Welcome to Kindergarten

March News    

Dear Parents,

March is filled with fun!  We have been busy learning about Lent and we will have some fun preparing for St. Patrick’s Day too.

**Wednesday, March 22nd will be Kindergarten Graduation picture day.  Please have your child wear a plain white shirt that day if possible.  The photos will start right after O’Canada and prayers at 9am. We will do the Tuesday/ Thursday students first since parents will need to bring their child in that morning.  You are welcome to wait in the Kindergarten foyer adjacent to the Kindergarten classroom. **    If there is a M/ W parent who would be able to volunteer that morning to help the photographers bring the next students down, that would be much appreciated.  Please let me know.

This week we had Pretzel Day!  We made a pretzel craft out of salt dough to remind us to pray more during Lent.  According to tradition, in the early 1600’s an Italian Monk invented the pretzel as a reminder to pray during the season of Lent.  He named his creation” bracellae” which translates to “little arms” thus, little arms are crossed in prayer.  The word “bracellae” translates to the German word bretzel, which eventually became – pretzel.  There are also 3 holes in a pretzel, which has come to represent the Holy Trinity, of God the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.  Neat stuff!!

Next week we will have our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on Wednesday and Thursday the 15th and the 16th.  Kids will be encouraged to wear something green that day as well as any other fun or festive attire they would like to wear to get in the spirit.  If anyone would like to bring green or slightly sweet treats for the class to share that would be fun, just let me know in advance if you don’t mind so that we don’t end up with too many treats J (Nut – Free as always please).

We are currently working on our Term 2 Assessments since Report Cards will be going home at the end of March. I am hoping to get the Home Reading Books out to families by the 3rd week of March.  Please watch for them and the Home Reading Duotang that will be coming your way soon.

I hope that your month of March is filled with many blessings and good health for you and your family!

God Bless,

Julie Dutka


February News

Dear Parents,

Wow I can't believe how February is flying by; between the skating lessons and Valentine's Day, things are moving fast!  Skating lessons are going amazingly well and I am so proud of how well everyone is doing!  The instructors at the arena are really super.  Thank you so very much to the volunteer parents who have been faithfully coming to help out on the ice or to help tie up skates - whew, we couldn't do it with out you!  Valentine's Day celebrations were a huge success and I think that we have a very special group of students this year.  I am always in awe of their kindness and generosity towards their peers; they really do look out for one another.

Kindness has been the theme for February, more specifically, we have been focusing on filling buckets.  I have introduced the book, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" and we have done crafts and activities that have helped the students to connect and understand the importance of showing kindness, respect and love to everyone.  The phrases "bucket dipping" and "bucket filling" are common in many elementary schools so I am sure that this concept will be revisited throughout the upcoming years and I am thrilled to see how the students have embraced the concept.  In fact in class we have a little basket that has papers inside that say: "I caught you filling a bucket" and each class has a bucket where they can place the name of someone that they have seen doing something kind for someone else.  I am please to say that this activity is catching on and a carry-over of an activity we did during Advent where students would catch one another doing kind acts and good deeds.

It is hard to believe that Lent is just around the corner.  Next week the students will be enjoying the week off and when we come back we will be getting ready for Ash Wednesday (the kick-off to the Lenten season).

The students have been working hard and having fun with the Early Literacy activities we began during January (spelling 3 letter words) and now that we are almost done printing the letters we will move into printing numbers 0-10.  I can't wait. Many of the kids are familiar with printing some of the numbers, but there are a few numbers that are a little tricky.

I would like to wish you all a restful week off and I am looking forward to seeing more of the fabulous show and tell presentations when we return!!

God Bless,

Julie Dutka



January News

Dear Parents,

Welcome back everyone!  I hope that you all had some special time with your families over the holidays.  It feels good to be back in the classroom with the kids and I am enjoying hearing about all of their holiday adventures.  December was a whirlwind month with all of the Advent and Christmas activities and I hope the students had as much fun as I did.  Now that we are into a new month and a new year, there are some other fun and exciting activities on the horizon.

