CCP - Oct. 16 post (contains info about S.T.A.R. breathing)

Hello CCP Family,

Here’s my Thursday communication a day early! I wanted you to be sure to see the section on “fall break” below….

        FALL BREAK - We will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Oct 17 & 18 for fall break. Our staff will attend the Durham-Orange Preschool Association teachers' conference.  We truly value this time to study and network with other preschool teachers and directors from Durham and Orange counties. Please wish us well as we learn together with over 200 preschool educators.

As you receive this communication each week, I try to note in the title what Conscious Discipline skill is highlighted. That way, you can more easily refer back to the post to refresh yourself on the skills. That’s why we love the blogs! You can always return to re-read the info and it’s all in one convenient place - much better than searching through a never-ending list of emails. Just go to and put in the password that was in your preschool packet.

Thank you to all the families and safe-keepers who came together for CCP spirit night dinner at Chick-fil-a on Monday! Even though the “cow” couldn’t join us, I think the children had a wonderful time. We should receive a check from them soon, so thank you kindly for your support!

We enjoyed the Rags to Riches performance of The Owl and The Turtle today. Basically the message was that everyone can be friends, even though they are different! The Rags to Riches performers are retiring after this year. We will miss their visits to our school, but we wish them well in whatever adventures come next!

CCP BOARD MEETING - We will meet on Monday, Oct. 21 at 7:30pm in Ascension Hall.

       STAFF MEETING - Teachers, we will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 12:30 - 1:30 in room 4 of building 105.

      "When we calm our body and mind, we manufacture predominantly alpha and theta brain waves, signifying that our mind is alert, yet relaxed.  This state of relaxed alertness is the optimal learning state."  (Managing Emotional Mayhem, p. 81)  At CCP, we often stop and breathe (S.T.A.R. -Smile, Take A deep breath and Relax) to calm our bodies and bring us to this state of relaxed alertness so we are ready to learn. Adults, taking a breath before addressing your child will allow you to be in a more relaxed state so you can respond with teaching rather than react to an incident.

        Pause a moment to be a S.T.A.R. and I wish you well.  



October 10, 2019 - post includes info on the skill of Assertiveness

Dear CCP Family,

     Thank you for meeting with your child's teacher at conference time this week.  We truly appreciate your time and your willingness to partner with us in your child's preschool education.

911 and Stop, drop, and roll were heard throughout the building as CCP children role-played being fire fighters this week!  We have practiced a fire drill and know how to exit the building safely. Captain Russell and his crew visited us in a Chapel Hill blue fire truck! They showed us all the gear they have to wear to stay safe in a fire. We learned they are “helpers.” We will soon be reading our weather drill books in preparation for a future weather drill. We know lots of ways to stay safe!

This is a good time to update your child’s change of clothes for cooler weather!

    Monday, Oct. 14 is SPIRIT DAY!! (and Tuesday, Oct. 15 for the TTH classes) Wear your spirit gear or your class color to school and to CHICK-FIL-A at University Place on Monday, Oct. 14. We will meet anytime between 5:00-7:00pm to have dinner together. Mention CCP when you order and a portion of the proceeds will come to CCP!

On Wed, Oct. 16, Rags to Riches Children’s Theatre will present The Owl and the Turtle at 10:00 in Ascension Hall. TTH families, please feel free to join us for the show. It lasts approx. 30 minutes.

     Oct. 17 & 18 is “Fall Break” for students. The teachers and I will be attending the annual Durham-Orange Preschool Association's teacher conference on Friday.  It is a great privilege to be able to gather with over 200 area preschool teachers for a time of sharing and professional development.  We appreciate your support as we learn together.

Thank you for the generous clothing donations that are coming in for the refugee families! There is a collection bin in the hallway near the double doors. We will accept donations of gently-used children’s clothing through the end of October.

     A CONSCIOUS DISCIPLINE MOMENT - I will leave you with a word about the skill of assertiveness, paraphrased from Dr. Becky Bailey.  There are 3 voices that we can use to communicate - passive, aggressive, and assertive.  The goal of passivity is to please others.  Using a passive voice relinquishes your power by leaving decisions to others.  Aggressive communication aims to win by overpowering.  Aggressive people often speak for others and they frequently use the words "always" and "never" as forms of attack.  Assertiveness allows us to express our needs, wants and desires constructively, without devaluing the other person's needs, wants and desires.  Assertiveness teaches others how to treat us.  The goal of assertiveness is clear communication that paints a picture of what we want others to do.  It has a voice tone of "no doubt" and comes from an intention of helping children be successful instead of making them behave.

