October 2019 Newsletter

Dear Woodside Families,

It is already October! The weeks have disappeared quickly yet much has been accomplished. The children are learning important skills to become more independent and to develop new friendships. Many have benefited by “creating a plan” with their parents and teachers to successfully manage new challenges such as saying good-bye or working through conflicts with friends. They are learning that words have power, and that communication of needs and feelings help develop understanding and solve problems. This is true for us all! We also plan learning activities that are selected to emphasize concrete, experiential learning to foster development in all areas. Cognitive as well as social/emotional skills develop over time, with much practice. We post our curriculum in each classroom for more specific information, but always feel welcome to ask teachers about their choices and goals.

Important Dates

  • Columbus Day, Monday, October 14, NO SCHOOL
  • Professional Day, Friday, October 18, NO SCHOOL
  • Parenting Discussion, Thursday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.
  • 8th Annual Trick or Trot 5K/10K Fundraiser, Saturday, 10/26 at 9:00 a.m.

Woodside likes to support families and share information on developing skills that children need to be successful. As we get settled in a new school year, we focus on how to support children as they become more independent. Clarifying expectations, establishing routines, developing communication and problem-solving skills, and setting reasonable goals based on individual needs and values help to reassure children that they can manage new experiences. Children at this age are often testing limits, so we also talk about strategies to avoid power struggles and strengthen relationships. We recommend several favorite books from the lending library such as Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn, Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurchinka, The Promise of Proactive Parenting by Lynn Reeves Griffin, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish . We also post helpful parenting links on our Facebook page that give suggestions for supporting learning for babies through all ages, including articles from “Aha! Parenting”, and Elevating Childcare by Janet Lansbury, which describes principles of RIE Parenting (Magna Gerber). There is much for us all to learn to help children as they grow.

Lunch at the Woodside Café is becoming popular again this year. Please let Pat and Teachers know if you are planning on staying as this helps us at dismissal. Lunches need to be nut/peanut-free. Please check granola bars and other prepackaged food for nut contamination.

Some children are already talking about Halloween, so it is not too early to plan together how to manage the concerns this holiday often brings. It has been our experience that young children are often unsettled at Halloween. Seeing others in costumes and masks can be scary for those who are just beginning to make sense of the real world. Most stores and even neighborhoods have Halloween displays which can generate fears. We appreciate the children’s perspective, and want school to be a safe, reassuring place for them to come to learn. We have planned to have a regular school day without costumes on Halloween so that parents can decide what activities they will choose for their children to manage, and their learning won’t be interrupted.

REMINDER: To support families with children who have nut, peanut, and/or other food allergies, please do not send in any treats, as Halloween candy and other processed foods are often contaminated by nut proteins. We will prepare special snacks with the children in class.

We do enjoy celebrations at Woodside!

We have the children create classroom decorations. They enjoy special songs and snacks. We focus on the children’s needs and feelings, so they won’t get overwhelmed and can enjoy their time at school. Typically, they are happier following their usual daily routines. For Birthday celebrations we offer our usual snacks. We have the children choose a special birthday candle holder to use at snack and older children make a paper crown. Friends sing the birthday song, and a photograph is taken to remember the time. Keeping celebrations simple help children manage the excitement of the day more successfully. We also explain to the children that they celebrate with their friends at school and that families may not be able to have lots of friends come to celebrations at home. To this end we ask that birthday invitations to classmates be mailed to avoid confusion and disruption of the school day.

We encourage parents to share their family traditions, recipes, and information about how they choose to celebrate meaningful events throughout the year. We feel it is important to better understand that although we are different in many ways, we all find joy in time spent with our families and friends. Parents are always welcome to visit and volunteer in the classrooms and can contribute in many ways. We have a packet of information for anyone who would like to spend some time with the children and see how the day is spent. We also post photos on Facebook (without tags) so families can see how the children are learning. We are grateful for your ongoing collaboration and support.

We have begun the Playgroups which are geared for children from infancy through age 3. Toddler classes will be offered Monday and Friday mornings from 9-10:15. This is a great opportunity for younger siblings to learn about school, develop friendships with peers, and gain experience using materials, and for parents to learn more about children of this age. Laura Stearns Flynn, a Development Specialist with a degree in Early Intervention, and Nancy Stearns, with a degree in Child Development and Life Sciences, and Parenting Education Certification, plan and facilitate the classes. Babies classes will be on Mondays @10:30 facilitated by Laura Wagner, who has a degree in Child Development. Please let us know if you would like more information or would like to join a group.

Many have commented on the emerging art displays in the classrooms. We have found that the children, too, enjoy seeing their creations valued, and appreciate the different ideas or approaches each brings to the process. The teachers take time with matting artwork, documenting your children’s daily experiences through photographs, and explaining the learning goals. Although it is important to check cubbies daily for impromptu drawings, notes, and creations, the teachers will send home a collection of art work periodically, as well as selecting some samples for the children’s portfolios. Photos are collected into class books and also for each child to document their learning.

Fall Conference

Beginning of the year conferences will be scheduled in the next several weeks. These will be informal discussions with parents to share observations as we get to know the children and help them with initial adjustment to school expectations. We are always interested to hear about your perspectives and goals to develop a working, proactive plan for the year. Your involvement in helping us provide purposeful and meaningful experiences while at Woodside makes a difference to us all.

8th Annual Trick or Trot 5K/10K

We hope you will join us for the 8th Annual Trick or Trot 5K/10K fundraiser on Saturday, October 26 at 9:00 a.m. to be held at Plymouth North High School! We will be collaborating with other non-profits again this year. Sponsors will have added exposure, yet proceeds will be sent directly to Woodside. Go to http://www.southshoreracemgmt.com for more information. We invite you to join us for this outdoor family event which helps us raise funds to enhance our programs and keep tuition affordable. Children can enjoy a Fun Run before the race and the 5K Walk/Run. Register by 10/18 for a t-shirt. Spread the word! All are welcome! We have more information and sponsorship forms at the front desk. We hope to see you then for a morning of outdoor fun! You can sign up by going on
http://www.southshoreracemgmt.com. Please join us on Saturday, October 26, as it makes a difference to many in our Woodside Community.

I am most grateful to all our teachers and families who support Woodside’s mission. It makes a difference!
Happy Fall!
Nancy Stearns