We have had a full and eventful month here at The Children’s Garden!
We hope to see you all at Homecoming on Saturday! It is such a fun night with dancing, games, great food, fun drinks and a focus on how The Garden continues to impact the lives of our Alums. Our Alum of the Year is introduced, and many alumni attend. Don’t miss out!
Conferences have begun and are going smoothly. Please check the schedule in the gazebo and arrive on time for your conference. Each conference lasts 30 minutes and if you are unable to make it, a written report will be available for you.
With Halloween in the history books, we are on to November! – Harvests, Leaves, Frost, Owls and believe it or not, we will begin to learn our dances for our Winter Celebration (Wednesday, December 11th at Clark Elementary)
We are so excited to have Brin Hamilton in the office. Brin had two girls go through The Garden and they are now all grown – Sage is working on a graduate degree and Thea is a freshman at college. When Jane-Ellen left, we knew that the most important thing to do is to make sure the classroom and the office continue to run smoothly. The teachers have the classroom covered and Brin is covering the office while Jessica, our consultant, works side by side with all of us to perfectly define the job description/position that is needed to complete our team and help our organization move forward. Both of these ladies are doing a fabulous job, joining us after the school year started, new in the office, training on the spot, and helping the teachers to not even skip a beat. They are capable, confident, helpful and so kind. Please stop by the office and introduce yourself next time you are at The Garden. Brin is the redhead that is here every day from 8-1, and Jessica is the curly haired brunette, joining us 1 or 1 ½ days a week on site. We have been teasing Brook and Cari that they are going to have to dye their hair red so that they fit in with all the red heads around The Garden!
The frost has arrived, and kids need hats and mittens on the very cold days. There is a new ‘ribbon line with clothespins’ above the coat hooks for you to clip their extra accessories to. If a child does not have gloves, we have a set of red fuzzy mittens that we will loan out. If they happen to come home, please send them back at your earliest convenience. Also, if little toys or special stones come home in a pocket, we stress to the children that the toys and stones live here at The Garden. Please ‘escort’ your Gardener to a teacher on the next day with the items, and we will thank them for returning them to their home.
The Ladybugs have had a wonderful month at The Garden. The separation anxiety has all but gone, and we are seriously using all our energy to learn how to play, share, and take turns. One teacher each session spends the entire time on the rug in the front room where the ‘real learning’ is happening. This teacher models asking for turns, preempts grabbing or knocking down someone else’s tower or is just available for an eye level snuggle. We have already seen such growth in the Ladybugs using their words, building their vocabulary and taking turns.
We did some lovely art pieces around Leaves and Fish. These larger projects that take more than one session are reserved for our Art Show in the spring. They will be matted and displayed at this event where we will also perform some songs and dances that we learn. In November, we begin to learn our songs and dances for our Winter Celebration on December 11th.
The Ladybugs made our first little wristlet book, “My Day at The Children’s Garden”. This involves the children cutting along a line, using a hole punch, and threading a ribbon through the hole. Many children tell us that this is their first-time using scissors. Our rules for scissors are that they must be sitting down while using them, and a teacher has to be with them to use them. If you don’t have some children’s safety scissors at home, this is a great age for them to begin practicing the ‘open and shut’ motion needed to operate the scissors. For kids who have used scissors, you can draw different shaped lines on a paper for them to practice following, but the first step is to learn how to hold them and open and shut them. This is difficult at first if an adult is not holding the paper taut for them to practice. As these little ones love to experiment, it is a good idea to keep the scissors up and out of reach when you are not around to supervise! Going forward, we will try to make a couple of nursery rhyme books each month. After assembling the books, the children color, make frames around the cover, and ‘read’ the book back to us. When these books come home, ask your child to read it to you.
We continue to look at the beautiful leaves of fall, begin our nursery rhymes, and start to look at owls. Our Halloween Day was lovely as we decorated pumpkins, did amazing face painting and tried to nab a donut on a string, hanging from a witch’s broomstick! With no hands! So fun! Our pumpkin patch at Fox Hollow was a rainy day but fun to be together with all of our friends.
Many of you have asked if your child is making friends in the Ladybug class. Most of our kiddos are still doing parallel play. They might see someone else go down a slide, and think that looks fun, so they will go down the slide also. There is not a lot of interaction between the kids. Some of our Bugs know some names of peers, but most do not. It is a great time to begin setting up play dates with mom or dad or grandma present. It is a fun time for parents to visit with other parents and to watch how the children interact with each other. At each of your conferences, the teacher will often suggest classmates that have similar interests or abilities as your child to arrange a play date with.
We don’t know how it happens, but each year our Ladybug class is filled with the most adorable and smart kids, and we feel so lucky to have the best parents around!
Oh my, from a visit with Larry the Fish Man, to storytelling with Kathi, the Cricket class has had a wonderful month! Our pumpkin patch was a highlight, having the whole class meet up at Michael’s family farm for a fun day at the family fun farm.
