All About Kindergarten
We can't wait to welcome your Palmer Lake Panther to the Class of 2034! Each day of kindergarten is a unique chance for your student to make new friends, learn new things and grow in their independence.
- The Palmer Lake need-to-know
- Important dates to remember
- Kindergarten supplies
- School meals
- School bus expectations
- Health information from Nurse Melissa
- Palmer Lake Kindergarten Circus
- Get to know the Palmer Lake PTO & Volunteer
Student Absences: If your child will be out of school or arrive to school late please call 763-561-1930, then press 1 to leave a message for attendance. This phone line is available 24/7.
Bus Information: Will be mailed directly to you from the district's Transportation Department in late August.
Free/Reduced Lunch Application: The application is available online in July. An approval status letter will be mailed to you after you submit your application.
Parent/Teacher Conferences: Held in October and either January or February.
Report Cards: Are sent home in December, March and June.
Students picked up during school hours: Parent/Guardian MUST sign their child out in the office. Students are called to the office when you arrive to pick them up.
Weekly Scoop: School event information, newsletters, and more are emailed home each Wednesday to every Palmer Lake family. Please be sure we have your current email address so you don’t miss out on anything important!
Peek at the Week: Each Friday your child will bring home information about the upcoming week at school.
School Pictures: Usually taken in October. The order form will be sent home with your child prior to picture day.
Visitors: All visitors must enter through the office and sign in. A photo ID is required for this process.
All supplies for Palmer Lake kindergarten are shared within the kindergarten community. In order for everyone to have access to the same supplies, the teachers purchase the supplies in bulk.
A voluntary donation of $25 is requested. This money will be used to buy the supplies your child will need for the entire school year.
Each child will need to have their own backpack (no wheels, please) and a towel for resting.
Universal free breakfast: All Palmer Lake students are offered a free breakfast each morning, which is eaten in the classroom from 8:50 to 9:00 a.m. If your child arrives at school after this time, arrangements can be made for the student to eat breakfast at a different time.
Lunch menu: Your child will bring home a copy of the Kindergarten Lunch Menu each month, and the menu will also be sent electronically to the family email address in our system. Can't find your copy? All menus are available on the nutrition services page of the district website.
School lunch prices (2019-2020):
- Student who does not qualify for free or reduced-price meals: $2.55
- Student who qualifies for free or reduced-price meals: Free
- Student's second lunch: $3.35
- Preschool student visiting: $3.00
- Adult: $3.75
- Milk: $.50 (please note, students bringing their own lunch from home can purchase milk from the cashier as they enter the lunchroom).
School lunch account payment options: Parents and guardians are responsible for making sure that adequate funds are in their student's lunch account each day. You are able to pay into your student's meal account using cash/check sent to school with your student or through SmartSchoolK12, which allows a debit/credit card or Electronic Funds Transfer from your bank account.
Free/Reduced-Price Lunch program: Instructions for completing the online application for free and reduced-price meals will be mailed to your home in July. Please complete and submit this form before the beginning of the school year! If you would prefer to complete a paper form, they will be available at our Open House.
Even if you have other students in Osseo Area Schools and your family qualified for this program last year, new forms must be filled out each year. It is extremely important that the application is submitted before school starts; please note that parents are responsible for any lunch balance accumulated on the student's account before the family was approved.
Food allergies/lactose intolerance: If your child has allergic reactions to milk, you must provide a physician's statement before we can substitute soy milk. All allergies should be reported to the school health office immediately.
Lactose intolerance should not be confused with food allergies; upon the written request of a parent/guardian, lactose-free milk will be supplied for children who are lactose intolerant.
Seat to seat, back to back, and feet on the floor.
Keep the aisle clear.
Keep objects and body parts in the bus.
Keep hands, feet and objects in your own space.
Treat people and property with kindness.
Conversations and electronics are quiet.
Follow adult directions.
Take a seat quickly.
Keep food and drinks in your backpack the entire ride.
Be on time (5 minutes before pickup).
Electronics are only used for schoolwork, music or gaming.
- Be at the bus stop 5 minutes before your scheduled time.
- Wait until the bus is stopped before moving toward it.
- After getting on the bus, go to a seat, sit down and stay in the seat.
- Remain quiet on the bus; talk quietly with your neighbor.
- After getting off the bus, walk away from it.
- Watch for the driver's signal to cross and look both ways before crossing.
- NEVER chase the bus!
- Osseo Area Schools Transportation Department: 763-391-7244
- First Student Brooklyn Park: 763-553-0313
Immunizations: Immunizations are an important part of maintaining your child's health. The state requires several immunizations that need to be completed before your child starts kindergarten. If your child has a medical concern (Medical Exemption) or you conscientiously object to obtaining the required immunizations (Conscientious Objection), a physician-signed statement or notarized signature is required to be completed and on file. If you have any questions about your child's immunization status, please speak with their doctor or the building nurse as soon as possible.
