The Story of Simple Gifts
With gratitude to our friends in China In 1996, Parkside founder Joe Bruno traveled to China with a U.S. educational delegation. In the schools they visited, the children gathered each morning to participate in synchronized dance movement. Struck by how this daily ritual gave everyone a strong sense of belonging, Joe was inspired to bring this community-building concept to Parkside. Since then, our weekly Simple Gifts ceremony has offered all of our children and any interested parents the opportunity to participate in group singing and dancing, using the historical Shaker song “Simple Gifts” as the foundation. Simple Gifts was created from this loving intention, and happily, the creation of our wonderful Parkside community continues to this day.
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A Campaign to Create A Permanent Home for Montessori parksidecommunityschool.org
from the heart
Parkside Community Montessori School
A Campaign to Create a Permanent Home for
Simple Gifts Lyrics
Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, 1848, and later others added verses ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘Tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we want to be, And when we find ourselves in a place just right, We’ll be in the valley of love and delight. (CHORUS)
When true simplicity is gained, To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed, To turn, to turn, will be our delight, And by turning, turning, we’ll come ‘round right. ‘Tis the gift to be gentle, ‘Tis the gift to be fair, ‘Tis the gift to wake and breathe the morning air, To walk every day in the path that we choose, ‘Tis a gift we pray we may never, never lose. (REPEAT CHORUS)
‘Tis the gift to be knowing, ‘Tis the gift to be kind, ‘Tis the gift to wait to hear another’s mind, That when we speak our feelings we might come out true, ‘Tis the gift for me and the gift for you.
Parkside Community Montessori School
Twelve magical acres. The new campus of
Parkside Community Montessori School is filled with hundreds of trees and has a sparkling creek that winds through the woods. It is home to an astonishing variety of native plants and flowers, butterflies, and birds ranging from whistling ducks to warblers. By design, most of our new 12-acre campus will remain undeveloped, but truly this is a place for Parkside to grow and reach its fullest potential. Perhaps most importantly, the new campus gives Parkside a permanent home, ensuring that for years to come children and families will be able to receive the gifts that this very special school has always offered.
‘Tis the gift to be loving, ‘Tis the best gift of all, Like warm spring rain bringing beauty when it falls, And as we use this gift we may come to believe, It is better to give than it is to receive. (REPEAT CHORUS)
“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.” — Maria Montessori
1 | Simple Gifts
“In the six years I attended Parkside Community School, the teachers and staff gave me many important gifts: compassion, empathy, a sense of strong community, self-confidence, and a reverence for nature. I also gained the academic footing that launched my success in college and beyond.”
The need is here, and the time is now.
For more than 22 years, Parkside Community School has given its students the highest quality Montessori education while cultivating social skills and a strong sense of community. That will never change. But as Austin transforms, new construction projects, traffic challenges, and rent increases have provided a catalyst for the move.
Securing our future.
Our new campus gives Parkside a permanent home and a place to grow our dreams. The core Montessori curriculum will remain the top priority; our enrichment programs will continue to provide exceptional instruction in classical guitar, Spanish and Life Ki-do martial arts. But twelve beautiful acres await – and exciting possibilities are about to unfold.
2 | Simple Gifts
our new campus
will be anchored by six buildings that will include: 3 Primary classrooms: An additional Primary class plus a nap room will give parents of Primary students a new option for full-day care. 2 Lower Elementary classrooms 1 Upper Elementary classroom A gymnasium: This new building will feature a beautiful courtyard and provide multi-use space to bring students, families and friends together for community activities such as Simple Gifts and Cultural Challenge.
Jewel Hancock is a 2010 graduate of St. Edward’s University. After graduation, Jewel lived and taught for a year in the Czech Republic. She is currently the assistant guide in the Lower Elementary II class at Parkside.
Nature Education Program highlights: Nature Education curriculum: Heather Kuhlken, founder and director of Austin Families in Nature, winner of the John Covert Watson Award for Vision, and one of the top Nature Educators in the U.S., will serve as Parkside’s Outdoor Learning Specialist. In this role, Heather will create our Nature Education curriculum and train teachers in leading those lessons on the new campus.
Look beyond the buildings, and you’ll see the true potential. Over the years, Parkside students have enjoyed and benefited from daily hikes on Town Lake trails, overnight campouts at Pedernales Falls, swimming in Barton Springs and play in Zilker Park.
But in the two decades since Parkside was founded, most childhood play has moved indoors. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Fund reveals that young people now spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on smart phones, computers, and television. Recent research shows that kids who spend less time in front of electronic screens and more time in nature are healthier, happier, and perform better academically. Parkside founders Joe and Claire Bruno have always understood this basic truth: Nature is good for children. So we’re delighted to share that one of the most important
features of our new campus will be a first-rate Nature Education Program.
