Food and Nutrition

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

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.











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!

Applesauce Making

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This year, we are blessed with good harvest of apples. I cooked the apples and brought them to the preschool. We assembled the applesauce maker together. Vera inserted a spiral piece that turns to send the apples down to get the applesauce separated from the skin and the seeds. I put the gasket around the filter which fits onto the shaft. Vera tightened the two butterfly shaped screws. Opal matched up the square hole of the handle to fit on the end of the axle. Cosmo put a big funnel on top to place the cooked apple in. Now we were all ready! We took turns cranking the handle and plunging apples into the funnel opening.  Singing the taking turn song is always helpful. Cosmo said, "It's coming down the shoot!" as the first thick warm pink half translucent applesauce slid down the flat metal piece down to the dish. The room was full of sweet apple smell. Cosmo washed all the parts of the applesauce maker and the pot! He switched to a smaller brush to wash the narrow end of a funnel. He said. "Toothbrush, finished one will be good (for washing metal mesh)". We had a lovely circle time. We sang apple tree song and poem.

This is a trunk I'm a tall tall tree In the autumn apples hang on me They drop They drop

Here is a tree with leaves so green, Here are the apples that hang in between. When the wind blows, the apples will fall. Here is a basket to gather them all.

We enjoyed the warm apple sauce in our cup!

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!!!


Digging Potatoes

On our third day back to preschool, things started to settle and children seemed calm (maybe teachers too?). We had a beautiful walk through trails of rhododendron arcade. We started to hear a tractor. When we got to the field by the Tibbits, we saw Gold Finch Garden crew. Ben saw us and said, "Want to come and dig potatoes?" We said "Yeah!". We got ourselves all covered with dirt. Ginger said "dirt" and kept bringing me a clump of dirt. These potatoes are not ordinary potatoes you see at a grocery store. They were purple and pink! Ben cut one in half to show us a dark blue-purple color inside (pink one is also pink inside!). It was like a treasure hunt to find potatoes buried in the dirt. We sang "One Potato, Two Potato" as we dug. Some of us took it very seriously while others just sat and enjoyed playing in the dirt. When Ben found a mole, he held the poor guy who was trying to dig back into the dirt and let us touch it. It was hard to see his face and his strong front feet because he will not be still. Theo was so excited to touch the mole. Annelise was not so sure. Cosmo and Vera had each chosen a potato. They carried them wrapped in their T-shirt like a baby in a cradle. We stopped by Becky's creek to wash some dirt off, and to cool down. Cosmo and Vera tenderly washed their potatoes which turned bright purple. Next day, we made mashed potato for the morning project. They looked purple! We added milk from Camp Celo and home made butter. Yum! We were blessed with the unexpected potato digging!

We made mashed potato out of purple potatoes that we helped dig yesterday with Ben


mashed potato making process

Preschool Bread

Delicious home baked bread We have been so lucky to have Jonah bake the preschool bread for us. It is very healthy and nutritious, and it taste so yummy in our tummies! We make almond butter and honey sandwiches with those bread. I don't premake our sandwiches for snack. First we slice the loaf, then turn them on the cutting board, spread almond butter on one side and drizzle honey on the other. We sing "Be Patient" or "Peace is flowing like a river" while we await for the sandwich to get assembled. Children pour water in their cups and drink while they are waiting. Sometimes a short story is read. We hold hands silently (or attempt to) and sing our blessings. It is worth the wait for this delicious treat. David has been wanting to obtain the bread recipe from Jonah, the baker. I think the bread so delicious because it is is packed with nature's goodness and the love of the baker!

Preschool cook at Lucky Candle

Polly Lorien performed at Lucky Candle.  Julia and Opal danced with the music.Opal having a moment with her grandma. On April 11, The Children's Garden parents and staff team cooked and sang for the fundraising at Lucky Candle. The menu for the meal was three varieties of curry, Basmati rice, lettuce mix from the Goldfinch Gardens, Naan bread, and apple pie and pound cake for dessert. Tables were full of neighbors and friends who came to support for the fundraising at the Celo Community Center. Many of them were preschool graduates' parents and staff from the past. Special feature was a singer and song writer, Polly Lorien filled the evening with music entertainment. She sang children's songs, "Morningtown Train", "Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts", and other favorites such as "Over the Rainbow", and her original "Perfect Speed". We are grateful for her gift of music and being such a fun and thoughtful assistant teacher at the Children's Garden. Thank you everyone who contributed to the yummy meal and helping with the evening!!!

