September 11, 2020

Hello Parkside Families,
I hope you had a wonderful long weekend! We have “unofficially “entered the fall season here at Parkside! Do you love the season of fall? I have to say, I absolutely love most of what fall brings from cooking in the kitchen to watching football (Go Giants!) on Sundays oh my I love it all! Fall brings a sense of newness at Parkside and surely that is what this week has been for some of our rooms as we begin our new program year. In this week’s blog, I have included fall photo information (which is next week!), recap from our shut down day and information about our new playground procedure.

Next week we will welcome Emily McIntosh to Parkside! This week each child received an envelope in their folder to order pictures from Emily. Emily will only take your child’s picture if you returned your child’s envelope. If you have questions about specific packages, please contact Emily, which her contact information is on the order envelope.

The schedule for pictures are as follows:
Tuesday, September 15th:
9:30: Grand Teton
10:00: Sequoia
10:30: Yellowstone
11:00: Yosemite
AND ALL Tuesday/Thursday children
Wednesday, September 16th:
9:30: Glacier
10:00: Zion
10:30: Big Sur
11:00: Olympic
AND All Monday/Wednesday/Friday children

If you plan to have sibling pictures, please let us know which day you would like us to have your childs’ pictures done. We will have the pictures taken outside behind the drop-off area. If you are dropping off between 9:30-11:30 please call the center INSTEAD of coming to the front doors. A manager will meet you at your car to take your child inside. As always, please let us know if you have any questions!

Shut down day is typically a day when we can all learn, brainstorm and connect with one another. Since March our shut down days have limited this opportunity, which was the case for our training day this past Friday. We had the opportunity to work in our classrooms a bit and then we left to train remotely. Our teachers learned about light and reflection, woodworking in the preschool classroom, heuristic baskets in our infant and toddler classroom and everyone learned more about what a play-based learning environment looks like. Our managers worked on some intense plans on our strategic goals for 2021. I welcome you to talk with Lisa, Lynna or myself about these or once we have them in print we can show them to you! The goals for this year include committing to a new play-based philosophy, supporting and training our Lead Teachers and becoming more inclusive and diverse for everyone at Parkside. I’m so excited (and to be honest scared) because these goals are big goals, they are not just system changes or surface changes- they are goals that will not only change the way our program looks but also the way it feels to children, families and our staff. Please feel free to ask us questions about this!

Before our shut down day, our management team examined the recommendations regarding sanitization on the playground. Before this week our playground we divided up our groups and washed hands before going out and when returning. This week, we divided our times for classrooms again, which I will announce in a moment, to make sure our management team has the opportunity to sanitize every piece of metal and plastic on the playground before the next group comes out. As you can imagine it looks like the pit crew from a NASCAR race! I want to thank Lisa and Lynna who have taken on this new routine! I also want to thank our awesome teachers, who have taken every new change with an angle of “how are we going to make this challenge work?” To make sure we have the time to sanitize and also make sure that the equipment is dried we have created a new outside schedule for every classroom. All of our classrooms will remain in one area for their playground time and then switch the area for the afternoon. Again, before a new group enters the playground, we have an hour to sanitize the equipment!
Sequoia/Zion/Yellowstone: 9-10/2-3
Big Sur/Yosemite/Olympic: 11-12/4-5:30

I mentioned last week about the power of music and the memories I have of my grandmother along with songs we used to listen to. My grandmother passed on Saturday. And although it makes complete sense to why she passed (she was 92 years old) the emotions that come with grieving are all the same. As an adult I think we can somewhat predict how we will respond to certain events, even if we try our hardest to ignore the feelings. This week, I have struggled more watching my daughter, Abby experience these powerful emotions. As an educator, I know how important it is to make sure children explore the boldness of emotions so that they begin to understand what works best for them to cope. But I don’t believe I am the only one who feels this way, as a parent my gut feeling wants me to shelter Abby from these hard to deal with moments. As a parent do you struggle with this? I found myself as I was consoling Abby the night I told her Gigi passed wanting to distract her by talking about the fun activities she might want to do the next day. Abby is 9 years old now, this is certainly not my first time feeling this way, but there is something about the emotion of sadness that takes me to the “shelter her” instincts more than any other emotion. As I’m writing this, I remember hearing during our Conscious Discipline training that emotions ebb and flow and although we might think we have “handled” it for children when we have moved them through emotions with distractions, it also causes them to experience these feelings again because they haven’t worked through the emotion itself. Isn’t that interesting? We often do try to replace emotions with objects or distractions. I know for myself to escape from a crazy day my coping mechanism is zoning out to a tv. Instead of giving Abby these distractions or redirections it is taking all of my willpower to hold her, comfort her and tell her she is safe and she is feeling sad. Our children need to know that feelings can be scary to feel, but that we are there to comfort them not to redirect or distract them from them because the feelings will just get stronger and harder to cope through.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend,