I hope that this finds you all well and secure and able to enjoy the springtime. It's been great to connect when we can and hear about your own nature experiences and adventures at home. I hope that enjoying nature and experiencing the little pleasures that we can discover and enjoy in our small daily worlds is helping you out and keeping you going.
We've had a lot of fun starting to learning about more types of bugs this week. There are so many bugs in this world, way more than any other creature in kingdom animalia, and there is so much to know. We are touching on some of the key ecological points about bugs, and we have been taking bug lesson requests. This week we talked about bugs in general, bug bodies, bug movement, and then we focused on beetles, ladybugs in particular. Tomorrow we will finish out the week on dragonflies and insect life cycles. Insect life cycles are one of my favorite aspects of studying insects. It gives us a whole new perspective on bugs that we know, (we know a ladybug as an adult, but could we recognize it as a larva?) And to us mammals, it's really kind of amazing to imagine a life that contains such different stages and drastic transformations.
It's been interesting to hear which parts of distance learning have been working for all of you. We have a dedicated circle time crew, which is a joy to Arielle and I, but I know that some kids, very understandably, find digital socializing to be unsatisfying and frustrating. I've been glad to hear from so many people who are continuing to enjoy the lessons at home though, and I encourage you to stay in touch and let us know how online learning is working for you and if we can improve anything. We are very, very grateful to have been able to rely on our community so far, even in these troubled times, and we will be so grateful to continue to be able to do so.
At the end of May we will be sending out special care packages to our preschool friends that are continuing on to kindergarten next year. If any of you have any other ideas for ways to celebrate while social distancing we are open to them.
We will be deciding this next month if we will continue programming into the summer. Please let us know if you would be interested in this.
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be peaceful, may you be filled with joy! I really miss seeing all of your faces in real life.
Enjoy some images from online learning:
It's been really fun to move from pollinators to a more direct focus on bees this week. Bees are so interesting! I feel like every time that I do this unit I learn something new. And we have to much to be thankful to them for.
Next week we will begin focusing on other bugs :)
I know that probably everyone's lives are so crazy on so many levels, I know that mine is. We are all trying to navigate a myriad of pressures, both mundane and existential, and constantly adapt to new information and circumstances while navigating our families into a very uncertain future. Decision fatigue is real right now for sure. It's been a thing of value though to continue to share community and to continue to focus together on observing and learning about the nature around us as a school. As recommend with online learning, take from what we are offering and do what works for your family and is fun and helpful. And if you need extra motivation, just keep in mind that taking the time to focus on the non-human world can be very relaxing, healing and can offer some much needed perspective.
For the time being and possibly through the summer we will be continuing with online learning. Stay in touch and let us know how it is going and how you are doing. We are always interested in hearing about how you are and how Fiddleheads programming is working for you. If you haven't joined online learning yet and want to or if you have any questions, let me know.
I've been thinking about how we might celebrate the end of the school year for the conifer class students that will be going on to kindergarten. I plan to send all "graduating" students a special letter and package in June. I would like to plan an in person "graduation" gathering for the end of the summer, and we can make plans for that later on as what is socially possible becomes more clear.
Stay safe everyone. May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be peaceful, may you be filled with joy.
Some images from online learning
I hope that this finds you all well and secure. These challenging, anxious times do draw on. Please be gentle with yourselves and your children. I hope that you all can get outside and find inspiration and comfort in what you observe.
We had a lot of fun this week creating lessons and finding learning resources for you all on pollinators. I love this unit, because it falls right in between digging into the luxurious decadence of flowers, and opening our eyes to the intricacies of insect life starting with bees. Learning about pollinators is a logical bridge between the two, and while it is not a well worn path in early childhood education, no one can fail to appreciate the magical interconnections all around us that are revealed through the study of pollination. We hope that you were able to take advantage of some of the resources, and if you didn't get to them together, (Roan and I have still not done most of the lessons from this week yet so I know how it goes), then keep them in mind to check in on anytime. As you probably know, all online lessons are available in the google doc that we send a link out to every day from the zoom meeting invite. Just scroll down to find previous material.
Next week we will be learning about bees.
Fiddleheads is ready to offer online learning to new families too during these socially distanced times. We are no longer bound by enrollment numbers, and having new families involved would help to support the school, so pass the word to anyone you think might be interested. We have several levels for enrollment, you can check it out on our new web page.
Some scenes from pollinator study :)
I hope that this email finds you all well and secure. I don’t know how you all are feeling, but the incredible changes that the last month has brought are sinking in more deeply with me. I imagine that so many of us find ourselves trying to settle into a rhythm of work and homeschool/childcare as we simultaneously balance our emotional states and try to make good decisions for ourselves and our families while adapting to new information and rapidly changing circumstances. I wish you all peace and comfort and the ability to find happiness and joy during these challenging times. Anchoring myself to the turning of the seasons and focusing on the new bird calls and the new buds and shoots and blooms and the incremental advancement of the solar year is providing me with some balance. I hope that you are finding good things to lean on as well.
