Patchwork Digest -
Friday, November 22nd
Holiday Traditions – We would love to have everyone share their holiday traditions with us this month, so please let us know if you have a book, a snack, a song or even just pictures to share!
Late child pick up fees- Please try to arrive on time at the 12:30 and 3pm pick ups. There is extra fee for being more than 10 minutes late. This allows teachers time to take their breaks or transition into their closing duties. We encourage peole to come and explore the space with their child and be a part of our community but ask that you come early to do so.
Please bring clothing for all weather- The weather is turning so please make sure that you bring (and leave) warm clothes for your children. We will continue doing offerings and things outside.
Voted Best Private School Boulder East County-
We were honored this month in the Boulder Weekly for 2nd Best Private School! Congratulations to everyone in our community for making us so great! Check us out in the Boulder Weekly
Today I pulled up some videos of Indonesian music on the computer, and right away several kids came running over to see what all the weird noises were. Most of them didn't stick around long, but Andra and Mia watched a couple of them and pointed out how much more gender-segregated music is in Indonesia compared to the US, since only men were playing the instruments and only women were dancing. Then Andra, Mia, and I pulled up and watched several videos of hip-hop dance from America and Europe.
And then with the preschoolers we gathered everyone together with the "Hello, How Are You?" song, and then Charlotte requested "Wheels on the Bus" so we sang a few verses of that together. We sang a few other songs together, like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "I'm a Little Teapot." Clinton was really interested in the capo that I have on the guitar, which is a clamp that raises the pitch of all the strings. I showed him how I could move it from fret to fret and how it changes the sound of the guitar. Then someone requested the "ABC" song, and Ava wanted to see how fast we could sing it, so we ran through it a few times seeing how fast we could go, and then how low and quiet we could sing it. Looks like there are lots of different ways we can approach every song to make them fun and different every time!
Proposals, Petitions and more - Democracy in Action!
We have seen some awesome examples of democracy in action this year in the K-12 space, as the children are becoming more and more empowered to take the lead. Besides the Parkour thread, which has included proposals resulting in field trips and even new structures built in the yard, we've also had petitions and proposals for various other materials and ideas. For certain items that are time sensitive, the students have learned the value of creating a petition and taking it around to all of the other children to sign, in order to get something passed right away. One day, Anthony was unable to get committment from everyone on a park plan at meeting, so he created a petition for a different park idea and got everyone's signatures after meeting, still allowing the plan to happen that day. Another day, Mira and Mia created a petition to save their spider web until Halloween and got all of the students attending that day to agree, even though the usual limit is that things have to be cleaned up that day.
With regards to new materials in the spaces or for field trips (basically anything requiring that we spend money), we are seeing that children are learning how to create proposals that contain enough details to both inform and persuade the other students. Andra has been working for some time on a plan to go to the Planetarium - she had put it on the issues list, but when it came time to discuss it at meeting she passed, knowing she didn't have a proposal that was quite ready. So, we worked that day on printing out details on the Planetarium show, choosing a date that might work, contacting the musuem for more information, calulating the different prices depending on the numbers of people, and thinking about what other questions might come up at meeting. She then put it back on the issues list, knowing she would be prepared. Similarly, Caley and others have been working on highly detailed proposals of Beyblades (spinning tops) that could be purchased for the school, and details about why they are a useful and educational material. In addition, Hank worked with Dave on an Outdoor Specialty day to create a Sandbox proposal, where they took measurements and calculations for how and where a sandbox could be created within K-12.
Through these various methods of utilizing the democratic process, the children are not only learning communication techniques, leadership skills, and self-confidence, as well as practicing reading, writing and math, but they are also learning how to be engaged citizens. This past Monday, the City Council of Louisville passed the new measure allowing hens in Louisville (yay!). I attended this final meeting with Cameron and Benny and I was so pleased to see how immediately they grasped exactly how it was all working. They noticed the Mayor facilitating the meeting, the "limits" being set on how the chickens could be housed, and the final voting process. They also noticed that they didn't operate on consensus, and that the public that was invited got to have a say, but not a vote. They also felt confident enough to go up front and help me make a comment in favor of adopting the new measure. It certainly reinforced what I already knew, which is that all of the children in the K-12 are becoming well-versed in how to truly be a participant in today's world.
Toddler Tea Time
We have been splitting into small groups in order to do more one on one offering with the children. Today we had a tea party and they loved it. The older children really enjoyed participating in the dramatic play, while the younger children really enjoyed the sensory activity of pouring and drinking the tea. Don't worry it was herbal tea : )
Thomas- Put it in the microwave (Goes to the pretend microwave and places the cup inside and pushes the buttons)
Lucy- Having a tea party! (Drinks from little tea cup)
Olive- (stacks cups) More, please!
Lucy/Olive- (Leave to put on costumes and coats to wear)
Thomas- (Pours tea from big cup to little tea cup)
Olive- (Takes pretend good and pretends to dip tea in it)
Lucy- (Grabs blanket to put over spilled tea) Some Tea!
Everyone goes to play kitchen and pretends to cook food and prepare more tea.
Olive- More Tea! Gently covers table with new dry blanket
Thomas- (Fills empty tea pot with pretend water at teh play kitchen. Turning knobs and saying Shhhhshhh)
Lucy- (Takes cups back to table) More tea!!!
