Welcome to Kindergarten. My name is Heather von Manowski, and I will be your child’s teacher this year. This will be my 22nd year teaching kindergarten at Merryhill School, and I’m looking forward to yet another wonderful year. I live in Daly City, so I have a bit of a drive to get here, but I so enjoy working with the little ones that I really don’t mind the commute. Kindergartners are wonderful, and as far as I’m concerned, being their teacher is the best job one can have.
For most of my life I lived in New York City, where my husband and I raised our two sons, and where I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University. Both of my children are now married. Brendan, my youngest, is teaching fifth and sixth here at Merryhill, and my oldest, Sean, is a financial analyst and stock broker in Colorado. I have one grandchild, Brendan’s daughter, and several hundred proxy grandchildren from all my years of teaching.
I think you will be very happy with the social and academic progress you will see in your child this year. Our kindergarten program has always been very well balanced, providing the children with a strong academic foundation together with art and music, as well as our “21st century” skills component that emphasizes such things as responsibility, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, self-direction, adaptability, and cross-cultural skills. They will sometimes be referred to as the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Merryhill Students”. They are based on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and have been brought to the attention of teachers in his book, The Leader in Me. The 7 habits are as follows:
Habits 1-3: Private Victory – It starts with you!
Habit 1: Be proactive: you are in charge
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind. Have a plan.
Habit 3: Put first things first. Work first, then play.
Habits 4-6: Public Victory – Building Relationships and Teamwork
Habit 4: Think win-win. Everyone can win.
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Listen before you talk.
Habit 6: Synergize. Together is better.
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw. Balance feels best. Take care of yourself.
While some of these concepts may seem difficult for young children to understand, we will use stories and activities and do a lot of modeling to make them more understandable.
Kindergarten is an important milestone for both child and parent, so let me close by thanking you for the privilege of working with your child. Over the course of the school year, your kindergartner will learn a great deal, and I feel confident you will be delighted with the academic and social progress you child will make. Miss Joanna Yan, Room 6’s assistant teacher, and I will do our very best to provide your child with a warm and nurturing environment in which to learn and have fun. Please feel free to come to me with any questions you may have. I’m usually free to speak with you between 3:00-4:00, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .