Wednesday, April 18

FAIRMONT FIVE creating a backyard habitat

Since I was a kid, I've loved digging in the dirt. My mom was an avid gardener.  My grandfather and his father and his father...were all farmers, so I guess I come by it naturally. So, when I arrived in the concrete jungle that was LA county, I was determined to start digging.

What began as a beautification project soon grew into something more meaningful.  As I researched native and drought tolerant plants, I discovered that they were not only more economical than my thirsty lawn, they were also beautiful.  And as I set about transforming my front and backyard spaces with Mediterranean plants, succulents and California natives, I discovered an unexpected bonus.  My yard became a mecca for bees, butterflies, dragonflies, many different bird species and even a few lizards.  In fact, one year a pair of ducks nested near the water feature.
These days there's lots of talk about transforming our lawns into green spaces that embrace our natural habitat. Up for the challenge this Earth month?  If so, here are a few tips to get you started.
  1. Do your homework before you dig. The CA Native Plant Society is a wonderful resource offering tips, plant lists and garden plans. Visit nurseries that specialize in natives, like Tree of Life nursery in San Juan Capistrano.  You'll have access to master gardeners and a greater variety of natives than at the garden variety garden center.
  2. Start with container plantings. Not ready to rip up the front lawn?  Who can blame you.  You may be surprised how successful you can be in attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds with a native plant container garden.  Half wine barrels can even support shrubs and small trees.
  3. Get your kids involved. Children love to get dirty and this is a perfect opportunity to play in the dirt!  They can help with every stage of the process from shopping for plants to helping maintain your new backyard habitat. 
  4. Add a water feature. Don't worry, you don't have to be an engineer to figure this one out. A bird bath or large plant saucer works fine as long as you keep it clean and refresh the water often. 
  5. Avoid herbicides and pesticides. It goes without saying that you won't attract animals to your yard if you're busy killing their food. Stick with organic gardening practices and don't worry if you see the occasional aphid or ant.  A pest to you is a meal for others!
Need more convincing that a backyard habitat is for you?  Check out how a native garden boosted test scores at an LA elementary school.

Photo from CA Native Plant Society website.

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Tuesday, April 17

SCHOOL NEWS mable students add up awards at math invitational

This past Saturday, April 14, 2012, Mable junior high students participated in the second annual Sage Hill Math Invitational, a team-based competition for local middle schools. The goal of the event is to promote and celebrate mathematics by providing a fun environment for middle school students to collaborate and share their interests. There are six competitions based upon the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards: Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis and Probability, Reasoning and Proof, and Mental Math. Seventh graders Han C., Ejay C., Tara F. and Ronik K. and eighth graders Jonathan L., Tarek S., Jimmy W., and Nathaniel Y. represented Fairmont at the event, bringing home several top awards!

Take a look at this impressive showing:
Mental Math (7th grade)--First Place, Han C.
Mental Math (7th grade)--Third Place, Ejay C.
Mental Math (8th grade--First Place, Tarek S.
Algebra (7th grade)--First Place, Fairmont
Algebra (8th grade)--First Place, Fairmont
Logic and Reasoning (7th grade)--First Place, Fairmont
Overall Winner (7th grade)--Second Place, Fairmont
Overall Winner (8th grade)--Second Place, Fairmont

Congratulations to our individual award winners and to all of the students who contributed to Fairmont Mable's exciting team awards!  And a special "thank you" to their teacher Michelle Paraiso for all of her hard work in preparing our students to shine!

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools 

Monday, April 16

THE FAIRMONT FIVE bringing 21st century learning home

As parents, you are your child's first and forever teacher.  It's a big responsibility, especially in today's rapidly changing world. You can count on Fairmont to provide great educational opportunities in a fun and challenging school environment.  But there's plenty you can do at home to prepare your child for success in the 21st century.  Here are a few pointers from Edutopia's Parents Guide to 21st Century Learning:
  1. EXTEND THE SCHOOL DAY with experiences that help kids pursue interests and build new skills. Check out the latest extracurricular classes offered at your Fairmont campus.
  2. LOOK FOR SUMMER CAMPS AND OTHER LEARNING EXPERIENCES that build 21st-century skills.  We're a big fan of Fairmont's Summer Programs.
  3. BUILD ON YOUR KIDS’ INTEREST IN GAMING by getting them connected with Massively Minecraft, a digital-media learning community created by parents and teachers for students ages 4-16.
  4. UNLOCK YOUR CHILD’S CREATIVE POTENTIAL through community arts programs. Read Edutopia's article on why the arts are critical.
  5. HELP YOUR CHILDREN MASTER COMMUNICATION AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS by practicing social and emotional learning at home. Borrow ideas from the Edutopia article, Raise Your Student’s Emotional-Intelligence Quotient.
Photo from Microsoft Office photo gallery

