September Newsletter

Well, we’ve made it through! Another school year has begun! I still can’t get used to

kids going back to school so early! We never did until after Labor Day… .so what’ this

about?

Anyway, I must say the transition here has been incredibly smooth. It’s a big thing for

everyone! For the new little ones starting, and the new parents, letting them start, and the

kids who are still here and are letting go of old, departing friends and embracing new

ones. And on top of this are the changing roles that happens as older five year olds leave

to go to kindergarten, and now the four year olds automatically move up a notch. And

everybody knows it, and everybody feels it, but it’s still something that is being created.

A new group is forming!

We really are such a tribe here.. .each day and each session. All the kids get to know

each other quite intimately. They see each other at their most vulnerable times! And

they do each have roles that are not talked about but are known by all. There is a

hierarchy that happens, and it’s not just about age. Sometimes younger children can

assume certain positions of power in terms of deciding what kind of play is going to

happen and who gets to participate. But, when a big group of children move on to

kindergarten, the remaining group can feel out of balance for a little while, until a new

order is created.

I want to congratulate all of you new parents in doing a great job of encouraging and

supporting your child as they make this big step into preschool! And boy, are they

ready!! It’s so cute to see! I am constantly in awe of their bravery! Like this one little

boy who was quite upset when his mom left, and was crying….everyone wanted to help.

One little boy going by, stopped and gently patted him on the back saying, “It’s

okay…Your mommy be back soon!”. And another girl who tried to hand him some play

dough saying, “You want to play with this?”. But he really just needed to cry a little.. ..so

the teacher sat near him, stroked his back and told him it was okay to cry, and when he

was done then he could play. And after just a few more minutes he did stop, and then it

was cleanup time, and he hopped to it quite happily, joining all the other children and

teachers in the task. Then we had pow-wow.. ..and as he was getting up from pow-wow,

he suddenly looked at me and said, in astonishment….”Hey! I don’t miss my mom

anymore!” He couldn’t believe it! And he was stoked!! His personal power account just

received a huge deposit!!

So when you leave your child, if they are ever upset, know that letting them get through

it with the support of people outside of your family is a very important thing! Their sense

of who can keep them safe will be expanded, and that’s a very big step in becoming a

part of this very big and yet ins ome ways, very small world of ours!

Anyway, my point is, we’ve been having a great time starting to get to know all of you!

And we will be talking about this and so very much more at this week’s “Starting School

Night”, on Thursday, Sept. 4th, from 7-8:30 p.m (sorry, no childcare provided.) Sign up

If you would please, (on the sign-in sheet), so that we have an idea of how many people

we should plan for!

Next up….at our most recent staff meeting the topic came up again of offering an “Early

Start Time”. Parents have asked us for years to open at 8:30 instead of 9:00. What we’re

considering is this. Parents of morning or full day children, could have the option to

change their schedule and add an earlier drop off time to any of their days. We don’t want

this to be on a “drop-in” basis, or we would not be able to staff it adequately, but we will

put out a schedule request form and ifyou would like to add this option, for an extra $10

per session, you can! We will also offer food for them at that time! We’ll see what the

response is and then start it Oct. 1st.

Speaking of October….We will be having our “Annual Fall Family Picnic”, on Sunday,

October 5th from 11:00-l :00. This is one of two annual family gatherings that we have,

and they are always a lot of fun! It’s a pot-luck, so we’ll put up a sign-up sheet for that

later. It’s a great time to hang out and meet and play with some of the other families

here! So many relationships have started here over the years…between children and

between families. It truly does take a village to raise your children and forming those

bonds, and making those connections can start at gatherings like these! And it seems like

every year at least once I’ll hear someone say…”Oh my gosh ! I haven’t seen

you in years!!!! Does your kid come here too????”

This is a small town, and it’s not unusual for people to reconnect here after many years.

But, all that notwithstanding… the Fall Family Picnic really is a fun event, so put it on

your calendar! And if it’s raining (can you imagine??) then we’ll reschedule it for the

following weekend.

Now, on to this month’s curriculum. It’s important for you to know what we’re talking

to the kids about each week at circle time and pow-wow. That way, you can talk about

that, and expand on it any way you want while you’re at home. And it might help you

know what your child means if they make some reference to it. This first week 9/1-5, is a

short week because of the holiday, but we will be talking about “Apples”. We’ll learn

about some of the many different kinds of apples, red and green and in between!

