WHPS Newsletter - January


Special Edition  |  Preschool News  |  Elementary News  |  Barnyard News
TK & Kindergarten Info Days
We have two remaining Information Sessions for the 2018-2019 school year!  Join us to learn about our Elementary Program and pick up an application.
Saturday, January 6 @ 10am
Wednesday, January 17 @ 10am
RSVP Today
Current Admissions Round Deadline: January 19, 2018
Donations & Birthday Books
Your donations are appreciated. Thank you for thinking of WHPS and helping to make a difference!

Gamon Family - Birthday Book
Savary Family - Paint
Silver Family - Party Decorations
All FAMILIES - Thank you for all the food and toy donations!
January Events - 2018
Both Campuses  |  Collins  | Oxnard
1 School CLOSED - New Year's Day
6 Elementary Information Day (TK - 5th grade) @ 10am
9 PAG Meeting @ 7:00pm
10 PAWS Meeting @ 6:30pm
10 PAG Event - Restaurant Night @ BJ's Brewhouse starting @ 11am
11 PAG Event - Snow Day
12 PAWS Event - Snow Day
15 School CLOSED - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
17 Elementary Information Tea (TK - 5th grade) @ 10am
18 Farmer's Market - Hosted by Room 5
19 PAWS Event - Babysitting Night (6-10pm)
20 PAG Event - Kids Night Out
23 PAWS Event - Restaurant Night @ Hook Burger
24 Permanent Impressions (Child Safety Program)
26 Farmers Market - Hosted by Rooms 1 & 2

3:30-5:00pm - Joint Parent-Child Session
For 4th & 5th Grade Families
6:30-8:00pm - What Every Parent Needs to Know about Technology

For ALL families

Special Edition | Seth Pozzi - Asst. Head of School


Last month we talked about teaching our children how to disagree respectfully and about the danger of confirmation bias. Our school is about so much more than just teaching our kids the 3 R’s or how to hold a pencil correctly. Woodland Hills Private School is known for teaching kids to be deep critical thinkers. While critical thinking certainly applies to literacy, math, science and social studies, it more broadly—perhaps more importantly—applies to how we take in information. And, one way great schools promote this kind of higher-level critical thinking and also develop empathy in children is by exposing them to a variety of diverse perspectives. We are preparing children to enter an increasingly global society where their ability to work with people across a wide variety of cultures is at least as important as their academic skills. One way we can promote this kind of learning and continually broaden our children’s world view is through great literature that provides a window into other cultures.

Multicultural children’s literature can help children develop appreciation and understanding for other cultures and promote their thinking about social justice. Tolerance is often the go-to term when we think about multicultural education, but I believe tolerance is a low bar. Just as we want our children to learn to disagree respectfully and with genuine curiosity in their heart and mind, we also want our kids to develop a well-informed paradigm of society. We have an opportunity to raise children who have less unconscious bias than the generation before them. And, books are a great springboard for accomplishing this.   

With that being said, this infographic should alarm you. It is one of many examples of bias in the canon of available children’s books. The Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has done some of the most extensive research on diversity and bias within children’s books and has found that children’s literature in the U.S. is overwhelmingly white, full of gender and racial stereotypes, and severely under-representative of people with disabilities. This is just looking at books published in the past 20 or so years. We might not even realize that some of our coveted childhood favorites, such as Little House on the Prairie, are not free of bias. Now, we don't need to ban such books or remove them from the school library, but we have a special opportunity, or perhaps a moral imperative, to teach our children about bias and stereotypes—in a developmentally appropriate way—so they can think critically about how they take in this information. And that is exactly what some of our classrooms began to do in December.

After a classroom discussion on the topic of diversity, some of our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders spent time brainstorming different forms of diversity they are aware of. After sharing their ideas on diversity, they decided to start by looking at two manageable topics, gender and race. Each student selected a genre (historical fiction, realistic fiction, nonfiction, sports, etc.) and gathered 25 books. In a Google Doc, they tallied up how many books showed only white people on the cover and how many books showed only male characters on the cover. Breaking it down by genre enabled them to look at sectors of the library to see, for instance, if the majority of sports books were about boys or how many realistic fiction books featured persons of color.

It turned out that our classroom libraries did much better than the national average at reflecting people of color and bucking gender stereotypes. However, the students felt that there was still room for improvement. Having just studied persuasive writing in Writing Workshop, the students felt a call to action. They wrote persuasive letters advocating for literature that fully reflects our diverse society. As one student put it in her persuasive letter, “14% of children’s books in the U.S. represent diversity [citing the national average according to Scholastic]; that means 86% don’t!” Some letters were written to our school administration in the hopes that we will urge the school community to take action.

I suspect this is just the beginning of many meaningful conversations in our school about valuing, not just tolerating, diversity and about ensuring that our libraries reflect a broad spectrum of race, culture, religion and gender differences. If you feel inspired by some of the work our children have begun, you might wish to broaden your home library or donate some books to your child’s classroom. While there are a number of cultivated book lists available, here is one list that allows for sorting by topic and age-level. It’s a great place to start when looking for multicultural books and books that promote social justice. You can also keep it simple, like our students did, and preview books before you buy. If there are no main characters who are persons of color, the characters seem to have stereotypical gender roles, and everyone is able-bodied, you don’t have to put it back. But, it's always good to maintain a critical eye and see if these books constitute a large percentage of your collection.


