Garden Gazette August 17, 2020

We hope you all are enjoying your summer. We are very busy here at The Garden getting ready for September and our Branching Out program.

Campus Connection

Our campus is a hum of activity as we get ready for our September under our Branching Out program.

We have ongoing construction in both Belleamie’s House and Luna’s Nest creating fun and exciting outdoor learning spaces for our students.

We can’t wait to give you updated pictures and videos of our campus as we Branch Out these next few weeks.

When we couldn’t find the right touchless sinks for our Gardeners, we custom made them. To activate the water, the Belle Amie sink will have foot pedals and the Luna sink will have a single valve for the teachers to use to eliminate shared surfaces! Both sinks will be temperature controlled, too, so we’ll have warm water even on colder days.

The staff will be meeting on campus this week to finalize daily class procedures,  curriculum and our school handbook. We will be creating informative video content to share with our Garden families in the coming weeks. Look for our updated school handbook and information about the first days of school in next week’s Garden Gazette.

The Garden welcomes a new teacher to our Branching Out program, providing us with a high teacher to student ratio. Let us introduce Thea Campbell, a garden alum, who is a college student perusing a degree in physics and, due to COVID-19, is taking a year off of school to be an additional teacher in our Branching Out program. She has passion and experience working with children and the outdoors having participated in, and assisted with, outdoor education programs.  Thea will be working in our Honeybee and Cricket classes. View an introductory hello from all of our teachers below.

Hello from Teacher Brook

Hello from Teacher Cara

Hello from Teacher Cari

Hello from Teacher Donna

Hello from Teacher Thea

Critter Friends
We are so excited that Belleamie’s House and Luna’s Nest will have animal friends our children will be able to view. When in Luna’s Nest, children will have opportunities to view the chickens and learn about these special Garden friends that came to us last spring as tiny little peepers. When in Belleamie’s House, children will be able to view our school bunnies, Captain Snowball and Ruffles.

Our chicken coop has been updated to house an outdoor run for our chickens. We can’t wait for you to meet them!

Say hello to Captain Snowball and Ruffles.

Office Memo:

Brightwheel is an online tool we are incorporating into The Children’s Garden daily operations. Families were invited to join Brightwheel via email. If you would like us to resend that invitation or if you need any assistance in joining Brightwheel  please contact Brin, she is happy to help.

The Garden community will utilize Brightwheel in 3 main ways:

Student Profile – The information you include in your student’s Brightwheel profile provides the school with the required and important information needed for each student at the school. Please complete your child’s profile with up to date:

  • contact information for parents, caregivers and those you approve to pick up and drop off your child.
  • medical information to include up to date immunizations and any important allergy information you’d like us to have.

Daily Routine – Parents, caregivers and staff will use the Brightwheel app for drop-off and pick-up routines to include daily health screens. Staff also have the opportunity to offer you a glimpse into your child’s classroom with pictures and video.

Billing – You will receive invoices from Brightwheel for monthly tuition and one time fees as they occur. You can pay the school via check or use the online payment option in your Brightwheel account.

Board Report:

The Children’s Garden Board of Trustees has been hard at work throughout this summer among other things formulating and implementing our Branching Out program.  We regularly update our Branching Out website and have recently added the following information:

The Board approved a motion to adopt the 5% local case positivity rate as our cause for school closure. Should local “COVID-19 case positivity trend upward to 5% and/or state and local policies mandate closure of outdoor childcare facilities, we will inform you of and adhere to all such policies accordingly.

Reasons for School Closure

  1. A student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19.
  2. A student or teacher is in close contact with a person that tests positive for COVID-19.
  3. Local case positivity reaches or exceeds 5% over a 14-day period*.


* The CDC, DOH and Public Health- Seattle & King County do not currently provide recommended metrics for closure/reopening of childcare facilities and other essential services. This is currently the most localized metric provided by the DOH in their fall reopening decision tree for K-12 schools.  ‘Local’ refers to case positivity reported for Issaquah unless there is a substantial rise in cases for another neighborhood (i.e. Maple Valley, Mirrormont) where a large number of our families reside.  For Issaquah, 5% positivity represents 3 or more newly reported cases in one day.

Please feel to contact Brin at with any questions and visit our Branching Out page for regular updates to our September 2020 reopening plan.