Garden Gazette 1-22-21

With snowfall more likely to be in our forecast in the coming weeks please review our Closure & Inclement Weather Policy.

Closure & Inclement Weather Policy

As an entirely outdoor program, Branching Out at the Children’s Garden is more affected by extreme weather than indoor schools. We closely monitor Issaquah School District’s inclement weather closings, while also considering the conditions at The Children’s Garden. If conditions are safe at The Children’s Garden, classes will operate on a normal schedule despite any closure that may occur in surrounding school districts. Any schedule changes or closures will be communicated to families at the earliest opportunity via text and email.

Assessments of the weather, the weather forecast, and road conditions all factor into the school’s decision to close school. The School’s primary concern regarding closures is always the safety of our students, families, and staff. However, the final decision about coming to school or staying during inclement weather is yours. Our families live across a broad geographical area and conditions in your neighborhood or on your route to/from school may differ from that at The Children’s Garden. If you are concerned that it is not safe for you or your child to be on the road, please do not hesitate to stay home.

Please note the following school closure policies and considerations:

  • If severe weather is forecasted (including but not limited to AQI, high winds, flooding, snow or extreme temperatures), The Children’s Garden will make every effort to cancel classes by 6:00 p.m. the evening prior or, in the case of snow, by 6:00 a.m. on the morning of classes. Notification of cancellation will be sent via text and email.
  • If unexpected severe weather occurs at/immediately before drop-off (lightning, hail, etc.), in lieu of health checks, teachers will send parents a text message requesting that they either:
    1. wait in their cars for up to 30 minutes to evaluate if the weather will pass
    2. return home if it is deemed unsafe to hold classes
  • If unexpected severe weather/conditions occur during the school day (hail, lightning, earthquake, fire), teachers will seek shelter with students as is appropriate and, if necessary, parents will be contacted to provide emergency pick-up if it is deemed unsafe to remain outdoors for the remainder of the scheduled class time.

You can view our Closure and Inclement Weather Policy at any time in our updated Branching Out handbook on our Branching Out page or directly here.

From the Mousehole

We had a short week as we honored Martin Luther King’s birthday on Monday. Teacher Thea posted a reading of Dr. Seuss’ “The Sneetches” and talked a little bit about why we honor MLK and see him as a hero.  

We celebrated Teacher Cari’s birthday on Tuesday.  Teacher Thea subbed for Teacher Donna on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, so she could participate in all of the virtual events surrounding her son’s virtual wedding! Donna will be back Monday.

We are also preparing for Valentine Distribution in our Branching Out Program. We would love you to work together with your child to make their valentine greetings. This can be as simple as a doily heart with a smiley face, or a paper craft or fabric treat. You can also ask your child what their favorite thing about each classmate is and write that on the greeting. We just feel that it is always more special when it is handmade. Those are the greetings that we keep long after we discard the small store-bought cartoon or superhero cards. We are asking that you send in your valentines by February 2nd, so that we can spread them out and air them out so that they are safe to distribute on the 11th and 12th of February to come home. A sheet of class pictures is coming home this week, so that your child can cut out the pictures and attach to each valentine, so they know who the valentine is for. Crickets and Bees, please sign your valentines, and Honeybees, try and write your classmates names on the valentines so that we know who the valentine is to go to. 

Sqeaks and Hoots from Cari, Thea and Donna

Ladybugs: The Ladybugs had a great time this week playing with their homemade playdough, creating Jack and Jill books, counting on the number mat and singing and acting out Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.

Crickets: We celebrated Mack’s birthday and his 4th trip around the sun!  We made super sparkly playdough. We practiced writing our letter of the week K with rainbow letters and learned our days of the week in order.

Honeybees: Kids practiced rainbow tracing our letter of the week O and  continued to move toward mastery of the letters in their names. We learned the Days of the Week song, introduced Hero Presentations with Teacher Thea’s own hero project on Martin Luther King Jr. and sent home My Hero poster paper with instructions. The poem of the week is our daily Opening Circle Poem.  Follow the inspiring words of the poem to live every day like a hero.




