Events & Registration

Shady Oak Christian School Registration for 2014-15 School Year is well underway.  We have limited space available in all Preschool Classes (Readiness – age 3, Pre-K – age 4), our Bridge Class and Kindergarten.

Call (281-341-5001) today to schedule your appointment to see the school! Friend us on Facebook at 

All interested families are encouraged to call Shady Oak Christian School at 281-341-5001 and set an appointment to visit our Preschool, Bridge and Kindergarten Classrooms.   Appointments to visit our campus can be made with Bridget Hilbe, Assistant Director or Joyce Trigger, Director.   Visits will take approximately 1 hour and are usually conducted in the morning hours while school is in session.  During these visits you will get an opportunity to visit our play-based, hands-on learning environment first hand, learn about our curriculum and ask questions.  Campus tours are a prerequisite to enrollment, and we have found it is the best way to experience Shady Oak Christian School. If you have questions, you can also email Bridget Hilbe at, or call her at 281-341-5001, press 1.

Are you looking for a Bridge Program?  

The Shady Oak Christian School Bridge Program gives children the gift of time.  This program is designed for children that might need an extra year before entering Kindergarten.  Our Bridge Class is play-based in nature and offers children a full day of learning experiences similar to our Pre-K program with the time to go more in depth in all subject areas.  As with all Shady Oak experiences, there is lots of time for outside play and discovery!  This class meets daily from 8:30 to 3:00.  To be eligible to participate in this program, children must have turned 5 on or before September 1, 2014, or have had two years of preschool at Shady Oak.  Please contact us for additional information or to set an appointment to visit our Bridge Class.

Are you looking for a play-based learning experience for your Primary age child? 

Shady Oak Primary School for the 2014-15 School year will have classes for grades 1st  through 5th grade.  The learning environment will be the same hands-on, center based, individualized learning experience parents have come to expect from Shady Oak Christian School. Please email Nancy Wenzel at to set up an appointment with Debbie Elder, Shady Oak Primary School Director Fall 2014, to tour our Primary School Campus.

Fall Semester 2014 – Important Dates at Shady Oak Christian School

Date Event
Tuesday, August 19 Parent Orientation @ Packet Pick-up, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Shady Oak Primary Building at 600 Main Street
Friday, August 29 New Student Visitation from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.  Meet your teacher and drop off forms
Monday, September 1 Labor Day Holiday – No School.
Tuesday, September 2 1st Day of School for all Kindergarten, Bridge and 5-day & T-Th Preschool Students.
Wednesday, September 4 1st Day of School of all MWF Preschool Students.
Thursday, September 4 1st Chapel of the School Year!
Monday, September 15 Pecan Fund Raiser begins
Wednesday, September 17 Hearing and Vision Screen conducted by Pine Woods Screening Services
Thursday, September 25 Open House and Block Party 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Thursday, September 25 Pecan Fund Raiser Concludes
Friday, September 26 Fort Bend County Fair Parade Day — No School
Wednesday, October 1 Ag’Tivity Barn Field Trip for all Pre-K, Bridge & Kindergarten Students
Monday, October 13 Staff Meeting and Early Release Day — dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, October 16 Richmond Fire Fighters and Fire Truck to visit with Preschool Students
Friday, October 17 Walking Field Trip to the Richmond Fire Station for 3-day & 5-day Preschool, Bridge and Kindergarten Students
Monday, October 20 ArtWare By You Fund-Raiser begins
Thurs. & Fri., October 23 & 24 Individual Student Photographs taken with Steven Leonard Photography
Wednesday, October 29 ArtWare By You Fund Raiser Concludes
Thurs. & Fri., October 30 & 31 Pumpkin Celebration & Special Snack Days
Mon. & Tues., November 3 & 4 Operation Christmas Child Presentations
Monday, November 10 Staff Meeting and Early Release Day — dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
Wed. & Thurs., November 19 & 20 Thanksgiving Feast Days
Mon. thru Fri, November 24 – 28 Thanksgiving Holiday – No School
Monday, December 1 Classes Resume  — Christmas Event Tickets go on sale today.
Wed., Thurs., Fri., Dec. 10, 11 & 12 Christmas Program Rehearsal Days & “Festival Of Trees” Work Days
Friday, December 12 Cookies & Milk with Santa, Silent Auction Preview
Saturday, December 13 Shady Oak Christmas Event & Silent Auction
Wednesday, December 17 “Festival Of Trees” Take Down Day
Wed. & Thurs., December 17 & 18 Christmas Special Snack Days
Friday, December 19 Early Release Day at 11:30 a.m. for all classes
Mon. Dec. 22 to Fri. Jan. 2, 2015 Christmas Holiday Break — No School
Monday, January 5, 2015 Staff In-service Meeting — No School
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 Spring Semester Begins for Bridge, Kindergarten and all 5-day & 2-day Preschool Students
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 Spring Semester Begins for all 3-day Preschool Students
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 1st Chapel Day of the Spring Semester