Free immunizations are available at the Northwest Immunization Clinic, located in the same building as our Enrollment Center (7051 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center). Please call 763-585-7361 to schedule an appointment.
Emergency Cards: The information you provide on your child's Emergency/Health form for school is extremely important in case we need to contact you. Please include at least two additional emergency contacts that may be contacted in the event you, the parent, cannot be reached. It is important that the phone numbers you provide are current and that your relatives/friends are aware that you included them on your child's emergency sheet. Please report changes in phone numbers to the office as they occur.
Medication in School: All medications will be safely and securely stored in the Health Office for your child. Per district policy, any medications to be given during the school day (over-the-counter and prescription medications) require:
- Medication order by a licensed provider for any medication administered while at school
- Signed parent consent to administer the prescribed medication
- Medication supplied in the original container with correct label information (a second labelled bottle can be requested at your pharmacy for school use for prescription medication).
Please make sure all medications are current by checking expiration dates on all medications left at school. Medication permission forms are available in the Health Office.
Illness: Please keep your child home if they display the following symptoms. Students must be symptom-free for 24 hours without the assistance of fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
- Fever 100 degrees or higher
- Colds or coughs that prevent your child from fully participating in school
- Any contagious disease (strep, chicken pox, pink eye, influenza, etc.) Please alert the Health Office if your student has one of these diseases.
- If antibiotics are started as a treatment for strep throat, the student needs to have been on medication for 12 hours before returning to school. If a throat culture is taken for strep throat, please keep your child home until the official results are known (including the 24 hour culture).
Please bring to our attention any special health needs that your child may have, such as asthma, diabetes, seizure disorders, heart conditions or life-threatening allergies. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's health, medications or other health-related issues, please call Nurse Melissa at 763-549-2401.
Every year, a special circus comes to Palmer Lake! Our kindergartners spend several weeks learning songs and rehearsing acts for their opportunity to dress up in costume and perform on stage. It's a schoolwide tradition of over 55 years!
We can't wait to share more about the Circus this winter and see your child shine onstage. Here are some photos from previous extravaganzas!
Welcome to Palmer Lake Elementary! Many families with kindergarten students have concerns about becoming familiar with school programs, staff, their student's classmates and other parents. A great way to get involved at Palmer Lake is to connect with our Parent-Teacher Organization!
Our PTO forums are opportunities to talk with Palmer Lake staff and teachers and are usually scheduled alongside other school events, like our evening Family Nights. We also invite you to follow our Facebook page for updates and photos from the PTO!
Our teachers are always very grateful for parent help with projects at home or at school! Osseo Area Schools has an online volunteer application process to help keep our buildings safe for staff, students and visitors.
- Kindergarten entrance expectations
- Suggested skills for success
- Speech and language development
- Developing hand muscles for school activities
- How to enroll
Families, early childhood teachers and caregivers all contribute to a child’s readiness for a positive Kindergarten experience. The development of skills varies from child to child. It is expected that children will meet most of these expectations before they enter kindergarten.
- The child is able to attend to task/listen for 10-15 minutes in a group setting.
- The child is able to manage transitions and accept changes in routines.
- The child is able to respond appropriately to limits and directions.
- The child interacts easily with one or more children in a variety of activities.
- The child is able to interact easily with adults asking for help or making their needs known.
- The child is able to perform self care tasks such as using the bathroom, wiping nose, and washing hands independently.
- The child is able to dress self, including outdoor clothing.
- The child takes care of personal items and classroom materials.
- The child has practiced ways to accept disappointment and mistakes.
Language and Literacy:
- The child listens and responds to stories and books.
- The child is able to follow simple 2-3 step directions.
- The child is able to communicate needs, wants and thoughts through words and age appropriate sentence structures.
- The child begins to associate sounds with words or letters.
- The child is able to recognize and name some letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.
- The child has engaged in writing activities using scribbles, pictures, shapes, or letters using a variety of tools such as crayons, pencils and paintbrushes.
- The child names basic colors and common shapes.
- The child demonstrates understanding of one-to-one correspondence through counting objects.
- The child sorts objects into groups by color, shape or size.
- The child understands math concepts of “above, under, in front, behind, beside, few, more, big, little, long and short”.
- The child has practiced using pencils, crayons and scissors.
- The child has used play dough, Legos, puzzles and stringing beads to strengthen hand muscles.
If you have any questions, please contact the Coordinator of Early Childhood Programming at 763-391-8765.
Here are some kindergarten readiness skills to look for in your child. Try focusing on these skills from now until the start of the school year. Whatever level your child is at is OK. We will take them from there!
