Two weeks of snow!

Snow reveals activities of rabbits Blue jays tracks?

Snow sculptures

Opal making a hole by twisting and pounding a stick

We had two weeks of wintery weather. It started with icy snow that Vera said, "If you take baby steps, you can walk on snow (without sinking your boots in the snow)." We body sledded down the hill behind Friends Meeting. Children slid in all kinds of fashion: on their bottom, on their belly, on their knees, side-way style, on a teacher's lap, and a train going down together hooting "toot toot!" Children took turns with our "sled" (re-purposed plastic container lid that was big enough for one child to use). They would hold the sled for each other as sometimes it was tricky to get on the sled. This was done without teachers being involved. We had to put sand and gravel to slow down the sled on a well polished track so that they wouldn't run into the porch steps especially when Annelise got her running start. Annelise dragged her feet to make friction which was helpful in slowing her down. Opal Claire ate ice and she offered me several times, "Eat ice?" she would say holding a tiny chunk of ice in her mitten.

corporation happened naturally

Opal goes down on her belly- "rocket ship ride"

Opal was content in the quiet beauty.

The second week's snow was good for building and making things with. Cosmo and Tim joined Rachel Weir with clearing the pathways. We were inspired by Rachel who is a caretaker of Friends Meeting rolling huge snow balls down the drive way. Children climbed up on the snow balls and jumped from snow ball to snow ball. We went down to the river and built a tunnel (or a horse depending on who you ask) on the frozen ice. It looked pretty cool. One child decided to pee on his snow ball to make it yellow. He said, "Maybe you can wash it later".  On another walk, children tried to cover the creek with snow. They worked together intensely toward the goal, but nature was not making it easy for them either. By the time I said we should go, their snow suits were looking pretty wet.

We were so thankful that we were able to play and enjoy the snow. I cherish the moments standing in the windy freezing playground looking intensely at snow flakes Vera and Cosmo collected on their mittens. "Here look! Actual live snow flakes!" No doubt that foot bath felt extra good 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!

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!

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.

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.


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!

Preschool flowers


The bulbs that we planted in October finally started to bloom. It is brightening up our classroom and our hearts. We had to be so patient for the flower to open. Looking at a flower bud Cosmo said, "It's still sleeping". I thought it looked like a special present all wrapped up. Our first tulip flowered on a snowy day. What a treat to see a soft pink flower in the middle of the cold winter. We are reading "Fredrick", a story of a mouse that helps us to remember lovely thoughts and feelings when we seem to be lacking of them. Preschool supporters have told us how they are enjoying the flowers at home. It is nice to imagine all the blossoms bringing smiles to each one. Our tulip started to bloom on one snowy day

Vera's drawing of hyacinth shoots

Preschool supporter, Dee, sent this picture

Sleep Like a Tiger

DSC03874 With the natural world starting to go into dormant period, we are also thinking about sleep and rest. We sing "The Horses are Fast Asleep" and "Where All the Froggies When the North Wind Blows?" During the morning play, children are using all sorts of things- bookshelf, blanket and cushions to create their cozy den. One of them always turns off the room light to go to "sleep". We read together "Sleep Like a Tiger" by Mary Logue (who also write mystery novels I found out). In the story, a little girl refuses to go to sleep and parents work with her saying, "You don't have to go to sleep. But you have to put on your pajamas" etc. Great parenting tips are shared. The girl imagine how all the animals sleep. Tigers are big sleepers because they have to be strong! Thanks for introducing me to this great book Polly and Ginger. Routines, comfort, diet, and daytime activities all seem to be influencing children's sleep.  Speaking of which, it is way passed my bedtime! Good night and sleep tight! Zzzzz...

Milkweed Seeds

DSC03764 DSC03766It was noticeably dry and windy day by Becky's Garden, when we spotted a silvery fluff coming out of milkweed pods. The seeds inside were lined up in beautiful patterns - resembled fish scale to me - awaiting to fly with the November wind. Maybe the ground is still moist to land and germinate. Children were eager to send milkweed seeds off for a great flight. Some seeds were brought back to preschool playground. Cosmo wanted more seeds, but the pod we picked was empty. Those seeds had already migrated. We however discovered that inside the "purse" there was a very soft membrane ? that perhaps the seeds were attached to (like a umbilical cord?).  We also sent get well soon wishes to Ginger along with the travel safe wishes for the seeds.  


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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.


Flower pot sale!

Preschool planted flower bulbs in late October. We learned that the pointy end of the bulb has to point up the dirt. Tulip bulbs have a flat side which you have to put it against the side of a pot. Everyone helped plant them, but Eben and Ginger were such good partners. They planted more than some of the older children. Eben carried pots into the box to go home with Mari. They were kept at even temperature and are now coming up and looking green and healthy! Vera was so excited that she drew a picture of the shoots! Eben likes to "open" the leaves to see what is inside. Cosmo says, "It's still sleeping! (when it wakes up the flower will bloom)" I like to think of shoots as presents all wrapped up to be opened. I can't wait to see it grow and make flowers! We are learning to be patient - December virtue. DSC03675






The flower pots are sold out this year! All 75 pots at $10 each. The profit goes to scholarship fund. I would like to thank Whitney Braisington and Lucy Lodge for being sponsors. It means so much for the preschool.

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.

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.



Carrots Harvesting at Camp Celo

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The Camp Celo gardener, Mattie, invited preschoolers to come and help harvest carrots. We were so excited! I even made necklaces out of carrots that looked like toes (?). We headed out with a double stroller with the youngest two girls in it. On the way, Theo noticed one of the "non-mail" box next to Bob Johnson's mail box (One of the Celo customs). Cosmo and Theo each picked a fall leaf and put it under the rock (Cosmo picked his own rock). When we got to Camp Celo, the girls were already pulling carrots under the instruction of Mattie. Mattie loosened the soil with a garden fork, then the children pulled the carrots by holding onto the green tops. Mattie showed the children to bathe the carrots in the a nice warm tub of water and gently rub them to get the dirt off. The warm water felt so nice on a chilly morning (low 40F). Theo and Ginger especially loved the washing the carrots. Annelise made a neat pile of washed carrots (which Ginger put them back in the water afterwards). There were happy crunching sounds of carrots made by the children eating the carrots! We moved right into the snack time under a warm sunshine! I opened furoshiki and handed cups and napkins. We had a long silence before we started singing the blessing. During the silence, I heard wind and bird chirping in a distance, but other than that it was quiet and peaceful. Aside from getting distracted by a kitty cat and Moonshadow (Kavita's dog), we managed to finish the snack and gathered children to go back to preschool. Vera handed Mattie our homemade applesauce for "Thank You". We had such a wonderful walk back to preschool. Ginger sang "We are walking as a family" all the way back. We were so happy and joyful with the warm sunshine on our back, yummy carrots in our tummy, fun shadow to entertain us while walking on Hannah Branch Road!