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    A Handbook for Parents

    Maureen M. Welch Elementary

    Council Rock School District

    MMW School Mission Statement

    We share in the commitment to create a safe, child-centered environment, where home and school guide our children to reach their potential.

    Welcome to First Grade

    This handbook is designed to answer your questions, ease your concerns, and provide information to you as parents about first grade at Maureen M. Welch. Please take some time to read through this handbook and then keep it as a reference for the future. As always, if you have additional questions, please contact your child’s teacher via a note, phone call, or email message.


    School begins at 9:10 each morning. If your child walks or is a car rider, please do not have him/her arrive before 8:50 because there will be no supervision before that time. The morning is devoted to morning meeting and language arts. We have a morning snack break and recess from 10:30-10:45. First grade has lunch recess at 12:15-12:45 and eats lunch from 12:45-1:15. Our afternoon includes math, science/social studies, and specials. Dismissal is at 3:40. Dismissal is at 12:15 on Early Dismissal Days.


    Consistent attendance plays a critical part in a child’s academic and social education. An absence excuse is required. This can be done through the school website or a note to the teacher. In case of an extended absence (3 or more days), and you would like to have schoolwork/homework sent home, please call the office before 12:00 noon (215-944-1800) so that the teacher has time to prepare the assignments.


    Birthday celebrations will be planned by each teacher, individually. Please look for specific information from your child's teacher at Back-to-School Night or in an earlier communication.


    ALL VISITORS, for any reason, must report to the office. You will be issued a visitor’s pass. For safety reasons, please use the front entrance, by the office, only.


    Conferences will be held in the fall in lieu of a 1st quarter report card. A sign-up sheet for November conferences will be available at our September Back-To-School Night. The first grade report card contains a continuum of skills. It is a developmental reporting system that reflects the growth of your child as a learner. Report cards will be distributed at the end of the last three quarters. You keep the report card, but sign and return the folder.


    You may access the district’s website at https://www.crsd.org/ (with links to all district schools). The district calendar can be found at this site along with current district information (emergency school closing information is posted here, also).

    Maureen M. Welch’s web address is: www.crsd.org/buildings/mwe/.


    Room temperatures vary throughout the day. It is a good idea to make sure your child always has a sweater or light jacket at school. Jewelry, bracelets, as well as some clothing can be distracting to first graders while they are learning. Please use discretion when dressing your child and minimize accessories.


    In the event of a possible school closing, parents can access information from several places:

    • The Welch school hotline is 215-944-1800 (ext. # 2).
    • The emergency district school closing hotline is 215-944-1096.
    • Local radio stations will broadcast these codes:

    756- Council Rock closed

    5756- 1 hour delayed opening

    6756- 2 hours delayed opening (no a.m. kindergarten)

    Discuss with your child a plan in case of an unexpected school closing. Please review address and phone number with them.


    It is our intent that homework will serve as an opportunity to practice and reinforce learning beyond the classroom, and help the children develop organizational skills. The district’s guidelines suggest about ten minutes of homework for first grade. Homework will be assigned Monday through Thursday. Assignments will be written down daily in your child’s homework/message book and will be carried home in a folder. First graders need guidance completing homework. Please check the homework and initial the message book nightly. Homework should be returned to school the next day.


    Everything that your child brings to school should be labeled with his/her name. This includes clothing, lunch box, personal belongings, and school items. Check the “Lost and Found” near the office for any missing items.


    If your child is to be given medication during the school day, it must be delivered to the nurse in its original container with any directions attached, including cough drops.


    First graders have two recesses daily, a fifteen minute morning recess, and a half hour recess before lunch. The children will stay in if it is too cold (determined by our school nurse on the basis of the wind chill), or if the weather is inclement. Please do not request to have your child kept in unless your doctor has written a note of necessity. Be sure to dress your child appropriately for the outdoor weather.


