Teddy Bear Drive

Dear VPP Families,

We are approaching the time of year when we reflect on the joys we share as a family, as well as the joys that come from being a part of a greater school community that values the whole child and service learning.  At VPP we have a very special tradition we hope will prove to be a great way to teach our youngsters the power and joy of giving back to our community.  

VPP has teamed up with Community Bank of the Bay in a wonderful fundraising event that will benefit kids just like ours who are going through difficult times.  We want to stress that participation is voluntary.

What we are asking is for our kids to donate a new teddy bear, 18” or smaller, with the tag on.  We are going to have bins at school to collect the Bears from November 12th to the 19th.  The kids will write their names on tags and place a special ribbon on it.  

All of the Bears are going to be donated to “Project Night Night”, a wonderful Bay-Area-Based Non-Profit that provides a tote bag with a blanket, a book, and a stuffed animal to homeless children across the country.  

Community Bank of the Bay is making it more special by first displaying the Bears at their bank for a couple of weeks for them to be “adopted” by their clients.  All the money raised with the adoption of the bears is going to be donated to “Capes 4 Heroes” which is a Danville-based non-profit run by our very own VPP parent Barbara Casados.  She makes and donates superhero capes for critically and terminally ill children across the country.

Once all of the bears are adopted, Community Bank of the Bay has invited the kids to have milk and cookies at the bank where they will see the bears once again.  This is absolutely voluntary and is going to be after school hours, with more information to come on the date(s) and time(s).  We will also have some press coverage at this event.  

We encourage you to visit www.projectnightnight.org and http://capes4heroes.com/ to see the work they are doing for the kids in our area and across the country.  We want you to be the one to tell your kids how important the bear she/he is donating and how it is going to be special for someone just like them.  

At VPP our priority is the education of the whole child and this could be an experience and an opportunity to empower and help the next generations to be compassionate and active in our communities.



Preschool News!

Dear Parents,

Tuesday we have a fireman coming to speak to our class! We will also be making cornbread muffins for the feast.

Thursday is the feast! Please drop your child off at the regular time and return back to the school at 10:15 for the feast. We will start in the block room with a couple songs and then enjoy the Thanksgiving meal together. Please arrive on time-we start singing right way because it’s hard to keep 3 and 4 year olds waiting. If you can’t make it to the feast ,please e-mail me so Viki or I can make sure to help serve and sit with your child.

 There are still plenty of spots left on the sign up list for the meal-here’s is the sign up list-



If you are looking for something to do today, The Danville Library is celebrating their 100th birthday! I will be working in the holiday boutique from 10-12.

Here’s the info for today-

Birthday Family Story Time
Event Type: Storytime
Age Group(s): Kids (5-11), All Ages
Date: 11/9/2013
Start Time: 11:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM

Danville Library Centennial Event
Saturday, November 9, 11am – 4pm
Enjoy birthday refreshments courtesy of the Friends of the Danville Library and a historical Danville Library Centennial exhibit in partnership with the Museum of the San Ramon Valley along with special events throughout the day for all ages!

• 11am: Birthday Family Story Time
The Danville Library turns 100 and is kicking off the celebrations with a special family story time for readers of all ages with birthday stories, crafts, and treats.
Children’s Reading Room, Danville Library

• 1pm: Alex Ramon Magic
No birthday party is complete without a master of illusion! Alex Ramon, Magician, has mesmerized millions around the world with his magic touring as the star of Disney Live! and Ringling Bros.’ first-ever magician ring-master.
Children’s Reading Room, Danville Library

• 3pm: Richard Bolles, Best-selling Author of What Color is Your Parachute?
Recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of today’s top twenty “Wealth Wizards,” international best-selling author, Richard Bolles, will do a special presentation and signing. Designated by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 All-TIME best non-fiction books, the 14th edition of his book will be released in August.
Valley Oak Room, Danville Community Center

Danville Library Centennial Celebration programs in partnership with the Town of Danville, Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Friends of the Danville Library, Danville Library Endowment, and Danville Library Foundation.

Library: Danville Library

 Have a wonderful weekend!
Leslie Szumowski

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!

This Week in MWF Pre-K!

Good evening, Families!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

This week we will learn a new movement song and a silly Thanksgiving song.   We will talk about Thanksgiving, our bodies (what is under our skin),  and the alphabet.  We will read Wonderful World and another cute book where we find things that begin with “T.”

Tomorrow we will decorate our “Me” people, play Shape Bingo, and play an Alphabet version of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Wednesday we will do a sequencing activity, cut out and glue cotton balls onto clouds as part of the transformation of our library into a “Wonderful World,” trace our bodies, and create a letter “T” poster.

