Thursday, April 2

HOW TO: managing a child’s screen time

A parent’s involvement in their child’s recreational screen time is important particularly in the preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school years according to Dr. Rebecca Osborne, Technology Enhanced Curriculum Specialist for Fairmont Private Schools.  Studies show that spending too much time passively staring at a screen can affect brain development, especially among younger children.  Sherrelle Walker, M.A. lists the reasons why parents should pay close attention their children’s passive screen time in her blog post entitled “Why Limit Screen Time? Reasons You Should Limit Screen Time.”

To help children avoid too much passive screen time viewing, parents should track the amount of free time a child spends in front of a screen and set limits to encourage their child to engage in other activities. Screen time refers to the use of tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, desktop computers, and good-old-fashion television. Parents are also encouraged to set an example by limiting their own passive screen use. Together, children and parents can turn off their screens and together play a board game, take a walk, or enjoy some time at a park.
Helpful tips to help parents manage their child’s screen time:Talk to the child’s teacher to understand the amount of classroom time devoted to iPads and computers each day as beneficial interactive educational tools. Parents can then set a time limit at home that balances well with their screen time at school. The rule is simple: when time is up, turn off the screens and begin another activity.

The Time Lock app ($0.99 in the iTunes App Store) allows parents to set a time limit for iPad, iPod, or iPhone use.  Once the time limit has been reached, the device will lock and require a parent pass code to unlock it. Similar apps are available for Android devices. For children under the age of five, it is recommended that recreational screen time at home not exceed two hours per day. For children five and older, passive screen viewing on a daily basis should be limited to four hours per day.

Introduce the principles of time management and add variety to a child’s day.  By limiting screen time, parents can encourage their children to engage in a mix of creative and physical activities each day. For example, when the time comes to switch off the game console, encourage children to get their bodies moving by engaging in outdoor physical activities such as riding a skateboard or playing basketball. Activities such as reading a book, drawing a picture, and figuring out a puzzle help exercise the brain.

Encourage children to use their screen time to engage in interactive games that promote critical thinking. Some great puzzle games that develop problem solving and critical thinking skills include World of Goo ($2.99), Dwelp ($1.99), Magnetized ($2.99), and Luminosity (Free, with in-app purchases).  A few subject-specific apps that offer interactive features include Flags Fun (Free) and Art by Puzzle World Games ($0.99).

By managing screen time, parents will help children appreciate the benefits of a well-balanced day of activities that foster healthy academic, personal, and physical enrichment. 

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by  Portia Stewart

Wednesday, March 18

SNACKTIME: Healthy Meal and Snack Suggestions for Keeping Your Student Athlete Strong and Fit

Maximize Your Students’ Athletic Performance and Recovery with Meals and Snacks that Make Sense!

Start the Day Strong with Breakfast

Food is fuel. The body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fat at every meal.  Most food contains a combination of each of these nutrients. Whole grain cereal and milk (dairy, soy, or almond) contribute carbs and protein with the right amount of fat. Protein is important for building muscle. Good sources of animal protein include eggs, turkey bacon, and dairy products. Vegetarian sources include tofu and nuts (PB and jelly anyone?)

Carbohydrate Fuels Muscle Cells
Carbohydrates, stored in the body in the form of glycogen, power muscles during exercise and replenish the liver after physical activity.  Maximize glycogen reserves during meal time with complex carbohydrates such as whole grain rice, potatoes, quinoa, potato, corn, sweet potato, and legumes (baked beans anyone?)

High carb snacks include yogurt, whole-grain bagels with peanut butter, fruit or juice, energy bars, and trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, seeds and maybe some dark chocolate chips). Lean meat combined with vegetables and a starchy side dish (potato, rice or whole grain) balance out the dinner.


