Tulip Tree Preschool https://tuliptreepreschool.com Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:12:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Summer garden care https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/summer-garden-care/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/summer-garden-care/#respond Fri, 20 Jul 2018 21:04:20 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20039 Read More]]> by Mage

In the hot summer, using a hose to water the plants in our garden is a big activity both in the morning and afternoon at Elm House. The children love to hold the hose, fill buckets and watering cans, and to water all of our flowers and bushes. It keeps them cool, and our garden beautiful and healthy.

 

One area that we often forget about is our side garden. We don’t see it very often, so it’s easy to neglect. Recently, the children visited the side yard to treat our thirsty plants. It was quite a treat for the children, since we rarely go over there.

 

Just a slice of our daily life. ūüôā

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Many Roads to Nourishment https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/many-roads-to-nourishment/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/many-roads-to-nourishment/#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2018 21:39:22 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20028 Read More]]> by Megan

Sitting down for meals at Elm House are very special times of day. Meal times signify a time for us to be together taking care of our bodies by eating and drinking. Each time we sit together we grow closer through this shared experience, telling stories about our day, helping clean up spills, reading books, singing our blessing song and sometimes just simply talking about what we are eating. Over the past year we have worked hard to notice what the children like to eat as well as¬† introducing “bridge foods” or similar colors, textures or shapes of foods that are common or familiar to the children. By introducing kale and then later things like lettuce, swiss chard and even dandelion greens we gave children some ways to make connection between different types of greens!¬† I am always thrilled to answer questions from the children about what we are eating and most recently “where did you get this food?” Which launches us into many interesting discussions about grocery stores, farms, Imperfect produce deliveries, farmers markets, etc. It also makes me curious about your children’s food experiences with your family…Do they go to the grocery store with you? Does your entire family all eat the same food for meals at home? Does your family eat very different foods than what we serve at Elm House?¬†

The beauty of food and sitting down for a meal together with no other distractions is that it brings us together even if we aren’t eating the same things. Preferences¬† and questions from your children in regards to what we just put on their plates launch us into conversations about individual likes and dislikes, allergies, sensitivities, family preferences and nutrition. The children keep close tabs who can eat what, including the teachers. A colleague recently asked me if it was OK if she brought in her lunch to eat with the kids and my response was a million times yes! Showing the children that different people need different nutrition is a tool for modeling respect of each other’s diets and learning about people’s individual needs.¬† Respect is given when a child chooses not to eat something, and it’s very easy to accept these differences in taste because everything we serve is healthy and nutritious! Children this age can be very neophobic, so introducing them to different foods takes time and they will feel more comfortable the more often you offer something, even if they don’t take a bite. Even if their exposure to a new food is just observing what their teachers eat, perhaps they will be more likely to request something similar at home or be willing to try something new at a restaurant!

All year we have been having conversations with the children with the sentiment of “different kids, different bodies”. This has been helpful in our efforts to create a culture of respect for each child as an individual with unique needs and capabilities, both physically, emotionally and developmentally. Learning that someone else’s body is different than your own is big work for children this age, and one way we can do this is by having conversations at the table about who can eat what, who likes what, what a food gives to us nutritionally, etc. The level of acceptance that the children give to each other about their food choices is really amazing to me, because diets are usually such a emotionally charged subject for us adults. It makes me wonder if we can create a culture of acceptance and inquiry on this subject, how far reaching could this sentiment be in our other branches of anti-bias learning?!

 

 

 

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The right to self-determination. https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/the-right-to-self-determination/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/the-right-to-self-determination/#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 23:13:53 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20015 Read More]]> by Mage

While young children are in the process of developing their sense of autonomy, including aspects of identity such as race and gender(s), some of them will change their names. For some children, name changing is an experiment and a child might change their name every few weeks, or even every few hours… For other children, name changing is a significant step in a process of defining oneself in various ways. One of the ways that name changing might be significant for a young child is that it could relate to the child’s emerging sense of gender identity and expression.

Often, the names that children choose will be something that might feel silly for us to say as adults–“Shrek,” or “Dragon,” or “Princess.” Children can be so changeable, so it might be easy for us to tell ourselves that we don’t have to respect the name that a child has chosen for themself. Because (we might tell ourselves), our life experience as adults gives us insight into their feelings as children, and since we might think of this as “just a phase,” we’d be inclined to think it’s cute, and immature, and to ignore them.

