Kindergarten Readiness

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

Kindergarten Readiness: Originally published in November, 2018

It feels like the school year has only just begun, and yet with the year ¼ of the way over, preschool families are starting to think about what comes next: PreK, TK or Kindergarten for fall. Many families will apply for a spot in our Elementary Division, and parents often ask, “How do I know if my child is ready for Kindergarten?” What it is that we want kids to know and be able to do in order to be successful in an academically rigorous program like our elementary school? In public school, the main determining factor for Kindergarten readiness is whether (or not) your child turns five by September 1. In our school, that date helps to guide us but is by no means the final determining factor in Kindergarten readiness. And, misconceptions abound about what it really means to be ready for Kindergarten.

What does Kindergarten readiness mean at WHPS?
Many parents excitedly report that their child is reading, can count astronomically high, or has a wealth of knowledge about Mt. Vesuvius. While those are talents/interests we will continue to nurture, we are actually more concerned with a set of skills that precede academic success and are more highly correlated with a child’s long-term ability to learn: Attention, Sequencing, Processing, Agility/Balance, and the term you keep hearing about, Executive Functioning (EF). When most of us were in school, we sat at a desk and filled out worksheets or read out of a textbook and answered the questions at the end. Based on the last 30 years of educational research, we now have a very different understanding of learning, which happens through social interaction. But, for children to engage in the sophisticated pragmatics of learning through partner/group work and collaboration, they need a specific set of social skills and a high level of emotional regulation.

Research has proven that children who come into Kindergarten “reading” and “doing math” but with low EF, actually fall behind their peers (who started Kindergarten with lower math and early literacy scores) by 4th grade. We have seen this many times over the years where otherwise bright children can fall behind when they reach Upper Elementary (grades 2-5) because they struggle to independently navigate the aforementioned skills.

How is your child doing?
Our entire preschool program is backwards-planned to foster a strong foundation with all of these skills, including early literacy and math. But, if all children developed at the same pace there would be no need to evaluate Kindergarten (or PreK or TK) readiness in the first place. For parents who want to gather more information, the best place to start is with your child’s teacher(s). They work with many children your child’s age and can offer perspective on your child’s strengths as well as tricky spots. The Preschool Directors are also tremendous advocates for your child and a trusted source of information.

And finally, when you apply for our Elementary Division, we meet with your child 1:1 to conduct a thorough evaluation of your child’s individual learning profile. While our Admissions Committee ultimately has to make the difficult decision as to which students are accepted to the Elementary Division, we are able to share with you the results of your child’s assessment. This can help inform parents and the school on how to best support your child’s growth in the remaining ¾ of the school year so s/he is truly ready for what comes next.


Inclusivity in Education

Written by Jacey Dexter, Elementary Principal on .

As we move into the new school year, I want to take time to write about something that is very important not only to WHPS, philosophically, but also to me personally: Inclusive Education. Oftentimes, when speaking about Inclusive Education people go directly to thinking of including students with needs outside of the “normative range.” While this is one way to think about inclusivity, it is an oversimplification. Inclusive Education is the fundamental belief that every child and family is valued equally and deserves the same opportunities and experiences. Inclusive Education is not a program that a school can choose to run (or not run), it is an educational philosophy that values the participation and education of ALL students in the classroom.

It is no secret that children’s literature is severely limited in its representation of children, families, and characters who have diverse backgrounds. Similarly, the entertainment industry is beginning to recognize its own shortcomings in diverse/inclusive representation. With this in mind, last year, our upper elementary classes held a diversity challenge and reviewed their own class libraries to identify the gaps and limitations in the collection. Since then, we have worked to build the diversity represented, both in our individual classroom libraries as well as in Ann’s Library (the main school library) and will continue to do so to ensure a wide variety of cultures, family structures, and abilities are represented.

(a few recent literature acquisitions)

Celebrating Dia de los Muertos | Friday, November 2
At WHPS, we strive to educate our students about the beauty in the diversity around us. This year we will be holding a Dia de los Muertos celebration and constructing a WHPS Community Ofrenda. We invite all families to bring in pictures of loved ones to place in the library, beginning Monday, October 29 (please clearly label your photographs with your child’s name and room number so they can be returned to you). The elementary students will be learning about this cultural celebration and developing special projects in: Art, Music, Spanish, Technology, and even Barnyard will participate in their own special way.

We hope you will join us on Friday, November 2 for the culmination of these studies. We will have a special Morning Assembly and a chance for you and your child to visit the WHPS Community Ofrenda afterward. We are launching this new tradition as a way to honor and remember loved ones and to take part in a cultural celebration together.

Feel free to stop in anytime throughout the week to visit the WHPS Community Ofrenda. I am excited to launch this new cultural tradition together.

November Coffee & Conversation: Raising Kind and Empathetic Children

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .


Join us for our November Coffee & Conversation: Raising Kind and Empathetic Children


  • How do you make sure your child is inclusive toward others?
  • When someone is mean to your child, how do you help them?

 A few of the issues we hope to chat about include:

  • Ways to bring in cultural diversity
  • With older children
    • When things that happen outside of school bleed over into school
    • Identifying and confronting bias

We will also be completing a special Kindness and Inclusion Community Art Project in November. This will be YOUR chance to contribute to that project at the Coffee & Conversation.

Monday, November 19 @ 8:30 AM

WHPS Oxnard Campus Library



Jacey Dexter

Elementary Principal

Robin Gee

Collins Preschool Director

Seth Pozzi

Head of School

Dr. Tracy Ewing

Oxnard Preschool Director

WHPS Free Developmental Screening Tool

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

In case you missed it in the September 2018 newsletter: Last year, Oxnard Preschool launched a free service for parents, the ASQ®-3 screening tool, which helps identify children’s strengths as well as any areas of concern reaching developmental milestones. We are making ASQ®-3 available to all preschool parents this year. You can pick one up in the preschool office and fill it out. Our preschool directors are trained in the ASQ®-3, and they will be pleased to go over your child’s results with you.

Coffee & Conversation

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

Join us for Coffee & Conversation!
The school you choose for your child is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly.  Most of us spend hours, days, and weeks...months researching the right preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school; the best pediatrician or orthodontist. We take the time to care about significant elements in our children's life. After all that research, you have chosen to be part of a truly special community at WHPS, one that is known for unique and strong parent partnerships, deep understanding of child development, and a school where we pride ourselves on responsiveness to our families.

Raising our children is an awesome task, and to do so alone would be overwhelming. With this in mind, we are opening up a new atmosphere for discussion and sharing. Throughout the year, we will be hosting Coffee & Conversation sessions with our admin team. We will gather in the Oxnard campus library to chat about hot topics in the news, tricky parenting issues, and to help build connections among families.

Coffee & Conversation is a chance to come together with other caring, well-intentioned adults and think together about parenting issues that don't always have a simple solution. Coffee & Conversation is open to all families from both of our campuses; even friends, neighbors and family members who don’t currently attend one of our schools.

Some Coffee & Conversation topics will appeal to families with very young children, and others will be more applicable to elementary-age children, though everyone is welcome! Our first Coffee & Conversation (October 12) will be about Online Gaming: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

We have some other great topics in store, but we also want to be sure we are addressing the hottest most relevant topics of interest to our community. If you have a suggestion for topic(s) you’d like us to discuss, please let us know! You can fill out this form or simply This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We may not be able to get to everything right away, but we would love to know what’s on your mind.

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