originally published June 20th
I hope that everyone is settling into their summer routine. It already seems like a while ago that school ended, but before we get deep into the summer days I wanted to recap the last few days of Fiddleheads and share some photos.
First of all, there is so much gratitude to be handed around. Thank you all so much for being part of the school community this first year. I am so grateful for all of your support and your presences. I'm so grateful that Amy and Cassie came along to help with this first year. I'm so grateful for the beautiful school year and school community that we all created. I'm so grateful for the amazing resource that is Mt Tabor Park, and for all of the trees and herbaceous plants and birds and bugs and animals that made the richness of our school year experience possible. If you would like to show some gratitude to Mt Tabor, you can do so through the parks program, and through Friends of Mt Tabor.
We had some very exciting last days of school. First, thanks to everyone who came out for the end of school potluck. If anyone has any photos of this gathering that they would like to share, that would be welcome. Second, I want to share some news about our caterpillars/butterflies. All of them hatched out! And the timing was amazing. The first one hatched out between the end of school on Friday and the potluck Friday evening. The second one hatched out during the potluck. Most of the rest hatched out over the weekend and on Monday. It's about as close to magic as we can get in the real world to witness caterpillars turning into butterflies. As much as I read about it, I have yet to find a complete explanation of what goes on in there. It's a mystery, with so many beautiful parallels to our own lives, and it was wonderful to get so up close and personal with this mystery together at school. On Tuesday, our very last day of school, we let all of the butterflies go during morning circle. It was very poetic to reach into the habitat with a stick and guide them out one by one to flutter up into the blue sky as all of the children were excitedly gathered around. The last chrysalis was unhatched still at circle time, so I hung it on a rose bush, and when we got back from the park that too was hatched out and empty. During those last hours at school, that last butterfly hatched and flew out into the world. What a perfect ending to the year.
The last two days of school we focused on volcanoes, particularly our beloved Mt Tabor. We looked for volcanic rocks (there are lots), and we did some guided imagery and imagined Mt Tabor during the time of it's last eruption, some 35 million years ago. It was indeed a much warmer, younger and different earth then. We climbed all of the way to the top and looked at where the crater used to be, and imagined the lava that was once deep inside. Back at school, with much excitement, we built our own baking soda and vinegar volcanoes in the sand pit. It was a fun and messy way to pass the last couple of days at school, and to deepen our connection to our own place by imagining it at a different time.
Thanks again for a beautiful year. I wish you all a full, beautiful and restful summer!
originally published June 5th
I can’t believe that it’s the end of the year. What a wonderful year it has been. Thank you all so much for being part of the school community in our first year! The school has exceeded all of my expectations and I am so grateful to be able to look at what happens every day at Fiddleheads and feel good about it, that this is what early childhood should be. It’s a beautiful thing.
Please join us for the end of school year potluck party on this Friday evening at the school from 5:00-7:00. The kids will be wearing homemade butterfly wings, we will sing some of our favorite springtime preschool songs, and we will hopefully be releasing some of our painted lady butterflies! Bring a dish to share if you can. It will be a great time to acknowledge the growth that everyone has made and bring closure to this wonderful year of exploration and learning.
originally published May 22nd
We've been enjoying learning about bugs this last week. We've been finding aphids, spittle bugs, rolly pollies, centipedes, millipedes, bees, flies, and the occasional lady bugs, moths and butterflies. Today we found a beautiful centipede hatch out along a trail at Mt Tabor, and counted about 40 giant, shiny black centipedes emerging from the earth. I ordered us some painted lady caterpillars and we have been watching them grow and grow. By then end of this week they will probably be making chrysalises. We will observe the chrysalises in the classroom until they hatch out, then we can release them. We introduced the idea of metamorphosis and life cycles last week. This is a central concept of insect life, all insects go through profound physical changes throughout their life cycle. It's pretty magical if you think about it. This theme of metamorphosis is something that we will be returning to and continuing to explore through the end of the school year.
The garden is truly full of delights this time of year. Those warm weeks in early May got us off to an early start, and all of our seedlings have been out and hardened off in the beds for a week or more. I can hardly believe that the garden is already in summer mode. The peas curl and creep upward every day and they are beginning to flower. The strawberries have flowered and the flowers have transformed to little green berries now bowing down the stems. The melons are doing their best to get pollinated in this cool weather, and have been producing flowers for a couple of weeks now. I mostly plant things that will be ready around the end of school time, or late season crops that won't be ready until school begins again in September. If all goes as planned we will have pumpkins, potatoes, melons and tomatoes around the start of school in the fall.