Cara taught us all about the life cycle of the salmon. The children took turns taking on different ‘roles’ to tell the story of how a female salmon lays eggs, the male salmon puts milt on the eggs and they then die. The eggs become alevin, fry, smolt, dodging ducks and other animals, and then they head on out to the ocean where they live for three or four years, avoiding orca, eagles, and sea lions, before they use their nose to ‘smell’ their way back to where they were born, to lay eggs or milt. Raccoons, Bears, and other animals still try to make a meal out of these lovely fish. A trip to the Salmon Hatchery and a visit with Fish Docent, Larry the Fishman, was so exciting to complete the learning process.
We are getting really good at writing our names at the sign in table. Rarely using a yellow brick road, we love to see how well the kids can do on their own. Some of the Crickets have begun to write their last name as well. On Halloween, we started to write the letter “A” telling the kids that it was a scream, “AAAAAAAAAAAA!”
We have learned some of the major bones in our body, like skull and femur. Our whole body of bones is called a skeleton and the femur is the longest bone in our body. When we wake up our bodies, we often wake up our bones. Tying together the fish and the skeletons, the Crickets made a beautiful art show piece, a fish skeleton using fabulous scraps of paintings by our storyteller Kathi’s husband, Milenko Matanovic. We have one more week of skeleton study before we move on to owls. We will also be listening to several versions of the classic folk tale, “Stone Soup” as we prepare for our Harvest Feast later this month.
The Crickets made their first couple of stamper books, one on the life cycle of the salmon and one spooky story! They each get a booklet of 4 or 5 pieces of paper and rubber stamps on a theme. They stamp the books and then work with a teacher to tell a story about what is happening on each page. Some children merely say what is on a page – “This is a fish, this is a whale, this is a raccoon” and as they develop their story telling skills, they might say a story – “Once upon a time…, a fish met a whale, then a raccoon ate them, the end.” After they complete their stories, each child sits in the “Author” chair, while a teacher reads the story to the class. The class applauds when the story is finished, the author gets a star and does a bow or a curtsy. Please ask your child to ‘read’ their story to you when they bring it home.
Fridays are our Nature Hike Days. We spend an hour in the Garden Next Door, return to the classroom for an hour and then do snack. After snack we get out to the playground for lots of fun before we return to the classroom for our lunch time and then a story before we go home. It is such a nice way to spend our long day at school and we are sure that we are returning our Crickets to you, fully exhausted!
Halloween was such a fun celebration with the Crickets. They came in such wonderful costumes and enjoyed dancing at circle with a friend in their costumes. Each child had a turn of trying to get a donut from a string with no hands! We decorated pumpkins that Michael’s family gifted the school and did some amazing face painting! Storyteller Kathi told some spooooooky stories and treats were handed out at the end of class by some of our friends. We hope everyone had a safe and spooky Halloween night!
What an amazing October we had as Honeybees! We started out following the yellow brick road in our name writing and ended up writing our first and last names with no yellow brick road to trace.
Our poetry recitations have become easier and easier as we have developed our confidence to work and recite in front of our peers. Our new poem, November, already has a star by every single Bee, as they each stood in front of the class and ‘read’ their poem. Awesome job reading, Bees!
A visit to the fish hatchery, followed by a visit from Larry the Fishman capped off our intensive study of salmon. Having Larry bring a male and female salmon to The Garden for us to see the eggs and the milt was amazing! What an incredible hands-on experience for our Bees!
We went from learning about salmon to learning about skeletons. Ask your bee about the main bones in their body – femur, patella, skull, scapula, phalanges, tibia, fibula, humerus and ribs…Next week, we extend our bone study into learning about the “Day of the Dead” celebration and memorial. Brook’s study of bones with the Honeybees is timely. She has been teaching them about this special day in South America. Each of the Bees has been working on a Q-tip skeleton portrait of someone or something that they have lost and want to pay tribute to. These are beautiful works of art that will be exhibited at the Art Show in the spring.
Halloween was wonderfully exciting with Storyteller Kathi coming and sharing her spookiest stories, after a fun game of ‘donuts on a string’ out on the playground. The costumes were fabulous and each of the children had an opportunity to paint their faces and decorate a pumpkin. Teachers Cara and Donna met the class at Fintan’s house for a very fun ‘pumpkin patch’ day, complete with maze, Cara jumping on the trampoline and lots of crafts! Such a beautiful weather day, also!
At circle, we reviewed our new poem, November, where we talked about the first two letters of the word, November, is ‘No’. Every single child took a turn using a pointer to ‘read’ to their peers, the poem, November. So exciting for teachers and students alike.
We are going into the movement room in groups as we practice writing our lower-case letters. Overall, the bees are having a grand old time, becoming a team, bonding with each and every one of us and so enjoying our time together. Next month we begin to learn our winter celebration dances, along with preparing for our Harvest Feast.
We have already read one version of our traditional ‘Stone Soup’ story, and as we lead into our feast, we will read three or four more versions. More details will follow as we get closer to our event.
We hope you have had a wonderful Halloween and we are all looking forward to this next month as we celebrate the harvest, enjoy gathering around a table with our friends and excitedly anticipate a wonderful holiday season where we honor and enjoy our time with our families.