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!

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!

Children of the wind

Independent exploring through the woods. Running to catch up!

Soft snow for drawing names and picture.

Nature see saw gets visited every time.

Running through the path

What do you see up there?

Most of the time, children are ready to go outside no matter how cold. It takes a little extra time when it is sub freezing temperature, but fresh air is so important to preschool children, so we always go outside. I love watching them explore the woods. Dryden is going through the woods. Up over the roots and down under the branches. Will this way connect to where Cosmo and Opal are? I see Annelise and Rachel laying down on the pine needle carpet looking into above. Are there clouds moving? Branches swaying in the wind? Children found snow on the stump to draw names and pictures. After a while I ask, "Are we ready to go?" When given a permission to go, children run through the path like a wind. In Japanese, we say kodomowa kazenoko meaning "children of the wind".

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.

Forest is Here!

Rocking in a boat with Vera and Opal Claire What a fun clay time!

Forest likes to climb on a seat.

Forest started to come one day a week. He is one year old. Forest likes to play with the bead toy, rocking boat, kitchen vegetables and fruits, but mostly he likes to be carried by Peg, a preschool volunteer teacher. Forest looks for Peg in the room. He went to sleep while Peg gently fed him a bottle in a quiet hall way while other children were having snack time. One day, Forest was very interested in watching children play with clay. When I gave him some to play with, he was so excited. I can see that he has been taught not to put clay into his mouth at home. He did it once, but now he checks with me every time. I said, "no, yucky, blahh". He just played with the clay instead of trying to eat it. Thank goodness! When all teachers need to help with children to dress to go outside, Peg puts him in an empty costume basket or Meladee's car seat. Forest just sits in it contently and watches all the dressing activity. Forest has favorite songs. We found out when we were singing "This Little Light of Mine" at the snack table. Forest started to dance with the song. He also likes animal sounds, like chickens and horses. No surprise when we went to Bethany's Garden to the duck pond, Forest was very excited to see the ducks! We made lots of duck sounds. We are so glad that Forest came to join the preschool.

Welcome Meladee!


Preschool welcomed three new children in January 2015. Meladee is three years old, and she enjoys arts and crafts, clay projects (she calls "play dough"), playing and organizing in the kitchen, train tracks, and recently she has been really enjoying climbing trees during a walk. Meladee is Theo's cousin. They both get a little intimidated with cold weather. Dorothy was joking, "I blame it on Philippino blood". Meladee is so calm and peaceful when she is working on projects. She and Vera made a beautiful picture by cutting and pasting catalog and calendar pictures. Meladee's hands are very nimble. She likes to peel fruits- oranges and grapes (I have only seen Japanese people peeling grapes). Outside, she likes to peel open acorns to see the inside. Meladee has a cute laugh when she is having fun. It is so cute that secretively I go out of my way just to hear her laugh. Welcome Meladee and her family, Dhessceree and Ramel! Meladee is up on a tree!

Getting ready to run down the hill

Meladee enjoyed clay project with Barb


Climbing a tree is fun!

Visiting a duck pond

Bouncing on the bouncy log

Making a cave to hibernate

leaves and moss shelter between boards are carefully covered to keep the light out




There were so many leaves to rake at the playground. We started to build a shelter. Soon the shelter became a cave for hibernating animals. "Cave has no light coming in", said Vera carefully laying moss on cracks between the boards.  (Annie thought it was a great stage to dance.) The leaves and moss made such great insulation, that it was almost sound proof. Opal wanted to have Gretchen come in to snuggle in the cozy place they created. This was a project worth a few days. When it was all done, the earth smelled so good in the cave.



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Children love to climb. Most of the time they don't even fall or hurt themselves. They have to find their own special spot to hang, sit, swing, while they imagine being an animal rescuer or a builder or a monkey (the list goes on). It is hard to share their special spot. Children are very territorial. Sharing their special spot means "You are one of us". Luckily, there is plenty of places to climb so it is not a big deal. Here Cosmo decided to share Annelise his special spot. Annelise was so happy!

Leaf Chain

Vera has been making beautiful "leaf chains" this year. She told everyone how to make it. Children are such great inventors and artists! Their thoughts are so original. 1. Find an oak leaf with a long stem.

2. Find another oak leaf with a longs stem.

3. Poke the stem of the first leaf into the second leaf.

4. Curl back the stem of the first one and poke it into the original leaf.



5. Take the stem of the second leaf and poke into the third leaf, and so on.


Two new friends at Preschool

In October and November, two new friends joined preschool. They are Eben and Dryden. They are both two years old boys and love being outside! Weather turned really cold in early-mid November, but Eben and Dryden still enjoyed walking though woodland paths, checking out creek and roaming though rhododendron trees. We learned quickly that Eben loves to play with trucks. He also loves to do things like peeling and looking at small seeds inside a pod with his nimble fingers. Dryden enjoy playing with train tracks. He also looks for elephants and other animals to play with. Children are practicing friendliness and how to interact with each other. We are curious and excited about our new friends. Welcome to the Children's Garden! Eben testing out his new wader.



Tree climbers!