At school we are finishing up our flower unit. If you’ve been looking through the online lessons you’ve seen that we have been learning about color, texture, shapes, symmetry and also about the purpose and life cycle of a flower. This week we focused some on pollen and nectar, and next week we will begin talking about pollination and pollinators. Studying what we can immediately see and experience outside and placing our experiences within the larger natural cycles of the year is one of our main educational goals at Fiddleheads. We believe in the power of an ecological education to help lend perspective and add meaning to all of our lives, and it is very sweet to be able to be delivering our lessons on a family level right now. Thank you all for joining us.
A note about how young children learn:
Early childhood is a time for for broad, physical, sensory and emotional learning. When we provide these at home lessons, we are not expecting that there will be any child that is interested in doing all pieces of it, and in fact I am sure there are some children not interested in much of it at all, and that is ok. It will vary day by day. Taking care of our own and our children's emotional and physical needs as best we can is the priority work that we are all doing right now. We offer many different aspects to an activity in hopes that something that we offer from school will be interesting and engaging throughout the week, and that is great, but we don't recommend keeping a high bar for it. Do what is fun and interesting. Be happy. The lessons and activities that we are creating are just a resource that we are working hard to offer, and we hope that you all will take it as such. There is no need to "keep up" with our lessons or what we are doing, there is no need to do anything except enjoy what we offer daily if it works, and don't worry about it if it doesn't.
I’m grateful that Fiddleheads has been able to pivot quickly to online learning, as that is the model going forward for the US right now. You have all probably heard that school in Oregon will not open again this school year. My 8 year old just received his first online communications from his teacher this week, as the public schools try and figure out how to move forward with online learning too. Fiddleheads is willing to offer online learning to new families too. We are no longer bound by enrollment numbers, and having new families involved would help to support the school, so pass the word to anyone you think might be interested. We have several levels for enrollment, you can check it out on our new web page.
I want to thank you all so much for your participation in our survey. Your suggestions and insights were very helpful. I look forward to going through the results in more detail and having that inform our program as we go ahead to make it as helpful to you all as possible.
I want to thank you all so much for your continued support of the school. I am so grateful to see that so many families are still willing to support us and participate. I teared up a little bit to see that a couple people still paid at normal tuition rates. I'm grateful to have been able to pay Ginger and Arielle for their work this month, and to keep myself employed in this work as well. I thank you all and look forward to moving ahead studying pollinators next week!
Thanks so much and may you all be happy, healthy, peaceful and filled with joy!
Some scenes from home based flower study
I sincerely hope that this finds you all well and secure and weathering these anxious times with some peace and joy and security.
We have transitioned to online learning over the last few weeks. It has really been great to keep seeing all of you that have been joining, and if you haven't please join us anytime that you can. We are studying flowers this week!
If you haven't joined online learning yet, here's what you need to know:
1. We do online circle time through zoom every weekday at 9:30 am. Check your inbox just around then, and you will receive an invite to join the call.
2. We create daily ideas for lessons and creative activities, which we upload into a google doc. We also include our songs and poems and yoga poses. There are links in there to our new youtube channel, where we share daily stories related to our lessons. We have added some simple meditations, emotional wellness stories and breath exercises to do at home anytime to this channel as well. We are learning how to organize it better for easier access. The link to this google doc of lessons is in the same e-mail that invites you to join the zoom call. You can access all previous lessons and videos on the same google doc anytime if you want to revisit anything or pick and choose what to do at your own pace.
3. For continued community connection outside of circle time, we have created a private facebook group where we can share images and videos and post about what we are doing at home and see what others are up to. You can check it out here. Please join if you would like and share what's going on at home with the community. ALSO, don't forget the old playdate contact list. My kids have really been enjoying connecting with friends through facetime and zoom and skype. Although we can't have playdates right now, we can still see our friends and talk to them online. Also, we teachers can be available from time to time for quick facetime chats if need be. Just reach out.
A note about how young children learn:
Early childhood is a time for for broad, physical, sensory and emotional learning. When we provide these at home lessons, we are not expecting that there will be any child that is interested in doing all pieces of it, and in fact I am sure there are some children not interested in much of it at all, and that is ok. It will vary day by day. Taking care of our own and our children's emotional and physical needs as best we can is the priority work that we are all doing right now. Hopefully something that we offer from school will be interesting and engaging throughout the week, and that is great, but we don't recommend keeping a high bar for it. Do what is fun and interesting. Be happy. The lessons and activities that we are creating are just a resource that we are working hard to offer, and we hope that you all will take it as such. There is no need to "keep up" with our lessons or what we are doing, there is no need to do anything except enjoy what we offer daily if it works, and don't worry about it if it doesn't. I miss seeing you all.
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be peaceful, may you be filled with joy.
Some scenes from online learning: