poem and song


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.

Monarch Butterfly Magic

IMG_1184 IMG_1187 IMG_1202 IMG_1243 IMG_1199IMG_1242IMG_1271IMG_1275We were delighted to find Monarch Butterfly caterpillars at Becky's Garden. Every year Becky saves the milkweed that comes up in her garden and all around her studio. Ryan spotted colorful yellow-black-white striped caterpillars munching on the milkweed. We carefully collected them and took back to the preschool building. The caterpillar turned into chrysalis within 4 days. The chrysalis hung from the container lid which kept the fresh milkweed plant, but the "button" where the top of the chrysalis attaches to the lid was different from ones I have seen in the past. It was loosely attached and instead of being attached directly, it was hanging from a silk thread. I was little worried about the silk thread breaking, but it never did.

The next 2 weeks and a half, children observed the chrysalis color turn from beautiful light green to the color of the Monarch Butterfly. The change happened slowly but every day it became more and more obvious that the butterfly was getting formed inside the chrysalis. We had picture books and magazine pictures to learn what to expect. Children enjoyed looking through the magnifying glass, singing songs about Monarch Butterflies, playing with a butterfly finger puppet, and painting butterflies. We learned how to tell the sex of the butterfly. Each one predicted whether the butterfly was going to be a girl or a boy.

On Friday, October 6, it was a warm autumn day. We played around all morning waiting for the butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis. We decided to not go on a walk. We carefully moved the chrysalis to the playground so we could keep checking on it, but the butterfly took its own time and did not emerge. Children all wished a good journey to the butterfly and went home after the pickup time.

In the evening at 6 pm, I returned to the quiet playground and found that the chrysalis was empty. I scanned around the nearby bushes but did not see any butterfly. "I missed it," I thought, but the next moment I saw big bright orange wings spread wide as if to say, "I am still here!". The butterfly was on the tip on the seedpod of the milkweed plant which was stuck in the container that the chrysalis was on. It had already had the full length of the wings and wings were not droopy indicating that it has been more than an hour. The wings looked still slightly damp and the butterfly was "exercising" and perhaps drying the wings. It was such a treat to be able to stare at the details it at arm's length. It is simply amazing how beautiful and perfect a creature can look. I wish the children were able to see the final stage of this magical transformation of the Monarch Butterfly.

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.

We thrive in nature!

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sandbox gets visited by children everyday

Left in the playground after children left

Snuggle time with Rachel

Rachel caring for a child that slipped on a hill

Walking through a trail

Bouncing on a bouncy log

Sharing a swing with a new friend

New game gets invented every day

Strong arms!

Brave girls!

Can you see the caterpillar?

Hello, a little toad friend!

We thrive in nature, and I just learned that actually nature thrives in the presence of us. We are fortunate to meet woodland creatures on our outdoor time. This snake was found on our walk on Friday walk. It was enjoying the sunshine. Children's eyes had to be adjusted to the scene since it was camouflaged well in the brown leaves. The snake went under the log pile home just like it said in the story The Gruffalo.


C made very nice cakes. When I asked, "where is the oven?" She looked around and found a perfect oven under the easel. A. wanted to use the heart shaped pan next so we decided to take a picture of the bakings.


F looked intensely inside the blue cup and said, "...pider!" We moved the little spider together to a safe place outside the sandbox. We sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" together.


J and E worked together to play the "construction". There were a lot of sound effects.  The "workers" had to stop and go to the story time and it was time to go home afterward. They will be back to work again soon.


Rachel, A and O were snuggled up playing a game. The younger ones saw it and smiled. It is true that the smiles are contagious.


The same day O slipped on a hill. The younger children came to show sympathy. Almost every day, we have someone cry for some reason. It is how they were cared for that matters more than the pain itself.


Run, jump, skip, crawl... The children need all the movement to grow their healthy body!


We had lovely visitors. We hope that L will join us at preschool soon. O pointed out the caterpillar that she spotted on a tree. I had to look hard to isolate it from the surrounding bark.


F. found a little toad on a stump. We said hello to the toad. F. wanted to hold the toad. With an assistance, he held it carefully close to the ground. We saw the same one the next day. Children almost expected to see it again on the following day but did not find it.

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.

Apple Sauce Making

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The leaves are green and apples are red They hang so high above our head Leave them alone til frosty weather And they will all come down together

From October through November, we sang apple songs. After some heavy frost, the apples were so much sweeter. It was time to make the applesauce.

The steam was still rising from the cooked apples, and the sweet smells of apples filled the air. A. helped assemble the applesauce maker on the table. We looked at all the interesting parts that had a particular purpose. The spring, the funnel, the "slide", the handle, the spiral piece, and the metal piece with lots of tiny holes.

After we put the pieces together, children were very curious how it was going to work. Plop! Went the cooked apples into the funnel. Crank! Went the handle round and round. Ooze! Went the applesauce squeezing through the tiny holes. Wee! Went the applesauce sliding down into the bowl. We took turns with different jobs. We sang "We are working as a family", and also the taking turn song. C.W. was spotted for dipping his finger into the bowl to taste (or just to feel the sauce).

