Storyteller, January 2018
Our Image of the Child:
Engaging in a transformative process with the children
“Children learn by interacting with their environment, actively transforming their relations with the world of adults, with things, events and –in original ways– with their peers. In this sense, children take part in the transformation of themselves and others” (Malaguzzi, 1996).
Dear Families and Friends,
The values that we strive to express through our educational project at PPS are linked to our image of the child as a person with rights and competencies. If we believe that all children are intelligent and full of “constructive and interpretive potentials” (Filippini, 2013), seeking, from birth, to create and understand relationships, then we must be intentional in all of our choices regarding their growth and learning in such a way that we are consistent with this particular image of the child.
The organization of spaces, the selection of materials, the formation of small groups, the choice to ask a good question or to observe with little intervention, the act of documenting children’s interactions, and the process of collaborating with children, with parents and with colleagues in the interpretation of children’s play with expressive languages are all connected to our understanding of the child as someone capable of constructing learning—of transforming and being transformed. Even tiny details—such as lighting, adding a particular child to a small group, or the placement of sophisticated drawing tools on a table—have the potential to reflect our image of the child. How will children respond to mostly natural light vs. overhead light? How will an individual child bring a new perspective to a learning group? How will beautiful materials help children to better express their feelings and theories? Our choice of language also represents a very deeply held image of the child. Most probably influenced by our own experiences as children and as adults, phrases such as, “I will let the children,” vs., “I will invite the children,” suggest somewhat different images.
Sometimes we have to work hard to let go of the image of the child as “an empty vessel,” waiting for direct instruction from adults in order to learn. Most classrooms in the United States are organized around an image of the child who requires adult permission and adult direction for learning to occur—and this pervasive educational culture influences us all as educators and as parents—even when we try to shift our image.
Malaguzzi asserted that, “Interaction among children has its own special kind of productivity, which should be given particular importance in the early years of life. This kind of interaction is a need, a desire, a vital necessity for children that must be satisfied by the availability and organization of favorable situations and contexts” (1996).
Releasing a sort of “deficit” image of the child and embracing one in which the child plays the central role in her own learning is an ongoing construction. As we begin the new year together, I encourage parents and teachers to engage with the children in the learning process—an experience of transforming and of being transformed.
Happy New Year!
“Green” Practices at PPS
Woven into our daily life at the school are several practices we hope are beneficial to Santa Monica’s efforts to support sustainability:
- Blue recycle bins for clean paper, cardboard and plastic trash placed in classrooms,
studios and outdoor spaces
- Compost bins for extra food from snack, lunches and atelier of taste explorations
- Organically grown foods for snack, lunch and the atelier of taste explorations
- Eco-friendly sprays for surfaces (except during the nightly cleaning when stronger
materials are used)
- Eco-friendly soaps for hands and dishes
- An organic garden in our outdoor space
- Recycling of ink cartridges used in school printers
- Rechargeable batteries when possible (we use very few regular batteries these days)
- Purchase of many furnishings and toys approved as eco-friendly
- Use of recycled paper goods (paper towels)
- Use of real plates, cups and utensils for most snack and lunch settings
- Use of compostable bowls and plates when teachers are absent and dishwashing is not possible
- Use of many natural materials in children’s investigations
- Use of many “loose parts” (recycled materials) in construction activities
- Appropriate recycling of paint and any hazardous materials used for school maintenance
We invite our Green Committee to meet during the first part of 2018 to review these practices and make additional suggestions. Santa Monica residential hazardous waste disposal info:
Mornings with Teachers, Afternoons with Teachers
& Documentation Meetings
During the coming months, each classroom community will be invited to join teachers, atelieristi and the pedagogista to look at recent documentation and to share interpretations, insights and ideas during A Morning with Teachers (Cherry Blossom and Rosemary) or An Afternoon with Teachers (Lavender and Sunflower). For the morning meetings, children are at play outside. For the afternoon meetings, children go to Stay & Play free of charge while parents meet with our faculty from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The first meeting is planned for the Rosemary parents and teachers on Wed., January 24—from 9:15 to 10:00 a.m.
