Williamsburg Trip – Day 3

Williamsburg is a fun and informational trip that fifth graders get the opportunity to go on every year. The trip this year was from November the seventeenth to the twentieth. On the nineteenth we went all around 1Jamestown and shopped a bit too! We saw trades like the blacksmith,
silversmith, and tinsmith. Seeing how the blacksmith made nails was really cool.
When the iron got hot it made the coolest colors!

We went to the Governor’s Palace where we all went through its hedge maze. The parents had just as much fun as the children did. We all ran through the maze as fast as we could trying to see who made it out first. When we walked into the palace, we saw rows and rows of weapons! Swords, rifles, and pistols covered the walls like plaster. We all went to the court room were we had a trial that we participated in. The case was someone had stolen the candles. Who would do such a horrid thing? Anyway, I chose to be the clerk. The clerk does not sound like a very important person, but he studied the law and keeps paper work in order for the council which is very important. Also, his chair and desk look awesome! They had little buttons around the rim and a ink well and quills! Speaking of quills, at the different shops we went to, my souvenir was a thick sheet book with three packs of ink and a quill. I found out that each of my packets of ink can write the Constitution twice!  2

The costume ball was one of the biggest events of the whole trip.  At the costume ball teachers, administrators, parents, and students all dressed up as colonials or people from the time period. Here we had a group of people perform dances and teach us how to do them too. A parent said “I loved it because it got everyone involved.” Mr. Courson, the fifth grade social studies teacher became “General Courson” at the ball. 3For dinner we had macaroni and cheese, green beans, salad, chicken, and bread rolls. At the very end of the ball we all had the opportunity to choose another student partner to dance in the last dance they would teach us. The dances in a way were all educational. We learned about what traits the people in England brought into their dances and how the colonials brought those same influences with them when the came to the colonies. Everyone had so much fun dancing though sometimes we got mixed up. Williamsburg is a place I won’t forget, and that Thursday is a day I won’t forget.

-Reese T.


Williamsburg Trip – Day 2

3Hi!  My name is Conner V., and I am the reporter for the second day of our Williamsburg trip.

Today on our trip, we drove to Richmond to see a re-enactment of the 2nd Virginia Convention at St. John’s Episcopal Church.  This is the actual church where Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech was given. The actors in olden day clothing pretended to be some of our 2most famous Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Watching this presentation made me feel strengthened that I am an American and proud that these men all worked for my freedom.   It also made me realize that sometimes war is the only answer to earn this freedom.

Next we drove on to Charlottesville where we had lunch at the historic Michie Tavern.  We enjoyed a real Southern meal of fried chicken and black eyed peas! I also enjoyed shopping here and seeing lots of handmade crafts and toys and even bought a very cool fountain pen as a souvenir.  After shopping, we drove up to Monticello and took a tour of the famous home of Thomas Jefferson. I was very amazed and impressed that Thomas Jefferson was interested in so many different things.  I really liked all of his gadgets that he invented like the polygraph which helped him duplicate what he was writing.  He also invented the bed in the wall which let him enter a different room on each side of the bed!   That night we ate dinner at the Seasons Restaurant in downtown Williamsburg.  After dinner, we went to an African American Music 1program where we formed a big circle around a bon fire and sang and danced and learned about the lives of slaves during the 1600’s.

From our tours today, I learned that music was extremely important in the lives of the slaves.  It helped them to keep a rhythm while they were doing their work such as farming.   It also helped them with their sorrows by bringing comfort during sad times.  I also learned that Thomas Jefferson built his house around classical Roman styling.  He was the first person to use domes in a house in America which is what makes it so different and beautiful.

This has been the most amazing trip so far and makes me really happy that I have returned to my country’s birthplace to see what life was really like back then.

-Conner V.


Williamsburg Trip – Day 1

My name is Hafsa C.  Today in Williamsburg we went to Jamestown and visited interesting places like the Powhatan Indian village, the Jamestown Fort, the Archerarium, and the Glasshouse. Since today was the first day I wasn’t used to the walking tours, and the tour guides walkedpicture 2 really fast
but taught us a lot about Jamestown. Even though we had just gotten off the airplane and my ears were still popping, I heard most of the tour. The most exciting part of the day for me was the re-enactment of the witch trial with Grace Sherwood where we had to find her guilty or not guilty. In the end, she was found guilty!

