Registration & Tour Information

Valley Parent is closed for the summer as we remodel our outdoor classroom!  We do have limited openings for our fall classes and are currently accepting registration for the 2014-2015 school year.

In order to reserve a spot, families must first tour the school and then submit an enrollment form and check for the registration fee and first months tuition.

You may sign up for a tour by clicking on the link above.  We also invite you to explore our website and visit our Facebook page to see if VPP might be a good fit for your family.

If you have additional questions, please contact our Membership Assistant at tours [at] valleyparent [dot] org.  Emails will typically be returned Monday-Friday within 24 hours.

The Power of Play

w-quilt1This was such a great reminder of the importance of long periods of uninterrupted play time.

The first child spent time arranging the pipe in the perfect position to accomplish his goal…to get water to flow down into the sandbox so it would form a puddle at the bottom. Slowly and carefully he used the hose to fill his bucket over and over. Next he tested if the water would flow down if leaves were in the pipe, and then if sand was there too.

A bit later he discovered a large pipe filled with sand was in his way. He tried to move it but found it was too heavy, so he went to find his friends (the firefighters!) to help. Once they got the pipe where they wanted it, they worked together on how the three of them could use the area together, despite having three different ideas at first.

All in all, this process took over an hour and the children were actively engaged in their play the entire time.  Ninety minutes of free exploration time can seem like a loooong time to adults, but this time is vitally important for the children.

These children experienced hands-on science & math, worked on their fine & large motor skills, practiced their balance & coordination, made predictions and tested their ideas, experienced being a leader & a helper, and had sensory experiences with soft sand, cold water, crunchy leaves, and squishy mud.  They experienced cause & effect, developed their attention span, practiced problem solving, and worked on the very important life skills of negotiation and conflict resolution.

All of this learning was possible because they had a long period of time to play!

Favorite Summer Sanity Savers

25 tried and true activities for when kids say “I’m Bored”

  1. Give them an empty shoe or tissue box to turn into a treasure box.  Have them hide it someplace in the house and make a map showing how to find it.
  2. Ask them to count how many steps it takes to get from their bedroom to each of the other rooms in the house. Count how many windows are in the house, how many stairs, how many things that are red (long sleeved, short sleeved, striped etc) are hanging in their closet.
  3. Tape paper to the underside of your kitchen table and let them lay on their back to color a picture.
  4. Put them in charge of sorting the laundry into darks & lights or matching up the socks.
  5. Give them a roll of masking tape…the possibilities are endless! (My son’s personal favorite is making spider webs all over the living room.)
  6. Give them a wash cloth and spray bottle with a teeny tiny amount of shampoo in it.  When they are playing in the bath ask them to wash the bath toys for you.
  7. Fill a bowl with various small items: cotton balls, dry pasta, beads etc.  Have your child use tweezers or tongs to sort the items.
  8. Fill a bucket with water and put in various items that will float.  Let your child use a soup ladle to fish out the items and sort them.  Or, let them select some items and predict what they think will sink and what will float. Then let them test their predictions. This can be done in the bathtub as well.
  9. Have your child go on a magnetic scavenger hunt.  Give them a strong magnet from the fridge and ask them to see how many other things they can find in the house that are magnetic.  You can give them a notebook to record their findings with words or drawings.
  10. Give them large pieces of paper and ask them to make place mats for each family member to eat off of that day.
  11. Tape a paper target to the wall and let them practice throwing a soft ball (or a pair of balled up socks) at the target.
  12. Put a few cups of ice cubes on a cookie sheet and give your child a small cup of water, an eye dropper and a few pinches of salt.  Ask them to melt the ice.  Or freeze some plastic animals into an ice block and ask your child to rescue the animal.
  13. Drape a big blanket over your kitchen table and give your child a flash light. (My personal favorite are the flashlights with cranks. The kids like them and I’m not spending a small fortune on batteries!)
  14. Give your child some old magazines and ask them to cut out any pictures that they like.  Older kids can make a collage or card to give to a friend.
  15. Give your child a pillow case and show them how to have a potato sack race.
  16. Let your child take their play race cars in to the bath and play car wash.
  17. Use masking tape to make an indoor hop scotch game.
  18. Give your child a mirror and face paint…make sure your camera is handy!
  19. Give your child tin foil or wax paper to color on instead of paper. If you’re able to supervise, you can put the tin foil on a warming plate or griddle turned to low and color on it with crayons.  Talk about the wax crayons melting and how it feels different than drawing on paper.
  20. Ask them how many circles they can find in your house, how many triangles, squares, rectangles etc.
  21. Let them know what is being served for dinner and ask them to make menus.
  22. On a sunny day give your child a bucket of water and a paint brush and let them    ‘paint” outside and watch the water evaporate as it dries.
  23. Have your child draw a picture or write a letter to a family member or friend.  Hopefully they will write back and your child will have a new pen pall.
  24. When unloading the dishwasher, let your child sort and put away the silverware.
  25. Lay out a blanket and let your child have a teddy bear picnic in your living room or back yard.