Food Offering in the K-12
The K-12 has had a couple of super fun parent offerings and is looking forward to more. One was led by Lisa, Mira’s mom, on nutrition and “cooking”. There has been a lot of interest in cooking and looking through cookbooks. Andra, Destiny, Atom, Johan, and Caley attended the day Lisa and Mira visited. Lisa asked why people came and Atom said, “So we can make healthy food that tastes good!” Then when Lisa asked “what is nutritional..what is a nutrient?” Caley said, “not potato chips!”. This question led to a long conversation about food, what it is and where it comes from what do our bodies need, and how do we get that? When someone said “we can eat fruit”, Lisa asked what fruit was and, after multiple responses, summarized with, “part of a plant that you eat”. We talked about the different veggies and fruits we eat, using the toddler kitchen food for examples. Johan said, “you can eat bark too, cinnamon is bark.” Lisa explained that you can’t eat too much cinnamon because it will make you sick. Eventually we arrived at the fact that people eat plants and animals. Lisa asked what minerals are and Caley said, “compost and decaying matter” and Johan said, “rocks and dirt”.
Lisa asked many questions like, “what is whole food? and What does process mean?”. Then she described how they smash wheat in india with trucks, capturing their imagination. The basic idea conveyed was that whole foods are things that come from plants and processed foods are things that are made in plants. Lisa got people moving by asking them to join her in different parts of the room if they liked certain foods, and asked their favorites too. The conversation then became, “Why do we like sweets?” with answers like, “it makes us feel crazy!” and Lisa concluded with “We like fast energy”. She talked about the inevitable crash after too much fast energy or too much of one thing and then asked, “How can we slow down the energy released?”. Atom responded, “We can eat hundreds of sausages!” Destiny and Andra both said Chicken was their favorite protein. Lisa asked if people knew what bitter and pungent foods are. People did like spicy food and she explained that it wakes up a different part of your tongue. People like vegetables, arugula being Andra’s favorite and Atom said “Broccoli raw, its a vegetable and Carrots cooked or raw”.
Lisa described how in France people eat a lot of bread and cheese and don’t snack in between meals, that the fat and protein carries them through along with the fact that they eat 3 course meals. We also learned that in Japan people eat miso soup for breakfast. Destiny described how she has eaten 3 meals with no snacks and then asked, “are we actually doing any cooking?”. We then talked about what cooking meant and if it differed from preparing foods. We brainstormed snack favorites and new options we will love and came up with an awesome list to start including ideas like, bean dip, guacamole and jicama. Lisa had people engaged for a long time and has offered to help organize another offering to make some of our ideas for snack!
Friends are for Talking To
Now that we have a few months of school under our belt, friendships are beginning to form and our group is really starting to focus on figuring out how to work together and play with one another. Communication skills are blossoming all over the place as the children learn to express their needs and make requests, help one another find creative solutions to problems, and use teamwork to get things done. As a teacher, it is always so rewarding for me to see children figure out how to get what they need, especially when the solution isn't what I might come up with myself. Below is an example of some conversation that I recorded as the children decorated a snowman they had built earlier in they day with Baxter and Dave. Sometimes it just takes voicing a fear and feeling heard for upsets to feel okay and for a new plan to emerge.
(Children are dipping pipettes into a muffin tin of colored water and squirting the colors on the snowman)
"Now we gotta make it beautiful with all the colors."-Nora
"Yeah, so that it's beautiful." -Holden
"Green! It's making green on there!" -Peyton (squirting green food coloring onto a ball of snow)
"That's blue. I'm making blue." -Holden
Instead of the squeezies I'm doing like this." -Colby (puts color on her finger and rubs it into the snow)
"What does that feel like?" -Rebekah
"I'm pokin it." -Sam
"No! Don't break it! We made that snowman." -Nora (getting upset and trying to take the pipette from Sam's hand)
"I'm worried that someone might get hurt, let's pause. It sounds like you and Sam have different plans from each other, Nora." -Rebekah
"I don't want him to break it because it's my beautiful snowman!"-Nora
"I want to make holes in it." -Sam
(Nora thinks about this for a minute)
"Okay. It's okay that you poke it, Sam. Poke. Poke. Chugga chugga choo choo!." -Nora (starts poking the snowman herself)
"Chugga chugga choo choo!" -Holden (poking the snowman with his pipette as well)
(all of the children begin poking the snowman with their pipettes)
"Guys, the snowman is beautiful." -Nora
"I'm making on the bottom. There's no color on it yet." -Colby
"I'm making on the bottom too!" -Holden
“Fishing” for Letters
By Zoe Dunn
There has been a great interest in letters in the 4-5 group. We have been working on tracing letters and recognizing letters in our names. When we talk about letters, the children like to shout out, “I have that letter in my name,” and another child will say, “I do too.” I came up with the idea “fishing” for letters because of a child’s idea during morning meeting. She wanted to go to a lake to go fishing but we needed fishing poles. We made fishing poles that day and I wanted to combine that idea with their interest in letters. Below is the conversation that occurred while “fishing.”
Finn: I got two on mine
Sarah: I got all my letters
Finn: These letters aren’t in my name
Aiden: There’s an ‘F’ in your name
Bailey: I got two on mine
Ashleigh: Yes! I just got my ‘M’
Finn: I got an ‘F’
Aiden: I got an ‘F’ too, same same. I didn’t know I had my own fishing rod
Juna: I don’t have all the letters in my name on my plate
Ashleigh: I have a green crocodile
Juna: I got another one
Ashleigh: I want a yellow one. I just put a yellow ‘R’ in there from the bowl
Finn: I almost got a ‘U’
Juna: I just have 1, 2, 3, 4 left!