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Special Edition  |  Elementary  |  Preschool  |  Barnyard  |  Upcoming Events

 
Elementary School (TK-5th Grade) was August 25-26
Information also shared through classroom Facebook Pages
Collins Preschool September 1 @ 6:00-8:00pm (Zoom Links)
6:00pm Rooms 1-4 & 6                                                                       
7:00pm Rooms 5 & 7-10

Oxnard Preschool September 2 @ 6:00-8:00pm (Zoom Links)
6:00pm Rooms 1-4 & 11                                                                  
7:00pm Rooms 5-7, 10 & 12
 
Open through September 9
 
 

Special Edition | Seth Pozzi -  Head of School

A Shared Sense of Purpose
 
For those of you who have known me for a while, this may not come as a surprise. When something special, heart-warming, or profound happens, you might see my eyes start to well up. This has occurred during publishing celebrations when a student said something really touching or more recently when a parent shared some great news about their health. The waterworks can be outside of my control.

This year, I was surprised to find myself tearing up at Back to School Night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty passionate about Readers Workshop and Singapore Math. But, the icebreaker was what got to me. Elementary teachers asked each parent to share a hope or goal for the year. What happened next was an interesting dichotomy of normalness and not-normalness, which left me with that familiar blurry-eyed feeling. You can see in the list below many wonderful and fairly normal hopes and goals were brought up.

  • Learn to read, grow her reading level
  • Not be scared of math 
  • End the year with a love of reading
  • Be a confident writer 
  • Get to explore his interests
  • Figure out if she’s more into science or art or...whatever
  • Gain independence 
  • Spend time with the animals
  • Try new things
  • Learn Spanish
  • Build robots

I was struck by some of the new and deeply personal goals, many of which were influenced by "The Virus Who Must Not Be Named."

  • Several parents who had children home part or all of last year—due to circumstances beyond their control—expressed various sentiments about making friends, social skills, and even their own challenges transitioning back into a group environment.
  • I just want him to go back to being a kid and not have to worry so much.
  • I just want her to learn to not be so hard on herself. Being home last year really exacerbated this.
  • I just hope he gets to go on the overnight trip this year before he graduates. 
  • I hope he has an opportunity to really stretch and grow and put himself out there this year at the Winter Show, Talent Show, etc.
  • I hope maybe our class will never have to quarantine.
  • Normalcy.
  • Community, being able to be together again soon.

Watching the faces of the other parents, the sense of empathy and genuine compassion for each other’s children was palpable; of course that’s when the watery eyes kicked in. It can be really powerful when a group of people come together to share in each other’s hopes and goals. 

All of this reminded me why we start every year the way we do here at school. At the beginning of the year, before we begin establishing rules, we ask kids to share their own hopes and goals. These hopes and goals serve as the springboard for helping children create rules together that can help everyone achieve their goals. 

As we enter this new school year together, I would also like to share with you my hopes and goals for 2021-2022:

  1. Safety - This one probably doesn’t need much explanation.
  2. Community - We grew as a community last year by rallying together so school could stay open and everyone could be safe. At the same time, it was also very hard that we couldn’t physically come together as a community. This year, we are working on reimagining many of the events and programs that make WHPS special. Some of them may look a bit different, as with the upcoming Fall Festival, but we are hoping to get parents/families back on campus as quickly but still safely as possible.
  3. Teaching & Learning - This focus didn’t go away last year, but much of our focus was on modifying our program with pandemic safety in mind. Over the summer and as we go into the new school year, we have wholeheartedly renewed our focus on professional development and continuing to move the needle on many of the unique aspects of our program.
Elementary News | Jacey Dexter - Elementary Principal

The Most Important

Six Weeks of School

Congratulations! Your children have made it through the first two weeks of school. You survived the summer to fall transition, hit your stride getting here before 8am, and have your sights set on making this the best year ever for your student. In the classrooms, our teachers are keenly focused on laying the foundation for the best year yet!

The First Six Weeks of School
At WHPS, we believe the first six weeks of school is a sacred and critical time for building classroom community and putting in place routines that will maximize learning. Teachers and students spend time discussing their hopes and goals and participating in our version of a constitutional convention, developing and agreeing on the rules by which they will be governed. 

These conversations are important because when teachers and students speak publicly about their hopes and goals, a sense of group identity emerges. Morning Meeting (8-8:30am each day) is objectively the most important time of the school day. Morning Meeting helps to ease the transition from home to school as well as helps students develop a strong sense of connection and community. Our students have been busy practicing simple routines, including: how to line up, how to make a request (e.g. bathroom or question), and how to find materials in the classroom, to name a few.  Finally, our teachers spend time helping students get excited about what is to come in the new school year. In the first six weeks, all of our students set PIGs (Personally Important Goals) and WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) and work with the teachers to make a plan on how to reach their goals.