Visit to Sheep Farm

playing at nature see-saw on the way to the farmCosmo walking with BarbWe got to the farm and met the farmer BenColorful chickensChildren enjoyed petting Lulu, the donkeySheep grazing grassMattias says hello to a lambDavid adores a lambFarmer Ben picks up a lamb to show Ginger Ginger is very curiousCosmo said "she has utters", "utters make milk"Ben helps Cosmo hold a lamb What a wonderful visit we had at the Sheep farm! Farmer Ben showed us 10 yews, their lambs, a friendly donkey named Lulu, and colorful chickens. These sheep are raised for meat production and not for wool. When Ben explained frankly that the only way we can have meat to eat is to raise the animals for meat. Children agreed with him and said "yum!". Cosmo uttered "she has udders!" and "Udders make milk" when we entered the space with a yew and three days old lambs. The children were calm and respectful to the animals, and I wonder if it is because we have a regular visit with guinea pigs. We enjoyed the walk through the wooded path to and from the farm and enjoyed the sunny picnic snack. When we left the farm, David said "... But we didn't get to see Naomi". (Ben and Cedar's daughter Naomi was at preschool a few years ago.) We were so thankful to Ben and Cedar for letting us come and meet the animals. Ben and Cedar run Goldfinch Garden and provide lots of fresh vegetable to the South Toe community.

Spring Masquerade

Vera and Opal set up the picnic tablesleeping families The children set up the tables   Enjoying the picnic in the warm sunshine.The children decorated the walk way with pictures of spring. On Friday March 14, we had our annual Spring Masquerade. Children dressed up in their hand dyed silkies and hand made crowns and woke up the sleeping world which was represented by sleeping parents and neighbors. This is a reenactment from a part of a story called "the Root Children" by Sibylle von Olfers. It happened to be on such a beautiful day (March weather is so unpredictable) and the children were very excited to have their families over!

At the circle time, we talked about all the winter treasure that we have to say good bye to: walking on the icy river, making snow angels, sliding on the snowy bank, eating snow, and taking a warm foot bath. We also talked about what nature treasure the spring time is going to bring: birds' songs, butterflies, colors and smells of spring flowers, tadpoles turning to frogs, and warm sunshine! We are so glad that we can recognize the goodness of each season and move forward with it.

Thank you parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, and staff of the Children's Garden for arranging to be at the celebration. I hope everyone had a good time with the potluck and visits with each other. Enjoy the spring break!

Field Trip to ATRC

IMG_2858 IMG_2866 IMG_2867 IMG_2871 IMG_2889 IMG_2891 IMG_2896 IMG_2900 IMG_2902 IMG_2903 IMG_2904 What a fun spring field trip to Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center! Children learned to brush a horse using a few different types of brushes. I noticed that even though they were so excited, once they stood next to the horse, they were so focused, and became calm and peaceful. The horse's name was Midnight. After children brushed Midnight, we watched Midnight do tricks. There were cones, bars, and a barrel placed on the ground, and Miika led Midnight to walk through the obstacles. Then Miika asked children to do what Midnight did. The children took it very seriously and performed very well(They each had a pretend horse while doing this). We also learned what horses ate (grain, hay, apples). They each wore a helmet and rode on a wooden horse (very cool with some recycled materials). We went to a classroom and we sang songs about horses and did some activities related to horse with a volunteer, Kristin. We went on a nice walk to see other horses in the pasture. ATRC has 8 horses altogether. The weather was so beautiful and everyone had a wonderful time. It is basically David's second home, so while other children were being exposed to new things, he wrote "I love mom" on a sandy ground. More pictures!photo 5 (1)

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Volunteer Barb and Guinea Pigs

We are excited that Barb Perrin started to volunteer on Wednesdays at the Children's Garden. Her calm and relaxing manners have been appreciated by children. She reads stories to children and helps us with getting dressed and going for a walk, but the funnest part of having Barb is that she brings Guinea Pigs for the children to pet. Barb brings out Guinea Pigs during a circle time. After a few visit, children learned to be more gentle and not to be afraid of them, and Guinea Pigs learned to be more relaxed and friendly with children too. On the third visit, Guinea Pigs ate apples right off children's hands, AND pooped on the floor! Vera said "Mari, quick! Go get the scat book!" so we compared the color, the size and the shape with other animal scats. We listened to the sounds when Guinea Pigs crunch the apple pieces. We also learned that Guinea Pigs has three fingers on the front feet and four on the back feet! We are looking forward to learning more about Guinea Pigs. Thank you so much Barb for the opportunities for us to look closely to fuzzy friends! Children enjoy reading with Barb

Guinea Pigs came to visit us

Guinea pigs likes to hide in cozy places

studying the Guinea Pig's scat!11" align="alignright" width="300"]Using gentle hands Using gentle hands

Snack Time

We love our candle that Amanda, assistant teacher from last year, had gifted us. It is hand-made (by Amanda) bees wax candle.  Our story in Dec. talks about a "star flower" that shines to guide our dark winter.  Can you see it on the candle?  Vera holding a "star" in the apple that was sliced into rings.

Snack time - We are so happy to eat home-made bread sandwich with almond butter and honey.  We enjoy sharing fruits from home.

