Tulip Tree Preschool https://tuliptreepreschool.com Tue, 23 Oct 2018 20:21:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Video Projection https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/video-projection/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/video-projection/#respond Tue, 23 Oct 2018 20:21:38 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20523 Read More]]> So far this year our studio has seen lots of projection and light work. We have used the overhead projector, flashlights, our light table, some different colored light bulbs that create rainbow shadows and slide projectors. This week we introduced something new! Our studio has been completely transformed by the power of our digital video projector! Yesterday, our studio was a fall landscape with leaves to toss and roll in. Today our studio became an underwater water world where we got to swim with the jellyfish.  We also transformed our studio into a theater at circle time to watch a video of our friend LG’s cast being removed!









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Playing with Simple Machines https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/playing-with-simple-machines/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/playing-with-simple-machines/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 21:19:42 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20486 Read More]]> By Kerry

We began talking informally about simple machines when the children were using an assortment of levers to remove some golf tees stuck in a cardboard box.

Lately, simple machines are showing up in play more and more often!

LG and SM built a lever and tried to launch some balls across the yard then started using it to lift each other off the ground. It took four children to lift me off the ground, a humbling experiment.


We found some clamps in the shed. STr and EP used the screws on the clamps to hold together pieces of wood when tape and string just wouldn’t cut it.


The kids use tongs, scissors, stairs and bikes everyday without even realizing their ingenuity.


What is a machine anyway? We discussed the question and decided that a machine is anything that makes hard work easier. The children do hard work all day and invent machines to help them constantly.

I want to get the bucket full of water to the playhouse but it’s heavy and spilling when I carry it… why don’t I put it in the dump truck and roll it!

I want to knock down all those blocks with this car but it won’t go fast enough… I’ll build a ramp!

I wonder what other machines we use everyday without realizing and if there are more ways we can think to make all the work we do a little easier.

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Child’s Eye View https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/childs-eye-view/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/childs-eye-view/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2018 20:21:49 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20460 Read More]]> Today ZP said to Katee, “I want to take a picture of my beautiful self and everyone else.” We used to have digital cameras reserved for children to take photos, but the batteries died and we don’t have the specific chargers needed for them! So Katee told ZP that if she was able to use lots of care and gentleness, that she could use the teacher camera. With extra gentle care, she held the big camera with two hands and walked slowly around the commons. She made sure to ask each person before taking a photo of them. She asked, “Do you want a picture of yourself??” or “Can I take a picture of you right here?”. Once in a while she let out a giggle and said, “I just love this soooo much!” Here is what she captured this morning (click to enlarge)-


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Anti Bias At This Age https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/anti-bias-at-this-age/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/anti-bias-at-this-age/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2018 22:07:19 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20446 Read More]]> By Bee

We sat cross legged, gathered around the lap top. Mage asked if anyone had any questions. A voice spoke out into our collective silence.

“How do you weave in Anti-Bias teaching? What does that look like for this age?”

What a profound wondering for Laura to share with us. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. My gut reaction is that everything we do is colored with Anti-Bias learning. How can that be??? To be perfectly frank it is because bias abounds. It flourishes. Its seeds were planted during the founding of our nation and American soil is fertile. Bias is so deeply rooted in each one of us that we often aren’t even aware of it. Because of this we take steps during each and every interaction at Elm House to try to dismantle systemic bias. 

This is huge work because our society is incredibly ageist. Ageism is everywhere and comes across in innumerable ways. If you have children and you have tried to eat brunch at a hip place in SE you KNOW this in your core. You must list whether your party has children in it, and if it does, you will not be seated until one of a very few select tables next to their play space becomes available. 20 other parties may be seated before you if those parties don’t have children, because every empty table is available to them. It doesn’t matter that you and your children are hungry and have waited longer than your fair share. People don’t want to see or hear children, so you must wait to eat with other people who also have children and will therefore be less offended by their presence. If you are out and about you might hear parents apologizing to other people for the behavior of their children (running, laughing, crying). Deeply rooted ageism makes parents feel shameful for the very normal behavior and feelings of their children. If an adult at the table next to ours burst into tears, how would we respond? Would we glare? Would we loudly huff our displeasure? Would we raise eyebrows to others at our table? Would we look to their companions to quiet their grief? No! We would feel concerned. We might express worry to the others we are with. We may lower our voices out of respect for that person’s suffering. We might even pick up their tab because we want to help somehow, some way. You do not need to apologize that your children are human beings with ideas, needs, and feelings. You do not need to apologize that your children are human. You do not need to apologize.