We’ve already started picking the apples from some of our apple trees here, and the

kids just love them!!! They’re small and they’re sweet, and kids really enjoy, picking

something and eating it! Now, if they hear their kindergarten teacher tell them that “A”

is for “Apple”, by golly, they are going to have lots of information to connect that to.. .a

smell, a taste, the feel of them, laughing with their friends while eating them, sharing

them, and even feeding the rotten ones to the goats and chickens, as well as cooking

them. We’ll make some apple crisp or apple sauce this week for sure! Nothing says

“Fall” like the smell of cooking apples and cinnamon!!

The next week, Sept. 8-12, we’ll talk about “Community Helpers”. We were lucky

enough to have Abigail’s dad bring out his fellow fire fighters and the fire truck a few

weeks ago, and this week, Aurelia’s dad has offered to bring out his police car and give

us a talk about safety! We are so lucky to have such awesome parents here!! Thanks in

advance Dave!! So we’ll talk about street safety, and how the police are always there to

help you! I don’t like to focus on “Stranger-Danger” at this age. Personally, since this is

the time that they’re just learning to separate from mom and dad, I think that’s kind of

scary. When they go to elementary school, and are more on their own, then I think they

need to know how to be safe, but even then, I told my own three children, that most

people in this world are good and kind and will help you. But there are a few that are not

nice and are not safe, and if you use your instincts you know who they are, and you can

keep yourself away from them and safe.

The following week, 9/15-19 we’ll be talking about “Our Feelings”. Emotions are very

intense in young children, and yet they are still learning language and don’t always have

the names to go with these feelings, let alone have the self-control to express them in

socially acceptable ways. So I find that young children really like hearing about this

topic. Storytelling is a very effective way to explain emotions. I often tell the children

stories about me when I was young, (I might slightly change or embellish the story for

the sake ofa solid moral).

I remember so well, the stories my dad used to tell me about when he was a boy, and I

remember how comforting I found it to here that my big powerful dad was once a

vulnerable, child, like me! So we’ll talk about how it’s okay to feel sad, or mad, or

frustrated, or jealous, or scared, etc. And we’ll talk about how you have to get your

feelings out somehow; but it’s not okay to do it in a way that hurts others.

Then the next week, Sept. 22-26, we’ll talk about “Families”. We define a “family” as

being two or more people who love each other and promise to help take care of each

other forever. So we’ll learn that families can look very different, they can have one

child, or many children, have one mom and dad, or two moms, or two dads, or a mom

and a grand-pa, or a dad and a grand-ma, but the thing that is the same in all families is

that they all love each other, no matter what!

Then the following week that starts with Sept 29and ends on Oct 3rd, leading up to the

Fall Family Picnic, we’ll be talking about “Fall, or Autumn”. I’ll bring in leaves of all

different colors to learn about deciduous trees, and I’ll bring in acorns, and eucalyptus

pods, to learn about the other seeds that trees are producing this time of year. We’ll make

leaf prints, and do leaf rubbings, and as the leaves begin to fall off our mulberry trees,

we’ll be raking and stomping piles and piles of leaves!!

Speaking of fall, we’ve begun to plant our fall garden now, and I must say, our summer

garden was spectacular!! We’ve been eating strawberries, green beans, tomatoes, squash,

cucumbers, kale, and corn for months now! Johnny and some kids just pulled out the last

of the corn, and I was just grinning from ear to ear, (no corn pun intended!), as I listened

to how it went. First some of the boys really got into the intense digging and pulling that

was required to get the stalks (that were as big as Johnny!) out of the ground. But it

didn’t end there. Because then there were all these cool stalks to play with. So before

long you could see kids all over the yard playing with them in all kinds of ways! Some

were, of course, swords. But some became building materials, while others became

magic wands, and things to be waved! Finally, when they were all played out, Johnny

decided to bring it all around full circle and asked the kids if they wanted to feed them to

the goats? Well, of course they did! So they all trooped up to the front corrals and had a

ball watching the goats just devour them!

Just think of all the learning that went on that day! Physical, emotional and cognitively,

a very rich day!! Like most days here at the Ranch!

Well, that’s it for now…Happy almost Fall!

Kid Quote: A mother here, was talking to her son’s friend one day, trying to draw him

out, she asked, “Are you still into Spiderman?” “Yeah”, answered the four year old,

nonchalantly, “But when I’m five….I’m gonna be into Iron man!”

I never knew, but I guess Iron man is a step up!