Monday, January 19, 2015

Reflection of our first week back



Reflection of our first week back from Holiday Break:

As we enter the week, I reflect on precious moments in class as well as the trauma experienced in Paris. 

I lived in Nantes, France a memorable portion of my Junior-year while at University of Washington, frequently visiting Paris.  My maternal Grandmother was Catholic, French Canadian and experienced prejudice while growing up in Ontario as a French speaker.  I am rooted and in love with French cultures.  Observing, living and loving large pieces of French culture my life I weep for the hurt inflicted on the French arts and freedom of speech as both are deeply rooted in the national and cultural identity as well as seeing as an educator the benefit of expression through arts.   I bring this to light before celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday this last week because I needed to share that the work we do in Klahanie School is founded on opportunity to gently and lovingly introduce “stepping into someone else’s skin” to hear another’s truth.  The intention of the Peace program is to practice patience education and to offer children and educators the beginning understanding of how to learn steps to ignore the human tendency to judge.  Instead, the alternative of using our categorizing driven brains to sift the sciences in life and rejoice in the stories of others. 

Before break we had some “bad guy, good guy” play in the garden and the word “kill” was used.  Although this is very normal for children to exercise during free-imaginative play I had to ask children to not use the word “kill” at school because school is intended as a safe zone.   I also asked them to please ask his/her parent what that word means (as a parent, I value my own parental choices surrounding such large words with large meaning and please let me know if you would like hearing how our family defines it).  I had also observed that this play was making some children very uncomfortable.  I explained that when children do not feel safe, I must step in to help remedy that.  We had the most powerful circle discussion using the Peace Rock, me facilitating and repeating back (asking for keen listening: which they did!) all the children shared their needs clearly, they all wanted to feel safe.  We determined that “bad guy/good guy” led to chasing and someone usually getting hurt and that we needed to change to other games for a while.  We then made a group pledge to play safe.  As a group, we talked about what it means to be at school: to feel safe and explore.    I asked the children to use their imaginations to play bigger than the classroom yet similar in imagination when out in the garden (ideas of playing animals, house/store/ construction/ fairies, skeleton robots and so on were brain-stormed during our talk).   

I cannot accurately describe the pride and love I felt and do feel for this dynamic group of children.  And I told them this.


We work daily to understand the meaning and practice of respecting self and others. 

January 2015 Newsletter

Klahanie School
January 2015 Newsletter

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do keep moving forward.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.





December 2014 Reflection
Wishing you all a very happy Winter Solstice and New Year filled with love and laughter to you and all you love!  As we enter back in the classroom routine we will re-visit the meaning of listening practice and Grace and Courtesy with friends and Teachers.  Much of our work will be focusing on taking turns, asking permission before entering someone’s work/play space, requesting space and to play later in positive and kind method, as well as the difference introduction to inclusion vs. exclusion based on the situation.   This is a month of introducing a lot of role-playing and games to illustrate these big points of social development.  Role-playing is a fantastic way to communicate big ideas as well as fun ways to ease into imagination, acting and understanding the world.  .  Please ask Emmy if you are working on similar things at home and seek more ideas.



















January Curriculum Topics
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
·      MLK Day: This is a very important study topic for our yearly Peace Maker introduction.  We begin to talk about what makes a Peace Maker, why they are important (from past and present) and ways we too contribute to the creation of peace within self, neighbors and earth.  We also tell an age appropriate story of MLK as a boy and his awareness of the world and how he can help change things.  I also like to introduce the idea of “stepping into another person’s shoes” and imagining his/her story to nurture the development of empathy.  We use some fun classroom games and props to do this.  Our MLK parade will be on his actual birthday: Thursday January 15th and a day we make instruments and posters to celebrate his commitments to Peace with the following chant:

Martin Luther King was a mighty, might Man and a mighty, mighty Man was he.  He stood for peace, he stood for love, and he stood for harmony.

·      How to Be a Neighbor: Song and poem introduction to Fred Rogers’ work and the importance of compassion.
·      Winter Birds of the Pacific Northwest: these beautiful little workers will be our focus of habitat, needs, life-style and food.  We will make our yearly bird feeders this month!
·      Sewing and Weaving:  Specialist Jordan Beck will be in class to introduce the children to weaving.  We will spin off this with more sewing projects in class.


Reminders/Thank You
·      Thank you for the sweet Holiday Gifts from families to Teachers, such kindness!
·      Cold & Wet Days!  Please & thank you for remembering to layer your child in warm clothes, our schedule remains the same!  Please pack extra socks (can be mismatched): socks are great mitten substitutes when needed as well as extra cozy pants and rain pants if have them. 
·      Thank you Elizabeth Shaw for the Play-dough!
·      Parent Volunteers Needed: Please Help Take & Organize Distribution of Class Picture! 