Our society is also full of ableism. We actively discriminate against people who are less physically capable than us CHILDREN INCLUDED! Unlike wildebeest we are not born ready to run within an hour. It is contrary to human development, and literally impossible, however adults spend a lot of time communicating to children how incapable/slow/small they are. We don’t do this to be rude or critical, in fact oftentimes we think we are being kind or considerate.  That’s how deeply rooted our bias is. “Oh, I’ll just carry you! We are going a long way and you’ll get tired.” We don’t tell other (adult) people what their bodies are capable of. We don’t force them to take accommodations. We don’t say, “My plans are more important than you trying. You can try on your own time.” All of those things would be considered incredibly rude if we said them to adults, but we are perfectly comfortable expressing them to children. At Elm House we try to be conscientious about the entirety of what we are expressing to the children. “You really want to walk. I thought I might carry you since we are traveling a far distance. You do not want to be carried. You have made that very clear. Will you let me know if you don’t feel like walking anymore? I brought the stroller with us just in case. We may not have time to read a book before nap because our walk will take longer than I was anticipating. That’s okay, things change. Thanks for letting me know you wanted to walk!”

If that seems like a mouthful, it’s because it is! Children are constantly learning and wondering, yet we keep an incredible wealth of information from them all the time. I am surprised by how little information people choose to share with children. When questioned people often respond with statements like, “Well, he can’t really understand me.” “It doesn’t matter to her what errands we are running.” “It’s not like he is going to respond.” Let’s take a closer look at these.

“Well, he can’t really understand me.”

Your child has incredible receptive language skills. They DO understand you. They may not be aware of certain vocabulary words, but that is due to lack of exposure, not lack of ability. When speaking with adults who use other languages, we don’t refuse to communicate with them when we are interacting closely with them. We look for any means to get our message across. We share similar words we may both know. We gesture. We use signs. We point to pictures. We ask people nearby to help aid us in communicating with that person. Children deserve the same consideration.

“It doesn’t matter to her what errands we are running.”

Why? Why do we think that? Of course she has opinions about how and where she will spend her day. If we ask an adult to join us for the afternoon, it is polite to check in with them about what activities we will do. “Before we go to lunch do you mind if we run by the post office so I can drop off the mail? On the way home I may need to stop by the store for some almond milk as well.” This gives the other person the option to let us know their limits and their needs. “You know I am actually incredibly hungry. Bordering on hangry over here. Can we grab lunch first? I’m happy to run any errands after that.” Children deserve the same consideration. Clearly we don’t need their permission before taking them places, but that doesn’t change the fact that we should let them know the plan and wait for a response. If your child starts expressing strong feelings they are trying to remind you of a need they have that they are afraid isn’t going to be met. You can assure them you know what they need, and you will make sure they get it. You can honor that they have opinions, while still doing the things that need to get done.

“It’s not like they are going to respond.”

Pre verbal children cannot respond to us the way other people might. People who are mute also fall into this category. We do not treat people who are mute as if they are mentally lacking, because they aren’t. The inability to speak does not negate the right to information. Children respond in many ways, in 100 languages if you will, and verbal speech is only one of those. I wouldn’t dream of making decisions for the body of a mute elder without letting them know what was happening. That would be disrespectful, scary, and awkward. Children deserve the same consideration. WS, our youngest child at Elm House, is pre-verbal. We always check in with him before interacting with his body. “Hey, WS. It is time for your diaper change. I am going to pick you up and lay you on the changing table. Are you ready?” Then, and this is crucial, we wait. We wait for a sign from WS. With very young children this often looks like a tensing of the body. They are literally bracing themselves to be carried and moved. Without that warning, they aren’t able to brace themselves and it’s startling! I would feel very uncomfortable if I was laying down looking at a book, and someone much larger than myself picked me up around the middle and hoisted my body aloft. I might yelp, flail, and kick. We often see these behaviors in children who are touched without warning. Communicating your intentions with another’s body is considerate, respectful, and the key stone of all our consent work here at Elm House.


