August 17, 2018

Hello Parkside Families!

This week flew by!  The kids had fun pretending to camp, learning about space, how crayons are made and many more fun themes!  We also had an impromptu lesson on how we have thunder storms and what makes the thunder after we had to quickly bring the kids in from the playground this week.  In addition to many fun activities, we also welcomed new families this week to our Parkside family. 

One of the things that I love about my job is the special relationships that I have with the families and children in our program.  I also love to talk about all of the awesome things we do here at Parkside!  I am so excited to share a new experience to our specials program with you!  Beginning in September we are introducing a cooking and nutrition class.  Miss Reanna Plourde comes to us as currently a graduate student at the University of Maine.  She has had many experiences teaching children about cooking and nutrition while working in the SNAP Ed program.  Reanna will be providing experiences of not only cooking, but we are also looking forward to adding indoor gardens into our classroom so the children can build more of an appreciation of where our food comes from.  Reanna will teach in each classroom beginning in our Sequoia room once a month for 30 minutes, the snack that she will make with your child will be the afternoon snack for your child’s classroom that day.  We will post the recipe ahead of time for you to review.  I hope you can agree that this is a new and exciting experience for your child!  At the end of this blog I have put an article about the importance of cooking with your child; you can find this article at: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/dining/cooking-with-kids-5-reasons-you-should-be-doing-it.html

Last week I spoke about upcoming teacher transitions.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we determine what might work best for our program.  We have announced the new staffing changes in an official letter to all of the families who have changes in their teaching team.  We recognize that changes are not always easy for both children and parents, but we do believe that we have created strong teaching teams because of this transition. 

Back-up care:  Families have been asking questions about the possibility of setting up back-up care for their child who is leaving for public school or for their older child.  If you are interested in having this opportunity you can either let us know what days you are looking for (if you know ahead of time) and we can notify you as soon as we know we will have space available.  If you are looking for back-up care on a snow day (I know I cringe thinking it too) you can call the center at 6:15 to see if we have space.

August 24th (rain date August 23rd): End of the Year Event!  The event we have been planning for over the past month is quickly approaching!  We are so excited to experience the fun activities, bounce houses and snow cones (in the afternoon) with you and your child.  We do welcome you to come and spend time with your child outside on the playground.  The infant and toddler classrooms will be outside from 9:30-10:30/2:45-3:45 Preschool rooms: 11:00-12:15/4:00-5:00.  Families who have left our program earlier, we invite you and your child to come back and have some fun with us!  There are permission slips in your child’s classroom for you to give your child permission to participate in the bounce houses and/or the snow cones.  We will announce the event change at the beginning of the week if it looks like the weather for Friday is not going to cooperate.

Friday, August 31st: Parkside is CLOSED for teacher training!  I am looking forward to spending the day with our team!  We have a lot of great trainings that will be presented including curriculum and assessment training as well as communication training.  We will have some team building experiences throughout the day with our full-time and part-time teachers.  Our teachers will also have time to spend in their classrooms to prepare for the new program year! 

Upcoming Events:

Friday, August 24th: End of the year Event

Friday, August 31st: Parkside is CLOSED for teacher training

Monday, September 3rd: Parkside is CLOSED for Labor day

Thursday, September 13th: Curriculum evening from 5:30-6:30:  We invite you to spend some time getting to know your child’s classroom, teachers and routines with your child! 

Friday, September 14th: Olympic field trip to Treworgy’s Apple Orchard!  Stay tuned for more information for this annual trip! 

Friday, September 21st: Parkside’s 3rd Annual Color Run!  Stay tuned for more information!

Tuesday, Wednesday September25, 26: photos with Emily McIntosh!  Package information will be delivered soon! 

Have a great weekend,


jen blog pic

Cooking With Kids: 5 Reasons You Should Be Doing It

Making ice cream.CreditKJ Dell’Antonia

By Kj Dell’Antonia and Margaux Laskey

  • Sept. 2, 2015

Children should learn to cook.

It’s a basic life skill, after all, being comfortable enough in the kitchen to pull a few ingredients into a simple meal. It’s healthy — a hungry 13-year-old who can cook, home alone after school, may decide to stir-fry some leftover rice with whatever is in the fridge; his noncooking peer is left rummaging through the pantry for anything that can be eaten straight out of the box or bag. Cooking is a source of pride for the children who can take care of themselves in this way, or feed a friend or sibling. They’re capable of cooking, they know what to do, they can get it done.

