Dozens of Walden School families brought their favorite board games to the Toby Hayward Community Room last night. Walden School Parent Guild hosts this annual event to encourage community building and provide a cooperative and collaborative environment for families to socialize together.

 

Parent volunteers Mark Krause and Cristin O’Callahan organized dinner for all participants. In addition to the main board game room, there was a Bingo Room and a quiet room for more reflective activities like reading together.

 

“Not everything that counts can be counted.
And not everything that can be counted, counts.”
– Albert Einstein

 

At Walden School, all parents are members of the Parent Guild. Walden Director Matt Allio thanked the Parent Guild for creating Family Game Night by noting that the school community thrives because of the extraordinary support of the parents. “We would be less of a school without the volunteer efforts of our parents,” Allio said. He went on to say that the all-school events provided by the Parent Guild, like Family Game Night, contribute to the strong sense of community at Walden.

Walden School Book Fair

December 11, 2015

Once Upon A Time, the nation’s oldest children’s bookstore, partnered with Walden School for their annual Book Fair. Once Upon A Time is committed to offering quality children’s literature that “spurs imagination, whimsy, and a passion for reading.”

 

Walden believes that everybody has a story, and by sharing our stories we can learn with and from each other. Presenting a diverse range of intelligently curated books, Once Upon A Time gave Walden families the opportunity to purchase books for the whole family.

 

The Book Fair’s activities included an afternoon reading by Walden’s Director Matt Allio, classroom book talks by Once Upon A Time staff, and a visit from author and illustrator James Burkes during Family Night.

 

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten/First Grade classes purchased books to share with their reading pals at New Heights Charter School in Los Angeles.

 

A portion of the sales was generously donated back to Walden by Once Upon A Time.

Walden School parent volunteers made over Walden’s campus into a “Twisted Fairytales” Halloween Carnival with game booths, a dance party, and a Haunted House. This annual event is attended by current and alumni families, with lots of food and activities for costumed revelers of all ages.

Pre-Kindergarten students hung out in the Chill Yard where storytelling and music were not quite as scary. Older students were treated to volunteer actors in the Scary Haunted House and a costume parade finished the night’s activities.

Walden wishes to especially thank Halloween Carnival Chairperson Peter Aperlo and the dozens of parent volunteers who made this fall’s carnival a success.

At Walden School, we believe in building intentional communities in our classrooms. We experience the power of collective wisdom when teachers and parents work together to support our students. At each of Walden’s three Back-to-School Nights, teachers presented an overview of expectations for the upcoming school year, shared some curriculum highlights, and answered parents’ questions.

At each Back-to-School Night, Director Matt Allio welcomed parents in the Toby Hayward Community Room, before parents visited classrooms. Read Matt’s Director’s Note published earlier this week to learn more about his address on finding our way.

Matt often talks about creating safe and predictable environments for Walden students, in order that the children may thrive. Part of that predictability comes from parents understanding the routines and rhythms of their child’s classroom. Back-to-School Night is one way for Walden teachers to share with parents what goes on in the life of a Walden student each day.

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FOOD – Fuel for School

September 25, 2015

Hot LunchAs educators, we believe there is a strong relationship between nutrition and learning. Our nutrition lessons emphasize the connection between the variety of foods needed each day to provide essential nutrients and how these foods affect the human body in its ability to process information, exercise, and perform daily tasks.

We can help children to learn about nutrition at Walden, but we need parents’ help. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and students who skip breakfast or who grab a sugary food like a doughnut are often tired and easily distracted by mid-morning.

We have four food policies at Walden that are enforced for the health and welfare of the children. The following items may not be eaten at or brought to School:

  1. Chewing gum – absolutely no gum is allowed at school before, during, or after school hours. It distracts many children from paying attention in class, and it gets stuck on shoes, carpets, chairs, and tables.
  2. Sodas, candy, sweet drinks, sugary foods – should these items be in your child’s lunch, we will ask that it be returned to his/her lunch box and eaten at or on the way home.
  3. Canned fruits or puddings – they can be hard to open, often have sharp edges, and leave a mess if they’re not eaten entirely.
  4. Frozen meals, “Cup of noodles” and similar foods requiring hot water or microwave access.

Additionally, while we cannot guarantee a school environment that is 100% free of peanuts, tree nuts, or other allergens, Walden School believes that partnering with the community and defining the responsibilities of the School and those of the parents and students will foster the safest environment for all students.

Given the presence of nut allergies at Walden School in our student body, peanuts, tree nuts, and any foods or other products containing peanuts and tree nuts are prohibited from all classrooms and class events that are off-campus, including field trips. If a staff member identifies a snack, treat, concession, or lunch brought into this area that does not follow these Guidelines, the child will be asked not to consume it, and it will be removed from the area. The parent/guardian will be requested to provide a replacement when appropriate.

Please refer to the online Family Handbook for more details on these Guidelines.

