The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

29 September 2012
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Week 4 News & Information
Discoveries at TKG
The oak sleeps in the acorn.
-James Allen

Dear Community,

Friendships are forming!  From having different partners during counting collections, sharing mirrors, building forts, gardening, to outside of school meetings and play, bonds are being made.  One morning, we observed ALL students engaged in ONE deep learning activity.  There was collaboration, communication, and exchange of many ideas.

Play continues to provide a platform for self expression: “daddy is going to work now” “he’s the dad, and I’m the son.”  Our play is also flowing from park day to classroom.  We play “family” and “snail house.” Our city has a mayor, trains, a house with a big parking garage, daddy’s work, and so much more. On park day mystery snail was part of some student’s play.  The snail was going to get them.  One suggested they attack it, the other suggested they feed it and take it home and take care of it then it will be nice to them.  (life lesson through the language of play- amazing) Play is powerful! Play is a child’s right. Read about the roles of play and curiosity as foundations for learning.

Counting Collections are still part of our plan.  Encourage your students to start their own collection and share with us.  Illustrations Studies are still part of our classroom, did you see those expressive faces?! Ask your sprout about COLOR – TONE – FEELING. Ask about creepy yet fascinating!  Have you asked about the ABC’s of our classroom?

We are thinking about forming a sewing club (fine motor skills, perseverance, recreation to demonstrate learning, art) and a gardening club (science, life cycle of a butterfly, parts of a plant, maintaining and documenting growth).  Our last sewing club meeting involved cutting, stitching, drawing, tracing, stenciling and taping thread to our painted arms.  Yes!  Our watercolors were so captivating to some students that exploration of water colors on our skin, in our hair, and even on the Parent Teacher sprouted.  Our Butterfly garden is located in the planters just outside the stairs leading down to the Fellowship Hall.  Stop by and see our work. These are wonderful times for practicing brainstorming…please practice brainstorming with your sprouts.  Write about your brainstorms in their journals!

Gender neutral relations inspire diversity.  Here is a playful opinion on the myths of gender neutral parenting.  At TKG: we encourage using ‘gardener(s)’ or names instead of “boys” and/or “girls.”

Our students are getting comfortable with asking for the classroom materials they need to create.  They are getting comfortable with taking ownership of their plans.  They are getting used to the idea of responsibility for their classroom and learning about what makes their peers pop!

Marine Mammal Care Center: We had our first field trip this week and we had fun. This was a personal way to study scientific progress: asking meaningful questions.  As we explore the questions that came up at the Center we will expand on the scientific process by conducting careful investigations. Thanks to MJ and Renee for coordinating a day of mammals, recycling, music, coloring, observing and listening…not to mention hiking, map relations, communications, limit setting and decision making.  Our classroom spirit travels with us wherever we go.

Overheard this week:

“Me and _____ get along now!”

“Waiting, it stinks!”

“Lets build something together!”

“I know how to fix it”

Next week:

Bill of Rights:  establishing common language

Cleaning Up: A foundation of the community classroom and “when a child has already caught the “this job is no fun” infection, the remedy can be a short Special Time to strengthen her/his sense of connection.”Click here for additional resources from Hand In Hand Parenting.

Morning/Closing Gathering:  Giving each student ample time to realize their thoughts and formulate their ideas

Listening: Giving each other uninterrupted time to share

Movie Making Provocation: “What captivates an audience?”

Thank you for packing healthy, minimally packaged lunches.  Please continue to pack water and avoid juices and other sugared beverages.

The most effective teaching tool is modeling and “empowering others…is a learn-able skill.”

If you have any questions, please reach us as follows:

CLASSROOM – Yvette Fenton
CURRICULUM – Lena Garcia Kaufman

Tending the Garden
(Important Info)

October Park
Please pack $1 per sprout for admission costs.  Don’t forget to sunscreen.

Classroom Supplies
We still need wood for building projects.  If you’re in Home Depot-like spots this weekend, offer to take home small scraps!

