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.


May 022013

Hello Runners, Walkers, and Pete the Cat Fans!  We look forward to seeing you this Saturday, May 4th, for the Oakhurst Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool's 5k raceCooperative Preschool (OCP) Beat the Street for Little Feet 5k, 1 mile and Fun Run events.  The 5k run will start promptly at 8:00 a.m., and race packets will be available only on the day of the race.  The entire school community wants you to have an excellent experience, so please note the details below about race morning:

Race Location:
Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool
830 West College Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030
Situated on College Avenue between Feld Avenue and Mead Road behind Thankful Baptist Church.  Registration and post-race events will take place in the parking lots shared by OCP and Thankful Baptist Church.

Click here to view a map of the race course.  The race will pass by one of Decatur’s fire stations located on Hill Street near the intersection with Oakview Road.  Please be prepared to stop in the event that Fire Station #2 is called into action.

Race Day Timeline:

  • 7:00 a.m. – Packet pickup and race day registration open
  • 8:00 a.m. – 5k race
  • 8:45 a.m. – 1 mile race
  • 9:00 a.m. – Kids’ Fun Run
  • 9:30 a.m. – Awards
Strollers are welcome, and race will take place rain or shine.  In the event of thunder and lightning, however, the race may be cancelled.

Registration fees on race day:   5k = $30, 1 mile = $25, Fun Run = $20.  Walkups are welcome.  Please note that we will be accepting credit cards for registration fees this year.

Parking:  Please plan to park on the street or take MARTA.  The East Lake MARTA Station is within walking distance.  Carpooling, biking and use of public transportation is highly encouraged.

Awards:  The awards ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers in the overall and masters categories, plus the 1st and 2nd place age group winners in the 5k.  Age groups for the 5k race are 10-year divisions.  The winning male and female of the mile will receive awards, and all of the kids will be recognized for their efforts too!

Door Prizes:  We will be giving away door prizes after the race.  Thanks to the generosity of Big Peach Running Co., we will have two vouchers for a pair of running shoes to give away, one from Brooks and another from Saucony.  Winners will be announced during the awards and participants must be present to win.

Pete the Cat T-shirts:  T-shirts will be distributed to pre-registered runners along with their race numbers.  T-shirts will be distributed after the race to all runners until they run out.  If participants cannot be at the race but still would like their shirt, please e-mail and we will make the shirt available at Big Peach.  This excludes phantom runners whose shirts will be mailed directly to the address provided in their registration.

Vendors:  Water will be provided by Lipsey Water and Frannie’s Gluten-Free Muffins will provide delicious snacks.  A wide variety of community partners also will be present.

Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Drive:  We will be hosting a Nike Reuse-A-Shoe drive at the race festival.  Please bring your old running shoes for recycling.

Kids’ Activities:  Young children will have plenty to do at the activity tables created and monitored by OCP parents and teachers.  Come out and be a kid with your kid!

Photos:  Finish line and festival photography will be provided by Aaron Dill Photography.  Please visit Aaron Dill Photography race photos.  Photos will be available starting Sunday night, and runners will be able to search by their race number to find pictures in which they appear.

Thank you for your support of Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool.  We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!