Village School

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Upcoming Events

Last day for Village/CUSD survey

Today, February 18th., is the final day to participate. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to complete the Parent/Caregiver Satisfaction Survey at this link:  Survey Link               Our district is working each day to provide a great place for students to learn, teachers to teach, employees to work, and parents to send their children for an excellent education. We are committed to listening and responding to your experiences as a parent in our district. Our partners at Huron/Studer Education are providing an opportunity for you to provide feedback anonymously, at the link above. Your input is valuable. It will be used to celebrate our successes and to create action plans for improvements.

Today, February 18th., is the final day to participate. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to complete the Parent/Caregiver Satisfaction Survey at this link: Survey Link             
Our district is working each day to provide a great place for students to learn, teachers to teach, employees to work, and parents to send their children for an excellent education.
We are committed to listening and responding to your experiences as a parent in our district. Our partners at Huron/Studer Education are providing an opportunity for you to provide feedback anonymously, at the link above.
Your input is valuable. It will be used to celebrate our successes and to create action plans for improvements.

Camping Trip Reflections

Graduating Family

It’s hard to believe that our family has been attending the Village camping trip for ten years, whether it has been for the full weekend experience or just one day of the weekend each year! In 2008, our daughter was a Kinder Kitty, our son was in preschool and our now 5th grader was only 11 months old! I enjoyed looking around during the six hours my youngest and I were there this month at the KOA, seeing all the new families who are where we were 10 years ago, with little ones in tow! It just made me realize that “way back then” really does not feel that long ago at all! I can appreciate when our whole family was able to travel together on these trips, even with how much work it felt like to get ready for a weekend of camping with three little ones, whereas now there are so many commitments that a middle schooler and high schooler have that there are times we can’t all travel together.

I asked the kids for their memories of the camping trips over the years. Some highlights include 3-day weekends at Thousand Trails campground, campfires, skit night, alum dad Steve Rappa playing guitar and singing with kids singing along and dancing, swimming in the freezing cold, huge pool, friends who “adopted” a feral kitten found at the campground, and hiking the trail above the playground that seemed so scary for parents to watch the kids climb, but kids having a blast!

Then at the KOA campground, being near the beach was a highlight for sure with picnics on the beach and boogie boarding Saturday afternoons, the bouncy pillow, banana bikes, potluck dinners, the independence our kids felt as they got older and played with friends at other campsites, but especially time with other families, making new friends and building on established friendships.

I love that this is an annual tradition, allowing people to connect early in the school year. I love that many teachers come — even when they have been with our kids all week! The camping committee should feel so proud of their hard work to make this community event happen, as well as the effort and energy it takes every family to make it “over the hill” on a Friday to keep this tradition alive!

For our family, remembering our years of Village camping trips is only the beginning of many reflections to come this year, our last year with this awesome Village community.

 

New Family

When we first found out about Village, we knew this could be a great place for our son. Village’s philosophy, school grounds, monthly field trips, and the idea behind centers appealed to us. Parent participation was also a huge plus. Positive Discipline and No Bully training provided to the parents are not really heard of in most schools so it was amazing to have this. Those that spoke during the open house and orientation were so passionate about Village — their openness, smiles and welcoming demeanor made us feel right at home.

During Kinder Roundup, our son immediately felt comfortable meeting both kindergarten teachers and exploring the school grounds. We were excited for him to start kindergarten, play, learn, and make new friends. I was also excited to meet new families and join in on events.

Camping was amazing. If you knew me from Gretchen’s class, I was the one that was all pumped up and so excited for camping — I was packed and ready to go a few days early. The KOA was absolutely perfect for a school camping trip, especially our very first. The choice of lodgings, along with the overall site made it within reach for anyone that may want to join. It was certainly a time to bond with other families and hang out more with those we already knew. Our camp neighbors were so nice to invite us over several times which made it even more wonderful. Families welcomed us and our son. We loved seeing him having such a wonderful time. It was great to see him hanging out with several of his classmates, having so much fun and also seeing the older kids happy to take him places and watch out for him. He felt so comfortable with other families and would just go from place to place with his friends.

