The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

Saturday 28 January 2012
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Week 18: More Space Exploration – Planets

Harold! Harold! Where is Harold?  We shouted for Harold in hopes he could hear us.  We read books and wrote in our journals.  We explored visual perception and made ourselves appear really small by running far away from the observer.   A car! Is that Harold?  Harold!  Nope.  We counted, described, and graphed the number of cars that used the parking lot as a turnaround.  Harold never showed with the key.  Perhaps he prefers to spend rainy days at home, maybe he doesn’t want Wilderness Park goers to contribute to the rain’s erosion, or maybe there aren’t many rain lovers like us out and about on such rare days in Southern California.   We said goodbye to Wilderness Park and walked back to Alta Vista.  We found Saturn’s rings and craters on the baseball diamond.  We followed rain on its journey as well as picked up trash to save the sea creatures.  Balls also played a BIG part of our day.  Neptune (a giant exercise ball) was rolled, pushed, and kicked around the field.  A game with tennis balls was created and played.  Gravity was tested using a tennis ball and an orange.  Our “shadows” looked more like reflections even though it was cloudy.  The sun briefly peeked out but not long enough for us to make in depth observations.  I know the Gardeners love classroom days, but park days always feel so magical…I like to think Richard Louv is cheering us on every Monday.

Back in the classroom we attempted our bio-fuel experiment again.   The balloon finally inflated after we shook the bottle full of water, yeast, and corn syrup.  It also filled after time elapsed.  Added to the rocket ship park experiment we are beginning to realize that experiments have different outcomes with each test.

The visual perception test on park day helped us visualize why the sun looks three times bigger from Mercury.

On Wednesday we made our way outside and walked around the block.  We observed what was similar or different to the last time we walked around the block in the rain.  A yard reminded us of the setting in The Little House.  Also, a car was spotted lifted off the ground using a jack.  We gained a better understanding how the little house could have been jacked up and moved.

As expected, Thursday was full of energy!  Expected?  Yes.  We had a couple friends out sick earlier in the week and needed some time for reconnections.  Not to mention time to share, explore, and discuss our new cash register.  The energy continued throughout the day and I made some great connections too.  I’ve learned that kids need a release from the pressures of living in an adult world.  Yes, they still need it in this child centered environment too!  The group has loved opposite teacher tag, where they chase me and I fall to the ground when they all have tagged me.  However, this game has slowly faded.  So when someone excitedly shouted, “Let’s tape up Michelle!”  I replied with, “You want to tape me up?  I’m okay with that.  You can tape me.”  I was taped and covered in sticky stickers.  I modeled checking in and using my words when I wanted them to be gentle when they covered my eyes. Most of all we had a blast!  Here’s a link that explains the science of physical play (The Art of Roughhousing): or for the visual/audio learners go to our YouTube Channel (  Feel free to share it!

Did you know NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets? Next week we will continue our space adventure by exploring the planets and creating our own planetary system.

See you at the PARK on Monday!

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

310 528 3769

p.s. New photos now on Flickr!

Growth: Themes & Plans

Week 18 will focus on the following developmental concepts:


Learn positive ways to release tension (mindfulness)

Understand the bodily need for activity and relaxation (whole child)

February calendar (math & language arts)

Temperature (math & science)

Retelling familiar stories (language arts)

Book making (language arts)

Sequencing (art, fine motor skills, critical thinking)

Painting (spatial concepts, fine motor skills)

Exploring questions, making predictions, and compiling answers


Consider and listen to different perspectives (cooperative learning, capacity building)


Develop self-control and patience (cooperative learning, brain function)

Develop personal values (confidence building)


January’s Parent Workshop is this coming Monday night.  We will meet interested parents and have a forum on “Changing Education Paradigms.”  Join us in 321 Blastoff starting at 7pm.

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Please Return Outstanding Forms: physician’s report, Emergency Form, etc.
  • Friendly reminder, TUITION is due on February 1st.
  • Please collect childrens, best-sellers, and cooking/gardening books for our upcoming Book Sale.  Date to be announced soon!

Thank you Families!


We love our Parent Volunteers!

JM will be our parent volunteer this week.  If you have some time, please check in with Michelle for any take-home projects.


Connecting through Physical Play – Dad Labs

Resource Of The Week:

“Children are so much more capable of dealing with and solving problems than we give them credit for. Our natural sense of nurturing can easily switch to sacrificing and overprotection when we think we are responsible for their happiness.”

5 Building Blocks to Raising Resilient Children

Read More…

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