To try and further dismantle ageism and ableism we encourage the children to look to one another for assistance before asking an adult. This is the opposite of what we hear in everyday conversations. “If you need help you can find a grown up!” Children are capable. Children deserve to have their abilities reflected back at them. FD was struggling with her sweater the other day and needed a hand. She came up to me and asked for my help. “Thank you for letting me know what you need FD, I would be happy to help, but I am helping WS with his jacket, I wonder who else could help you?”

“Who? Who?” FD echoed like a little owl.

OC had been observing from the corner and knew her moment had come. “I can help.” she stated firmly as she walked over. FD nodded her consent, which OC seemed to be waiting for. OC grabbed FD’s wrist and intentionally thrust her arm through the sleeve. She repeated this on the other  side and then got started on the zipper. At that moment OC realized she was the only one left without shoes on. FD said, “Here! Your shoe. I will help.” FD had anticipated OC’s need and KNEW she could help. She already had OC’s shoe in her hand! Both of them were people who needed help, but they were also people capable of helping others.



Personally, feeling like my skill set is a perfect match for someone else’s need gives me a HUGE boost of confidence and self worth. I imagine it is similar for the children. If someone falls down in the backyard and asks for help, as teachers we echo their call instead of fulfilling it. “I hear that SM needs help standing up? Who can help!?!” Inevitably multiple children come rushing over. They know they can help, and whats more is that they want to. We dont want to take that sense of purpose and care away from the children. We invite you to consider this when your child is trying to puzzle things out on their own. Wait. Watch. Offer the least amount of help as is required. Communicate through your actions that you know your child is capable of caring for their body and others.

These are just a couple of the ways that we weave anti-bias practices into our work. It is something that is always on our minds and that we are always looking for new ideas on. I share this information with you humbly, as a person who needs to do much work herself. Please leave any questions, ideas, wonderings, or comments in the section below.

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Feeling Brave Together https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/feeling-brave-together/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/feeling-brave-together/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2018 21:54:09 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20424 Read More]]> by Katee

We have been talking a bit about how fun it can be to be scared sometimes.  The season of ghoulish imagery, mysterious masked people, and shadow is upon us and this can feel frightening sometimes to young children.  We have been talking about how many of these decorations we see are just for fun- the fun and excitement of being scared!

One topic that has led to this discussion is the return of one of our favorite songs- ‘Who Were The Witches’, by Bonnie Lockhart.  The song speaks highly of true, historical witches and what they helped people with.  It also sings that people were scared of the powers they have, but that these powers to help and heal should be shared. (We don’t get into the actual scary bits- the terrifying persecution of women.) The children beg for this song almost daily!   I don’t like the ugly imagery around witches with green skin and big moles flying around that was used as a scare tactic to do torturous things to these women, but it is an inevitable image these children will see. So we conversely also sing a silly song with 5 little pumpkins and a cackling witch flying in to swoop them up one by one and make a pie. We usually preface this song by saying, “this is a silly song about witches where we pretend they are scary, but real witches aren’t scary, right?”. The children agree and many of them share who in their family is most certainly a witch. “Sometimes it can be exciting to be scared, so you might see witches or skeletons or other decorations and costumes right now that look a little bit scary.  Are skeletons actually scary?”. The children all shout “no!”, and ” It’s just our bones!”.

We also started telling scary stories.  During circle time on Monday I told the children to get ready for a scary story- you can ask a friend or neighbor if they’d like to huddle close to you.

Seeing them excitedly brace themselves for the story was so sweet.  It reminded me of a Frog and Toad story where they practice being brave together by looking for scary things to overcome.  So we read this familiar story and I asked the children to tell me about being brave.

AD: I’m not even afraid of dragons! I’m very brave.

LS: when I’m going on an adventure and I see a big log I go like this (stiffens body and pulls back). Sometimes there’s a big log with mushrooms growing out of it, but I’m very brave.

SM: When I went to the zoo, I wasn’t even scared of a cheetah.

Katee: Hmm, so if you see something scary, but you’re not scared, does that mean you’re brave?

CL: No, no you have to be scared to be brave! You have to be scared to be brave because if you’re scared and you do it, then you can be brave. Because only brave people do things that are scary, that you’re afraid to do.

Katee: Oh! CL is saying that you have to be scared to be brave. If it isn’t scary, then you don’t need bravery. Maybe you have to be scared first to be brave.

Alisha: Yeah, can you be scared and brave at the same time?

CL: Yeah!

Katee: Yeah, CL is saying it’s required. You have to be facing something scary in order to be brave about it. So like, are you all afraid of this ukulele?