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At Children's Garden, we do not usually help children get to places they cannot go themselves. For example, we do not lift up a child and put him or her on the slide. Children need to do it themselves. Language we use is"How can I help you get to where you would like to go?" If a child desires to do something that seems a bit out of reach, we say, "You may try, but you don't have to". Children learn to make decisions for themselves by being in the situation, not by ideas. It is very real. Children become very creative finding ways to meet their desires. Pretty much the only thing staff offers is her knee to be used as a step to climb when it comes to climbing trees. How about getting down? We tell children, "Good climbers also know how to get down".  It seems so logical. When children first come to preschool, they expect to get help from staff. This can become a dependence game. Recently Annelise's leg got caught while she was trying to get down. I wondered if she was going to call for help or remembered how to get it out. It took her a while, but she figured a way to get herself back up in a higher position and swung her leg over the branch. She got down to the ground with her chest open and standing tall!

Featuring Theo after the summer

Everyone grew so much over the summer. We have noticed Theo had grown not only tall but he can talk to us in sentences now. He says, "Going to Bethany's Garden", "Feed horses apples". During the indoor play, he is much more interested in table project. Wednesday we do clay activities. Theo likes to use a roller to flatten a clay. He gets very excited when guinea pigs come to visit. He likes to touch and feed apple pieces to the guinea pigs. He likes to use scissors to cut edges of a paper. His hand is still too small to use the scissors in one hand yet. When we go outside, he likes to collect acorns and roll them down the hill. At Celo Five Point, he likes to give a signal "Safe to Cross". He and Annelise are great buddies checking out the stream of water by Becky's Garden on Thursday. He still loves to sing "The Wheels on a Bus", and "Row Row Row Your Boat". We are so excited to see his changes over the summer. We are looking forward to hearing his ideas and thoughts this fall. Crossing a bridge across a creek

Enjoying watching the ducks

Motivated to use the scissors

Creek Play

Annelise crossing the bridge "all by my self"  

Theo enjoying the creek

Easter Egg Hunt practice

Mari is helping Annelise learn how to cross 'the bridge' on her own by holding on to the branch. Annelise seemed quite proud once she realized she could 'do it by myself'- her new favorite thing to say.

Theo spent a lot of time exploring the creek's water, rocks, and floating leaves with a stick.

Matias caught me taking a picture during our Easter egg hunt on our hike today and decided to make a silly face:)

Pictures and words  by Rachel

Kitties' visit to preschool

photo 3 (1) photo 1 (1)photo 2 (1)On Friday, March 7, preschool children were visited by two sweet kitty cats. We have been experiencing how touching animals are not only fun but have calming effect to people. Well, kitty cats visit were little bit different from guinea pigs visit. The kitties were very curious and would not sit very still. It turned into "chase the kitties" game (and teachers playing "chase the children"). Some of the children watched a kitty use the litter box. We enjoyed making the kitty toys for them to play with (turned out that kitties were more interested in exploring preschool than chasing the toys we made). Thank you Rachel and Annelise for bringing the kitties to the fun Show and Tell! Let's try it again!?

Big Snow Day!

Children love snow! The impressive snow from yesterday is still here, and children are having the best time. Opal and Cosmo were back and forth being inside the igloo and underneath the slide structure. They were visiting "houses". Theodore enjoyed walking on the shoveled path back and forth. He picked up a stick and used it to poke the pile of snow on a stump. Ginger was with Polly who was straightening the preschool for the end of the week, so there were only three children. Three can be a tricky number sometime, but the environment invites them to be playful and friendly to each other (there is plenty of snow and we don't have to take turns playing in the snow!) Opal came to give pushes when Theodore was in the swing set. She started to play "Got ya" game with Theo. He smiled and showed his cute dimple on his cheek. Theodore examine the pathOpal playing game with TheoCosmo making a cake in the igloo

What a snow!

Old Man Winter must have had a fun play day with Big Chief North Wind! We had an 8 inches of snow on Thursday morning. Mari skied to preschool and took pictures of the playground. Cosmo and Mari had a special time playing in the snow. Cosmo wanted to build an igloo, so we used a big plastic container to make blocks to make igloo walls. Cosmo said, "It takes a lot of work to build an igloo". It was so different to be in the playground when you can't even find a path! While we were digging the snow to make blocks, we found many buried objects in the snow- shovel, ball, scoop etc. It was like a treasure hunt. Cosmo wanted himself to be buried and be dug out like a treasure too. We made snow angles and imagined that they would fly to say hello to friends who could not come to preschool because of the snow. Cosmo also wanted the angels to fly to "Na-na" (his grandmother). snow piled on the gate for the playground made neat shapesswing set covered with snowpreschool in the snowlooking from inside the preschoolremembering colors as Fredrick the mouse saidMari skied to preschoolCosmo and his brother Van in the igloosnow piled on the slide structure

We have a new friend, Theodore!

Theodore enjoyed playing with the fire engine on the first day of preschool


We have a new friend at preschool, Theodore! Theodore is learning to adjust to the preschool environment. On the second day, he almost sat through the whole snack period! There have been lots of kindness and sympathy expressed by "old" preschoolers. Theodore is teaching us lots of new signs- toilet, dog, play, all done. We are excited to get to know Theodore and his family. Welcome to the Children's Garden!

Helping Annelise, indoor activities.