The Knowing Garden

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Super Bowl Sunday 2012
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Week 19: The World of Bears

Discoveries at TKG
Dear Parent,I was in a pickle this week but “the force” was with me.  We had just read a book about Pickle the curiouscat who…wait for it… always gets in pickles.  Immediately students wanted to pretend to be Pickle and I would be the owner getting them out of the pickle.  I helped the kittens for a bit and then a student crawled into my lap and requested a book be read.  Into the new book I could hear a trapped kitten meowing louder and louder, he needed support getting out of his pickle.  But we were immersed in the story, not to mention the connections we were making.  So my teacher brain multitasked.  We paused the book, and I used “the force” and freed the stuck kitten while, the book continued and all needs were met.  I love my curious kitties!What a busy week.  Park Day was full of stomp rockets, hop scotch, running, roasting marshmallows made of leaves, making connections, underdog swinging, rolling down hills, flying a kite, reading “Older Than the Stars” by Karen C. Fox, and finding the best climbing trees.

In the past I have asked our class what name we want our group to be called.  Maybe the gardeners, explorers, or adventurers?  No, we wanted to be called The Knowing Garden, with the K pronounced of course.  That is until this week.  We often play with cats made from Legos or pretend we ARE the cats, who play with lego cat figures.  In the middle of being cats a student spontaneously said, “I know, let’s be called Kitty Garden instead of kindergarten.”  Others liked the idea but wanted to be the Kitten Garden.  We had a great conversation and agreed to be called The Kitty Kitten Garden and made a new sign for our room. 

Students seemed less interested in outer space and the related projects this week so on Wednesday I asked if they wanted to continue with the space theme or learn about something different.  I suggested learning about their body as hospital play is a reoccurring theme with the kittens.  We began talking about our brains and headaches and even drew pictures of what headaches feel like.  But, when I began making a list of their learning interest bears dominated the conversation.  I was curious if they wanted to begin bears immediately or wait until the following week, they chose the latter.  Therefore, beginning Monday we will dive into the world of bears!   (I can’t stress it enough; it’s wonderful learning in a world that is student centered and not controlled by pacing guides or meaningless curriculum.)

How BEARS work in to our learner-centered environment:
Habitats (science, environmental studies, geography)
Fiction or nonfiction (language arts)
Storytelling, role playing (performing arts)
Nutrition (health)
Bears play a big role in math workshop!

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

p.s. New photos now on Flickr!

Growth: Themes & Plans

Week 19 will focus on the following developmental concepts:


Communicate confidently with peers and adults (co-operative learning)


Responsibility for self and actions (capacity building)


Learn positive ways to release tension (mindfulness)

Understand the bodily need for activity and relaxation


February calendar (math & language arts)

Bears (environmental studies, science, language arts)


Clean-Up time has been challenging for our sprouts.  Please dialogue with your student about the classroom and its care.  Thank you.

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Tuition is PAST DUE
  • Please collect childrens, best-sellers, and cooking/gardening books for our upcoming Book Sale.  Date to be announced soon!
  • Friendly Reminder: 25% Fundraiser contribution will be coming due in the next couple of months.

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez (at) knowinggarden (dot) org.


Don’t forget to COLLECT BOOKS for our upcoming book sale! DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED soon…

We love our Parent Volunteers!

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


We are meeting at THE PARK on Monday.  Don’t forget your shovels, writing tools and clothing layers.  See you!

Resource Of The Week:

“The goal in raising children is to nurture their inherent tendency to cooperate, rather than expect compliance through forms of control involving rewards or punishments. In order to foster a sense of cooperation, I recommend regular family meetings in which you decide as a family what chores need to be done and who will do them. If you include your daughter/son in the decision-making process, he will be much more likely to cooperate and willingly do his part.”

by Jennifer Lehr

Read More…

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