Jen M-R Update 4/30/13

The weather has been beautiful over the past few days, and I wish I could say that I was out playing hooky last week when the blog was supposed to be published on Friday-but instead a family emergency prevented me from publishing at the regular time. Please forgive the delay but read on because there are lots of important tidbits to tell you about this week!

What is Teacher Appreciation Week?

Many parents new to the center ask me what Teacher Appreciation Week is, exactly. I’m not sure where or when it started, but it’s a tradition among private and public schools alike that parents and administrators spend one week a year thanking our teachers for their work and dedication to young children. As you know, teachers are woefully underpaid for the important work they do-but they thrive on the hugs and achievements of their students. It’s nice for them to be recognized occasionally for their contributions to our society and specifically your children’s lives. When I was a public school teacher (and taught in two states at four different schools) the Parent/Teacher Organization sponsored Teacher Appreciation Week: They put together lists of volunteers who would watch our classes so that teachers could enjoy a nice, two-hour lunch with REAL food; we received little treats in our mailboxes daily like a “secret Santa”; we were given special drawings and little gifts from our children. At Parkside we have to arrange things a bit differently, as state law mandates that licensed caregivers must be with the children at all times versus volunteer parents, so our teachers cannot have a long lunch…however, over the years Parkside parents have found fun ways to celebrate our teachers. For example, parents will often buy lunch for the two or three teachers in the classroom and let us arrange time for the teachers to enjoy it during their regular lunch hours; we put out plastic bins for each classroom so that parents can drop small gifts, plants, drawings, notes of appreciation, gift cards, etc. inside; I purchase nice, practical gifts like tote bags, hand creams or water bottles for teachers to use, and-of course-I provide wonderful chocolates for them (a teacher essential, no matter how health conscious a teacher is). We started a new tradition two years ago where we put up a large poster [as you enter Parkside] which invites families to thank teachers in a short message for all the world to see! However YOU choose to recognize your child’s teachers, it is completely voluntary-you need not feel obligated, nor are we asking you to spend gobs of money. Instead, we hope that you will feel moved to thank them in your personal way that works for your family. We have a fantastic staff here at Parkside and I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU!

What is the Equipment Fee?

Each Spring at Parkside we begin the “recovery from winter” process: all the bikes and ride on toys are pulled from the shed and repaired or replaced, all the flower beds are raked and weeded, dead trees are taken down, and new sand, dirt and wood chips on the playground must be replenished from Winter’s harsh effects. Since we opened several years ago we’ve levied an “Equipment Fee” each Spring so that we can absorb these refurbishments. The fee is outlined on our tuition costs that we have all families sign when entering Parkside; the fee is for September to September but is gathered on May 1st. We use the money directly for the improvements that must be made to the center. This year [if we have budgeted well] we plan on adding a large swing set structure to our playground, which is something parents and children have been requesting for a couple years now. We need to add more shade to our playground anyway (as the poor trees here simply cannot withstand the harsh winds and soil erosion that occurs) and instead of simply another canopy we thought we would accomplish two missions at once by adding a climbing/house structure and swing set. Look for that in the coming weeks! Thank you for supporting new equipment at Parkside!

What is the Mother’s Day Luncheon?

Two years ago we began celebrating Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days in a new way: we invited moms and dads to join their Parkside Child/ren for lunch the day AFTER the special day (so the Monday following Mothers’ or Fathers’ days) to enjoy lunch with their child and allow us to honor YOU! This year our Mother’s Day Luncheon is on Monday, May 13th so please mark your calendars now! Please plan to stay about one half hour or as your schedule allows. We stagger the lunch visits so that there will be enough parking for all families, so please try to adhere to our suggested schedule. Each classroom will have times for you to visit for lunch, so please see the list below:

Grand Teton/Glacier     11:00

Sequoia/Zion                11:30

Yellowstone/ Big Sur    12:00

Yosemite/ Olympic       12:30


30 Days’ Notice Requirement Reminder

Parkside is a child care center and full day preschool, but we are open year round. Many families who work a school schedule forget that we’re here all summer long and count on enrollment during that time of year, too. Our teachers are required to be here all year except the one shut down week in July; we pay them whether or not we have full enrollment. Therefore, if you are planning on withdrawing your child or reducing his/her schedule for the summer, we must receive 30 days’ notice prior to the change IN WRITING (email is fine) before your bill can change. Families who do drop to a part time schedule run the risk that a full time slot will not be available in August or September when you’re ready to return-so please keep that in mind when considering a change. If your child is “graduating” on June 21st (Yosemite or Olympic kids) please let us know if s/he will be staying for the summer or leaving earlier at least 30 days in advance, always in writing. The 30 day rule comes from the fact that child care industry research shows us that it usually takes about 30 days to find another child to replace a departing child, as parents who are on our waiting list usually have to give their present provider 30 days’ notice as well. Thank you in advance for keeping the lines of communication flowing!

Parent Survey Reminder

Thank you, thank you to the families who have already filled out the Parent Survey that arrived in your email boxes about a week and a half ago! We have already received about 40 responses, but that’s only a third of the center-we’d like to have at least 80% before May 10th, our cut off day. There are 77 questions but the survey doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s YOUR CHANCE to have your voice heard and anonymously at that. For the first time we’re using “Survey Monkey” and it’s wonderful for all of us: I get a report that tabulates responses  and graphs answers to show trends while you all simply log on and click. Therefore, if you lost the email with the information, send an email to me at and I’ll resend the link. We truly appreciate your help in making Parkside even better through your feedback!

Date Reminders

Teacher Appreciation Week: Monday, May 6- Friday, May 10

Surveys Due (online): Friday, May 10

Mothers’ Day Luncheon: Monday, May 13

Shut Down Day (Teacher Training, Parkside CLOSED): Friday, May 24 (P.S. One parent survey said that they believed our Shut Down Days were so that teachers could have a break and enjoy a long holiday weekend; that is NOT true! Parkside teachers are working the entire day of Shut Down and we plan them before major holidays because those are “low enrollment days” and are less inconvenient for most families!!)

Memorial Day (CLOSED): Monday, May 27

Father’s Day Luncheon: Monday, June 17

Graduation (Olympic and some Yosemite children) Friday, June 21st at 4:00

Have a great week!

Jen M-R