The first big piece of news that I would like to share with you is that Kindergarten has been given some ice time and free skating lessons at the Scott Seaman Arena beside the school.  I am attaching the information in a separate email so that you will be able to print it. I will also send home hard copies in case you do not have a printer, since I will need some information back from you before we start up in February.  The dates are February 6 &8, 13&15, and Feb 27 and March 1st.  You will notice that these dates fall on Mondays and Wednesdays, however the Tuesday / Thursday students are welcome to join but these students would have to be accompanied by a parent (brought to the arena and then taken home from the arena).  Our ice time is from 1:00 -1:30 so you would probably want to be there a little before to make sure that all of their gear is on thus providing them with as much time on the ice as possible.  I cannot stress enough how important it is for students to come with all of the attire mentioned in the skating forms; specifically a helmet with a face shield. Students will also require their own skates for this activity.  On that note – I would be very grateful to have some additional parents on the ice with me during our half hour of fun, but parents need to have skates on to be on the ice.  Parents who are able to help tie skates and get the little ones out onto the ice will also be greatly appreciated.

Something else fun that will begin in the next couple of weeks is a form of Show and Tell.  I will be sending more information soon to provide more details on how the process will work, but just know that the first round of this activity will be somewhat structured to ensure that everyone has a turn.  It will include an element of “ I am special because…”  so you may want to start looking for a few photographs that you could send in with your child that would help to tell us more about them. 

In Early Literacy we are continuing to learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet and we are incorporating the printing of 3 letter words like CAT or GOD etc.   I say the first sound (not the letter name) and then they print it, and so on until the group is done and then we sound it out and read the word.  It’s exciting to see their faces when they begin to put it together.  In Early Numeracy we are also continuing to work on identifying and creating patterns.  

I look forward to seeing you as a volunteer whenever you are available, please just let me know what date works best for you and I will put you on the calendar.  Thank you to everyone who has been able to join us thus far. 

Please look for my additional e-mail with the skating forms attached.

God Bless,

Julie Dutka



The Magic of Christmas brings the joy of the season to families in the Okotoks area who are in need of support. This year, St. Francis would like to support this amazing volunteer organization by donating gifts for children. This year our Kindergarten to grade 4 classes are asked to participate in a toy drive. Students can bring in an unwrapped new toy that will be given to a young person who might not otherwise experience the “magic of Christmas”.  If you prefer, you may also make a cash donation and our Me to We team will do the shopping for you. To ensure that we cover all age groups, please follow the guide below.


Age 2-4 Toys

Grade 1

Age 5-6 Toys

Grade 2

Age 7-8 Toys

Grade 3

Age 9-10 Toys

Grade 4

Age 11-12 Toys


Donations must be received by December 12. We hope that “the magic of Christmas” inspires you to help bring joy to families in need.   

Have a Merry Christmas,                              

Staff of St. Francis of Assisi



November News and SAVE the DATE for our Christmas concert

Dear Parents, 

So far this month we have been busy preparing our hearts for Remembrance Day.  The students have had a chance to create some very special artwork, to which they invested a lot of love and dedication.  They also had an opportunity to meet with their “Buddies”.  The buddies are Grade Five students who will be coming to spend time with the Kindergarten students to do crafts, read with them and develop some special friendships.  The buddies helped our Kindergarten students create a special craft of tissue paper poppies; these poppies will be on display in the school gym on Thursday for our Remembrance Day celebrationAs Mrs. Atkinson indicated in her Principal Message you are welcome to attend.  The celebration is at 10:45am, this Thursday in the St. Francis of Assisi Academy school gym

It is special for me as well to have these buddies join our class as many of them were also once in my Kindergarten class.  Ahhhh it is something to see them grow up.  I am truly blessed.

