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  • 30 Jan 2023 1:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First Friday Nights at Curiodyssey – San Mateo, February 3

    Free First Friday at San Mateo County History Museum – Redwood City, February 3

    First Friday at Chabot Space and Science Center – Oakland, February 3

    888 Family Ping Pong Night - Burlingame, February 3

    Bagels and Babies - Foster City, February 3

    Lunar New Year Celebration - Belmont, February 3

    Free Telescope Viewing at Chabot Space & Science Center – Oakland, February 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25

    Napa Lighted Art Festival - Napa, Jan 21 – Feb 19

    Bluey’s Big Play – San Jose, February 3-5

    Entwined - San Francisco, February through March 12

    Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails Exhibit - San Jose, February - May 23

    de Young Museum & Legion of Honor - San Francisco, February 3,10, 17,24 Free Day for Bay Area Residents 

    Chinese New Year Parade – San Francisco, February 4

    Lunar New Year Celebration at Children’s Discovery Museum – San Jose, February 4

    Teen Tennis Stars Clinics! - Stanford, February 4

    Volunteer at Redwood Grove Nature Preserve - Los Altos, February 4

    Family Nature Walks - Palo Alto, February 4

    Fire Ecology - EcoCenter Family Event - Palo Alto, February 4

    Year of the Rabbit Concert – San Francisco, February 4

    Kid Makers: Celebrating Black History Month – Redwood City, February 4

    Lunar New Year Celebration at Children’s Discovery Museum – San Jose, February 4

    Art Making for Families – Berkeley, February 4

    Lunar New Year Celebration – Redwood City, February 4

    Saturday Science at Randall Museum – San Francisco, February 4, 11, 18, 25

    Planetarium Shows for Kids – Cupertino, February 4, 11, 25

    The Day You Begin by Bay Area Children’s Theatre – Berkeley, February 4 – March 12

    Lunar New Year at the SF Zoo - San Francisco, February 5

    Year of the Rabbit Family Fun Day – San Francisco, Feb 5

    Lunar New Year Craft & Celebration – San Jose, February 5

    Free First Sunday at NUMU – Los Gatos, February 5

    Sweetheart Dance – Redwood City, February 10

    Stuart Little by PYT – Mountain View, February 10, 11

    San Francisco Summer Resource Fair – San Francisco, Feb 11

    Kid Makers: Pop Up Chemistry – Redwood City, February 11

    Science Safari at Sanborn Park – Saratoga, February 11, 25

    Storytime with Youth Science Institute – Los Gatos, Feb 11

    Rumpelstiltskin – Palo Alto, February 11, 12

    Come Watch the Big Game at Springline Menlo Park! - Menlo Park, February 12

    Kids Carnival at Hiller Aviation – San Carlos, February 12

    Marine Science Sunday – Sausalito, February 12, 26

    Super Bowl Party - Santa Clara, February 12

    Paint a Rainbow – Palo Alto, February 17

    The Sound of Music – San Jose, February 17-26

    Science Safari at Alum Rock Park – San Jose, February 18

    Penguins and Pajamas Sleepover – San Francisco, February 18

    Let's LEGO! - Burlingame, February 21

    Disney on Ice – Road Trip Adventure, Oakland, Feb 23-26

    Kids Art at Magical Bridge Playground – Redwood City, February 25

    Discover Art with NUMU – Los Gatos, February 28

    STEM Saturdays - Burlingame, February 28

  • 19 Jan 2023 12:14 AM | Anonymous member

    Our annual Preschool Fair is Saturday January 22 from 2-4pm at the Foster City Recreation Center. Thanks to Parents Place for their support of our annual Preschool Fair and for this helpful list of questions for parents looking to choose the best preschool fit for their family.

    Physical Environment

    • Does the classroom have a variety of developmental, age-appropriate play materials?
    • Are shelves crowded, or can children clearly see and choose materials?
    • Are there tables or rug space for playing with materials?
    • Does the classroom look warm, inviting, clean, and well-cared for?
    • Are there adequate space and time for group and individual activities?
    • Are the indoor and outdoor play areas big enough for the number of children enrolled?
    • Is there a variety of outdoor play options? (including activities such as gardening, biking, sand, pets, big blocks, painting, water play?) Is there shade?

    Interpersonal Environment

    • Are you and your child warmly welcomed?
    • Do the children look happy, calm, and engaged? Does the teacher appear to be as well?
    • Is the environment calm enough that the teacher can observe or participate as needed?
    • Do teachers respect and support children’s differing learning styles and temperaments?
    • Do children feel safe with one another? How are peer conflicts handled?
    • Are teachers using positive forms of redirection and discipline?
    • Are the adults good models for behavior and healthy attitudes? Are there a lot of ‘no’s?
    • Do staff members share the children’s daily experiences with parents? How?