Squeaks and Hoots from Brook and Cara

Ladybugs: We had another wonderful week in the ladybug class. We celebrated Elliot turning 3 1/2 which was a lot of fun. We also acted out Jack and Jill several times and had a fun time replacing the word “crown“ with other silly words. You can watch the video of them laughing at the different names. It is so nice to have all nine bugs with us. They all get along so nicely and have really helped our new lady bug, Ember feel at home at the Children’s Garden. We also had an exciting time with a jar full of glitter being opened. I’m sure many of your little ones came home with glitter on them . You never know what to expect with 9  3-year-olds.

Crickets: Our cricket class sure loves to play on the playground. It was great to watch them swinging on the swings,  playing lava monster and chasing each other all around while laughing. We read a few more versions of Goldilocks this week and many of the kids made stamper books to tell their own version of the story. Ask your children to read their version to you at bedtime. We worked on letter K this week as well as practicing their names. It would be wonderful if the parents could practice their names at home too. It is a big sense of accomplishment when these children can master the letters in their name.

Honeybees:  These honeybees are growing so much each week and this week we had a lot of fun talking about heroes. Please work on the project with your children this weekend and help them come up with a real person that they think has done something special for them,  their community or the world. We had our first hero project on Thursday from Owen C. His hero is Joe Biden. Owen told us about why Joe was his Hero, what he has done that made an impact in the world, where he lives, and other interesting facts that Owen felt were important.  Great job Owen!  It is really wonderful to see these children stand up in front of their peers and tell them about some thing that’s important to them. This is all in preparation for our wonderful world culture reports that will happen later on this year. All of the bees recited the dreams poem very well this week. Our poem for them to learn this week is We Light this Candle. Most of our kiddos know this but because we have so much of their homework we thought this would be a good one to refresh. Hope you all have fun making your valentines notes this weekend.




Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is approaching and we would like to celebrate it with all our students.  This year is a little different, but we know everyone will still have a good time.  We are asking each child to hand make a valentine’s note for each child in their class – instead of buying them from the store.  We have provided names and pictures of each student so that they can cut out and glue to their cards.  We ask that the valentine’s note be returned back to school no later than February 1st or 2nd.  We will then keep all their valentine’s at school for over a week to ensure that they are all decontaminated from any virus.   Then, during the week of February 8 – 12th we will distribute the notes to envelopes that each child has made, and then they can bring them home at the end of the week.  We are also asking the children to wear anything red and pink during our Valentine’s party.  The Ladybug and Honeybee’s parties will be on Thursday, February 11th and the Cricket party will be on February 12th.

Thank you so much and we look forward to having some fun during this Valentine’s with your children.

Picture Makeup Day

Our photographer Nigel will be back at the school the first week of February to take pictures of students who were  not here for the first round and retake pictures for families who were interested. Please let Brin know if you wanted a retake.

Children’s Garden Auction Kickoff

Please join us on Saturday, February 6th at 7pm as we kick off the Children’s Garden 2021 Auction! Check your email today for your invitation.

Tea with the Teachers

The teachers have been thinking about ways to stay connected with our parents and offer more time for communication, questions and just to chat with everyone.

Each teacher group will be hosting a once a month zoom for each of their classes on:
Friday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. Teachers will send out Zoom inviations.
1st Fridays – Honeybee Parents
2nd Fridays – Cricket Parents
3rd Fridays – Ladybug Parents
4th Fridays – Room Parents
This is a casual open space for parents to chat with teachers, share stories and stay connected with the class and campus.
So grab a cup of tea and spend some time with us on your class’ Friday. We can’t wait to see you!

Running late? No problem!

We all have those mornings that don’t go as planned.  This week alone our families have navigated downed trees, power outages and mornings that were just stuck in slow motion. 

Here at The Garden we want you to know it’s not a big deal. We have a routine in place for these mornings. We are here for you.

If you arrive at school during check in after the bridge has been coned off that means kids are out of cars and in the parking lot. To keep moving cars away from the kids we ask that you please park in the lower lot (the grass area is just fine) and text us at our school number (425) 392-1563 that you are at school. We will respond to let you know when it’s safe to drive up and check in your child as usual. 

Our late arrival routine ensures everyone’s safety by keeping moving cars away from families and families safely distanced by staying in their cars.

Look for new signage on the bridge and in the lower lot next week to guide you through the process if you find yourself running late.

Additionally, if you arrive after the kids are in class please park as usual and let us know you’ve arrived at school via text. One of us will come check you in and walk your child to class.

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