Since school started we just love it more and more. I know he’s learning so much in so many ways. Staff, kids and parents are all so warm, friendly and kind. I’ve never seen anything other than smiles and people eager to help others.

Village is such a sweet school — we ask our son every day if he had a good day at school, and it’s always a, “Yes!” We couldn’t ask for a better start to his elementary years.

 

New Family

Our family loves to camp and we were looking forward to the Village Camping Trip. We had been pretty busy so we didn’t spend any time researching the campsite and because we have never camped at a KOA before, we didn’t really know what to expect. When we arrived at Watsonville KOA we were surprised to see all of the kid-friendly amenities. We are tent campers and to be honest I was not impressed with the tent sites because there was not much space on the sites and they are very close to the neighboring sites. However, that quickly didn’t matter because our neighbors were other kindergarten families and we spent most of our time at other campsites, cabins, the playground and the bouncy pillow.

Our daughters loved the freedom to roam with other friends, playing on the playground, bouncy pillow, riding the train and just checking out friends’ cabins/ campsites. Thankfully we followed the tip to bring walkie-talkies. I loved to see the older kids reaching out to my daughters and playing with them. My girls felt loved and special because the older girls included them. This has been an extra bonus to being a part of the Village community.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know other kindergarten parents, especially around the shared meals and campfires. Our experience on the Village Camping Trip only solidified what we have come to know already in our quick time as new Villagers… Village is a community that loves to have fun, looks out for each other, and is welcoming to all. We are so happy to be a part of the Village community and look forward to next year’s camping trip. We were so busy having fun, we only got one picture: a silly camping selfie.

Building a Makerspace

An Interview with 2nd Grade Teacher Elizabeth

Tell us about the new Makerspace! What was your inspiration?

It is a space where the students can go to create things. What they are creating is up to them and their teachers. It might be a time for them to just tinker with materials and come up with something on their own, or it might be a design thinking problem. They may be asked to create something that solves a problem at school, home, or in society at large. Different teachers are doing different things and integrating it into their curriculum in different ways.
 
I have been advocating for a Makerspace in our school. I think all of us have wanted to include this for our students, but it has definitely been a passion for me to get it up and running. Many schools, or rather most, have some type of space on their campus for this purpose.
 

How are art and music working with the new space? What changes will we see this year?
This year Art and the Makerspace will share Room 8. Music will be in the classrooms this year. We now contract with Rhythm and Moves, who also provide our PE curriculum.
 

When I think Makerspace I imagine power tools and hammers and hot glue guns and all sorts of cool stuff… Can you explain what our kids will have access to this year and what you hope to introduce? 
Well, the goal is for them to have access to all sorts of things. The room is a work in progress. I think eventually we will order some new tech tables and stools along with some storage so the students can access the materials they need to build and create. The idea is that they will learn to use these tools and they will be accessible to them during their time in the Makerspace. This will obviously depend on their grade level.
 

Anything else to add?
Makerspaces are popping up all over — not only in schools, but in community centers, libraries, and other places in our communities. They promote creativity and problem solving and provide access to materials to people who otherwise might not have access to these things.
  

Sharing Our Gifts With the Community

We all know we have an amazing group of parents at Village, but did you know we have a textile artist extraordinaire as well as a tiny house crafter? These two moms are sharing their creative gifts with the community this year through centers and their enthusiasm couldn’t be more contagious!

 

Q&A with JC, Village School Parent

Tell us what center you’re leading this year! How does it tie in with your personal passions/creative gifts?
This year I am leading a center called Mini House Design, inspired by the book If I Could Build A House, in which a kid dreams up a super fun, imaginative house and builds it. I thought it would be a fun idea because as an interior designer, I get to create spaces for my clients, and it has been an incredibly rewarding career. For me, work feels like play, and I’d like to offer an experience that may inspire some of these kids to follow their own dreams and perhaps strive toward a career that fills them with joy.

How does it make you feel to share a little bit of your creative world with the children?
I feel honored to share a little of my world with these kids because I know their daily experience at Village is carefully curated and very highly regarded, so to be a part of it is quite special. As an artist and designer I tend to undervalue my skills and profession sometimes, but leading this center has reminded me of the importance of what I do. Not only do I feel honored, but I feel grateful for the opportunity and the reminder that art and creativity are just as important as our other academic pursuits.