What you drink is as important as what you eat. Staying well hydrated is essential for sustaining optimal energy levels, as well as preventing muscle cramping and maintaining a safe core body temperature. Yogurt, soup, smoothies, fresh vegetables, and fruits (especially watermelon) all have a high fluid content. Drink plenty of water and stay away from drinks that have heavy amounts of sugar or other forms of sweeteners.

Food is Fuel
Athletes should eat throughout the day to maintain high energy levels. It is recommended to have a healthy meal or snack every three to four hours and avoid long stretches of time without eating.

Submitted by Leslie Kay-Getzinger, MS RD
Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company

Tuesday, March 17

CHALK TALK: Teaching Fairness to Young Ones

While shopping, your first grader asks if they can buy candy. You explain that it’s too close to dinner time and it’s not the right time for candy. Your child says: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” This is something most parents have heard before.  

How do children define “fairness”? Children tend to define what is “fair” according to what they want and need. That want and need is usually in the moment, not something which has been thought through over time. Though tempting at the time, parents should not allow their child’s definition of fairness to overcome their better judgment.  There are some rules families can establish that will allow a child to better understand the concept of fairness. Parents should talk to their child about these guidelines and set good examples.  While teaching about fairness, it is important to always listen to why they feel something is fair or unfair. By listening, you can better address each specific instance properly – sometimes your child’s situation may indeed be unfair!

Here are some great principles of fairness that you can share with your child: 
  • Play by the rules
    • Teach your children this principle while playing a board game with your family! It is an easy way to teach the importance of playing by the rules, as board games already come with a written set of rules to follow.  
  • Take turns and share
    • Your child can learn to take turns and share when they are playing with their siblings or friends. When they share and wait their turn, it instills patience and helps to build friendships. After all, “sharing is caring.” 
  • Listen to others
    • Listening is a very important fairness skill that will help children in all aspects of life. Listening to both sides of a discussion or in a situation or conflict supports fairness. One must know and understand both sides of a point in order to make a well-informed and fair decision. 
Give your children the tools to succeed in life by teaching them about fairness and the immense value it brings to their lives! 

Contributed by Natasha, Fairmont Private Schools
Image from Child Parenting

Thursday, March 12

A to Z: Plan a Summer of Fun, Discovery, and Life-Long Friendships for Your Children

“Surf’s Up!” This Summer with Fairmont!
The days are becoming warmer and, before you know it, summer will be upon us! Fairmont Summer Programs offer a one-stop destination for children to have fun in the sun, foster confidence in academics, and gain personal enrichment. The theme this year is “Surfin Through Summer With Fairmont.” Yes, SURF's UP!, and we are looking forward to an "EPIC" summer! The buzz is now out about the many exciting opportunities that await your children. Register today by visiting

Since 1953, Fairmont Private Schools has provided children with countless summertime memories of fun and adventure while sharpening their academic skills in preparation for the upcoming school year. At the end of summer, children leave with a greater determination to succeed in life, a deeper appreciation of teamwork, and a broader understanding of the importance of character.

Our Summer Program is Accredited!
At Fairmont, we take our summer programs very seriously. We are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), the leading 100-year-old authority on youth development working to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience. ACA accreditation guarantees that the Fairmont Summer Program meets or exceeds more than 250 standards for student health, safety, and program quality.

The ACA highlights the four "C's" of the camp community: compassion, contribution, commitment, and character. These important values practiced during summer camp help students grow personally and develop essential leadership qualities. Camp counselors provide children with a network of caring adults to look up to, and an organized camp program creates a safe environment for discovery and exploration. 

The ACA lists the following benefits and anticipated outcomes of the camp experience:

Social Skills Development 

Self-Respect and Character Building


Community Living/Service Skills


Developing these key life skills and character traits at a young age gives children an advantage as they grow and mature.  We are looking forward to giving your child a wonderful, fun-filled summer of discovery and adventure.  

