WHPS Newsletter


Elementary Group Tours

Elementary admissions season is under way:
Early Application Deadline is December 7. 

Next-round of applications due January 4 
(to be considered before applicants from other preschools).


Be sure to attend a Group Tour!
Winter Show

A-PAEC: 28545 W Driver Ave., Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Oxnard Campus

  • 10:30 AM-12 PM: Preschool and Pre-K: Rooms 3-7, 9, 12
  • 1:30-3 PM: Pre-K and Elementary: Rooms 8, 10, 14-19 *

Collins Campus

  • 4:30-6 PM: Preschool and Pre-K: Rooms 2, 4-10
TICKETS * The 1:30 show is sold out. Please let the school office know if you would like to be added to the waitlist, should any additional tickets become available.
Elementary Winter Camp

Available During Elementary
Winter Break

December 17 –
28, 2018
7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Open to Students in TK-5th Grade
Register by December 10


Elementary Thanksgiving Feast
Thank you to Van Ton (Kaylee, rm 17 & Victoria, rm 19) for staying up all night to prepare the smoked turkeys for the entire elementary school to enjoy!

Thank you to Mychael Chang, professional chef, (Chloe, rm 18) for cutting and serving.

Uyeda Family

New kitchenette @ Collins Campus

Kucinski Family
New train table

Collins families
Thank you to everyone who donated to the yard sale

Book Donations
Emma Feinstein
Asher Levenbrown
Calvin Koegler

Special Edition | Seth Pozzi -  Head of School

A Unique Skillset & Mindset

Over the past few years, we have been talking a lot about all these “21st century jobs that haven’t been invented yet.” The Labor Department as well as many employers now predict as many as 85% of the jobs today’s preschool and elementary students will eventually hold have not yet been invented. Any school worth their salt can recite (or probably has somewhere on their website) the 4 Cs, which have been identified as the most critical skills for our children’s future success: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking. If you are a parent (or teacher) in our school, no doubt you can rattle off the list of skills, but have you stopped to think about these yet-uninvented jobs? What will they look like? How are they so different from the jobs we already have?  It turns out there are some clues about this in the news and current events. Some of these jobs are starting to be…well…invented.

Two of the most significant emerging fields that are already looking for the next thinkers, inventors and entrepreneurs are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Genetics. These are precisely the kind of jobs that require the aforementioned 21st century skills. Look at these stories from the past month’s news.
  • Cars making life or death decisions! This is no longer about Alexa playing your favorite game or Amazon predicting what you will buy before you even click on it (which is admittedly pretty cool). Self-driving cars are coming! They have the potential to save many lives, but they also conjure life-or-death questions: Hit the pedestrian or veer off the road and potentially harm the occupants? Do you want your car making that decision for you and your children? Engineers think of this as a real-life example of The Trolley Problem, which ultimately challenges us to examine all the ramifications of each option and think outside the box when making an important decision. In these cases, there is no textbook to consult. Furthermore, different philosophical beliefs might lead you to a different conclusion. Might self-driving cars in a different country be designed to act differently than in California?    
  • Are there really going to be designer babies? Researchers in China claim to have used CRISPR/Cas9 to produce genetically altered twins, and it’s causing quite a stir in the scientific community. In this case, the intentions are good: Give these children greater resistance to HIV. Even so, many ethics questions are being raised. As one researcher explained: “Some families need the technology to have healthy children…enhancing intelligence or changing hair or eye color are not things loving parents do and should be banned.”  

At the most basic level, sure, experts need to understand their field. The AI expert needs her knowledge of Coding, Programming and Robotics. The scientist or doctor needs a strong foundation in Genetics. Core knowledge matters, and in our program we believe knowledge of genetics, robotics and coding is non-negotiable. This is one of the reasons we have expanded to Robotics-for-all, instead of Robotics as an after-school option. Similarly, we strive to leverage the Animal & Nature Studies program to give our kids a basis in Genetics that we believe might someday inspire them to become a doctor, researcher or vet. But, what kind of people do we really want to entrust with these weighty societal decisions?

There are a lot of smart people in the world, but smart ≠ ethical. If decisions about AI or gene editing are going to be made, the people I would entrust with these decisions are ones who can think critically and creatively (outside the box). They don’t just shrug their shoulders and accept that life is full of binary choices. In our school, we focus a lot on the 7 Habits of Happy Kids; we call this Habit 4: Think Win-Win. We try to teach children to look at problems through multiple lenses for a third solution. I know this might sound quite simple in school when it’s about sharing toys or solving conflict between kids. But in fact, it leads to much more sophisticated thinking as children get older. In the two examples above, you can also see how the 21st century skills of Communication and Collaboration are vital. Imagine if we had a 1-person team programming our AI or tampering with our genes. This is, again, why we are avid believers in group work and Accountable Talk, which are critical components of our school.

