The Storyteller, May 2017
Documentation and Participation: Solidarity between children, teachers and parents Gandini: One of the many questions that come up when talking about your program is how you succeed in enlisting and maintaining the participation of families at such a high level.
Malaguzzi: Family participation requires many things, but most of all, it demands of teachers a multitude of adjustments. Teachers must possess…an enriched evaluation of parental roles and skills–to talk, listen, and learn from parents…They must discover ways to communicate and document the children’s evolving experiences at school. They must prepare a steady flow of quality information targeted to parents, but appreciated also by children and teachers. This flow of documentation, we believe, introduces parents to a quality of knowing that changes their expectations tangibly. They reexamine their assumptions about their parenting roles and their views about the experience their children are living and take a new and more inquisitive approach toward the whole school experience.
With regard to the children…they learn that their parents feel at home in the school, at ease with the teachers, and informed about what has happened and is about to happen. We know we have built a solid friendship when children readily accept either parent saying, “I am going to school to talk with the teachers” (Gandini, 2012).
Dear Families and Friends,
Last month we joined other educators, parents and children in the celebration of Week of the Young Child, an NAEYC sponsored initiative aimed at bringing national awareness to the rights of children and families. We so appreciated your participation in our Breakfast with Loved Ones, Family Parade, Donations for Upward Bound House (in support of homeless families in our local neighborhood), and in Parent-Teacher Conferences. It was wonderful to welcome family members and extended family and friends to these events and activities. Each of these experiences brought focus to the importance of the family in the lives of children and to the significance of the family in the context of school life.
In the interview Lella Gandini conducted with Loris Malaguzzi (The Hundred Languages of Children, 2012), Malaguzzi noted the relevance of documentation in creating the connection between home and school. We thank you for taking time to read the Weekly Story, Microstories and Small Group Stories, panels, and weekly and monthly school newsletters in order to maximize your participation in the life of our little amiable school. We also thank you for your tremendous active participation in school events and initiatives—and on committees, in celebrations and fund-raising efforts.
At the end of the interview cited above, Malaguzzi concluded: “Finally, it is important for parents and children to realize how much work teachers do together. They must see how often teachers meet to discuss things. They must see how teachers cooperate on research projects and other initiatives, how they document their work with patience and care, how skillfully they wield their cameras and video cameras, with what kindness they hide their worries, join children’s play, and take responsibility. All of this represents for the children a range of models that make a deep impression. They see a world where people truly help one another” (2012).
Thank you for your partnership. The children’s school experience is deeply enhanced by our work together.
Week of the Young Child Initiative
We would like to thank our Outreach Committee for organizing the collection for Upward Bound House this spring. We thank our PPS community for donating linens and towels, breakfast foods and personal items–or for making a cash donation to UBH. Committee members, Catherine Griffin, Tannaz Galker, Abigail Lufkin, Michelle Dean, Adriana Sagi, and Heidi Hendrix will deliver the items that parents are donating to this worthy organization in our Santa Monica community. Thank you!
Studio teachers, classroom teachers and our pedagogical coordinator are collaborating to create beautiful books representing children’s and teachers’ explorations together over the past several months of the school year.
Valeria is creating a book about the designing and making of the Sunflower Puppets and a second book about the Sunflower SKY research; Anne’s book will be about the Sunflower Juice Bar, a medley of dramatic play, literacy development, and early practice with monetary exchange; Ashi is working on a book about inclusion and the Rainbow Team characters created by the children in their storytelling. Nathalie is developing beautiful books about the SKY and TREE explorations in the Lavender class; Shelbi’s book describes the Water Wheel investigation involving design research. Marcela is working on an overview of the many and varied Bridge Building experiences of the Rosemary children, while Nedda’s book is about transformation and community in the Atelier of Taste. Ana’s book will make visible Cherry Blossom children’s original strategies for entering play; Linda is developing an in-depth analysis of the development of children’s storytelling in our Atelier of Stories. Summer’s book examines the body of studio work relating to our SKY exploration in both the indoor and outdoor studios. Craig is refining his existing book, Play, Imagination and Resourcefulness. Finally, Nancy is creating a book about Catching the Rain as well as a simple collection of documentation of the Sunflower children’s experiences with Traveling Voices.