     How can we give assertive commands successfully?  By using an assertive voice worded as a command.  Commands are about non-negotiable compliance.  (Requests offer a choice.) We don't want to confuse children by wording commands as requests if there is really no choice.  For example, "Keith, would you take out the trash?" actually meant, "Get up now and take the trash to the curb."  There was really no choice, so an assertive command works better, “Keith, take out the trash.” Usually safety issues need to be worded as commands in an assertive voice.  "Hold my hand while we cross the street."  "Put your notebooks away and line up for lunch."  "Walk in the hall just like this." (demonstrate what you want the child to do.)  These are phrased so there is no question, no doubt.

     Using an assertive voice as an adult models assertiveness for your child. Assertiveness lets you set your boundaries on what behaviors you consider safe, appropriate and permissible.  It enables you to say "no" to your children, and teaches them how to say "no" to others (a very important skill. ) 

     I hope you and your families have a safe, restful weekend.  I wish you well.


October week 2 - Fire Safety and Conferences

Hello CCP Families!

        Hope you've had a great first week of October! I do hope we will see some cooler weather soon! Thank you for paying your tuition on time. (If you’ve forgotten, you have until noon tomorrow, Friday, Oct 4, to drop your check in the tuition box and avoid the late fee.)

        A friendly's time to get your flu shot!  Let's all stay healthy and avoid absences from the flu if we can.  Hope you will join me in protecting your family and our preschool family from the flu!

Individual photos went well. I’ll send a link soon by email where you can look at the photos and purchase them if you choose to.

If you have a chance to clean out any gently-used children’s clothing this month, please donate it to help refugee families. There is a collection bin by the double doors in the preschool hallway. Thank you for your generosity!!

        Here are some reminders for the upcoming week:

  • Saturday, Oct. 5 - Optional Family Photos with David Gellatly in the side yard of the church or under the bell tower. Smile! Please arrive on time so everyone can have their full session.

  • You’re invited to Christ Church’s Fall Festival this Sunday, Oct. 6 from noon until 2:00pm! There are all types of games, food, and fun for the whole family! Just $5 per person, $20 max per family. Park in the park and ride lot and walk to the church.

  • Mon & Tues , Oct 7 & 8 - Ladybugs, Ducks, and Whales will have brief getting to know you conferences with your lead teacher. Bring any questions you may have or bits of information to share with the teacher. (Frog families will get an email in the fall and have scheduled conferences in the spring. However, if you need to see Ms. Julie now, just contact her to arrange a meeting.) Your children will be cared for in their regular classroom by the assistant teachers and a substitute. Duck conferences will be in room 2 of building 105. Whale conferences will be in the Library, beside the preschool office. Ladybug conferences will be in the Disciple room on Monday and in the prayer room of building 103 on Tuesday. (I’ll be glad to help you find your way if needed!)

  • There will be a blood drive in Ascension Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8

  • The fire truck will visit CCP on Thursday, Oct. 10 around 9:30. MWF classes, please feel free to join us with your grown-up. (Remember, we have to be patient. Sometimes the fire truck gets a call and we may have to wait a few minutes.)

  • Monday, October 14 - Let’s have dinner together at Chick-fil-a in University Place! Come between 5:00 and 7:00pm to have food and fun with your friends and teachers. Mention CCP when you order and we earn a portion of the night’s proceeds! Wear your CCP shirt or your class color to Chick-fil-a and to school on Oct. 14 & 15.

  • Looking ahead: CCP Board will meet on Monday, Oct. 21 at 7:30pm.

  • Looking ahead: Fall break for students on Thursday & Friday, Oct. 17 & 18. Teachers will attend the educational conference provided by the Durham - Orange Preschool Association.

        From Dr. Becky Bailey's Managing Emotional Mayhem, p. 41..."If a child signals sadness, anger or embarrassment, an attuned adult can pick up on this communication and coach the child through her discomfort to an integrated state.  The child will learn emotions are a bridge between problem and solution, reducing the likelihood of a reactive or impulsive response."