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Thursday, April 12

HOW TO prepare for college early

The key to preparing your child for success in the high school and college admissions process is starting early. Choosing the right high school is extremely important, but it can be a tough decision. Something to look for when considering schools is a strong college counseling program with an emphasis on individualized guidance. Here is an example of what your student's college counselor should be doing each year: 

FRESHMAN YEAR - One to two meetings which include:

  • Setting out a four-year academic course of study to fulfill the required academic high school work expected of college admissions offices (includes those at the California State and University of California Systems and top private colleges and universities)
  • Discussing expected levels of academic achievement and extracurricular activities for various institutions during one’s high school career in order to be competitive for admission.  
  • What to do with summers

- One to two meetings which include: 

  • Reviewing student’s academic plans to ensure college application eligibility   Discussing admissions expectations and requirements of different colleges
  • Advising on extracurricular and summer activities to round out the student’s high school experience, making him/her more interesting to colleges
  • Introducing the latest characteristics of colleges across the country
  • Reviewing the different fields of study at various colleges
  • What to do with summer

JUNIOR & SENIOR YEAR - Up to six meetings per year which include:

  • Beginning a discussion of different types of colleges the student could attend
  • Assessing student goals and desires for college study
  • Introducing resources for beginning a college search
  • Discovering what colleges are really the best for the student and why
  • Assembling a working list of colleges
  • Understanding SATs and other standardized testing
  • Generating ideas for the college essay
  • Securing letters of recommendation
  • Preparing for successful college visits and interviews
  • Keeping track of applications
  • Navigating the financial aid process and looking for scholarships
  • Making a good decision after receiving college acceptances
  • Knowing what to expect upon arrival on campus
  • Exploring the possibility of a gap year after high school 

To learn more about high school and college counseling, attend one of our upcoming info sessions with Fairmont Prep College Counselor Jonathan Dunn. He will provide an overview of the process and answer all your questions. Click on the campus name below to RSVP. 

Upcoming High School/College Counselor Info Sessions

Contributed by Alyssa, Fairmont Private Schools 

Tuesday, April 10

CHALK TALK how to parent your kids (without losing your mind) part 2

Our recent Chalk Talk event, titled How To Parent Your Kids (Without Losing Your Mind), was jam-packed with great parenting tips. So jam-packed in fact, that we needed two blog posts to share all of our notes! Check out yesterday's post for part one and read the rest of  our notes here: 

Question: What are your recommendations for dealing with teens?

  • “The I Don’t Care” Attitude. If you give your child a consequence for a bad behavior, say taking away their phone for a week, and they respond with “I don’t care,” trust me, they do. Respond with something like “Oh, Great! I was really worried that you would be upset. Well then how about we take it away for two weeks, since you just don’t care!”
  • The Driver's License: “No B’s, No Keys”. Starting at the end of 8th grade, tell your child that when they start high school you are going to be keeping track of all missing assignments or C or D’s or whatever you think is appropriate. For every missing assignment or C/D on a report card, push back getting their driver's license by one week.
  • “Why can’t I stay out all night?” Because of sex, jail, drugs and alcohol. Anything that happens after midnight when parents aren't around usually involves one of these things.
  • How do I deal with a teen who constantly wakes up disagreeable? Just say… a) "Well at least you have your health." or b) “Who are you and what have you done with my child!?"

Question: How do I reduce the amount of time I spend on the hunt for my child(ren)'s misplaced things, clothes, sports equipment, etc. 

Answer: Slightly off-the-wall parents NEVER EVER EVER look for kids stuff. Encourage your children to be independent and responsible by making them look themselves. Encourage them, but do not help them look. Make it a problem for them so next time they will put it somewhere they can find it. 

Question: My child is still attached to his/her pacifier. How do I wean him/her off of it? 

Answer: Tie the pacifier “binkie” to a string attached to a door knob far away from where you are or where their toys are. Day after day cut the string smaller and smaller and then finally cut a small slit in the tip of the pacifier.

Question: How do we (parents) keep “the love alive” in our relationship after having children?

  • Parents need to define themselves as lovers first! Being human is all about passion.
  • Children can drain the romance from a relationship really fast, but only if you let them.
  • 4 greatest secrets to keeping romance alive with kids is to:
    • Lie… in bed together
    • Cheat…on your budget--get away together
    • Steal… Time away from your daily routine – and spend time together
    • Divorce… Yourself of worries, of what you should do for your children. 
  • Parents who keep their intimate partner primary are happier and are better parents!

Question: What is a good age to start talking to your kids about sex ? 

Answer: From day one! Always have an open line of communication with your children. Make sure they from early on they feel comfortable talking to you. When you do have conversations about body parts make sure you are using the correct and proper terms, and not fluffy cutesy names. 

Question: Is it alright, if you are in the heat of the moment, to let your kids see you upset?

