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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Neville

Brookside Blast 3/31/23

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Spring is in the air and then Vermont reminds us that Winter is not done yet. We have enjoyed some sunshine and warmer temperatures and will continue to enjoy the snow as long as we can:) Another great week at Brookside! Kids built robots, made salamander houses and honed their gymnastics skills.

Music Update

Spring Concert:

Mark your calendars! The BPS Spring concert is scheduled for Thursday, April 13th at 6pm in the gym. This concert will feature all 4th grade classes as well as 3rd Grade Chorus and 4th Grade Chorus. We hope you can join us!

Concert Dress:

Chorus - Something bright and springy! (bottoms should be an appropriate length or worn with leggings or tights; no ripped clothing)

4th Grade Classes - students will wear school provided t-shirts; bottoms should be an appropriate length or worn with leggings or tights; no ripped clothing

Guest Artists this coming week:

I am excited to share that students will once again have an opportunity to learn more Stepping from Marlena Fishman and she will be bringing Jasir Easton to teach Hip Hop Dancing! Their residency will be from Wednesday April 5th - Monday April 10th. Students will showcase what they learned in the Spring Concert (4th Grade only) and at Spring Celebration on May 18th (all other grade levels).

Please reach out to Lizzy Palumbo at with any questions.

French Update

Check what's happening in French . Thanks, Madame!

Art Update

What have our artists been up too?

Our blossoming artist made Coffee mugs

The Sound of Music

April 6-8, Harwood Union High School will present this year’s musical, The Sound of Music. The classic tale of the von Trapp family, with special ties to Vermont, will feature a cast of twenty-seven Harwood Middle and High School students, as well as students from Waitsfield Elementary and Crossett Brook Middle School. The final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein, this 1961 classic was destined to become the world’s most-beloved musical. Featuring a trove of cherished songs, including “Climb Every Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do Re Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and the title number, The Sound of Music won the hearts of audiences worldwide, earning five Tony Awards and five Oscars for the feature film version. The inspirational story, based on the memoir of Maria Augusta von Trapp, follows a young nun in-training who serves as governess to the seven children of the imperious Captain von Trapp, bringing music and joy to the household. But as the forces of Nazism take hold of Austria, Maria, and the entire von Trapp family must make a moral decision. The cast is led by Senior Abby Holter, playing Maria von Trapp, and Sophomore Christopher Cummiskey playing Captain von Trapp. The von Trapp children are played by sophomores Zoe Blackman as Liesl and Emma Riley as Louisa, eighth graders Tarin Askew as Friedrich and Harmony Devoe as Brigitta, seventh grader Robin Weigand (CBMS) as Kurt, fifth grader Ari Weigand (CBMS) as Marta, and fifth grader Desi Dahlgren (Waitsfield Elementary) as Gretl. Other featured cast members include seniors Mia Lapointe, Arianna Clark, Lucie Ruggerio, stage manager Maddie Thibault, sound engineers Otis Neville, junior Ben Robinson, sophomores Annie McMillion, Kai Haddock, Elsie Pawul, and Ellie Buckingham, and freshmen Aiden Heath; as well as a large ensemble of hard-working students on and offstage. Guiding the cast are director Scott Weigand, music director Molly Clark, orchestra conductor Chris Rivers, set builder Aleta Kibler, lighting designer Avery Bacon, and producer Skyler Bradley. Performances take place April 6-8, at 7:30 pm at Harwood Union High School. On Saturday, April 8 there will also be a special children’s matinee, that will include a pre-show presentation by the orchestra, and a meet and greet with the cast following the show. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for students, and will be available at the door (cash/check only).

School Violence

In light of recent events, we wanted to reshare some resources regarding talking with kids about school violence. These come from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.

  1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.

  2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

  3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.

    • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.

    • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.

    • Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.

  1. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.

  2. Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.

  3. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.

  4. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.

Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children

  • Schools are safe places. School staff works with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.

The school building is safe because … (cite specific school procedures).

  • We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.

  • There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.

  • Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and probability that it will affect you (our school community).

  • Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.

  • Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

  • Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.

  • Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.

NASP has additional information for parents and educators on school safety, violence prevention, children’s trauma reactions, and crisis response at

March SEL Newsletter

Dear HUUSD Families and Caregivers,

Lately, we’ve been thinking about the idea of Personal Responsibility. Is this a trait that people have or is it a skill that can be developed and improved? As we think about defining personal responsibility as a skill, we see that students demonstrate the skill of personal responsibility by taking ownership of their lives and acknowledging their power to choose what they think (including their attitudes and mindsets), say and do, and their accountability for the consequences of their choices.

Take a minute to think about the things your children are responsible for: their chromebook, their tool kits, their schedule and time management, chores around the home. Some are individual and some are collective, all are important. Starting small and building helps students be careful and reliable, building skills that will help with future successes.

The first step in helping students develop a sense of personal responsibility is to help them understand the why - why is this important? Next, we teach the how. When we can connect our choices to the outcomes (consequences), students gain greater understanding of how they can further their skills. For example, a child decides to play outside a little longer than usual, when they have the responsibility to let the dog out. The outcome is that perhaps the dog has made a mess inside. On the other side, a child makes the decision to stay home on Sunday and study instead of hanging out with friends, completes assignments on time and/or scores well on a summative assessment.

Having personal responsibility is not a skill that all children naturally develop. It needs to be cultivated and practiced. When we want our children to become better with their math facts, we provide opportunities to practice. When we want our children to become better at playing their instrument or sport, we provide them with opportunities to practice. The same is true for developing personal responsibility. Practice with personal responsibility will help them achieve the greatness they are all capable of. Practice doesn’t make perfection though, it makes growth. Mistakes will happen, they are kids after all. These become learning opportunities for us all, coaching toward perseverance and being responsible for themselves and their community.

“I long to accomplish some great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller

Book resources:

Conversation Starters:

  • Someone slipped on the water you spilled and didn’t clean up. What should you do?

  • What can you do to take personal responsibility for your chores?



Please note that the opportunities/events listed below are not specifically endorsed or screened by school staff. As always, families should use their own standards and review processes to determine appropriate activities

Information about Community Values Mapping

Community Values Mapping Poster (23-03-25 revised) (1)
Download PDF • 194KB

Greetings Everyone,

Happy spring and sugaring season! It’s Vermont Maple Open House this Saturday and Sunday in sugarhouses all over the state AND the Children’s Room is offering a special Audubon Field trip on Sugaring next Thursday, April 6th- there are still spaces available! April also brings our ever popular Dabble Days Spring Art Fling on Saturday, April 15th at Brookside Primary School, with special activities from MakerSphere! There are also some noteworthy childcare and community related items below including a VT Childcare survey, the Waterbury Community Values Mapping project and “Childcare for Vermont: The Courage to Care'' rally at the Statehouse. Check out details for all these events and more below. Come join the fun!

TCR Special Programs:

  • Special Audubon Field Trip: Sugaring! Thursday, April 6th, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. Join The Children's Room for a special Audubon field trip, generously sponsored by Waterbury local business Hen of the Wood. Journey from Sap to Syrup: Follow a droplet of maple sap as it turns to sweet syrup. Find out what it takes to become a real Vermont sugar-maker as you tap a tree, collect sap, and help boil. Families can take a free school bus ride to Audubon, leaving from Brookside Primary School. Email to register.

  • Dabble Days Spring Art Fling: Brookside Primary School gym, Saturday, April 15th, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm. Bring a friend along for ripping, tearing, taping, pasting, painting, and molding. Special guests from MakerSphere will also be leading activities! Dabble Days is a craft-themed event geared toward ages 2-6. Suggested donation of $5 per child. See the attached flyer.

Noteworthy Childcare and Community Happenings:

  • Waterbury Community Values Mapping Program: The Waterbury Conservation Commission is looking for input on guiding Waterbury’s future growth. Waterbury residents will have an opportunity on April 11 and April 20 to participate in a program to map Waterbury’s community values and direct the future growth of Waterbury. See the attached flyer or website for more information or to register.

  • Vermont Parent Survey of Child Care Needs and Experiences: The Vermont Child Development Division (CDD) is partnering with Child Trends, a non-profit research organization, to learn about families' awareness of and experiences with the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP). Participation is voluntary and will help CDD understand how recent state policy changes have affected families who are eligible to receive child care assistance. See the attached flyer. Survey link

  • Childcare for Vermont: The Courage to Care Rally! Wednesday, April 12th, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, State House lawn in Montpelier. Let’s Grow Kids has organized a rally to support lawmakers in passing a bill to make a long-term public investment in Vermont’s child care system. See rally website for information on transportation options, program updates and how to volunteer.

Featured Programming:

  • Vermont Maple Open House: This Saturday and Sunday, April 1st and 2nd, sugarmakers all over the state invite you into their sugarhouses!. Enjoy pancake breakfasts, sugar-on-snow, horse-drawn wagon rides, sugarhouse tours, maple syrup and maple products samples and more! See the website to find sugarmakers near you.

  • VINS’ Owl Festival: Saturday, April 15th at Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Join VINS for a day of all things owly. Gather with live owls from all over the world, discover their life stories, join a craft and play games. Join us for a day of all things owly! Gather with live owls from all over the world, discover their life stories, join in a craft, and play games. Also leading up to the festival are free Virtual Owl Fridays on April 7th and 14th with talks about owl conservation, research and ecology. See VINS website for festival tickets and further information.

TCR Weekly Programming:

  • Drop-in Play Every Day: The Children’s Room is open Tuesday-Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm for anyone with smaller children to come and play.

  • Nature Explorations: Tuesdays, 10-11:30 am @ various trailheads in the area. Get outside for some fresh air and fun! Every week we go to a different trailhead or natural area to explore. Ages 0-6 and carriers are helpful for little ones! Email to sign up. Enrollment is always open!

  • Music & Movement: drop-in, Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30 @ The Children’s Room in Brookside Primary School. We begin by singing songs and moving together and allow time at the end to play with instruments, as well as time for adults and kids to socialize too. Ages 0-6. The calendar will be updated the morning of by 8:00 am for cancellations.

  • Art & Exploration Fridays: drop-in, anytime Fridays 10:00 am - 12:00 pm @ The Children’s Room in Brookside Primary School. Come to TCR to play & dig into an art project or hands-on exploration every week.

Other Weekly Playgroups in Central Vermont:

Check out our website at, facebook or email for more information or to join our mailing list. Hope to see you at The Children’s Room or a TCR event soon!




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