Many: NO!

Katee: Does that make you brave?

Many: Yes! yes? um, yes!

Alisha: Well, I am a little scared to play ukulele in front of people because I’m still learning. So when I do, I have to be kinda brave, since I’m feeling pretty shy and scared.

Katee: Oh, so I hear that sometimes were scared, not because something is dangerous, but also because we might just be feeling shy.

CL: Like today, I’m going to dance in front of everyone all by myself and I’m scared because I’ve never done that before. I’m gonna be brave because I have to do it.

HE: I am brave about butterflies, but when I was at Elm House I wasn’t yet. I used to scared of butterflies, but I got more braver about it.

Katee: I think you all are so brave actually. I remember SM used to be so afraid of bees, and now she helps protect the bees and she’s pet dead bees, even though she was afraid of them.

DB: Do you remember that time I was a little bit older and I went to my downstairs school and teacher Alisha was at the door first and I was kinda shy of her and I never went to this school before but when I got bigger I liked it. But I didn’t even know her name.

Alisha: Yeah, it took a lot of bravery from all of you to come here on your first day of school. To be at school without your families..

DB: yeah!

Katee: You are all brave everyday when you say goodbye to your family in the morning. Isn’t it hard to say goodbye to your family in the morning sometimes?

MH: nods a lot

Katee: Yeah, it can be a little bit scary to say goodbye when you’re not sure what is gonna happen here, and you don’t want them to leave. Even if you’re not new at this school- you are so brave to stand on your own and wave goodbye to your family for a while.

EB: One time I actually saw a bumble bee but actually I didn’t go away from it.

Katee: You didn’t back away. Were you feeling really brave when you did that?

EB: mm hmm

FC: I was brave to peel an avocado because I never even done that before! It was not scary, it was just the peel.

Alisha: hmm, CL said you have to be a little afraid to be brave.

FC: well, I was a little but scared.

Alisha: why were you a little bit scared?

FC: because, it was my first time to

Katee: mm, sometimes just doing something for the first time, you might be a little nervous.

FC: yeah, nervous. But now I peel avocados hundreds! And I love them!

ER: You have to be sad to be brave.

Katee: you do?

ER: yeah! If you feel scared, you can read a book.

Katee: oh, can reading a book help you feel brave?

ER: yeah!

Katee: So ER said that sometimes you might not be scared, but you could be sad, or shy, or nervous when you’re brave.  I think that’s really true.





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Rose Hits Her Friend https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/rose-hits-her-friend/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/rose-hits-her-friend/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2018 22:39:33 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20436 Read More]]> by Alisha

There have been a few incidents of hitting the past couple weeks with various children. Hitting is not uncommon in preschool because children this age are still learning a lot about impulse control, especially when angry! To help us talk to the children about this, we brought Rose (one of our persona dolls) to circle last week. Here is our conversation-

Alisha: Today I brought Rose to circle! We have seen her up on that shelf and some of you already know her and some of you might be meeting her for the first time.

(Many children say “I know her!”)

Alisha: Raise your hand if you remember anything about Rose

CL: I see that shirt that Katee brought and you saw that she could wear it.

Alisha: CL remembered that this used to be Coco’s shirt and then Katee brought it to school now Rose gets to wear it! Look! It’s a unicorn with a jewel eye.

DB: I remember!

HE: Nick fell over!! (up on the shelf)

Katee: Oh no! We will help Nick.

DB: I remember the jewel eye!

Katee: SM told me something! She said “I remember that Rose has to talk in Alisha’s ear.” she was wondering if Rose is going to talk in her ear some day!

Alisha: Who knows!? Maybe! Well Rose came to circle today because something happened and she needs some advice!

DB: And help?

Alisha: Yes.

SM: First she has to tell us what happened!

Alisha: Okay. I’ll tell you. At her school she was in the yard playing and there was this ball that she loved! It was a rainbow bouncy ball. I saw that we actually have some too… It was just like those ones. At her school they only had one! And she loved the rainbow bouncy ball. And she liked to take it with her everywhere. But this day, she wanted to move on to do another project in the garden so she put the rainbow bouncy ball down and she went over to the garden to help plant some vegetables. After a little bit she decided, “No,I want to go back to my ball because my ball is the best thing ever! And it’s rainbow and it’s beautiful and it’s super bouncy and I just love it so much so I’m going to go back and play with the ball.”

DB: Is that her ball?