        Emotions serve a vital purpose!  We need to feel them, accept them, and they will dissipate.  They are the bridge between problem and solution.  Here's the secret....we don't want to get stuck on the feelings bridge, hanging on to our suffering and rehashing our problem.  Instead we want to identify and name the feeling.  Then relax and re-frame the problem.  Then move more easily to choose a satisfactory solution.  Let's help our children learn to walk across the feelings bridge!  (paraphrased from Dr. Bailey's Conscious Discipline, p.221.)

Have a wonderful weekend and I wish you well,

Debbie Arena

Here comes October! Photos and Fire Trucks (9-26-19 post)

Dear CCP Families,

        Thank you to all families for your patience with parking, especially on Tuesdays! Hopefully it will smooth out soon. Feel free to pick up early on any Tuesday if it helps your schedule.

This week we had our first practice fire drills. All went well. Everyone stayed calm and exited the building safely. We will work on leaving the building a little more quickly. It took 1 min and 50 seconds. As we continue to practice regularly, we will aim for leaving the building in 1 minute .

September went by so quickly! Here comes October and it's full of great preschool fun!  Mark your calendars or update from our website google calendar....

  • PHOTOS - Tues, Oct. 1 for Ducks & TTH classes (individual pics during the school day)

  • PHOTOS - Wed, Oct. 2 for Whales & MW(F) classes (individual pics during the school day)

  • OPTIONAL FAMILY PHOTOS - Saturday, Oct. 5 - Find Photographer David Gellatly in the side yard at Christ Church. Please sign up here and arrive on time so everyone can have their full 10 minute session. (There is no sitting fee and David does fabulous work!)

  • FIRE TRUCK VISIT - Thurs, Oct. 10 around 9:30 - If you attend on MWF, please feel free to join us (children with an adult) at 9:30 on Thursday to see the fire truck and fire fighters. We usually meet in Ascension hall for a few minutes and then go class by class to see the truck. (Remember, sometimes the truck has an emergency so we may have to wait a bit if they get a call.)

  • FALL PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES (for 3’s and 4’s) - Mon & Tues, Oct. 7 & 8. Please sign up for a short “getting to know you” meeting with your child's teacher. You can find the link to the signup genius on your class page. (Your child will attend school on normal schedule that day with the assistant teacher and a sub.) Parents, please plan to share one thing the teacher may not know about your child/family AND one big question you may wonder about. Then the teacher will share some tidbits about your child in a group setting. Two’s, Ms. Julie will touch base with you through email, but feel free to make an appointment with her if you feel you need a conference.

  • CCP SPIRIT NIGHT - CHICK-FIL-A - Monday, Oct. 14 - Wear your spirit gear or your class color and drop by Chick-fil-a in University Place between 5:00 and 7:00pm. Have dinner with your friends and safe-keepers. Mention CCP when ordering and 10% of your order price will go to the school! (No time to stay and eat? Even take out orders earn money for CCP!)

  • FLU - It is time to protect your family from the flu! Please get the flu vaccine to protect your child, your family, and our preschool family. Thanks! I got mine last week. The local drugstores usually have the vaccine, as do the local doctors’ offices. It only takes a few minutes to avoid having a week-long serious illness!

        Teachers, please remember that we have staff meeting Tues, Oct. 1 at 12:30. (Stay tuned, we may be providing lunch for you that day!!)

        Beginning the day with a connection activity between the teacher and the children stimulates the impulse control systems of the brain and generates a neurochemical bath that says, "Pay attention, this is fun."  (Creating the School Family p 149)

"Discipline is like the 'slow-slow, quick-quick' of a country western two-step.  The 'slow-slow' is building the relationship.  It does not happen overnight but slowly over time.  The 'quick-quick' is the specific skill set we need to handle the upset and conflicts that arise within the relationship."  ~from Baby Doll Circle Time, p. 32

I wish you well,


Sailing through September! (9-19-19 post) & the D. N. A. method

Hello CCP Family,

     We are settling into our preschool routines!  The children are becoming comfortable and confident with their friends and teachers.  Everyone appears to know they are safe and loved here at CCP.  We are surely on the way to becoming a school family, a process that can take about 4 to 6 weeks.

Next week we will practice our first fire drills. The teachers have read and re-read the book about fire drills to prepare the children. It is typically a very routine experience and the children find it interesting, rather than frightening.

The deadline for Spirit gear orders is this Sunday, 9-22-19. Order your items here today! We can wear our spirit gear to school on our spirit days, Oct. 14 & 15. We can also wear it to our SPIRIT NIGHT at CHICK-FIL-A (University Place) on Monday, Oct. 14 from 5:00-7:00pm. It’s great fun to eat dinner with our school family and your food orders earn $$ for the preschool if you mention CCP when ordering! There was a printed invitation in your cubbies this week also.

