“From Under Our Big Tree” Newsletter #18: Community-Wide

Weekly Newsletter #18 – Community-Wide
All Together - Community
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” 
-Theodore Roosevelt
Please invite your friends and family to our Enrollment Open House and Maker Fair – this Saturday beginning at 9am. Registration is encouraged (share this link) and if you have a maker project you’d like to exhibit (a homemade computer? a toy hack? a better barbecue?…for a hands on opportunity in our “fair”), please contact Trish for more information.

We started the school year out on our first field trip, falling in love with ocean creatures, by getting to experience the Lunada Bay Tide Pools in Palos Verdes.

There, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of marine animals, such as the sea hag (which is a VERY large, strangely adorable ocean slug), urchin, abalone shells, limpets, and perch. Building upon this authentic connection to the Pacific Ocean, this week we ventured out to our third field trip at Bolsa Chica State Park.On this field trip, we got to sea our ocean through the lens of environmental stewardship.

We began the field trip by gathering around the front steps of the building where the Marine Debris & Recycling program is held. Elizabeth kindly welcomed us in with a warm smile, and a morning salutation.

We were immersed in the world of Trash Town! Students were invited to “pollute” this backwards town where everyone dumps oil, throws trash on the ground and never scoop up doggy poop. We saw the effects of pollution across the southern california terrain from the mountains to the oceans and learned that man-made materials like Styrofoam – can last forever! Want to know about Redondo Beach’s recycling program? Click here!

After the informative gathering, we received gloves and trash bags to begin our mission of cleaning Bolsa Chica State Beach. With all the excitement and buzz that was abound, you could assume that we were headed off to an amusement park or a birthday party. However, all of the fervor and enthusiasm simply came from being able to get out on the beach and pick up trash. We found wrappers, styrofoam, straws, bottle caps, and so much more. Every time we found trash and placed it in our bags, it seemed like we were fueled to clean more and more. From the youngest to the oldest students (parents included), we were all focused on the same goals to help clean, protect and beautify this majestic beach.

After working together and scouring our beach area, we proudly took pictures of all the trash bags we filled. Children then happily ran through the sand, some went directly towards the cool ocean water and dipped their feet, others sat on towels and grabbed a quick bite to eat. However all of us enjoyed the privilege of having a clean beach thanks to our actions as responsible environmental stewards. By spending the day reflecting, learning, cleaning — and playing — we were able to truly connect to the power and responsibility we have to care for our earth.

Thank you Jen Ceci, for coordinating another wonderful day of learning and connection. We hope to see you at Book Club on Thursday 11 Feb at 6:30pm. We’re reading “Creative Schools” by Sir Ken Robinson (a TKG favorite!). Buy it through our Amazon Smile link!

Ever so grateful for our Earth,
The TKG Team

Lena Garcia, School Builder, 9-11 Teacher, Teacher Mentor and Collaborator
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, 5-7 Lead Teacher, Founding Teacher
Yvette Fenton, 7 to 9 Lead Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Google Calendar: Official Events
Shutterfly: Photos only
Facebook Group: Private forum for parent chatter
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest/Youtube
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

  • First Friday Dance Party – Feb 5 @ Drop Off – Join the fun! Prolong the goodbye! Move some of the good stuff. Contact your teacher with any questions.
  • Maker School Project – TKG is going to LACOE Maker Day! If you are interested in being a co-Presenter (Design and lead hands-on sessions), Exhibitor (Teachers and students will informally present their classroom maker experiences in an exhibit hall) or collaborator – please contact Trish right away!
  • Parent Social – Insane Inflatable! Mar 5 – Don’t get left out! Tickets going fast. Please join us for this awesome adventure and we’d love your feedback. Contact Michele Wilkoff (click to email) for more details.
TKG Principles
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM: teachers and parents support relevant learning & creativity
  • WHOLE CHILD + FAMILY: cognitive, physical and social/emotional health is valued – families & caregivers are our partners
  • BRAIN SCIENCE: we are sensory learners with existing neural pathways and we can help develop and practice positive learning experiences
  • CAPACITY BUILDING: nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING: small groups, low ratios, mixed ages
Parent Teacher Info

Parent Teacher Toolbox

PTs This Week

MONDAY – Saundi, Michele, James (we could use help in the afternoon – if available contact Trish)
THURSDAY – Lori, Alice
FRIDAY – Sarah, Shannon
SATURDAY – Mike, John, Andy

Self-Care Opportunity – Monday 8 Feb All Day: Our regular nail day has been moved to next Monday! Contact Jen Ceci orEllen Cater with any questions (click link to email).

TKG Book Club – Thurs 11 Feb, 6:30pm (there will be childcare): join us for a fun discussion about “Creative Schools” by Sir Ken Robinson. He’s a TKG favorite and one of the inspirations for our school! Order the book via our Amazon Smile link and help us earn $.

PT RESOURCE: Less Reading, More Range
Try to broaden your ideas of what our students are capable of—besides math and reading—this year. And just for fun…look at this list checklist from a 1979 child-rearing series: Can your child “draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored?” Of course. Can she count “eight to ten pennies correctly?” Heck, yeah, I say for parents of kindergarteners everywhere. “Does your child try to write or copy letters or numbers?” Isn’t that what preschool is for? “Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?” What the what?! (click to read more)
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

Admin Office Hours, this Thursday from 9 to 11am – All are welcome!

High School Committee, 9:30am Friday – join this group of parents compiling research, forming relationships with local schools and investigating high school readiness.

School Holiday, Feb 12 (and Feb 15) – we have an official holiday coming up. Please note, no school!

Visit Shutterfly and check out more of your class’ photos! You may need to be added, so just request permission and we will take care of it asap.

The Four Agreements
1. Be Impeccable with your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

Resource Of The Week – Empowerment

Is Adult Life “Nothing But High School”?
Of course not…it is more than that. And what a gift that our students are getting to know themselves, their voice and their capacities now – at this time in their lives – rather than later. Now: when their brains are blossoming, before a system labels them them ‘smart’ or ‘jock,’ and in a community that champions hard work and the development of capacities like conscientiousness and cooperation:
*   *   *
By Annie Murphy Paul/The Brilliant Blog
“When you get to be our age, you all of a sudden realize that you are being ruled by people you went to high school with,” noted the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. “You all of a sudden catch on that life is nothing but high school.”

I thought of Vonnegut’s observation this week when I read a new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research—titled, simply, “Popularity.” Individuals’ social status in high school has a “sizable effect” on their earnings as adults, reports lead author Gabriella Conti of the University of Chicago: “We estimate that moving from the 20th to 80th percentile of the high-school popularity distribution yields a 10% wage premium nearly 40 years later.”

Conti’s study is part of a wave of research looking at how our social experiences in school connect to our lives after graduation. READ MORE…

Empowerment - Knowing Yourself Now


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