Answer: Yes. But make sure you are explaining to your children why you are upset, and what you need--a time-out, a walk, a bath, whatever it takes for you to calm down, just step away. Make sure you are using the correct terms to describe how you are really feeling: mad, frustrated, sad, angry, disappointed, etc.  Do the same for your children when they are upset; have them explain why they are upset and what they need. 

Learn more about Scott Peebles' parenting methods here

Contributed by Scott Peebles, M.A., MFCC, H.B. 

Monday, April 9

CHALK TALK how to parent your kids (without losing your mind) part 1

We were pleased to welcome acclaimed parenting speaker Scott Peebles to the Edgewood campus on April 3 to share his "slightly off-the-wall parenting" methods at our Chalk Talk event. Our parents were laughing out loud during his presentation and asked some excellent questions. Scott had so many great tips, we're sharing the notes in two parts--check back tomorrow for the second post! 

Question: What is the key to becoming a successful parent? 


  • Become a "Slightly Off-The-Wall Parent," which means doing things a little differently than might seem natural to you as a parent.
  • Be consistent. Say it once and follow through! Just making this one change in parenting will put you miles ahead of where you are. The key is “CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY”
  • Keep this in mind: PMMFI “Please Make Me Feel Important.” Apply this rule to your children, your spouse and yourself. Everyone wants to feel important so make sure you are not only getting the attention you need but showing love and care for your partner and your children.

Question: How should I react/what do I do when my child brings home a bad grade?


Try a dialogue like this: 

  • Parent: “Great you got an F, isn’t that what you wanted?"
  • Child: “Well no, I wanted an A.” 
  • Parent: “Well did you study?”
  • Child: "Well, no..."

Emphasize that there are no failures, only results. You either get the results you want or the results you don’t want, and if you aren’t getting the results you want then you probably need to try doing something differently. 

Question: How do I interact with my kids in a way that instills confidence? 


  • Always look for the "gold" in your children. Make your child the star of the evening and give them the opportunity to talk as much as they want about all they things they are proud of.
  • Adopt the “Family Kindness Act” and every night or once a week at dinner have everyone in the family say two nice things about the other family members. Ask them, "What have you done today that you are proud of?” and let them talk.

Question: What do I do when my child starts throwing a tantrum?


  • Time them
  • Root them on--encourage them to keep on having a fit (reverse psychology)
  • Have a tantrum with them
  • Make a "Tantrum in Progress" sign to hold up if you are in public

Question: What is a good way to get my kids to bed on time?

Answer: Pick a song--make it one you like--and play it as they are getting ready for bed until they go to sleep. Over time... (ever heard of Pavlov?) they will start getting sleepy just by hearing the song.

Question: How do I say "No" without always saying no?


  • First, teach your children to respond to hearing "No" with the phrase that pays: "Thank you for considering, maybe next time?" Encourage your child  to respond in this way when you or anyone else says “no” to a request they have. 
  • Alternatives to No: 
    • Say Yes… Later 
    • “Give me a minute.”
    • “Convince me.” Have them think of a way to convince you, the answer still may be No but you have given them an opportunity to think through (i.e. “Dad, Can I borrow the car?” “No”  “Please Dad, I really need the car…”  “Ok, Convince me…” “Well, If you don’t let me drive the car then you will have to take me and all my friends to football practice..” “OK”)
  • Use the “Big No Sheet.” Basically, they say no, you say no. Make a big sheet, or list that you have in an easy-to-find place. When you ask your child to do something, a chore for example, and they say “no” you write it down on this sheet. Later when they ask you for something, go take a look at the sheet. “Well, it looks like you said “no” to doing the dishes, so no you don’t get to go out tonight”. Make it a problem for them. 

Contributed by Scott Peebles, M.A., MFCC, H.B. 

Friday, April 6


Highlights From This Week
Upcoming Events 
High School/College Counselor Info Sessions
Anaheim Hill Campus - April 17, 6:30pm 
Edgewood Campus - April 24, 6:30pm
Mable Campus - April 18, 6pm

The key to preparing your child for success in the high school and college admissions process is starting early. In April, Fairmont Prep College Counselor Jonathan Dunn will visit our campuses to share his expertise and answer your questions about high school and college. You won't want to miss this informative presentation! 

Highlights Include:
* What you may not realize about junior high
* What every parent should know about high school
* What your high school counselor should do for your student
* What is important when choosing a college
* How to prepare for college  

Fairmont Parent Survey 
You should have received an email last week with the annual Fairmont Parent Survey. Your feedback is valuable and we appreciate you taking the time to provide it to us. When you take the survey, you will be eligible to win $1,000.00 off tuition discount good for the 2012-2013 school year. One winner will be drawn from each campus and all survey participants will be eligible. 

Mable Students Make the Grade 
Our Mable Honor Roll and Director's Honor Roll was announced for the second trimester, and we would like to congratulate our students! See the list of names in the Mable newsletter and see photos from the ceremony on Flickr

Weekly E-Newsletters 

April Lunch Menus 
Contributed by Alyssa, Fairmont Private Schools