    Student pictures are taken in the fall. Information will come home in advance. A variety of photo packages are available. Purchase of pictures is optional, but each child will be photographed and will receive a class composite picture (and will have his/her photo in the yearbook). Yearbooks will be sold in the spring.


    The first grade teachers provide many opportunities for parents to help out at school. Please do not bring siblings when you come to volunteer in the classroom, or when you come for classroom functions (e.g., Back-To-School Night, classroom visitation, classroom parties, classroom performances, etc.).


    Your child will have five special classes a week. These include art, gym, library, music, and computer. Remember to send in all the books your child borrowed on the day your child’s class has LIBRARY. On GYM day, sneakers are to be worn or carried to school, and children should not wear jeans (dress your child in sweatpants or other loose-fitting clothing). ART can be messy so please do not have your child wear special clothes on that day. Each class runs 40 minutes.


    If your child is to be picked-up before dismissal, please go to the office, and they will call for your child (no calls will be made after 3:20). Also, please send a note to advise the teacher of an early departure or any change that is taking place in the normal routine of the day.

    First graders will be eating lunch in the cafetorium for the first time. Students have the option of packing or buying their lunch. Some helpful information is listed below.

    *A debit system is available. Checks are to be made payable to

    CRSD Cafeteria Account. Check payments are preferred. Please remember to put your child’s name/grade/teacher on check and send all lunch money in an envelope marked with your child’s name. Lunches are $2.75 (this includes milk). Milk costs $0.55 if purchased separately. Snacks, including ice cream, are available to purchase at an additional cost for a range of prices.
    For any further questions or problems, please contact the cafeteria manager at 215-944-1800.

    *Monthly menus can be found on the CRSD web site. A hard copy of the menu will be sent home at the beginning of each month.

    *Lunch time is approximately 30 minutes.
    *Please notify the cafeteria of any dietary concerns.


    *Loves to ask questions

    *Likes to “work”

    *Likes to explain things; show and tell is useful

    *Learns best through discovery

    *Enjoys jokes and guessing games

    *Competitive, enthusiastic

    *Wants to be first

    *Likes to review learning

    *Enjoys being read to

    *Likes one-to-one conversation

    *Begins understanding of past when tied to


    *Tries more than can accomplish

    *Likes to repeat tasks

    *Enjoys playing board games

    *Pays special attention to routine

    *Frequent friendship shifts

    *Anxiety about test, assignments, recess can

    produce physical complaints

    *Communication with parents important during

    this changeable stage
    Read Aloud Tips

    Reading aloud to your child allows them not only to hear and develop language but build skills in the areas of memory, comprehension, and critical thinking. Reading aloud also conveys the message to your child that you value reading and want to share it with them. This special time is a gift you can give to your child. Here are some read aloud tips:

    *Get close and cuddle with your child. They will appreciate the positive, warm feeling of being close to you as they read.

    *Using expression, different voices, and even sound effects can make stories more interesting. Exposing your child early on to the many different sounds of language is an important part of learning to read.

    *For young readers, running your finger under the words helps your child see that reading moves from left to right and shows them that speech is made up of individual sounds and words.

    *Keep your child involved by pausing to ask him or her about what is happening in the story and relating it to events in their lives. Questions like “What would you do?” or “What will happen next?” helps them think about the story.

    *”One more time” is a common request from children. This repetitive reading actually helps your child recognize and remember words and support memory skill development.

    *Keep the fun going by letting your child have opportunities to extend the story in their own creative ways through art, drama, music, writing in response to reading, discussion, and their own reading.

    *Listen as your child develops their reading skills and encourage them to read to you as well. This gives your child an opportunity to practice reading in the privacy of their own home. If they struggle with a word, help the child sound it out or talk about what’s happening in the story. Be sure to congratulate your child with their efforts.

    A Final Note to Parents

    We look forward to working with you this school year to provide your child with the best educational experience possible. By working together and keeping the lines of communication open, we can “together” do the very best for your first grader.



    First Grade