Pumpkin Pie Cups

Here is the recipe for the yummy pumpkin pie cups the TThF kids made today!

Pumpkin Pie Cups


  • 2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 16oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 1/2t. pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 2 cups of unsweetened whip cream
  • Graham crackers


  • Smash up a large graham cracker and place at the bottom of a cup
  • Mix pudding and milk until just blended
  • Stir in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and whip cream
  • Scoop pumpkin mix on top of crust
  • Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Favorite Discipline at School

We’re often asked how we handle discipline in the classroom. This article, written by our preschool teacher Leslie Szumowski, shares our philosophy on discipline and gives excellent tips on teaching children conflict resolution skills.

Our priority is to provide a safe nurturing environment. Conflicts will arise when children interact in a classroom setting.

These conflicts are important teachable moments for all the children, even those who are not involved in the conflict.

Discipline is about helping children learn appropriate behavior. Our focus at school is teaching appropriate behavior.

Punishment is used to “make children pay for what they did; it is designed to shame and make a child feel guilty. We do not punish at school.

Redirection: Giving the Child an Alternative

Redirect and give the child an alternative.  Telling them what you want them TO DO, instead of what NOT to do, helps them be successful.

If a child is drawing in a book, gently take away the book and give them a piece of paper. Say, “Books are for reading; paper is for drawing.”

If a child is throwing blocks, help them move away from the blocks and find a ball.  Say, ”Blocks are for building–you can throw a ball.”

If a child is running inside, try saying, “Please walk inside,” instead of, “Don’t run.”

Conflict Resolution for Preschoolers

Our goal is to teach children to handle their own conflicts, refine communication skills and promote empathy for others.

1. Stay calm.  Get down onto the children’s level and make sure you have their full attention.

2. Let them know you understand their feelings.  Describe what you see: “I see Tommy is crying.” Or, “You both look upset.”

3. Find out information.  Ask “what” (not “why”) questions to find out what happened to make them upset. All you have to say is, “What happened?”

4. Repeat what you have found out.  Use clear statements to retell what you heard them say: ”You are saying you both want this toy?”

5. Ask for ideas to solve the problem.  Have the children offer ideas and solutions to the problem. “What can we do to make you both happy?” A very common conflict occurs when a child takes a toy from another child. You can suggest to the child who took the toy that they ask the other child if they can have it when they are done.

6. Acknowledge that they solved their problem.  “Thanks for working together and finding a solution!”

Do not get caught up in what you think is fair, who had it first or who is right–if the problem is solved and each are satisfied, that’s great! Your child will not be too passive in life because she let someone have a toy first, but she maybe more flexible and easy going!

By Leslie Szumowski

What is play based learning?

Welcome to a new year at Valley Parent.  I’d like to share this wonderful introduction to play based learning from our MWF Pre-K teacher, Tess Bramer.  Tess will be sharing more on play based learning at our first general meeting on September 26th. 

Our play based curriculum helps foster a love of learning and gives children the ability to learn through their own curiosity, exploration, experimentation and discovery.  Play is much deeper than it may seem – and it is critical to children’s development. 

Through their play, children are learning to think, problem solve and create – skills that will benefit them for a lifetime of learning.  Through group play, they are also learning how to be social and how to navigate through different social situations. 

Through trial and error (and appropriate teacher interactions) they will learn how to join a group in play, how to treat and keep friends, and how to take care of themselves if someone is not treating them nicely or fairly. If you watch carefully, you will see them working on personal challenges, social issues or family roles through their dramatic play – quite amazing!