Monday, September 27, 2010

Aristy's morning class- working and celebrating!

Last week we celebrated another big year 5! For Dylan's birthday we had some tasty crepes- YUM. Kids also worked hard washing dishes and cleaning-up. Here, Louis, Caroline, Havana and Ainsley have some wet fun while getting things done.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Week Back Birthday Bash

We are back to school at La Petite Etoile and we kicked-off the first week with two birthdays! Sadie and Jamie Choo celebrated turning five by gobbling up crepes with bananas and brown sugar. As you can see, we didn't forget the candle. Joyeaux Anniversaire Sadie and Jamie!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Camps at LPE

Yesterday we wrapped-up our third week of great summer camps. Each week a new teacher joined me and we offered three very different programs and served kids from ages 3 to 12. Diverse groups that blended together wonderfully. It is always a pleasure to see how children in a multi-age setting reach out to one another and have fun while doing it.

Our first week of camp was La Semaine des Animaux. Kate Russell joined me and a dozen plus kids for a week of animal fun. Each day a new animal came to school, including Pong the rabbit, Lydia the lizard, several chickens and Jacques and Pierre the miniature goats. Also, Jean-Luc, the goldfish stayed on for the whole week. A great big "MERCI" to the Krikawas and the Sweets for sharing their much loved critters with us. Find lots of photos of Animal Camp on our new facebook page- La Petite Etoile French School.

Our second week of camp was a Une Semaine de Theatre. Assia joined me and 12 kids ages 5 to 12 for a fun week of songs, dancing, set/prop building and acting. On the final day the kids performed La Petite Chenille Qui Avait Tres Faim (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). As usual, they did a marvelous job, had tons of fun, and they did it all in French! Throughout the performance, we served the audience a meal consisting of everything that the caterpillar ate on her journey to becoming a butterfly. Hopefully without the dreaded "mal au ventre" experienced by the our insect friend. Here is a clip of the little caterpillar waking-up on Wednesday to gobble-up three plums.

Above, Isabelle is dressed in French provencial top and skirt.

For LPE's third week of camp we had guest teacher Veronique Proietto join us for French Week. Each day a new theme- la Tour Eiffel et Paris, castles, Impressionist painting, and pirates and mermaids. Veronique's enthusiastic presentation captured the energy of everyone as we build castles out of cardboard, searched for treasure, and created out own impressionistic masterpieces.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Le Petit Chaperon Rouge et Ses Amis

La Petite Etoile's spring program combined the preschoolers with LPE's after school French students to present Le Petit Chaperon Rouge et Ses Amis (Little Red Riding Hood and her Friends).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Flashback to September

Last fall we welcomed Kate to our LPE Family- and how lucky we are. A good game of chase is one of the reasons we love her so much!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Parent Must-Read (if you haven't yet)

Social_Studies_Old.jpg (39633 bytes)
A few months back, a mother of one of my students was telling me about this great book she was reading about parenting. She mentioned a few of the topics including; praise, lying, tattling, and race. I mentioned it to my "much more in tune to the world outside of Vashon Island" husband Brian, and he of course knew exactly what I was talking about, "Oh yeah, Nurture Shock, I read that praise article." The original article that author Po Bronson wrote, How Not to Talk to Your Kids; The Inverse Power of Praise, was published in New York Magazine in February of 2007 and had such an impact that Mr. Bronson went on to collaborate with Ashley Merryman and write an entire book filled with all kinds of findings relating to what parenting has become in today's America.

So, I got online and reserved a copy at the Vashon library, discovering sheepishly that hundreds of others were doing the same. And some months later, here I am having just completed the first chapter, which happens to be The Inverse Power of Praise.

In high school, I remember sitting in the stands at a basketball game with one of our visiting French students. She was struck by all of the praise being shouted out onto the court and in her lovely French accent asked, "Why are they yelling, "Good job!" when he didn't even make the basket? I don't think it was very good job." This was the first time I started thinking about praise and what it really means. Years later, when I was teaching high school, I had a strange experience with a student questioning why I hadn't praised her for remembering to bring her work to class, "Aren't ya gonna say I did a good job? ". She not only expected me to say "Good job" for something that was expected regularly of every student in the class, but she seemed to need it. In the moment, I congratulated her accomplishment, but the incident has remained with me for years, understanding that in some instances, society has created children (and adults) that require regular pats on the back for regular everyday deeds.

As a parent and a teacher, meaningful praise that focuses on effort and builds confidence is fundamental and fostering the enjoyment of learning rather than the reward of praise a daily goal. Nurture Shock's first chapter is a great read that reinforces these ideas and reminds us how to implement them - find it online at, or order the book Nurture Shock New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman at your favorite bookshop. Also, follow the Nurture Shock phenomenon at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blast Off!

Last week Mary's class wrapped-up their space unit with full-on astronaut costumes and a launch into space. Above, Sabine shows us her silvery space suit, decorated with glittery stars and moons. Below, Connor prepares for "3, 2, 1, d├ęcollage!"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Playing with Clay

Playing with clay or in this case homemade salt dough is one of our most popular table activities at La Petite Etoile. Kids squash, roll, press and pile their play clay into all kinds of shapes using their imaginations and creativity, while their brain is soaking in the cause and effect that results from the movements of their fingers. Their little hand muscles (and sometimes whole body muscles) get a workout, providing a fun way to strengthen small motor skills while finding satisfaction in the process. Our big kids like it too, in fact when its out on the tables we teachers find ourselves squeezing the soft stuff right along side the little ones.

For more on clay play check out this article by Marvin Bartel
Clay for Toddlers and Preschoolers How and Why?