Recent Article in New York Times Touts Executive Function Skills

A recent article written by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times describes the following skills as necessary to get a job at Google, one of the world’s most successful companies.  The skills are among those listed in an essay written last month by Joyce Trigger on Executive Functions (See article below) that we are seeking to develop in Shady Oak Kids.

The article starts by saying that “GPA’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. …We found that they don’t predict anything,” states Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google. 

Bock says, “There are five hiring attributes we have across the company.  For every job, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not IQ.  It’s learning ability.  It’s the ability to process on the fly.  It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.”  The second, he added, “is leadership—in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership.  …What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead?  And just as critical, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else?  Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”

What else?  Humility and ownership.  “It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,” he said, to try to solve any problem—and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others.  “Your end goal,” explained Bock, “is what can we do together to problem-solve.  I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.”   It is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute.  It’s “intellectual humility.  Without humility, you are unable to learn.”

The least important attribute they look for is “expertise,” said Bock.  To sum up Bock’s approach to hiring:  Talent can come in so many different forms and be built in so many nontraditional ways today, hiring officers have to be alive to every one. 

At Shady Oak, we really agree with looking at nontraditional ways of exhibiting talent.  We believe, in the language of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, that the best question we can ask ourselves and parents about each child is, “How is this child smart?” rather than the traditional question of  “How smart is this child?”

Developing “Executive Function” At Shady Oak

(Who is a “Shady Oak Kid”?)

For more than a quarter of a century, parents, teachers, and others have used the term “Shady Oak Kid to describe a child who has attended Shady Oak Christian School and has benefitted from attending this nationally recognized play-based program.  A “Shady Oak Kid” stands out from his/her peers for being bright, caring, articulate, confident, self-regulated, and respectful of other children and adults and the environment. Research shows that this is not just proud parents or staff of a school describing children they love so much!

Such children have developed traits and skills that now have been researched and named “executive functions.”

Children who regularly engage in plentiful creative, imaginary play excel in the mental skill referred to as “executive functioning”. This functioning involves the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The term “executive function” refers to mental processes through which children learn to regulate and control their own “knee-jerk” impulses and emotional reactions. It means they gradually learn to think and control behavior before they act inappropriately. They gain competence in mentally solving problems so they learn to behave more reliably within acceptable social rules and conduct.

The ability to regulate and control one’s behavior corresponds closely with success in school and adult life. Adele Diamond of the University of British Columbia believes that executive functions predict children’s achievements as well as IQ tests do or even better, because they go beyond what we know and tap our abilities to USE what we know.

Children who are deprived of enough free time, space, and opportunity for creative play are at risk of NOT developing these play outcomes.

  • Abstract and symbolic thinking, decision-making, creative problem solving and goal setting;
  • Complex language development and ability to “self-talk” through learning steps;
  • Emotional awareness and competence, identity and self-image development, ability to maintain self-control through self-regulation, stress management and ability to delay  gratification;
  • Social skills, such as patience, cooperation, negotiation, non-violent conflict resolution, teamwork, sharing, considering other’s point of view; and,
  • Formation of a moral or ethical code that distinguishes right from wrong, respect for others’ rights and ability to work toward the greater good.

Play is an instinctual birthright designed to spur on and sustain human development.  Children rely upon it. We, at Shady Oak Christian School, are advocating for children’s crucial need for authentic play.


Galinsky, Ellen. Mind in the Making. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Print.

Hirsh-Pasek, K., Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Laura E. Berk, Dorothy Singer. A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.


Shady Oak Christian School is a Music Together® School

MusicTogether classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.  By emphasizing actual music experiences rather than concepts about music, Music Together introduces children to the pleasure of making music instead of passively receiving it from CD’s or TV.  This year as part of our curriculum, all Readiness, Pre-K, Bridge and Kindergarten Students will receive 30 minutes of instruction each week in this program.  Joyce Trigger will be the instructor.  Please visit


George Observatory Celebration this Month!

Last spring, Shady Oak Christian School raised $1800 and donated it to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to restore the mirror of the telescope at the George Observatory (located in Brazos Bend State Park). The Observatory will be having a celebration on October 11 that will feature the new telescope. That will likely be a very busy day, and HMNS officials are suggesting that our families NOT come that day due the crowds.

We will have one ticket per family available for a “telescope viewing”. You may pick up your ticket anytime from Mrs. Hilbe. The Observatory personnel suggest that you bring your family to the park in November after the time changes and it gets darker earlier. Happy stargazing!

October is Fire Prevention Month,

Field Trips planned to the Richmond Fire Station

To help us commemorate Fire Prevention Month, we will be taking a field trip to the Richmond Fire Station on Friday, October 17th.  While there, Shady Oak students will have a tour of the Fire Station and see the Fire Fighters in their fire fighting gear.  All students up through Kindergarten will walk to the Fire Station.  We will need parents to walk with our Readiness and Pre-K Classes to help chaperone on this field trip.  If you are walking with us as one of our chaperones, you will need to complete a criminal back ground check at least 48 hours prior to this event.  Please see Bridget about this.  If you are planning to walk with us and you are bringing younger siblings, you cannot be counted as a chaperone, because you will be busy attending to your younger children.  Please look for class sign-ups to volunteer as a chaperone.

On Thursday, October 16th, the Fire truck and Fire Fighters will come to Shady Oak to talk about fire safety.

At Shady Oak, we conduct monthly fire drills.  All classes participate in practicing evacuating our building.  Although this can be traumatic for younger children, we believe it is important for them to participate (and — it is  the law!).  We have fire alarm systems installed in both of our buildings to meet city fire codes.  They are loud and will make quite an impact on your kiddos.  Be sure to ask them about it.  


Staff Meeting & Early Release Day

The first of our five scheduled staff meetings, early release days, occurs on Monday, October 13th.  All morning classes, including Primary, will be released on this day at 11:30 a.m. so that our staff can meet for planning and in-service training.  Please make arrangements to pick up your child promptly at this 11:30 a.m. dismissal time.

The only exceptions will our regular “permanent” late lunch bunch and afterschool care children, who are children that are signed up to stay through until 3:00 or 5:30 p.m. every Monday.  On this day, substitute teachers are brought in to be with this limited number of children so that we can meet together as a staff.  Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Picture Day

Picture Days are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, October 23 & 24. Steve Leonard will be here taking individual pictures of your children.  Order forms are attached  to this newsletter.  Your child’s picture will not be taken unless a completed order form has been turned into Bridget with a check made payable to Steve Leonard prior to picture day.  It is imperative that all picture order forms and checks be turned in by Wednesday, October 22 so that your child is scheduled to be photographed.  Please help Bridget out by turning in your form and money early, so we do not miss anyone.  Please note:  Pictures are taken 1st thing in the morning (9:00 a.m.), so please be on time for school.  All Bridge & Kindergarten children, 5-day & T-Th Readiness & 5-day & T-Th Pre-K will have their portraits taken on Thursday, October 23rd and all MWF Readiness & MWF day Pre-k will have their portraits taken on Friday, October 24th.

Pictures will be available before the Thanksgiving Break.


Splish! Splash! Splish! Splash!

   Those newly installed racks that you see on the fence  by the sand area are for your child’s rubber boots. That’s right! If you want, you may bring a pair of boots for your child to keep at school for any outdoor playtime, but especially for splashing in rain puddles or in a wet sandbox. If you have a pair your child has outgrown, we would welcome the extra pair.

 Be sure to label your child’s boots with a permanent marker inside each boot. Remember, bringing your own boots is optional! We look forward to sending you photos of all of this fun! 


Fall Fundraisers Kick Off in October!

                           Our Texana Pecan fundraiser has begun and will continue through October  6th.  Who doesn’t need pecans for fall and holiday cooking, as well as gift-giving?  Order forms have gone home with your child, but additional forms are available in the office. Please consider these items for corporate gifts, as well as for others on your Thanksgiving or Christmas lists.  Joyce says, “I will be proud to talk to my neighbors and friends about purchasing these pecans because of their high quality and because of supporting farmer, Tom Dans, and those who work for him in his local business. And, of course, I love anything that supports Shady Oak and teacher training.”  Our goal for this fundraiser is $6000.00.

ArtWare by You fundraiser will begin on October 20th and run through October 29th. Artware by You features the art work designed by your child on products that you can purchase to display in your home or to give as gifts to family and friends.  There is nothing more precious than something your child has made.  What better way to preserve their creations than to have it replicated on a cozy throw, or travel mug, key chain, tile, etc.  Please come by the office to view some of the high quality products. 

ArtWare by You Order Forms will be going home to you on Monday and Tuesday,  October 20 & 21  Completed forms and payment are due in no later than Wednesday, October 29th.  Your completed order will be sent to your home in early December in time for holiday gift giving.  What a great way to get a jump on the holiday gift giving.

Funds from these efforts go for teacher training experiences throughout this school year.  Just read the bios on our teachers in fall packet to see how experienced our teachers are.  We want to continue to provide valuable training for all of them.

Thank you for all the ways you help us at Shady Oak!!!


Box Tops are Due in October !!! 

Please bring your clipped Box Tops for education to the jars in the Primary and Preschool offices by Friday, October 24th. We will be sending them off to the processing center so that Shady Oak can receive a check. It’s easy to find Box Tops. In fact, you may have some in your home right now. Clip Box Tops from hundreds of your favorite products. Each Box Top coupon is worth $.10 for Shady Oak, and that adds up fast! Visit for a complete list of participating Box Tops products. For extra fun this month, we have attached a “Batty Bat BoxTops Collection Sheet”. As a family you can work together to cut and glue Box Tops on the attached sheet. Please call Brandy Keagy, Liam and Fynn’s mom, at 832-535-3745 or e-mail her at bleksell@hotmail.comif you have any questions. Thank you for your participation!


Operation Christmas Child (A project of Samaritan’s Purse)

Samaritan’s Purse goes all over the world to bring joy, hope and the message of God’s love to millions of boys and girls who are the victims of war, disease, disaster, and poverty.  Since 1993, over 46 million children is over 120 countries have received shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other gifts.  Every shoebox gift delivered by Operation Christmas child is a tangible  expression of God’s amazing love.  But a shoebox is just the beginning.  A small shoebox can introduce children and their families to God’s  greatest gift, Jesus Christ. This small gift can teach a child about the love of God, lead him or her to faith in Christ.  Be a part of changing lives through the power of a simple gift.  Last year Shady Oak Families donated  about 200 boxes which went to children in Mexico and Central America.

Lather this month (on October 22 & 23) we will be showing your children an Operation Christmas Child DVD clip and sample shoeboxes during chapel time.  We will send home a letter brochure with complete details about how to pack the boxes and an optional “All About Me” sheet that your children can fill out and include with the boxes.  We will be collecting boxes in November, the date to be announced later.  The children will bring them to chapel, where we will have a special dedication service for the boxes before we deliver them to the Houston Collection Center.

This is a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.  Please email Gabriela Velarde, Camila’s Mom, or  Lisa Garcia, Jose Lee’s Mom, at

Blood Drive for Christian

Christian has been a student at Shady Oak for several years. This summer he received multiple transfusions for his leukemia treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital. Our school will be hosting a replacement blood drive in his honor at First Baptist Church Gym on Monday, October 20, from 2-6:30 p.m. Please Mark your calendars. More information will be coming home in the next two weeks. Christian and his family are grateful for your Commit for Life donation.


Come Weave your Prayers

It is so good to be part of a supportive community in this journey of parenthood.

 We invite all parents of Shady Oak Christian School and Shady Oak Primary School to come together for an informal time of reflection, laughter, maybe even tears as you drop off your children on Tuesday through Friday, September 2-5, from 8:30 to 9:00. Please stay just a few minutes outside our Main Street gate near the Prayer Garden to write your hopes and prayers for your child on a beautiful piece of dyed fabric that you can weave into a work of “community art” to be part of our school settings.


Parent Education:  Fall Book Study

Joyce will be leading a parenting study on the book, Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Boundaries Grow Healthy Kids by Cloud and Townsend. We would love to include you in this study to discuss this important topic and meet regularly with other parents. We will meet on Friday mornings at 8:30 in the Primary Building beginning October 3. The study will be appropriate for parents of children ages 3 through elementary age. Bring a friend. Please let Joyce know by email ( or by phone (281.341.5001, ext. 3) if you would like to attend.


Craft Work Times & Projects in October

October dates only; for Shady Oak parents/guardians to work on crafty stuff to be sold at the Christmas Event. We will meet at the Shady Oak Primary School — 600 Main Street.

  • Tues, Oct 7 @ 8:30am
  • Thurs, Oct 16 @ 7:30pm
  • Mon, Oct 20 @ 8:30am

Crafts that will be worked on include: wooden manger scenes,wooden manger scene expansion sets (wise men and camel), Christmas photo “frame” mini-clipboards, glass “bubble” magnets, Christmas theme and Shady Oak theme wire wrapped leaf or heart wall sculpture with embossed metal word (“roots”) embellishment.  All are welcome, no crafting experience necessary.

Ruffle Scarves (already made…I did them this summer)

Shady Oak Coffee Club

Catch up with your Shady Oak friends and get to know some new ones! Stop in for coffee at Joseph’s Coffee Shop on Morton Street every other Tuesday for some adult conversation and camaraderie — and some crafting if you so choose (just make sure you can fit your craft in your own personal space bubble). Being perky and actually awake is not required…that’s what the coffee is for. Next meeting is on Tuesday, October 14 (we meet every other Tuesday). Contact Stevie Ballow for more information (

Family Nights at Shady Oak  — Save the Dates

Spaghetti Supper and World Building :: Friday, October 24, 5:30pm – 7:30pm :: Shady Oak Primary

What’s better than leftovers for dinner on Friday night? Spaghetti dinner and fellowship with your friends on a Friday night — and you don’t have to cook or clean up the kitchen! Shady Oak Primary and Christian Schools will be hosting the first of many cross-campus Family Night events in the Primary building.  The evening will include a Spaghetti supper followed by an activity time in which we will use Shady Oak’s collection of Lego bricks, blocks, and other building materials to construct a world for your kids to play in…at least for the evening. Get down on the floor with your kids and watch them create buildings, streets, cars, robots, and more.  You may even catch yourself doing some constructing!  Bring a dessert to share. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot by Wednesday, October 22 by emailing Nancy Wenzel at

Old Fashioned Sing-a-long :: Friday, November 14, 6:00pm – 7:15pm :: First Baptist Church Richmond

“She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”…or in this case, over the Brazos River.  And she’ll probably driving an SUV instead of six white horses, but you get the idea!  Join friends and family for a night of fun and music hosted by First Baptist Church Richmond. You will recognize many Music Together® Songs. Snacks will be provided when you arrive, and then we’ll head upstairs at 6:30pm for some singin’, hootin’, and hollerin’. Even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, come on anyway; you’ll be glad you did. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot by Tuesday, November 12 by emailing Joyce Trigger at

Cookies with Santa :: Friday, December 12 :: First Baptist Church Richmond @ 6:30 p.m. — Save the Date!!


Some Images to Guide Us This Year

 Submitted by: Joyce Trigger, Director of Shady Oak Christian School

There is an amazing, vivid visual of part of Psalm 1 in the Prayer Garden that adjoins our school.

That Psalm says that delighting in the law of God and meditating on Scripture is being like a tree, maybe like an oak tree for which our school is named.  That property belongs to First Baptist Church, with which we partner for some activities and whose space we use for chapel and school programs.  We have enjoyed being in the shade of that tree for 28 years.

We hope you enjoy the Prayer Garden frequently.