FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 28 Year 3 (5 to 7 Class)

All Together 5 to 7 Sprouts
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
― Margaret Atwood

Hello Families!  I hope you’ve had an enjoyable Spring Break, and I can’t wait to hear all about it.  I’ve spent time with my in-laws on mini day trips, read more than usual, got back into my yoga and meditation practice, attended the post ECHO class by Michelle Charfen called Next Steps, and spent time in the classroom working with Lena and Dawn.  I am really excited about these last weeks of school and look forward diving in with a refreshed mind and body!

Notable Notes

  • There are changes to lunch/snack nut protocols.  Please read Back in the Classroom, below
  • 6-Week ECHO Class with Renee Dokmanovich begins next Wednesday April 30th. Contact Renee
  • Book Club #4 is next Tuesday.  Details to come from Lena.  Click here to get a head start on reading.
I am curious as to what students will be drawn to first at the Park.  Will it be the snails?  Pine trees?  Rocks?  Slides? The Outback?  The Meadow? The Bridge?  And each other, of course!  We may collect items for the investigation station, or use our recent cartography skills in mapping the park.  We will continue with pitching in and working as a community to set up our camp for the day.Back in the Classroom

Snack/Lunch Update: With the support of our allergy-restricted families, we are opening the possibility for some nut products again. Please do not pack peanuts or peanut products.  If you pack nut products, other than peanuts, we have some guidelines for you and sprout…

Lunch-Packing Parent

  • remind sprout of lunch/snack agreements(below), preferably morning of nut snack/lunch
Squirreling sprout:
  • must be willing to not share his/her snack – did you know?  chipmunks don’t share their store.
  • must clean up their own trash and nut debris – chipmunks need to watch their trail!
  • must thoroughly wash hands post-lunch break – chipmunks are clean!
Students have been in the sharing mood.  My request is that there is enough for everyone, and that the item comes in it’s package so we know the ingredients, or is a fruit, veggie, or homemade with no nuts as Kai is still allergic to all nuts.  If you have any questions, please contact Michelle. Thank you for caring for our hungry sprouts!
At home: please talk with your sprouts to share the TKG community values of being conscious of others (in this case severe food allergies) and fostering inclusion (in this case, having enough for everyone and so no one feels left out or excluded)Library and Language

You may have heard of “just right books”.  These are books that have familiar words, with a few that may be challenging.  Not too easy, not too hard.  Students were really inspired in finding these books before the break and Shannon, our librarian, will be visiting the room after lunch on Tuesday so students may refresh their book boxes with just right books.  We will continue with our letters and words of the week, but also dig into word families and sounds to support our emerging readers.

We will begin a new unit and book called “Double Decker Bus”.  It builds on our current addition skills and is similar to the bunk bed story.  It also focuses on subtraction, new math games, and writing our own word problems.

Charlotte’s Web
The last day reading the book was magical.  Yes, Charlotte died, but her eggs hatched in the next chapter and sprouts’ eyes and faces lit up when one said “Salutations!” and as they were floating away, Alexander said that they were not sedentary, a word we learned earlier in the book.

For the remainder of the year, on Thursdays and Fridays, we will explore ways to share our understanding of the book; a play or puppet show for those who enjoy dramatic play, a diorama or old fashioned book report for those who prefer 3D or writing.  I will be looking at these projects through a mathematical lens, knowing that language will come naturally.

School Area/Playing School:
Students would like to teach lessons!  I will have applications for those who want to be hired as a teacher in the area, and I will interview all candidates.  Yes, everyone who wants to will get to teach, but I am seizing the opportunity for students to write, plan a lesson, think about what teachers do, and what helps students.

Person of the day
On an upcoming PT day, we would love you to share about yourself, your profession, your passions, pictures of you as a child, or anything you feel the sprouts would like to know about you.  Let me know which date works for you and I will put you on our calendar.  Do you know someone that would like to visit the classroom and share about themselves and how they relate to the world?  I’d love to hear who you have in mind and what they may want to share.  We will begin asking the downstairs class and some church staff to share as well.

Yogurtland FUNdraiser – Thurs May 1st
What could be sweeter than supporting TKG with your sweeties?!  Join us on Thursday May 1st at the Yogurtland at del amo Plaza (Hawthorne and Torrance near The Little Gym) between 4 and 7 for some yogurt fun.  Your friends, neighbors and family are welcome to join – especially if they are curious about TKG.  We need a minimum guarantee so spread the word y’all!  Click here for a printable flyer and join ourFacebook event.

