Director 8/28/15

August 28, 2015

Hello Parkside Families,

This week can be summarized by saying “Hello” to many new Parkside faces and “Good-bye” to those who are onto their next new adventure!  We wish our friends who are starting Kindergarten good luck!  The End of the Year event was a success!  The weather was great, the bounce houses were awesome (thanks to Leapin’ Lizards), and the yummy cotton candy was a treat from Speciality Sweets! The teachers also did a great job planning fun activities and games for the kids to participate in!  Please take a look at some of the pictures from Friday’s event!

Parent/Teacher Advisory Meeting: In last week’s blog I spoke about our Parent/Teacher advisory group, which will begin meeting in September.  We have decided having a classroom representative for each room was a positive change and would like to continue this beginning in September.  If you are interested in being a representative for your child’s classroom please e-mail or stop by the office to let us know!  We will give each representative a $25 credit, which will be applied to your child’s tuition every month you attend.  These meetings are welcome to EVERYONE, even if there is a classroom representative!  We will plan to have our first meeting on September 24th!

Science:  This week Abby and I were driving to Parkside when we saw three turkeys crossing the road.  This sight brought many questions to Abby’s mind: what are they doing?  What do they eat?  Where to they live?  During our drive I tried to answer as many of the questions that I knew (which I will admit were very few)!  I came across this article published by NAEYC on how to support children’s science learning.  Science at Parkside is an important area of our curriculum; we implement different activities of exploration, we have science areas in our classrooms, and we have a science program in the Yosemite and Olympic classrooms with the Maine Audubon Center and Maine Discovery Museum.  I thought this article is important for us to help capture moments (such as with the turkeys) and to encourage children to hypothesize, experiment, and discover.  The article I found is called the “10 Tips to Support Children’s Science Learning.”  This article can be found at:

10 Tips to Support Children’s Science Learning

By: Yi-Chin Lan

1.Value your child’s questions.

“Mommy/Daddy, why is the moon following us?” With this question, a child lets us know she is thinking about how the world works. We can respond in ways that encourage her scientific thinking. Think of how you might respond. Do you think it’s adorable? (It is! But the question also shows your child is thinking!) What can you do if you don’t know the answer? (Don’t worry. Your child just might want to share something that intrigues her.) Enjoy discussing the questions your child asks. Encourage her to share her perspective and observations.

  1. Explore and find the answers together.

You don’t have to be your child’s encyclopedia and quickly try to answer all your child’s questions. Responding with “What do you think?” or “I don’t know but we can find out together” can stimulate more thought and additional questions. Explore and find the answers together.

  1. Give children time and space to explore.

Children learn science through trial and error. They need time to experiment, try things out, and think on their own. Wait before jumping in with “correct” answers. Give your child the time and space to explore and discover on her own.

  1. Accept that explorations are often messy.

Whether it’s outdoor exploration with mud and sticks or indoors with water, children are likely to get dirty when they explore materials. Dress children in old clothing and tell them it’s ok to get dirty.

  1. Learn from mistakes together.

If an experiment goes wrong, take advantage and investigate with your child to see what went wrong. A mistake can lead to all kinds of possibilities and it provides opportunities for you and your child to refine your ideas, understanding, and hypotheses.

  1. Invite curiosity.

Science learning begins with curiosity. Observations and questions can create a climate of discovery – key to scientific learning. Children can learn a lot about science even at bath time. Let your child ask her own questions but you can also stimulate curiosity. For instance, when seeing a rubber duck float in the water, invite him to think by saying, “I wonder if the soap will also float?” See what questions she asks and what experiments she tries.

  1. Support further exploration.

Intentional adult interactions with children can extend their learning. When the moment is right – maybe when she’s done exploring on her own, offer a suggestion to extend her exploration. Guide your child by asking questions like, “What might happen if we try this?”

Share some things you find while exploring, – a beautiful striped rock, for example. This lets your child know there is always something worthy of our attention and investigation.

  1. Encourage children to record their observations.

Writing, drawing, or taking photographs are all ways to record observations – an important scientific skill. Such records allow children to keep track of what they saw, heard, questioned, or discovered. When you notice your child is interested in something (like the moon, leaves changing on the trees, or the growth of a plant) you can suggest ways for them to record what they have observed. “Do you want to draw that?” or “Do you want to take photos?” or “Do you want me to help you write down what you noticed?”

  1. Make good use of your electronic devices.

Take pictures of a stunning butterfly, record frog sounds, use a website or app to learn more about a specific phenomenon or creature.

  1. Use items you have at home to experiment and explore

You don’t need to spend money buying science supplies. Here are some science questions your child can consider using materials you might have at home.

Question #1: How does water move up a plant’s stem?

What You Need: celery, water, food coloring.

Directions: Put a celery stalk or carnation stem in water that has some food coloring in it.

Science principle: Children can see how the colored water travels up the stalk or stem and might notice how a specific part of the celery stalk (called the xylem) draws the water up from the roots just like a straw.

Question #2: How does changing the angle of a block impact the speed of a ball?

What you need: Rubber ball, small toy cars, and long block or plank

Directions: Experiment how fast or slow the ball or car travels down a plank as you adjust its angle. You can do this by changing the height of the plank and testing the speed of the ball.

Science Principle: Children can see that items will roll at different speeds depending on the angle of the block. Try different kinds of items – a tennis ball, a super ball, small cars for example, to explore whether the size, weight, or material impacts the rolling speed.

Question #3: What will sink and what will float?

What you need: Objects you can put in the water (e.g., rubber toys, corks, coins, keys, rocks) and a plastic bucket or large bowl

Directions: Invite your child to put a few objects in the water and see what happens. Then, discuss the concept of “floating” and “sinking”. Ask, “Do you think this one will sink or float? What makes you think that?”

Science principle: Children can explore how size, weight, or other properties of an object determine if it sinks or floats and how quickly it sinks to the bottom or rises to the top.

About the Author: Yi-Chin Lan received her PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at National Taiwan Normal University. Her research interests include parental involvement in children’s science learning, pre-service and in-service teachers’ beliefs about science teaching, out-of-school science learning, etc. She can be reached at

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Upcoming Events:

*Friday, September 4th:  Parkside is CLOSED for Shut down day.  This is a full day of training for our teachers.  Families who pay their tuition weekly, please plan to bring your payment on Thursday, September 3rd to avoid late fees.

*Monday, September 7th:  Parkside is CLOSED for Labor Day!

*Thursday, September 24th:  Parent/Teacher Advisory Meeting @ 5:45

*Friday, September 25th:  Trike-a-thon!  Please look for more information in the upcoming weeks!  This is a fundraiser to help St. Jude’s hospital.


Enjoy your weekend,

Jen V.

jen blog pic