CDI Vaccination Clinic at the Canoga Park Early Learning Center
We are excited to share about the amazing work that the Child Development Institute (CDI) is doing here in the Valley! On Monday we were proud to partner with CDI at their Early Learning Center in Canoga Park again, this time for their COVID-19 vaccine clinic. While kiddos and their families were waiting for their vaccine, we provided a fun bracelet craft to keep them busy and it was a hit!
If you’re not aware of CDI’s amazing programs and Early Learning Center facilities, now is a great time to check them out. CDI has two beautiful locations; one in Canoga Park, and a brand new facility in Reseda. Each location features an indoor playground and lots of great services for families. From the CDI website: “We partner with trained volunteers and community groups to offer a variety of programs to strengthen families. Children and parents enjoy programs such as reading groups, nutrition classes, nature clubs, parenting workshops and more. Through the power of play, parents and children have fun developing the skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.”
Take a look at what CDI has to offer, learn about their locations and how to make a play reservation, and check out their website here. We hope to see you at a playdate soon!
CWC West Valley: Behind the Doors
We are excited to share this video that showcases the incredible staff here at CWC West Valley.
Our highly trained staff are deeply committed to building the relationships and connections needed to create a learning community that supports each child’s academic, intellectual and social emotional needs, allowing students to flourish. Simply put, they are our “secret sauce” and the reason our students love learning at CWC West Valley.
Sit back, relax and enjoy! A special thanks to the incredible Shapiro family for creating this video.
CWC and the Ted Lasso Way
When I first heard the murmurs about Ted Lasso, Apple TV’s breakout comedy hit, it barely made a blip on my viewing radar. The simple premise — a small-time American football coach from Kansas hired to coach a premiere English soccer league — sounded cute but not my bag. When people started raving about it and every single one of my friends said they LOVED it with full caps and an abundance of exclamation points, I felt compelled to see what all the fuss was about. The first episode left me feeling lukewarm. By the end of the second episode, I went full binge. By the last episode, I was smiling through happy tears while riding a wave of Lasso love.
But for me, the show resonates on a more profound level than simple fandom. It confirms my belief that sending my children to Citizen’s of the World, a public charter school that fully embraces the Lasso way in its commitment to inclusion and social-emotional learning, is perhaps one of the best decisions I’ll ever make as a parent.
Bold statement I know, but I’m convinced that If you can teach children how to navigate the complexity of their emotions early on, you are not only setting them up for success but also encouraging them to approach success and “winning” from a different perspective.
In an early episode Ted says to a cynical reporter, “For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.” This philosophy is the heart of the show and why people have embraced it with such rapture. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a funny show and the stellar performances by Sudeikis and his supporting cast are pitch-perfect, but that’s not why people love Ted Lasso. I believe they love it because it’s a show about love, empathy, and compassion. What it truly means to love your fellow man. Ted loves people, selflessly, tirelessly, and without ego even when they make it clear they have no love for him. His commitment to coaching and coaxing every person who crosses his orbit to embrace social-emotional development and a growth mindset is glorious to behold. While watching it you can’t help but wonder what a world full of Ted Lassos or little Ted Lassos would look like. After a year full of fear, divisiveness, and a deadly virus, the idea of someone spreading unconditional love feels almost revolutionary.
Ted’s not perfect by any means. He is the definition of fallible, but watching him navigate his emotions is admirable. When he loses his temper he apologizes with sincerity. When Rebecca, his boss, (SPOILER ALERT) confesses that she hired him hoping he would fail, he allows himself a moment to process and then forgives her, truly forgives her. It’s a shocking moment for Rebecca and the audience. Most people, or rather most adults, were never given the skill set to process and regulate their emotions in such a healthy, mature way, so watching a quiet scene about forgiveness in a world saturated with conflict on and off the screen can feel topsy-turvy.
Fortunately, the old ways of emotional arrested development are shifting as schools like CWC step up and commit to the whole child approach to education versus an old school concentration on strict academics.
I will admit I was skeptical when I first heard CWC pitch their philosophy. Whole child approach? Social-emotional learning? I couldn’t help question if this was just a slick marketing tool in a shiny brochure and business as usual in the actual classroom, but overseeing my children’s virtual education this past year has made me a believer.
From week to week, I’ve listened to CWC teachers not only teach classes dedicated solely to SEL, but I’ve also seen it integrated directly into lessons and curriculum. I’ve also witnessed the results. From frustration and anger to sadness and joy, my children label their feelings with ease and can communicate their needs in ways they weren’t able to articulate before. When they see unkind behavior, they are quick to point it out. Depending on the situation, they are learning to apologize as well as forgive and forget. Not always and not always with ease but the seed has been planted and will continue to grow along with their brains.