    • Is there a balance of indoor and outdoor play?
    • Are children free to choose their activities?
    • Is there a variety of basic visual art media and opportunities for dramatic play?
    • Is musical play encouraged? Singing, dancing, instruments?
    • Is language stimulation varied? (reading books, indoor/outdoor games)?
    • Is there a quiet, cozy spot for calm play?
    • Are age-appropriate self-help skills encouraged?
    • Are children encouraged (not forced) to participate in circle time?
    • Do teachers have time to read a story to the group and one-on-one daily?


    • Do teachers adapt the schedule to meet children’s needs (more time for art if children are engaged; more outdoor time if needed to work off excess energy)?
    • Are there long periods of time for uninterrupted play and free choice of activities?
    • How are transitions between activities handled? Do teachers allow enough time to transition, and how do they support children who need extra help?

    Staff Concerns

    • Is there a high turnover of teachers? What motivates teachers to stay in this early care environment (ongoing professional development, a supportive administration, etc.)?
    • Is the staff knowledgeable about early childhood development and the correlation between play and learning?
    • How much experience, education, and training are required to teach at the school?

    Thank you to Parents Place for providing this evaluation checklist.

  • 18 Jan 2023 11:57 PM | Anonymous member

    By Stephanie Agnew, Parents Place Assistant Director 

    The results are in. Children who participate in quality preschool programs do better academically, professionally, and personally. A strong preschool program focuses on learning and development, teaching academics as well as critical social and emotional skills. Even during this uncertain time of a global pandemic, young children need to interact with peers and learn to separate from family. To find the right environment for your child and family, begin with these initial questions:

    1. WHERE? Do I want my child in a home or school setting, full- or part-time? Home settings can be cozy, but caregiver credentials vary. The smaller group size and mixed aged can be more comforting for slow to warm or very young children. California licensing requires a child to caregiver ratio of no more than 4:1 for infants, 6:1 for 2-year-olds, and 12:1 for 3- and 4-year olds in school settings. In home settings, the maximum group size is 12, and there must be at least two caregivers for settings of more than six children. Center-based programs offer more social variety and a larger environment to explore. Cost will vary depending on the type of program and number of hours of care. You will also want to consider the distance from home or your work to the school.
    2. WHEN? Are both parents returning to work? Are there socialization concerns or separation issues? Is the at-home parent ready for time alone? Is the child ready for kindergarten? Some families need care after a few weeks or months, while others may only need the pre-K experience before beginning formal elementary school. Children should have at least one year—but preferably two years—of a quality group experience before starting kindergarten.
    3. WHO? Think about your child. Will your active child be restless in a program with limited outdoor time? Are children encouraged to sample a variety of indoor and outdoor activities? How do children learn conflict resolution skills and develop resiliency? Is your sensitive child easily overwhelmed in a large crowd? Also think about yourself. Does the school have a community that you can become part of? Will you feel supported by teachers, administrators, and other parents? Are there opportunities for you to be involved in ways that work with your time constraints and interests?

    Now that you’ve thought about the basic questions, let’s find out what type of preschool best meets your child and family needs. Here are some popular teaching philosophies to consider when choosing an early learning program:

    Developmental: A developmentally appropriate, play-based program supports learning in all five areas of development, including gross-motor and fine-motor skills, language and cognitive development, and social and emotional learning. Classrooms are teacher-directed or child-centered, depending on the school orientation. Includes free play time, as well as more structured circle times or group activities.

    Montessori (Maria Montessori, 1870-1952): Classrooms are structured, with children moving from activity to activity at their own pace. Many Montessori programs incorporate three principles: observation of the child, personal liberty, and preparation of the environment. Special materials emphasize the use of all the senses. Children are self-directed and encouraged to work independently, often in multi-age classrooms.

    Parent Cooperative: Parent participation is required, either in the classroom, at home, or by serving on a parent board that operates the school. The basic philosophy is that children and parents go to school together with guidance from a qualified teacher. The focus is on child development. There is often a parent education component either during the day or in evening meetings.

    Reggio Emilia (Loris Malaguzzi, 1920-1994): Evolved from the parent cooperative movement, these programs involve the community in the world of the child. Emphasis is on relationships with peers and adults, creative thinking skills, and project work. Each project lasts from a few weeks to more than a month. Children’s progress is documented through posters or portfolios that capture a child’s learning process. The curriculum emerges from the children’s interests.

