family events


Blog entry from last year November.


We had a few birthdays in a row in November. Birthdays stories are told at the end of the day replacing the regular story. The wooden rainbow flower shaped pieces are laid over a rainbow silkie. The story usually includes four-legged furry animals, feathered birds, ocean animals, insects, plant kingdom, and a guide or an angel. Small wooden figures representing each group are placed on wooden flowers as I tell the story. The story begins with all the creatures anticipating the arrival of the baby. The guide leads the way for the baby to come to the loving hands of the parents. Time of the day, weather, the phase of the moon, who were present at birth give the picture of the baby's arrival. The story talks about the seasons as the earth goes around the sun. One year passes and the child turns one. One like one earth, one sun. I light one candle. We talk about the child's activities then. Then we recognize the following year, the child turns two. Two like two eyes, two hands, two legs. I light the second candle. The story keeps going until we come to the age that the child is turning. Usually, the child's parent that joined us will tell remarks and significant events of the past year and/or the birth. We wonder what wonderful things the new year will bring to the child. We sing happy birthday to the child and the child happily blows out the candles. No presents, but sometimes small treats are shared by the child's family.

Since there were so many November birthdays, I told the story of Father Birthday from a book Gateways by Wynstones Press. This story is about an old man who lived alone who remembered that tomorrow on his birthday, he has no one to celebrate it with. It sounds like a sad story, but the ending shows the same old man with a contented warm heart. When he wakes up in the morning, he finds an egg and a candle on his bedside table. He starts the woodfire to preheat the oven to bake his birthday cake. "It must have been Father Birthday who came to me this morning", he says and he breaks a piece of cake to place it on the heath.

Lantern Walk and Martinmas

This is another post I was not able to publish last year.


Our Lantern Walk and Martinmas was held right in the preschool neighborhood. Carrie and Matthew hosted it as this being the last year for their daughter to attend the Children's Garden. We enjoy visiting their garden every Friday for a walk, but to be there in the evening was very special.

Once again, we had a wonderful story of St. Martin by Sherry Lovett. Children listened very carefully about the caring and compassionate act of a person whose faith carried him for the rest of his life.

Then we sang "Down With Darkness Up With Light", "Glimmer Lantern, Glimmer" and "Red and Yellow, Green and Blue". We were ready to light our handmade lanterns. Each one had a beautiful soft glow.

We went to a few houses in the neighborhood to sing songs. They were all very happy that we stopped by. We sang songs along the way up the hill and down again. Everyone managed to keep the lantern safe.

The fresh bread was pulled out of the oven and warm soup and other items of food were shared after the Lantern Walk. They provided good nourishment. Outside in the garden, the lanterns made beautiful luminaries and Matthew played a hand drum that played mystical music into the dark evening. The campfire kept folks warm and families visited with each other under the starry sky until it was time to say good night.

Lady Slippers Walk

IMG_0733 (1) The year is quickly passing by. Lady Slippers are quietly blooming to let us know that it is May, the Mother's Day month, and it is nearly the end of the preschool year.

We had 10 happy children ready to go on the Lady Slipper Walk and some of their parents, grandparents, and friends were able to join us.



We took our time stopping for everyone to catch up and pointing at flame azaleas and giant ferns growing.


We stopped to have our snack of sandwiches and fruits and a drink of water. We remembered to sing the blessing before the snack was over. Everyone went on "nature potty" and the nappies were tended for the younger ones. We had one last stop before viewing the flowers. I told a story of the magical slippers that helped a young child to find her way home. This child was a kind-hearted child that earlier had given up her own slippers to the forest friend, rabbit, who had hurt feet. The message of the story also included that we must not pick the "slippers" so that in case some fairies got lost, they can wear the magic slippers to find their way home just like the little girl in the story.


We finally got to view the beautiful lady slippers. Pink ones were many in number while yellow ones were scarce. Children recognized the unique flowers and excited to show the teachers and friends.  The mid-morning sun was filtering through the trees reaching all the way to shine on the flowers. We managed to not pick any or step on them by accident.  Thank you children.IMG_0739


It was all downhill on the way back. Most children ran along the trails through the woods happy and satisfied. We even got to the soccer field where we were supposed to meet the parents an hour earlier than the pickup time. We decided to change the plan to meet the parents back at the preschool. Children walked tirelessly, that is all except for the two 2 year olds. They needed a little break here and there to be carried by the teachers. 1-year old E was mostly carried as we went a little faster than his pace.IMG_0772


Safely back in the playground, everyone whose legs were exposed got a thorough wash with tecnu, soap and water to prevent them from getting poison ivy. We checked children for ticks.


Another day to celebrate. Thank you to everyone for the lovely day.

Lantern Walk/ Martinmas

dsc07149-2 dsc07152-2 dsc07157-2 img_3515 fullsizerenderWe had a lovely Lantern Walk/ Martinmas. Only two children were able to come, but they really seemed to have enjoyed the festivity.  

It was wonderful to be hosted by R's parents house in the quiet dead end of the road known as Silver Cove. We listened to the story of St. Martin by Sherry Lovett while the sun was casting the pink rays as it set. We sang a few songs. A wanted to sing "Down with Darkness Up with Light". We also sang St. Martin's song. We started our lantern walk through the path into the woods which went around the silver cove pond. We sang This Little Light of Mine, and Walk in the Light (from Quaker Hymnal) which is not a song we sang at preschool, but it seemed fit at the moment.


When we came around to the opposite side of the pond, the moon has risen and was reflecting on the pond ever so quietly and beautifully. Matthew helped the children go on a dock. We continued on with more songs, "Through the Street of The Town". We heard some Arthur Morgan School students walking. We sang "Red and Yellow Green and Blue, Come and join us please, please do!".


Back at the Meadow House, the cozy picnic table was lit up with lanterns we made. Sadie had made butternut pumpkin soup and potato soup all I am sure made with local ingredients. She has also made delicious bread sticks and pizza as well. Mari's soup had pigs meat from Matt Riley/ Camp Celo. Matt was excited to know that I was making the soup with the neck bones. The children sure remember the pigs and now we get to thank the pigs as we eat the soup. The evening got colder and colder as the moon rose higher in the sky, but the sweet company of old and young children and loving parents sharing the food made the evening so special that nobody seemed to mind the cold at all. Sending you all the strength through the darkness. Thank you for the beautiful evening.


Down with Darkness Up with Light

Down with darkness, up with light

Up with sunshine, down with night

Each of us is one small light

But together we shine bright

Go away darkest blackest night

Go away, give way to light.

Harvest Festival

dsc06788dsc06789dsc06790dsc06793dsc06792dsc06795dsc06798dsc06799dsc06800dsc06801dsc06802dsc06803dsc06787 Our Harvest Festival took place after 3 weeks into our new fall semester. It gave a wonderful reason for families to come together to celebrate and meet some new and old families.


Children worked hard to cut, tear, crush, grate, transfer, pour, and stir to make the Harvest Soup. It had some special greens that Ryan dried and milled. It had miso that Mari made. It had mushrooms that we gathered on our walk. It had all the vegetables that children brought. It had love of all the hands made the soup.


We were blessed with a beautiful day for the community of neighbors and families to gather at 11:30 am. We had a circle to introduced ourselves. We sang "Summer Good Bye" and welcomed the autumn. We played "Catch the tail" game which was simply pairing up and taking turns with catching the tail. Grandparents, mothers, and fathers played with children. We were thankful for the delicious soup and wonderful side dish and bread that folks brought to share.


There were enough Harvest Soup to take home for family members who were not able to come. We wish you all a happy autumn!

Back to School Work Morning Aug.13

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We were given a beautiful morning to work on the playground. We were productive with spreading the mulch around the playground. We put a fresh coat of paint on the tower structure. We worked on the fence and tightened up some areas that were damaged by a fallen tree. We tried to rabbit proof the fence so we can have our bunnies visit the playground. We even mulched the path to the playground. We took down the old picnic table and brought in wooden crates that can be used as playing structure. Parents and children worked together. We are so grateful for your participation!


We gathered around for the family orientation afterwards with some healthy snacks to munch on. Some parents expressed their excitement in starting back the school year while new parents expressed a bit of anxiety with transitioning into the new routine. We went over some "Policy and Procedure" and yearly calendar events.