Like Ted Lasso, CWC believes in coaching their students to be the best versions of themselves in and out of the classroom, and as a parent, that is a goal I’m thrilled to stand up and cheer for.
This post was written by Kristine Eckert. Kristine is a writer, unscripted television producer/director and the proud mama of two CWC West Valley unicorns.
How to use a simple Self Hypnosis Technique to Tame Your Anxiety
In the video below, I share a process that you can start with any time, anywhere that can bring a sense of calm when you need it most:
This post was written by Sabrina Bolin, Spiritual Life Coach and Hypnotherapist who created the “3C Cycle of Change” to guide others in their quest to shift down anxiety, connect to their inner wisdom, and strengthen their emotional resiliency to create a more meaningful experience in life (learn more about her work at http://sabrinabolin.com/). When not working, she loves hanging with her cool kid, a magical CWCWV Unicorn.
The Healing Power of Celebrating Black Excellence and Joy
When the month of February began, I never imagined that it would be a defining moment for our family. Life was moving as usual (in pandemic mode, of course)… then it happened: Black History Month Celebration at CWC West Valley…
My ears perked up when I heard our daughter’s amazing first grade teacher announce that “we’re studying Black history because it’s American history, it’s world history, it’s human history”. She explained that we study it all year long and that we have a special month to highlight the many accomplishments of Black Americans in our society and world. I loved this framing.
The school celebration of Black History has become a transformative, uplifting and inspiring experience for our family.
As a biracial family, my husband and I are very intentional about the kinds of messages our children receive at home related to who they are, where they come from and what they are capable of in life.
From day one of the Black History Celebration at school, our daughter has been so fascinated with studying the lives of Black scientists, inventors, artists, leaders, teachers, activists, mathematicians, astronauts, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs and the list goes on.
That night, I ordered a bunch of new books for our family to enjoy. As each shipment arrived, our girl squealed in delight, hugging her new books and immediately jumping into reading more about the inspiring lives of beautiful and brilliant Black people from history and present time. Our daughter is so inspired and excited about what she’s learning that she sleeps with her Black Studies books all around her.
Every day we learn about a Black genius who has had a positive impact in our society and world. With every story, our daughter sees more and more possibility for her own creativity, talent and excellence to shine.
As a family, we are all learning together as we continue celebrating the ancestors and honoring the inspiring lineage of Black Excellence and Joy that has shaped our nation and world.
It’s an absolute joy to watch our precious girl sing and dance to Beyoncé’s “brown skin girl” twirling with delight, celebrating her own existence and honoring all who have come before.
We are witnessing our child’s identity development being positively shaped by all that she’s learning at school and at home. Her worldview is expanding. Her knowledge is building. Her role models are growing. Her dreams are getting bigger. Her pride in her African American roots is deepening. Her grounded knowledge of who she is, where she comes from and what she’s capable of continues to be inspired and nourished with every story of Black Excellence and Joy we learn.
With all the pain of injustice in our society, celebrating Black Excellence and Joy has been deeply healing and affirming for our family… I would hope for others as well.
Thank you CWC West Valley. We will always remember that our daughter’s love and passion for Black Studies blossomed here.
This post was written by Laura McMullin, PhD – an educator and consultant who is passionate about healing, wellbeing and transformation on an individual and collective level. She and her husband Ian have a 1st grader at CWC West Valley and a preschooler who will join the CWC family soon.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Today we celebrated the Lunar New Year, virtually of course. We were lucky enough to get the Immortals Lion Dance Company to explain the meaning of the lunar new year, as well as demonstrate some martial arts and perform a lion dance for us. In case you missed it, CLICK HERE for the very special performance!
You may be wondering, what does the lunar new year mean? Well, western cultures, such as ours in the United States, follow a solar calendar. Our days, weeks, months and years change according to the sun. Ancient civilizations from the East followed a lunar or lunisolar calendar, which is a combination of the phases of the moon and the placement of the sun. A new month begins with a new moon, with a full moon happening on the 15th day. A lunar calendar usually runs 29 or 30 days which is why the dates on a lunar calendar changes every year! Many Asian cultures use the lunar calendar system including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese.
An animal is also assigned to each year on the lunar calendar. This year, we celebrate the Year of the Ox. According to one ancient legend, the Emperor of China organized a race for all the animals, and the first twelve to finish the race would be assigned a year. In order, the 12 Chinese horoscope animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
Since the Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese culture, it is a time for families to get together (virtually this year!) and to participate in a few of these traditions:
- Putting up decorations that include red paper lanterns and signs with poems or lucky sayings. Red is considered a lucky color in the Chinese culture.
