Valuable Insight

Day2-02After four glorious days with our 5th grade students and parents in Williamsburg, Virginia, it became very apparent to me that this and our other educational trips offer much more than one would suspect. They are most certainly one of the best ways Day 1 IMG_5167for our children to learn about early American history.  The lively reenactments, interactive battles, hands-on and engaging tours, and even an evening of learning proper Colonial dancing in authentic attire give our students a true understanding of important historical events and traditions that helped shape the past. Learning about our past can give us great insight to events and happenings of today.  While the challenges and tribulations may have been different there are universal lessons that withstand the span of time on prejudice, tolerance, and acceptance of differences and much more.  Our children can learn valuable lessons by studying the attitudes and behaviors of the past.

As the United States becomes a more culturally and ethnically diverse nation, our schools need to teach children how to218 interact in a diverse environment. There is a richness that comes from students and parents working, playing, and learning side by side with others who are not of the same cookie-cutter mold.

As I sat back and examined our large group of over 130 students and parents on the trip, it was wonderful to see the blending of cultures and nationalities. The students and parents on the 5th grade trip were made up of a diverse population representing at least four or five different nationalities or ethnicities.  Many deep bonds were formed on this trip.  Several parents remarked about how wonderful it was to develop an understanding of the perspectives of children and parents from different 350backgrounds and how this experience afforded them this valuable opportunity.  As our world becomes “smaller and smaller,” it is so important for our children to learn to thrive in a multicultural, multiethnic environment. Parents and educators play a huge role in modeling inclusivity with children and can create an environment where there is respect and a celebration of all!

By Cindy Moon

Head of School

Hurray for Our Veterans!

_mg_0391Outfitted in red, white and blue, students in K-4 through grade six expressed their pride in our country and our veterans through songs, their own poetry, poignant letters of _dsc5223thanks to veterans, and much more during our annual Veterans Day assembly.  Our distinguished veteran guests were visibly touched and proud to be recognized and appreciated with such respect and honor. They are true heroes to our precious children!

With all the negative hype about politics and our country’s economic woes, it’s refreshing to see that love and pride for our country is alive and well at Park Maitland School!

One of the main goals of education is to help our children become contributing members of society. Part of that involves instilling a sense of patriotism. To be patriotic means to take pride in, be loyal to, and support your country. When people feel this, the country is more prosperous, citizens help others, _dsc5390and there is a strong sense of community. It provides safety, teaches children to share with and respect others, and makes the country a better place in which to live.

Our school provides many opportunities for our students to learn respect and love of our country and the value of service and leadership in their greater communities. _mg_0343Each day the entire school recites the Pledge of Allegiance and sings patriotic songs. Our departmentalized program allows time for our outstanding social studies teachers to provide students with rich opportunities to learn the history of our great country and how it affects current events of today.                   _mg_0086Our “Honored Elders” students visit local retirement homes to connect with the older generation. They share stories and learn about the past — how things have changed — and they gain a newfound understanding and respect for _dsc5441the contributions that our grandparents and previous generations have made.

In keeping with tradition, this upcoming week our fifth grade class will enjoy a four-day trip to Williamsburg, Virginia.  They will “travel back in time” to see and participate in historical reenactments, visit old forts and museums, and, clad in traditional Colonial costumes, they will take part in an evening of _mg_0077feasting on authentic foods and enjoying some traditional Williamsburg ballroom dancing!  What better way for our students to learn firsthand about our country’s founding fathers and traditions! Be on the lookout for daily “reports” from our fifth grade explorers about their adventures in Colonial Williamsburg this week! I cannot wait to enjoy this special memory with them!



Cindy Moon

Head of School


From the jack o’ lantern contest in October to the “big sixth grade show” at the end of the year, traditions have long been a mainstay of the Park Maitland experience. Traditions are everywhere in the culture of our school, including the curriculum itself. As the sixth grade English teacher, I love teaching diagramming, which has been a part of the curriculum since I was a student at Park Maitland myself 26 years ago. I fondly recall diagramming with my 5th and 6th grade ESW teacher, Mrs. Rolph, and I am so proud to carry on the tradition with my own students.