Given all that, who would think there were arguments against involving kids in the kitchen? But this summer, as Motherlode’s K J Dell’Antonia and Cooking’s Margaux Laskey wrote the Kids in the Kitchen series, we heard plenty of them, particularly when it came to younger children. Margaux was starting early, with a 3-year-old beside her taking on any tasks she could handle, losing interest often and even more frequently making a mess. K J’s kids are long past that stage, but they went through it, each in turn. Now she has them chopping, sautéing and grilling anything they can, sometimes over their protests. From easy sheet-pan chicken to pizza in the oven and on the grill, both families stayed committed to weekly cooking together all summer long.

Melissa Clark’s dish next to ours.CreditAndrew Scrivani for The New York Times / Margaux Laskey

Why sit a 3-year-old at the cutting board when an older child can do so much more? Plenty of parents are reluctant to encourage a toddler or preschooler to abandon that episode of “Masha and the Bear” in favor of stirring a pot. By dinnertime, the household cook is often out of patience. Some kinds of “help” don’t get food on the table. Children spill, they switch the mixer to high when your back is turned, and they’re not safe around stoves and knives. Letting them do most things takes vastly longer than just doing them yourself.

As for older children, maybe they’re “just not interested.” Sports, homework, pressing social obligations … they’re busy, after all. They barely have time to get to the table, let alone put food on it.

A 3-year old makes Sam Sifton’s tomato and watermelon salad.CreditMargaux Laskey

But there are good reasons to encourage kids in the kitchen at any age. With young children, that early investment pays off — eventually. Older children may not be grateful now, but the time will come when they need to put food on the table, and it will help to know you boil the water before you dump in the pasta. Start now, and you may reap the benefit of a child who can take over dinner once a week or once a month.

Here are five reasons you should get your children involved in the kitchen, whether they’re 3 or 13.

Children who cook become children who taste, and sometimes eat.Involving children in the process of cooking — picking out the watermelons and tomatoes and plucking the herbs to add to a tomato and watermelon salad, for example — greatly increases the chance that they’ll actually try the finished dish. And hey, they may discover a new favorite. Or not. But cultivating a welcoming and open-minded approach to food can grow adults who approach life similarly. Arms open and mouth wide to new tastes, cultures and attitudes.

Children who cook say “I can,” not “I can’t.” Sliding a spoonful of raw chicken or a piece of breaded fish into hot oil (as K J’s children did making ketchup chicken and an outdoor fish fry)? Daunting. Making dinner for six people at age 9 (A 9-Year-Old Makes Pasta With Tomatoes and Mushrooms)? Intimidating. A child who can do those can look at any restaurant dish and say, “I could make that.” That’s an attitude that can carry a child beyond the kitchen.

Cooking is a way to talk about health. Experts say that the single most important thing you can do for your health is to cook at home. Inviting children into the kitchen and involving them at a very young age fosters a habit that will have lifelong benefits. Also, it gives you an opportunity to discuss with a 3-year-old how fish (like broiled fish with chermoula) can help make you smart (fatty acids), how “eating a rainbow” ensures that you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and how eating plenty of fresh vegetables and drinking lots of water will “keep your poop from hurting when it comes out.”

Cooking is a way to talk about healthy ingredients. Children who have made ice cream and caramel (like strawberry-rhubarb ice cream with a caramel swirl) know what is supposed to be in ice cream. They know they didn’t add any guar gum. If they’ve made no-knead bread, they’ll know that good bread doesn’t need sugar. When you flip over packages in the grocery store, they’ll understand that you’re looking for things you can’t pronounce, and they’ll join you. (They may, in fact, police your shopping more than you’d like.)

Cooking brings cooks of all ages closer. For better or worse, you will get to know your children, and they you, more deeply when you cook with them. For better, you will share recipes, techniques and anecdotes that you learned at the elbows of mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers long gone. For worse, you will huff and puff and whine and lose your patience when they accidentally spill heavy cream all over the kitchen table while making mini-shortcakes with berries, but they will love you anyway, teaching you, the one who’s supposed to be the grown-up, about unconditional love and ready forgiveness.

Check out the rest of the Kids in the Kitchen series so far, find something to cook in our Kids in the Kitchen recipe collection, and join us in the kitchen most Wednesdays on the Motherlode blog. Follow us on Twitter @KJDellAntonia and @margauxlaskey, and on Instagram @kjda and @margaux_laskey. Let us know how you’re doing with the hashtag #NYTKidsCook.