Nut-Free Zone

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Each spring, members of the Walden School community gather in the North Yard for an evening picnic with Walden storytellers and poets, before heading to the classrooms to celebrate student writing with publishing parties at the annual FEAST on Writing.

FEAST (Families Eating And Storytelling Together) highlights the value of sharing stories through the lens of diversity. The event began almost two decades ago and continues to honor the story that exists in every child, using story as a bridge to understanding and awareness.

WE Co-Chairs Linda Bortell and Olivia Brown welcome people to FEAST 2015

WE Co-Chairs Linda Bortell and Olivia Brown welcome people to FEAST 2015

Walden School’s Board of Trustees Walden Equity (WE) Committee is pleased to publish an annual anthology of stories from Walden School student writers around the theme of diversity. The anthologies contain student stories from the FEAST on Writing event each year as well as stories selected by the faculty.

This year, families were treated to stories from Storyteller-in-Residence Stephanie Townes, Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian, and poems from 4/5 Teacher Tiffanie Hoang.

Storyteller-in-Residence Stephanie Townes tells a two-minute story about her friend, a worm!

Storyteller-in-Residence Stephanie Townes tells a two-minute story about her friend, a worm!

 

Poet Tiffanie Hoang (4/5 Language Arts assistant teacher) shares some of her poems.

Poet Tiffanie Hoang (4/5 Language Arts assistant teacher) shares some of her poems.

Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian tells a story about the day he got into trouble - twice!

Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian tells a story about the day he got into trouble – twice!

What is the legacy that grandparents leave for their grandchildren? The best legacy may be the love and time spent together, creating memories and sharing stories. At Walden School, Director Matt Allio welcomed over 200 grandparents and “grand friends” to campus on April 2, saying, “Your presence today, and throughout the lives of the students, amplifies the importance of our educational process.”

Students hosted their grandparents in classrooms and reprised their recent Spring Sing concert in the Toby Hayward Community Room to the delight of their special guests.

Grandparent Marguerite Lathan says, “We cannot wait to see our grandchildren’s classes, meet their teachers, meet their new and old friends, see their class works and performances!” Maja Dubois came all the way from Greenwich, CT to see her twin nieces. Grandparent Olivia Brown, who is also a Trustee at Walden, adds, “This is our favorite day of the year!”

Ron and Karen Dean look forward to this annual event. “It’s fun to visit with other grandparents and grand friends from all over the U.S. and other countries. The volunteers do an amazing job!”

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More than 500 people crowded into Lanterman Auditorium for Walden School’s annual Spring Sing. This year, the show’s theme “Everybody has an LA Story” highlighted Walden students from all grades Pre-Kindergarten through 6th Grade.

Pre-K students opened the show with their rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Los Angeles Blues.” Kindergarten/First Grade classes explored the history of Los Angeles starting with the traditional song “De Colores” sung on Olvera Street followed by a contemporary tribute to the LA Dodgers. A third K/1 class highlighted their favorite animals at the LA Zoo with Leslie Bricusse’s song “If I Could Talk To The Animals.”

2/3 students performed original choreography set to student ORFF compositions. Drawing inspiration from the conundrum of water usage in LA, the contributions of local industries like JPL and NASA, and public transportation in LA, these students captivated the audience with their interpretive dance and music compositions.

The students in 4/5 classes paid tribute to LA musicians Compay Segundo, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, and composer Danny Elfman. The sixth graders closed the show with their salute to Hollywood.

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Big Help

March 21, 2015

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Walden School Director Matt Allio defines “altruism” as a feeling or behavior that shows a desire to help other people. “Big Help is both a symbolic and practical way to demonstrate altruism,” says Allio.  Starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Toby Hayward Community Room on a recent Saturday, Walden students and their families came together to: collect books, toiletries, and food for a local homeless shelter; make Get-Well cards for children in the hospital; fashion fleece blankets for preemies; decorate and plant pots with flowers for elderly shut-ins; create cat toys and send to local cat rescue shelter; and deliver flowers to our neighbors while picking up litter in the local streets and alleys around school.

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This annual event sponsors a variety of service projects in which all Walden families can participate. It’s not an all-day event, just some time in the morning for families to come together in support of others. Thank you to Walden School Parent Guild for organizing this day of service as a reminder that we all have responsibility for the world in which we live.

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Do you ever sit under a tree just listening to the sounds of nature around you? For how long? A few minutes? An hour? A whole afternoon?

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In 2005, author Richard Louv in his book “Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” hypothesized negative consequences to people and to society as we spend less time outdoors in the natural world. In 2007, the Society for Conservation Biology published research that draws a connection between children’s increasing consumption of electronic media and declining visits to National Parks.

Without romanticizing history, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “free and unstructured play is healthy and – in fact – essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.”

Spring in the Northern Hemisphere is recognized as a time of re-birth and new beginnings in many cultures. From Pesach and Easter to Nowruz and Higan, images in nature represent these holidays connected to the spring equinox.

Submit your photos of time in nature with your family on our FB page or write to us in the comments below!

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
-Henry David Thoreau

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