These meetings are in addition to occasional Documentation meetings held in our Library which are open to parents in all classrooms. Please look for more information about upcoming Documentation meetings.
After-School Small Group Classes for the Winter Session
Please speak with Karen to inquire about space/cost and to enroll your child in. After-school classes will begin the week of January 16.
Monday—Ballet , Tuesday—Yoga , Wednesday—Spanish, Thursday—Karate
Current Intentions and Educational Projects
(another way of talking about curriculum)
Expressions of IDENTITY as individuals and as groups:
Cherry Blossom Room
Surprises: Taking a look at the role of surprise in the joy of learning
Collaborative Building: The Fire Engine
Animal Homes: Stability, Scale and Materials
Explorations with Living Organisms: Categorization, Compositional Research, Storytelling
Animal Homes: Why do animals make certain kinds of homes? (Bunny Mountain as example)
Investigating the Seeds in our Neighborhood: Understanding “the seed” through multiple languages
Animal Homes: Our Mysterious Visitors—Raccoons—Where do they live? Why?
Understanding Duality: Can we feel more than one emotion? Can we play a variety of roles?
Investigating the Seeds in our Neighborhood: Understanding “the seed” through multiple languages
in classrooms, in the atelier of story-play
with loose parts and blocks
ATELIER OF TASTE
Citrus fruit: transformation, beauty, community (connected to study of living organisms)
A look at LINE in spider webs
Easel Painting (mini-atelier)
Working with clay to understand the raccoon/rabbit
Exploring facial expression—line and face painting, clay
Transformation in our neighborhood: What is new? What is old?
Large Loom Weaving: with yarn and natural materials (seed)—for birds in Winter
Paper making (Sun/Lav), wood-working experiences (CB/Rosemary)
Applications and Admission Agreements
for the 2018-2019 School Year
In December, preschool applications for returning children were mailed to Cherry Blossom, Rosemary, and toddler Explorations families along with the new Schedule of Tuition and Fees for the 2018-2019 school year. Parents of current Lavender room children with summer/fall birthdays also received applications and new tuition information.
The applications will be due to Karen by Friday, January 12. Karen will then create Admission Agreements for returning and toddler Explorations families and mail them to each family. We ask that current Cherry Blossom and Rosemary parents submit the signed Agreement, registration fee and June 2019 tuition payment by Monday, Jan. 29. Toddler Explorations parents who are new to PPS are asked to submit the signed Agreement, registration fee and the May and June 2019 tuition payments by Jan. 29.
The signed Agreement, registration fee and tuition deposit secure your child’s space for the coming new school year. New families not currently enrolled in any of our programs will be contacted on February 8, according to our agreement with other local preschools. Please let us know if you have any questions about this year’s enrollment/admissions process. Thank you.
Financial Assistance for the 2018-2019 School Year
Applications for financial assistance for the new school year should be submitted to Karen with the preschool application by Friday, Jan. 15. We have a process in place for the award of financial assistance to returning families and will notify families of the amount we are able to provide to qualifying applicants by early Feb. Please speak with Nancy if you have any questions about this process and if you would like to obtain a copy of the financial aid application. Thank you.
- Friday and Monday, Jan. 5 & 8—Preschool closed for teacher work days
- Tuesday, Jan. 9—Preschool classes resume—Stay & Play is offered this week
- Friday, Jan. 12—Preschool applications due for returning and toddler parents
- Friday, Jan. 12–Toddler classes resume
- Monday, Jan. 15—Preschool closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday
- Tuesday, Jan. 16—Tandy Parks mindful parenting meeting in Library from 9:15 to 10:15
- Tuesday, Jan. 16—After-school classes begin
- Thursday, Jan. 18—Parent Tours
- Friday, Jan. 19—Admission Agreements mailed to returning and toddler families
- Wednesday, Jan. 25—Morning with Teachers for Rosemary community from 9:15 to 10:00 in Rosemary room
- Monday, Jan. 29—Admissions Agreements and tuition deposits from returning and toddler parents due
- Wednesday, Jan. 31—Morning with Teachers for Cherry Blossom community from 9:15 to 10:00 in CB room
Pictures from School Events