January 8, 2021

Happy New Year!

Wow, welcome to 2021! It’s funny, the first Sunday in January I always go to bed with jitters and nerves like it’s the first day of school again. This week we welcomed many who had been away the past couple of weeks, and well now I have to say it feels good! This week’s blog includes information about our licensing visit, Pre-K enrollment and shut down day.

Last week we had a visit from our licenser inspector, Deanna. As you know, we are a state licensed facility which is required to follow state licensing regulations. Deanna’s visits usually include much of her time visiting with our classroom teachers inside the rooms, but due to COVID her time was spent in the office reviewing our files and watching the kids from the hallway or outside. The highlights from her visit include: the COVID systems we have put in place, the classroom environments, the children were happy while the teachers were engaged and she was extremely happy to see our playground up close (and not from the road when she was driving by). We passed our review without any deficiencies!

Over the upcoming weeks I will be putting out information regarding Pre-K registration. Children who turn 4 on or before October 15th will be eligible for Pre-K. Our Pre-K program continues to provide children with the opportunities to explore, work collaboratively with peers and learn through play. Our emergent curriculum allows our teachers to listen to children’s interests and plan activities to help them learn more about their interests. For instance, today I was in one of our Pre-K classrooms today for a short period. There was a group of children in the block area that built an elaborate structure. When I asked about the structure one of the children said it was the Wall of China. When I asked them if they have seen pictures of the Wall of China the answered “no”. After looking at pictures of the Great Wall of China we talked about how it is more than 13,000 miles long! Again, my time in the classroom was short, but if the conversation and dialogue continued with the kids the teachers would begin to provide more information: maybe by discussing the material it is built with, or measurements or to learn about the country of China. This dialogue would not have been that meaningful if I asked a group of children if they knew about the Great Wall of China; it only is meaningful when we learn what they are interested in. As I mentioned, over the upcoming weeks we will talk more about our Pre-K program! Please e-mail or call with any questions you may have about Pre-K!

Our shut down day is quickly approaching, Monday, January 18th! This shut down day is probably the most important shut down day I have facilitated since I bought Parkside 2 ½ years ago. We will be doing the hard to work to change our philosophy! Our new philosophy will be:

We believe in:

· Child-led curiosity

· Children learning through play.

· Children exploring, creating, and imagining.

· All families having equal value

Of course, with COVID we will be kicking off the hard work of changing our philosophy via zoom with our whole team. We will be watching a couple of learning videos, reflecting on our own skills and beliefs, completing a checklist on how we feel our classroom is on providing inclusiveness and we will have

some hands-on activities for our teachers to play, create and explore with. This will be the start to a new feel and look to Parkside! I will talk more about our training after the 18th!

We talk so much about the importance of play with children, but isn’t it so interesting that as adults we lose the…do I dare say the ability or the desire? I found myself thinking about this throughout this week. It started when I took Abby sledding on Sunday. Honestly, I wanted to stay home to clean, get our lunches prepped for the week, complete some work that I felt I needed to do. But, around 11:30 Abby was begging to out. So here I was outside…somewhat cold, standing at the top of the hill thiking about all of the things I could be doing, when it hit me: this is my last afternoon to spend with abby during our break and am I going to be unhappy during it or am I going to have fun? Once I committed to fun, I found myself laughing as I went down the hill. Every year I think it’s interesting how quickly a childhood memory can come back when experiencing the same activity as an adult. We need to laugh and play; we need to connect and let go of all of the nagging thoughts in our heads. And yes, the list of “to do’s” will still be there, they would not have provided me with nearly what I had sledding. Over the next year this is what our team will be working on- to be present, to have fun, and to connect.

Have a wonderful weekend,