- Chinese New Year Eve is the most special time for families to gather for a feast! Traditional foods to eat include dumplings (to represent wealth, in the form of a golden nugget), sticky sweet rice cake, fish, noodle and fruit.
- Children are given lucky red envelopes with money enclosed.
We hope that you celebrate the lunar new year safely with your family and loved ones!
This post was written by Emmy Chang Del Greco. Emmy is a founding parent at CWC West Valley and a mom to 2 Unicorns.
We did it! CWC West Valley celebrated its FIRST DAY EVER on Monday, August 24th, 2020. It’s a day that I will forever remember.
As most people know, this summer was spent in planning and more planning. At times it has felt like a roller coaster– just when we thought we had it all figured out, things changed. I woke up early Monday morning excited for our Opening Ceremony, only to receive a text at 6:00 am from my Business Manager letting me know that Zoom was having an issue. Of course it was! But over the next hour, our team did what it always does. They remained calm, jumped in to help, worked together quickly to problem solve various solutions, laughed (sometimes that’s all you can do!), put on their Superhero costumes and faced the day. In that moment it felt like I couldn’t have chosen a better theme for our Opening Ceremony- Superheroes!
Our entire staff showed up to Day 1 of school dressed as Superheroes. Why? Because they are and because we hoped the theme would resonate with our youngest students– our four, five and six year olds, many of whom are starting school for the very first time under extraordinary circumstances.
A superhero is someone who possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who use their powers to help the world become a better place. And, that’s exactly what we do here at CWC. We learn about who we are, what our unique gifts are and how we can make a difference in the world. We train hard each and every day to become the best version of ourselves and to be change makers.
Each and every one of us has a unique gift, a power that makes us a Superhero. And not just one gift, but many. Sometimes we know what our gifts are but usually we need help discovering them and then learning how to use them for good– to make the world a better place.
Our teaching staff spent the week sharing their superhero power with students! And during the school year, they will work with students to discover their superpowers and to create new ones too! This year they will learn how to:
- Make friends
- Be patient and kind
- Try new things
- Not give up, even when something is really, really hard
- Stand up for others
- Become strong readers and writes
- Create expressive art and make music
- Take care of your bodies to be healthy and move
And SO much more!
Our first day of school was dedicated to ALL the superheroes in the world; our teachers, our parents, and all the helpers that work so hard each and every day to keep us safe and make the world a better place.
What are charter schools?
What IS a charter school anyway? I get asked this question all the time, even by friends and family. My first answer is always that charter schools are public schools created by states to serve the public. Like other public schools, charter schools are funded using public dollars based on the number of children enrolled. That’s why they are free.
The way I explain how charter schools are different is that while they are tuition-free public schools, they are independently run and more autonomous in exchange for being held accountable for student achievement. Also, anyone who lives in the state of California may apply to a charter school. It’s not just open to families who live in a school’s boundaries.
How are charter schools held accountable for achievement? Charter schools have to go up for renewal every few years. That means if their authorizer determines they are not doing well by their students, they can vote to close the school. Authorizers supervise and hold charter schools accountable. Our authorizer is the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Los Angeles Unified school board member for our district also represents our students and is responsible for making decisions that are in the best interest of all public school students, including CWC West Valley’s. The current school board member for our district is Scott Schmerelson.
Charter schools are required to teach the California Common Core State Standards, but our teachers have more flexibility over how to teach them. We also have more freedom on how to allocate our resources. In the simplest of terms, being an independent charter school means that we have more choice and decision-making power over our budget, staffing, our teaching philosophy and curriculum.
Inevitably, the next question that follows is, “are your teachers credentialed?”
YES, our teachers are fully credentialed (it’s the law!). Our Founding Teaching staff have an average of 10 years of teaching experience and are fully credentialed, which is a requirement for teachers who deliver core content. They are a diverse group with extensive experience across various elements of our model and a team that is deeply committed to our core values.
Enrollment in charter schools has grown by 62 percent, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In 43 states and DC, nearly 2.9 million students now attend charter schools— representing more than 6 percent of all public school students nationwide.
And charter schools are producing strong student results: 15 out of 16 recent studies show charter school students are outperforming their traditional school peers and showing the strongest improvement levels for underserved student populations. We are proud that our own school model has a demonstrated track record of academic success. Charters across the nation also distinguished themselves during the campus closures due to the pandemic by serving their students well. Here’s a recent article about how charters pivoted quickly and provided more stable and productive learning environments for their students.