Life at Valley

Mapping Teaching and Learning with Gillian Toledo, Curriculum Coordinator

One fall day this October, Gillian Toledo saw a truck backing up to the Valley School property with a load of hay bales.  Wrong address, she assumed, and as she was walking over to speak to the driver, a teacher reminded her that the bales of hay were a seasonal addition to the playground.  Kids could play on them and use them as they like—one of the many ways that the school activates the space of “the second classroom.”  She realized that the problem solving and imaginative play inspired by those hay bales was going to be part of the teaching and learning in this new setting.

Spaces for Learning: The New 3-Classroom Building in Action

Light-filled, collaborative, creative, and cozy. These are the ways that third, fourth, and fifth grade students and teachers describe the new Valley School classroom building whose doors opened at the Ribbon Cutting and Ice Cream Social on September 8, 2015, just six months after the demolition of the old administration building began.

Sonrisas Y Espanol!

You can tell from the smiles on these 4th grade faces that the Spanish game, El Museo, is a big hit. Valley students in grades 1-5 immerse themselves in Spanish class two times a week for a total of an hour; Pre-K and Kindergarten students experience Spanish once a week for thirty minutes.

Community Alliance of Parents (CAP) Parent Education Committee

The Community Alliance of Parents (CAP) is a parent-run collective set up to leverage parent talent and time for the benefit of our school, our children, and our community. CAP supports community building, volunteer coordination and support for teachers and administrators. All Valley School families are members of CAP.

Pre-K Visits Dogle City Zoo

This week 3rd graders completed mini-research projects about animals living in different parts of the world. As part of their larger project, which involves learning about countries of the world and what makes them special, each third grade student collected facts about a specific animal living in their selected country.

Second Graders & Fairy Tales

What do Hansel & Gretel, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood have in common? Just ask a second grader! This month our students are exploring the genre of fairy tales and what makes them so unique and entertaining. Students are reading and listening to various fairy tales and working as a class to identify the different elements of a fairy tale. Some of their unique features include talking animals, royalty, magic, the concept of "happily ever after", some danger, a strong protagonist or hero, and a clear antagonist. Of course they learn that fairy tales aren't real but often include important lessons for us all. We invite all families to cozy up on a dark day this month and share a favorite fairy tale.

Smart Subtraction Strategies!

Third grade math students are reviewing and practicing different ways to subtract numbers. By third grade, our Valley students should demonstrate mastery in their simple addition and subtraction facts, but, as they move into adding and subtracting larger numbers, it’s essential we revisit the meaning of subtraction and various methods we can use to show the process of finding the difference.

The Valley School Auction - Community at Work and Play

Events like The Valley School auction on November 7th, take the collaborative efforts of many parents and students. The annual auction has historically been a time that parents can contribute to the school in a wide variety of ways. The planning committee is at the heart of it all, organizing and firming up details that result in the event running smoothly. In addition, there were parents in each classroom that headed up the class art projects, including the one in the photograph above, class reps who sent auction communications out, parents who donated to the auctioned items, photo books that were created of all our students, sixth grade alumni who helped at the event, volunteers who set up and cleaned up, and all the parents who helped make the auction a success by bidding on the items.


On Friday, October 30th, Valley School students and faculty participated in a traditional Halloween event, by parading around the block of our Madison Valley neighborhood. Parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, including two neighborhood horses, lined the block to watch the procession. Students and parents look forward to traditions such as The Valley School Book Awards, the faculty Halloween Play, family outdoor camp, Friday all-school sing, Winter Extravaganza, Spring Art Show, buddies, fifth grade camp at Islandwood, and many multi-cultural celebrations throughout the year. Our Community Alliance of Parents (CAP) is creating new traditions, with our second community Carnival scheduled for May. At Valley School, we embrace childhood and recognize it is a time to cherish, not rush.

Buddy Walks and Mosaic Towers

Pre-Kindergarten students have been creating their own pet rock characters, complete with colorful hair, googly eyes and facial expressions. When it was time to build homes for their pet rocks, Jill introduced her students to the book, The Wonderful Towers of Watts for inspiration. The book tells the story of "Old Sam" who created the towers of Watts in Los Angeles by incorporating pieces of tile, glass, wood, pottery and mirrors into a huge mosaic art installation in his neighborhood.

Coincidentally, Jill discovered a nearby home right here in our own Madison Valley which was also inspired by the Towers of Watts and the strange and beautiful artwork of Simon Rodia. Only problem, it was eight, uphill blocks away. Fourth grade buddies to the rescue! The two classes made the trek together and discovered our very own Towers of Madison Valley. This week the Pre-K students are building their own "towers" complete with pieces of wood, sticks and even tile.
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