Storyteller, May 2012
“. . .our theoretical intuition suggested a new element was needed in schools to make work more complex and to encounter children’s complex ways of knowing the world around them.” -Claudia Giudici, pedagogista-
Dear Families and Friends,
With the intention of connecting this communication to our Hundred Languages Open House coming up later this month, I looked at a previous Storyteller article about children’s languages written while the teachers and I were contemplating the topic,”beauty as a way of knowing.” I have decided to share it with you once more.
Currently the teachers and I are reading and discussing an article from the Summer, 2009 issue of Innovations in Early Education: the international reggio exchange. The article asks, “Is Beauty a Way of Knowing?” (Cooper, 2009).
To answer this question, Cooper shares the perspectives of several significant members of the Reggio Emilia educational experience over the past 40 years, including Vea Vecchi, former aterlierista at the Diana School and Claudia Giudici, longtime pedagogista at Diana. Reflecting upon the creation of the atelier as a “research environment,” the Reggio educators speak of the languages that children employ as they investigate environments and subsequently express their feelings and theories about these encounters—both individually and in small groups.
At the core of the conversation is an epistemological question: How do children learn? Within our social constructivist response to this question, we affirm that children acquire knowledge through a polysensorial process of exploration—and this is where the languages play an integral role. We know that some children (and adults) perceive beauty and express beautiful ideas and emotions through paint or clay, while others find aesthetic pleasure in numbers or music. The list of children’s languages might also include water, sand, wire, dance, running, light and shadow, flowers, and block play. . .
If we think of the atelier as an interdisciplinary and intercultural space that offers children rich opportunities to engage in research using a multitude of interesting and inspiring materials and to express feelings, theories and an individual aesthetic sense, then, in a metaphoric context, we might consider the entire school as an atelier (Cooper, 2009).
Our May 25th Hundred Languages Open House is an event dedicated to making visible within our community “children’s complex ways of knowing the world around them.” We hope you will join us in classrooms, in the studio and in our outdoor environments, as we celebrate beauty as a way of knowing.
Click on the links below or scroll down for this month’s topics:
The PPS Board of Trustees join PPS teachers and directors in thanking so many of our families for making the optional $400 Family Donation for the current school year. As our Board Presidents, Judy and Jennifer, have explained, these tax-deductible donations support our efforts to offer a high-quality preschool experience for children and families. Thank you!
We appreciated the support of the families in the Cherry Blossom and Rosemary classes as we piloted our proposed catered lunch program at PPS last month. On April 24, 25 and 26, caterer Paul Osher, of Bean & Thyme, prepared appealing, healthful and delicious lunches for the children. As we had hoped, most children really enjoyed their food and we definitely noticed a stronger sense of community and a more civilized and beautiful atmosphere during lunchtime.
The menu included freshly prepared plain and cheese pizza with steamed carrots and kale chips, Asian noodle salad with mixed veggies and chicken served on the side, and grilled cheese/apple sandwiches, hummus sandwiches and purple slaw in a light vinaigrette dressing. Paul emphasizes fresh and organic foods in all of his menu choices.
We have asked Paul to return on May 7, 9 and 10 for a second week of trial lunches in the Cherry Blossom and Rosemary rooms. We decided that the wonderful Il Forno restaurant is already quite busy at lunchtime, making timely delivery a possible challenge. We are in dialogue with another local caterer and may try an additional week of trial lunches this month from that source.
One element that we noticed was important to the children was meeting the chef. The children really liked Paul and we wonder if part of the reason some children were open to trying new foods was because they felt they had a relationship with Paul. We would like for children to be involved in creating menus and helping to serve the lunch in the future, so the relationship aspect is a significant part of the lunch initiative.
Week of the Young Child: “Early Years Are Learning Years”
As described in last month’s newsletter, this annual national celebration of young children and early childhood education, sponsored by NAEYC, is planned for the week of May 7 through 11 at our preschool. Events will include a neighborhood PPS Parade of children, teachers, and parents on May 9th and Lunch with Loved Ones on May 11th. In addition to these events, our Outreach Committee is organizing a collection of items for Upward Bound House, an organization in our neighborhood dedicated to providing transitional housing for homeless families with children. The collection is to begin on Monday, May 7th and continue through Tuesday, May 15th. In previous years we have collected paper goods, toilet articles and new bedding. One of our committee members, Sean Mihal, will be contacting UBH to find out what their families need at the present. Please look for flyers describing the items that Upward Bound House will be requesting from our community. We will place baskets in the hallway for the collection. Please try to involve your child in the collection process and we may invite some children to help deliver the items to UBH later this month. Thank you for your participation!