 Friday will be Switcharoo Friday, but since we need to practice our special performance piece (for the upcoming Family Feast Day) and  I would like to be with our class to sing to Zachary for his birthday, I will meet with our group before switching to Sarah for small group science activities.

 -Next Wednesday is our Family Feast Day.  We will be performing a special song for you in the block room at 10:15.  Please arrive on time, as we are very young and won’t be able to sit still and wait.  Remember that parking is an issue, so allow time to walk from  your car! 

 I’m looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow!



Next week in the Preschool Class!

Dear Parents,

I hope you all had a fun Halloween!

Now on to Thanksgiving! This week we will be painting thankful leaves and making a leaf wreath with fall leaves! 

Last week,Viki and I asked the children what they were thankful for. Most said-mommies and daddies, or a special time spent with their mommies and daddies. We will hang the Thankful leaves with the children’s quotes up for the Thanksgiving feast.

We will also learn a few Thanksgiving songs to sing to you at the Thanksgiving feast!

This year the Thanksgiving Feast is early so we can spend it with Sarah before she has her surgery. The Feasts will be November 13th (Wednesday) and November 14th (Thursday) Please mark your calendars! Sign ups for food will be coming soon.

Here’s a great article I love about raising Thankful children.


Raising Thankful Children

Most parents want their children to be happy, yet we shower them with gifts, protect them from the natural consequences of their actions and do all kinds of things that actually make them less happy. If we really want our kids to be happy, we need to instill an attitude of gratitude. But how can we instill gratitude in children who are naturally self-centered and growing up in an entitlement-driven society?

Model Gratitude. Gratitude isn’t just a lesson to be taught to children, but also an ongoing exercise in learning for parents. Instead of clamoring for the newest gadget, work on being grateful for what you have right now. When interacting with your kids, say please and thank you so that good manners are “what we do” not just what we say we do.

Share the Gift of Giving. Experienced parents have learned that the more kids get, the less they appreciate what they have. Receiving gifts can be fun, but make sure your children also recognize the joy of giving. Around the holidays, focus on celebrating, making memories and visiting with friends and family rather than who gets the most presents.

Teach Family Values. Many children grow up believing that life is about acquiring money and material possessions. If your family values hard work, saving money and simple joys, make sure your principles are being communicated regularly.

Start a Family Tradition. Make gratitude a habit; for example, by going around the dinner table saying one thing you’re grateful for or reflecting on the day at bedtime, noting the small things you enjoyed.

Assign Age-Appropriate Tasks. The more children contribute around the house, the more they realize how much effort it takes to keep a household running. Even if it takes twice as long or ends up creating another mess, give your child age-appropriate chores like setting the table or feeding a pet. Not only will they appreciate that these tasks require effort but they will feel the satisfaction of earning what they have and making a valuable contribution to the family.

Serve Others. Service can be part of a child’s life from a young age. Get young kids involved in decorating thank-you notes, baking cookies for a friend or donating belongings to less fortunate children — and point out how good it feels to make someone else’s day brighter.

Practice Mindfulness. Some kids spend much of their day in front of television and computer screens, too often losing sight of the small but enduring pleasures found in nature and in their interactions with other people. Take time to appreciate the sights, smells and sounds around you, and you’ll model mindfulness for your kids.

You’ve probably heard it said that “happiness is a choice.” While it can be difficult to choose happiness in tough times, research suggests that happiness is, in fact, less the result of circumstance and more the product of our own thinking and habits. In other words, you don’t have to wait until you have the perfect life to be happy — you can choose it right now by focusing on what you’re grateful for and encouraging your children to do the same.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Teacher Leslie




This Week in MWF Pre-K!

Hello Families!

 I hope you all enjoyed the sunny, warm weather yesterday and survived the windy, cold weather today!

Tomorrow we will paint our “Thankful Leaves” with watercolors, sort and organize autumn leaves according to different characteristics, and sort and put together our felt skeleton parts on the felt board.  We will read  Skeleton Hiccups and begin to practice a new song with sign language.

Wednesday is our Halloween Parade!  Yippee!!
-Please arrive promptly at 9:00, as the parade will begin at 9:10 am.
-Bring your child already dressed in his/her costume and have them join the large group in the block room while you make your way out to the back yard.  We will parade around the yard twice (bring your cameras!)
-Then please change your child out of his/her costume and take it home, along with all the extra parts.  We don’t want anything getting lost or ruined before the big day!  Don’t forget to bring regular school clothes. ;)

We will then have free choice and snack time and end the last hour of the day with our Halloween Party.  You do not need to come back to the party – it is very low key.  There will be different stations where the children can decorate a cookie, play some games, have their face painted, or do a craft.  Of course, we will sing our Halloween songs, too!