- Recognizes and writes their own name
- Practices identifying the letters of the alphabet
- Can recognize, write, and count to 10
- Zips and buttons coat and pants
- Recognizes and names basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle)
- Knows colors
- General art skills (hold/use pencils and crayons)
- Draws and colors beyond a simple scribble
- Child can be away from parents/guardians for six hours without becoming upset
- Able to take turns with other children
- Can share, interact, and communicate with children outside of family well
- Can use bathroom on his/her own with no assistance from adults
Parents are often concerned about the speech and language development of their kindergarten children. There is a wide range of what is considered "normal" or "average" for speech and language acquisition, but if your child shows difficulty in one or more of the following areas, it may be an indication that they need extra help.
Articulation: Articulation refers to the way sounds are produced. The kindergarten-age child typically uses all speech sounds correctly with the possible exceptions of "r," "l," "th," "s," "z," "sh," "ch" and "j."
Language: Language refers to understanding what is said and being able to verbally communicate thoughts and feelings. Parents of children entering kindergarten can expect their child to:
- Understand and respond appropriately to directions and questions.
- Talk in fairly complete sentences more often than single words or short phrases.
- Understand and use appropriately basic concepts like: in, on, under next to, above, etc.
- Interact verbally with peers and adults.
- Tell you about something they did or saw in a way you can fairly easily understand.
- Understand and use grammar nearly as well as you.
- Name objects without groping for the correct word.
Voice: Voice refers to the use of appropriate pitch (not too high or low), loudness (not too loud or soft), and quality (not too hoarse, husky or nasal).
Fluency: Fluency refers to the ability to speak in an organized manner. This can include repetition and prolongation of sounds, syllables or words.
If you have any questions about your child's development in any of these areas, please contact our speech and language clinician.
Before children can cut, draw, or form letters properly, they first need to build up the muscles in their hands. This can be accomplished through everyday play with small manipulatives like Legos and beads and resistive materials like Play-Dough and silly putty. However, targeted fine motor activities may help develop these small hand muscles more intentionally for efficient use of preschool tools.
Try these activities at home:
- Do simple finger plays with your child, especially ones that include opening and closing their fingers.
- Let your child practice squeezing water out of sponges. Trying cutting larger sponges into ½” pieces, then “pinching fingers” to squeeze the water out.
- Give your child some squeeze type clothespins. Have your child snap them onto a paper plate or piece of cardboard. Color or paint clothespins and portions of the plate for a fun color matching game (hint: this could also be done with letters or numbers).
- Encourage your child to tear pieces of paper. Use old magazine pages, newspapers, scrap paper.
- Have your child roll Play-Dough into small balls and encourage your child to squish them into “pancakes” using only their index finger and thumb.
- Try creative spaces/surfaces for coloring. For example, tape a coloring page to a wall or sliding glass door, place sandpaper UNDERNEATH a coloring page, or tape a coloring page underneath a table and have your child lay on his/her back to color it.
- Use chalk to imitate shapes and letters on the sidewalk or pavement. Use a water sprayer to “erase”, or use a cup of water with a brush to “erase” them away.
- Encourage cutting practice with old catalogs, coupon inserts and junk mail.
- Have your child imitate shapes and letters in a variety of media (shaving cream, pudding, paint, flour, sugar); use a tray to contain the mess.
For more ideas to encourage motor skills for school activities, visit this website and click on the skill list on the left!
Are you not yet enrolled at Palmer Lake? Our Enrollment Center staff will help you through the process!
Please note: To qualify for enrollment into Kindergarten your child must turn 5 on or by Sept. 1 of the school year desired. Children who turn age 5 between Sept. 2 and Nov. 1 of the school year desired are eligible to apply for Early Entrance to Kindergarten (this application deadline is April 15).
Prepare enrollment materials
- Schedule your child’s Early Childhood screening (call schedule online). or
- Complete and return the enrollment packet and required checklist documents (mailed in late November to all households in our database) to the Enrollment Center. If you did not receive an enrollment packet, please request a Kindergarten Information Fair kit.
- If you’re applying to a magnet school, be sure to apply by Dec. 31 to qualify for the first lottery.
- If you’re applying for an in-district transfer, apply by Jan. 15 to qualify for the first lottery.
- Required documents needed when enrolling:
- Proofs of Residency (two forms)
- Photo ID of Parent/legal guardian
- Birth Certificate or Passport
- Updated child’s required immunizations
Submit the enrollment forms in one of the following ways:
- Email: EnrollmentCenter@district279.org
- Fax: 763-585-7368
- U.S. mail: Osseo Enrollment Center, 7051 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center, MN 55429
- In person: Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Lobby drop box: only available during non-business hours