After we finished making the sauce, we took apart the machine and washed the parts in a hot soapy water. Hand brushes were handy to get small bits of apples that got stuck in the tiny holes. A. handed me the handle and said, "Here Mari, I washed the hitch for you". She had gone on a camping trip recently for her mother's birthday. I thought "hitch" was a good name for a handle which moves the whole operation.

We served the applesauce at snack time and sent a little sample home for the families to enjoy.

Halloween Pumpkin

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The preschool was given a beautiful pumpkin by our friend and a former teacher, Anna. I think it was grown by a homeschooled child. It was perfect because my pumpkin seed did not get planted in time so the vine frosted on the first frost before pumpkins grew on them. Older children were ready to draw the eyes, nose, and mouth. The children surrounded me with curiosity when I cut the top around the stem and lifted it up. Healthy looking seeds were dangling from the "lid" (each attached by orange stringy things). O.F. said, "It looks like a jellyfish". I moved the "jellyfish" like it was swimming in the air above them. M.came over and watched me pull out rest of the seeds with hands. He wrinkled his nose for the impressive mess that continued to be scooped out of the pumpkin. Older children took turns drawing eyes, nose, and mouth. We sang:

Once I had a pumpkin, oh pumpkin, oh pumpkin Once I had a pumpkin with no face at all. With no eyes and no nose And no mouth and no ears Once I had a pumpkin with no face at all.

So I made a Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern So I made a Jack-O-Lantern with a big funny face. With big eyes and big nose And big mouth and big ears So I made a Jack-O-Lantern with a big funny face.

The face made the pumpkin have a humorous characteristic. G. kept putting fingers in the mouth. We pretended to save her fingers from getting eaten by the Jack-O-Lantern. She thought it was a fun game. We put a candle in it to see it glow. Happy Halloween to everyone!


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.

Fluffy bunnies!

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Fluffy white bunnies came to visit preschool from Camp Celo. They were so soft and warm. The bunnies hopped about the preschool (and children too) and ate apples from our hands. We tried to be quiet so that bunnies don't get scared. We also thought bunnies can hear much more than we can since their ears were so big. Forest's big sister was visiting, and at the end of the day, she was able to adopt the bunnies! We are so glad that Barb brings small animals to preschool for visits. We learn to be kind and gentle for the animals, and animals become more friendly with people. We sang Hop Little Bunnies at circle time.

Snowy winter

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Old man winter came out today, and said, "I am going to make this a very cold day!" We had more snow! We are getting good at putting on snow pants and woolen layers to keep us warm from head to toes. We found many footprints that belong to animals that live in the woods. Snow reveals their activities even though most of the time we don't get to see them.

Children loved sliding down the snowy bank by the bridge to Meema and Peepa's. Vera tried to cover little creek that ran under the snow and ice with more snow. The snow kept dissolving into the creek.

One day Cosmo and Vera made snow chair. It had arm rest and was very comfortable. Ginger liked the snow man "toe man". We enjoyed the nice warm foot bath afterwards.

Frog eggs on Feb. 13

After a week at preschool, tadpole started to hatch!Vera found frog eggs in Tibbit's pond We are so excited when we start seeing a little sign of the spring. Vera called everyone to come because she found frog eggs at Tibbit's pond! We had a small jar, but plenty big to fill up with samples of frog eggs. Very carefully, Rachel scooped up the eggs. They were attached to a tree, but it came loose easily. We carried them back and I put them in a fish bowl with water from a creek. Frog eggs are just so beautiful with clear sack that is completely round and a little black dot in the middle.

We are keeping a journal to record the changes. Already after a week, it went through so many changes. First the little black dot in the middle became long and when you watch for a long time, one of them will wiggle for a second. Then after a week, one little black tadpole wiggled out of the egg sack and swimming in the fish bowl. I knew the egg is full of nutrients so a tadpole don't have to look for food right away. When most of them were out of eggs, I placed a small piece of nori seaweed for them to eat. This next stage is going to feel like a long time before they grow legs and arms, but it is truly a remarkable transition. Cosmo will be singing lots of speckled frog song!

Flower appreciation at Circle Time

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We enjoyed seeing the sequence of tulip and hyacinth flowers from beginning to end. The tulips have green buds with a hint of pink which gets bigger and finally opens to the sunshine. The middle of the flower looked like a star. Vera noticed when it was placed in a cool part of the room, the flower closed a little. Even after the flower petal fell off, the stamen kept growing bigger. We sang Japanese tulip song:

Saita Saita tulip no hanaga (opened up, opened up flower of tulip) Naranda Naranda aka shiro kiiro (in a row, in a row, red, while, and yellow) Dono hana mitemo kireidana (how pretty is each and every one)

The hyacinth is a long blooming flower. The pink one had a second stalk which made a smaller cluster of flowers. We have made tally marks for pink, white, and purple hyacinth to count how many people liked them.