There is no school Friday.  It is a district in service day for teachers, and our teachers will be meeting as well.

Thank you for everything you have done for our school so far this year!  We are having so much fun!

See you all tomorrow!



Halloween Week in the Preschool Class!

Dear Parents,
I hope you are all having a good Pre-Halloween weekend!  
This week at school we are going to make a spider Halloween decoration that you can hang near your door! At circle time, we will go over Halloween safety tips and play a Halloween game.
On Wednesday and Thursday we have our Halloween Party! 
Here is our plan-

9:00 - Children arrive in costume & go to their circle areas. Parents go to the back yard to line the parade route.

9:10 -  Children parade around the yard two times and end in the block room.

9:20 -  Parents help children change out of their costumes and leave (with the costumes!)

9:30 -10:15 -all children outside for free choice. Snack open on back yard table.

10:15 - All children to the block room to explain party activities.

10:20-11:25  Party!

11:30- Parents pick up children.

Please remember no pretend weapons at school and if your child is wearing a mask, make sure they can see clearly out of it.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Teacher Leslie


Next Week in the Preschool Class!

Dear Parents,

We have really fun week planned! We will be making pumpkin pudding pie, carving pumpkins, seeing whats inside the pumpkin, reading a few great Halloween books.(Nothing scary) and talking about our Halloween plans and learning a few safety tips. Please tell me if you do not celebrate halloween at your home.

I have not been doing the mini conferences that I said I would do several weeks ago because I needed to help the children settle into school. I think we are almost all settled in! If you want to talk with me about anything, please reply back and we can set up a time. We have such a great group of children that all seem to get along so well!

 Teacher Leslie

Holiday Family Portrait Mini Sessions

Once again, Valley Parent Preschool is happy to offer families an opportunity

to get those holiday family portraits taken care of before the holiday madness begins!

This year, we are proud to team with Brian Snowden Photography.

Mini Sessions are 20 minutes long and scheduled in 30-minute time slots at Hap Magee Ranch Park.

Saturday, October 19 (every 30 minutes between 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30 -4:30 p.m.)

Sunday, October 27 (every 30 minutes between 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30 -4:30 p.m.)

The price of a Mini Session is $40 for sitting fee (100% of this goes to VPP) + $40 for a special 2013 VPP Package: (2) 8x10s, (2) 5x7s and 7-15 edited digital images provided on CD.

Add-ons are also available, including a Budget Print Package (normally priced at $50), which is priced for this event at the introductory rate of $40 and includes: (2) 8x10s, (6) 5x7s, and 4 sheets of wallets (*wallets must all be the same image).

To sign up for this event, please email: VPPMiniSession [at] gmail [dot] com with your name, phone number, ages of children, and your top 3 choices of 30-minute time slots for your 20-minute session.  Limit: 6 people maximum per shoot.

Once you receive an email with your confirmed time, you will be set to be billed the $40 non-refundable sitting fee on your next VPP tuition invoice.  Upon completion of your Mini Session, you will be set to be billed the additional $40 for the 2013 VPP Package.  Families that arrive late or not at all, forfeit their time slot.  They may have the option to reschedule with the photographer at the end of the day, schedule permitting.

In the event of poor weather, Mini Sessions will be rescheduled.

Mini Sessions Flyer_BrianSnowden

Dear Parents,

Last week went really well! We learned a few halloween songs, painted a paper bag pumpkin (they will be out front for you to take home next week) and had some really cute puppet shows.

Monday and Wednesday are Picture Day. We won’t be using any paint those days, so if you want your picture in a special outfit-it should survive.

Next week we will be learning about shapes. We will play games with shapes and do a couple different projects putting shapes together to make pictures.

A couple parents have told me that when they ask their child what they did that day at school, the answer is always,”nothing”. Most times that question maybe too broad. If you would like to get a little more detail, it may help to read what we are doing that week and ask specific questions, like- Do you remember the words to the halloween songs?, What is your favorite shape? What did you do with the shapes? This helps them remember the activity and better able to give you details.

Here’s the words to the five little pumpkins song (Chant)

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said “Oh my, it’s getting late!”
The second one said “There are witches in the air,”
The third one said “We don’t care!”
The fourth one said “Let’s run and run and run.”
And the fifth one said “I’m ready for some fun!”
Then Ooo ooo went the wind, and out went the lights,
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Teacher Leslie