My favorite part of the day was this re-enactment of the witch trial. The actors were amazing and the scenes were perfect. And I thought the lawyer was very believable for back then. It was really interesting learning about the trials and how they helped decide if you were a witch by tying the “witches” up and seeing if they floated in a weird way, or if they couldn’t say the Lord’s Prayer without fainting.  Grace Sherwood failed both of the tests. picture 1

Something fun we did was watch how the Powhatan Indians lived. Their life was much different than the English colonists. An interesting part was watching them make their clothes and their Yahawkins. It was so much fun watching how they lived in the 1600’s.



Positive Communication

How many times have you done or said something in front of your child that you wouldn’t want them to repeat? I can tell you that I have not been a “perfect” parent and am certainly guilty of that behavior. There were times when my children were growing up that I caught myself, or, better yet, my children caught me doing something that they_MG_7874 knew was not right. The stress or mounting pressure of the day got the best of me, and I would embarrass myself in some way or another by doing or saying something that I would quickly regret. Luckily, I would have the good sense to recover by apologizing and pointing out what I did that was wrong and teaching by a “non-example.”

In the book Uncle Dan’s Report Card, Barbara Unell points out that, “We all know that children learn by watching the adults in their world, so it is imperative to develop your own habits of kindness. Your model and that of teachers, baby-sitters, grandparents, and child care providers are the most important influences in training your children how to behave kindly each day.”

One challenge today in teaching kindness or empathy is the hardwired culture in which we live. Emailing, texting, and tweeting are the wave of the present as well as the future. In _MG_7855this day and age, society tries to find the easiest and fastest method of checking things off a list or communicating one’s thoughts. This method of communication (emailing) is commonplace between teachers and parents here at Park Maitland, and 98% of the time it is a productive and positive interchange that facilitates helpful communication. However, communicating only in this fashion can lack the emotional connection of face to face contact. At times, what is being communicated may be misconstrued. In an effort to maximize productive communication at Park Maitland School, we ask that you always take a moment to evaluate the content and tone of your message to assure that it is respectful and productive.

As your child looks up to you for guidance in social behavior, it’s important that you strive to model positive communication between home and school. Likewise, it is important for them to see that you support their school’s mission, and when or if you disagree, that you will seek the best possible approach in communicating your thoughts and ideas.

As challenging as it may be in today’s fast-paced and sometimes stressful _MG_7873society (believe me I learned the hard way!), strive to consciously and intentionally speak and practice the virtues you seek to instill in your child in order to build a solid foundation of strong character traits.

We look forward to having you join us in this week’s upcoming Parent Chat, based on Uncle Dan’s Report Card, where topics of raising children who can thrive in the 21st Century will be discussed. We are thrilled to announce that Tuesday morning’s chat is full, but it’s not too late to sign up for Monday evening’s chat.

Thank your for your continued support as we partner in the education of your child.

Cindy Moon

Head of School

How We Treat Each Other

“Kindness is the basis of all the social virtues — politeness, gentleness, cheerfulness, unselfishness, trustworthiness, a sense of responsibility, honor, chivalry, democracy, and self-sacrifice.” –A quote from Uncle Dan’s Report Card taken from The Mother’s Book written in 1909  IMG_2570

I have the wonderful privilege of serving on the Peace and Justice Advisory Council. This group is comprised of notable leaders throughout Central Florida representing higher
education, local government, various religious organizations, nonprofits, media personalities, etc.   We gather to discuss how to create cultures of peace within our own communities, the extended community, and beyond.

This week, we asked a group of sixth grade students to review the foundational principles of a document called, “How We Treat Each Other” prepared by the Peace and Justice Initiative through Valencia College. They were challenged to review _DSC2285these 13 principles and create a document that could be used with children their age.  We were impressed and awestruck by the depth of their conversations and their ability to rationalize and articulate the importance of these basic ideas.  Below is a copy of their “version.”    `

  1. Welcome everyone and create a community of respect. Be kind to others and invite them to share.
  2. Listen deeply. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to the feelings beneath the words for as long as it takes.  Do this without passing judgment because ALL voices have value.
  3. Have a voice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Say what is in your heart honestly and respectfully.
  4. Respect privacy. Be a trusting friend by not sharing what people have said to you or in a group.  Create a safe space where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas freely.
  5. Celebrate diversity. Value each person inside and out because differences are an amazing way for us to understand people for who they really are.
  6. Slow down.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Take your time to think before you act or speak.

