Head’s Corner

Trying New Things

One of those things that I appreciate about the Saklan community is its openness to try new things. This attitude demonstrates a willingness to take a risk, make yourself vulnerable and learn from mistakes. One such example is our Lower School teachers and their Learning Exhibition set for January 31st from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.


Over the past couple months, Liz Peters (our Lower School Dean) has been discussing with teachers how we can share, in a real way, what amazing things we do with kids. The teachers decided that an exhibition of learning where all parents can tour all classrooms and meet teachers and students from across the grade levels would be fun. Fun yes, extra work yes, slightly scary.. maybe.

Doing something new that is also public can be scary, but is good for us. It focuses our minds on what is important, creates opportunities for collaboration and learning while simultaneously  providing us with valuable feedback from a real world audience. Most importantly though, by putting ourselves out there, we are modeling for students what real learners do.

At Saklan, we talk about the importance of hands-on real world experiences – we just don’t talk the talk, we walk the walk. I hope you will be able to join us on the 31st for this “New Thing” and be an integral part of our learning.

Warm regards,


How Does the MLK Memorial Represent US Cultural Values?

For the grand finale of the Washington D.C. project this year, the 8th graders had a complete freedom of choice in terms of how they could approach a multimedia presentation on their subject matter. Just like with their essays, the primary guiding principle was that they would have to prove their argument with plenty of evidence from their research. Ari Tamkin went above and beyond with this animated video on Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. The question she was answering: “How does the MLK memorial represent US cultural values?” Check out her response above!

Fourth Grade Biographies

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The fourth graders each selected a different biography to read! Students were practicing their expository writing skills through organization, thesis statement, main ideas, supporting details, and were able to write 5 paragraph essays.

Each student also wrote a short speech, dressed up as the person they studied, and presented at flag. They gave incredible words of wisdom (famous quotes) that were meaningful to them. After flag, parents were invited back to the classroom to enjoy the full reports. Nicely done, fourth grade Bookworms!

Kindergarten Bead Making

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The Kindergarten had fun making ceramic beads and constructing their own one of a kind necklaces. After showing some examples of beads in different materials such and glass, wood, stone, and ceramic, they learned the basics of how clay works. They took a little trip to our kiln room and saw our new tool ‘the kiln’ that finishes the beads. They know when the clay is wet you can shape it and when the clay is dry it is ready to be fired.

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When the beads were finished, the students arranged them in order of how they wanted to string them and used factory made beads as extra fillers. Our little Kindergartners have some fashionable jewelry and design skills!

Second Grade STEAM Project

Second graders have been stretching their STEAM muscles during their Fairy Tale Unit. They designed, created, reviewed and improved upon a design to help Jack and his giant distribute eggs from high up the beanstalk.

Gingerbread House Project

Fifth graders worked together to complete gingerbread house projects. Students worked in pairs to design and build to scale a gingerbread house. First, they reviewed how to figure Area and Perimeter. Then students designed their gingerbread house floor plans. All floor plans could not exceed 432 square centimeters. When complete, students submitted their floor plans, side and front view dimensions and calculations to the Project Manager (Mrs. Peters) for final approval before building.

During this process, fifth graders: designed, added, multiplied, predicted, worked cooperatively and creatively. Students then built their gingerbread houses to scale. Of course, adding candy was a fun part of the project, too. They turned out great! Awesome job, fifth graders!

Loom Building and Weaving


The 3rd grade is exploring textiles from around the world. They will be weaving and building their own circular loom.


The very first step is creating their own loom out of a clay slab. They will add texture and three dimensional elements to the loom. Along the way, students will learn how to identify the origin of a particular textile based on its pattern. After the loom is complete, the students will learn to weave!

A Visit from a Feathered Friend

Tumbling down from the sky and landing in our play yard, our Owlets and Hoot Owls had a special visitor this week. They were deliriously excited, to say the least. A pigeon!  Close up and personal! They were amused and had many questions. Their curiosity was uncontainable. Look! He has a green bracelet! What is it? Why is it here? Is it hurt?

Our little Friend was tagged with his “name” and his owner’s information. After a little bit of detective work on the American Racing Pigeon Union site, we were able to find out that he was lost and where he came from.

To make a 2-day story short, our Feathered Friend is at home with Matt from Concord.  Matt says “Thank you” to our Owlets and Hoot Owls for showing compassion and concern for the safety and well-being of our Feathered Friend.

Traveling Teddy Bear

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Last month, Jerry the traveling teddy bear, spent time on our campus. He interacted with many of our students, took part in discussions, ate lunch with the students, attended field trips, watched the lower school play, and saw how students in California live. He will take the knowledge on to Connecticut and then on to Europe before he returns to Hong Kong.

The traveling teddy bear program is designed to help encourage students to learn about other areas of the world, and to also share one of the UN Sustainable Development goals with students around the world. Jerry shared the responsible consumption and production goal. He was proud to see our students recycling and composting.

You can read about his journey here.

Saklan Toy Donations Help Bring Joy to Oakland Families


The Saklan Student Council hosted a community toy drive this past holiday season for the non-profit organization called Bananas, which is located in Oakland. Bananas’ mission is to help raise happy, confident children by providing resources and support to families and childcare providers. If you are interested in learning more about Bananas, please click here.


The Student Council officers chose this local organization for three reasons. First, the officers wanted to help other children have a joyful holiday. Second, they wanted to support local organizations that work with Bay Area families. Third, Bananas company mission is similar to Saklan’s in that we both want to raise confident children who are compassionate, happy human beings. Our Student Council Co-Presidents, Max Budowski and Harrison Leenhouts, delivered the toys to Bananas. Fortunately, our Saklan families donated so many toys, games, books, children’s clothing, diapers, and baby furniture that it filled the organization’s office. As you can see from Max and Harrison’s smiles, they are proud of  Saklan’s generosity. Thank you for supporting this worthy cause!