“From Under Our Big Tree” Newsletter #8 – School Wide

All Together - Community
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” 
― Brené Brown

 Dear Friend,

Happy Daylight Savings Day! Friendly reminder: childcare reservations are strongly recommended for this Thursday’s meeting.

This Thursday, we will have our parent meeting. I look forward to getting together with you to connect, reflect and share. You will get to experience highlights from the classroom as teachers share TKG awesomeness with you in the form of videos and photos.  There will be time to share as a community our appreciations and our wonderings as a way to continue solidifying our shared experience.  I look forward to seeing you there!

This week, we went on our 2nd fieldtrip of the year. We enjoy having a chance to experience environments beyond our own, learning from and with, the diverse communities we are graced to live around as Angelinos. We love getting a chance to explore the South Bay too, as we did with our first trip to our local tide pools as we focused on Environmental Stewardship.

This last field trip on Friday was an opportunity to engage our value of Social Justice, as seen through the lens of a cultural art experience.  The Fowler Museum at University of California at Los Angeles elevates art from around the world, encouraging us to think like archeologists, ethnographers, sociologists and art appreciators with works of art that might not always be a part of the historical canon of art seen at most major museums.

With this in mind, we went back to the museum after having gone last year, to have a special behind-the-scenes tour.  This deeper experience included entering through the loading dock, through the secret back door entrance. We knocked on a giant metal door, wondering what was behind it, only to be welcomed into the collections room by a lively, engaging museum staff member. Once inside, we got a private tutorial on how unique curiosities come into the museum, are researched and archived. We were told entertaining stories about 3 pieces of art, piquing our own curiosities about objects. Then, we traveled to the studio classroom and put our research abilities to the test as we put on white gloves and investigated different objects. We measured and touched, described and drew, just like museum staff would. Our visit ended with a tour of one of the galleries where a visually stimulating exhibit called “The Empathics” thrilled our senses with music, computer graphics, sculpture and intriguing fashion.

Following our visit to the Fowler, we made our way towards the Bruin Bear, where a college student volunteer met us for a walking tour of the campus.  The students had so many questions ranging from- Is there homework here?… Who is the youngest student here?… Where do you live?…  Our guides answered all of our questions about the campus and student life in funny, sweet ways that helped our students see UCLA in a whole new light.

This was such an incredible opportunity to take our learning out into the field. And this was all after a week filled with learning and fun. Did you know that students we given the opportunity to eat bugs at park day on Monday? Dried, flavored worms and crickets made their way to the park, courtesy of one of our parent teachers Linda (Kian’s mom), for an optional snack. It seemed fitting that we would have a “creepy” snack on a “creepy” week and children were surprised at how they tasted! This connected to Nikki, our WilderSkills teacher’s lesson on wild edibles.

How much do we love to learn, experience and grow? So much!

With gratitude,
Lena Garcia, School Builder, 7-9 Class Mentor and Collaborator
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, 5-7 Lead Teacher, Founding Teacher
Yvette Fenton, 7 to 9 Lead Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Google Calendar: Official Events
Shutterfly: Photos only
Facebook Group: Private forum for parent chatter
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest/Youtube
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

  • Monthly Parent Meeting, This Thursday @ 7pm – Thank you for making the time to share our educational experience in the context of community and support. Please contact Lena with questions. Childcarereservations required.
  • First Friday Dance Party, Friday @ drop off
  • Community Day Trip, Sunday 8 Nov (activities from noon to 8pm!) – The Stickley family has invited us to join them at this science adventure at UCLA. Click here for more details and confirm your interest/coordinate directly with Gina.
TKG Principles
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM: teachers and parents support relevant learning & creativity
  • WHOLE CHILD + FAMILY: cognitive, physical and social/emotional health is valued – families & caregivers are our partners
  • BRAIN SCIENCE: we are sensory learners with existing neural pathways and we can help develop and practice positive learning experiences
  • CAPACITY BUILDING: nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING: small groups, low ratios, mixed ages
Parent Teacher Info

Parent Teacher Toolbox

PTs This Week (to receive full tuition credit, download begins at 8:30am and includes 30 minutes post work day debrief)


Student Connection Opportunity – Tue @ drop-off: join students for some community PE time and connect with students that you work with!

Self-Care Opportunity – Wed, All Day: Visit Riviera Nails (or purchase a gift certificate to go another day) and get some quiet, alone time for your body, heart and brain (and earn a % of the day’s earnings to apply to tuition).

PT RESOURCE: JoAnn Deak-When the window opens, sculpt your brain!
If you’re up on the latest neurological research, you know that experiencing challenge is what educator and psychologist JoAnn Deak, PhD, might say is a fine time for some brain sculpting. A developing PC (the decision making/social relating prefrontal cortex), along with an anterior cingulate cortex (tasked with error detection and emotional regulation) need to work together in order for things to ‘click’ thereby brain sculpting! “If I never get a wrong answer, or make a mess of things or struggle, it doesn’t change my brain,” says Deak. But how does that work? READ MORE…
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

Admin Office Hours, this Thursday from 9 to 11am – Catch up on any pending school business, offer your compliments or work on your committee questions.

Handyman Day – Sat Nov 7, 8am – Some parents are on our handy committee and anyone wanting to offer a helping hand is welcome.

School Holiday (No School) – Mon 9 Nov – in observance ofVeterans’ Day.

Visit Shutterfly and check out more of your class’ photos! You may need to be added, so just request permission and we will take care of it asap.

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

Resource Of The Week – Capacity Building

A New Business Strategy: Treating Employees Well

Like the traditional education model, some companies operate from a position of “drill” and grind to squeeze staff to make more money but a growing number are testing the theory that they can have both profits and happy workers. Keep sharing your social experience at work and places where you volunteer – your effort in reimagining social context is good work!
*   *   *
by ALANA SEMUELS/The Atlantic

Call centers are not, typically, very happy places—especially around the holidays. Workers have quotas to make, and often sit in bleak cubicles, headsets on, plowing through calls from stressed shoppers, as they count down the minutes until lunch.

But the employees in this call center in Vermont are rosy-cheeked and—can it be?—smiling. They field calls about misplaced packages and gluten-free dough, while surrounded by orange and red Thanksgiving decorations and a wall lined with baking gear that they’re allowed to borrow. They still have quotas—10 calls per hour, per agent—but they know they won’t get fired if they spend 45 minutes talking to a woman with cancer about baking, as one agent recently did.

“People just really care about each other and look out for each other,” READ MORE @TheAtlantic

Capacity Building - Future Business Models

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