Each book requires a great amount of analysis and synthesis of the photos, videos and authentic children’s work collected over the school year. Teachers collaborate with one another and with the pedagogical coordinator throughout the process. In addition to the writing of the books, formatting for the online publishing program is a lengthy and challenging step. For these reasons, teachers will continue to share a Weekly Story each week, but will suspend the writing of microstories and small group stories in the coming weeks so that they have time to work on their books.
Some of these new documentation books will be available for sale to parents during the last weeks of the school year. Other books will be dedicated to our PPS documentation archives. Please look for more information and an order sheet in mid-May.
Over the summer, Valeria and Nancy will continue the documentation work—creating books about the Sunflower TREE investigation and Tree Dances. New hallway panels may also be a part of the work for the summer months.
Ounce of Prevention Meeting
with Pattie Fitzgerald
Thursday, May 11
This parent-only meeting is a mini-safety seminar about how to support children’s awareness of which people in their lives are “safe to trust.” Pattie Fitzgerald is recognized as an expert in the field of childhood sexual abuse prevention. She will meet with a maximum of 12 parents in the Library at 9:15. Please rsvp to Karen.
Lunch with Loved Ones, Friday, May 12
In celebration of Families and of Mother’s Day, we invite moms, grandmothers, and other loved ones to bring a picnic lunch and a blanket and enjoy some special time with children and teachers on our play yard.
- Cherry Blossom/Rosemary picnic—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.
This is a social event for all families (children and parents). The outdoor and indoor environments will be open for your viewing and enjoyment—and refreshments will be served in the Parish Hall. Please join us!
Most families have paid the June 2017 tuition payment in advance, so the May payment will be the final tuition payment for the current school year for most families. Karen will be billing for miscellaneous charges such as lunches, Stay & Play and documentation book orders in early June. We ask that all outstanding amounts be paid to Karen by Tuesday, June 6. Thank you.
- Week of May 1—Sunflower Teacher Appreciation Week
- Thursday, May 4—Parent Tours
- Friday, May 5—Last day for donations to Upward Bound House
- Friday, May 5—Educator Tour for visiting educators from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 9—Tandy Parks mindful parenting meeting at 9:15 (last one for the current school year)
- Thursday, May 11—Ounce of Prevention meeting in Library with Pattie Fitzgerald at 9:15 (rsvp to Karen)
- Friday, May 12—Lunch with Loved Ones picnics (CB/R : 11:30 to 12:15/Sun-Lav: 12:30 to 1:15)
- Week of May 15—Book orders available for Documentation Books and Rosemary Teacher Appreciation
- Week Monday, May 22—Preschool closed for Work Day
- Wednesday, May 24—Early dismissal (12:00, 12:30, 1:00 and 1:40) and Hundred Languages Open House (5-7 p.m.)
- Monday, May 29—Preschool closed for Memorial Day holiday
- Friday, June 2—New Parent Orientation Meeting #1 from 9:30 to 12 in Parish Hall
- Friday, June 2—Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
- Sunday, June 4—Beach Party at Annenberg sponsored by PPS Board members at 10:00 a.m.
- Monday, June 5 – Last day for Stay & Play and catered lunch
- Tuesday, June 6—PPS Carnival and Pizza Lunch—Early dismissal (12, 12:15, 12:30 and 12:40)
- Wednesday, June 7—Children bring lunch to school for indoor and outdoor picnics
- Thursday, June 8—Graduation Ceremony for Sunflower and Lavender children in a.m.
- Friday, June 9—Last day of the school year—Early dismissal (11, 11:15, 11:30 and 11:40)
- Week of June 12—Teachers preparing school for summer closure and planning for new school year
- Friday, June 16—Preschool closed for Summer Break
- Early August—School Calendar, Class Lists, Lunch Contracts mailed to all families
- Tuesday, August 22—New Parent Orientation meeting #2 from 10 to 12 in the Parish Hall
- Wednesday, August 23—Returning Parent Orientation meeting from 10 to 12 in the Parish Hall
- Thursday, August 24—First Day of 2017-2018 school year
Pictures from School Events
Breakfast with Loved Ones
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