We turn off lights to promote calm and peaceful snack time. We notice the amount of natural light that comes into our room. This will depend on the time of the year (leaves shades the sunlight in fall. angles of the sun changes through the season) and also the weather for the day(cloudy day as opposed to sunny day. snow reflect sunshine to make the room brighter). We wonder together all the reason this happens in nature. We have been lighting a candle during late fall and winter. We simply appreciate the light. Everyone enjoys sharing snack and stories around the table.

Martinmas and Lantern Walk

Story teller, Sherry Lovett telling a story of St. Martin

enjoying the warm soup and bread potluck

warming up by the campfire

Michael and Galen came.  Galen was two when Heather first helped us start Martinmas at preschool.

November 8, we had our annual Martinmas and Lantern Walk. Opal's parents hosted us at a cozy neighborhood with a beautiful stream running by their home. We were blessed to have the strong wind subside half way through the day, so when we gather late afternoon to evening, it was calm and peaceful. Sherry Lovett started off the evening with a great story of Martin. She told us that Martin was a little boy who was very kind. Then he grow up and became a Roman soldier because it was the law. She talked about his kindness to his servant and to other people who were under-privileged. When the story was over, she lead us all to sing: See Martin's light is all around Within your heart it can be found Ha la, ha la, ha la, ha lo Shine your light every where you go Then we sang more songs of lanterns together. We walked with our lanterns on the driveway through the quiet neighborhood. It started to get dark and we could see the glimmers of our lanterns. We went back to the outdoor pavilion at Opal's house to have warm soup and bread and other food that people had brought to share. Gretchen and Jona treated us with home-made hot apple cider. We gathered around a campfire and we felt warm and I believe our heart felt light. Blessings to all.


Preschool Jack-o-LanternIt took us two days to make Jack-o-lantern. First day, we cut open and got all the seeds out. Boys in particular were very excited with using spoons and tongs as tools to get the seeds out. David said excitedly that he is going to start 10 pumpkin patch from the seeds! We have in our classroom, some beans sprouting from the beans that children shelled, so maybe he was thinking about sprouting pumpkin seeds. We used an heirloom pumpkin I bought from a store since mine rotted in the garden due to the rainy summer this year. The outside of the pumpkin was dull orange color, but the inside was a bright orange! Julia drew the face on the pumpkin and I cut them out. We sang "Once I had a pumpkin" as we cut out the eyes, nose, mouth and ears (she drew cheeks too). They enjoyed plugging the cut out pieces back, and pulling them out again like pieces of puzzles. When it was finished, we talked about how the pumpkin will no longer hold water in as it did the day before. (Children pored water in the pumpkin using a small pitcher. It took 6 pitchers of water to fill the pumpkin.) We also talked about roasting the seeds to eat. We have been reading "Pumpkin Soup" at preschool, so I said maybe I will make a pumpkin soup for the Lantern Walk. They all thought would be a great idea. We lit the candle in the freshly made Jack-o-Lantern for snack time.

Fundraising Pasta Meal

AMS Fall Festival

Crossing creeks to get to AMS fall festival!Mixing biscuit dough.Rolling out the dough.Grinding the wheat to make flour.Making felted pumpkins.Digging for Jerusalem Artichoke. Mattias and Opal was fascinated by the Wooly Bear Caterpillar.Here we go on the hayride! Pumpkin heads!DSC01363 Preschool went to AMS Fall Festival on October 16th. We had a wonderful walk through the woods, field, and over hand-built bridges to get to AMS. When we got there it was almost our snack time, so we joined the biscuit making activities. Children measured, stirred, added and mixed all the ingredients. David rolled the dough and everyone helped cut into round shape. Julia and Opal moved the dough very carefully into the cookie sheet to bake. While it was baking, we ground some wheat into flour. Cosmo and Mattias especially enjoyed turning the handle to grind the wheat. Needless to say, we had a tasty snacktime. Brad brought us a warm fresh apple cider that was just pressed to go with our snack! We then made felted "pumpkins" with Kristen. Children felt fluffy wool turn into felted ball (or almost) by rolling them in their hands and putting them into soapy water.

Children was invited to dig Jerusalem Artichoke with Kevin. Kevin put good effort to make this activity child friendly. "We are going to dig for a treasure!" He and Micah helped children use an adult sized fork. David and Vera especially enjoyed finding interesting shaped edible tubers! They didn't want to stop!

We went to see chickens and turkeys. We climbed up on gravel mountain. We sampled garden mint. Then, we rode on a hayride! Up the hill and down, we enjoyed watching the autumn scenery. Vera told everyone that she is going to be a princess for Halloween. Then we went to look for pumpkins that were hiding on the trail back to soccer field where met the parents. We had fun comparing each others' pumpkins, hiding them again in the leaves, and making pumpkin heads! It was such a fun morning! Thank you Arthur Morgan School for this wonderful event!