WHPS is certainly not the only school to use Responsive Classroom, Columbia's Balanced Literacy Model, Inquiry-Based Learning, Emergent Curriculum, The Leader in Me, or to have a strong STEAM program that emphasizes Robotics and Genetics (though we are one of very few schools with our own barnyard). But, when you merge these carefully selected programs into one school, they work in concert to offer children something I would argue very few other schools can: A unique skillset and mindset to carry through life.

Other schools are starting to take notice of our unique combination of social-emotional and academic curriculum, and several schools have inquired if WHPS can offer professional development for their staff. This January, we are hosting our first international delegation of teachers and administrators from Kang Chiao Schools in Taiwan and China. Kang Chiao is a well-established school that serves over 12,000 children in preschool-12th grade. Even though we are nowhere near the size of Kang Chiao, they are coming to Los Angeles to observe our program and learn from our teachers. Their visit will be focused on:

  • Columbia's Balanced Literacy Model
  • Technology Integration
  • Character Education/SEL
  • Project-Based & Inquiry-Based Learning
Preschool News
Collins Campus
Robin & Ms. Ailin
Oxnard Campus
Dr. Tracy  Ewing & Ms. Christine
Raising Grateful Children
Modeling for children words such as “please” and “thank you” is a good way to teach manners but is it a way to instill gratitude? In her NAEYC article, Raising a Thankful Child, Julie A. Riess explains the difference between teaching children to be polite and helping children to be grateful.

According to Riess, “The problem in learning scripts for manners for a child too young or separated from meaning is that children satisfy the social grace without experiencing the emotional response or acting upon their own intent.” At WHPS we want children to develop empathy for others and one way to do so is by modeling for them to be thankful for their friends, their teachers, and their parents.

UK College of Arts & Sciences psychology Professor Nathan DeWall conducted five studies on gratitude. He states that, “Grateful people aren't just kinder people, they are also less aggressive.”  DeWall also expressed that those with gratitude were motivated to be sensitive towards others, have concern for others well-being and gratitude stimulates prosocial behavior.

At WHPS, teachers, administration and all staff work to show children true appreciation for the hard work they put into their art work, their block buildings, or even the tissue they grabbed for a friend who got hurt. We narrate and express our own emotions when we are feeling happy, upset, or frustrated. Children who are able to express their emotions are more open to the feeling of gratitude.

What are some Ways to Teach Children to be Grateful?

Book Recommendations
Here are some books that can lead to a wonderful discussions about being thankful/grateful: Giving Thanks with Max, The Giving Tree, Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, The Thankful Book, and An Awesome Book of Thanks!

Gratefulness Activities to Try at Home
  • Gratitude Jar - Keep a gratitude jar somewhere accessible. Each day, ask everyone (including yourself!) to write down one thing they’re thankful for and put it in the jar. You can utilize these to reflect during particularly difficult days/moments.
  • Thankfulness Tree - Similarly, you can build a thankfulness tree together. Cut out leaves, have the kids write what they’re grateful for on the leaves, and hang them on a branch.
  • Gratitude Walk - Take a gratitude walk together. Go on an evening stroll and look for things to be grateful for, like the beautiful leaves, the smell of rain, cars to drive and the friendly neighbors.
  • Letters - Have the kids write letters of gratitude to people they do not know personally, such as police officers, military personnel, the fire department, school administrators, bank tellers and hospital employees. When possible, hand deliver the letters with a special treat, or mail them.
  • Thank You Cards - Another great option is to write thank you cards to people you do know. You can write a thank-you letter to mom or dad, to grandma or grandpa for birthday gifts, to a special teacher or pediatrician. Even your mailman or garbage truck drivers deserve appreciation!
  • Gratitude by Numbers - Similarly, roll a die or pick a number between 1 and 10, and have kids name that many things they love.
  • Family Gratitude Book - Each family member should add photos, notes, drawings and mementos of anything they feel strongly about. It’s a good idea to keep it visible and add to it regularly, such as once a month at a family meeting or on birthdays and special holidays.
  • Volunteer - Get the kids involved in the community. Gather food for a food bank or serve meals at a homeless shelter. Research organizations in your area that offer service opportunities. Service to others teaches gratitude in ways that nothing else can.
Elementary News | Jacey Dexter - Elementary Principal
In our most recent Coffee & Conversation, we discussed some ways to raise kind kids and how to help our children grow into adults who will strive to make the world a better place. One of the main topics discussed was Inclusion. Often, the concept of inclusion/inclusivity is oversimplified to to mean including students with special needs or learning abilities outside the normative range in a classroom. However, our school's concept of inclusivity is really about valuing each individual’s personal beliefs, values, and cultural identity. To be inclusive means that you believe everyone has value and significance, even if they are very different from you. One of the greatest drivers of children’s academic success is the extent to which they feel a sense of belonging and significance as a member of the school community, and here at WHPS we strive to help our students feel this way each and every day.

