November 18, 2016

Hello Parkside Families,

Can you possibly believe how fast the month of November is going by?  This week many of us have been learning about Thanksgiving and all of the many aspects of it: turkeys, harvest, being with family and friends, as well as learning how to set the table for our Thanksgiving meal.  Because Thanksgiving is next week and Parkside is closed next Thursday and Friday, we will not have a blog next week.  We wish you and your extended families a happy, relaxing holiday weekend!

Immunization reports:  In December we are required to report to the Maine CDC how many children [who are enrolled at Parkside] are immunized with specific immunizations.   If your child is not immunized with the required specific immunizations we require you to document this exemption due to philosophical or religious reasons, in writing. Please make sure we have your child’s updated immunization report by Friday, December 2nd! You can request your child’s pediatrician’s office to fax it to us at: 941-2388.  Please stop by the office with any questions.

Upcoming Events:

*November Non-perishable and pet food drive:  We have collected all of the food donated over the month of November.  Thanks for all who supported two great organizations in our community: The Good Shepard Food Bank and The Bangor Area on Aging.  The classroom who had the most food donated by their families is Big Sur with over 70 items donated!  Congratulations!

*Parent/Teacher Advisory Group:  We had originally planned to meet on the 29th of November, but after the very limited interest we have had over the past two meetings we have decided to cancel our November and December meetings and plan to meet in January.  Please look for more information about our January meeting at the beginning of the new year, 2017!  Of course, if there is anything you would like to discuss or have a concern about please stop by the office or e-mail me at

Gingerbread Cookies!  One of our favorite activities during the month of December is making gingerbread cookies!  Beginning the week of December 12th we will be making cookies with each classroom throughout the week (beginning with our Yellowstone classroom).  What makes this activity so special is that we also invite parents to come and enjoy this time with their child.  There are two times to choose from: the morning which consists of mixing and making the gingerbread cookies and in the afternoon the decorating and eating the cookies!  We appreciate any donations of decorations for this event!  The schedule for making the cookies is as follows: Tuesday, December 13th: Olympic; Wednesday, December 14th: Yosemite; Thursday: December 15th: Big Sur; Friday: December 16th: Yellowstone.  Please let your child’s teacher know if you are interested in helping!  The morning session will begin at 9:30 and lasts about an hour, while the afternoon is very brief (the kids basically dump on decorations and start eating!).

Tuesday, December 20th: Holiday Concert:  We are looking forward to our holiday concert with our music teacher, Mr. Aaron.  The concert will be for the Yellowstone, Big Sur, Yosemite, and Olympic rooms.  Mr. Aaron has started to practice some of the songs for the concert this week.  Look for the songs posted in the blog in the upcoming weeks so you can practice them at home.  The schedule for the concert is: Yellowstone 9:00; Big Sur: 9:30; Yosemite, 10:00, Olympic 10:30.  We look forward to seeing you!  Please be aware many parents may be standing to observe, as we have limited seating.

Thanksgiving can be a very busy time; there’s usually cooking, visitors, and possibly traveling involved.  The article below has some simple but had easy ways to help teach why this holiday is so important.  You can find this article at:

Why Is Thanksgiving Important? Teaching Children about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special holiday: a whole day focused on spending time with loved ones and being thankful, without much of the commercialism that has crept into many other holidays. But before you pull up to the table to enjoy your delicious Thanksgiving feast, consider the opportunities this day presents to teach children about the important values of Thanksgiving, such as thankfulness, gratitude, and family.

How to Teach Children the Meaning of Thanksgiving

Here are a few tips to teach and model important Thanksgiving lessons during the holiday:

  • Talk about why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Connect your celebration to the original story of the fall harvest celebration that brought together struggling, starving Pilgrims and generous Native Americans.
  • Turn the television off during family time. Yes, there are the parades, football games, and specials, but try to keep most of Thanksgiving about the conversation and time spent with loved ones.
  • Talk about family traditions and tell stories. If your celebration involves multiple generations or multiple families, talk about traditions, “the good old days,” and your own childhood. Stories teach children about life and history.
  • Put aside differences. Families can be wonderful and enjoyable, but tension and stress are often a part of family get-togethers. Vow to put aside differences on Thanksgiving and focus on the aspects of your family for which you are grateful. While easier said than done, this provides an excellent model for children as they learn about relationships and family.
  • Talk about your Thanksgiving feast. Talk to children about where food comes from and how it was prepared. Everyone can share what their favorite food is and why.
  • Be thankful. Focus on the things you are thankful for; ask everyone at the table to say what they are thankful for or make a list of what your family is thankful for. To take this gratitude lesson to the next level, you could perhaps even hang poster board on the wall and ask everyone to write things they are thankful for throughout the day.
  • Share & donate. Thanksgiving is a celebration of sharing and abundance. Develop a tradition of sharing with those who have less and involve children in contributing to a food shelter or other charities. This can help children to be thankful for what they have and learn the importance of helping others.
  • Create something for Thanksgiving together. Whether you’re cooking with your children or creating a craft, involving kids in the preparation or an activity is a great way to celebrate and enjoy family time. Don’t worry if the potatoes have a lump or two; the memory-making experience is worth it.
  • Have fun. Sometimes children spend long hours at the kid’s table while grown-ups talk and talk. Be sure fun family activities and enjoying one another is a top priority on Thanksgiving. Maybe you can start a new tradition like going outside and playing a family game of football, or even creating a Thanksgiving Trivia activity. Here are a few fun facts to get you started:

>A ripe cranberry will bounce.

>All turkeys and chickens have wishbones.

>Canadians celebrate their own Thanksgiving every October.

>Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863.

>The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924.

From our family to yours, however you spend your day, we hope you have a safe, healthy and delicious Thanksgiving with family, friends, and neighbors.

More Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving with Kids

  • Thanksgiving Preparation Tips: Do Thanksgiving preparations give you the jitters? Find preparation and helpful tips for easy Thanksgiving feasts.
  • Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes: Our Family Room bloggers share their favorite kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes for the whole family: “Ice Cream” Mashed PotatoesPumpkin CornbreadSweet Potato BiscuitsAcorn Candy CookiesPotato Skins Mac & Cheese, and Thanksgiving Leftovers Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Thanksgiving Activities: Our community parents are sharing ideas for Thanksgiving activities for kids to keep them entertained throughout the holiday.
  • Thanksgiving Arts & Craft Ideas: Our Family Room bloggers share their favorite kid-friendly Thanksgiving crafts: Thankful HandsThankful Christmas TreeDIY Thanksgiving Photo Placecards, and Thankful Yarn Turkey.
  • Thanksgiving Travel Tips: For those traveling with children during the holidays, find some helpful tips: Flying with Children and Road Trips with Children.
  • Find more Thanksgiving tips for families on the Family Room blog.

We wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving,

Jen V. and the Parkside Staff