where do we turn in Health Assessment forms?

Bring your child’s medical and dental forms (provided in WCCUSD registration process) to the Madera front office at the beginning of the school year (or sooner if possible), in person or mail to 8500 Madera Drive, El Cerrito, CA 94530.

What should I do if my child has a medical condition that requires special attention?

If your child has a medical condition that may require attention while at school, please inform the school. You will need to provide appropriate documentation for the administration of medication if your child requires any medication while at school. All of the relevant forms can be found on the WCCUSD (West Contra Costa Unified School District) website, here:

The District Nurse’s Office is open during the summer. Please contact them at (510) 307-4646 if you have any questions or concerns.

How do I get information about classroom and school events?

Madera PTA emails a newsletter every Monday during the school year to keep parents informed of all upcoming school events and important information.

Additionally, your child will be given a blue folder (heavy folder paper stock with internal pockets) at the beginning of the year, which is sent home every Friday with homework and anything else that needs to be conveyed to parents. Teachers will send letters to parents via this folder, and sometimes the PTA will send message this way, as well. Your child should return the folder to class every Monday.

Generally, a parent will volunteer to be the “Room Representative” for each teacher/classroom. Most classes start a class Shutterfly account, which is administered by the Room Rep, to facilitate easy communication of class-specific information.

Where can I find the school calendar?

You can find the WCCUSD calendar here: http://www.wccusd.net/Page/581.  Additionally, the PTA publishes a Madera calendar on our website in late August, which will have all school-specific events.

What types of school supplies do children need?

Madera’s PTA funding efforts ensure that the lower grades, including kindergarten, are fully stocked for classroom work from day one. If there is anything else needed, your child’s teacher will let you know.

You should provide your child with a bag or backpack that is large enough to hold his/her take-home blue folder and snack/lunch bag.

Does Madera have a dress code?

There is no formal dress code at Madera. The district does publish some guidelines intended to inform in a “macro way” but there is no requirement to follow these. To get a sense of what kids wear, take a look at the Madera website to see photos of kids in a variety of outfits.

Is there a district parent handbook?

You can find WCCUSD handbook here: http://www.wccusd.net/page/577

 Keep in mind that the handbook is generalized for use by all district schools. School-specific usage and implementation is determined by site.

I’d like to help out in the classroom. Are there volunteering opportunities?

There are many ways you can help out in the classroom or in the school. Many teachers rely on parents to organize parties, gather supplies, help supervise field trips, and help in the classroom. You can sign up to volunteer in the classroom through your child’s teacher. 

To volunteer in the classroom or on field trips (or in any capacity that involves contact with the children) you must get a volunteer badge. You can find more information here: http://www.wccusd.net/cms/lib03/CA01001466/Centricity/domain/93/volunteer/Volunteer_flier_2015_16.pdf 

(You do not need a volunteer badge to volunteer for the PTA or Madera Foundation.)

Madera is extremely fortunate to have a very active PTA and fundraising Foundation. Both of these organizations rely on parent volunteers to facilitate school-wide activities, events and programs. We strongly encourage new parents to get involved! If you don’t feel you have time to volunteer on a regular basis, pick one or two events per year to contribute to in some way.

To contact the Madera Elementary School office: (510) 231-1412

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s