Next week we will begin Music & Movement with Ms. Melissa (2’s, 3’s, & 4’s) and Chapel time with Ms. Debbie (3’s & 4’s, but 2’s will join us later in the year) Chapel is on Mondays & Thursdays. Music/Movement is on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

     Mark your calendar…..Our fall photographer, David Gellatly, will be at preschool on Oct. 1 & 2. (Ducks & TTH classes on Tues ; Whales and MW(F) classes on Wed) I will take a few children at a time to have their individual photos made. (You can dress them up if you want...we will avoid messy paints that day.)  Then I'll give you the link to find your photos on David's website for viewing and purchasing if you desire.  There is no sitting fee and David does very nice work!  In addition we will have an optional family photo day on Saturday, Oct. 5 . If you’d like to come on Oct. 5, please sign up for a time slot here.

Thank you for bringing in nutritious snacks for your child’s class. When it’s your turn, please bring 2 items so children have a choice. Please have large fruits like cantaloupe cut into bite-sized pieces. And finally, packaged snacks should be in the original, unopened box or bag. There are details in the handbook that was emailed to you. Thanks, too, for sending a water bottle each day. Please send only water in the bottle. Juices and other sweet liquids are sticky when spilled and attract bugs.

     Our fall "Getting to Know You Conferences" are Oct. 7 & 8.  Ladybugs, Ducks, & Whales, your teacher will provide a sign up link on your class page.  (Frogs will receive some communication from Ms. Julie in the fall, but will not have formal conferences until the spring.)  Of course, if anyone wants to see Ms. Julie or any teacher anytime during the year, then just make an appointment directly with the teacher you need to see.

  A CONSCIOUS DISCIPLINE MOMENT on OFFERING EMPATHY:   To offer children empathy, we must be willing to let them experience distress. (p. 236 Conscious Discipline) Dr. Bailey uses her D.N.A. method - Describe.  (Pause)  Name.  Acknowledge to offer empathy to a child in distress. Here's how it looks...

Imagine your child very upset, maybe even screaming and kicking!  First you breathe composing yourself.  Then you DNA - describe, (pause), name, acknowledge like this:

D. - Active calming, noticing:  "Your face is going like this.  Your feet are going like this." (demonstrate) Child will most likely look your way.  As soon as eye contact happens....

"Hit the pause button" here and download your calm to the child by softening your face and taking a deep breath.

N. - Offer empathy:  "You seem _______. (angry, sad, scared) " Then quickly move to....

A. - Problem solving:  "You wanted ______."  or  "You were hoping ______."

Remember, if we can name the feeling the child is communicating with positive intent, then we validate the child's experience and move the regulation process forward.  "You wanted ____" and "You were hoping_____" help us acknowledge the child's most heartfelt wishes and facilitate problem solving.  It is important that the pause comes after describing.  Then you move quickly from naming to acknowledging. In this way you move the child from the survival state, up through the emotional state, then quickly into the executive state where he or she can problem-solve.  

     D. N. A. takes practice!  Be gentle on yourself as a parent and know that there may be an oops along the way.  Keep practicing and it will become easier! If you'd like more information from Dr. Bailey, go to or ask me.  The teachers and I are still learning and we practice Conscious Discipline every day!  We are so glad to have these strategies to offer the gift of self-regulation to our students.   

I hope you have a fabulous weekend and I wish you well,








Sept 12 post - Becoming a Family

Hi CCP Families,

We’ve had a wonderful second week of preschool! Our Whale and Duck classes began their Mon and Wed lunch bunches with great success. The children are beginning to settle into their routines. Parents, you’re doing well with drop-off and pick-up. And I am doing my best to learn all the new names and faces! ;-)

Next week we will continue to work toward becoming a “school family.” We want the children to know that their teachers (safe-keepers) will keep them safe. We are working hard to form that trust bond with each child. The children are learning some new ways to breathe, too, to calm their bodies, like a S.T.A.R breath or a balloon breath. We will also learn what makes each of us unique and learn our friends’ names.

CCP Board of Directors, we have a meeting on Monday, Sept 16 at 7:30pm in Ascension Hall. Families, anytime you’re curious about what the board does, please ask your parent rep or Alexis Oshman (mom of Rosalia in the MWF Ladybugs) Our board meetings are open to families to observe, but you would need to contact our board chair, Alexis, if you want to be put on the agenda for a particular topic.

Please remember that you may order CCP shirts here. The site will be open until Sept. 22. You may also make your “fundraising donation” on the website using your credit card. Thanks to everyone for your generosity!

Families, thank you for sending a water bottle each day. This is so helpful to each class and to our environment! Please only send water in the bottle. Juices or other sweet liquids are sticky when spilled and attract insects. Thanks!

Here are some simple, yet helpful words paraphrased from Conscious Discipline, If the child complies with your command or request, say “You’re doing it! You are ______ (putting on your shoes so we can go outside!” for example, or “cleaning up your blocks so no one falls.”) If the child refuses, say, “I’m going to hep you get started.”

Have a wonderful weekend and I wish you well,


And we're off!

Hi CCP Family,

      We did it!  All classes have now experienced their first day of preschool for 2019-20!  There were a few tears, but nothing major and everyone ended their days successfully.  Adults, you handled the "good-byes" very well - positive, short, and sweet!  Thank you for the trust you place in us! You have precious children and we feel very fortunate to have you as part of our school family.  Each day will get easier!

      We are only missing a few forms.  (We are required to collect new forms each year.) Melissa has notified the families who may be missing one of the following: health form, emergency contact form, or a photo permission form.  We MUST have current forms to keep everyone safe.  Also, please make sure you have a weather-appropriate change of clothes at preschool.  And thanks for bringing a water bottle each day! Just be sure your child’s name is on the bottle.

Thanks for your flexibility today with the approaching storm. Hopefully you saw my email last night explaining our plan for today. Please become familiar with our policies in the Parent Handbook that was emailed to you. When there is inclement weather, I will do my best to communicate by email. However, in most cases, you will know that we follow the Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools. You can relax in the knowledge that we have a weather plan to keep your children safe!

We are locking our doors for safety each day at 9:15. They will be unlocked just before dismissal. If you need to get in during the day, just ring the bell to the right of the front or the back door. There is not a bell on the side door into Ascension Hall. Thanks.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to order a CCP school shirt yet, please click here. You can order shirts and make your “fundraising donation” using your credit or debit card. I think the shirt orders will close late next week, so you may want to go ahead and make your purchase now. Thanks for showing your school spirit!

       If you have a grandparent or nanny that you would like to receive preschool communications, please provide the password & direct them to the website ( the parent portal, and then the class pages - they can sign up for the email notifications at the bottom right of each blog page.  This will ensure that they receive the emails.  Please note that they need to do this for EACH email notification they want to receive. So if they want to receive notifications from the director and a teacher, they would need to sign up on Debbie's blog page AND the class blog page.

       I hope each of you had the chance to meet our lead pastor, Ben Williams, and perhaps you also met our associate pastor, Kristen Hanna.  Pastor Ben is easily recognized because he wears a bowtie! Pastor Kristen & Pastor Ben were greeting families in the hallway this week. Thanks to Pastor Ben and Pastor Kristen for their support and for helping us welcome everyone on the first days of preschool!

      Thank you for coming to the Parent Orientation meeting.  I hope you learned a lot about our school and especially about your child's class.  As I mentioned, one thing that makes us unique is using Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline as our method of building resilient classrooms and teaching children the skills of self-regulation.  I will share more about this each week in my Thursday evening blog post. You can learn to expect preschool news in your e-mailbox from Debbie on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm

      Christ Church has their Sunday School Kick-Off for 2019-20 this Sunday, Sept. 8 at 9:45.  The preschoolers attend Sunday school in the Ladybug room. Sunday school lasts an hour.  Parents can attend the worship service during the same hour in the Sanctuary. If you don't have a home church, please come visit Christ Church! You can contact Pastor Kristen for more information about Sunday school.

Duck and Whale classes, your first lunch bunch is this coming Monday, Sept. 9! On Mondays and Wednesdays our 4’s classes stay until 1:00 and enjoy lunch together. This is a great chance for more socializing and a great opportunity to practice eating a packed lunch!

Safekeepers, we have a staff meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 12:30.

      I leave you with this quote from Amy Speidel (Loving Guidance Associate), "Our job is to be the mirror for children, reflecting their worth; what we reflect becomes what they believe about themselves."

Happy Grandparents' Day this Sunday!  I WISH YOU WELL!