Island Community Developments
This January 2015, Klahanie School will begin support and temporary housing for a weekly Vashon Island Compassionate Listening Teen Girls Talking Circle group, Gender Talks and Island community member specialist trades, farming & arts mentorship introduction.  The emphasis of this group (based out of the Teen Talking Circle Project: founder and Director Linda Wolf) is to support sharing life truths in a safe, confidential, nurturing space with the goal to feel seen and heard as well as mentorship opportunity using the Compassionate Listening format as the core.  The group is Free to Vashon Island Teens 14-18 yrs.  Guardian permission and contact information is required for teens under 18yrs.  Emily “Emmy” Graham and Maggie Smith will Co-Facilitate. 

Please contact Emmy if you are interested in learning more about this group and how you can support.
o   Emmy is a Trainer and past Facilitator for Teen Talking Circle Project on Bainbridge Island alongside founder Linda Wolf.  Please check out teentalkingcirclesproject.org for greater Teen Talking Circle Project information.


·      Thursdays 8pm KPLU: Jazz Student Special Guest DJs.  These accomplished Seattle Jazz student Teens share their jazz favorites! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2014 Newsletter

Klahanie School
December 2014 Newsletter
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.



November 2014 Reflection
 Our classroom has been a buzz from all the special earth projects we have embarked on.  The children helped each other kindly while making their Thanksgiving meal.  And what a treat to have Elder Patsy share her favorite Thanksgiving story!  Our time this month was full of adventure and big projects the children loved.  Thank you families for all your support and the very fun parent conferences this month!

December Curriculum Topics
“In the wilderness is the preservation of the world.”
Henry David Thoreau

·      Orcas: Family Pods migration and life cycle.  Specialist Maria Metler will be in class December 3 to introduce the wonders of the Orca community.
·      Conifer Trees
·      Water Forms: liquid and solid introduction.  What is a snowflake and can we read snowflakes if magnified?  Also the geometric wonders such a small object can hold.
·      Winter Solstice and Festivals of Light holidays


Reminders/Thank You
·      Cold Days!  Please & thank you for remembering to layer your child in warm clothes, our schedule remains the same!  Please pack extra socks (can be mismatched): socks are great mitten substitutes when needed! 
·      Thank you Elizabeth Shaw for the Play-dough!
·      Please help this Holiday Season & consider Donating a New Toy(s) & Books for a local Holiday Toy Drive for children in need
·      Parent Volunteers Needed: Please Help Take & Organize Distribution of Class Picture! 

·      Happy Holiday Break!   No School: December 22-January 1

·      Week of January 6th will be the first week of our new 4-day weekly schedule Tuesdays-Fridays. 

o   Sign-up is first come basis, get your paperwork in as soon as possible, only six spots!

Island Community Developments
This February 2015, Klahanie School will begin housing and support for a weekly Vashon Island Compassionate Listening Teen Girls Talking Circle group, Gender Talks and Island community member specialist trades, farming & arts mentorship introduction for island Teens.  The emphasis of this group (based out of the Teen Talking Circle Project) is to support sharing life truths in a safe, confidential, nurturing space with the goal to feel seen and heard as well as mentorship opportunity using the Compassionate Listening format as the core.  The group is Free to Vashon Island Teens 14-18 yrs.  Guardian permission and contact information is required for teens under 18yrs.  Emily “Emmy” Graham and Maggie Smith will Co-Facilitate. 

Please contact Emmy if you are interested in learning more about this group and how you can support.
o   Emmy is a Trainer and past Facilitator for Teen Talking Circle Project on Bainbridge Island alongside Founder/Director Linda Wolf.

·      Thursdays 8pm KPLU: Jazz Student Special Guest DJs.  These accomplished Seattle Jazz student Teens share jazz favorites!  


Turkey Poster

Whole, 1/2 and 1/3 Introduction constructing, tracing and painting


Dead-heading the lavender for a sandbox mountain

Decorating the sandbox mountain


Parts of the salmon poster art

Leaf Art & Counting

Carving a boat out of a decomposing stump






Parts of Winter Bird Painting Poster




Nomenclature 3 Part Weather Cards 




Earthworm care




Recycle bucket creations: this time it was sea animals
















Making our Thanksgiving Applesauce

Collage Storytelling: adult writes as child tells story





Salmon habitat and life cycle storytelling


Salmon Habitat and life cycle story telling


Patsy reads the class her favorite Thanksgiving book







Making our Thanksgiving corn muffins
Thanksgiving meal: applesauce and corn muffins the class made and smoked salmon
Our Thanksgiving Meal.  Thank you to the Teachers of Montessori Country School, Bainbridge Island for introducing me to the magic of this yearly classroom splendor and love.