Originally published May 14th
We had a fun couple of weeks talking about bees! We are now seeing them everywhere and it is easy to notice their diversity, and so fun to imagine their lives inside the hive and what the world must look like to them. We had a fun quick little visit to my neighbors hive on Friday am, and we tasted honeycomb and chewed the beeswax. Then we made homemade honey graham crackers! Melissa took some photos. I will update the blog soon with more shots than what I can attach here.
This week we are beginning a unit on bugs, We will be talking about all kinds of everyday bugs and their lives, and finishing up the school year with some painted lady caterpillars that we hope to be lucky enough to watch successfully metamorphosize before our eyes.
originally published April 30th
It's been lovely to be outside to see things get so green and leafy this last week, and more and more little bugs and warm weather loving things coming out. We planted a few things in the garden last week, and all of this sun and wind has kept us busy watering. Over the last two weeks we enjoyed talking about worms and things that live in the soil. We learned a lot of neat things about worms! We have lots to be grateful to worms for.
We are talking about bees this week. Bees are one of those things that you can just keep going forever with, there is so much to know. So far we have talked about bee dances and played a silly bee dance game, and we’ve also learned how bees make honey, (did you know that they pass the nectar back and forth into each other’s mouths several times then regurgitate it into the comb as honey? Hopefully that won’t diminish your appreciation of the sweetness and health benefits of honey.)
We are going to have a very quick bee field trip on Friday, May 10th at 10 am. My neighbor across the street keeps bees in his back yard, and he is going to let us go in and check out the hives while he is out at work. Anyone is welcome to come and meet us and walk over and see the bees as well. They are behind a wire fence, so it won't be too up close and personal. It's going to be a short visit I bet, but we might have a little real honeycomb snack afterwards if I can find some.
Originally published 4/23/2019
We are having a good time talking about soil creatures and worms in school this week and last. We’ve done plenty of digging, with lots of worm finding success, as well as discovery of plenty of other interesting things in the soil. We investigated some mole holes and tunnels today, and did some imagining about life under the grass. We have also been getting our garden in shape, and last week we did lots of digging and moving of compost into the garden beds with shovels and wheelbarrows. It’s been a fun and dirty week! We finished it off by dyeing eggs in some homemade dyes.
It’s an exciting time of year to be outside, and we continue to notice wave after wave of flowers and wonderful bird activity. We have also been able to pay daily attention to the leaves opening out on the trees. The resident hummingbird nest that we have been checking on is empty. We never caught a glimpse of the babies, but due to the length of time we noticed the mother there we can assume that they were fully incubated, hatched and successfully fledged. We took a special long walk on Monday to find an easily visible great horned owl nest with two owlets in it on the north side of Tabor.
Next week we will talk about bees and pollination and enjoy some fun with honey. I will be out of school this Friday to go on a field trip with my older son. Amy will be teaching and cooking with the kids. I will also be out of town as well May 3rd through 7th to visit some family. Amy and Cassie will be covering my absent days with some help from Stephanie, Owen’s mom, who has so kindly agreed to assist for a day.
Fiddleheads is filling up for next year and it’s been wonderful to get such nice interest and enthusiasm from so many parents considering enrolling their children for next year. I really want to say thank you to everyone who has supported the school this year in our first endeavor. I appreciate all of you deciding to take a chance on this school, and all of your continued appreciation and support! Thank you!
Originally published 4/16/19
We had another nice week last week talking about flowers and their journey to make seeds and fruits. We read some great flower books, played some fun flower and bee games, did some guided imagery imagining the life of a flower and made tissue paper flowers and flower cookies.
We have been watching a nesting hummingbird in the park, listening to drumming woodpeckers and calling robins, and watching the leaves emerge bit by bit each day. There is one big leaf maple that we sit under almost every day for snack, and we have watched it though the journey of the seasons and it is now in flower with little leaves ready to open.
This week we begin talking about worms and dirt. I will be having a pile of compost delivered for the garden and we will be doing lots of digging and shoveling and hopefully finding lots of worms as we get the garden ready to plant.
We have a new friend joining us this week. He just moved from the Bay area very recently. We will all be talking a lot about ways to help our new friend feel at home in his new school.