In her book, Uncle Dan’s Report Card, Barbara Unell references a quote written in 1909 that was placed on an elementary report card.  “It has doubtless come within the observation of every teacher that the AmericanIMG_4589 youth is not at all times as courteous and kind as he ought to be…”  Habits of kindness mattered “then,” and habits of kindness matter now.  As parents and educators, it is even more of a challenge to reinforce these habits in our fast paced, highly competitive, media inundated, hardwired culture of today. However, I know that there is great hope for the future.  The six principles above offered by 11 year old children is just one indication.

Thanks for partnering with us on this journey,

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Evenings Together

As a child and teenager growing up, evening dinner was a sacred time for my family.  I remember making sure that I was at the table and fully engaged in discussion.IMG_9302-X2 Anything less than that would have been disrespectful. Over homemade spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes, or more elaborate Italian or Lebanese dishes prepared by my mother, we would talk through the day’s events. Although I was highly involved in extracurricular activities, I somehow made it home for this ritual.

As a parent, however, I must admit finding the time for a family meal during the school week was more difficult. As working parents with two children involved in sports activities or clubs, we found ourselves on many nights eating on the run or separately. Those all important get-togethers became less and less frequent. If I could go back and do it all over, I would look long and hard at how to change this.

Why “Evenings at Home” matter today…

Barbara Unell points out in her book, Uncle Dan’s Report Card that children today have a tremendous array of evening activities outside the home available to them, mostly because of easy access to_DSC2139 lighting and transportation.  The number of activities, along with the access to a variety of electronic devices that take children’s attention away from home and family, suggest that “Evenings at Home” have a different priority for parents today.

Current research makes a convincing argument for spending evenings at home together.  According to statistics reported by Ms. Unell, one of the greatest predictors of good behavior and academic achievement in school is the family dinner.  Children who eat dinner with the family at least three times a week are better behaved and achieve at a higher level than those who don’t.

Join us at one of the Uncle Dan’s Report Card chats in October to participate in lively discussion and hear from experts on best child-rearing practices.  Remember, the first 200 people who sign up will receive a free Uncle Dan’s Report Card book.IMG_3079-X2 You can RSVP online now!  I hope to see many families come together to discuss common parenting issues of today and yesteryear.  It takes a village!

Thanks for joining us in this venture!

Cindy Moon

Head  of School


DSC_2646 It’s hard for me to talk about tradition without thinking of “Fiddler on the Roof” and Topol’s deep voice belting out the song, “Tradition!”  The song rings true in that when we have similar experiences to celebrate and pass down it creates a feeling of belonging andDSC_2641 “roots.” Those of you that have been part of the Park Maitland “family” for any length of time are familiar with the many honored traditions established here in each grade level and as an entire school.  Some of these traditions give way to new ones so that they are still relevant and meaningful. Nonetheless, they are one of the things that make Park Maitland School such a special place to be!

This week, we celebrated the “QU Wedding” in K-4!  It happened to be on the same day as our 6th grade Sports Fest (two highly revered traditions here)!  It was so sweet to see the K-4 students arrive for the big event dressed to the “T” to celebrate their year of learning how to read and the merging of two of their_DSC7908 beloved letter people, “Mr. Q and Ms. U.” I couldn’t help but overhear the sixth grade parents and students oohing and ahhing as they began having flashbacks of their own earliest days at Park Maitland at the QU Wedding!

It’s the common values, morals, customs, and general culture that help bond members of a school family.  These highly anticipated traditions bring students, teachers, and parents togetherDSC_2716 to celebrate learning in a relevant, fun, and engaging way! How can they possibly be forgotten?

Each year, more and more Park Maitland alumni send their own children to our school. One of the things that they delight in doing is to celebrate these much loved traditions with their children! They are always so happy to hear that we have held on tothesecelebrations. They are also relieved and pleased to see that the “old fashioned” values so important to our founder, Nell Cohen, such as good manners, morals, and character are as important as always!

I think that one of the problems plaguing our fast paced and ever-changing society today is the “root-lessness” of so many people and the lack of common values.DSC_267608 It is so important for families, schools, and the workplace to establish traditions and values that allow for a coming together of all to reflect, learn, connect, and celebrate!

I’ve decided to dedicate the month of May to “traditions” at Park Maitland School! I will ask students to send me their favorite Park Maitland tradition and tell why!DSC_2772 I think we will all enjoy reading about these from a child’s perspective!

This week we look forward to a few newer traditions: “Honored Elders” (students visiting our elder friends at the Mayflower) and “Shrek Day,” as well as our much coveted, somewhat older celebration of mothers — our K-5 “Mothers Day Tea!”

Cindy Moon

Head of School