Lunch with Loved Ones
As Breakfast with Loved Ones was especially for the men in children’s lives, Lunch with Loved Ones is dedicated to the special women in children’s lives. However, we understand that moms and other important women in the family may have obligations that prevent them from attending—so, dads are again welcome in the event that moms and grandmothers are unable to attend. Bring a picnic lunch and a blanket and join the children on the play yard:
- Cherry Blossom and Rosemary classes—11:30 to 12:15
- Dandelion and Sunflower classes—12:30 to 1:15
- Children go home as their picnic ends, at 12:15 or at 1:15
PPS AZZURA Raffle
Raffle tickets will go on sale this month to win a yachting experience aboard the AZZURA, a Farr 38 Design Ocean Racing Yacht, and a former class winner of the Sydney-Hobart race—one of the most punishing races anywhere in the world. The crew has raced this yacht extensively, and will be aboard to “show the ropes” to winners and their friends/family (over 14 years old).
There will be space for about eight guests (with a minimum of four experienced crew on board). Winners can choose their itinerary, anything from sailing a race course off Redondo Beach, to a late lunch in Marina Del Rey, for example. All course suggestions will be evaluated by the skipper, Tom Cahalane.
The sailing date must not coincide with an event on Azzurra’s race schedule, though there are many open days (weekdays and weekends) and enjoying the experience will easily be possible while the weather is still warm. There is also potential for guests to become future crew members. . .
Azzurra is owned by The Sailing Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose aim is to bring the excitement of Ocean Yacht Racing to many who may never have experienced this thrilling sport.
Weaving a Community Together
Through the collaboration of directors, studio teachers and classroom teachers, we were able to begin our weaving initiative last month. The large outdoor loom now cradles the beautiful combined work of children and adults. We invite parents and children to visit the large outdoor loom located on the studio deck –or look for the loom out on the front lawn one morning at drop-off or in the afternoon at pick-up!
Annual Documentation Books
Teachers, studio teachers and the pedagogista are collaborating to create these striking collections of documentation of children’s explorations in our environments during the past several months. We undertake this project each school year as part of our intention to honor the work of children and teachers and to hold the memory of the investigations through the archive we are establishing at PPS. Parents who are interested in purchasing a copy of their child’s classroom book can speak with Karen in June.
As our observational skills are evolving through the increased use of video at PPS, we find our wish to share the video clips with children, parents and with colleagues increasing. The donation of the Apple monitor by the Lin family last school year really helped our ability to look together at the video clips and powerpoint slides in order to collaborate in the creation of curriculum. We would like to be able to do more of this in our classrooms and the Apple monitors are much easier to use than projectors. . .If you would like to donate a new Apple monitor, please speak with Karen or Nancy. Thank you!!
- May 3—Announcement of A Date with Teachers winners!
- May 4—Preschool closed for professional development day at First Pres.
- May 7-11—Week of Young Child observed
- May 7—Upward Bound House Drive begins
- May 9—PPS Parade around the neighborhood (9:15 to 9:45 a.m.)
- May 11—Lunch with Loved Ones
- May15—Upward Bound House Drive ends
- May 18—Preschool closed for teacher/director work day (books and environments)
- May 23—PPS Hundred Languages Open House from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
- May 28—Preschool closed for Memorial Day holiday
- June 1—New Family Orientation from 10 to 12:30 in Parish Hall
- June 5—Teacher Appreciation Luncheon put on by TA Committee
- June 8—Dandelion & Sunflower Celebration at 9:15 a.m. in Parish Hall
- June 9—Heal the Bay Beach Clean-up in a.m.
- June 12—PPS Carnival
- June 13—Last day of school June 14—Teacher/director work day
- June 15—Preschool closed for Summer Vacation
- August 15—Start of school for 2012-2013 school year
Pictures from School Events
Breakfast with Loved Ones