Storyteller, August 2012
“Professional development asks you to get involved as teachers and to learn together with children, families and colleagues. Professional development starts in our daily life with children and with one another” (Lanzi, 2011).
Dear Families and Friends,
On August 1st the teachers, Karen and I officially began our collaboration for the new school year. Of course, during the previous six weeks of summer many preparations were already in progress. Nevertheless, the co-presence of our whole faculty at the school initiated the process of re-creating indoor and outdoor environments, organizing our time and materials, reviewing our technological systems, and beginning to talk with one another about curriculum seeds and strategies for supporting the children in each class as they connect with one another and with teachers to form new classroom communities.
As Reggio pedagogista, Daniela Lanzi, asserted during the Study Tour in which Valeria and I participated last fall, teachers’ professional development is a part of just about all that we do together at Palisades Preschool. It is an element of our daily life together with the children and with you. We are always learning.
Recognizing that both teaching and learning are relationships-based processes, we included within our two weeks of preparation for the new school year a variety of opportunities to spend time together socially and professionally and to renew our own sense of place at PPS. We began by appreciating the view from the 18th floor of the Huntley over food and drinks, sharing our summer stories and reflections. We spotted the tower of St. Paul’s church from our table high above Santa Monica!
We held some of our meetings on the outdoor studio deck at PPS, listening to the sound of the new fountain in our play yard and watching the birds and squirrels as we re-connected with one another and with the values of our Reggio inspired approach. We walked together in our neighborhood, observing the progress at St. Monica’s construction site, visiting the Miles Playhouse at Reed Park and enjoying a picnic at the palisade along Ocean Ave. On another day we walked up Montana Ave., noting some of the interesting businesses and shops that might become part of children’s future explorations–and then shared a delicious lunch at 17th St. Café. Home visits with new children and their parents presented lovely opportunities to build relationships and to learn. We made a shopping trip to the ReDiscover Center and enjoyed our potluck lunch among all of the recycled items waiting for a new home. Our studio teachers collaborated to offer us rich and beautiful experiences with materials and metaphors. And, in between our outings and meetings was a lot of hard work.
So, we are beginning our collegial collaboration with participation that features enthusiasm, dialogue, observation and reflection, laughter, occasional friendly differences of opinion, beauty and learning. A good start.
We look forward to the smiles and hugs of you and your children.
Welcome Back, Patricia!
In last week’s email message, I shared with all of you the news that Cherry Blossom teacher, Sylvia Vasquez, would not be with us this year. She is, unfortunately, experiencing health difficulties and made the decision to focus on her health this year. I am sure that you join me, Karen and teachers in wishing Sylvia a time of rest and healing.
After much thought about “what to do,” reviewing many resumes from teachers who applied for a position at our school, and talking as colleagues, we are welcoming Patricia Campos back to our teaching staff. Patricia taught at Palisades Preschool for several years before choosing to pursue more education and professional growth experiences during the past few years. She has remained in touch with us and was, fortunately, interested in returning to teach at our school when we learned that Sylvia would not be returning. Patricia will become Tanya’s partner in the Cherry Blossom room, working with Nicole, Lisette, Lori, Craig, Summer and Nancy as part of the CB-Rosemary team. She is a caring, creative and thoughtful educator and we are very happy to have the opportunity to work with her once again.
Toddler Explorations Classes
The toddler classes are moving from Monday to Friday of each week. We made this choice so that two of our preschool teachers could collaborate to take the role of working with toddlers and their families while Laurie Cornell recuperates from her illness this school year. With so many capable and competent teachers on our preschool staff, we decided that we would be able to do a little shifting on Friday—when we have fewer children present at school—and continue to offer a delightful Reggio inspired experience for the youngest members of our community and their families. We will share more information soon.
Many of you already know that after a good deal of research and consultation with her doctors, Laurie made the decision to follow her surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She received her first treatment of chemo in late July and reports that she is feeling well—all things considered. Her cousins will continue to organize support for Laurie and her family. For those who would like to participate, please email Crissy or Katy at email@example.com. We will miss her extra-special presence as our toddler teacher this year and send her much love and caring support.
PPS Family Picnic
On Saturday, August 25th, we hope to see you at Rustic Canyon Park on Latimer Road in Santa Monica between 10 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for our annual Family Picnic. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch!
August 14—New Parent Orientation from 10:00 to 12:30
August 15—First day of school for 2012-2013—Catered lunch for Dandelion/Sunflower classes starts
August 15-27—Modified days for Cherry Blossom/Rosemary children (no lunch)
August 25—PPS Family Picnic
August 28—Regular schedule begins for Cherry Blossom/Rosemary children with catered lunch