October 2014

Letter From the Director

We are off and running to a wonderful new school year. The children are adjusting to the new environment and transitioning well into their new routines. Many are making new friends, and rediscovering old friendships.

Our Watermelon Social was a huge hit! Thank you to our board members who donated the watermelon, and to everyone who came out in the heat to join us for the evening.

Our Fall Coffee was also a huge success! Everyone who attended met all of our board members who work so tirelessly to make sure that all of our programs come to fruition. Thank you again to our Membership Chairpersons, Melissa Bin and Tracy Spiegel for creating such a lovely space for us.

Soon you will be receiving an invitation to your Class Coffee. This a fun and intimate gathering of the parents from your child’s class, your teacher and me. You will learn more about the day-to-day life in your child’s class, the curriculum and the teachers. I will be available to answer questions about our philosophy, policies and procedures. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

The first months of school can bring out new behaviors in your child as they learn to navigate the new landscape of new expectations, new children and new teachers. This is a part of the learning and growing process. I wanted to share with you some insights into the topic of Superhero Play.

“Superhero” PLAY

Why are Superheroes so popular with preschool children?? By definition, superheroes are larger than life, courageous, powerful, and seemingly able to overcome any obstacle with great physical prowess while doing great deeds at the same time. Young children, facing the challenges of learning many new skills, may often feel small, helpless, fearful, unable to accomplish what they desire, or troubled—in other words, just the opposite of superheroes. It’s no wonder that many preschoolers are drawn to superhero play. Through play they can feel brave, fearless, in control of their world, outside the ordinary and just plain good!

One of the most important steps in fostering healthy superhero play is to be able to recognize the difference between action-oriented, rough and tumble play and true aggression. For example, typical, exuberant play includes falling down, hitting without hurting, diving, yelling or other loud mimicking vocalizations, etc… while aggressive play includes domination, threats, humiliation, or real hitting and fighting. Adults should step in and stop aggression when children stop having fun, show real anger or fear, or begin real hitting. When action-oriented play is confused with aggression, it’s more likely that both types of play will be stopped and children run the risk of losing the benefits of healthy free play.

Through play, children learn how to get along in the real world in a positive way. Through teachable moments and deliberate discussion, adults can help children understand the power of real heroism. The first steps in creating the heroes of tomorrow are to help preschoolers today believe in themselves and their ability to make a difference. They can begin this process in play!

~For more on this topic, check out http://www.fieldguidetoparenting.com/

Jane Walker

Letter From the President

Dear SMCC Nursery School Families,

The year is already off to a great start. Thank you to all the families who attended our Watermelon Social on Friday, September 12th. We had such an amazing turn out that the watermelon was actually all gone by the time it was over. The kids were able to play in the big yard, explore Mrs. Brown’s classroom and enjoy watermelon in the courtyard. I especially enjoyed meeting so many new families. We have such an enthusiastic and engaged group of families this year!

Thank you, also, to all who attended our Annual Fall Coffee on September 16th. We heard from Jane Walker, several staff members at San Marino Community Church, the Nursery School Board of Directors and Dr. Jeff Prater – who left us with 3 indelible pieces of advice to parents during the preschool years:

  1. Don’t blink;
  2. Play is a child’s work; and
  3. You can do it (encouraging parents to let their children face the consequences of their actions and not fix all their problems).

Dr. Prater had most of us in tears by the end of his talk. What I found most profound was the perspective he gave when he said to imagine the day we drop our child off at college and return home to his/her empty room. He said that we would not regret failing to sign up our child for another gym class, math class, etc. We would regret not spending more time with that child when we had the opportunity to do so. Don’t blink.

One of the aspects of the Nursery School I am most excited about is our Parent Education Series. We have our first Parent Education seminar on October 22nd. It is a panel discussing Kindergarten. As a mom with a Kindergartner, I would love to encourage you all to come out and listen to the advice of this panel. Even if you do not have a child attending Kindergarten next year, it is a good idea to hear about readiness now so you can start making some preparations.

Lastly, I encourage you all to attend your respective Class Coffees. It is the best way to get to know your child’s teacher and to get acquainted with the other class parents. And there are so few opportunities to socialize with these parents and teachers without children present that you do not want to miss it.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
Debbie Merryman
President, 2014-2015

Tuition Reminder

Fall Tuition was due October 1st.  If you missed the deadline, please contact the SMCC Nursery School Treasurer, Renita Lin at renitaolivia@gmail.com or 310-614-6299 to make your payment.  Late payments are subject to at 10% late fee.

