Sep 202014
By John ChescavageAutumn… a time for harvesting, changing colors, cool evenings, brisk air, and celebrations!  Each morning I can feel the cool of fall approaching, and it gets me excited for some of the best OCP celebrations of the year.  When Anna and I joined OCP a few years ago, we had motivations beyond the education of our children.  We were attracted to the community nature of the school and the prospect of meeting and befriending other young parents in our neighborhood.  As our daughter has moved from Chickadee to Lark, we can look back on all the great people we’ve met through OCP and know that many more friendships are in store!Two of my favorite celebrations are around the corner, and it has been at these gatherings that I’ve gotten to know many of the OCP parents beyond the daily drop-offs and quick passes in the hallway.  As you’ve already seen, the OCP Fall Bonfire (previously referred to as the Bonfire and Hootenanny) is just a couple weeks away (October 4).  Nestled in among the giant trees of the Wylde Center, this celebration serves as an opportunity to eat, drink, and dance with all of our members into the cool evening.  The kids love the s’mores, and I love seeing them all run around together exploring the friendly confines of what my daughter calls her “garden school.”

And before we know it December will come knocking, and with it Festivus.  I love this celebration for its community pot-luck dinner, the tables of handmade donations for the auction, and seeing what the kids have created in the classroom. This is really a pinnacle event for OCP with the focus on contributions into the community that everyone gets to enjoy.  It was impossible to try every bit of available home-cooking last year, but that won’t prevent me from trying again this year!

In between, of course, are other opportunities to get to know and enjoy the familial aspects of our OCP community, including facility work days (although hard, they are great bonding exercises) and Green Family Field Trips.  In fact, there’s a Green Family Field Trip scheduled for October 18, right about the time the weather in Atlanta is perfect for a good hike in the wilderness.

So make sure you mark your calendars for all the great celebrations that OCP has in store for the community, and make the effort to get to know fellow OCP parents!  After all, OCP is more than just a preschool!

Mar 222014

By Sarah Toth

Children are wiggly. Anyone who has spent time in a preschool classroom knows that sitting still is a skill few kids have mastered.  But, this is a good thing!  Physical activity is essential for children and their well-being.  Moving their bodies strengthens their hearts and bones, regulates their blood pressure, and contributes to overall physical health.  Exercise also helps strengthen kids’ minds.  It improves mood and stimulates brain growth, making kids feel better and learn more readily.  Studies show that children who participate in some form of regular physical activity have better problem solving capabilities and have lower levels of cortisol, a stress induced hormone.

While “exercise” may conjure thoughts of monotonous treadmills, unattainable goals, and damp and smelly gyms, physical activity with kids can be fun and pretty easy for everyone!  A simple walk down a nature trail can turn into a great adventure for budding explorers or scientists.  Get your kids moving with anything from a game of hide and seek to a gentle bike ride.  With easy access to many beautiful natural areas and parks in the greater Atlanta area (find some great ideas here), there is no shortage of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the spring.

In addition, here’s an opportunity to get some quality body-moving time for the whole family: OCP’s 7th annual 5K race, Beat the Street for Little Feet, on Saturday, May 3, is quickly approaching!  Held in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur, this race is especially family-friendly, and there are several options: a 5K race with a jogging stroller division, a one mile race, and a “tot trot” for the youngest kids.  We also hold a post-race celebration and awards ceremony, including a children’s party with activities and music.  Nationally known, local artist James Dean draws a special “Pete the Cat” image for our race shirt each year, and this year’s Pete is one of the best yet (all pre-registered runners are guaranteed a race shirt, and the “tot trot” runners each receive a Pete the Cat “medal”).  To register for the race, please visit  (And if you have an interest in sponsoring our race, please email OCP parent Kimberly Head Amos at

Being active as a family helps kids embrace their need to run, bounce, climb, and play, and it fosters a love for physical activity that children will carry into adulthood.  Parents are great examples when it comes to exercise and fitness.  So gather your family, embrace your inner child, and get moving!

Nov 042013

OCP’s first parent education night of the school year (October 21st) featured a lively discussion of the parenting methods in Alfie Kohn’s book “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.”  Parents shared many of their personal experiences with putting the ideas into practice with their own children.

Some of the points covered were:

1. How punishment and constant praise manipulate kids to do what we want them to do, but offer short term solutions.

2. Working with your kids and asking questions to find out what their reasons are for their actions helps to take a parent’s ego out of parenting and ensure that our expectations are appropriate for the child and the situation.

3. Love and affection toward your child should be unconditional, even when he or she falls short or makes mistakes.  This helps to put the relationship first and lets a child feel safe to explain when he or she has done wrong.

4.  An automatic praise response from a parent takes a child’s experience away from him or her and can cause the child to feel insecure and second guess his or her judgment.

5. There is value to authenticity with children; apologizing to your child when you overreact or make a mistake sets the example of being graceful when you are wrong and shows that it is ok to be vulnerable.

6. Talk less and listen more. Find out the child’s perspective. This approach works for all relationships.

7. Sometimes your child’s behavior is about a developmental limitation. Assume the best, not the worst.

8. Try to say “yes” more. Provide guidance and support. Don’t let “no” be your automatic response.

9. Try to be flexible and let them camp out in the living room occasionally.

10. Let your child make some decisions. Children often respond in a positive way when they are part of the process. You don’t need to agree with them. Conversation and negotiation can lead to everyone being heard and everyone winning. Remember it is your child’s life too.

More can be read on Alfie Kohns web site,, including the very interesting article “Five Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job.”

Fall Bonfire 2013!

 Events  Comments Off
Oct 182013

OCP’s first community social event of the school year was a grand success.  Current members, alumni families, and staff all gathered at the beautiful Wylde Center in Oakhurst to celebrate the season and enjoy time getting to know one another better.  The weather cooperated and was lovely, if quite summery for this “fall” bonfire and chili cook-off.  The kids enjoyed running around and exploring the gardens and grounds; families shared food on picnic blankets or picnic tables; and everyone listened and danced to the wonderful music performed by Berne Poliakoff, of Cowboy Envy.  We rounded out the evening roasting marshmallows over the bonfire and eating yummy (sticky) s’mores.  Thanks to the Community Committee for putting together such a fun event!

If you have any photos from the event you’d like to share, please contact Amanda Hallauer.


Larks Graduation

 Education, Events  Comments Off
May 292013

Congratulations, Larks! You graduated from OCP! Derek serenaded us, Ms. Betty said some departing words to your families, and Ms. Shannon handed out your special letters. With great joy, we watched you toss them to the sky. We wish you all the very best at elementary school next year.