We have 10 families and 6 staff members this year. Looking forward to spending quality time with all the children. Thank you so much for your participation. We are off to the great start!


Special thanks to Isak Pertee for a huge load of woodchips!

Winter Celebration

IMG_20151218_173627145 IMG_20151218_173555702 IMG_20151218_184554110 IMG_20151218_184458552 IMG_20151218_184403181 IMG_20151218_184353130 IMG_20151218_174330695 IMG_20151218_185139126 IMG_20151218_185052625 IMG_20151218_184944230 IMG_20151218_184859803 IMG_20151218_184815832IMG_20151218_174254594 Winter Celebration took place at Celo Community Center on December 18, 2015. Families gathered to celebrate the winter.

Our potluck was delicious and eating together really made us feel like a big family.

We had a lovely shadow puppet of "Bird Tree" read by O.T.'s grandmother, Nancy. It was so perfect because the story was about a boy visiting a grandmother in the countryside. We love the way the grandmother explained about how wild animals have families just like people. The older siblings of preschoolers presented a wonderful puppeteering. They came out to bow at the end.

We moved upstairs to have our evergreen spiral ceremony. Starting from older children, each one was called to walk on a golden star path holding an unlit candle. The meaning is to find the inner light, our own gift that we share with the world. The path is windy towards the center where the light is lit. Then a child will find a star to lay the candle light on and walk out the second half of the path, the journey. After all the children finished walking, the room was filled with light. It gave a picture of how much light they bring to the world.

On the golden star path walking little children travel far. Bring to us the light of heaven brighter than brightest star.

We are so thankful for our children, parents that are raising the children, and all the loving hands that surround them all. Happy Winter!

Lantern Walk and Martinmas






DSC05540 Under the clear evening sky in November, we had our annual lantern walk and Martinmas hosted by Gretchen and Jona. We gathered around a delightful campfire.

We enjoyed the story of St. Martin told by Sherry Lovett. We heard about the humble heart of Martin wanted to help the poor. Sherry tells the story in the way that moves and inspire the audience. We would like to thank Sherry for coming to bring her gift of storytelling.

We sang songs of St. Martin and other songs about lanterns. The songsheet was complied with a beautiful illustration by Heather Waters.

We lit our hand made lanterns and started our walk around the neighborhood. By then it was starting to get dark and our lanterns glimmered beautifully just like the song we were singing. The sound of a creek that run nearby accompanied our singing.

From time to time children needed their lanterns to be relit. When the candle wax was spilled and there was no way to re-light the candle, Rita gave her candle out of her lantern and put it in G's lantern. G's lantern started to glow again.

We enjoyed our shared supper of warm soup and bread. Thank you everyone for your contribution. It was wonderful to spend the evening with you. We embraced the cold and dark winter together with the light of our lanterns and our warm friendship.

Many hands make light work





The past 6 years or so, we have been selling flower pots to raise money for the preschool scholarship fund. It has been an important fundraiser in order to financially assist young families with the tuition payment.

Some years, I had alumni children help me plant the bulbs. Other years I have done it myself. Last year, a staff member suggested that the preschoolers be part of the planting.

I remember it being a fun and learning experience because preschoolers love to plant the bulbs, but sometimes the bulbs were pointing down into the soil. I had to go over each one to make sure it was upright "to shoot towards the sun".

This year, I realized we needed more adults for this type of activity. I invited parents for the "Potting Party". Parents responded willingly and stayed to plant.

I could not believe how quickly the bulbs were getting planted. Many hands make light work. Under the late October sunshine, the parents and the children were cheerful and content giving their time and energy for potting the bulbs.

Now three and a half weeks later, the first shoots are up and looking very attractive. May these flowers bring people the same happiness and contentment we felt planting them.

Fall Fundraising Meal

DSC05439 DSC05440 DSC05441 DSC05442 DSC05444 DSC05446 DSC05445On October 23, we had a successful fall fundraising pasta meal at Celo Community Center. The parents and staff prepared delicious sauce for the pasta and baked lovely bread and desserts. The kitchen and dining room crew worked cheerfully and the children ate and played happily. This year we improved our meal by making sure we have caretakers for the children during the meal. Children's artwork was displayed all around the dining room. We served around 66 neighbors and community folks. Many of them left warm comments towards the program. It really felt as we all are a part of the childcare community.


Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 001 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 010 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 020 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 028 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 031 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 039 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 037 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 038 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 048 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 054 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 082 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 120 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 130 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 138 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 135 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 158 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 151 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 165 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 167 Childrens Garden (Vera's Graduation) 166These are pictures from the graduation in May. We had Vera's graduation. Vera is in kindergarten now. We had a bridge decorated with flowers on the side and rose petals for Vera to walk on. It signified that love is guiding her path of life.

We sang "Rainbow Vera" as she walked on the bridge. Vera walked slowly and gracefully. She knows lots of virtues and she used them well at preschool. Everyone was so happy for Vera.

After Vera opened the present (a big girl backpack!) and flower dedication to the teachers, all the children walked over the bridge to celebrate their wonderful year at preschool.

Children picked some flowers and went back to preschool for the graduation cake. Congratulation Vera and happy summer to everyone!

Thank you for the video and pictures, Ryan.

Clara is finally here!

Clare enjoyed feeding ducks some bread Welcome Clara!!!

Clara likes to watch how seeds of a plant moved in the water.

Clara had come to visit the preschool in fall last year and enjoyed what we did, but it took some time to get all the ducks in a row for Clara to be able to attend the Children's Garden preschool. We were glad to be able to make a special arrangement for Clara so that she can come for every other week. Clara's father Ryan will help us at preschool as a substitute assistant teacher. Preschool is so lucky to have you both!

On the first day, Clara was interested in all the things children did. She checked out kitchen toys, stuffed animals, and table project. I think her favorite part was snack :) and a walk. At Tibbit's Garden, Clara made a big smile and tossed the left over bread pieces to the ducks. She giggled as she watched two ducks came to fight over the food. She also liked playing in the pond water with a long stem of a plant. She enjoyed swinging when we finished the walk and came back to the playground. We look forward to many more opportunities to learn about each other while we play!

Winter indoor time

special cocoon like space created by lining up upside down stools Brad is visiting with Cassian. Children enjoyed reading books with him.

Painting with more colors available than usual invited children to explore more. Here Vera is painting the open tulip flower.

winter makes you go into cozy space

Winter indoor time is homey and sweet. I notice sometimes parents walk in and relax into a couch or on a rug for a short visit. The hyacinth and tulips are opened to greet us. The toys are waiting to be played. Warm water in the tub have bubbles for washing and playing. I try to create the environment that is joyful, inspiring, and peaceful for anyone who walks into preschool.

Winter Celebration

  We had a wonderful Winter Celebration at the Celo Community Center on December 19, 2014. First we were afraid not many families couldn't come due to illnesses, but then all got better and we had a good crowd! It was so nice to see Theo's uncle and Annelise's grandparents. It felt like a one big family sitting and enjoying the delicious meal together.

The shadow puppet show was a bit challenged by the screen (white sheet) coming off, but luckily we had a parent for the rescue! The story, Bird Tree, is a gently told story of how to be kind and friendly with the natural world around us. Older children were trained instantly to be great puppeteers.

Our evergreen spiral ceremony was so beautiful and meaningful. Each child walked on a golden star path while we sang them a song about the light that they bring us. It gives us an opportunity to stop and witness just how precious children's lives are (and grown up children's). It shows our commitment to celebrate and give support to every step of their life. It was so great to surround them with the support and love of families and caretakers. Meredith baked amazing gluten free star cookies for everyone.

Thank you so much for coming and being part of preschool community!

Lantern Walk and Martinmas

On November 13th, we celebrated Martinmas with story told by Sherry Lovett and a cold but lovely lantern walk. Opal's parents, Jona and Gretchen had hosted us for the evening. We were treated by a warm campfire and hot apple cider pressed from their own apple trees. The temperature dropped into low 30s or maybe even in high 20s. After the story we lit our handmade lanterns and sang songs. Vera wanted to sing all the songs we sing at preschool. Cosmo requested "This Little Light of Mine". We walked around their neighborhood singing "I Go with My Little Lantern", "Red and Yellow, Green and Blue", "Saint Martin" and "Glimmer Lantern, Glimmer". I think it was parents that wanted to turn around and go back because they were getting cold (maybe not dressed quite right for the weather). I stood by the wood stove and rotated my body and felt grateful for the warmth it provided. Thank you for the delicious soup everyone! Thank you Jona and Gretchen for being such gracious hosts. Saint Martin song.

