Dear Madera Family and Friends,
Our conversation about Last Child in the Woods last month was inspiring! Thank you to all who came out to discuss the book and the valuable impact of nature on children’s physical and emotional development. Out of it came some good food for thought regarding tangible things we can do at home and school. (Dads’ Club, Are you ready to dig up the asphalt on the upper playground?)
As we discussed possible causes for the shift in the way our children play, another topic came to the forefront that interestingly had been rising up in other conversations recently as well – homework. Homework is a controversial topic and one that as a staff we would like to consider in the future. Research finds little positive correlation between homework and achievement at the elementary level. With busy schedules taxing family time together; incredible gains in childhood diagnosis of stress, ADHD and depression; little time for unstructured play that we know is important for healthy development; and, the need for children to develop thinking and problem solving skills that come out of activities
other than worksheets and drills, it may be time for us to consider how we might make adjustments if needed.
The staff and I began this discussion at our last faculty meeting. We recognize that the month of December can be a magical time for children but it’s also very busy and can be stressful for families. We’d like to give you a gift of a month of alternative homework. For this month, we expect children will be reading books for pleasure each day for at least 20 minutes as always. We also hope you will use your newly found time together to enjoy the following possibilities:
- Enjoy dinner time conversation together – family meals, by the way, do have a strong correlation with academic success.
- Play board games, read a good book together, take a walk in your neighborhood, write holiday cards or letters. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Build something or make holiday gifts. Build a fort. Do an art project based upon this month’s Artist of the Month, Frida Kahlo.
- Visit a museum or see a play.
- Go on a hike on one of the many, many beautiful trails nearby.
- Rest. Many children don’t get enough sleep each night. Take this cue from nature, when it’s dark and cold outside, to snuggle into bed earlier, with a good book, and get a good night’s sleep each night.
Kids, what we’re NOT saying is take this time to play more video games or watch hours of TV. Really, it’s time to use your imagination, your heart and your wit. I challenge you to disconnect from things that isolate you to connect with the world and people around you.
May this holiday season be filled with family, friends, joy and wonder,
Bring Books in: Monday December 9th – Friday, December 14th, 2013
Exchange Books: Monday December 17th – Friday, December 21st, 2013
We are hosting our first Madera Book Exchange!!!
The book exchange will take place next week during your child’s regularly scheduled library time. So gather any unwanted books and bring them to school all this week. For every book your child brings in he or she will receive a ticket that can be used to get a “new” book. Every child will get one ticket so if you have any extra books that you would like to donate we will be accepting those as well.
If you’d like to volunteer your time we would love any extra hands available!
Book Exchange Schedule
December 9th-13th, Book Collection
8:00am-8:30am (Hallway) or your child’s library time (Library)
December 16th-20th, Book Exchange
8:00am-8:30am (Library) or your child’s library time (Library)
If we can get enough volunteers we would like to add lunchtime as well!
If you have any questions or would like to add your name to the list of volunteers please contact Cassidy Ellis.
District Winter Band Concert
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | 7:00pm
@El Cerrito High School Theatre
Madera Band Concert
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 | 7:00pm (tentative)
Hello Madera Band Families,
THIS APPLIES ONLY TO THE PULL-OUT, DURING SCHOOL BAND PARTICIPANTS:
When students started their during school band rehearsals with Ms. Vlught, they were given a flyer announcing their invitation to play in the District Winter Band Concert on December 10th at 7pm at the El Cerrito High School Theatre.
Download the Winter Band flyer here (PDF)
Students are to come at 6:30pm, dressed in black pants and white shirts (collared shirts for boys), with their instruments and their music and a music stand, if they have one. (Please label their music and music stand and maybe instrument case with their name and school name, as they’ll be in a large area with several other band students from surrounding schools in the performance.) Please have them report backstage (accessed from corridor to the right of the stage, entering the main hall).
Your child should already know which pieces of music to practice for the performance.