Parent Speaker # 3 | Lori Getz

"What Parents NEED to Know about Technology"

January 31, 2018
Lori Getz’ workshops are FREE (co-sponsored by PAWS and WHPS).

Workshop Schedule on January 31, 2018

3:30-5:00 PM
Joint Parent-Child Session
For 4th & 5th Grade Families (open to the community!)

This program is designed to help bridge the gap between a young generation of digital natives and their parents and teachers and facilitate meaningful conversations regarding:

  • Screen time
  • Gaming
  • Texting
  • Social networking interactions
  • Digital footprint
  • Safety
6:30-8:00 PM - Parent Speaker #3: What Parents NEED to Know about Technology
Open to ALL families and the community
This program will focus on:
  • Brain development and screen time (especially in very young children)
  • Tools to create good habits from the onset
  • Practical tips - where to keep technology and how to manage it
  • New information from American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Role modeling
  • Redefining internet safety - a full explanation of how kids use technology, how to keep them safe; rules and guidelines worth implementing
Preschool News
Collins Campus
Robin & Ms. Ailin
Oxnard Campus
Ms. Tracy & Ms. Christine
We now venture into the New Year with fond memories of 2017. We strive to make the holiday season a time of giving, and the preschoolers did their part with food and toy drives. They participated in charitable events through the Food Pantry. LAFD and LAPD. The children have learned that there are other young people in the world less fortunate, teaching them to appreciate what they have in their lives and also to feel good about bringing a little happiness to others.

This past month, classes explored topics including: holiday traditions, safety, polar animals, music & instruments, Africa, and healthy foods. Children enjoyed baking multicultural dishes and doing some late fall gardening. Everyone enjoyed showing off their talents at the 2017 Winter Show. We hope you all enjoyed it, as our teachers did an outstanding job and the children were wonderful! Now they are anxiously waiting for their favorite event…Snow Day.

2018 is off to a great start! The children continue to be eager to learn. There will be so much for them to absorb, and it is always a joy to watch them develop and grow. We are looking forward to sharing many emergent learning experiences in the months to come.

Fall and summer camp enrollment paperwork will be sent home the first week of February, so be on the lookout! Please be sure to turn in forms by their due dates in order to secure a spot for camp and the upcoming school year.

Elementary News | Jacey Dexter - Elementary Principal
We hope you all had a wonderful break filled with family, fun, and love. The 2018 year brings a lot of exciting things to WHPS! We’re looking forward to a variety of field trips in the new year. First up, some of the students will be seeing “Shrek” at the Calabasas PAEC and the Shanghai Acrobats at the T.O. Civic Arts Center. Other classes are traveling to the Griffith Observatory and extending their learning at Camp Tumbleweed. And the 4th and 5th graders are looking forward to their three day class trip to the Catalina Island Marine Institute with their teachers and Mr. Pozzi this April! The New Year also marks the start of the basketball season for our WHPS Bears team! The exciting part of this season is when we host other schools here at WHPS for home games. Please standby for this year’s schedule and come out to support our students. Go Bears!

The return from Winter Break gives us a great opportunity to review and rework routines and procedures in order for young students to be more successful in school. Some suggestions to support your child are:

  • Ask yourself: Is this something my child could do on their own? More often than not, the answer is "YES!" Let your child become empowered.

  • Take some time to review your child’s hopes and goals. A new year is a great time to review and update their plans for achieving these goals and outlining the specific steps.

  • Please renew your commitment to getting your child to school on time and every day. If you are late, please stop in the front office to get a late slip. Have your child organize belongings the previous evening, as mornings can be too busy and rushed.

  • Feel free to contact your child's teacher with questions and ongoing concerns. Email communication is an effective tool.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!

“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream”– C.S. Lewis

"Our Barnyard" News | The WHPS Science and Nature Center
Greetings from the Science & Nature Center!
Hello Barnyard Friends! This past month has been a great one in the Science & Nature Center. First we would like to thank everyone who purchased an animal holiday ornament made by Ms. Tanja. Any proceeds went right back to the animals, and we were able to get some great presents for them. For example, we added new homes to sleep in and places to play in the Rabbitat. We would also like to thank all the families for their generous holiday gifts. We greatly appreciated them, and we hope everyone had a great Winter Break!

It’s January and it’s time to start classes back up. Elementary students continue to explore our three learning strands: Ecology, Evolution & Genetics, and Husbandry.

Ecology: We have been making observations about how animals interact with each other, the many different ways animals can move around (locomotion), and the many different ways they can see (vision). We will continue studying animal interactions with a special emphasis on how animals defend themselves.

Evolution & Genetics: We have been looking at evidence of evolution within the fossil record, noticing many different ways a Phenotype can change. We have learned how evolution created one of the great wonders of the world - animals capable of flight.

Husbandry: We have studied various forms of enrichment that can be provided to pets and animals in captivity. We will also be delving into temperature and humidity (primarily how it pertains to caring for reptiles). We are discussing growth in animals and the differences between domestic and wild animals.

Elementary classes will also be learning about animal behavior. We will discover why animals do what they do and what motivates them. Once we learn how to get inside an animal's head, we will be able teach animals whatever we want! Hint to parents, your kids are animals too. Ask them how you can train them.

Preschool will start digging deeper into the differences among animals, starting with their bones. We will learn how teeth alone can tell us if an animal is an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore, and how special bird bones are. Then we will use all this to show how and why animals move around in so many different ways.

We're excited to start the new year, and I know all the animals are excited for all their friends to return!

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22322 Collins Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367   •   22555 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

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