    Language Immersion: Children are taught in a foreign language. The classrooms and teachers may follow any of these teaching philosophies. Many language immersion programs adopt the Montessori philosophy.

    Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner, 1861-1925): Develops a child’s intellectual powers in harmony with his or her nature. Waldorf schools incorporate imaginative play, a multi-sensorial approach, and stress “learning by doing.” Programs may include a lot of creative activity and natural materials in the classroom. Teachers receive specialized training, lead many group activities, and often remain with the same set of children for several years.

    Religious: Usually affiliated with a church, synagogue, or other religious organization, these programs may incorporate a lot, a little, or no religious training and may follow any of these teaching philosophies.

    University (or lab) Schools: These programs are vehicles for teacher training and ongoing child development research. The staff is usually required to have a higher learning degree, and there may be several student-researchers in the classroom at any one time. Children may benefit from the latest research in the child development field and are expected to be active participants in student research studies.

    Academic: Academic programs stress preparation for kindergarten and elementary school, with early reading or formal reading readiness activities, an introduction to paper-and-pencil mathematics, and a focus on achievement. The preschool day is structured, often with separate times for “work” and “play.”

    Outdoor/Nature Programs: These programs are usually oriented toward spending most or all of the time outside exploring nature. Most of these programs involve daily field trips to different locations at which the children explore the nature of the location with the guidance of a teacher who plans activities that apply to the place. Some of the programs include parents; some do not.

    Once you’ve found an early learning environment that supports your child and family needs, be sure to communicate your enthusiasm for your child’s first school experience. For many children, this is the beginning of a new, special relationship with another trusted adult. Be supportive, confident, and patient as your child learns to navigate the world outside the home. Become friendly with the teachers, caregivers, and parents, and always focus on your child’s strengths. Your child will benefit from the gift of an early start.

    See the detailed Parents Place evaluation checklist for early childhood programs in the next post.

    Stephanie Barry Agnew is the Assistant Director of Parents Place in The Center for Children and Youth. She works with parents in groups and individually to help them through a wide variety of parenting issues, including discipline and school choices. She can be reached at 650-931-1841 or To schedule an individual consultation call 650-688-3046. Learn more about all the Parents Place programs at

  • 3 Jan 2023 9:48 AM | Anonymous member

    Family-friendly fun activities and events happening in January:

  • 29 Dec 2022 10:34 PM | Anonymous member

    Today's blurb is from the Membership Coordinator. There is a large list of open positions to be filled for this coming year. Please reach out to if you are interested in joining the board! 

    Christelle Hurstel, Membership Coordinator

    Description: Approves member applications to the club, and sends the welcome packages for new members. Creates a new members introduction list for the blog, and Facebook announcements, and approves members to our Facebook group. Works a quarterly new members social with the club president.

    What I am proud of: Creating a system that streamlines adding new members, welcoming them, and seeing some members from the ‘social’ I hosted volunteer to serve on the Board.

    Perks of the job: I decided to stop working ever since I got married, to relax for the first 3 years before kids came along. The work I do makes me feel like I am still working a job, but on my own time. And meeting new people through membership is fun.

  • 27 Dec 2022 12:14 AM | Anonymous member

    Today's blurb is from Playgroups & Pairings. There is a large list of open positions to be filled for this coming year. Please reach out to if you are interested in joining the board! 

    Adara Citron, Playgroups & Pairings

    Description: Creates playgroups based on children's ages and recruit playgroup coordinators. Facilitates the Parent Pairings program, including promotion, making matches, and sending out monthly discussion prompts.

    What I am proud of: I created the Parent Pairings program in 2021 and it has been a joy to see parents connect and learn from each other. The program continues to evolve and I love hearing from participants what they liked and what can make the program better for the next cohort. Creating community is what this program is all about!

    Perks of the job: I am able to connect with more parents through playgroups, Parent Pairings, and the Board than I may otherwise. I've met people from all over San Mateo and beyond and love meeting people in person at larger club events after interacting virtually.

  • 23 Dec 2022 2:29 PM | Anonymous member

    Today's blurb is from the treasurer, a very important position for the club. There is a large list of open positions to be filled for this coming year. Please reach out to if you are interested in joining the board! 

    Nicole Czakon, Treasurer

    Description: Responsible for the fiscal integrity of the Club. Process bills/expense reimbursements and deposit revenue. Produces financials and budget information for monthly board meetings. Provides a quarterly financial update for the newsletter. Files federal and state taxes each year. Maintains contracts with the insurance company and keeps governmental document filings current.

    What I am proud of: Seeing how well run the San Mateo Parents Club is! We have strong membership, an active events team, and really impressive ad revenue (which helps keep all other fees down). Also, I created a Google sheet that automatically categorizes expenses to help with reconciliation.

    Perks of the job: Being able to work on my own time. I work full time and have two small kids, so I need more schedule flexibility than many other positions provide.

  • 20 Dec 2022 11:24 PM | Anonymous member

    The President’s Message this month included a call to volunteer on the SMPC Board. Quite a few board members are stepping down this year and there is a large list of open positions to be filled. To help you better understand the various roles, the current board members will post a little blurb on their experience. One blurb will be posted every few days. Hopefully you will be inspired to step up and serve the community as well!

    Daisy Yau, Blog Editor

    Description: Determines editorial content, calendar, and themes for the year, including writing articles and/or soliciting content from local writers and contributors. Goal is to post two blog entries per month.

    What I am proud of: Out of all the articles published, I am most proud of the article on the nanny market. The nanny market can be such a mystery, not just the numbers, but also how to look for one, and how to interview candidates. Nannies are crucial to many working families in the area, and I hope the article delivered great value to everyone!

    Perks of the job: First, I get to scratch my own back and ask experts questions that I personally am interested in. For example, from the sleep article, I got a free refresher on what sleep training means -- very timely for the arrival of my 4th! From the music learning article, I gained a completely new understanding on what connection with music means both for my kids and myself. Second, the job is 100% remote. Do it from your own home.

  • 9 Dec 2022 9:36 AM | Anonymous member

    The holidays are upon us! The SMPC Board would like to share a couple of words with the community on what makes the holidays fun and meaningful to their families. Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!

    Community Events

    “Our absolute favorite is Glowfari at the Oakland Zoo. We try to get a ticket for the earliest time window (5pm), bring dinner to eat inside and then head right up on the gondola before it gets too busy.”

    “We've enjoyed going to Filoli Gardens in the evenings to see the light displays.”

    “We hope to try ice skating at Central Park this year!”

    “Our family tradition is to visit Christmas Tree Lane at Eucalyptus in San Carlos  every year. We look for the repeat decorations and identify the new ones.”

    “Hopefully [with the pandemic behind us], we will be able to attend candlelight Christmas Eve services again this year.”

    Family Activities

    “We celebrate Hannukah - we enjoy gathering with our family and the community to light the hanukiah (menorah) each night, eating latkes (potato pancakes) and teaching our boys to play dreidel (which really just means them eating all the gelt (chocolate coins).”

    “Every night of Hannukah, we light the candles together as a family and the kids (now 2yrs and 4yrs) are getting old enough to help light the candles. We also have a wooden hanukiah and candle set that the kids can put together on their own. Each night is filled with Hannukah songs and stories. And several times during the 8-day celebration we'll get together with family and enjoy latkes and holiday treats like gelt (chocolate coins) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts).”

    “My family in Texas always had Seven Layer Bean Dip on Christmas Eve so we wouldn't have to be too stressed trying to get to church or clean up before Santa came. We also had egg nog and peppermint cocoa (adult versions available too). My husband's family has a Christmas Eve Cookie Party every Christmas Eve after church. We would love to start making this a part of our future festivities!”

    “We do an Advent countdown. In years past, we used a wooden Advent calendar, with little drawers representing each day. We wrote Bible verses on strips of paper, and put them into the drawers. Each day, we would take out one strip, forming a ring. We chained the rings together, taping the chain across the ceiling to form a decoration. This year, we are doing a Jesse tree. Each day, we put a new ornament onto the tree, each ornament symbolizing a story about how God brought love to earth.”

    “Our extended family does not live close by, so during the Pandemic, we were able to start celebrating here, and one tradition my husband grew up with is cutting down a Christmas Tree. So now we all go to Skyline Ranch Christmas Tree Farm to pick one out and cut it down ourselves. Our children love helping (with a close eye on the handsaw) and tell everyone they picked the tree out!”

    Holiday WishES

    “I'm looking forward to participating in more local holiday events this year. So many experiences have come back in full-force this year, and we can't wait to go to many!”

    “For everyone to remain happy and healthy as we travel to see our loved ones this Christmas and New Year.”

    “Wishing everyone time to rest and reflect.”

    “I'm not a baker (well I try hahaha), and so many of my childhood memories involve Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, decorating sugar cookies, making special New Years meals, and over the past few years (especially last year when we had a four month old), I gave myself permission to outsource all of the baked goods to Copenhagen Bakery, so my children could have the deliciousness, I wouldn't feel stressed about trying to do it all without feeling like I had failed. I hope everyone stays sane and remembers love and kindness for everyone, including giving ourselves the grace to not do it all!