It is estimated that the performance will go until approximately 8:15pm. There will be several elementary schools playing together, and the middle school. There will not be any performance by the high school this time.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Information about our upcoming Madera School Band Winter Concert at Madera, is shortly forthcoming. The date is currently for Dec. 17th, Tuesday, at 6pm, but this is still being finalized.
Madera News & Events
- EC Trail Trekkers Madera Open Space Hike
Saturday, December 7th, 2013
- Holiday PTA Meeting
Monday, December 9th, 2013 | 7:00pm
- District Winter Band Concert
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | 7:00pm
@El Cerrito High School Theatre
- Kindergarten Information Meetings
Friday, December 13th, 2013
11:00am and 1:00pm
- Madera Band Concert (tentative)
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 | 6:00pm
- Annual Winter Sing-A-Long
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
6:30pm – 8:15pm | Singing Begins @ 7:00pm
Sign up to Volunteer/Bring Items (details and sign up via Volunteer Spot)
Hope you are counting down the days to our “Winter Sing-a-long” and already enjoying some holiday songs! Warm up your voices, bring winter cheer, and join us for a fun evening of singing! We expect a big crowd, so bring your song list (PDF) and be prepared to huddle up with Madera friends, teachers, staff and families on the multi-purpose room floor (some like to bring pillows) at 7:00pm sharp for singing.
- Outdoor Classroom Holiday Craft Table
Friday, December 20th, 2013 | 12:00pm – 3:00pm
- Artist of the Month – Frida Kahlo (PDF)
Take a look at some Frida Kahlo’s work displayed in the front entrance!
Want to submit an event / flyer / notice to the weekly blue folder?
Send it here!
Keep in touch – follow @MaderaSchool on Twitter and like Madera on facebook!
One School, One Community, One Team!
Friday, December 6th, 2013
8:30am in the Library
Holiday PTA Meeting
Monday, December 9th, 2013
7:00pm in the Library
Hope your Thanksgiving was great!
This coming Friday the 6th is our December Principal Tea. Please join us in the library for some treats, and hot drinks. 8:30 a.m. in the Library. Feel free to bring your own mugs!
On Monday, Dec. 9th we have our holiday PTA meeting. Please bring the dessert of your choice to share with your community. We will be providing drinks and good conversation! =). We will also have a guest speaker.
See you all on campus next week!
Sending smiles and good cheer.
VP of Programs
Saturday, December 7, 2013
10:00 a.m. – Noon
Did you ever look just beyond the fence in the lower yard at the beautiful open space area and wanted to explore it more? Now you can – the good folks at El Cerrito Trail Trekkers are leading a hike there this Saturday:
“The Missing Link” Hike
Leaders: Tom Gehling
Meeting Place: Trailhead for Hillside Natural Area, across from 7500 Schmidt Lane, El Cerrito, near the El Cerrito Recycling Center
Difficulty Level: Medium
In this joint walk with Berkeley Path Wanderers we will walk through grasslands and oak forests in the city’s southern Hillside Natural Area before coming to the “missing link,” a privately owned parcel that is being acquired by the city to link together the northern and southern sections of the Natural Area. The views are great, the creeks sublime, some trails are rough, public stairways are steep. Learn about the public campaign to support this important open space acquisition. Two hours. Well-behaved dogs on leash permitted. Heavy rain cancels. firstname.lastname@example.org Info: Dave Weinstein 510-524-1737
Madera Hill Open Space Tours
El Cerrito hopes to acquire the Madera Open Space to fill a gap in its Hillside Natural Area. This is a beautiful 8-acre site with a meadow, forest and creeks. The El Cerrito Open Space Fund, which includes Trekkers, is raising funds from the community to help pay for this land. Visit the site with us; be inspired!
Call Dave Weinstein to arrange a Madera Open Space Hike-on-Demand! We can accommodate groups of three or more.