All of this is to say that there is a great deal of intentionality to how we use the first six weeks to set children up for a successful year. I could not be more excited for what I know will be a year of great growth and learning (and as close to normal as possible!)

Preschool News
Collins Campus
Robin & Ailin
Oxnard Campus
Vivien & Christine
The Magic of Rhythm, Ritual & Routine

We want to warmly welcome all of our new and returning preschool families. At the beginning of the year, parents often comment on how they see their child trying new things at school and how quickly they make new friends. Many parents wonder aloud about how the teachers are able to work such magic in the classroom. While there are definitely some tricks that teachers have in their tool belt, what is probably the most important is that we work together to create a positive and memorable preschool experience.

This starts with our teachers working to build a relationship with each child, helping children understand that they are safe, secure, and loved in preschool. Children learn to trust the teacher and begin to feel comfortable with the ebb and flow of the school day. 

During these first weeks of school, our teachers devote time to helping children settle into the rhythm, ritual, and routine of preschool. Children quickly learn the rhythm of the day and before long the rhythm of the week. The children learn what to expect after they are dropped off, during circle time, before snack and more. Knowing what to expect, children are better able to participate and to act independently. Since young children have not yet fully grasped the concept of time, routines help to organize the day for children, creating a clear sequence of events. A child may not understand that Daddy will be back at three o’clock, but they do understand that Daddy will be back after lunch.

Rituals also help to create a peaceful classroom, which in turn allows children to feel calm, competent and ready to learn. Yoga poses before circle time, silly songs before snack, or exercise before lunch become rituals that provide a sense of belonging, security, and identity.

"Creating a consistent, predictable, short and sweet drop off routine is one of the best ways to help children more easily separate in the morning."

We encourage our families to develop your own rhythm, ritual, and routine with your preschooler. Recognize the unique rhythm of your family life and create rituals that your child will always remember. A favorite song every morning on the way to school or a special goodbye wave, for example. Aim to provide your child with predictable morning and evening routines. Creating a consistent, predictable, short and sweet drop off routine is one of the best ways to help children more easily separate in the morning. Most importantly, enjoy this time because it flies by all too fast!

"Our Barnyard" News | WHPS Science & Nature Center

Hello Barnyard Friends!

It’s the start of a new school year, and we hope everyone is just as excited to see the animals as they are to see you. The chicks that were babies at the end of last school year have all grown up into happy adults (they become adults at around 16 weeks), and the ducklings that were born over the summer are now huge and beautiful! One thing you might notice that is different is where Pig Pig lives. He moved into his own "apartment" away from the sheep. He has more mud to play in, and we have never seen him happier! You will have to come see his new enclosure.  

All our classes, preschool and elementary, start the year off learning the rules of Our Barnyard. In our ever changing world, we also change and adapt at WHPS, so even if our students have been here for years there's still something new to learn. We spend a little time getting to know each animal and see what our friends remember for their time here before. Our preschoolers spend the next few weeks learning the difference between the main animal groups we have in Our Barnyard: mammals, reptiles, and birds. In elementary, we will begin the year with an overview of each grade's curriculum. This year's major units of study are:

  • TK, K & 3rd Grade - Animal Husbandry, Training & Care
  • 1st & 4th/5th Grade - Ecology
  • 2nd Grade - Evolution & Genetics

Mrs. Tanja and Mr. Matthew can’t wait to see all our old friends again, and to meet brand new ones.

Follow us on Instagram @whpschool!

Upcoming Events
Check out our Google Calendar for all upcoming events!
Sept. Collins Oxnard
1
School CLOSES at 5pm
Back to School Night
@ 6:00-8:00pm
2  
Preschool CLOSES at 5pm
Back to School Night
@ 6:00-8:00pm
6 Labor Day - SCHOOL CLOSED
10 Parent Partnerships - Coffee & Chat w/Principal Jacey Dexter
@ 2pm on Zoom (open to all families)
13 Bubble Mania - Sponsored by PAG  
14 PAG Meeting (Zoom) @ 6:30-7:30pm  
15 Bubble Mania - Sponsored by PAG  
28-30   Fall School Pictures
Oct.    
3   Shani Barrel - Family Photo Shoot FUN-raiser - by PAWS
6   PAWS Meeting (Zoom) @ 6:30-7:30pm
11 Indigenous Peoples' Day
11   Speech & Language Screening
12 PAG Meeting (Zoom) @ 6:30-7:30pm Speech & Language Screening
17   Shani Barrel - Family Photo Shoot FUN-raiser - by PAWS
21 Speech & Language Screening  
22 Speech & Language Screening  
22   Middle School Info. Session (for 3rd-5th grade families)@ 2:00-3:00pm
23 PAWS Fall Festival
30   Halloween Celebrations 2 & 3 YO Classes (Rm. 1-4 & 11)
31 Halloween Celebrations Halloween Celebrations Pre-K & Elementary School
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22322 Collins Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367   •   22555 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
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