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Building kinship with nature and each other

Branches Around Our Nest

Hello Nature Lovers,

With transitioning from summer to fall, home to school, classroom to park, getting in the groove of new routines, the cooler mornings, and the Autumnal Equinox upon us, we thought NATURAL RHYTHMS would be the perfect theme for our September Field Days.

At our first Field Day, we officially began our day with a morning gathering where we greeted each other, shared a gratitude, and read “The Way To Start A Day” by Byrd Baylor.  The intention is to ground ourselves in the day, with each other, and be inspired by our topic of the day.

Later we ventured below to the “Outback” where we awakened our sensory awareness and used our Sit Spots to create super sensory super powers to hear, smell, touch, and see the world around us in a more detailed way.  Next, a mini intro to Body School added some intentional movement to our day.

Movement is all around us, the wind sways palm trees from side to side, the tides move water and with it take the different migratory creatures to birthing and feeding grounds. In the classroom this past week we introduced all classes to a new portion of our day, Physical Education!  The goal being to incorporate movement into our daily lives because we know it’s important to move, not just for physical development, but for cognitive and emotional benefits as well. We learned how to stretch and attempted to sit in a squat which encouraged our hip flexors to open.  We’ve been exploring the beat of our hearts and noticing the changes between a rapid heartbeat and that of a resting beat. We introduced the breathing pattern of a baby, which changes as we get older, and reminded our bodies what belly breathing feels like allowing for our heart rate to calm itself down and reach a resting rate.  Next time you work out give this restorative practice a try.  It’s a nice way to thank your body for all it does for you.

During Field days we will be moving, moving, moving!  All while learning about the bodies necessities during play, fight or flight, and all other situations humans may face in our day to day lives. Physical Education skills will tie into our weekly plans building on motor skills, speed, power, and strength, with the end goal of learning how to lead an active healthy life. We will also be emphasizing the importance of hydration.  Be sure to check with your child, did they pack enough water?  Hesse Park does have water fountains for refills, but pack accordingly if your child does not want to use them.

Tomorrow, we will be testing our long jumps, so practice your hops because a challenge may come from your sprout asking “How far can YOU move your body?”

Thank you Parent Teachers for documenting some things you heard and noticed throughout the day:

–         “This leaf is soft like a spider web.  Why is it brown?”
–         “(The lizard is scared because) it keeps running from us.”
–         “Spiders eat flies and bugs.  Flies make people sick.”
–         Lilly and Jack connecting and playing together.
–         “Those girls are so rude.”
–         “Are you Ok?  Because we support each other.”
–         “Pine needles are very slippery.”
–         “This is so boring.”
–         Eli and Ayanna connecting.
–         “Hold, pet, look, pass.” (idea for sharing a lizard)

As a reminder: in thinking about how to nurture empowerment, self-reliance, self-care, and independence this year we are asking our park day students to pack the following items:

  • Mini first aid kit: band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic appointment, tweezers, gloves (can be a simple Ziploc, no need to go extreme as home base will have items suitable for larger injuries)
  • Change of clothing: needs vary based on student and weather conditions.
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer

We ask that all explorers carry their own backpack. Some days we will be spending time on trails that do not support rolling backpacks, or we will be walking from one park to another.  So think small and light (wheels are difficult). Students are welcome to pack additional items such as compasses, magnifying glasses, sketchpads, etc.Be sure to keep in mind size and weight or any additional factors that may make the items more cumbersome than useful.

As you can see Field Day has so many layers!  Lots of nature, joy, and movement, sprinkled with challenges and growth edges.  So beautiful!  We are so grateful to have parent teachers at the park as it allows students to explore more while helping teachers cue into student dynamics and interests.  Thank YOU.

See you outdoors,
Michelle & Leticia

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Field Day Teacher
Leticia Barahona, Field Day Teacher
Lena Garcia, Head of Education – Teacher Mentor
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Shannon Minor, Board President
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Seth Godin - Dancing with the Lizard Brain
Dancing with the Lizard Brain – Seth Godin


  • Outdoor Classroom Wish List. Please consider donating a plasma car to our outdoor classroom (this link will take you to the item). We are also looking for some small beach/outdoor chairs to create a sit spot area in the lower courtyard! Check with Trish.
  • Emergency Packs. Please bring your small emergency packs. We will finalize inventory this week.
  • Student Forms. Be sure to complete these forms immediately (click the heading to get to the form):
Practice Growth Mindset Now
Letting Happiness Flourish in the Classroom


PT Schedule – Sep 18-22
AM teachers, please remember that the shift is from 9 to 12pm. Field Day teachers, your shift is 8.30-11.30 or 11.30-2.30.

Thank you for choosing to be a  PT. As you have seen, growth mindset is a big part of the experience. Remember to have a growth mindset about growth mindset and come with gratitude, light and your transformation energy.
Gratitude Circle - Nature Growers
Making Math Real: 17 equations that changed the world


  • % Night Fundraiser, Thr 21 Sep between 5 and 9. Bring your neighbors! Mention us when you place your order (or we won’t get the earnings!)
  • TKG Camping Trip, Oct 13-15. Save the Date. More details to follow, we’re scheduled to go to El Capitan State Beach in Goleta (Santa Barbara). Contact Michele with questions.
  • Large Truck Volunteer. Contact Trish if you can do either:
    • take 2 giant TVs to hazardous waste drop off
    • drop off a large easel, in Venice
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In Education News: Social Justice
TKG Focus: SOCIAL JUSTICE. Bias is difficult to extricate from our daily experience but consciousness gives us the opportunity to mitigate the consequences. Language, data, challenging the way we “always do things,” will help us stay conscious.

Real Fixes for Workplace Bias

*   *   *
By Iris Bohnet/Wall Street JournalCorporations, not-for-profit groups and governments spend billions of dollars every year on diversity training—without knowing whether the programs work. A review of almost 1,000 studies on interventions aimed at reducing prejudice found that most programs weren’t tested. For the few that were, including media campaigns and corporate-diversity training, the effects, wrote Elizabeth Levy Paluck of Princeton and Donald P. Green of Yale in the Annual Review of Psychology (2009), “remain unknown.”

It is hard to ignore the possibility that all the time and money devoted in recent decades to promoting diversity at our major institutions has largely been wasted.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. As my own field of study, behavioral economics, has documented so well, all of us bring a bundle of biases to our everyday decision making, not least in how we see and evaluate others. And decades of research on cognitive biases have revealed that our minds are amazingly difficult to change.

Smart design allows a way out of this thicket of biases. In recruitment: Be vigilant about the language you use. If you want to benefit from the whole available talent pool, use gender neutral wording. When hiring, learn from the blind auditions of symphony orchestras and stop asking for demographic information. Take advantage of new tools that easily allow firms to anonymize applicant information. And level the playing field in performance management. Rely on data to understand what is broken, and measure whether there are biases in how employees are supported in performing their jobs and evaluated for results.

Smart antibias design can change the way that we run any organization, not just businesses. It may not free our minds from prejudice, but it can make our biases less influential and help us to make our major institutions more inclusive and productive.

READ MORE @TheWallStreetJournal
© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2017 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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