The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

6 October 2012
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Week 5 News & Information

Discoveries at TKG
A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him. 
~Pablo Neruda
Hello Families!

What do you count?  Magnets, buttons, pillows?  There are so many things to count…so many things to ponder…we are counting, writing, reading and persisting – there is always much to learn.  Sprouts are encouraged to start their own collections at home…and bring them to share in our classroom.

We are cooperating.  This week, we have helped each other: get maps our of a tree, find letters on stencils, tie our shoes, build race tracks, do handstands, wash our shirts, and make books.  What is the difference between a short vowel and a long vowel?  Ask your sprout for their thoughts (don’t worry about giving them the ‘right’ answer, they are exploring their love of reading and writing and we want to encourage their curiosity) and if you want some techinical information, click here!

Clean up is challenging.  Michelle and the classroom team are implementing strategies to help with the clean up process and will continue to support our students and classroom needs.  We are going to try something new this week…suggested by a student who described the strategy at a former school:   this week, students will have a specific item of choice to clean up to create a focus (chairs, pillows, markers, etc).  Cooperation in clean up is an expectation of our environment.  If you have thoughts about clean-up, please contact Michelle immediately.

We make time for playtime every day: Sewing, Chair Building (we remembered alligatory), Reading, Mail Truck creation, Dress Up, Art – in harmony!

Speaking of Sewing:  we are making personal animals based on a “menu” of items offered.  We even took a survey to determine our offerings.  Some of us are experts and some of us are beginners…much to learn!

Check Ins: Our environment is open and responsive.  We do want our students to check in with Michelle whenever they are wanting to leave the common space.  Usually, there is an adult available to facilitate outdoor time, sewing, painting or maybe even reading.

There are times, like our ABC Book project, when students feel apprehensive.  WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO DO A PROJECT?  This week, we have found that apprehension often turns into curiousity and engagement, with some bolstering from Teachers and Parent Teachers.  If a student is not interested in a focused project, we encourage dialogue in order to address concerns, seek options and expand learning.

We missed our Yvette on Wednesday.  Please think healing thoughts for Yvette and Thank you Parent Teachers for stepping up.

We are fundraising!  In support of our upcoming Book Sale, we are thinking about what we need for our classroom and we are thinking about what we can do to support our school’s upcoming fundraiser at the Torrance Farmers Market.

Guess what we saw at the park? Lizards, cats!, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders…and sprouts, learning together and independently.  “Make Way for Ducklings,” was a popular read and some of our students shared what it was like to ride on the swan boats in Boston.  We also saw…wet kids!

“everyone is part of everything”
“This isn’t what I thought it would be like…but it is turning out to be really fun”
“I see foot prints”  “Let’s follow them”
“This is beautiful!”
“I am not so good at vowels.”
“It sure is dry out here.”
“This is a nice place for a rest.”

Student A: “Do my shoes leave good traction?  The mud helps give it good traction.”
Student B: “Why is that?
A: “Because it is sticky.”
B: “What makes it sticky.”
A: “The water.”
B: “But when I drink, water isn’t sticky… Oh it is water AND dirt together!”

For next week:
Mail Trucks – Our Community
ABC Books – going strong and continuing
Self-reguation: around nourishment and replenishing fluids (eating your snack and getting water!), verbalizing to soothe or clarify
Independence – choosing individual projects and goals and self-reliance

Your feedback and questions are encouraged:
CLASSROOM – Yvette Fenton
CURRICULUM – Lena Garcia Kaufman

Tending the Garden

October Park
Please pack $1 per sprout for admission costs and don’t forget to sunscreen!  See you Monday!

Classroom Supplies
We are in need of two trowels and a pair of children’s garden gloves and adult garden gloves.  Thank you for your consideration!

October Parent Meeting: Saturday the 13th at 9am
This meeting is for all parents, we hope at least one parent will be available to attend.  If you have a topic you would like to discuss, please contact Michelle immediately.

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
Our Flickr Stream features even more photos from this week!
Is Mediocrity Good Enough for Our Kids?  Read More here…

We love our Parent Teachers…


Monday – NL & TV
Tuesday – RD
Thursday – ME
Friday – MG

Focus for the coming week: Do a headstand! Inverted asanas reverse the action of gravity on the body; instead of everything being pulled towards the feet, the orientation shifts towards the head. Similarly, on the emotional and psychic levels, inverted asanas turn everything upside down, throwing a new light on old patterns of behavior and being.

In support of Self-preservation: “Your compassion for yourself is the key to healing any place inside you that hurts.  And it opens your heart to the unconditional love you’ve always deserved. Choose love (read more).”

“Children now spend $40 billion dollars of their own money and influence another $700 billion in spending annually – roughly the equivalent of the combined economies of the world’s 115 poorest countries.” 

The Seeds (Core Standards)

We continue to create intention around these standards:


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.

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.

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.


Learn about a free online workshop,“Harmony Restored: How to Find a Win-Win Solution”   Click here for more details. October 9th.  Facilitated by a former Del Sol teacher.

From the TKG Office:

Tending the soil…

  • TKG Board Meeting, October 8th at 8pm
  • 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.  Please contact Seth Kaufman to volunteer.  All proceeds will be shared by all participating families.
  • Community Workshop Tuesday November 7th A New Parent Info Night + Blending ECHO Parenting and Hand In Hand with Kathy Gordon – sign up is available here.

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email


Please shop our Amazon store for dress up plans, school supplies and Holiday Gift Lists!  Access here…

Resource Of The Week

Idealism vs. Perfectionism
by Scott Noelle

You can be an idealistic parent without falling into the trap of perfectionism.

Your parenting ideals give you a focal point, a sense of direction on your journey.

But perfectionism demands the impossible: Get to the destination without taking the journey! (“If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all!”)

If perfectionism is keeping you from enjoying your idealistic parenting journey — if you feel ashamed whenever you fall short of your ideals — consider this funny-but-true saying:


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

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