Inclusivity in Education

Written by Jacey Dexter, Elementary Principal on .

As we move into the new school year, I want to take time to write about something that is very important not only to WHPS, philosophically, but also to me personally: Inclusive Education. Oftentimes, when speaking about Inclusive Education people go directly to thinking of including students with needs outside of the “normative range.” While this is one way to think about inclusivity, it is an oversimplification. Inclusive Education is the fundamental belief that every child and family is valued equally and deserves the same opportunities and experiences. Inclusive Education is not a program that a school can choose to run (or not run), it is an educational philosophy that values the participation and education of ALL students in the classroom.

It is no secret that children’s literature is severely limited in its representation of children, families, and characters who have diverse backgrounds. Similarly, the entertainment industry is beginning to recognize its own shortcomings in diverse/inclusive representation. With this in mind, last year, our upper elementary classes held a diversity challenge and reviewed their own class libraries to identify the gaps and limitations in the collection. Since then, we have worked to build the diversity represented, both in our individual classroom libraries as well as in Ann’s Library (the main school library) and will continue to do so to ensure a wide variety of cultures, family structures, and abilities are represented.

(a few recent literature acquisitions)

Celebrating Dia de los Muertos | Friday, November 2
At WHPS, we strive to educate our students about the beauty in the diversity around us. This year we will be holding a Dia de los Muertos celebration and constructing a WHPS Community Ofrenda. We invite all families to bring in pictures of loved ones to place in the library, beginning Monday, October 29 (please clearly label your photographs with your child’s name and room number so they can be returned to you). The elementary students will be learning about this cultural celebration and developing special projects in: Art, Music, Spanish, Technology, and even Barnyard will participate in their own special way.

We hope you will join us on Friday, November 2 for the culmination of these studies. We will have a special Morning Assembly and a chance for you and your child to visit the WHPS Community Ofrenda afterward. We are launching this new tradition as a way to honor and remember loved ones and to take part in a cultural celebration together.

Feel free to stop in anytime throughout the week to visit the WHPS Community Ofrenda. I am excited to launch this new cultural tradition together.

November Coffee & Conversation: Raising Kind and Empathetic Children

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .


Join us for our November Coffee & Conversation: Raising Kind and Empathetic Children


  • How do you make sure your child is inclusive toward others?
  • When someone is mean to your child, how do you help them?

 A few of the issues we hope to chat about include:

  • Ways to bring in cultural diversity
  • With older children
    • When things that happen outside of school bleed over into school
    • Identifying and confronting bias

We will also be completing a special Kindness and Inclusion Community Art Project in November. This will be YOUR chance to contribute to that project at the Coffee & Conversation.

Monday, November 19 @ 8:30 AM

WHPS Oxnard Campus Library



Jacey Dexter

Elementary Principal

Robin Gee

Collins Preschool Director

Seth Pozzi

Head of School

Dr. Tracy Ewing

Oxnard Preschool Director

WHPS Free Developmental Screening Tool

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

In case you missed it in the September 2018 newsletter: Last year, Oxnard Preschool launched a free service for parents, the ASQ®-3 screening tool, which helps identify children’s strengths as well as any areas of concern reaching developmental milestones. We are making ASQ®-3 available to all preschool parents this year. You can pick one up in the preschool office and fill it out. Our preschool directors are trained in the ASQ®-3, and they will be pleased to go over your child’s results with you.

Coffee & Conversation

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

Join us for Coffee & Conversation!
The school you choose for your child is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly.  Most of us spend hours, days, and weeks...months researching the right preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school; the best pediatrician or orthodontist. We take the time to care about significant elements in our children's life. After all that research, you have chosen to be part of a truly special community at WHPS, one that is known for unique and strong parent partnerships, deep understanding of child development, and a school where we pride ourselves on responsiveness to our families.

Raising our children is an awesome task, and to do so alone would be overwhelming. With this in mind, we are opening up a new atmosphere for discussion and sharing. Throughout the year, we will be hosting Coffee & Conversation sessions with our admin team. We will gather in the Oxnard campus library to chat about hot topics in the news, tricky parenting issues, and to help build connections among families.

Coffee & Conversation is a chance to come together with other caring, well-intentioned adults and think together about parenting issues that don't always have a simple solution. Coffee & Conversation is open to all families from both of our campuses; even friends, neighbors and family members who don’t currently attend one of our schools.

Some Coffee & Conversation topics will appeal to families with very young children, and others will be more applicable to elementary-age children, though everyone is welcome! Our first Coffee & Conversation (October 12) will be about Online Gaming: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

We have some other great topics in store, but we also want to be sure we are addressing the hottest most relevant topics of interest to our community. If you have a suggestion for topic(s) you’d like us to discuss, please let us know! You can fill out this form or simply This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We may not be able to get to everything right away, but we would love to know what’s on your mind.

Recess Revolution

Written by Robin Gee, Collins Preschool Director on .

What a wonderful start we have had this school year! September has been a month for children to adjust to all the new rhythms, rituals, and routines. One important way to help your child start off the day on the right foot is to ensure your child comes to school on time. This allows for some well-needed playtime with their friends before officially making the home-school transition. Also, keep in mind that one of the most important parts of the day is Circle Time. During this time the children are not only exposed to new concepts and discussions, but it helps set the tone for the day. A smooth Circle Time virtually guarantees a smooth day and eases separation anxiety.

As we move into the second full month of school, we are excited to jump into the serious business of play and learning. In preschool, learning is happening constantly! Some of the most significant learning that is hard to replicate outside of a preschool classroom occurs in: Circle Time, Learning Centers and through play.

At our September Parent Speaker event, Recess Revolution, we were reminded just how much children actually learn through play. Robots are taking over menial tasks and jobs, but there are some things robots simply can’t do. These non-robot skills and abilities are precisely what our children need to be good at in order to eventually be successful in the modern workforce: Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking. If we could add one more “C” to that list it would be Conflict Resolution. And, all of these skills are perhaps best learned through play.

Creativity is a skill or ability, the importance of which is often underestimated. If we want our children to think like entrepreneurs, we can’t always prescribe the rules of play or schedule them to the hilt with organized activities. Children’s brains go through a process of synaptic pruning from infancy until about age 20. Kristin Shepherd from Recess Revolution conjectured that perhaps we cause this process of pruning to go too far, as illustrated by the image of the stick. Think about the stick from the perspective of a child who hasn't yet had the creativity pruned away. Do we want robot thinkers or Steve Jobs thinkers? Without a doubt, organized activities like soccer and tee-ball have their own benefits. But, it is unstructured play that activates and develops creativity.

Another concern raised by Shepherd is that we may be overly insulating children from conflict. For many of us, conflict feels uncomfortable. We may be tempted to step in to resolve an issue between children because we want to avoid unfairness or hurt feelings. But, the subtle message this can convey is that children aren’t capable of resolving conflict without the help of an authority figure. Our children will eventually need to function in a society that is pretty polarized, and what a gift is would be if we could send them out into the world with the ability and confidence to creatively and amicably resolve conflict. 

(some photos from the Recess Revolution parent speaker and playdate)

-One parent exclaimed, “This is great, they are conflicting!

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