Ventana Viewpoints | May 2017

Thank you.

As the school year draws to a close, we want to thank you for being a part of this community and helping it thrive. We hope you have a great summer and look forward to seeing everyone who's returning next year.

And as always, thanks for reading --

Your VePA Executive Team

- Update from Julie Stanford

- In the Classroom: Sun Room Sensory Learning

- Chapel Curriculum: Gifts and Blessings

- A Salute to Our Volunteers

- The Benefits of Boredom

- Summer Inspiration: Reggio Activities at Home

- Upcoming Events

Thanks from VePA President Julie Stanford

Dear parents, 

As I wrap up my term as VePA president, I want to thank all of you for a wonderful year. This year, I have really enjoyed working with the amazing volunteers at this school, with the staff, and with our super creative, hard-working head of school, Marcy. I particularly want to thank the VePA board which this year made my job easy. Everyone stepped up and brought their all to the board, taking the initative, making thoughtful creative decisions, and going above and beyond. Thank you for all your hard work. I look forward to working with you amazing people in one capacity or another in the years to come. With Dahlia in Kinder I have five more years at Ventana and am excited about the future as we all continue to create a great school!

Julie Stanford

In the Classroom: 
Sun Room Sensory Learning

The three-year-olds in the Sun Room recently cut peppermint leaves, making lavender and mint sachets that filled the classroom with wonderful scents. It sparked an interest in learning with their senses -- and a slew of activities.

They squished oranges into orange juice, which they drank out of baggies with straws. They used lemon juice for painting, and made lemonade too. When mixing the lemonade they tracked how many small cups of water were poured into each pitcher, providing a math connection. The teachers put cross-sections of blood oranges on a light table so the children could observe them closely for watercolor paintings. Finally, they ended with week with a sour grapefruit tasting. Phew!

For fascinating photos and quotes from the children, see the Sun Room blog.

Chapel Lessons: 
Gifts and Blessings

Claire has been leading some lovely lessons in chapel this month. O n May 17, the children brought clipboards and pencils for a reflection exercise. Claire invited them to think about something that was a gift or blessing in their lives. 

Some children drew pictures (like the one at right) while others wrote their reflections. Here's a sampling:

"When I look out my window I see the big moon. I feel like I'm not alone."


"I love the ocean and the creatures in it."

"I was a buddy with a 4th grader."

"Playing with my friends makes me feel included and I always have fun."

"I feel happy when my brother plays with me."

"I feel really happy when people say 'thank you!' to me because that probably makes people happy which makes ME happy too!"

"It's really pretty seeing a rainbow and it makes me feel happy and calm."

Claire is collecting the students' reflections and is planning to use them as she writes blessings for next year's chapel program. We're looking forward to it.

A Salute to Our Volunteers

As the school year draws to a close we want to say another huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers who helped with classroom and school-wide projects. We truly couldn't have done it without you. 

So much of what our children experience at school is a direct result of the work of our parent volunteers. For example, this year volunteers have:
  • managed our school library (including moving it to its new location before school began)
  • expanded our school and classroom libraries by purchasing books at our two book drives
  • planned community-building events like Fall Fest, Stone Soup / Grandparents' Day, and the holiday pajama party
  • organized a year-long series of parent education talks
  • helped clean and beautify our campus, including painting our library and building a new pergola for our outdoor classroom
  • showed appreciation for our teachers and staff with monthly brunches
  • cared for our chickens
And of course our Spring Auction was produced entirely by volunteers. This year's auction raised over $67,000 in support of our school! The Fund-a-Need donations in particular are paying for emergency supply kits, STEM equipment, music instruments, and Reggio Emilia training for our teachers. (We're still in need of more Fund-a-Need donations; if you're interested in participating, please visit for more info.)

Thanks again for all that you've done!
Parenting Education Articles
The Benefits of Boredom

While kids are usually excited about the start of summer, parents sometimes have an accompanying dread: the long moan from children announcing they're booooored. It's positively painful.

But psychologists and child development experts say that boredom can actually be good for a child, as it develops imagination and creativity. What's more, when children are fully scheduled in the summer and never have to decide what do do with their time, it can limit their ability to discover what interests them. 

But how to combat the moaning? Child psychologist Lyn Fry suggests:

... at the the start of the summer, parents sit down with their kids -- at least those above the age of four -- and collectively write down a list of everything their children might enjoy doing during their break. These can be basic activities, such as playing cards, reading a book, or going for a bicycle ride. They could also be more elaborate ideas such as cooking a fancy dinner, putting on a play, or practicing photography.

Then, if your child comes to you throughout the summer complaining of boredom, tell them to go and look at the list.

For more ideas and thoughts on the benefits of boredom, see Psychologists Recommend Children Be Bored in the Summer on Quartz.

Reggio Activities at Home

There are times, of course, when you might want to facilitate your kids' play a bit, especially when they're younger.

The homeschooling blog An Everyday Story has a wonderful step-by-step breakdown of how to set up a Reggio-inspired activity at home.

You start by observing your child to discover what they've been wondering or noticing. For example, did your son stop to see how his shadow moved when he waved his arms? Maybe he'd like to explore how shadows work. 

With a topic in hand, you can begin planning and brainstorming. Your child might want to observe something in nature, make a drawing or painting of it, explore a new art medium, have a sensory experience, etc. 

For many more ideas and links to example projects, see Setting Up a Reggio-Inspired Activity on An Everyday Story.

Upcoming Events
Memorial Day: NO SCHOOL
May 29

Fifth Grade Graduation
June 1
9:00 a.m.
Everyone is welcome in the Church Sanctuary to celebrate our graduating fifth graders!

Last Day of School: Ice Cream Social
June 2
12:15- 1:00 p.m.
Please join us in the trike area in front of the school office to celebrate the last day of school!

End of Year BBQ
June 2
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Christ Church is kindly sponsoring this wonderful event on the Lower Lawn to celebrate the end of our school year. They will cook hamburgers, hot dogs, and a vegetarian option for us; please bring a side dish and/or dessert to share. New families joining Ventana next year are also invited so it will be a great way to welcome them. Please be sure to RSVP. See you there!

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Ventana School | Nurturing Minds and Hearts