Hello Parkside Families,

It has been a great week celebrating familiar traditions, such as making and decorating gingerbread cookies in our Yosemite and Olympic classrooms, and learning new traditions such as lighting the menorah each evening.  We hope that this holiday season is a great opportunity to share traditions that bring us joy with others as well as learn others’ traditions.  Please feel free to talk with your child’s teacher if you would like to share an activity, book, or song with your child’s classroom.

Gingerbread cooking and decorating!  This tradition has continued for Jen M-R and Parkside for 6 years!  This is such a special activity that also brings a large component of learning too.  The kids will learn about different spices, learn about what a recipe is and the tools that are needed to complete it, and we will talk about the chemistry of the batter when we  add different ingredients.  We appreciate all of the parent volunteers from the Olympic and Yosemite classroom!  Thank you to Christine and Tom Thibodeau, Lindsay Ellie, Heather Ball, Elisa Fleig and Amelia Langley.  Thank you to Anne-Marie Story, Tom Donahue, Luke LaBree and Corinne Wheelden. from the Yosemite classroom.  Please take a look at all of the great fun we had cooking, decorating, and of course eating!  Here is the schedule for Big Sur, Yellowstone, Zion, and Sequoia rooms.  Big Sur is on Tuesday, the 15th; Yellowstone and Zion are the 17th; and Sequoia is on the 18th.  We will begin cooking at 9:30 and decorating will begin around 2:30.  If you are interested in volunteering during this activity please let your child’s teacher know!

Here is the recipe that we use for this activity: you can also find it at

1 cup of packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 ½ cups dark molasses

2/3 cup cold water

7 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt

  1. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheet lightly with shortening or spray with cooking spray.  On floured surface, roll dough ¼ inch thick.  Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other shaped cutter.  On cookie sheet, place cutouts about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.  Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Pajama day and “warm hot chocolate”!  We will have pajama day and serve “hot” chocolate to the kids on December 23rd as a special treat!!

Hearing Update:  Our hearing date is planned for January 4th.  It would be greatly appreciated if we could have some parents attend to testify on our behalf.  If you are available and are willing to do this please e-mail me at .

Upcoming Events:

*December 24th and 25th: Parkside is CLOSED for the Christmas holiay.  Families who pay their tuition weekly: your tuition is owed by Wednesday, December 23rd.

*December 31st and January 1st:  Parkside is CLOSED for the New Years holiday.  Families who pay their tuition weekly: your tuition is owed by Wednesday, December 30th.

*January 18th:  Martin Luther King, Jr. day:  Parkside is OPEN

*January 28th:  Parent/teacher advisory meeting

Enjoy your weekend!


Jen V.