Hello Parkside Families,

It has been a great week at Parkside!  We were able to get outside and enjoy the snow, ice, and slush.  We had to change many children’s clothes this week because of how wet the playground was.  Please make sure your child has at least two pairs of pants, socks, and mittens in their cubby.

Parent/Teacher Advisory update:  Our group met this past Thursday to brainstorm ideas and events that will create more opportunities to engage families.  In addition to brainstorming events we also discussed topics that may be helpful to parents to find a presenter to talk to us.  Here are some of the events that we are hoping to arrange in upcoming months: family painting night (similar to paint and sip without the sip), clothing/toy/books swap with pizza, read with the characters, a family dance or hoe-down, and an afterhours event with Fields 4 Kids.  We are looking for a cheap d.j., if you know of one please let us know.  Stay tuned for more information! J  In addition to our brainstorming sessions we handed out articles written by Dr. Leonard Sax.  The two articles are called “Physician to parents: You’re doing it Wrong” and “The Collapse of Parenting: Why it’s time for parents to grow up”.  We found these articles interesting to read as a parent and as an educator.  Please do not feel that these articles are a way of judging you, as I read these articles I found myself thinking of the things that I do which are included in both of these articles.  We simply are offering these articles as expert tips that are food for thought. Below are excerpts of these two articles:

“Most American parents are completely confused and going utterly in the wrong direction,” Sax said. “There’s a collapse of understanding what parenting involves.”

In his book, Sax offers a scenario in which parents and a 6-year-old child, who had a sore throat, came into his office. When he said, “Next I’m going to take a look at your throat,” the mother asked for the child’s permission, saying, “Do you mind if the doctor looks in your throat for just a second, honey? Afterward we can go and get some ice cream.”

That led to the child refusing to have the doctor look in her throat to do the strep test and the child having to be restrained to get the test accomplished.

“It’s not a question,” Sax said. “It’s a sentence: ‘Open up and say, ‘Ahh.” Parents are incapable of speaking to their children in a sentence that ends in a period,” he said. “Every sentence ends in a question mark.”

Some parenting experts told adults that they should offer their children choices instead of telling them what to do and parents believed them, he said.

The hierarchy of parent over child no longer exists, he said. Instead of parents exercising their authority because they know what’s best, they are focusing on making children happy and boosting their self-esteem.

“They now see their job as facilitating whatever a kid wants to do,” he said.

Instead, Sax said, a parent’s job is to teach children right from wrong, teach them the meaning of life and keep their children safe.

“In doing that job, you’re going to do a lot of things a child won’t approve of and not understand,” he said. Sometimes, you have to be the bad guy.

According to Sax, parents should focus on helping children develop skills such as self-control, humility and conscientiousness, meaning they think of people other than themselves.

Those things are the biggest predictors of future success in adulthood, he said, not education or affluence.

Sax said this is a generation of parents who are spending more time with children than any previous generation. But instead of spending time at family meals, this generation is spending time shuttling children from one extracurricular activity to the next or spending time doing their work for them.

He offered some solutions:

Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. “You have to communicate that our time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else,” he said. One study found that for each additional meal a family had together, the children were less likely to internalize problems such as anxiety or externalize problems such as skipping school. It also helped children develop good nutrition habits, lessening the obesity problem.

Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cellphones, computers, TVs and video games. Kids are chronically sleep deprived, which leads to poor behavior and can even be the reason why kids are getting mental health diagnosis.

Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. This generation lives life in a virtual world. Online friends can quickly become more important than the friends children see in person. They don’t know how to communicate with someone face to face or have outside interests and hobbies. Video games also rewire the way their brains work. And what they post online never goes away. Install software like My Mobile Watchdog, which will share every photo that they take or post with you.

Teach humility. Give lessons that show children that they are not the most important people in the world. They need to be able to see the world through another lens and be able to handle rejection or failure. It really cannot be “everybody gets a trophy.”

Have an alliance between the school and you. If your child did something, don’t approach  teachers or administrators with suspicion and distrust. “Parents swoop in like attorneys demanding evidence,” Sax said. Instead lessons of honesty and integrity should be enforced. That means that a brilliant kid who cheated takes the 0.

Parent what they do. No, your 14-year-old cannot go to a party with college students or to the beach for spring break. No, they will not be at parties where alcohol is served, and you will not be the one serving it. You have to think of worst-case scenarios like drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning and sexual assault, and know that these are not decisions that they are ready to make because they are not adults. They need an adult, and that’s you. And even if their peers’ parents are fine with something, you don’t have to be. “Other parents don’t have a clue at what they are doing,” Sax said. “That’s why what they are doing doesn’t have good outcomes.”

You can read the whole article at:


For modern families, the adage “food is love” might well be more true put another way: food is power. Not long ago, Dr. Leonard Sax was at a restaurant and overheard a father say to his daughter, “Honey, could you please do me a favour? Could you please just try one bite of your green peas?” To many people, this would have sounded like decent or maybe even sophisticated parenting—gentle coaxing formed as a question to get the child to co-operate without threatening her autonomy or creating a scene.

To Sax, a Pennsylvania family physician and psychologist famous for writing about children’s development, the situation epitomized something much worse: the recent collapse of parenting, which he says is at least partly to blame for kids becoming overweight, overmedicated, anxious and disrespectful of themselves and those around them.

The restaurant scene is a prime example of how all too often adults defer to kids because they have relinquished parental authority and lost confidence in themselves. They’re motivated by a desire to raise their children thoughtfully and respectfully. In theory, their intentions are good and their efforts impressive—moms and dads today are trying to build up their kids by giving them influence; they also want to please them and avoid conflict. In reality, parents are at risk of losing primacy over their children.

The dinner table is ground zero. “When parents begin to cede control to their kids, food choices are often the first thing to slide,” Sax writes in his new book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. A rule such as “No dessert until you eat your broccoli” has recently morphed into “How about three bites of broccoli, and then you can have dessert?” The command has become a question capped with a bribe, as Sax puts it. Dinner at home requires polling kids on what they’re willing to eat; the options might include roast chicken and potatoes or chicken fingers and fries. You can bet which they choose. So parents renegotiate: How about sweet potato fries?

You can find the whole article at:

Fields 4 Kids:  We are very excited to announce our partnership with Fields 4 Kids and Cyr Bus Lines which will allow us to bring the children from Big Sur, Yosemite, and Olympic classrooms to Fields 4 Kids every Wednesday beginning next week, February 3rd.  There are notice in your mailboxes which will discuss this event. There is a permission slip on top of each classrooms’ cubby for you to sign giving us the permission to bus your child from Parkside from to Fields 4 Kid EVERY Wednesday beginning February 3rd until April. We will depart from Parkside at 9:15 and arrive back at Parkside around 12:00. Parents, you are also welcome to come with us!

Upcoming Events:

*Monday, February 15th: Friendship party at Parkside!  We will be celebrating in each classroom with activities and games throughout the day.  Parents, on the back of last week’s curriculum was a class list of children in your room.   If your child is in a younger classroom, please do not feel pressured to bring in cards for each child, it is a special event when they get older and they can write their friends’ name on the cards and understand the meaning of this tradition.  We will be having special snacks which will include strawberry ice cream from Wild Cow Creamery!

*Thursday, February 25thYosemite and Olympic classrooms will be visiting the dental clinic at the University of Augusta’s Bangor campus.  Look for more details as we get closer!

*Thursday, February 25th:  Parent/Teacher Advisory Meeting!

Enjoy your weekend,


Jen V.