Annual Events Calendar

September

Personality Bags/Bolsas de Personalidad: Each child is encouraged to bring a bag containing three things for sharing which represent his or her interests. We make a huge chart describing their individual interests for the school community to read. This is a way to learn about them and to validate who they are.

My Summer: At the beginning of the school year each child brings in photos or items that have something to do with his or her summer. All the summer memories are displayed on our social studies table and children can share their experiences during their small group time.

October

Nuestras Familias: Each child is encouraged to bring photos of his or her family to display, along with a description of the family in the child's words. All the photos of all the families are viewed together in a main part of the school.

Rosh Hashanah: To celebrate the Jewish New Year, children bake Challah bread, dip apples in honey for a sweet new year, and write a wish list. Sometimes parents present a special group.

Halloween Celebrations: Art projects, music and stories with the central theme of Halloween are explored with the children. Children, teachers and parents work together to build a Fun House decorated with children's original art work, filled with the sounds of their voices recorded on an audio tape, in the school's stage area. We keep the lights on so that the children can admire their work and feel safe. These activities culminate with an in-costume parade, accompanied by live music, around the block with the children, teachers and the children's families.

November

Dia de los Muertos: This is a Pre-Colombian holiday celebrated in Mexico and in parts of Latin America that honors the dead in a festive way. We encourage children to bring in a photo or special item of a relative, friend or pet who has died. This is a good time to talk about lifelines, memories and traditions. Children bake pan de muerto and take a field trip to Encantada Galleria to view a Dia de los Muertos exhibit.

Friendship Soup: For our Thanksgiving celebration, we honor the contributions of Native Americans through our storytelling project. We also ask each child to bring in a vegetable for our Friendship Soup which is prepared by the children with the teachers. We add stones to the soup as illustrated in the very old tale Stone Soup. We serve the soup in a Friendship Circle on the floor where the children, parents and teachers hold hands and think of the people who take care of them. The children take great pride in this cooking and sharing activity. Children also help in making Original Pumpkin Pie in a pumpkin with healthful ingredients.

December

Chanukah, La Posada, Kwanzaa, Divali, Winter Solstice: Nonreligious presentations of holidays that celebrate light as days get shorter in winter are central to group time presentations in December. Parents in the school community are essential to these presentations.

Winter Celebration: To conclude the fall semester, the school prepares for a winter celebration which includes creation of stage sets and costumes, dramatic storytelling and music. The children's work culminates in a winter performance of their stories to live music on the school stage. The Winter Fairy makes an appearance to present a book to each child. The event is concluded with a pot-luck lunch provided by parents and teachers.

January

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday: In conjunction with Black History Month, the children celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with the retelling of the Rosa Parks story, discussion of important contributions made by African Americans and activities that help children understand civil rights.

February

Lunar New Year Celebration: To celebrate the Lunar New Year, children collectively make a dragon, cook vegetarian wontons, and participate in special group presentations about the Lunar New Year. The celebrations culminate in a Red Day parade around the block, in which children take turns carrying the dragon.

Valentine's Day Party: Children exchange cards with friends and teachers through the Buen Dia Mail Box and bake healthy snacks.

March

Mentor's Day: Children celebrate Mentor's Day by bringing in photographs and stories about people who are important mentors in their lives. This is an opportunity for children to share the different kinds of work people around them do and how it is important to them. These photos and stories are displayed for everyone to read.

April

Earth Day: The Earth Day celebration is an opportunity for the children to learn about the environment around them, and to learn how and why they need to take care of it. The highlight for many children is the collective Pollution Tank--an aquarium filled with water and garbage that the children find on their way to school during the month. This activity raises their awareness of litter, the need to recycle, and the effect of pollution on our water system. Throughout the year children use the designated bins for recycling and composting.

Spring Egg Hunt: Children create baskets from recycled materials, and fill them with healthful foods.

Me Books: This is a small booklet individualized for each child with statements about name, age, height, weight, address, fingerprints, names of friends and a string attached to the page signifying how tall the child is.

Slide Ranch Field Trip: Each year, the children take a day field trip to the Slide Ranch, located along the coast of California. This is an opportunity for the children to have an experience on a sustainable, organic ranch--complete with goats, chickens, ducks, compost worms, and an organic vegetable garden.

May

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Parents' Appreciation Breakfast: In lieu of Mother's Day and Father's Day, we celebrate all parents in the Parents' Appreciation Breakfast. In preparation, the children sew or paint aprons to wear while serving breakfast to their parents. They also write or draw menus, prepare and cook food, and set and decorate tables. The children are enthusiastic to wait on their parents, and feel so proud to be able to serve the food.

June

Graduation: Every year the school year concludes with an elaborate graduation ceremony for all the children. In addition to receiving diplomas, a collection of their stories and drawings and a long stem rose for graduation, the children put on a performance for their parents and relatives. The sets and stage props are designed by the children based on their ideas. The children are encouraged to perform stories that they have previously dictated to a teacher, accompanied by live music. The stories, written down exactly as the child tells it, are directed and edited by the child/author.

Birthdays

Children's birthdays are also celebrated at school. Each child is encouraged to bake his or her own cake at school. There are always many enthusiastic helpers on these occasions. These cakes are made with low sugar content and sometimes have cream cheese toppings with individual decorations such as leaves. Children are encouraged to give a book to the school for all to enjoy, rather than bringing individual gifts for classmates.

See the 2016–2017 School Calendar.