Storyteller, December 2011
“The ideas and skills that families bring to the school and, even more importantly, the exchange of ideas between parents and teachers, favors the development of a new way of educating, and helps teachers to view the participation of families as an intrinsic element of collegiality and as the integration of different wisdoms” (Spaggiari, 1998).
Dear Families and Friends,
As we end these first months of the new school year, I would like to thank each family for accepting our invitation offered last September to participate in the life of the preschool. Welcoming teachers at home visits, attending the Family Picnic and Back to School Nights, involvement in classroom celebrations, service as a Board Member or a Room Parent, membership on committees, and the tremendous support of our Silent Auction all represent your overwhelming response to our invitation to become involved in the Palisades Preschool community. Thank you!
Spaggiari’s words begin to express the significance of family participation in children’s education. The work we do as co-educators is enriched and expanded by the sharing of ideas, talents and skills and by the relationships that we form throughout our PPS experience. I am enjoying getting to know each new family in our program and am also pleased to sustain relationships with families who started with us in recent years—or who returned to PPS this year with a younger child. I am certain that Karen and the teachers share my enthusiasm and appreciation.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to classrooms on Friday, December 9th for Parent-Teacher Conferences, when teachers will share individual portfolios dedicated to the documentation of each child’s growth since September. The conferences offer an additional and personal moment for reflection and collaboration.
In addition to the December 9th (and March 30th conferences), the coming months bring other opportunities for participation: Afternoons with Teachers, parent meetings about kindergarten and other topics of interest, seasonal celebrations, additional committee meetings, community initiatives, and Poker Night are all on the PPS calendar for Winter, 2012. Many of these occasions will include dialogue and idea-sharing—what Spaggiari describes as “the integration of different wisdoms.” We sincerely hope that you will continue to exercise your right as a member of our community to listen and to exchange possibilities with teachers and directors. Our integrated knowledge and caring benefit the work we undertake in support of children’s development and learning at Palisades Preschool.
I wish you all a joyful holiday season.
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We are thrilled to announce that the benefits to our private, independent, nonprofit organization from this year’s Silent Auction totaled approximately $20,000!! This amount will help to offset the costs of this year’s facility improvements and financial assistance to current families—and will also help us to sustain these endeavors in the future. Each year in our budget planning, we frame our income estimates so that tuition income covers operational costs which include payroll, rent and insurance (our major expenses). In addition to tuition income, successful fundraising allows us to improve our facility, enhance professional development opportunities for teachers and directors, and offer financial assistance to those who apply and qualify for the aid. We thank all members of our PPS community for your generous support of our mission and goals!
On Friday, Dec. 9th the preschool will be closed in order for teachers to meet individually with the families in each class. Teachers are looking forward to sharing their observations and reflections– and are also open to hearing those of parents. Please know that many hours of thought and care go into the creation of children’s individual portfolios and it is our hope that you will enjoy and appreciate this particular form of documentation. Childcare will be provided during the time of your conference. Conference Sign-ups are available on classroom clipboards—and please let teachers know if you need to schedule for another day. Thank you.
Food and Toy Drives
Large bins from Westside Food Bank and baskets from Connections for Children will be present in our hallway and in Karen’s office for the collection of food and new, unwrapped toys. Please look for flyers with more information coming soon! We thank the members of our Charity Committee—Mary Nadler and Gary Lionelli, Lisa and Hugh Fitzgerald, Luciana and Larry Klein, Annaka Harris, Dalit Toledano, Kristin Grannis and Simona Patierno–for organizing these opportunities for our families to reach out to the greater community. The food and toy drives end on Dec. 13th.
–To parents who organized the children’s beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving celebrations:
Kim Egan and Simona Patierno
Dorothy Kozak Snoke, Liz Borstein, Lauren Wolf, Tannaz Silkman, and Allison Lovus
Rebecca Walker and Olga Lavinthal
Janna Boelke and Mary Nadler
–And to families who supported our small fundraiser—the annual Wreath Sale!! Thanks, also, to the Wreath Committee whose members will help Karen distribute the wreaths when they are delivered later this month. Congratulations, Karen, on another successful Wreath Sale!
Alfie Kohn at Willows Community School
Free and open to the public, What Does It Mean To Say We Want Our Kids To Be Successful? Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.—The Willows Theatre—Reservations required. Alfie Kohn is perhaps best-known for his book, Punished by Rewards, and for his strong suggestion that adults find ways to support children’s accomplishments without the phrase, “Good job!”
Toddler Explorations News
As part of each 8 week toddler class session, Laurie and Nancy will be utilizing one class meeting to engage in observation and reflection-sharing with parents. Laurie’s classes with toddlers and their family members or caregivers include an observation time during 20 or 30 minutes of each morning. The parent meeting once each session is designed to highlight the importance of this segment of the Explorations experience. Meetings will take place in the preschool Library.
Please join Parker Bent, children and teachers in the Parish Hall on the morning of Thursday, Dec. 15th for our annual Holiday Songfests!
Cherry Blossom/Rosemary classes—9:00 to 9:45 a.m.
Dandelion/Sunflower classes—10:00 to 10:45 a.m.
These time slots include about 20 minutes or so of social time with holiday treats served in the Parish Hall for each group. All family members and friends are welcome!
We will follow our regular dismissal schedule on the 15th, but will not have Stay & Play or Karate.
As many of you have already observed. . .Summer’s baby is due in January, 2012!! Summer has worked as an amazing atelierista at PPS for the past 3 years– and we are anticipating her return in August, 2012 for the new school year. While Summer is at home with her baby (and her husband and 3 school-age children) from January through June, studio work will continue in both our outdoor and indoor spaces for the Cherry Blossom and Rosemary children. Nancy is currently interviewing substitute atelierista candidates and will share plans for studio staffing in the January Storyteller. We will miss Summer during the coming months, but are happy that she will have time at home with her baby before returning to her teaching responsibilities.
Professional Development Experiences
In addition to the wonderful Learning Tour in Reggio Emilia last October whose benefits to our entire community will continue to resonate for a long time, each year our teachers and directors participate in a variety of professional development opportunities. In October, Anne and Liz spent a day at Growing Place, observing and meeting with teachers at both Ocean and Marine Park sites. Soraya attended a Saturday Clay Workshop with Patricia Hunter McGrath and Nicole participated in Patricia’s recent Wire Workshop. Early this month, Nathalie and Tiffany will spend a morning at Growing Place. We are also making plans for return visits to First Pres. later this year. Also this school year, we will be inviting educators to PPS on three dates for morning or day-long experiences that will include observation of our environments and reflection meetings/presentations with our faculty members. In the spring of 2012, Craig, Valeria and Nancy will collaborate to present at the annual CAEYC Conference taking place in San Diego. —Teaching others is one of the best ways to learn.
Declaration of Intentions
After a good deal of observation and conversation, we have formalized our school-wide and classroom Intentions for the 2011-12 school year. Please find written copies of the Declaration of Intentions in the “news-stands” at each classroom entrance. Observation as well as the formation of small groups and the documentation of small group work will be guided by the Intentions that teachers, atelieristi and the pedagogista have created for this school year—and possibly the next. Meetings with parent committees such as the Music Committee and the Materials Committee are planned as part of our work in exploring, in particular, this year: self-regulation, communication and problem-solving.
Preschool Mission Statement
Our mission is to serve our community by offering a preschool experience for children and families that celebrates diversity, creativity and kindness. These values are embedded within a rich child-centered curriculum that provides individuals and groups with opportunities to investigate, explore and express themselves through meaningful play.
Pictures from School Events
Photos courtesy of Philip Folsom