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Lower School Blog


Week of Nov. 28, Vol. 21, Issue 13,

 Dear Parents:


Thank you very much for a lovely couple of days just before our break. We affectionately refer them as a "love fest," with hundreds of adoring eyes drinking in these precious, fleeting elementary moments... and this year was certainly typical of that.

The Season of Giving began with a robust collection of canned goods for San Diego's less fortunate, and we thank you for your participation. It continues for the next three weeks with lots of activities and events designed to help all of us look beyond our own needs and wants. Our theme, inspired by Margo Sharpe, is:   " Light a star... change the world wherever you are."

The traditional book faire, running from Dec. 5-9, offers many great possibilities for gift giving, and we'll also be collecting books for Rady Children's Hospital.  The little ones there have cherished our gifts in the past, surrounding themselves with books, stories and adventures which distract them during their trying times.

Our toy drive begins the same week, but will run into the following week as well, Dec. 5-14.  Last year, we were able to contribute over 1,000 toys to San Diego boys and girls who would otherwise have gone without.  This year, our student council will be working with Kidz-USA to supply comfort, joy and distraction to boys and girls at Rady Children's Hospital who are sick or recovering from treatments.  The boys and girls of the Lower School have already raised over $1000 through bake, lemonade and hot chocolate sales that they'll use to buy toys on Dec. 9, but they'd love to include your contributions of new, unwrapped toys as well.

Happy Holidays!

Bob Gillingham

Student Council News


This Friday, Dec. 2, the student council is sponsoring a first-ever event!  In addition to hot chocolate, Starbucks coffeewill be available for parents.  No need to make that extra stop on Friday, just come on over to the tables on the playground and help to support the purchase of toys for Rady Children's Hospital. All beverages are $1.

Friday has also been deemed a dress-down day by our student council, in support of Parker athletics.  Any combination of spiritwear or Parker colors (brown and gold) may be worn.

To the Book Fair and Beyond...


Reading is out of this world and an amazing selection of books is headed our way at the first book fair of the year!  It will take place next week, December 5th-9th, in the Scripps Lecture Hall.  Blast over to our space-themed book fair to:

    •    Benefit the beautiful Considine library and promote a love of books in our children;
    •    Take advantage of a great opportunity for holiday gift shopping
    •    Class book exchanges
    •    Book bags/baskets
    •    Stocking stuffers
    •    Books for your child’s classroom…just ask for the teacher’s wish list; and
    •    Receive age and reading-level appropriate book suggestions from Mrs. Brae, librarian and children’s book expert

Brand New “One for Books” Program

As part of our Season of Giving, a wonderful way to participate in the book fair this year is to donate books to patients at Rady Children’s Hospital through Scholastic’s One for Books program.   Students and parents may purchase their favorite books to donate to Rady patients and place them in a collection bin at the book fair.  Additionally, we will collect donations of spare change (and up) in One for Books boxes located at the book fair registers.  At the end of the fair, Mrs. Brae will select more books for Rady patients with the combined One for Books change donations.  Scholastic will match every $1 donation from Francis Parker to One for Books, with the donation of 1 book to Scholastic’s charities - Tots, Kids in Need, and Kids in Distressed Situations.  Meanwhile, Parker receives credit for future book purchases for every donation.  One for Books is a WIN-WIN-WIN opportunity for Parker students, Rady patients, and underprivileged kids!

Book Fair Hours

We are testing our slightly expanded hours this year on Wednesday and Friday.

Monday 12/5 - 7:30am-5:00pm
Tuesday 12/6 – 7:30am-5:00pm
Wednesday 12/7 -7:30am-6:00pm
Thursday 12/8 - 7:30am-5:00pm
Friday 12/9 -7:30am-1:00pm

Volunteers Needed!

We still need help from many volunteers to fill 1-2 hour shifts at the book fair, especially the busy ones before and after school.  If you would like to volunteer or have questions, please contact the co-chairs Caroline Coats and Elizabeth Carey at pa-bookfair@k12.francisparker.org.

See you at the book fair!


Parker Robotics

The first annual Robotics Fest, dubbed the "Jingle Bell Rockin' Robots," will be held on Dec 9., from 3-6 p.m. in the Gooding Patio, the science rooms and the Scripps Lecture Hall on the Lower School campus.

Organizers have created this time for the robotics teams on both campuses to celebrate one another!
•    The WARLords will demonstrate their robot Ivan and Feador the mini-bot.
•    The US students will hold a tournamant for the FLL (First Lego League).
•    The Jr. FLL will showcase their creations.  
•    We will have a buddy build, teaming up builders from all the divisions at Parker.

In addition to all things robotics, pizza and lemonade will be available to the students and teachers involved.  Come join the fun!

Halloween Costume Collection

This new initiative continues through this Friday, Dec. 2, with the first-ever sale taking place next September.  If you have costumes your children won't be using, you're welcome to bring them to the boxes by the Lower School office.

 Lower School Menu, Nov 28-Dec 2, 2011 

Mon.                Quesadillas
                        Southwestern Corn
                        Pb & j, Chicken Salad Sandwich On Wheat Bread
                        Garden Salad
                        Albondigas Soup
                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt
                        Lemon Agua Fresca                         

Tues.                Sweet & Sour Meatballs Over Steamed Rice
                        Snap Peas
                        Pb & j, Tuna Salad Sandwich On Wheat Bread
                        Garden Salad
                        Wonton Soup
                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt
                        Lemon Agua Fresca  

Wed.                Fish Sandwich
                        Tater Tots
                        Pb & j, Turkey Sandwich On Wheat Bread
                        Garden Salad
                        Vegetarian Tomato Zucchini Soup
                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt
                        Lemon Agua Fresca                         

Thurs.              Corn Dogs & Vegetarian Dogs
                        Sweet Potatoes
                        Pb & j
                        Garden Salad
                        Vegetarian Cream Of Corn Soup
                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt
                        Lemon Agua Fresca  

Fri.                   Baked Chicken
                        Mashed Potatoes
                        Honey Glazed Baby Carrots
                        Pb & j, Egg Salad Sandwich On Wheat Bread
                        Garden Salad
                        Vegetarian Yankee Bean Soup
                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt
                        Lemon Agua Fresca

 Thoughts to Ponder

In light of our upcoming book fair, the case for reading to your children:

Just 20 minutes a day reading aloud with young children strengthens relationships, encourages listening and language skills, promotes attention and curiosity, and establishes a strong reading foundation. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.

It takes hundreds of hours of “lap time” for a child to acquire the pre-literacy skills necessary for learning to read early and well.  From birth to age five, the pleasant activity of listening to and talking about stories trains a child's brain, ears, and eyes for eventual success in learning to read.

“The early years set the stage for later learning…the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

Once a child begins to read, it is essential to continue reading aloud together. Like other skills, reading is mastered over time, with lots of practice, and with the help of another person. There is practically no way to do it wrong, but there are ways to do it better. The routine of sharing books together creates lifelong readers.

The magic of this process is the simplicity of action. Any adult can do it, in just about any place, with little or no expense. It doesn't matter what language is spoken. Non-reading parents can make up stories to go with the illustrations. The essential elements are scheduled time with books and a positive attitude!

Make reading together the most important - and happiest - 20 minutes of your day!

For more information, follow this link to the Children's Reading Foundation.

Posted by on Friday November, 25, 2011 at 09:11AM


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As Head of the Lower School and member of the Parker administrative team, Dr. Gillingham is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Mission Hills campus. In addition to overseeing curriculum and instruction, Bob also works closely with the school's Parents' Association in coordinating parent volunteers and campus activities. He also... Read more.

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San Diego, CA 92103
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