The Storyteller, November 2017


Provoking Empathy, Kindness and Community

“We are convinced of the right to beauty in a healthy psychological relationship with surroundings. Inhabiting a place which is lovely and cared for is perceived to be a condition of physical and psychological well-being and, therefore, the right of people in general and even more so of children, all children” (Vecchi, 2010).

Environments 2017-2

Dear Families and Friends,

“Provoking Empathy, Kindness and Community through Observation, Documentation and Reflection” is the theme

of the upcoming Educator Tour planned for November 3 and 4. I would like to add, in this article, that Environments and Materials also play a significant role in supporting the development of empathy, kindness and community.

According to Reggio atelierista, Vea Vecchi, environments are windows for relations and connections. Please think about our classrooms, studios and outdoor spaces. In what ways do these spaces provoke a sense of relations and connections? As sensory learners, children are highly aware of light, color, texture, sound, scent and micro-climate.

The materials and their arrangement in, for example, the Atelier of Living Organisms, invite children to investigate, to

imagine and to hypothesize, and to build a relationship with the materials through sensory experiences—as individuals and also as members of a small group–as members of a community.

We think of aesthetics as more than beauty. We think of aesthetics as an attitude of respect and caring. The lovely curated materials in their complexity and beauty transmit an attitude of caring by those who collected and placed them on light tables, in glass jars, on wooden trays—in such a way as to highlight their complexity and beauty. Teachers model the interactions with the materials, adding language to communicate their very special nature. In this way, empathy becomes defined by an intense relationship with materials, spaces—and living organisms.

In the Atelier of Taste children experience another space dedicated to beauty, caring and to community—examining the exquisite fruits and vegetables during the process of transformation—and then inviting friends to share the juice, or steamed or baked treat in the classroom. —Feelings of hospitality and gestures of care.

Aesthetics becomes an activator of learning, as, “Rationality without feeling and empathy, like imagination without cognition and rationality, build up partial, incomplete human knowledge” (Vecchi, 2010). Beauty, caring, and respect should never be separated from learning.

As we prepare for the Educator Tour, we will have the great pleasure and honor of working with Dr. Lella Gandini—and our topic of study will be: Aesthetics and Empathy. We look forward to sharing our learning with parents and children—and with visiting educators who will tour our school on November 3.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With warm wishes,




PPS Auction—Friday, November 17 at the Annenberg Beach House—A Seaside Soiree!

Last month the Auction invitations were emailed to all preschool and toddler parents, as well as recent alumni parents, and everyone was asked to follow the link on the invitation to the GiveSmart website in order to purchase tickets and register credit card and mobile device information. We thank you for your response to the invitation and for the wonderful donations that are starting to arrive!

The Auction is our large fundraiser for the school year and includes our own community as well as alumni parents (as space at the venue permits). Wonderful food, wine, and beer are part of the evening’s experience. Each year’s event includes a few surprises, as well!

We ask that each family donate 2 Auction items–which can include tickets to sporting events, concerts or the theater, certificates to restaurants and spas, jewelry, art, wine, electronic equipment and passes to the LA Zoo—to name a few!  Some families choose to put on a party of some kind (for children, for adults or for families) as their donation for the Auction.

We suggest that you check in with Karen regarding your donation choices to ensure that we do not have too many of one kind of item. Karen will be creating an Auction Program in advance of the event that includes all of the donated items and she will then email the program to our community. Donations and the donation sheet with the description and estimated value of the item will be due to Karen by Wed., Nov 1.

Room Parents are also coordinating two Class Baskets for each classroom and parents have been asked to make a contribution to these themed baskets in addition to donating two items to the auction.

Vacation Homes and Hotel Accommodations are often part of the Live Auction that takes place at the end of the evening!!

We greatly appreciate the donations many of you have made to help cover the catering and beverage costs—and other aspects of the event such as flower arrangements and table decorations. Thank you!

We thank our Silent Auction Committee and Co-Chairs, Celina Meites, Bianca Blair and Melanie Wolff, for putting on this amazing event. We thank our Room Parents for coordinating the donations for the Class Baskets!

We thank Karen for all of the work involved in organizing the auction items in the Program!

We hope you will all join us for an ENJOYABLE and SUCCESSFUL fundraising event on Friday, Nov. 17!


Wonderful News

A very generous PPS family has donated $10,000 to our school in conjunction with the Auction!! Our Board members and Auction coordinators have enthusiastically considered best possibilities for the inclusion of this amazing gift to our school in this fundraising event. According to the donor’s wishes not to put pressure on our community to “match” the donation during the end of the evening “ask,” but to encourage all parents to participate as appropriate for each family, we are proposing that the donation be applied to what our community is able to raise for the school in the overall Auction. The participation of each family will be maximized by the donation. I am sure our community joins me in expressing our great appreciation for this kind gift to Palisades Preschool. –ns


Elementary School Applications


Families who are applying to independent schools for the 2018-2019 school year are aware of the application deadlines for each different school. As part of the process, the schools also ask that I complete an evaluation form. Please be sure to pass along these forms to me this month. In some cases, the schools will send them to me directly. As the work of thoughtfully completing the evaluations requires time, it is helpful for me to begin this month. Thank you. –ns



Thanksgiving Lunch

On Tuesday, November 21, parents in each class are planning to bring a special lunch to the children. If you have signed up to participate in this lovely initiative, please be sure to communicate with the teachers in advance about the foods you are planning to prepare. Food allergies and special diets are always considerations. The lunches will take place at the children’s usual lunch periods. The catered lunch will be cancelled on the 21st, but we will follow our regular dismissal times: 1, 1:15,1:30 and 1:40.


November Calendar

  • Wednesday, Nov. 1—Auction items and descriptions due to Karen!
  • Thursday, Nov. 2—School closed for preparation for Educator Tour
  • Friday, Nov. 3—School closed for Educator Tour
  • Sunday, Nov. 5—Daylight Saving Time ends
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7—Tandy Parks mindful parenting meeting in Library at 9:15
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8—Speech/Language/Hearing screenings with Bernice Sedlik in a.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 10—School closed for Veteran’s Day holiday
  • Thursday, Nov. 16—Parent Tours
  • Friday, Nov. 17—Auction Night!!
  • Tuesday, Nov. 21—Thanksgiving lunches in classrooms
  • Nov. 22-24—School closed for Thanksgiving holiday
  • Monday, Nov. 27—Classes resume


 Pictures from School Events


Consultation with Lella Gandini

LG--Library--2017LG-Library--2017--ParentsLG--Outdoor Studio 2017


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