Fall 2021 - Back to School Orientations

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! 

We hosted live Orientation Meetings for each division August 2-4, 2021. In case you missed any of the information, please see the slide decks linked below. 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to speak with the director(s) of your child's program (contact information).

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and fun year of growth and learning!

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Head of School


Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Representation

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

How To Combat Anti-Asian Racism Today | The 360 Blog - Salesforce
The violent shootings in Atlanta this week were a chilling and saddening reminder of the violence, racism, and discrimination faced by the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community throughout the history of our country, and alarmingly increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I wanted to share a some helpful information:


(not all are appropriate for young children & certainly not a comprehensive list of issues we should all know about):

How [NOT] to talk to young girls

Written by WHPS Preschool Directors on .

Have you ever told a child: “You look adorable today!” “I love that dress!” or “What a pretty ribbon you’ve got in your hair!” We all do it. But, child development experts caution us about about making frequent references to appearance, especially when speaking to young girls. 

What! Why?
A recent report showed that nearly half of all three to six year old girls worry about being fat. Kids as young as six rank body image among their highest concerns. Study after study proves that girls believe how they look is the key to their self-esteem. They think how they look is who they are. What was your highest concern when you were 6 years old? 

In her book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, child development expert Lisa Bloom explains that many girls under 12 years old are wearing makeup regularly, and one in four young women say they would much rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize.

Instead of: "You look so cute"

  • Focus on what they are into: their ideas, favorite books, favorite color; their interests over their appearance. 

  • Talk about the last trip you took and ask where their favorite place is to go.

  • Ask about their favorite book and what they liked about it.

  • Read books to your children about powerful and accomplished female figures.

  • Know a police officer, firefighter, doctor, dentist or construction worker who is a female? Make sure your child sees this non-stereotypical representation.

  • See a magazine at the supermarket with a female on the cover? Introduce your child to the contributions to society she made to be placed on that magazine.

  • Watch the WNBA or women’s soccer, not just male-dominated sports. 

  • Here is a great site with a list of picture books, movies, and more.

The Swiss Army Knife for Kids

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

Want to help your child with: Tantrums? Peer/sibling conflict? Anxiety? Disappointment? Big emotions?

The good news - There is one simple tool that can help! (HINT: Not a real knife)

The bad news - We often forget to use it!

I challenge us to put this tool back in our tool belt and keep it ready at a moment’s notice. If we aren’t using it multiple times/day, we are missing a huge opportunity.   
Young children deal with the same emotions adults do: anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, happiness, embarrassment, etc. But, they often do not have or use the right words to identify and talk about how they are feeling. Instead, they may act out, sometimes in physical and maladaptive ways.  

Here's the Swiss Army Knife that can improve many parenting (or teachering) situations:

Name your child’s emotions
  • “Mommy left on a trip, you are sad.” 
  • Providing a label for the feeling enables the child to develop vocabulary for talking about feelings. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong. You are not a mind reader. If your child disagrees with your label, that also opens up valuable discussion.

Talk about how people might be feeling (frequently)

  • “Aerin bumped her head on the slide. How do you think she feels?”
  • Talk about different ways they can respond to specific feelings, conflicts, or problems. 
Talk about your own feelings
  • “Remember yesterday when the water in the bathtub would not go down? Mommy got so mad and do you remember what my face looked like when I got mad? Can you make a mad face like that?” 
Talk about different ways you deal with specific feelings
  • “When I get mad I take a deep breath, count to three, and then try to think of the best way to deal with my problem.” 
Teach your child to express their emotions in ways that your family finds acceptable
  • You might tell your child: “Sometimes dad is angry when something goes wrong at work. What does he do? He sits at his desk until he figures out what he wants to say about it. Where might you want to sit and think when you get angry?”

When is a literacy program more than a literacy program?

Written by Jacey, Dexter, Elementary Principal on .

Most of us grew up with traditional reading instruction in which a lot of the teaching methodology, whether phonics-based or whole-language, included taking turns reading popcorn style, choral or round robin. If you were like me, you would follow the pattern and count ahead to know which section you were going to read out loud so you could quickly preview and prepare for your turn. Or, you flipped to the last page to find the questions at the end and filled them in. 

WHPS Approach - Systematic, Rooted in Research
Our literacy curriculum is rooted in a more systematic and purposeful use of instructional time. In kindergarten, this begins with learning about reading super powers students can grow as they learn to read everything around them, make new words out of smaller words, and even team up with a partner to figure out tricky words. The sophistication ramps up as we explore not just trickier words but increasingly complex issues. You can learn more about our instructional approach on the WHPS YouTube channel.

Reading & Writing Assessments 
We are excitedly preparing for our next round of Student-Led Conferences (SLCs) coming up in February. This is one of the times when teachers are able to share information from the Formative Assessments we use to guide instructional decisions and individual goals for your child. While the following resources are primarily for teachers, I wanted to pull back the curtain on a few of the special tools we use to identify individual goals for children and monitor progress. 

  • Conferring Menu - Remember that this program focuses on systematically helping children grow. This is one of the tools teachers use to identify individual and small group goals and teaching points for children based on their reading level.
  • Text Features by Level - You can get a sense of the characteristics of books at each reading level.
  • Writing Continua - We don't stop just because a student meets grade level expectation, and these continua (narrative, opinion & information writing) help ensure students are meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations. 

While these are primarily intended as teacher resources, I think parents may find the behind-the-scenes information interesting and fun to try at home (if you would like). Your child's teacher may refer to these tools during your child's Student-Led Conference. 

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