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
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
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!