We have been busy printing in Kindergarten and so far have learned the letters, Cc, Dd, Aa, Gg, Qq and Oo.  These letters are called the circle letters, since all of the lower-case letters start with a counter-clockwise circle.  This is indeed a tricky thing to learn for many students, so I would ask that you encourage your child to practice the same fluid motion at home.  Although I will not be assessing these letters for their Term 1 report card, I would ask that you invite your child to identify and name those letters when you are seeing them on the cereal box on when you are out and about in stores or at home.  I always like to encourage families to keep learning fun, especially at this age. This is the same approach that I use in the classroom.  Each day we have special time set aside for the students to play games with one another that foster positive social interactions and friendship as well as opportunities to learn letters and their sounds.

Thank you to the many parents who have volunteered their time in class so far.  If you think that you might be able to join us, please send me an email to let me know which day you are thinking and I will let you know if that date is available.  The volunteer shift is from 9 -12pm.

I look forward to seeing you at Parent -Teacher Interview night on Thursday, November 24th from 1:00 – 9:00 pm.  When we return to school the following week we will be entering the first week of Advent.  Wow Christmas is not that far away.  On that note I wanted to let you know that both Kindergarten classes will be participating in the whole school Christmas concert on Tuesday evening, December, 13th, so please save the date.

I hope that you all have a wonderful rest of the month. 

God Bless,

Ms. Julie Dutka



Halloween News

Dear Parents, I really can’t believe that we are more than half way through the month of October.  The Halloween excitement is really in the air.  On that note I thought I should touch base about which date we will have our celebrations in class.  The Monday / Wednesday class will celebrate on Monday, October 31st and the Tuesday / Thursday class will celebrate on Thursday, October 27th

Your child is welcome to wear their costume to school but for some kids it’s not something they want to wear all day, so please send an alternate outfit, just in case they change their mind. I would also ask that the costume be easy for your child to get in and out of by themselves – especially if they have to go to the bathroom J.  Hopefully students won’t need snow pants on those two days – but these days you never know.  So please encourage your child to bring / wear those clothes that will keep them warm as well.

I know that some of you are probably very creative and have an idea for a fun Halloween snack.  I think a max of 3 or 4 treats that day would be just right.  So if you would like to send in something, please let me know in advance and I will count you in until we reach our limit.  Thank you so much and thank you also for creating nut-free delights.

Some parents have been able to sign up for volunteering in October and your time has been much appreciated.  The shifts are from 9am until 12pm so if you have a date for November that you know you are available and would like to come in, please let me know and I will put you on the calendar.

For the Halloween dates I will take a volunteer for the afternoon as well since it will be a pretty busy day.  Please let me know if you are interested. 

I was noticing that when we had snow some of the kids little mittens were getting pretty wet.  Unfortunately I don’t have a radiator or anyway of drying the mitts, so I would ask you to please consider the nylon style of mitt or two pairs, one for each recess.  It is also a good idea to make sure that your child’s mitts and hats and even boots have their name on them, since occasionally someone will have the exact same kind as your child. Yikes  J.

As we get ready for our first term report card some of the objectives students have been working on include being able to recognize their own name, print their own name, say the alphabet, and count forward and backwards from 0-10 and from 10-0.  We haven’t started printing any actual letters yet as a class (next week should be the first), but we have been working on how to hold a pencil and pre-printing lines.  This week we worked on the circle shape.  The pre-printing shapes can be tricky for many students because I ask that they always start their line at the top and that circle shapes move in a counter clockwise manner just like letters will do.  These movements are specific to ensure proper letter formation that we will soon begin to practice.  Next week is “C” and just as the song goes, “C” is for cookie J.  Speaking of cookies I have received some ingredients for parents, thank you, and I am hoping to be able to make cookies with the class by Halloween.

Finally, I know that this is early but, Sunday, November 6th is Catholic Education Sunday.  I wanted to let you know so that you could mark your calendars, in case you were interested in attending St. James Church in Okotoks for the 11am Mass that day.

I hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween.  Here is a little prayer I found:



God Bless,

Julie Dutka


Thanksgiving News:

Dear Parents, 

I hope that many of you will be able to attend our school opening mass this Friday.  Please refer to the emails from Mrs. Atkinson for more details.  We don't have Kindergarten on Friday but I will be at the mass.

