Community Newsletter – Week #6 (16 Oct 2016)

Community at TKG
Layers of play unfold…

Play is Linked to Success

“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”

― Fred Rogers

A glimpse into play and the teacher’s role: This year I intentionally only put out a few train tracks as last year there was little interest. They made their appearance today and were quickly used. I almost went to the closet to retrieve more, but then I wondered where their play may take them without more of the same material. Would they shift from engineering to dramatic play? How would they problem solve if they wanted more tracks? Could they share the few items? Would they abandon the plan? My research began…

First they moved some pieces to make more of a circle, then before I knew it other materials came into the plan. It was such a joyful experience with “good feeling talk” and collaboration playing a major role. I snapped a picture and they were beaming with pride when I showed them. Clean up was done with as much enthusiasm and connection as the building. As a teacher it was a beautiful reminder of their stamina, resourcefulness, and independence.

Play is amazing!  It is often a way of processing their social interactions, the world around them, a way to apply what they know or express what they are curious about.  That said, a lot is alive at the moment… from killer clowns to God Team or Earth Team, there have been some healthy normal conversations and playfulness at lunch and at movement.  As teachers we have been utilizing these times to observe and deeply wonder what it is they are working on.  At the moment here is what we are contemplating:

  • Teams, clubs, camaraderie – testing leadership and “assistant” roles, Does there have to be a leader of the plan? Can you disagree and still be friends?
  • Investigative journalism, looking for clues, note taking, taking surveys
  • Wanting to feel scared- it is spooky season (Each year this surfaces in many ways. At the moment it is very playful and everyone playing is comfortable with the plan.  Don’t hesitate to connect with us if this changes for your child.)
  • Creating a community plan for their play time (scary/killer clowns are only happening at outside play time)

When you are a parent teacher or watching play at home, we would love for you to peel away the surface layer and look deeper.  Using an investigative lens can help you truly listen so we may learn what they are processing, and then we may know how to support them.

On another note we have been exploring our hands…how we use them, how we can use them safely, and what do people do with no hands?  We attempted to draw without using our hands (or mouths to keep the germs to a minimum).

Have a great week!

Lena Garcia, Head of Education, Acorns Lead Teacher
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Acorns Lead Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Facebook (private group), Community Forum
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
OFFICIAL CALENDAR: subscribe and never miss an event


  • The Great Shake Out – This Thurs at 10:20am.  Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:20 a.m. on October 20 during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, which began in California in 2008. Help your sprouts be safe!
  • Field Trip #2 – Monday, October 24 at 9:15am @ Redondo Beach Civic Center Circle, just outside the Council Chambers. Please check the email from Jen Ceci for details.
  • Teacher Office Hours – Thr 20 Oct 3-4pm. There is childcare available so you can connect with your teacher in comfort.


  • PTs This Week
    • TUE L, LA, JK
    • WED SH
    • THR JL, JC, JR, S
    • FRI S, B, W
  • Community Workshop – Thr 20 Oct, 9am @TKG. Dr Joseph Lee will help us continue the conversation of Building Relationships. There will be childcare. Register here!
  • Self-care Opportunity – Wed 12 November. Riviera Nails in Redondo Village. It’s a fundraiser too!
TKG Learn: Overparenting, from a Stanford Dean’s Perspective


  • Fall Fundraiser – Sat 29 October 6-8pm @Barsha. The tradition continues with “A Toast to Learning” Masquerade Celebration. Purchase your tickets, here. Share this event with your friends! Contact Lacey, our event chair. Let’s go for 100% participation!
  • Enrollment Information Night – Thr 27 Oct 6:30pm. Share this FB event! Encourage your friends to contact us on the office line, 310 728 9337 or email:, our website is You can also share our website registration page:
  • TKG Board of Directors Retreat – Sat Oct 22. TKG’s leaders and mission keepers are getting together to plan for the care and development of our school. Thank you Board!
TKG Know: Download the ACORNS Class Contact List


In Education News: Whole Child
TKG Focus: WHOLE CHILD…spending time in nature is correlated with better mental health, attention, and mood in both children and adults

Green Spaces Make Kids Smarter

*   *   *
by OLGA KHAZAN/The Atlantic

When I lived in L.A., I reported on a school near Long Beach in which nearly a fifth of the students had asthma. One culprit seemed to be the school’s unfortunate geography: About 500 trucks passed by its grounds every hour, and according to a study released at the time, at least 9 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the area were attributable to road traffic. The air near the school, which sometimes smelled rotten or rubbery, contained nearly twice the normal level of elemental carbon, a marker of diesel particles.

Asthma is just one of the health problems linked to air pollution exposure. Sniffing exhaust all day also contributes to everything from stroke to premature death. Conversely, spending time in nature is correlated with better mental health, attention, and mood in both children and adults. A recent study suggests that green spaces can actually boost cognitive outcomes in children—in part by protecting their brains from air pollutants.

TKG LISTEN: Read more @theAtlantic
© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2016 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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