See you Monday!Hugs,

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton/Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Park Day/Field Day – The Return to the Park!
We are excited to return to the place that started it all this year.  We’re going back because it will offer the opportunity for students to have the sensory, emotional and spiritual experience of seasons and time.  Ask your sprouts about what they remember about Fall at the park.  The forecast is for Sunny with a high of 76.  Don’t forget sunscreen!

***Why is our Spring Break so Long?
One reason is for our teachers: they get some time to replenish and work – and that means they are inspired to reconnect with our sprouts at their fullest potential. Another reason: because your sprouts still need to attach to you…for all the good and what may seem like rough patches each day.  There is no other place that could foster the love, support and learning quite like your heart and home.  Check out the case for HOLDING ON TO YOUR KIDS in our resource section below.

***Community Field Trip – Friday May 2
We have another field trip coming up!  This time we will be heading to the great outdoors.  Please look out for an email from Shannon with all the details.  Please note, that siblings, not enrolled at TKG, may not be able to attend (at the site’s request).  Plan accordingly!  There are many family cars with an open seat.

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations
Parent Teacher Info

Parent/Teacher Corner

We have a PT request for additional support on Thursdays before/after school.  Please visit Shutterfly sign up page to volunteer.

MON Apr 28

TUE Apr 29
LS (8:30-11:15am)/AS(11:00-1:30pm) & MS (1:30-2:30pm)
Book Club Night

WED Apr 30

THUR May 1

FRI May 2

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions or scheduling needs.

PT TOOLBOX: 10 Ways to Protect Our Children From Stress
Some of Dr.Laura Markham’s tips are relevant for fostering a joyful learning environment.  Here are some of the ones we like:
  1. Slow down. Humans are designed to love excitement and novelty, but constantly jumping from activity to activity prohibits settling and that can lead to stress manifesting itself into getting “bored” or trying to distract others. Students will gravitate toward your centered presence and want to follow your lead.
  2. Listen, and Laugh. Our sprouts need plenty of laughter, which helps them heal the normal anxieties of daily life.
  3. Teach & Model Stress Reduction Skills. We all need a repertoire of healthy ways to reduce stress. For instance, physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce the  stress hormones circulating in our bodies.
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • Ralphs Fundraiser – Don’t forget to use your Ralphs card for added fundraising opportunities!
  • OFFICE HOURS, Monday – Previously announced for Wed.  Office hours will be on Monday this week.  Stop by Yellow Vase (where Hawthorne meets Palos Verdes Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes) from 12 to 1:30pm
  • Monthly Parent Meeting – Thurs May 16
    Thank you for continuing your commitment to your sprout and to our community.  If you have any topics that need attention, please let Michelle know as soon as possible.

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.  Click here to see our Google Calendar.

The Four Agreements
1. Be Impeccable with your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

Community Resource – The Whole Child

The Missing Context For Parenting
From Hold On To Your Kids – Chapter One
by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Maté, M.D.

So what has changed? The problem, in a word, is context. No matter how well intentioned, skilled or compassionate we may be, parenting is not something we can engage in with just any child. Parenting requires a context to be effective. A child must be receptive if we are to succeed in nurturing, comforting, guiding and directing her. Children do not automatically grant us the authority to parent them just because we are adults, or just because we love them or know what is good for them or have their best interests at heart. Stepparents often are often confronted by this fact, as are others who have to look after children not their own, be they foster parents, baby sitters, nannies, daycare providers or teachers. Even with one’s own children the natural parenting authority can become lost if the context for it becomes eroded.

If parenting skills or even loving the child are not enough, what then is needed? There is an indispensable special kind of relationship without which parenting lacks a firm foundation. Developmentalists—psychologists or other scientists who study human development—call it anattachment relationship. For a child to be open to being parented by an adult, he must be actively attaching to that adult, be wanting contact and closeness with him. At the beginning of life this drive to attach is quite physical in nature—the infant literally clings to the parent and needs to be held. If everything unfolds according to design, the attachment will evolve into an emotional closeness and finally a sense of psychological intimacy. Children who lack this kind of connection with those responsible for them are very difficult to parent or, often, even to teach. Only the attachment relationship can provide the proper context for child rearing.

The secret of parenting is not in what a parent does but rather who the parent is to a child.  READ MORE at

Capacity Building at TKG
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