This coming Monday is Thanksgiving and school will be closed.  I hope that you have a lovely time with your family and loved ones.  I am looking forward to spending some time with my parents that day.

In Kindergarten the students have been working hard at recognizing and printing the letters of their name.  We start by printing the name with upper case letters since those are easiest to print. There is a lot of cutting and coloring going on too - I hope you like their turkey wreaths.

We will be making cookies later this month so if you are able to donate a bag of flour, sugar, sprinkles, or chocolate chips please let me know.  I would just ask that you touch base with me before sending any items in since someone else may have answered the call first.

Speaking of donations, thank you so much for the fruit bowl donations, the crafts, and any donations you may have already made towards our class fundraiser basket being organized by our classroom rep.  Bless you all.  If you are still interested in making a donation for the fundraiser basket, please refer to the email from our classroom rep.

The weather is starting to get a little chiller these days (fall is here).  It is nice to have a backup supply of winter items available for kids that might have forgotten theirs.  I always appreciate having some extra mittens available for little fingers this time of year.  So if you have any (mis-matched are fine) please feel free to send them in marked - for sharing :).

The students have been learning to bless themselves by making the sign of the cross using their right hand as such:

"In the name of the Father" - touch the forehead

"And the Son" - touch the center of the chest

"And the Holy" - touch the right hand to the left shoulder

"Spirit" - touch the left shoulder

Amen.  Making the sign of the cross is an important part of our day and our faith and it is a delight to see how the students are embracing God's love for them.

There will be more information regarding Halloween activities later on this month.  While you are out looking for a Halloween costume for your child please consider fun and cute little characters or Avengers etc.  Please try to avoid sending in anything too scary or violent in nature. Thank You for your consideration.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  God Bless you all!

Julie Dutka

Sept. 23

Wow what a fun night last night!  Thank you to all of the parents and families who dropped by to say "Hi" at the Meet the Family BBQ last night! 

I hope that you all have an a beautiful fall weekend!

God Bless,

Julie Dutka


Sept. 16

Dear Parents,

I just have a few important details to share, and so until I am able to get my webpage up and running on the school website, this will be my means of communication.

#1 We will have some therapists from our Division coming into the Kindergarten classroom the mornings of September 27th and 28th to do some student observations.  They will observe students for fine motor and speech and language development. This is especially helpful for any of those students who were unable to participate in Kindergarten screening.  If there are any students that they feel would benefit from some additional support they will let me know and I will contact those parents.

#2 In class we have been working on students being able to recognize their own name as well as printing their own name.  Please encourage your child to print their name at home for you and please remind them to hold their pencil or their crayon like we have been practicing when they are printing or coloring.  We are in the beginning stages of our academic year but these are two skills that will benefit from practice.  If they seem to recognize their name please ask them if they can tell you the letters in their name as being able to identify letters in the alphabet is also something we are working on.

#3 The whole school also has HAT DAY as a theme day on Friday, September 30th, so your child is welcome to come dressed for Hat Day on the 28th or the 29th so that we can have our own fun day in Kindergarten.

#4 Crafts: I will always welcome your left-over craft supplies (not just a one-time request).  It is amazing how much crafting material can get used in just one afternoon.  The kids love stuff like glitter glue and ribbon or pom-poms, ink pads and stampers.  If you have any small boxes, or old envelopes those are usually something that the kids can decorate in a craft period.  The students also like to use bubble wrap as a fun finger strengthening activity.

#5  Paint Shirts.  If you have not had a chance to send in an old shirt as a paint shirt for your child please do so and label as such.  I will take it out of their back-pack and keep it at school.  I had a little one who was certain that her cute little jumper meant for spare clothes was supposed to be her paint shirt – yep Ms. Dutka caught that one in time J.

Well I think that’s it.  I must say that it has been a fun start to the year and I am amazed that it is already September 16th!  Time is flying by.

God Bless and have a great weekend!

Ms. Julie Dutka