October Parent Meeting: Saturday the 13th at 9am

New Family Tours
Classroom tours, for interested families, will begin in October.

The 5 Guiding Principals

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will expand their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT, students are sensory learners, we will honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, supporting the development of creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations
Check out our Flickr Stream!
RACE TO NOWHERE Screening in the South Bay: Seeds of Joy October 15th.  Click here for more information.

We love our Gardeners!
(Parent Teachers)


Monday – MEand MG
Tuesday – RD
Thursday – TV
Friday – NL

Focus for the coming week: Observation is number one!  We encourage our gardeners to learn what is meaningful to them by avoiding leading questions, being attached to a specific outcome, or guiding their play.   If a question is asked of you, respond by asking where or how they could find that information.  For example, a pair of students were using trains for their counting collections and wanted to know how to spell train.  I asked where they could find that info and he got right up and went to a train book.  Avoid using your mobile phone to research a question and remember that fellow students are full of information as well.

Phrase for the Toolbox: “I’m not comfortable with…” Please review your Parent Handbook for additional I messaging prompts.

FRIDAY PICK UP If you arrive for pick up early, or have time before you head upstairs (please check in with any students who may still be in the area) please grab the hose and “clean” up our chalk art.

Click here for “Power Play: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” (understanding the developmental aspects of power play)

If you have not yet provided TB test results or taken your LiveScan appointment, please get to it at your earliest convenience.
“…coercive strategies assume that children will run wild if they are not controlled. However, the children for whom this is true typically turn out to be those accustomed to being controlled…Control breeds the need for more control, which is used to justify the use of control.”
― Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’S, Praise and Other Bribes

The Seeds (Core Standards)

Some of the standards we are engaging:

K.7. With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

K.4 Social Studies, map making and use of geographic tools using symbols

1.7. Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

2.7. Use information gained from the illustrations and words in print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.


6.6 Attend to Precision. Communicate precisely to others. Give carefully formulated explanations to each other. Tachers focus on clarity and accuracy of process and outcome in problem solving.


K. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

1.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

1.2 Plants and Animals meet their needs in different ways.


Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).

b. Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges

5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.


Communication Workshop at MBNS: Monday October 1st from 7-9 pm, led by Laura Dotson,MFT. Please inquire with Michelle at michelle(at)champcreative(dot)com.

Soil Maintenance (Admin stuff)

From the TKG Business Office:

  • Tuition Is Due on October 1st
  • FUNdraiser Opportunity We will have another BOOK SALE on Saturday, October 20th beginning at 8:30am.  We will need table loading assistance, morning of loading/unloading and works shifts. All proceeds will be shared by all participating families.
  • Community Workshop DATE CHANGE, Tuesday November 7th A New Parent Info Night + Blending ECHO Parenting and Hand In Hand with Kathy Gordon – sign up is available here.
  • Board Positions: Please return your applications by October 5th.
  • TKG Board Meeting, October 8th at 7pm

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

SIR KEN ROBINSON comes to the South Bay – October 26th, hosted by Fusion.  Register here…

Resource Of The Week

Children, Chores, and Drudgery
by Patty Wipfler

By the time children are about seven years old, most parents have begun to think, “It’s about time she did a little work around here!” and the battles begin. “When are you going to feed the dog?” “That garbage needs to be taken out right now!” “Honey, how many times do I need to ask you to make your bed!”

It’s good to expect children to take part in the work of the household. Children are quite capable, and feel a lot of pride in a job well done. But, like us, they acquire feelings about the jobs they’re expected to do. And when those feelings are negative, children can drain a lot of their parents’ emotional capital on the way to completing their household jobs.

So how can parents set it up so that children do take responsibility for the work of the household? I think there are two main keys to keeping the drudgery out of chores for parents and for children.



The Knowing Garden · 4733 Torrance Blvd · Box 324 · Torrance, CA 90503


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