Archive for December, 2012

New Year’s resolutions are commitments of change that coincide with the New Year. In 2013 you can help your children kick off their New Year with change and growth by helping them set their own resolutions! Even if your kids are too young to fully grasp what a resolution is, helping your children become healthier, overcome obstacles and achieve success is going to put them on the right path for appreciating the renewing spirit that comes with Jan. 1.

Get started by setting a few goals for your children yourself. If they’re inside playing video games too much, think about getting them involved with team sports or going to the park more often. If they’re at the age where they can be more responsible around the house, think of a few chores that they can do. Think about how your children are going to become the types of young adults you want them to be, and put them on the path to success.

Next, talk to your kids about resolutions. Let them know that the New Year is coming and that they should set goals for that year. See if they have any ideas, like getting better grades in school or being nicer to siblings. From there you can easily combine your ideas from above into a few actionable items that your kids can do every day, week, or month, that will help them achieve their goals.

Finally, make it a family activity by getting involved with your kids’ resolutions. If they’re going to spend one night a week learning a new subject in school, plan to spend it with them helping them learn. If they’re going to be doing the dishes after dinner, let them know how you’ll be cleaning up too, so they can really see how they’re involved in the whole process. Whatever you do, make sure your kids know that you are there to support them along the way!

Take a look at some of the New Year’s resolutions that students from Henderson International have planned for 2013 in this video. Have a happy and safe New Year’s Day. We’ll see you in 2013!


Santa’s Chistmas Eve

December 21st, 2012

It’s just about time for Santa to hop down your chimney and deliver presents to your children. But what exactly should you, the parents, do to prepare for his visit? You have baked goods and milk sitting by the fire, stockings ready to be stuffed with presents galore, and at least one child that needs to be in bed before Jolly Old Saint Nick can arrive. You’re pretty much ready to go, but just in case we’ve put together a few holiday tips to help you prepare for Santa’s arrival.

To get the night started, feel free to track Santa online! The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) provides a free, annual tracker, showing Santa’s location around the world. You and your family can take a look on December 24th by going to here. When Santa starts to approach your house, it’s time to put the kids to sleep. As they said in A Christmas Story, “I hope Santa hasn’t had to pass up this house just because some boys weren’t in bed when he came by.”

Of course you don’t just have to watch Santa on a radar when there’s plenty to do to prepare! Traditionally, Santa prefers cookies and milk when he arrives. But as many parents know, next week is New Years, and it’s generally filled with plans of losing weight and getting healthy! We suspect Santa has the same ideas on his 2013 agenda, so why not get him started early by offering vegetable sticks, like carrots and celery, instead? Cookies aren’t healthy for reindeer to eat anyways, and now Santa can share with Donner, Prancer and the gang, and parents have a light snack to help them get through the long evening, if they choose to stay awake.

Finally, why not get the night started by celebrating with your favorite Christmas Eve traditions? Many families sit around in pajamas singing songs or watching old Christmas movies, while others will each open one gift. You can spend the night preparing a fancy feast for the next day, or even wrapping last minutes presents together. Whatever you do, make it fun for everyone! Just don’t stay up too late….for some reason parents never seem to get enough sleep on Christmas Eve.

And that’s about it. To get your family in the holiday mood, why not take a look here, where students of The Henderson International School talk about what they would say if they could talk to Santa.

From everyone on our team, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Winter Band Performances

December 17th, 2012

Band students from The Henderson International School spent an exciting week performing holiday classics and enjoyable tunes at a series of concerts, celebrating the holiday season. The shows featured the hard work of many fourth through eighth graders as they excelled beyond their earlier musical lessons. The events featured several memorable tunes, as well as a variety of excellent ensembles and stupendous solos. Family, friends and many members of the school’s staff attended the performances, enjoying the festivities and the hard work of the performers.

As you probably know, all students in first through third grade participate in the school’s string program, where they learn to play violin, as well as basic musicianship including how to read music and follow a conductor. Students in fourth through eighth grade are then given the opportunity to select a variety of other fine arts programs, including musical theatre, additional string instruments, or, as last week’s performers have done, a band instrument.

Band instruments include woodwinds, such as clarinets, flutes and saxophones, brass instruments, including the trumpet and the trombone, and percussion instruments, sometimes referred to as “the drums”. Students who elect to learn these instruments gain additional musicianship skills as they harness their abilities and progress through the world of knowledge that music has to offer.

The fourth through eighth grade band programs are under the direction of director Nick Stamanis. He has been in the education field for over 25 years, and of music he “[enjoys] watching young students discover their talents and gifts…”

In addition to the on-campus performances, Fine Arts programs from the school also performed at two Senior Citizen Centers throughout the week, bringing smiles to many adults as students demonstrated their skills and the values instilled in them at The Henderson International School.