Alisha: No, it’s not her ball from home. It’s a school ball for everyone but she loved it so much and she played with it almost every time she went outside. BUT when she turned around to go back to the ball… someone else had the ball. And Rose went over there… and she got soooooooo mad. She felt her face getting hot, like super hot. She felt her fists clench up like this and in head she was thinking “Thanks MY ball! That’s MY ball! I wasn’t done with it!!!” and she was soooo mad and she went up to her friend who had the ball and she went like this [Makes punching motion and big noise] and hit her friend. She hit her friend realy hard! Her friend started crying. The teacher ran over and said, “Stop!! Rose! What’s going on? wow! that really worried me!” and Rose said, “THAT’S MY BALL! And I wanted it and I wasn’t done with it and it’s my favorite thing and I really wanted it and I play with it all the time and it’s my favorite thing and I really really really wanted to play with it and I’m SO MAD!!!” And Rose started crying actually. She was a bit scared because her teacher used a really serious voice.

DB: When my mom and dad say I need to go to my room, I start to cry.

Alisha: Yeah, she started to cry too and she was little scared because the teacher had a serious voice and had a serious face. And the teacher’s voice was kind of loud because they were trying to get her to stop hitting her friend. And so now Rose needs some advice about what to do. She felt really bad once she calmed down. She felt sad about what she did. And she knew that that wasn’t okay. She knows we aren’t supposed to hit our classmates. She needs a little advice about two things. The first thing is how can she calm down next time so that doesn’t happen? The second is how can she make sure her friend is okay?

ZP: I have to tell you something…. Maybe it was Nick??

Alisha: Maybe it was. Should I ask her?

(kids say yes)

Alisha: Rose, was it Nick that you hit?

(Alisha puts ear up to Rose’s mouth)

Alisha: Yes, it was Nick.

(kids gasp)

DB: We were right!

Alisha: Should we bring Nick to circle too?

LG: Yes, to check on him to see if he’s okay.

STr: Check his arm!

LG: Yeah, because it’s broken!

CL: Yeah, he has a cast!

Alisha: Oh no, he has a broken arm and he got hit. Ouch! There’s one thing I want to tell Rose before Nick comes. (Turns to Rose) I’m worried because my friend Nick is hurt, but I still love you, even though you hit Nick. I still care about you.

FC: I hope Nick is okay since he has a broken arm!

DB: Nick has the cast from her hitting him?

Alisha: No, Nick has the cast from falling off the swing, remember? He already had this cast when Rose hit him. So what is some advice for Rose. If she turned around and someone else had the ball she wants to use and she gets really angry, what are some ways that you know how to calm down when you are really really angry?

LS: Don’t hit!

Alisha: Don’t hit, that’s true! What are some ways that she can calm down before she hits someone?

AB: She should wait her turn

EB: She can take a deep breath!!

Alisha: Okay great! Did you know about that Rose? …. She said she knows about it but she forgot, she needs to practice more. So let’s practice a volcano breath. Breath in… Breath out….

(everyone does multiple volcano breaths)

CL: She can count to 5!

Alisha: Okay let’s try! 1…2..3…4…5… Did you hear that Rose? The next time you get really angry you can take a deep breath or you can count to 5. Any other suggestions?

LW: Don’t hit the cast!

Alisha: Yes, Nick is extra sensitive because of the cast so we have to be gentle around that.

Katee: What could you if you really feel like hitting somebody??

LS: Don’t hit him!

Alisha: That’s true. But sometimes people get so mad it’s hard to control your body so we are talking about ways to calm down before you get THAT mad. Raise your candle if you have ever been so mad it’s hard to control your body?

(many kids say, “I did!”)

ZP: I did. My sister hit me with a really big stick and it bonked me and I couldn’t even breath the air and I couldn’t even talk.

Alisha: You couldn’t breath the air and and you couldn’t even talk?? Did it hurt really bad?

ZP: Yeah

Alisha: How did it make you feel?

ZP: It made me so sad. And my mom just comed outside.

Alisha: I’m glad  you had an adult that helped you.  You can always ask an adult to help you if you feel sad or mad. Anyone else have a time they felt very mad?

CL: One time my mom was so angry that it made me even angrier than her!

Alisha: That happens sometimes! Someone is angry and that makes you angry and then it’s double angry! Did that happen to you ZP when your sister hit you?