Any words of wisdom/advice for budding young designers?
My advice to young designers, and all students for that matter, is to follow your hearts and pay close attention to what fills you with joy. Have confidence in your strengths and don’t underestimate the power of creative thought.

 

Q&A with Erin, Village School Parent

Tell us what center you’re leading this year! How does it tie in with your personal passions/creative gifts?
This year I am leading the Weaving Center. I am really excited about it. I started weaving almost 2 years ago and absolutely love it. For me it is meditative. I love creating with textiles and seeing all of the different things you can create with different fibers and materials.

How does it make you feel to share a little bit of your creative world with the children?
I am very excited for this center! When I wrote the curriculum, I kept it to basic weaving techniques and left the rest of it open ended so the kids can create freely. I cannot wait to see what they come up with!

Any words of wisdom/advice for budding young weavers/textile lovers/knitters, etc.?
My advice is, don’t give up. My first weaving was a mess. The edges were not straight, and I didn’t know how to make fringe or finalize a weaving. I wanted to give up, but my artist friend found beauty in my mess and pushed me to keep going, and I am always grateful he did. Your first weaving or textile creation might not be perfect, but there is beauty in imperfection, and you can always learn from your mistakes.

I love this quote about creativity… “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

Parenting Toolbox – Mission to "Make Time"

By Asami, Parent Education Trainer and Village School Parent

There are nights I am putting my kids to bed when I tell myself, “I’ll just close my eyes for a second…” then I wake up around 2am next to a drooling child, still in my clothes, about 1/3 of my makeup intact. I transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer, making mental to-do lists for the next day as I survey the state of the house on my way to the kitchen to eat a bag of chips or a bowl of cereal over the sink for dinner. Last night it was a delicious bag of Trader Joe’s Nacho chips (need to add that to shopping list).
 

I hear similar stories from fellow parents of having a constant feeling of running to keep up with the volume of responsibilities.
 

In Dr. Jane Nelsen’s books “Positive Discipline For Working Parents” and “Positive Discipline for Today’s Busy (and Overwhelmed) Parent,” there is discussion on the topic of “Honoring Your Needs First”” When trying to keep up with the endless to-do lists, things parents tend to de-prioritize are often the very things that make life enjoyable. Fun activities, relaxing or time for self care can be viewed as luxuries or even as selfish compared to household tasks and supporting the needs of the family.
 

From my own experience, I have a hard time prioritizing exercise. When I exercise, I generally feel happier, more energized and patient. I am prompting the best version of myself. Everyone I am in close proximity with will benefit from this (I can see my husband nodding his head as he proofreads this). In addition, I am modeling to my children the importance of self care and life balancing.
 

When in the moment of feeling swallowed by emails, the lack of clean clothes, an empty refrigerator and running late to getting kids to an activity, finding time to exercise sounds impossible. But who suffers? Everyone. I do not get the immediate benefits, I am not able to be as focused or efficient at work, I have been told my attitude is curt and my children and husband get a non-Positive Discipline version of myself (I am the “before” version from Positive Discipline class role plays). In addition, I may be giving my children the impression that parenting is all work and obligations that require sacrificing doing things you enjoy. If my children choose to have their own families, I want them to spend time with friends, enjoy activities and prioritize their personal needs.
 

I believe my approach needs to change from “finding time” to “making time.” Another motivating tool is a visual aid. A fellow Parent Ed team member discussed taking a selfie of “scary mommy” — the face your child and loved ones see when you are irritated, when your lid is flipped. 
 

I did. Bummer… That lady is not someone who looks like she wants to listen or be kind or who is fun to be around. She looks like she is full of judgement and irritated by my mere existence. This is not even a true representation. I would ask my husband to take a real life example (plenty of opportunities), but he has his own wellbeing to consider.
 

If you have been able to prioritize self care, I salute you. If you are still finding this a challenge, I encourage you to consider joining me on a mission to “make time.”