For some people, however, who did not grow up learning how to diagram, the practice can seem enigmatic. Oftentimes I have parents or new students ask me what the purpose is.  What indeed?

Well, I believe diagramming sentences is one of the most valuable tools I have for teaching grammar. It allows students to see sentences in a different way—as a picture made up of parts that create the whole. For visual learners, especially, it just makes sense. I teach diagramming in conjunction with lessons on nouns, compound sentences, and subordinate clauses, and when students see how the words literally fit together, their understanding of grammar deepens.erica2

Moreover, to make a simple analogy, diagramming is the map for someone who is lost and needs directions. Though some individuals prefer written directions — turn left onto 50, then right at Mills — others prefer seeing a picture. I try to provide my students with both ways of arriving at a destination by having them copy and practice grammar rules and also diagram sentences. By teaching the two in conjunction, students have a stronger foundation upon which to build their understanding of the English language. Their sentence structure improves as does their writing. It is simple and effective.

Hi, Mrs. Keckley,

I hope everything is good at Park Maitland. I miss   you so much! Lunch is so boring without you. Thanks to you, I’m acing English (with an 100 average right now!!!). I miss the daily diagrams. I will come visit soon!


Alexis H.

Class of 2014

Plus, it’s fun. In my class students diagram a sentence every day from the Smartboard. Through constant repetition, they begin to recognize prepositional phrases, appositives, and possessive pronouns. When students diagram a sentence correctly, they shoot a basket. The first time students make a basket, they take a victory lap around the classroom, high-fiving their classmates and basking in their achievement. It is a definite highlight!erica1

I love that Park Maitland is constantly improving upon its curriculum with technology and the inclusion of current research on best teaching practices, and I am also glad that they value tradition and maintaining tried and true methods that have been taught forever. Here’s to many more years of diagramming!

By Erica Keckley

Grade 6 English, Spelling, and Writing Teacher

Stranger Danger!

img_7384It’s been such an exciting week of seasonal celebrations here at Park Maitland!  From our annual Halloween Pumpkin Decorating Contest… to the K-4/K-5 Carnival and Parade… to our 1st and 6th grade “Jelly Fudge Friends” celebration in the park… it was a week _dsc4587of collaborative fun, creativity, and community spirit!  We had over 100 pumpkin entries this year; the highest number ever!  Halloween is an especially enjoyable holiday for children and adults alike! (I’m sure that you saw Mrs. Moon Ghost and friends along with the Ghostbusters around campus, too!) It’s a time to be out in the community trick or treating and showing off our costumes and meeting and interacting with others.  It’s also an important time to remind our children about “stranger danger.”

We spend a lot of time teaching our children to be confident and kind to others at school and in the community.  Yet, stranger safety is also a focus. We know that our students, for the most part, can communicate articulately _dsc4656(1)with people they meet in most situations.  However, it is important that they learn how to stay safe, be smart, and protect themselves from strangers. The single most important thing to remember when teaching children about stranger danger is to instill confidence, rather than fear. You want to equip children with the knowledge and strategies they will need to protect themselves in dangerous situations. Also, keep your own child’s age and maturity level in mind and base lessons upon that.

One suggestion that can be taught to children of all ages is to become “Password Smart.”  This idea was proposed by Kidsmart, an online safety advice site provided by a northern school system. It teaches a simple strategy that can be used by any img_0157child if they are approached by someone that they do not know.  Example: A stranger approached an 8 year old boy and asked him to come with him. The stranger told the boy that something had happened, and his mom had sent him to pick up her son. The boy asked the stranger for the PASSWORD and used the man’s confusion to run away.  He and his mother had agreed to a password in case she had to send someone to pick him up. Perhaps this saved the boy’s life.

Stranger danger lessons should be ongoing — adapt the conversation as_dsc4857 your child grows as he/she is likely to encounter different types of situations. As always, take the time to sit down and listen to your child and understand his/her fears and or concerns. This is an important step in helping your child gain the confidence to have these open discussions and to make the right decisions.




Warm wishes to all,

Mrs. Cindy Moon

Head of School