With the holiday season upon us, the blog team at Henderson International School felt compelled to talk household decorations. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the twinkling lights make the weather outside less frightful, and you’ve already wrapped your FIVE GOLDEN RINGS. But something’s still missing, and it’s something “homey”. That’s right, it’s a fun, festive, freshly made gingerbread house!

Of course, a gingerbread house can be rather tricky, which is why we’ve put together a handy guide on how you can make your own gingerbread house without all of the work. And the best part, your kids can help too!

You’re going to need a few things to get started. For simplicity, a lot of sources suggested using graham crackers instead of actual gingerbread; they’re much more accessible and a whole lot less baking is involved. For each gingerbread house you’re going to need…

• 6 graham crackers
• Icing
• A variety of small candies, marshmallows and sugar cubes
• One empty single serving milk carton (optional)
• One serrated knife
• One pair of scissors
• A plastic food storage bag
• A paper plate (or other flat, easily transportable surface)
• One muffin tin (any size will do)

Start with a little prep work. This part’s for the parents only. Pour your candies into the muffin tin, with a different candy in each section. This will help you stay organized (and keep things a lot less messy). Next, pour your icing into the plastic bag, and snip off a small corner with a pair of scissors. Now you can easily pipe the icing out wherever you (or your kids) need it to go. After that, use your scissors and cut almost the entire top of the milk carton off, so it’s shaped like a house. Finally, use your serrated knife on two graham crackers, and cut the top half into a point (so it looks like the front of a house).

Now your kids are ready to go. Have them pipe a good amount of icing onto the bottom of the plate and place the milk carton on top so it stays in place. Wait a moment to dry, and then use the same icing-glue method to stick the graham crackers onto the sides. Be sure the 5 sided graham crackers go on the matching sides of the milk carton. Again, give it a moment to dry, and finally your kids can start decorating!

Let them use the icing to make doors and windows, and they can even go around the edges of all of the graham crackers to give the house a fun snow-covered look. Use candy to make holiday decorations, like green and red candies for lights and wreaths. We also saw a few folks who used pretzel sticks to make a fun log cabin feel. Use your imagination and have fun with it. And once the house is done, be sure to fill the whole plate with decorations too to truly create your winter wonderland!

It’s that simple. With a little prep work there shouldn’t be much of a mess, and now your children will have a fantastic holiday decoration that they made themselves!

Hopefully your indoor fun will help deal with this frigid Southern Nevada winter! Happy Holidays!


The Truth About Santa

December 4th, 2012

You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, but do your kids really know why? Jolly Old St. Nicholas is coming, and as parents it’s up to you to decide what your child knows about one of the most important gift givers in their lives! Kris Kringle’s complexity changes as your children get older, and knowing how to answer questions about the man himself will help you, parents, from being caught off guard when your knowledge of reindeer and elves is put to the test.

Chances are your kids already know he travels around the world one night a year, giving out presents to good boys and girls. They also probably know of his affinity for spending time in shopping malls in the weeks leading up to December 25th. And of course they can appreciate the man’s sweet tooth – who doesn’t love cookies and milk after a long trip down a chimney? But these hard core truths about the man are going to lead to questions as your kids get older, and there’s a few different avenues that you can take to address their curiosities.

A lot of articles we read said that most parents stick with the obscure answers, like magic or time travel or complex yoga (when asked about chimneys and physics), and these usually lead to more and more questions every year. While going this path may lead to the “creative answers tight-rope game”, it shows that your children are thinking about the situation and piecing together the feasibility of it all. Research shows that as children begin to really think how Santa Claus does his amazing ride, they begin to figure things out on their own and eventually understand the true nature of Father Christmas.

When children ask about him, you can also side-step by talking about what he stands for, getting them into the Santa spirit! Teaching children about giving, and the joy it brings, shows a fundamental aspect of the holiday season. Many parents help their children become “Secret Santas” for friends and teachers by helping them pick out gifts and wrapping them, while others even help children pick out toys to donate to charities. Throughout these adventures, reminding children how they are just like Santa begins to get the gears turning of what Santa Claus really means this time of year.

Of course there’s always the direct approach, and for that it’s up to parents to decide when and what they should tell a child. This blog does not seek to tamper with anyone’s holiday magic (note the descriptive ambiguity throughout the last few paragraphs), so we’re just going to use this as a jumping board to say that the truth about Santa, the actual honest truth, is that giving is just as wonderful as receiving, and being good (even just for the sake of being good) is important in December as much as it is the other 11 months of the year. Santa Claus is a part of many family’s holiday festivities, and whether family members are about to start Kindergarten or are too old to remember college, it’s important to remember the jolly old man with the rosy red cheeks and a tummy that shakes like a bowl full of jelly

We think Santa would agree.



[Photo courtesy of John Minchillo, AP]