July 22, 2016

Dear Parkside Families,

We have had a great week here at Parkside.  The kids learned about many different things this week, including pirates, the ocean, five senses, and also about how to be a friend in our Big Sur room.  One of my favorite parts of the day is walking into the classrooms to experience the fun your child is having while engaged in the activities for the day.

Did you know we hired a new Spanish teacher?  We are very excited to welcome Alexandra Small to Parkside!  She started teaching Spanish to the Yellowstone, Big Sur, Yosemite, and Olympic classrooms last Wednesday.  We are also very hopeful to start having music classes again beginning with the Sequoia classroom; stay tuned for more information!

Classroom transitions:  In the upcoming weeks we will be transitioning many children in the center as our Pre-K graduates will be leaving Parkside.  Please know that when we choose to transition children to the next classroom we take into account: the age of the child, the dynamics of the next classroom, and the developmental abilities of the child.  If you have any questions about transitions or when your child is transitioning to the next classroom, please stop by the office or e-mail me at

End of the Year Event!  Before you know it we will be celebrating the end of our year at Parkside!  Every year we plan a celebration, this year it is planned for Friday, August 26th or the rain date is Thursday, August 25th.  This event is an opportunity for us to say “good bye” to our friends who are heading off to Kindergarten but to welcome all of our new friends who are just starting at Parkside!  For all of our friends who have left Parkside before our event, please come back and join us but parents please make sure to stay with your child and have fun too!  We will have plenty of activities for your child to participate in: bounce houses, games, face painting, and event a photo booth!  We will also have snow cones as yummy afternoon treat!  We will be announcing the times our classrooms will be outside on the playground in the upcoming weeks!

“We’ve Got Your Back” campaign!  Every year Penquis C.A.P. coordinates a fundraiser to collect school supplies for local children.  Beginning Monday, we will have a school bus [with Elmo driving] in front of the front doors as a place to collect any donated school supplies.  We have been told that any supply collected is appreciated, which includes backpacks, notebooks, crayons, makers, pencils, lunchboxes, thermoses, and any other school supply!  We will be collecting supplies until Tuesday, August 16th.  Thank you in advance for your support of this important fundraiser!

I often wonder in the age of technology, how different our approaches in teaching and learning are now compared to years in the past.  We often laugh when we can’t seem to spell words without the help of auto correct on our phones or spell check on the computers, but it certainly does show us how we can be dependent on technology instead of the skills we were taught when we were in school.  This week, I read an article that talks about the importance of handwriting and how it such an important skill not just a motor skill but much, much more!  At Parkside, we feel it is important for children to have a connection with learning the alphabet, but also how to write it.  Yes, we have experiences for our preschool children to use laptops to help extend their understanding of the alphabet, but we do not depend on this activity to replace the skill of handwriting.  This article is from ExchangeEveryDay:


Handwriting Still Matters
July 19, 2016

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.
-Erica Jong

“There is a growing body of research on what the normally developing brain learns by forming letters on the page, in print or manuscript format as well as cursive,” notes Perri Klass in her New York Times article,”Why Handwriting is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age.”  Some points made in the article…

“…handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.

“‘This myth that handwriting is just a motor skill is just plain wrong,’ Dr. Virginia Berninger (University of Washington professor of educational psychology) said.  ‘We use motor parts of our brain, motor planning, motor control, but what’s very critical is a region of our brain where the visual and language come together… where visual stimuli actually become letters and written words.  You have to see letters in the mind’s eye in order to produce them on the page.  Brain imaging shows that the activation of this region is different in children who are having trouble with handwriting.'”

Have a great weekend,

Jen V.