School Year Begins with Spirited Autumn Events

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On October 4, the second annual Topanga Elementary Variety Show, “Autumn Extravaganza,” incorporated 34 acts performed by 61 students who displayed incredible talent, and bravery, with performances of song, dance, comedy, and magic.

Produced by Adeline Rooney and directed by Bianca Sapetto, two fearless mom volunteers, they were joined by generous parents filling in all the other roles from lighting to sound to wrangling kids backstage. Their passion and hard work were obvious in the end result of an entertaining and professional production.

Hosting the show, Harry “Attenborough” van Gorkum, and little Harry (Raiden Ray), dressed in full field explorer regalia, entertained the crowd and kept the show moving at a fast clip. Students more inclined toward visual arts helped with set design, painted leaves for the set, and a handful of upper grade students helped backstage. 

On display before and during intermission was an “Avenue of Arts” that displayed artwork by Topanga Elementary students as young as five. 

The Variety Show was an autumnal exploration of “all things art” bringing together the entire community to harness the power of creativity and art for all. Randy Butler, Topanga Elementary’s new art teacher, is a promising addition to our creative community. Ticket sales, along with proceeds from the sale of pizza, treats, and drinks, will help fund this position, as well as all future visual and performing arts programs at the school.


It’s time to do some serious Pinterest searches for cute and clever costume ideas, because the Topanga EnWitchment Programs’ annual Halloween Carnival is just around the corner. We’ll have all the favorites—game and activity booths (a collaboration between parents and kids), live music from Kummerspeck (a band born from the talented musicians in the school’s parent body), and the fifth grade’s Haunted House experience, plus costume and dance contests for all ages.

This year, Food Trucks have been added to the event, plus a beer and wine bar.

For reduced rate tickets and wristbands to this community-wide event, go online at $20 per child; $50 for family pass; $10 for accompanying adult. Tickets may be available at the door (higher prices may apply). Kids under three are free. 

The event takes place Saturday, October 19, 4-8:30 p.m. at the Topanga Community Center, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290. 


Topanga Elementary continues its long-standing tradition of immersive environmental science education with nature hikes among the oaks of the Santa Monica mountains for all children at the school. Each week, every child in every grade (K-5) gets an hour of focused science education with a dedicated science teacher, who prepares and delivers grade-level-appropriate curricular activities for each classroom in the science learning lab. For some grades this is further supplemented by additional science instruction with their classroom teachers. 

Instruction includes topics beyond environmental science, such as physical and space sciences, but a traditional focus at the school has been environmental science, with the goal of instilling an appreciation of our natural resources and the desire and ability to practice environmental stewardship. 

As part of this truly unique educational program, one week of each month is dedicated to using the outdoor amphitheater, combined with nature hikes along trails in the five acres of oak woodland that embrace the TECS campus. During the first hikes of the year, students obtained hands-on experience discovering and recording native plant varieties that populate the chaparral ecosystem, built small creature habitats and navigated through the woods with just a compass and their wits.

It seems fitting that the first week of nature hikes coincided with the beginning of the Global Climate Strike, led by children across the globe to raise awareness of human dependence on our planet’s natural resources and the critical need for thoughtful implementation of effective environmental science policies.

It is heartening to know that our very own Topanga children are being instilled with the knowledge, awareness and skills to become leaders and engaged participants in tomorrow’s efforts at improving our relationship with the earth.

The science program at Topanga Elementary is supported by donations of time and resources from parents and the broader Topanga community.


For more information about TECS programs and ways to become involved, reach out to science committee leads, Alisa Land Hill or Kent Land Hill.

Schoolhouse Scoop is written by a rotating body of parents in leadership positions at Topanga Elementary. These positions include board members of our school’s fundraising non-profit, Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), elected parent members of TECS’ governance arm, the Leadership Council, and parents who head up various enrichments and initiatives, such as the Science Committee, Visual and Performing Arts Committee, and Maker Club. All parent positions at TECS are volunteer.


By TECS News Team



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