  • 6 Dec 2022 8:36 AM | Anonymous member

    Maybe it’s the rain falling, reminding me of the winter I was pregnant with my first (it rained so much the fall of 2016!), or maybe it’s just looking at the blessing of a very full December calendar, but I’m feeling nostalgic and grateful for all that the San Mateo Parents Club has given me over the years.

    The winter of 2017 I worked tirelessly at two Skilled Nursing Facilities and saw a few clients through a home health agency in Cupertino and Mountain View. I was working approximately 55-60 hours a week in January and February, and I ended up on bedrest for the weeks leading up to my due date. It was the last full-time position I held, and if we’re being honest, walking away from the demands of a position like that to be a stay at home parent felt very freeing. When William arrived though, I felt quite alone. I didn’t know any of the cafes or playgrounds in San Mateo, nor did I know anyone in the area with children. I joined the SMPC to solve these new life problems.

    I was recruited to be a playgroup coordinator at my first play date. Baby William was snuggled up on my chest, sleeping through a wonderful conversation with two other mothers at Fiero Caffe downtown. It was the same day my mom flew home after supporting us through the first weeks of the fourth trimester. I was nervous about meeting other mothers (Will they like me? Are they chill? Will William have a blowout on my lap?), and it felt like a big ask to coordinate the group, but I did it anyway, and I’m so glad I did.

    Over time I got to know several more moms and Board Members. I started feeling like I had mental bandwidth and casually mentioned I loved color-coded spreadsheets. The next thing I knew I was the advertising coordinator. Then I coordinated Social Media, Speaker Series, and eventually at the end of 2020, just after finding out I was pregnant with my third child, I was asked to be President. My husband told me it was a bridge too far. I had also started a small project of my own leading Learn With Less® classes, and it seemed like my plate was getting full, but you see, we needed someone to do the job. I was ready to step up to help the team because I believed in the value the club brought to new parents and the community in general.

    If this is sounding like a cautionary tale (don’t over commit!), I understand...I did overcommit and 2022 has been the busiest year of my Mom Life, but there are two critical points here I want to mention: I experienced so much personal and professional growth with my time on the Board, and I also realized that keeping a full Board makes everyone’s job easier.

    Personally I have met incredible parenting role models, connected deeply with other moms (I met my youngest’s Godmother on the Board), my husband has networked two major accounts through casual conversations with other parents, my children have playmates across all ages, and the Pod that saved us through the Pandemic I met through SMPC playgroups and events.

    Professionally I have grown in my confidence as a member of a diverse team and really had to lean-in to what leadership and growth that supports parents looks like. Several members of the current and previous Boards included moms who were considering career changes and wanted to practice a new skill set before stepping into professional roles. I know the lessons I’ve learned as President and filling in for Fundraising and Community Outreach will help me as I navigate owning my own business and collaborate with other professionals in the future.

    The Board is a great stepping stone into learning more about our local community and achieving a shared vision of parents supporting parents. I am proud of the 2022 Board’s ability to pivot throughout the pandemic and openly discuss our path forward. Above all, I have come to realize that fostering environments that respect the roles women play in our society and supporting those choices is critical for creating the word I want for my own children. Please consider taking the time in 2023 to help keep this vision alive. As a wise previous SMPC President assured me, when enough of us value something to step up and take ownership, we can keep doing all that is worth doing.

    See the full list of open Board Positions; an abbreviated list is also below. No experience is necessary, and outgoing/previous Board Members are available to mentor and support new members throughout the process. Please reach out to if you are interested!

    Rachel Kammeyer
    SMPC President

    Two of the open Board Positions are below. See the full list of open positions here.

    • Community Outreach (1 of 2 positions)
      1-4 hours a month
      • Find and compile local activities, events, and resources (position 1 filled).
      • Discover and find volunteers for outreach opportunities in the process to recruit new members (e.g. tabling at Chamber of Commerce events, Central Park concert series, etc).
      • Community service includes building partnerships and connections which also aids in outreach (Samaritan House, Circle of Inspiration, CORA).
      • Can ask for volunteers among club membership to support on specific outreach event tasks.
    • Fundraising (1 position)
      Cyclical commitment, 1-5 hours a month, depending on time of year
      • Generate ideas for fundraising to add to our general funds and coordinate to align with major events when possible.
      • Regular fundraising efforts include Photography Fundraisers (1 Spring/1 Fall), and Mother’s Day Bouquets.
      • Setting up contracts, coordinating with vendors and Web Presence Coordinator as needed for promotions.
      • Funds raised will go to the club's events to serve all members.

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