Was there ever a time in your young life when you connected with something–such as a book, a name, a love interest, an idea, or even a group of friends–and had to defend your feelings from adults who said you were going through a phase? How did you feel when adults told you that you were going through a phase, or worse, completely ignored you and your requests?

It is my personal belief that everything in life is a phase, and in the most literal sense, so is life itself. I believe that the present moment is important, because all we truly have is time, ourselves and each other. So, I see it as my responsibility to believe people when they tell me who they are, right now, even if they change their minds later, or become someone else later.

And what if a child changes their name, and changes it again‚ÄĒand the name itself changes, but the process is representative of an underlying pattern in that child’s life? What if a name change is not about the name, but the child’s gender identity? When would you decide to believe the child? Two weeks? Two years? Twenty years? Never?

Earlier this week, one of the children at Elm House who uses a chosen name in addition to the name she was given, approached me in the backyard after morning snack. (Her name is abbreviated to ZPrincess here, for privacy)

ZPrincess: Maaaage! Mage!

Mage: Oh hey! What’s up, ZPrincess?

ZPrincess: Mage, J keeps forgetting my name! And forgetting it! All morning, forgetting it.

Mage: Aah, I see. She can’t remember your name?¬†

ZPrincess: Yes! And (big sigh) I have to tell her my name is ZPrincess, and tell her, and tell her, and tell her again my name is ZPrincess all morning.

Mage: You have to remind her so much, that sounds so frustrating! Sometimes people forget my name, too, and I have to remind them a lot. I don’t like it at all!

ZPrincess: YEAH, I KNOW!!

The conversation with ZPrincess about the frustration and sadness of having to correct someone about your chosen name, repeatedly, really resonated with me on a personal level. I am a non-binary trans man, and my parents gave me a different name from the one I use now, which is my chosen name. When I changed my name, I used it for four years before going to court and signing a legal document to make it legitimate in the eyes of the law. During that time, I had to correct many people. Friends, family, and especially anyone who would interact with the name my parents gave me (professors, doctors, the DMV, literally any place where my ID or even my debit card was used). For someone who has never experienced this, it might sound more like a minor annoyance than a distressing obstacle. What I experienced was psychologically stressful. I experienced depression and social phobia, I had a lot of self-doubt, and often felt invisible, unimportant, and even unreal.

When someone calls a trans person by their birth name, rather than their chosen one (if they have made a new name part of their personal journey), this is called dead¬†naming. Dead naming can be intentional or unintentional. In addition to causing mental distress, dead naming can also expose trans people to serious consequences, such as discrimination, harassment, job loss… Here is an article that can explain more about what dead naming is, and some of the consequences of it.

So, hearing a child tell me about her experiences of frustration at having to correct other people around her all day long, resonated with me because I have experienced it myself. For years and years and years.

I think that, even if you haven’t experienced dead naming, you might be able to relate to the feelings of sadness and frustration that come with being told that your ideas about who you are and how you express yourself are not worth respecting.

I bring this up because I know that you care deeply about your children, that you honor them, and that you want the world to honor and respect them, too. You want your child to feel loved and loveable. This culture that we live in is patriarchal, and whether we like it or not, we have all inherited trauma and abusive dynamics from our ancestors. Some of this comes out in the form of a cycle of abuse, which may be so seamlessly enfolded into our subconsciousness that we would easily overlook the patterns that we pass on to our own children. Adults have power over children, absolute power, and so our choices, words, and actions affect their lives both in the present and in the long development of their lives. It is not just parents, but all adults within this culture, who have learned to disregard the right to self-determination of all children.