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Tuesday, March 10

CHALK TALK: The Value of Grandparents

While taking a young granddaughter to the zoo, a grandmother affectionately imparts lessons about the importance of education and hard work. In a similar setting, a grandson learns from his grandfather about how his grandparents endured to build a life and legacy for their children in the U.S.  These lessons and stories are invaluable for children.

Passed down like family possessions, they provide children with cultural pride, security, and a sense of identity.  Some believe that the relationship between children and their grandparents is only second in importance to that between a child and their parents. Here are a few of the many reasons why grandparents are more important than ever: 
  • ·      Grandparents Make a Difference in their Grandchildren’s Lives
Involved grandparents make a big difference in the lives of their grandchildren. Some grandparents see their grandchildren at least once a week. Some grandparents help teach their children to read, write, and spell. Others influence their grandchildren’s imagination by taking them to museums, plays, and concerts. For example, what better way for a child to spend an afternoon than by taking a stroll with a grandparent in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History! Exploring the museum and learning about dinosaurs and our natural world can leave a lasting impression on a child. It can open a door for a possible future in archaeology or anthropology! This time and care contributes to happier and healthier grandchildren.  
  • ·      Grandparents Have Valuable Experience
When you think about it - who could better provide advice and help in raising children than someone who has many years of experience? Grandparents put their past parenting experience to use in their interactions with grandchildren. They can influence the lives of their grandchildren with values and behaviors. The advice, stories, and lessons imparted to them leave a lasting impression, one that will hopefully have a positive influence and be passed on again and again to future generations.

At the end of the day, the saying rings true, it really “takes a village to raise a child.” What better way to raise your child than with the support and unconditional love from grandparents!

Contributed by Natasha, Fairmont Private Schools

Thursday, March 5

CHALK TALK the benefits of students exploring robotics

It’s a sunny day as a team of Fairmont Prep students known as the “Huskyteers” prepare a wireless operated robot, nicknamed “Balto,” to compete at the Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. Using laptops and power tools, they work together to make sure Balto performs its required task.  Balto must lift, move, and stack items that represent litter in a pre-determined arrangement.

The process of building a robot offers students a rewarding experience regardless of their academic backgrounds and experience.  They form a diverse team exchanging knowledge, skills, and ideas with the goal of creating an reward-winning robot.

Teachers see robotics as a perfect example of cutting-edge learning that is completely student-driven. When students focus their energy on building a robot, they demonstrate problem-solving abilities, apply academic knowledge, integrate skills, and collaborate within a group. It’s a microcosm of a real world entrepreneurial start-up.  

The experiences in designing, building, and testing a robot bring to life mathematics, computer science, engineering, and other tech savvy topics. The finished robot provides students a gratifying source of accomplishment. Most of all, they become confident in using these academic subjects to overcome many obstacles, not only for technically-based challenges, but life as a whole.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Tuesday, March 3


Contest Entry Proposes Product Packaging Rating System to Help Consumers Select Products with Less Packaging Waste

Fairmont North Tustin third grader Kamran Ansari has a special connection with Disney's 2015 Oscar-winning animated feature Big Hero 6. He is among the winners in the DISNEY BIG HERO 6 – XPRIZE CHALLENGE.  The contest, held late last year, encouraged children between the ages of 8 and 17 to use science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics to develop innovative approaches for addressing global problems.

For his winning entry, nine-year-old Kamran proposed a product packaging rating system to inform consumers of the wastefulness of a product’s packaging. His system allows consumers to make environmentally friendly decisions by choosing products with less packaging waste.  Click here to see the winning video entries.
“I selected this topic because I thought packaging is having a big, negative impact on the environment, and I want to find ways to solve this problem,” said Kamran. “I am extremely honored and grateful for having won. I can’t believe it!”

“Kamran is a prime example of the amazing things children can do when they build upon their ingenuity and express their passion,” said Kristen Jansen, Campus Director for the  Fairmont North Tustin Campus. “We are proud of his achievement and pleased to provide a learning environment for him and his classmates to make a positive impact in the world.”

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools