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


It’s Time for A Block Party @ Shady Oak

 Your whole family is invited to a picnic supper on Main Street in front of our school on Thursday, September 25th at 6:30 p.m.  You will provide your family’s main dish (sandwiches, chicken, etc.) and we’ll all bring the other items to put together to share.  Here’s the plan:

Family Last Names Beginning with:               

  • A – G  — Please bring Cookies
  • H – M  — Please bring Chips & Dip
  • N – R  — Please bring Fruit
  • S – Z  — Please bring Veggies or Salad

Tables, paper goods, and water to drink will be provided.  Please bring your own chairs or blankets.

Schedule of Events:

  • 6:30 to 7:00 Eat and visit with staff & other families.
  • 7:00 to 7:45 Visit your child’s classroom.  If you are in the preschool building, stop by to see what goes on in the Primary School.  In you are in the Primary School you are welcome to see what is going on in our Preschool Campus, Bridge & Kindergarten Cottage.

We hope to see everyone there!!

Vision & Hearing Screening Planned for September 17

 Pine Woods Screening Service will be at Shady Oak on Wednesday, September 17 to conduct vision and hearing screening.  All children who were 4 years old as of September 1, 2014, must have their hearing and vision checked.  Applications for screening are attached to this newsletter.  If you are interested in having your child checked by Pine Woods, please have your completed form and check for  the appropriate amount (made out to the Screening Service) turned in to Bridget by September 15th.

In addition, Bridget could really use some help during the screening process.  I would like three volunteers for 2 to 3 hours.  If you can donate some of your time on these days, email Bridget at or call her at  281-341-5001. Thank you.


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! 


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.

We Collect BoxTops for Education

Clip Box Tops from your favorite brands.  The Original Box Tops program keeps getting better!  As always, you can find the familiar $.10  Box Tops coupon on hundreds of your family’s favorite products from General Mills. And now you can also find Ziploc and Kleenex product.  Now you can find Box Tops in more grocery aisles then ever before.

Box Tops for Education earned Shady Oak over $490.00 last fall.  This fundraiser is  ongoing.  Our next Box Top deadline will be in October.  Let’s see if we can double this amount.  For a complete listing of Box Top Products go to and click on Participating Products.  We are collecting the Box Tops in jars in both Shady Oak offices.

Thank you for your continued support with this fundraiser.  Special thanks to Brandy Keagy, Liam & Fynn’s mom, who is our BoxTop Coordinator for this project.


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.


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.