Garden Gazette 11-6-20

There will be no school on the following dates:

November 11, Veteran’s Day

Tuesday, November 24 – Teacher Zoom Check In

November 25-27 Thanksgiving Holiday Break

View our calendar with all scheduled breaks here

Teacher Check In

Teachers would love to touch base with you on Tuesday, November 24, for an optional Teacher Check In. 

Teachers will meet with each interested family fir 15 minutes or so via Zoom. 

If your child has Cara and Brook for their teachers- sign up here.

If your child has Cari, Thea and Donna for their teachers- sign up here.

Meeting invitations will be emailed to you after sign up is complete.

Getting to Know You

Dear Garden Families,

In addition to the school directory, the staff of Branching Out would love to put together something that each of you can learn a bit about each other, and not just their contact information! 

Over the next week or so, would you please submit a family ‘selfie’ – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal, it can be posed or goofy, as long as it is something that shows you all as a family.

Along with the photo, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself..where you grew up, parent occupations, what brought you to the Pacific Northwest and give us the names and ages of each of the people in your family pic. 

Then….Please include one or two of the following:

  • a favorite holiday recipe, 
  • A favorite holiday tradition
  • a favorite pandemic activity, or 
  • a crazy story about the funniest thing that has happened this year. 
  • Something that we would never guess about your family
  • Something that you as a family do together to make the world a better place. 

We will be putting all of this together in a way that we can share with all of you, our current families. We hope to be able to get it out soon, so please submit your selfie and additional text/items before November 13th. 

Thank you so much. We so appreciate all that you guys are doing to help us keep our Branching Out program healthy and running! 

We can’t wait to learn a little more about all of you and to keep building our Garden Community! 

Squeaks n' Hoots

Reminder that we have no school next Wednesday, November 11th to honor Veteran’s Day. Please sign up for your 15 minute check in with your child’s teacher. Your teacher will talk to you about how your kiddo is doing, recommendations to move forward and to check in with you on how things are going for you and your family and our program. 

This week, we enjoyed a sunny start of the week to a rainy end of the week. We recognized that we all have to dress a little bit warmer. Even when the sun is out, our kiddos are still having cold hands and cold ears! The more we move, the warmer we are, but once our hands get cold, it is hard to focus on anything else. There are some rechargeable hand warmers available on amazon and Costco has a big box of disposable hand warmers – You can send 2 per day for each week in their bag, or send a rechargeable one, (labeled in sharpie!), in their pockets. The main thing, is to dress in layers, send gloves in bags, and if your kiddo rebels and says they don’t need a coat, please send an extra layer in their bags…just in case! :0) Please set your kiddos up for success with masks that fit, extras in their bags, and dress them in layers. If your child is tired, out of sorts or just not wanting to come to school, you might choose to give them a ‘mental health day’ or a snuggle day, where they can just be cozy and content at home. If they come to school, not happy, they frequently end up not happy and tend to set off the rest of the class as well. It’s such a crazy year. We feel you. 

Watch your email to learn how to submit a family selfie and some special ‘get to know you’ information, so that we can continue to build community. This is a required activity and has a deadline of November 13th

We so appreciate our Board of Trustees for keeping track of Covid levels and outbreaks around the area. Thank you for the update about Mirrormont and Hobart. Let’s all keep vigilant as we enter the holiday season.

The staff is constantly working to make our campuses more weather friendly and fun! We put a tarp up in the tree circle on the forest and it has provided lots of fun ‘stage productions’ and lovely snack time during a rainy day. On the playground, we have moved the work table to a tarp area to provide more covered work and play spaces.

Squeaks and Hoots from Donna, Thea and Cari

Ladybugs: We had such a hard time in the forest on Tuesday! Our Bugs were not comfortable and did not like the rain. The staff put up a huge tarp Monday afternoon to give us more covered play area, but lots of cold hands, “I’m so tired” cries, and dirty wet masks that fell on the forest floor, the teachers decided to head down to the courtyard to feed the bunnies and hang out on the covered deck to read books and play with some puzzles and Legos, disinfecting between uses. Teacher Cari wins the award for most stories read in one class session!