Unlearning these beliefs and biases takes serious effort and dedication. It requires facing oneself with complete honesty, and asking questions that may be hard, or sad, to answer. I am always asking myself if I treat children with the respect that I wish I’d been shown when I was a child. I’m afraid that the truth is, I still have a lot of personal work to do, and it is not easy or fun. Facing up to my own biases is deeply humbling. I believe that by doing the personal work, and hopefully becoming better at honoring the autonomy of children, I will contribute to the development of a better culture, which those children will carry on with them to adulthood, and pass on to the children in their lives. Maybe it’s a grandiose belief, maybe not. Either way, if even one child feels that they were seen and valued, the work is worth it. Because people are what matter in life, and people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

 

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Bluego the flying spider https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/bluego-the-flying-spider/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/bluego-the-flying-spider/#respond Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:40:27 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19930 Read More]]> By Jackie

We have a flying spider named¬†Bluego in our backyard. It hangs out under our stumps, around the corners of our deck, toy box, sand box and garden bed. We are always very excited when Bluego shows up. We had many conversations about Bluego. We wonder if it has a family and what do they do as a family, do they make chocolate cookies? We talked about how we can be gentle with Bluego’s body because it’s family will be sad if it got hurt.

 

     

Does Bluego visit your household? Do your children talk about Bluego the flying spider with you? Are there other creatures residing with you and do you have stories about them?

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Goodbyes and Rainbows! https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/goodbyes-and-rainbows/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/goodbyes-and-rainbows/#comments Fri, 15 Jun 2018 18:07:21 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19997 Read More]]> by Alisha

Our¬† last week of school for the school year has been filled with excitement and sadness and everything in between. We have had lots of feelings this week! Some people will be moving on to kindergarten in the fall, some people will be going to different schools in the fall, some people will be here for the summer and some will not. It can be a little bit anxiety inducing to have all of these transitions coming up with different people going every which way. For the past few weeks we have been talking more about about where everyone will be using wooden blocks with each child’s face on them. I ask them, “Where will you be in the fall?” and they are able to place their block in areas designated “Tulip Tree”, “kindergarten” or “new school”.¬† Graduates have had a chance to tell us all which kindergarten they will be attending and how they are feeling about it. Most people have said they feel excited and nervous at the same time! We have been role playing introducing ourselves to new people and asking to join into play. Year after year I see that practicing these skills helps to reduce (some) of the anxiety around this time of year. I know all of these children have a lot of ideas about how to make new friends and will do just that when the time comes!

We have also tried to make this week extra fun with our pajama day at the beginning of the week and “wear your favorite color day” day yesterday. We ended up having such a beautiful rainbow of colors!

We all lined up in rainbow order. It was very tricky to stay in order but we even had a mini rainbow parade inside and around the circle rug for Nora, who was cooking lunch! 

We have had such a great school year with all of these amazing children. Thank you for being such a supportive and sweet community.  We will miss all of you who are moving on to new things and are excited to spend the summer with some of you. We love you all!! Hope to see all of you at our graduation celebration on Wednesday, June 27th at 5pm!

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LS’s Creation Story https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/lss-creation-story/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/lss-creation-story/#respond Fri, 15 Jun 2018 17:37:56 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19991 Read More]]> By Laurie

Is getting ready to say goodbye to LS, who is making the move to preschool, we have been looking at a lot of old photos and talking about what once was (babyhood) and what is to come (what to expect at preschool). This is coinciding with our several month long reading and rereading of Raven: A Pacific Northwest Trickster Tale, which is a story of transformation and, in it’s own right, a creation story. It’s exciting to me when children begin telling stories, and having been given creation mythology, begin to create their own myths of where they came from and how it is they came to be.

LS holding ZP’s hand, singing songs.

LS was in my afternoon group along with her dear friend ZP. ZP has also been at Elm House since babyhood and the two of them are often working out their imaginary play, friendship struggles, concepts, and exciting discoveries together. This was how our conversation went:

LN “Are you still a baby?”
Group: “No!”
LN “Do you remember being a baby?”
LS “I Remember ZP was a little nut! ZP was a little nut and then ZP was an owl.
He was an owl and he flew away.
I picked ZP up and he was a little nut baby and I was holding him.”
LN “Like this?” (tiny fingers)
LS “No like this” (cradled arms)
LN “I have a photo of when ZP was a baby and LS was a baby.”
LS (wistfully) “Yeah.”
LS “Sometimes I have to turn into a big big… turn into a monster and say RAWR! Rawr!”
LN “Gasp! Is anybody else a monster sometimes?”
ZP “Yeah I know it monsters are really really really really really really really really scary!”
LS “You gonna be a monster and I’m gonna be a monster! ZP and me are both gonna be monsters!”
SM “Monsters outside”
LS “Rayray and you and you are gonna be monsters. All of us are gonna be monsters.”
LN “The whole group. What about babies?”
LS Noooo, not babies.”
LN (laughs) “No more babies?”
LS “All gone babies!”

