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Gillispie School / Early Childhood

The family of a former student reached out to me recently with a dilemma: Although their oldest child was a voracious reader, their youngest child didn’t seem to be interested in books at all. The parents wondered if I might “work my magic” on their youngest child, to ignite the spark that would eventually become a raging fire for books. As flattered as I am to be credited with this power, the secret to turning reluctant readers...

Gillispie students PreK to Grade 6 were treated with visits from Practical Karate owner and Gillispie parent, Frank McCarroll, who engaged students in interactive workshops designed to help children create an environment of kindness at school and cope with confrontational or bullying behaviors from other students or strangers. Using the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids and his own experiences growing up, Frank showed students that making a conscious...

Recently, Gillispie welcomed Dr. Adria O’Donnell who spoke on ways in which we can instill resiliency in children, which in turn allows children to handle life’s stresses and to take on challenges. Having resiliency contributes to a child’s ability to recognize and regulate emotions. Dr. O’Donnell shared some helpful illustrations: The Blender When your child is emotionally charged, it is like a blender on full speed without the lid. In this state, it is not the right time...

One of the fondest memories of childhood for many of us is being read to. Anna's grandmother was a fantastic reader, and when she came to visit, she always read from a thick leather-bound book of the Grimm’s Fairytales. Not only did the stories become familiar to her grandchildren, but so did their unique language. “Storybook language," the language that writers use, differs from the everyday language that we use when we speak with friends, or the...

This week in Physical Education class, Early Childhood students worked on performing Jumping Jacks. They followed the cues of "Toy Soldier" and Rocket Ship" and repeated! The Prekindergarten through Grade 2 students also continued with their underhand throwing practice at targets which included a Thanksgiving Turkey! Elementary students completed their Football unit and played Gaga (Israeli Dodgeball) in the gym. It's been a great, active week in P.E.! Ed Whelan and Cheyenne Kibblewhite  PE Teachers...

Last week, Cypress Room held its annual Thanksgiving feast in the gym.   Students made hand-printed placemats and table decorations for the event.   The meal was potluck style, with each family bringing in a dish specially requested by their child to share.   During the event, families wrote down things they are thankful for on cut-out feathers that were attached to a shared turkey display.   Everyone had a wonderful time eating together, laughing, sharing stories, and enjoying each other's company...

Throughout the school year, students in Juniper Room have been working in the outdoor mud area, "saving the world from hot lava." Lava has become a large part of the students' daily outdoor classroom experience. Alexander shared with the class that he had made and erupted a volcano at home with his mom and dad, so teachers asked his parents to come in and help the class make their own volcano! Together with Alexander's parents, the class made a huge...

Gillispie School celebrated its annual International Day Friday, October 26. Students grabbed their “passports” and traveled to Portugal, Greece, New Zealand, France, Japan, Spain, Botswana, Mexico, India, and Thailand. Parent volunteers and teachers transformed classrooms into virtual countries where children experienced smells, sights, and sounds of the different cultures represented. The students had the opportunity to learn about each unique culture as they journeyed “around the world,” completing crafts, sampling exotic food and drink, listening to live music,...

As we enter fall, it’s starting to get chilly! Kids at Niños con Visión, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico need our help. Helping Hands will be collecting gently used jackets, sweaters, and shoes to donate to the orphanage. Bins are located in the front lobby to collect your donations! The clothing drive will go from now until Thanksgiving Break. Please do not include any Gillispie uniforms in your donation. Do keep in mind that the items you will be donating will...

In a recent Real Simple article, “How to Raise a Problem-Solver," writer Joanne Nesbit quotes a CEO of a cloud-based, reference-checking firm: “Young people’s ability to get things done on their own and take initiative is one of the biggest employer concerns.” Ms. Nesbit went on to advise how we can help children build these critical skills. Her ideas included allowing for open-ended, loosely-supervised play; providing opportunities for children to complete real-life tasks; asking our young ones...