Garden Gazette 9/24/2020


Dear Children’s Garden Families, 

We are so excited to have kicked off our Branching Out program this week. All of the teachers and kids are having fun exploring their new spaces and becoming familiar with the new routines that come with being in our outdoor setting. 

As we all adjust to the new drop-off and pick-up protocols, we wanted to send along a few reminders about the most common questions that have been coming up for many of us the last few days:

  • Masks are required at all times in the parking lot.  They must be kept on and covering the nose and mouth if your windows are open or while you get out of the car for any reason.
  •  At drop-off, adults and children may exit AND re-enter their vehicle only on the driver’s side and adults must stay on the driver’s side to unbuckle their child and make any clothing/layering adjustments. For some families, this may mean making adjustments to car seat arrangements to ensure our social distancing standards in the parking lot.
  •  It is OK to roll down your car windows (no open sun roofs, please!) to talk to a neighboring vehicle, but please do not exit your vehicle to talk to another adult, even if that adult is part of your family’s pod/social circle outside of school
  • It is critical to follow the order specified when cars enter and exit the parking lot. It’s new to all of us and we understand there is a learning curve, so please spend some time reviewing the parking patterns as we all get used to the new system.

Thank you for your help in maintaining our social distancing protocols for the safety of our teachers, students, and families. 

Review of parking lot protocols:

  1. All cars must BACK into the next available spot as they are numbered on the provided map on each side of the parking lot.  The only exception to this rule is spot #9 in front of the gazebo, which is a head-in only spot for the last car to arrive.  Please be patient and allow plenty of space for the car ahead of you to park appropriately.
  2. You may only exit your vehicle on the driver’s side while masked to help your child unbuckle/be ready for the health check.
  3. Health checks may only occur after everyone has returned inside their vehicle
  4. You must wait to exit the parking lot until all children/teachers have left the parking lot
  5.  Exit order on the gazebo side is different from arrival order.  Parking spot #6 MUST EXIT FIRST, followed by #3 and #4 while #9 MUST EXIT LAST as it needs the empty parking lot in order to turn around.

Please also remember that the upper parking lot will close 5 minutes before the beginning and ending of classes (8:10am/10:40am for morning classes, 12:10pm/3:10am for afternoon classes).  If you arrive late, you will need to wait in the lower field, call Brin to notify her that you are here and then wait to enter the upper lot after ALL cars have exited from the morning drop-off and/or afternoon pick-up.

View our Parking Lot map here.

Severe Weather

In true Northwest fashion, the first two weeks of Branching Out have clearly outlined the significance of weather and air quality in our daily operations this coming year.  We know many of you have questions regarding the myriad of weather contingencies that could potentially impact our children, as well as the protocols that Branching Out will follow in situations of severe weather.  

In cases of severe weather, please consider the following:

  1. The Board and Staff will always consider weather forecasts and conditions in advance and will preemptively cancel programming when severe weather poses an immediate and/or excessive threat to the safety of the children and staff while outdoors. In addition, individual families are responsible for assessing weather conditions and their impact on the safety of their children’s attendance at school.  Regardless of the weather forecast and school operations, families should independently assess whether it is safe for them to travel to and from school given the road conditions, hazards and potential inclement weather unique to their neighborhood.  This is always the case for snow, but also includes lightning, wind,  rain/flooding, AQI and all other potential severe weather conditions. 
  1. At all times, we will adhere to the guidance provided by the CDC regarding severe weather situations including, but not limited to: lightning, earthquakes and winter weather.  This information can be found here.  

We will continue to use e-mail and Zipwhip as our primary messaging systems to relay information regarding closures with as much advance notice as possible.  If you did not receive information regarding our closure due to the AQI this past week, please let Brin know so that we can update your contact information in our e-mail and/or Zipwhip lists.

From the Mousehole

We have had a great time with all the kids these first few days of school!

We are so proud of everyone navigating our new Branching Out program with such success! Any initial nervousness the children (and teachers!) had melted away quickly and turned into enthusiastic play, story sharing and engagement in our outdoor spaces! These kiddos didn’t miss a beat and we loved the ease of which they adapted to wearing masks, being outdoors and frequent handwashing.

The Ladybugs got to visit one campus in a My Grown-up and Me class. Thursday they will visit the other campus. Ladybugs and their Grown-ups got acquainted with their teachers and spaces.

Crickets and Honeybees, both new and seasoned Gardeners loved having their tote own personal tote bags and supplies! These tote bags are amazing! The kids are so proud of their bags and we are so impressed with the variety of ways everyone personalized them. Each bag is as lovely and unique as the children who they belong to.

On Luna’s campus Crickets and Honeybees gave weather reports, shared stories and circle time, played on the digger area and hiked up to the wishing well. Taking a peek at the bunnies on their way to use the office potty.

Belleamie’s Playgound included fun times in the sand box, painting fall poems and pattern blocks and building towers with our stacking stumps.

Enjoy the slideshow and videos of your children this first week at school.*

*Note that teachers took the opportunity to grab some mask off portraits of students during snack time when the children were kept at 8′ apart from each other.

Daily Home Screening and Screening Results Matrix 

We are giving each family a Daily Home Screening for Household Members and  Screening Results Matrix today and tomorrow at drop off. Use this easy at-a-glance reference guide to help you know when to keep your child home.


Parenting Classes

Parenting classes start next week.

Parents will learn problem-solving with their children and gain specific tools to enrich their interactions with their child, and enhance the inclusion of family and home life as an integrated part of the Children’s Garden learning experience.

This class is offered online through Zoom on Tuesday nights at 8:30 PM, September 29th – November 24th, 2020.  

Get details and sign up  here.

Picture Day

Picture day is next week. Pictures will be set up on the movement room deck with each class group entering from the stairs associated with their campus areas. The photographer will remain masked and distanced at least 6 feet from the children at all times. Children will to one at a time to have their pictures taken, accompanied by one of their teachers and will remove their masks for their picture. Shared surfaces will be sanitized between each student.

Picture day class schedule:

Crickets and Honeybees
Wednesday, September 30th

Thursday, October 1st.

Download and print your order form here.

Immunization Forms

Thank you to everyone who emailed or turned in a paper copy of their child’s immunization forms. If you have not yet done so, please send your child’s immunization record to Brin.

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