St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin rode out in the night.

His cape was warm, his heart was light.

St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin saw a beggar man there in the snow with little on.

"Oh, help me please or I must freeze, Oh help me please or I must freeze"

St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin sprang down from his horse.

His halved his cape with his great sword.

St. Martin rode off in the storm, the beggar man was safe and warm.











Parents and staff showed teamwork

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Theo's family had to move back to Bakersville sooner than they have expected. It happened to be on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. A cheerful bunch of mommies and staff gathered to offer helping hands. We pack up kitchen glassware and loaded a trailer and a truck with all sorts of things. Theo loaded all his toy trucks in a trailer (little rearrangement was made afterwards :) We sent lots of love and blessings to the Deguzman family for settling into their home before the cold weather arrives.

AMS Fall Festival

DSC03580 DSC03582 DSC03583 DSC03585 DSC03587 DSC03590 DSC03599 DSC03604 DSC03611 DSC03616 DSC03619 DSC03618 DSC03620 DSC03622 DSC03621 DSC03617 What a fun day at Arthur Morgan School! We walked through the woodland trails, passing piles of leaves gathered by the powerful rain the day before. We noticed acorns are all gathered into sections of a path while leaves are at another in such organized way. Theo was so amused that there are so many path through the woods. He said, "another trail?" every time he sees a path. Opal was ready to be at the festival. Opal quietly rode on my back. I heard her singing songs. We enjoyed all the activities they offered. Leaf print, biscuit baking, watching black smith, making AND drinking apple cider, going on a hay ride, and searching for a pumpkin! Big thank you to Brad the students who helped us with with the activities! The weather was so beautiful and walking home with the families ended the day in such a peaceful way.

Rachel's Surprise Birthday Celebration

  Children loves Rachel




We had Rachel's birthday celebration on Oct. 9th. Rachel is an amazing care taker. She works at the Children's Garden, takes care for her three years old daughter, takes care of her grandmother in town, and she (and Annelise) take care of her hens affectionately. Rachel volunteers at Applachian Therapeutic Riding Center. She is always offering help! We wanted to celebrate her wonderful hands and heart that she brings to preschool. It was a surprise birthday celebration. I sent email to parents (I told preschoolers 5 min. before the party). Parents arrived at 12 pm.  While Rachel went back to the classroom to do Friday clean up, parents and children hid in the playground and waited. Rachel came to the playground and we all came out of our hiding places shouting "surprise!". It was so sweet. We had a nice gathering around a picnic table.  The food is always more tasty shared with the great company of friends. The red velvet cake was made with organic beets and maple syrup! Wishing you a wonderful year, Rachel!!!


Circle Time with Mr. Moore

painting for Ginger After talking with Mr. Moore, children had a painting session

Mr. Moore is a Yancey County Hospice counselor. He came to preschool on Tuesday, September 23 to talk to about feelings. We have been in great sadness since Ginger's daddy passed away so unexpectedly in August. We have been missing Polly as an assistant teacher since she has been trying to cope with the loss of her husband. Polly's mother and step father have come to help preschool a couple of mornings which was delightful. As a group, we were able to get help from Mr. Moore to process our feelings together. Mr. Moore talked about two things: Time and change. He said that there is time for everything. Time to eat, time to go to bed, time to play etc. He said there is time for baby to be born, and there is time for someone to die. He talked about going to bed is not always easy, but it happens. Sometimes, it is just time. He also said that we know Ginger is sad right now, but she is not going to be sad all the time. Change is taking place for Ginger, just like summer is passing and the fall is going to be here. We were grateful for Mr. Moore for the gentle guidance. We took his suggestion for making a bright painting for Ginger in hope to lift her spirit. Children had painted bright pictures which were made into a collage with a song written: Rainbow Ginger, Rainbow Ginger, Go where you want to go Do what you want do For love is guiding you!