Thursday, November 1, 2012


Thank you for your participation in the Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF program!  Please have your child return their collection boxes to their classroom teacher by November 9.

UNICEF works in over 150 countries, including the United States. Now in its 62nd year, this campaign has raised more than $167 million and remains an inspiration to the young. Participants learn about the often life-threatening realities faced by children in developing countries and are empowered to take action. It is a unique opportunity for education and service. Thank you again for your contribution to this wonderful program! –Jean Easterday, UNICEF Coordinator


If you were not able to attend the Book Fair in person, now is your chance to shop online for a limited time. Books will be shipped free of charge to the school and delivered to your child’s classroom. Teachers wish lists are posted online if you would like to purchase a book for your student’s classroom. It’s a great way to support the Thoreau classrooms and library. Visit the Book Fair home page at Scholastic and simply click the shop online button. The Online Book Fair ends November 7

LUNCH MENU Week of November 5-9

  • Monday: Popcorn Chicken Bites
  • Tuesday: Early Release Day
  • Wednesday: Chicken Fajita
  • Thursday: Nachos with Lean Beef
  • Friday: Pizza Dipping Sticks


10th Annual Family Film Festival

If your kids are big fans of Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold or Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems, see them come to life on the big screen along with many other favorite characters from children’s books in animated shorts by award-winning Weston Woods Studios.  Festival commences with a magic show on Friday, November 16 and continues with animated shorts (10:30 am) and foreign films (noon and 3 pm) on Saturday, November 17 through Sunday, November 18.  For families with kids of all ages.  For a complete list of films and information about tickets, visit

Parenting Education Seminar on Raising Adolescents

The Center for Parents and Teachers, through the generous underwriting of the Concord Middle School PTG, invites all interested parents/caregivers to a popular, free, and highly beneficial (not to mention funny!) parenting education seminar:  “From Vulnerability to maturity:  Some ideas on how to raise a safe and healthy adolescent.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 9:15 to 11:15 AM at the Peabody Forum, Concord Middle School, 1231 Old Marlboro Road in West Concord.  Open to all; no need to preregister.  Presenter:  Rick Irving, LICSW.

Adolescence is a period of enormous and sometimes overwhelming challenge. Teenagers experience physiological and emotional changes that often throw them off balance.  It is a time when they need our help and yet seem almost desperately to reject it. Understandably, parents can feel unsure and even frightened about how best to guide their children through this risky developmental period.  In this workshop, we will look at normal and troubled adolescent development, and identify some of the signs and symptoms of stress and depression in our children.  We will look at both healthy and maladaptive coping skills and defenses common to this age group.  Throughout the presentation, we will cover ways parents can help their children develop the self-esteem skills necessary to navigate safely toward maturity.  Please bring questions or concerns you have about your own child.

About the presenter:  Rick Irving is a clinical social worker with over 30 years experience working with children, families and schools.  Before working in public schools, he worked as the clinical director of a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents. For the last 28 years, he has worked in the Andover Public Schools with students at all grade levels. He also maintains a private practice working with children with behavioral, emotional and learning disabilities and consults to parents about their children’s issues. In addition to Rick’s direct work with children and families, he presents many workshops and has been a keynote speaker at conferences in Massachusetts and overseas. He has presented at conferences in Nice, Rome, Madrid, Birmingham and Stockholm.  He has also consulted to schools in Brussels, Amsterdam, The Hague, Madrid and Rome.

Fenn Sports Sale
Don’t miss the 44th Annual Sports Sale at The Fenn School gym in Concord on Saturday, November 3.  We’ll have a wide selection of gently-used sports equipment for boys and girls covering a variety of sports including hockey, soccer, and baseball – all at low prices! Representatives from Hardy’s Ski Emporium will be on hand to offer an assortment of brand new skis, boots, and poles at great pre-season prices. Gym doors open at 9am and close promptly at noon. Come early for the best selection. The Fenn School is located at 516 Monument Street in Concord.

Free Lecture by Dr Peter Gray
The public is invited to attend a free lecture, “What Have We Done To Childhood?” by Dr Peter Gray, Professor Emeritis, Dept of Psychology, Boston College, on Thursday November 8 at 7pm at Temple Karem Shalom, 659 Elm Street in Concord, Massachusetts.  Plan to attend!  It’ll be a great evening!

Children by nature are curious, playful, and sociable.  They are designed, by natural selection (or by Mother Nature, if you prefer), to learn through self-directed play, exploration, and questioning.  Think of all they learn through these means in their first three or four years of life, without any deliberate teaching at all!  Children’s instinctive drives to play and explore —and thereby to learn—do not end at age 4, or 5, or 6, or even 12.

Through active play, especially play with other children, away from adults, children learn about the social and physical world around them.  They practice skills crucial to success in the culture in which they are growing. They exercise their imaginations and creativity as well as their physical bodies.  They learn how to get along with other people. They learn how to control their impulses and emotions, for social play is always an exercise in self-restraint.  They learn how to take charge of their own lives.  These are the most crucial things that everyone must learn to grow into successful adulthood, and they cannot be taught in school.  They can only be learned through children’s own, self-directed efforts—their free play and exploration.  Children are naturally motivated to do this, but they need opportunity.  They need lots of free time, access to other children (preferably age-mixed groups of other children), and freedom from adult direction.

But look what we as a society have done.  We have turned childhood into a time of résumé building rather than a time of joyful play. Social scientists have documented the evidence that children today are far less free to play and explore than were children 25 years ago; and children 25 years ago were far less free to play and explore than were children 25 years before that.  Over the last half-century we have seen a continuous decline in children’s opportunities to play freely, and over that same period we have seen—and research has documented—a dramatic rise in anxiety, depression, helplessness, suicide, narcissism, and other psychological disorders in children and adolescents.  Psychologists have also, not surprisingly, documented a sharp decline in children’s creativity over the past 20 to 30 years.

In this talk, Dr. Grey will present evidence for all of these effects and will explain the mechanisms through which free play promotes children’s emotional, social, and intellectual development. He will also present some ideas about what we can do, both as individuals and as a society, to restore children’s birthrights to free play. Researchers have found that young monkeys that are deprived of opportunities to play freely with other young monkeys grow up to be emotional and social cripples—unable to deal with stressful situations, unable to interact peacefully with peers.  Right now we are subjecting our children to play deprivation to a degree unknown in the past century in this country.  We are crippling our children. How can we stop doing that?

This event is sponsored by the Concord Area Preschool Association, First Connections, Concord Children’s Center, the Center for Parents and Teachers, Acton Public Schools, the Acton Boxboro Harvard & Littleton Early Childhood Council, and the CFCE Regional Early Childhood Council.  For more information about this event please call Betsy Sweet at 978-287-0221.


Principal Kelly Clough’s Blog

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K-5 Booklists:


The next issue of Thoreau Announcements will be published on NOVEMBER 8, 2012. Submission Deadline: 9 pm Monday, NOVEMBER 5, 2012. Submission guidelines: Submissions must be school or community related and not commercial in nature. Submit your item in the body of an email (no attachments); it should be brief and have minimal formatting – no bullet points or underlining, please. Email your submission to