4 | Simple Gifts
“Parkside taught me that I didn’t have to wait and grow up to be somebody – I am somebody. I was always treated as an individual, which has allowed me to better appreciate and handle the large groups and treacherous anonymous waters that life will inevitably drop you in. Parkside consistently provided a backdrop of knowledge and more importantly, love. The staff and the students always encouraged me to love what I can do, love what I can’t do yet, and left me with a sense of deep personal confidence that I will have until my dying day. It’s a priceless piece of my puzzle.”
Natural playscape: We’ll be creating an innovative playscape modeled on the Natural Playscapes designed by Robin Moore, the international authority on children’s play and learning environments. Research shows that when nature elements are incorporated into playgrounds, kids have more fun, are more active and utilize more motor skills. Outdoor trails: Our new campus will feature a ½ mile Hike and Bike Trail that we’ll use for Marathon Kids exercise as well as year-round physical activity. We’ll also have interconnecting exploratory trails through the woods, which will provide connection with nature and rich outdoor learning opportunities for our children. Outdoor gardens: Parkside students and families can all enjoy growing, sharing and preparing organic vegetables. Gardening is one of the best ways to connect children with the natural world, and offers a wonderful springboard for lessons in many subjects. Plus, an amazing thing happens with kids in a vegetable garden: If they grow it, they’ll eat it.
Alejandro Rose-Garcia performs as Shakey Graves, and has been hailed as the best one man show in Austin. He was named one of the 12 artists of 2012 by KUT 90.5, was a featured performer at the 2013 ACL Music Festival, and has been bestowed with the distinct honor of having February 9th proclaimed “SHAKEY GRAVES DAY” by the City of Austin.
map key to our new campus 1. Primary Buildings: 3 Primary Classrooms and After-School Nap Room 2. Primary Garden 3. Primary Playground 4. Parking 5. Lower Elementary Building: 2 Lower Elementary Classrooms and Administrative Offices 6. Lower Elementary Playground 7. Elementary Gardens 8. Upper Elementary Building: Upper Elementary Classroom, Music Room, Library, and After-School and Community Space 9. Basketball Court 10. Hike and Bike Trail 11. Volleyball Court 12. Creek Trail 13. Athletic Field 14. Gym
6 | Simple Gifts
The new Parkside Community School campus is located at 3207 West Slaughter Lane, Austin, TX 78748.
Remembering and honoring the gifts o Parkside. Since 1991, Parkside Community School has offered children and families in Austin simple gifts that have had a profound effect:
“My greatest gifts from Parkside were confidence and leadership. Participating in Cultural Challenge was a big thing, because it gave me the confidence to be in front of others. The leadership I learned helped me excel in sports. It has allowed me to lead and motivate teams on the field and on the court, inspiring them to do what they need to do.”
the gift of academic excellence, ignited by children’s natural love of learning the gift of true community and lasting friendships the gift of connection with the natural world the gift of music appreciation the gift of social/emotional skills that build a child’s confidence and ability to succeed in life the gift of Montessori from the heart All of us in the Parkside community want to ensure that this wonderful school endures. The best way to do that is to give Parkside a stable and permanent home. We can’t do it alone, so we’re asking for your generous support. Won’t you make your simple gift to Parkside Community School today?
“Parkside gave me the skills I need to adapt and contribute wherever I go. The encouragement towards exploration taught me to be a self-starter and to solve problems independently. The strong sense of community I learned at Parkside has helped me to find my place in communities on two continents.”
In 2010, Geneva White graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Physics from Juniata College. After graduation, she served as a Peace Corps teacher in rural Tanzania, teaching Advanced-Level Physics and Applied Mathematics in Swahili. She is currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and plans to begin medical school next fall.
Beau Kalbacher is a sophomore at Austin High. He is the starting varsity quarterback, plays basketball and baseball and maintains a 4.2 GPA. Beau also volunteers with the Austin Boys and Girls Clubs. He hopes to receive an academic scholarship and play college-level sports, and is considering a degree in architecture.
The Story of Simple Gifts
With gratitude to our friends in China In 1996, Parkside founder Joe Bruno traveled to China with a U.S. educational delegation. In the schools they visited, the children gathered each morning to participate in synchronized dance movement. Struck by how this daily ritual gave everyone a strong sense of belonging, Joe was inspired to bring this community-building concept to Parkside. Since then, our weekly Simple Gifts ceremony has offered all of our children and any interested parents the opportunity to participate in group singing and dancing, using the historical Shaker song â€œSimple Giftsâ€? as the foundation. Simple Gifts was created from this loving intention, and happily, the creation of our wonderful Parkside community continues to this day.
from the heart