Parent Education Series

Mark your calendars for a year full of informative Parent Education Events! All events (except Wednesday, March 11), will be from 9:15-11:30 at school. Childcare will be available for a small fee. Please contact Amanda Tracey with questions or topics of interest at amandabtracey@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
KINDERGARTEN PANEL: Public, Private, Transitional Kindergarten, and Readiness
Jill Brown, private school expert
Krista Diaz, Valentine School kindergarten teacher
Kim Talbot, SMCC Nursery School teacher
Sponsoring Class: Mrs. Perth/Fitzhugh

Thursday, December 4, 2014
FAMILY RITUALS: The importance of family rituals throughout the year
Ron Eckert, Associate Director of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp
Sponsoring Class: Mrs. Conkling

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
SIBLING RIVALRY: Fostering positive relationships with and among your children
Dr. Kelly McCord, licensed therapist, parent educator, and siblings expert
Sponsoring Class: Mrs. Chang/Eaton

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BEHAVIOR, TEMPERAMENT, AND HORMONES: Understanding your preschool child
Dr. Jeff Prater, founder and director of Psychology Resource Consultants
Sponsoring Class: Mrs. Brown

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 **7:00 PM
PARENTING AS A TEAM: Getting on the same page and presenting a united front
Dr. Ginger Bercaw, founder of The California Center for Healing

Thursday, April 30, 2015
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: How to prepare your home and your children for emergencies
Dr. Ann Corwin, creator of “A Pocket Full of Feelings” emotional literacy program
Custom Home Safety, safety and emergency preparedness consultants
Sponsoring Class: Mrs. Talbot

Amanda Tracey, Parent Education Chair

Picnic Day

Mark your calendars! Our next online Picnic Day sign-up will open on Friday, October 24th at 10am.  This sign-up will be for the month of November.  Available dates in November are as follows:  3,5,6,10,12,13,17,19,20,24 (there will be no Picnic Day the day before Thanksgiving Break).  Please remember payment is due by 12 noon the following Tuesday, October 28th.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Maren Hoecker, Picnic Day Chair

Nutrition Information

Thank you to everyone who has signed up so far to bring school snack!  We greatly appreciate everyone participating in this activity. The children get great joy out of delivering “The Cart” to all the classrooms.

Please take a look at the Nutrition folder under “About Our School” above – there is lots of great information. Also under the Parent Portal page is the October Snack Sign-Up Schedule.  Each month we will include the month’s schedule so you can double-check your scheduled days. SignUpGenius will also send you a reminder before your scheduled day.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Hilary Kingston, Nutrition Chair

School Spirit Days

School Spirit Days are the last Thursday & Friday of the month (October 30 & 31 this month). This is a great day to wear your SMCC Nursery School t-shirts. If you haven’t already ordered yours, please contact Ivy Lee at ivyannlee@gmail.com.

Ivy Lee, Merchandise Sales

Room Parents

Thank you to the following room parents for volunteering this year!  Your time and dedication enhance the nursery school experience for all our children.

GROUP 1:  Mrs. Talbot’s Monday-Friday Class
Kalia Petmeckey and Theresa Patzakis

GROUP 2:  Mrs. Brown’s Monday-Friday Class
Natalie O’Connor and Kelly Paulus

GROUP 3:  Mrs. Fitzhugh’s Monday/Wednesday/Friday Class
Ann Pearson and Gabby Beavais

GROUP 4:  Mrs Eaton and Mrs Chang All Classes
Cat Yeh and Nicole Hsu

GROUP 5:  Mrs. Conkling’s Monday/Wednesday/Friday Class
Kirsten Poole and Jessica Martignetti

GROUP 6:  Mrs. Perth’s Tuesday/Thursday Class
Audrey McCarthy

GROUP 7:  Mrs. Conkling’s Tuesday/Thursday Class
Frances Alexanderson and Anita Lee

Nicole Anido, Room Parents Chair

Halloween Costumes

Halloween is a special time of year, and dressing in costume is an eagerly anticipated activity for many children. However, we ask that on Halloween, you dress your child in their regular clothing for school that day.  While some costumes are fun for your child, they may be scary for others.  We will celebrate with Halloween cookies and special napkins.  Thank you.

Upcoming Dates

Oct. 1 – Mrs. Fitzhugh’s Class Coffee

Oct. 3 – NO SCHOOL (School closed due to power outage)

Oct. 8 – Mrs. Talb0t’s Class Coffee

Oct. 9 – Mrs. Conkling’s T-TH Class Coffee

Oct. 10 – Mrs. Conkling’s M-W-F Class Coffee

Oct. 14 – Mrs. Brown’s Class Coffee

Oct. 15 – Mrs. Eaton/Mrs. Chang’s Class Coffee

Oct. 16 – NO SCHOOL (CRECEF Teacher’s Conference)

Oct. 22 – Parent Education Series (KINDERGARTEN PANEL: Public, Private, Transitional Kindergarten, and Readiness)

Oct. 24 – Picnic Day Signups

Oct. 30/31 – Halloween Cookie Days

Oct. 30/31 – School Spirit Days