Community Newsletter – Week #5 (9 Oct 2016)

Community at TKG
Our first field day in partnership with PVPLC. Thank you for your support.

When You Believe in Yourself, Your Brain Operates Differently

“Dreams are what guide us, art is what defines us, math is what makes it all possible, and love is what lights our way.”

― Mike Norton

The inspiration for our parent meeting this week was related to Math.  This year, we will encourage you to help us reflect on what we believe about maths and learning so that we can best support our children on their academic journey.

Some people may have strong feelings about math. This became evident in our meeting as we began our inquiry into our beliefs about math by beginning with the personal.

What was your math experience in school?
The room became alive as parents shared stories with each other that ranged from awful to amazing, from great beginnings to disastrous endings, or the other way around. Building upon their personal educational experience, parents pondered the information they have heard or experienced related to math learning.  The following messages were directly experienced by most everyone:

  • There are some people who are good at math and some who are not
  • Girls are less likely to be good at math than boys
  • You have to be fast at math to be good at it
These deeply ingrained messages, even if we don’t consciously believe them, can seep into our day-to-day interactions and mindsets and so we watched a video called Boosting Math by Jo Boaler (watch) in order to help us adjust our mindset. Jo Boaler is a British education author and Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She is involved in promoting mathematics education reform and equitable mathematics classrooms. The video (aimed at a student audience) detailed 6 important messages for all of us to hear and ponder:
  1. Everyone can learn math to high levels.
  2. There is no such thing as smart people and not smart people. Anyone can work to high levels.
  3. When you believe in yourself, your brain works differently.
  4. Mistakes grow your brain. Struggle and challenge are really good for you.
  5. It’s not important to be fast in math. It’s important to think deeply and creatively.
  6. Math is a broad, creative, visual subject.

Watch a parent/teacher geared version of Boosting Math, at this link. 

As a wrap up, at the meeting we got to hear from Gabi, Rafa’s mom. She talked about her personal experience going to a constructivist school as a child. She liked math at that school. Once she left that school and went to a rigorously academic high school, she failed her first math test. It was a completely terrible grade. But she noted that she wasn’t scared, like the other kids who had been schooled traditionally and got a failing grade. She wasn’t scared and was empowered to take personal responsibility and action to work toward her goal. Development gives us a readiness that “pushed down” curriculum fails to achieve.

With Gratitude,
Lena & Team TKG

Lena Garcia, Head of Education, Acorns Lead Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
OFFICIAL CALENDAR: subscribe and never miss an event


  • Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences – THIS FRIDAY. Some of you still need to sign up. School is not in session and there will be childcare for siblings.Please check your link to confirm your meeting time:
  • Teacher Office Hours – Thurs 3-4pm: This time is open and informal and there is childcare (thanks to an awesome PT!)
  • Fall Picture Day – Tue 18 Oct. TKG encourages students to come as they are! Pics are usually done in the morning so that students will be fresh and change of clothes, etc can be facilitated, if needed.


  • PTs This Week
    • WED: RD
    • THR: JC, JR, SS, SW, LS, NW
  • Community Workshop: Building Relationships, Thr 20 Oct 9:00am. There will be childcare, please sign up here. Invite your friends!
  • Boost Your Math: To learn more about this maths revolution and get a whole plethora of other information and resources, visit:
TKG Learn: Hip hop & the Scientific Mind (Move-a-thon?!)


  • Fall Fundraiser – Sat 29 October 6-8pm @Barsha. The tradition continues with “A Toast to Learning” Masquerade Celebration. Purchase your tickets, here. Share this event with your friends! We need your help with the auction/raffle baskets.Contact Lacey.
  • Enrollment Information Night – Thr 27 Oct 6:30pm. Share this FB event! Encourage your friends to contact us on the office line, 310 728 9337 or email:, our website is You can also share our website registration page:
  • School Holiday Fri 11 Nov. No school in honor of Veteran’s Day.
View the Official Calendar


In Education News: Environmental Stewardship
TKG Focus: ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP. The inspirational Richard Louv says, “the future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” We agree.

Out Of The Classroom And Into The Woods

*   *   *
by Emily Hanford/NPR

Kids in the U.S. are spending less time outside. Even in kindergarten, recess is being cut back. But in the small town of Quechee, Vt., a teacher is bucking that trend: One day a week, she takes her students outside — for the entire school day. It’s called Forest Monday.

Eliza Minnucci got the idea after watching a documentary about a forest school in Switzerland where kids spend all day, every day, out in the woods.
“I would do that in a heartbeat,” she thought to herself. Then reality hit. “We’re in a public school in America. That’s not going to happen.” But her principal at the Ottauquechee School in central Vermont surprised her by saying: Try it.

Every Monday morning, the kids suit up for a day outdoors. Rain or shine — even in the bitter cold — they go out. They head to the woods next to their school where they’ve built a home site with forts and a fire pit.

© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2016 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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