Weekly Newsletter #5 – Nature Growers (ages 6-7) 2017

Nature Growers Togetherness

Practice Makes Progress


Tending the Garden – Field Trip is this Friday
Parent Teacher Tools – Volunteer for TKG this Tues
TKG Office – Oct tuition is past due
In Education News -When parents, teachers and students work together, we understand more deeply
BUY your Fall Fundraiser Tickets!

Social Share on FB: Healthy Sexuality Workshop on Oct 19

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“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

Community at TKG
Our Community Gathering – thank you for learning with us!

There is something so magical about watching a child learn how to read. It is similar to seeing a baby’s first steps being taken. A few steps forward, a bit of tottering backward, a hard plop to the ground, maybe a few tears and then back up, determined to get from here to there. It is the same as I watch our Nature Growers, who are in this magical phase of their brain where the corpus collosum is fusing the left and right hemispheres of their brain, allowing for the process of decoding symbols and attaching meaning to it- otherwise known as Reading.

But how do we get over those first few steps, that may or may not be joyful, painless experiences and move on to a place where we are running and skipping through books? Practice. Just as the baby tries over and over to master the art of bipedal locomotion, our learners are slowly propelling themselves forward in reading by reading everyday. You learned about “Write to Self” in the last newsletter, we also have a process in class called Read to Self.

Imagine this scene…As students finish lunch, they pack up and get their book boxes. Inside are some Good Fit books- books that they can read most of the words and some Stretch books- books that they can’t fully read yet but are engaged by the illustrations and what they know of the book. Bodies stretch out here and there, moving desks around to get comfortable, grabbing pillows to lounge on, putting on headphones (without any sound) to increase focus-ability.  We set the timer for 10-15 minutes and as they read, there are whispers to each other for help with a word and the silent passing of books to each other. This is a quiet time in our classroom that is a balance to the talkative, boisterous elements of our day. This is a time when each learner gets to fully immerse themselves in what they are doing without juggling the wants, needs, interests of anyone else. Being attuned and collaborating with others is so key to building social-emotional intelligence and we get to put that back into our experience when we do Read with a Partner. Therefore, during this time, we strive to really protect the flow of learning for each child by setting the individual focus goal and supporting students to keep that plan.

As students are reading, Leticia and I circulate, having individual reading conferences with students, asking them to read parts of their Good Fit books to us and coaching the use of reading strategies. The goal is for the learners in our classroom to read a good fit book every day as the “locomotion” forward in reading happens from this steady practice. You saw the results of that at the conferences as each of your children read a book to you, showing their steps towards masterful reading.

To help you stay connected to your child’s experience at school, and gather important data, you can ask your child…Where do you sit when you do Read to Self? How does Read to Self help you? Is there anything about that time you would change?  I’m curious about the answers!


Lena Garcia, Head of Education – Teacher Mentor
Leticia Barahona, Co-Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Shannon Minor, Board President
Facebook (private group), Community Forum
Shutterfly Site: photo archive
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How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning | Jo Boaler | TEDxStanford
Brain research shows that with the right teaching and messages, we can all be good at math. Jo Boaler/Stanford University


  • Supplies Needed: We are looking for glass jars with lids. Please have your student bring them to class.
  • Field Trip #1. We will meet at 10:00am on the lawn between the Natural History Museum and the Colosseum. Siblings are welcome. The cost for the trip will be $10 per child and $15 per adult. Please check Keri’s email for details.
  • Parent Education Workshop, Thrs 19 Oct 6:30pm: Think back to your own experience with sex-ed. Did you get the comprehensive factual sexual education you needed? Did you have the space and time to think through your own values regarding your own sexuality? Did you worry that you weren’t normal? Come learn about the healthy sexuality curriculum that TKG is considering – we need your input. A class (for Evergreens) will begin in January. Register here.
Check Out more TKG Photos


PT Schedule – Oct 9-13

  • Make Up Hours. Do you have some hours to work/make-up? We need parent representatives for the upcoming WPNS Kindergarten Round Up night. This Tuesday at 7pm. Contact Trish asap.
  • Self-Care Opportunity Wed 1 Nov, all day. Make some time to visit Riviera Nails for your self-care time – and raise $ for TKG.
Nature Growers - Making Our Space
Supporting Children with Calm & Playfulness


  • Fall Fundraiser, Sat 4 Nov 6 to 8.30pm. It is more than just the wine. It is a Holiday kick-off to support TKG and build community! Get your tickets now.
  • Oct Tuition – is past due. Late fees will be assessed.
  • Large Truck Volunteer. Contact Trish if you are available to drop off a large easel, in Venice.
TKG - Learning in Nature
SIGN UP: After-School Care


In Education News: Brain Function
TKG Focus: Brain Function & Development.  You choose TKG because you value a respectful parenting approach. You also believe that the school environment is an extension of this value. So how does that work – when you combine neurological diversity within the context of an open environment? The experts support that student-centered environments work because parent, teacher and students work together to understand more deeply.

Recognizing Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD)

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By Jonathan Evans/Janet Lansbury Guest Post

Sensitive observation is a central element of infant expert Magda Gerber’s RIE philosophy. When we practice the RIE principles and are present for our child, our sensitive observation often enables us to better understand what is going on for them, and parenting is extremely rewarding both for child and parent.

However, even in a perfect world where we are completely present and available for our child, there will be moments when we simply don’t understand why they are behaving or reacting a certain way. If these moments become more frequent, then we may find ourselves putting a label on our child’s behaviour. For example, “they’re colicky” or “they are teething”.

Sometimes this is 100% correct. Often, however, we simply don’t know. As our babies turn into toddlers, these difficult moments can multiply. If they start to join up, then we may start to describe them as behaviour issues. If things get really difficult, then our child may be described as being on the ‘spectrum’ or his behaviour may have other labels…

READ MORE @EducationWeek
© 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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