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Boreal Community Media

Kindergarten Playdate coming Wednesday

Aug 15, 2018 11:28AM ● By Editor

Ms. Smith and Mrs. Hood Cordially invite you to our Kindergarten Playdate

See old friends, and make new ones at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School’s Playground!

Who: All Cook County Kindergarten Aged Kids and Families

When: Wednesday, August 22nd  10:30-11:30 AM

Where: Sawtooth Mountain Elementary Playground (In case of rain, check the entry door by the playground for directions to our location)

Let’s get excited about the 2018-2019 school year! Start the year off right with a chance to connect with other students and families.

This is also a great time for families to ask questions. You can find out about our programs; such as the gifted and talented (CLIMB), Music, Arts, PE, Spanish, Sawtooth Mountain School Garden, Winter Wonderland (snowshoes, skis, ice skates and sleds) and of course meet the teachers!

If you need to register at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary school, you can bring in your blue form or fill one out here to ensure your child will be on the initial class lists, which are published the next week. We hope to see you there!

Lacey Smith [email protected] 387-2271 ext 455

Autumn Hood [email protected]  387-2271 ext. 457

We noticed on our enrollment list your family may not have  signed up yet! If you have questions about our programs, please call us, or you can review this list of Frequently Asked Questions about our school - thank you for considering Sawtooth Mountain Elementary for your child’s education!


My Kindergartner thrives on movement and being outside! How do you plan for this?

Movement and outside time is critical for our Kindergarten students!  We have planned a minimum of 1 hour of this time each day for our Kindergarteners.  30 minutes of expert Physical Education instruction AND 30 minutes of Recess daily because this is so important.  Your child also has the opportunity to begin their day outside with our early drop off option at 7:30am on the Sawtooth Elementary Playground.

We recently remodeled our Elementary Gym, and playground space.  These spaces are specifically designed for our children here in Cook County.  This design was developed based on the input of parent/teacher committees, to include active learning, socialization, fine and gross motor concepts all incorporated.

Our school is located next to an amazing forest with trail system; this, along with our Sawtooth Mountain Elementary Garden, and Winter Wonderland are incorporated constantly through the year in our science, language arts and other subjects.

All staff at Sawtooth plan walking field trips during the school year to get out and learn outside the classroom. Our teachers additionally incorporate movement breaks and the use of free play and movement in their lessons.  

Kids LOVE getting outside to learn at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary.

It seems like such a long day for Kindergarteners. How do they handle the transition to this?

At Sawtooth Mountain Elementary, we have designed the day around your Kindergartener’s natural developmental stage.  This includes learning and free play blocks in the morning and throughout the day, thoughtfully spaced transitions and outside time, physical education, and a rest/decompression time every single day in the early afternoon.

What Subjects will my Kindergartner be learning?

At Sawtooth Mountain Elementary we focus on education the whole child both academic development and social and emotional skill development. They will learn Reading, Handwriting, Language Arts, Mathematics,Social Studies, Science, Digital Citizenship, Art, Music, Library Skills, Physical Education, and Spanish/World Cultures. To support students social and emotional needs we have adopted a responsive classroom approach to build community with in our classrooms. We also use the Second Step curriculum to teach social problem solving and emotion management. Our use of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) ensures that all students understand school wide expectations through our common positive language, including voice levels, out of classroom expectations, common signage throughout schools, positive reinforcement of behaviors (Viking Vouchers), and celebration of success with parents (Vikings Way Postcards Cards)

Do you offer Foreign Language in the school?

Yes!  Our Spanish instructor Maggie Friedrichs teaches Spanish and World Cultures to all of our students at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary. Students learn to understand words and concepts presented in the Spanish language through Comprehensible Input (words that they can understand). They also sing songs in Spanish, answer yes/no questions and short-answer questions. In addition to learning Spanish students learn about other countries and cultures from around the world and make comparisons to their own culture.

Arts are important to our family and my Kindergartner.  What is the Art program like?

Their art class takes place in our studio located in the Arrowhead Center for the Arts addition on our campus.  

They learn through a variety of mediums, centered around the MN Academic Standards for the Arts.  These standards inform our Art instruction from the time they enter our Kindergarten classroom to the time they graduate with advanced Art AP credits towards colleges if they pursue this route.  Each year is uniquely different and exposes the students to a fantastic array of projects through the years. Our Art instructor for the 2018-2019 school year is Mrs. Mila Horak. You may know her through her work with the children in the county on the mural projects, or through her illustrations in a favorite book at school, Fearless John: The Legend of John Beargrease.

How about Music?

Students also receive Music instruction in the Arrowhead Center for the Arts Music and Band Room. Our Music Instructors, Cathy Penning and Mikkel Haas ensure that each year brings new components to their instruction, including rhythm, melody and vocal instruction, recorders in 3th grade, guitars in 4th, beginning band in 5th grade, middle/high school band and choir.

What is the PE program (Physical Education) like?    

Teachers, parents, and child development experts nationwide agree on the importance of licensed physical education instruction.  They recommend 30 minutes each day, which is what we believe in, and commit to our students.

The State of Minnesota is also listening to these experts and adopting new, expert panel informed, physical education standards that all schools should implement.  Our PE instructors have planned the program based on this new document with over 43 pages of standards to provide our children the best start to their development possible.  

It addresses cooperation and teamwork skills, social and emotional development, body awareness, cross body coordination and movements, cultural dance, sports for life and enjoyment, healthy habits, and much, much more!  

The elementary gym is being completely remodeled and re-fit for your child’s best possible experience - we encourage you to come check it out!

My Kindergartner is fairly advanced for her age. Will she be challenged?

Yes! Our CLIMB program taught by Ms. Barras and Mrs. Viren will extend and challenge skills for all children to deepen and accelerate learning for our gifted and talented students.  Every student will have an opportunity to participate at some point during the year in this project based, experiential, STE(a)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) based learning program.

What services are available if my child has needs in different areas?

We provide a variety of supports for all of our students.  These include Title 1 services, Reading Corps, Math Corps, Special Education services, Speech services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, School Nursing Health Services, and partner with two mental health organizations in the school.  

Parents are encouraged to reach out right away with any concerns to the teacher, principal, or special service area at any time so we can serve your children the best way possible.

I’m nervous about some of the day to day school experiences - the bus, time to eat lunch, communication with the teachers - how do these work?

We recognize the importance of keeping safety as a top priority, and the importance of helping our kids understand all of the ‘new’ things at school.  

In terms of bussing, our bus drivers keep a close eye on the road, their safety checks and stops, and keep our little ones close to the front.  Our teachers individually check each student onto their bus at the end of the day in our primary grades, to eliminate confusion with our newest riders.  Also, we conduct bus safety training with all of our students during the start of school.

In our cafeteria, and throughout the school, we practice what it’s like and how to use the area the first days and weeks of the year.  Teachers help with lunch numbers, getting food, opening milks, and making sure every child gets all the time they need to eat (30 minutes is always scheduled).  

Our cafeteria has eating areas arranged to promote social engagement and conversations. Come check it out!

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here