We will miss you LS- and all your wonderful stories!

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Neighborhood activism https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/neighborhood-activism/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/neighborhood-activism/#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2018 22:27:03 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19959 Read More]]> By Nora

For the past several Fridays we have been going for “trash walks” around the block to prevent trash from going into the sewers and making their way into the rivers, lakes, and ocean. Last Friday, it was raining so we took that as an opportunity to make some signs letting our neighbors know about where our trash goes if we leave it in the street, and where it should go. The children came up with their own messages and graphics for their signs and then this week we got to hang them up! Everyone felt so proud picking the spot they wanted their sign to go. We hung the signs on the same route that we walk to pick up trash. We hope you see them around!

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We wish you well https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/we-wish-you-well-3/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/we-wish-you-well-3/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 22:27:13 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19946 Read More]]> By Megan

In the next two months we will be saying our goodbyes to many of our Elm House friends. Some children have been with us for just this school year and are moving up to preschool, others have been here since they were newly one year old, but all will be missed dearly. At Elm House we have a tradition of hosting a casual goodbye circle where we gather outside, eat a summer fruit snack together and sing a few songs together one last time as a group. These rituals help us all have closure on a child and their family’s experience here. We also will be making photo pages for your children to help them remember their first school community experience.

If your child is having their last day at Elm House soon, please start the conversation of goodbye’s with them a week or two prior.¬† Usually a week or two is plenty of time for them to begin to process something like an impending goodbye and anything longer than that might cause lots of confusion or anxiety. Visual representations of time like a picture calendar that they can be involved in keeping track of the days are super helpful in times of transition. Honoring feelings of sadness, hesitation, insecurity, loss or just plain excitement will help them feel secure and cared for in times of change. If your child has a favorite friend that you know they will miss, we encourage you to touch base with parents and set up play dates. The relationships and emotional bonds that these children have formed with each other this year are very incredible and absolutely sacred! And please know that with a heads up you are always welcome to stop by and say hello during our afternoon outside times~we love when graduates visit.

This month we will be wishing well…

 

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Preschool in Pajamas https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/preschool-in-pajamas/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/preschool-in-pajamas/#respond Tue, 12 Jun 2018 21:41:17 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19931 Read More]]> by Katee

A much anticipated pajama day is happening around here and the kids have been jumping with excitement all day.¬† Children remind us all that being in your pajamas doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for lazy cuddles and lullabies.¬† This morning we built forts with tables and fabric, played in the dark and with projected nocturnal animals, snuggled stuffies and puppets, and even drew on paper lining the hallway (since our tables were being used for forts).¬† I brought one of my favorite children’s books to read- The Dr. Seuss Sleep Book, and a couple other children brought special pajama books from home as well to share with us. Here is a peek at our morning!

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So many birthdays! https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/so-many-birthdays/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/so-many-birthdays/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:16:26 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=19916 Read More]]> By Amber

Last month we celebrated MH’s 4th birthday! It was a very special celebration because his grandparents were able to join us!

We saw some baby pictures of MH and he showed us his special froggy stuffy.

Happy Birthday MH!

This month we celebrated FOUR birthdays in the last two weeks!

NC turned 5! This is his last year at TT and will be going to kindergarten in the fall.

Happy 5th Birthday NC!

LW turned 4! Her parents brought lots of photos of LW as a baby and told us about fun times they had in the snow in Vermont!

Happy 4th Birthday LW! You’re getting so big!

LG had his 4th birthday as well. He brought two very special turtles named the Becketts. Big Beckett and Baby Beckett.

Happy 4th Birthday LG! We’re happy to help you celebrate your big day!

And last but not least was STr’s 4th birthday! STr brought his parents and grandparents to celebrate! He shared his two special stuffies Raspberry Wolf and a very cute Racecar driving mousie.

We looked at some baby photos of STr and marveled at how much he’s grown

Happy 4th Birthday STr!

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