Community Newsletter-Week #34 – Acorns (ages 5-7)

“Motivation is often inspired, it’s not just found within us”
–Dr. Giacomo Bono, author of Making Grateful Kids

Listen. Learn. Know.


Tending the Garden – Fathers and father-energy givers are invited to join us this Friday
Parent Teacher Tools – Watch “Ask Ian, the Rocket Scientist”
TKG Office – Crafty tickets to the Paper Source Passion Party…this weekend
In Education News – Do doctors really have to prescribe park time to repair our nature-deficit
SIGN UP for TKG Summer Camp ASAP (first one starts June 26)

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The Study of Motivation

I wrote down this quote (see above) at the “Science of Nurturing Gratitude” workshop held at TKG recently. It struck me because it made me think about how important it is to stay inspired, to seek out inspiration, and to continuously offer possible inspiration to my students. After all, if we aren’t inspired, we won’t feel motivated. And, we all know, when we aren’t motivated to do something… it won’t get done, it won’t be meaningful, there will be no desire to put in any effort. Additionally, motivation doesn’t always come from inside of us—some extrinsic experience ignites that light within us. I have some observations and reflections demonstrating how intrinsic motivation is sparked:

For the past couple of weeks, some of the Acorns have been inspired by a collection of plastic piping that was donated to us a few weeks ago. During Movement Time, they have been working hard together to build different structures with these pipes. The pipe pieces will disconnect, causing the Acorns great frustration, but the motivation to create whatever it is they have envisioned allows them to persevere and work through the setbacks. While the structures aren’t always finished in the set amount of time, the Acorns very carefully packed up each piece so that they can begin again the next day.

There were several Acorns with whom I met during Word Wizards time with the goal to work on their writing. Writing is no easy task, especially at such a young age; it can often feel laborious and is often avoided. When each one of these Acorns drew a meaningful picture, however, they suddenly were so committed and excited to write about their drawing. Each Acorn became so animated about their drawing and what they wanted to say in their writing.

Some of the students were inspired by a song they all know and they got together during Movement Time and practiced on their own for a couple of days. They assigned roles to each other and it culminated in a performance for the class in the lower courtyard—all student led!

With inspiration, something is ignited within us. As a teacher, I work hard to find what might inspire the kids in my class—collectively and individually. For example, a few of the Acorns have brought in “fidget spinners,” a toy they are very excited about. It has motivated me to find a way to incorporate this totally cool tool into a fun STEM lesson I can do with them.

Personally, the motivation I have to work on and create a beautiful garden in my tiny backyard area was inspired by all of my neighbors’ beautiful gardens that I walk by daily. Not only that, but my dad always gardened when I was growing up, and hearing his voice in my head talk about gardening inspires me to work on my very own garden every spring.

What motivates you?

With Gratitude,

Jill Vengerik, Acorns Teacher
Lena Garcia, Head of Education, Acorns Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
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  • Father’s Day Hug, Fri 9 June @ drop off. Dads and Dad energy givers! Take an extra few minutes to hug your sprout this day. We’ll have light refreshments and festivity.
  • Portfolio Shares, Sat 10 Jun.Thank you for signing up. We are looking forward to sharing with you.There is childcare! Contact your teacher with any questions.
  • Friendship Books. Remember gathering signatures in your yearbook? This year, TKG is offering photobooks for students to sign books, make connections and add to our end of year traditions! All students will receive one and a $10 donation is requested to cover the cost of the books and printing. Make your donation now. Thank you to Nichole Cortese and Cynthia LaCharite for their leadership and support.


  • PTs This Week
    • TUE:Kang, Assadi, Lee
    • WED: Cater, Dokmanovich
    • THR: Williams, Ceci, Minor, Rossfeld
    • FRI: Beadle, Wilkoff, Sclafani, Wardwell, Lee, Williams, LaCour

  • Riviera Nails Fundraiser, 7 Jun all day. Get your summer color and support TKG. That’s shiny.
  • TKG Tours. Continuing this week! Thanks for helping us welcome our extended community.
ASK Ian, the Rocket Scientist (questions answered!)


  • TKG Shop. We finally have t-shirts!!! Beginning next week, we’ll have official TKG t-shirts available for $10 each. Pre-order yours now -(beta mode) sizes range from childrens XS to adult XL.
  • Passion Party Fundraiser, Sun 11 Jun, 2-4. Tickets are still available to this cool crafty afternoonContact Lacey by Thursday Jun 8th.
  • Summer Meet Ups. Are you available to “host” a TKG gathering this summer? It can be as simple as a park meet up or an excursion out somewhere! Send Trish your date and general plan and she’ll coordinate with you to make it available to the community. Rock climbing night? Pool party? Popsicles at the park? Yes!
Donate now and help TKG launch their Homeschool Enrichment Program


In Education News: Developmental Readiness
TKG Focus: Brain Function & Development. By building nature in to the educational experience at TKG, our students get the opportunity to maximize their mental healthiness through finding purpose in nature and experiencing evolving social connections. Imagine if everyone had the chance to do this more regularly…

The Nature Cure

Why some doctors are writing prescriptions for time outdoors

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The first time J. Phoenix Smith told me that soil has healing properties that can help thwart depression, I just nodded slowly.

Smith is an ecotherapist, a practitioner of nature-based exercises intended to address both mental and physical health. Which means she recommends certain therapies that trigger in me, as a medical doctor, more skepticism than serenity: Listen to birdsong, in your headphones if necessary. Start a garden, and think of the seeds’ growth as a metaphor for life transitions. Find a spot in a park and sit there for 20 minutes every week, without checking your phone, noting week-to-week and seasonal changes in a journal.

READ MORE @TheAtlantic
© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2017 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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