Redwoods 9 Sep 2017 – Class Newsletter Week 1, 2017-2018

Listen. Learn. Know.

Redwoods Togetherness

Let’s Get it Started

Community at TKG
Exploring Our Space

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Wow. “Week 1: Redwoods” is already in the books. I posted to Shutterfly some moments from our first week together, and when I typed that in (Week 1: Redwoods), I got chills. We are on our way. It will be a year of laughter, love, challenges, frustrations…. All in the name of growth. How lucky we are to be on the journey together. This week we focused on reconnecting with each other and getting to know our new space. We also took some time to set personal goals and discuss our classroom Bill of Rights. It is feeling good to have so much space and so many options to make the room fit whatever it is we are working on. It is a work in progress and I’m excited to see how the Redwoods make it truly their own.

I’d like to take a minute to welcome Nicolette, our Co-Teacher, to our family! She has brought a wonderfully creative, supportive and artistic energy to our space, and I look forward to growing with her this year.

As some of you will be working in the classroom beginning this week, please take a moment to read the Alfie Kohn article on “Good Job” (PT section, pink button). It will help you get comfortable with finding language (other than good job!) that is authentic to you. Friendly reminder, new families: please stay for the first hour of field day on Monday.

To take care of some housekeeping, I am hoping to minimize the amount of paper towels we use for various needs. If you have any rags laying around or old towels that can be cut up, I’d appreciate a classroom donation to make a “rags bag.” Just put them in a bag and have your student bring them to class. Additionally, I know there was some confusion about classroom supplies. A personal list is outlined below in the “Tending the Garden” section. Thank you so much for your support and flexibility.

In Gratitude,

Jill Vengerik, Lead Teacher
Nicolette Rodriguez, Co-Teacher
Lena Garcia, Head of Education – Teacher Mentor
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Shannon Minor, Board President
Facebook (private group), Community Forum
Shutterfly Site: photo archive
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XQ Super School LIVE
The XQ Project is re-thinking high school…and there are some notable people supporting the movement. Watch the special, here.


  • Personal Supply Lists. Please download this list and prepare with your sprouts…as soon as soon as you can, without stressing.
  • Tech Donations We are now accepting computer and tablet (bluetooth keyboards are a plus) donations. Tax-deductible as allowed by IRS code. Please give them to Trish Valdez at drop-off.
  • Student Forms. Be sure to complete these forms immediately (click the heading to get to the form):


PT Retreat, Sat Sep 9-1pm. All PTs must attend as this is an important relationship building opportunity plus this is our time to get all of your jobs and committees organized for the year. Please bring your binders (returning families)! New families will get their binders.

  • ECHO Parenting Class, Tue Sep 26 7-9pm. @ TKG, facilitated by Renee Dokmanovich (click to reach her directly). Class meets for 6 consecutive Tuesdays, September 26th through November 7th. Class will not be held on the Tuesday of October 31st.
Read: 5 Reasons to stop saying GOOD JOB


  • Tuition Invoices, PAST DUE. Please pay your tuition immediately. Late fees will be assessed beginning Monday.
  • TKG Camping Trip, Oct. Save the Date. More details to follow, we’re scheduled to go to El Capitan State Beach in Goleta (Santa Barbara).
  • Large Truck Volunteer. Contact Trish if you can do either:
    • take 2 giant TVs to hazardous waste drop off
    • drop off a large easel, in Venice
SIGN UP: After-School Care
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In Education News: Brain Science
TKG Focus: BRAIN SCIENCE. Intuition tells us that priming kids to expect rewards for good behavior can harm their social skills in the long term. Yet, it is difficult to unlearn some of the things we were raised on – that’s why we offer monthly meetings, workshops and office hours – we can help you shift perspectives!

Against the Sticker Chart

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After working with thousands of families over my years as a family psychologist, I’ve found that one of the most common predicaments parents face is how to get kids to do what they’re asked. And one of the most common questions parents ask is about tools they can use to help them achieve this goal.

One such tool is the sticker chart, a type of behavior-modification system in which children receive stickers in exchange for desired behaviors like brushing their teeth, cleaning their room, or doing their homework. Kids can later “spend” their accrued stickers on prizes, outings, and treats.

Though data on how widely sticker charts are used (and when and why they became so popular) is difficult to find, anecdotal evidence suggests that these charts have become fairly commonplace in American parenting. Google searches for “sticker chart,” “chore chart,” and “reward chart” collectively return more than 1 million results. Amazon has more than 1,300 combined product results for the same searches. Reddit, too, is teeming with forums for parents asking each other about the merits of the charts and discussing specific strategies.

It’s easy to see how busy parents would be drawn to sticker charts’ ability to produce quick results. With the right incentives and structure, the system can be an effective way to get kids in the habit of brushing their teeth, for example, or unpacking their school bags.

The problem with sticker charts and similar reward systems is not that they don’t work. Sticker charts are powerful psychological tools, and they can go beyond affecting children’s motivation to influence their mindset and even affect their relationship with parents…

READ MORE @TheAtlantic


© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2017 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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