The Storyteller, May 2015


“. . .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 would like to share some of the ideas from the article with you once more:

Teachers and I occasionally re-read and discuss 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 materials 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 and express beautiful ideas and feelings 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, flower arranging, 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 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 13 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.

Warm wishes,


The Hundred Languages

No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

–Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)

Click on the links below or scroll down for this month’s topics:



Matching Grant!!

We are very excited to share the news that Palisades Preschool has been offered a matching grant of $10,000 from the Lufkin Family Foundation! Please look for more information in a mailing to all of our current preschool and toddler families and to many of our recent alumni families, as well. Thank you.

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Handmade Books at the Pedagogical Institute

Last month, Valeria presented a workshop to a group of early childhood educators at the Pedagogical Institute of Los Angeles. The topic was Handmade Books. Valeria is a master of this art and she has shared her skills with our own faculty throughout the current school year—and with other educators during the Winter Conference. As part of our intention to support the children’s storytelling work, the Atelier of Stories was created early in the school year as a place to research the telling of stories and the making of books. The children’s work has been amazing and we were pleased to share some of our learning with the early childhood community at the PI.

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Week of the Young Child Initiatives

Our collection for Upward Bound House is in progress and we look forward to delivering breakfast foods and linens/towels to our friends up the street at UBH. We thank all families who have been a part of this initiative!
The Family Parade on April 29 was fantastic! Thank you for your participation in our effort to express the importance of families in our communities as part of Week of the Young Child at PPS.

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Documentation Books

Nathalie and Valeria are collaborating with teachers, Craig and Nancy to create beautiful studio books of the children’s experiences with sense of place identity palettes during the past several months. The Cherry Blossom-Rosemary studio book is about the outdoor studio experiences, while the Lavender and Sunflower books are about the experiences related to the exploration of the classroom identity palettes. The books will be available for purchase in early June. (The sale of the books does not represent a fundraiser as the books are priced to cover the cost of their production and any shipping charges involved.)

All teachers are creating documentation books to synthesize the small group experiences in some way—and some teachers are creating a single handmade book to represent the children’s small group work. Nancy is working on a book characterizing our professional development experiences during the past (and upcoming) months. (These books will not be available for sale, but are for the archives of the school, allowing us to revisit the experiences in the future.)

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Family Donation

The PPS Board of Trustees joins PPS teachers and directors in thanking so many of our families for making the annual $500 Family Donation to our school. If you would like to participate in the Family Donation initiative, please speak with Karen. Thank you.

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Tuition Invoices

Most families have paid the June 2015 tuition in advance, so the May tuition will be the final tuition payment for the current school year. (New and returning families have also paid the June 2016 tuition payment in advance.) Karen will be billing for miscellaneous charges such as Stay & Play and documentation book orders in early June.

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Lunch with Loved Ones—Friday, May 8

This picnic in our play yard is especially for mothers, grandmothers, or other special loved ones. We invite you to bring a picnic lunch and a blanket to spread out on the grass and enjoy lunch with the children and teachers in your child’s class.

Cherry Blossom/Rosemary—11:30 to 12:15

Lavender/Sunflower—12:30 to 1:15

Children in all classes will go home with families at the end of each picnic.

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Hundred Languages Open House
Wednesday, May 13 from 5 to 7 p.m.

This is a social event for all families. The outdoor and indoor environments will be open for your enjoyment and refreshments will be served in the Parish Hall. Please join us!

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Study Tour to Reggio Emilia

Valeria, Nathalie, Anne and Nancy are privileged to participate in the NAREA Study Tour to Reggio Emilia from May 16 through May 23. The tour includes about 100 educators from North America who will come together to learn from Italian educators presenting at the Malaguzzi Center and at the Reggio schools to be visited–and from colleagues within the North American group. This is an exciting professional development experience, but also requires a good deal of stamina! Since there are no direct flights to Reggio, the journey is long both ways. The study tour days begin at 8:00 a.m. with a brisk 40 minute walk to the Center and end in the evenings at about 6 p.m. The week is full of the wonder of learning.

While we are away, former PPS teacher, Lisette Sandoval, will take Anne’s place in the classroom and Craig and Summer will work in the studio in place of Valeria and Nathalie.

We look forward to sharing our learning with the rest of the community!

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New Parent Orientation–Friday, June 5, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

This is a mandatory meeting for all new families (and returning families with children new to the preschool). We ask that each family be represented by at least one parent. The topics include policies and procedures and parent participation. The gathering is also a nice way to initiate our sense of place as a newly forming community. We look forward to this official welcome meeting. (Children are not included in this meeting. Thank you.)

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May Calendar

  • Wed., May 6—Delivery of items to Upward Bound House
  • Friday, May 8—Lunch with Loved Ones
  • May 11 through May 15—Lavender Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 11 through May 15—Bike Week at Santa Monica City Hall with PPS Bicycology Exhibit
  • May 16 through May 23—Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Friday, May 22 and Monday, May 25—Preschool closed for Memorial Day holiday
  • Thursday, May 28—Last Parent Tours of the school year

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June Calendar

  • Friday, June 5—New Parent Orientation meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Parish Hall
  • Friday, June 5—Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
  • Thursday, June 11—Last day for catered lunches for the school year
  • Friday, June 12—Lavender and Sunflower Celebration from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. in the Parish Hall
  • Monday, June 15—Children bring lunch to school (Sunflower children go to Reed Park)
  • Tuesday, June 16—PPS Annual Carnival—Early dismissal—12:00, 12:15, 12:30 and 12:40
  • Wednesday, June 17—Last day of the school year—Children go home at 11, 11:15, 11:30 and 11:40
  • Thursday, June 18—Teacher Work Day
  • Friday, June 19—Preschool closed for Summer Vacation
  • Friday, Aug. 7—Faculty returns to prepare for the new school year
  • Friday, Aug. 21—New Parent Orientation #2 from 10 to 12 in the Parish Hall
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25—First Day of the new school year

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Pictures from School Events

Book Making Workshop

Egg Hunt

Loquat Tree

Breakfast with Loved Ones


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