To foster inclusivity in your child, one of the first big steps is exposure. So often parents aim to shelter their child from the overwhelming world around them. For example, when you see a homeless person on the corner asking for help, what would you do? I would encourage you to have a conversation with your child about that person versus simply telling your child not to look at them. If you see someone who looks different and your child has questions, answer them! A good rule of thumb is if your child is asking you about something, they’re already thinking about it, and you should answer their questions open and honestly in an age appropriate manner. Not doing so can indirectly send the message that something is “bad,” “taboo,” or “not to be talked about.”  Fostering this communication early will lead to your children growing into teenagers who communicate more openly with you.

This December, we will be working on a collaborative art project to honor the wide variety of cultures and differences in our school community. This inclusive project will be put on display as a #Selfie Station for all to share. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon!
"Our Barnyard" News | WHPS Science & Nature Center
Hi Barnyard Friends!

It’s been a wild ride this last month. With so much going on around us, some friends have asked if all our barnyard animals are okay. I am pleased to report that everyone is doing great! Air quality can definitely impact animals, especially our birds, but everyone has come through smiling. In fact, I have extra good news. Just over a month ago three parakeet chicks were hatched in our aviary. Ms. Tanja and I have been keeping watch over them, but not nearly as closely as their mom. I’m happy to say they also made it through and are now coming out of their nest to see the world for the first time. They will soon be named by our two Preschool Directors and our very own Elementary Principal. 

With December comes the real cold of the year. Have you ever wondered how animals in the wild deal with all this cold? Not all of them can hibernate you know! Our preschool classes will be learning all about this, so make sure you ask your child to explain. We will start by looking at/discussing examples within the barnyard, such as the sheep and rabbits, and then moving on to more wild friends.

Elementary has had some extra special fun in the barnyard for the past month. Lots of games with the animals, time running around with them in the barnyard, and games in our classrooms. Now is the time to get back into building our knowledge. Kindergarten, first, and fourth grade will learn all about the major animal groups, such as mammals, reptiles, birds and marine animals. Second and fifth grade have been studying different aspects of genetics. We will now investigate how genetics are used by the many different mechanisms of evolution, such as adaptation and artificial selection. Finally, third grade will continue studying animal husbandry. While there are many good lessons, in my opinion, this unit of study includes the topic students usually find the most fun; the lesson on poop! Yes, I predict we will have a lot of aspiring scatologists in our midst.

-Mr. Matthew & Mrs. Tanja

We're on Instagram @whpschool!

December Events - 2018
Check out our Google Calendar for all upcoming events!
December Collins Oxnard
1 PAG Yard Sale 7am-2pm  
1-14 Haven Hills Toy Drive  
2-10 Hanukkah
3-7   PAWS Holiday Gift Shop
3-13   PAWS Holiday Toy Drive
4 Elementary Small Group Tour @ 10am
5   PAWS Meeting @ 6:30pm
7 School CLOSES @ 5pm - Winter Show Prep
Elementary Early Application Deadline
PAG Restaurant night @ Chuck E. Cheese 3-9pm
7   Elementary Spirit Day - Ugly Sweaters!
8 Winter Show @ A-PAEC
10   Elementary Winter Camp Registration Due
11 Elementary Small Group Tour @ 10am
13 Room 7 & 10 Science & Nature Center Visits LAPD/LAFD Visit - Toy Drive Pick Up
14   2 YO Winter Show @ 10:30am
15 PAG - Parents Day Shopping - Babysitting 3-7pm  
16 First Day of Winter
17-28   Elementary Winter Camp
17-Jan.1   Elementary Winter Break
18 PAG Event - Bubblemania  
19 Farmers Market - Hosted by Room 2  
24-25 School CLOSED - Christmas Holiday
31-Jan.1 School CLOSED - New Years Holiday
Jan. 2 Classes Resume
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22322 Collins Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367   •   22555 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

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