Thursday was much better as we acted out our nursery rhyme and the children took turns being the spider or Little Miss Muffet. We also went on our very first hike through the woods, discovered some cool climbing trees, and had fun jumping in mud puddles. On our way down the hill, we sang our closing circle song and Giulia led us in ‘ You are my Sunshine’

Crickets: How fun to start the week with a sunny day in the forest! It was still very cold, and with so many cries of “My hands are so cold!”, Brin brought our Crickets up a Kettle of hot tea, that we poured into paper cups and held to warm our hands. So deliciously soothing!  Thank you Brin for thinking of us! We read several versions of “Three Billy Goats Gruff”  and compared and contrasted the different stories. We also acted out the story. Ask your child what character they played. We also made stamper books, where the children stamped out their version of the story and then ‘dictated’ their story to the teacher. Please take the time to ‘read’ their story to them at bedtime. It’s fun for them to hear you reading something that they ‘authored’. We talked a bit about voting, as we looked at our November calendar, and talked about Election Day. We voted for our favorite snack, chips, bar, or goldfish crackers. Trying to convince them that they can only vote once was tricky, but ‘bars’ won the popular vote. We have a new unbreakable mirror in the forest and they loved seeing themselves in the beautiful greenery. We also had a visit from two deer, and a big huge tarp was installed Monday after class that the kids enjoyed playing under. It will be great for rainy days. On Wednesday, our Crickets had so much fun under the tarp, using a tree stump as a stage, and taking turns entertaining their audience.

Honeybees: We celebrated Gigi’s birthday on Thursday, and as our first Honeybee birthday, we learned how we make a birthday book for our special person. Each child draws a picture of things that the birthday person requests and then we write about the birthday girl. You have a copy of your child’s ‘gift’ to Gigi, and Gigi took home a book of everyone’s drawings and wishes that she can treasure. 

We also talked about ‘voting’ as we looked at our November calendar and saw the special symbol for Election Day. We voted for our favorite snack. Ask your Bee what they voted for. 

We read Three Billy Goats Gruff, and made stamper books. These stories are so sweet and a great opportunity for you to read your child’s book to them. Our letter of the week was “G”, and we started looking at numbers 1-10.  Each child took a turn of choosing a wood round out of our bag with a number on it, told us what the number is and then practiced writing the number – on chalk board, in the dirt, and in the air. They then went and found items to lay out on the ten square mat to represent that number. It’s really cool to see how many of our kiddos were excited to do this activity. Some of them knew their numbers and how to write them and others enjoyed learning. 

Our Bees are getting used to reciting their poems. This week we sent home a fun poem called “November”. The children love looking at the poem with visual cues of ‘bare feet’ ‘green grass’ etc. and feel as if they are reading.  Please enter the poem into their poetry binders and help them practice. Our goal is for each child to recite the poem at circle. They get a star on the poetry chart each time that they do. They are doing so well with this. 

Have a great weekend!




Squeaks and Hoots from Brook and Cara

As I write this message to all of our families, I am totally exhausted and totally dirty and wet – but totally happy.  Today in the Honeybee class we were playing hide and seek (after we played red light – green light).  We were all running around the playground trying to find the best hiding place.  A group of us ran to the Dino Den and laid down on the wet gravel and just looked up at the raining coming down.  When I looked around, all of us were smiling at each other while trying to be still.  Truly, I don’t think that I have been connected to our environment and weather as much as I have since we started Branching Out.  As an adult, we rarely just “be” in the rain.  Your children know how to just “be” in the rain.  I have learned a lot being an outdoor school teacher, but the best thing that I have learned is how important it is to be child like and play in the rain.
Ladybugs: We had the best Ladybug class this year on Thursday.  Yes – it was raining, but the children were not cold – which made all of the difference.  They were jumping off the balance beam into the pile of leaves saying “Kaboom!!”.  They would lay there for a moment and then one of their peers would come over and ask them if they could help them up.  They were all laughing and having so much fun.  Check out the pictures that captures some of this blissfulness.
Crickets: Our Crickets are working hard and learning the beginning lessons of literacy.  We have been reading different versions of Three Billy Goats Gruff and this week they authored their very own version as well as illustrated it in their Stamper Books.  They were so proud of their work when they stood up in front of the class as we read their book to everyone.  This is the beginning work of building confidence for public speaking.  We have been working on letter writing – which is very new to some of our students.  Right now we focus on the correct way to hold a pen and learning to control their writing while they trace letters.  All of these steps are the beginning of literacy and helps strengthen the muscles in their hands.
Honeybees:  We loved celebrating Milo this week as he turned 5 years old.  We told him how we have known him since he was in his mother’s belly.  Of course, our program is different this year because we are only outside, but we try to make our special events fun for our students.  Our entire class has recited all of the poems so far this year.  Today we introduced the poem “November” which they could all recite while reading a picture chart.  There are many different forms of reading and we are starting to explore many of them.  For example, we encourage our students to “read” a story to the class by just looking at the pictures.  They can be as creative with the story line as they would like.  Try this at home.  You don’t need to learn all of the letters and sounds before you can “read” the story from the pictures.  Please try this at bed time and let your child “read” you a goodnight story.  




Are you ready to celebrate Branching Out at The Children’s Garden?

Join us Monday, November 5 – Friday, November 20

for The Children’s Garden Homecoming fundraiser! More info to come via email next week!

Garden School Directory

You will be receiving your printed copy of the school directory next week. You can view and download the digital version  here  (The password is included in the email sent for this week’s Gazette.)

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