ZP: Yes and it was a big stick and it was so long then the stick said bonk on my head!!

DB: Was it KP?

ZP: Yes it was KP!

DB: Well she doesn’t hit me… she’s my friend.

Alisha: Well sometimes in preschool even friends hit each other because everyone is still learning about that. When you are an adult, friends do not hit each other. In preschool, children are learning how to control their bodies and when you will learn a lot about it. Because then when you are older you will be able to have the tools to control your body.

Katee: Has anyone felt so angry that they hit one of their friends at school?

(some say yes, some say no)

SM: One time I screamed at the top of my lungs because I was so angry.

(Lots of kids make connection signs)

Alisha: So we talked about ways Rose could calm down. She could take a deep breath or count to 5. Another thing she can do that’s always an option for her and for you is to come talk to a teacher. We can remind you if you forget how to calm down if you feel like you might use your body in harmful or hurtful ways.

LG: Yes, do not hit!

Alisha: Another thing you could do is even hit a pillow instead of a person! Pillows don’t have feelings and they are very soft. It won’t hurt your hand and it won’t hurt the pillow , so that could be a good option if you aren’t able to calm down right away.

EB: Also, you could calm down in the calm cave!

Katee: What about the calm cubby? Is there anything in there that helps you calm down?

Unkown: Love dragon!

STr: The calm bottles!

EB: They have bubbles and sparkles!

ZP: And boogers!!!

(everyone laughs and says ew!!!!!)

Alisha: So the next thing that I wanted to talk about was that Nick told me he feels a little worried to hang out with Rose again because last time when Nick was with Rose, he got hurt. He felt a little worried that it could happen again.

CL: If I was worried it would happen again, I would talk to a teacher.

Alisha: Okay. That sounds like a good plan. What could Rose say to assure Nick that he is safe?

EB: Are you okay???

Alisha: Yeah! Rose could go up to Nick after she calmed down and say, “Are you okay?” She could even say, “I was really angry and I didn’t control my anger. It was hard for me to control my body so I hit you. Next time I will try to control my anger better. Do you need anything to help you feel better?” It’s important to ask if they need anything. They might want an ice pack, a hug or something else. They might still be too hurt to talk to you. But it’s important to try.

DB: Yeah you might say, “Are you okay? Do you need anything?” And they might say, “No I’m not okay” That means they are not okay. If they said, “yes” it means they are okay.

Alisha: They might say they are okay or not okay. They might want help or they might not. But what everyone wants is for them to know they will be safe around you. Rose could say, “Next time I will try to control my anger.”

MH: She could give him a hug.

ZP: Maybe Nick was holding Rose’s ball.

Alisha: Nick was allowed to because it was a school ball and Rose wasn’t playing with it anymore.

EB: You should never ever hit your friend

Katee: No you shouldn’t. Does that mean that we don’t love rose??

(Kids all say No! I love Rose)

Katee: Do you still want to be friends with Rose?

(kids all say ya!!!!)

Alisha: Yeah! We can all help remind our friends how to calm down and control our bodies! Okay, thank you everyone. Let’s say bye to Rose and Nick now!

Bye Nick and Rose! Until next time!

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Your Child is in the Photos https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/your-child-is-in-the-photos/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/your-child-is-in-the-photos/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2018 19:56:17 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20425 Read More]]> by Mage
There have been messages from a few families lately, expressing confusion over why they have received photos that do not include their child, specifically.
At Elm House, we have many different ways of documenting the learning that is happening at our school. This includes the blog, photographs and other documents showing the process of project work on the walls, instagram, and Brightwheel, among other things. Some of this documentation features individual children, some of it features small or large groups of the children.

Since the questions are related to photos from Brightwheel where a child has been tagged, but is not in the photograph, I’ll explain what our thought process has been for Brightwheel documentation. First, I’ll get the technical part out of the way: when a child is tagged in a photo on Brightwheel, the default message included by Brightwheel will say that “[Child’s name] was in a photo,” and this happens whether we send a photo to an individual or to the whole school. Part of the way we use Brightwheel for documentation is to share the project work that is unfolding on a daily basis within the school as a whole. Your child’s image may be captured in a photo one day, and not in the next–but your child is in the photograph. How does that work? It has to do with how we think of group learning, and project work, as we as a school are influenced by the Reggio Emilia way of learning. This is a philosophy of life and learning which may seem unconventional, if you are not familiar with it. I hope I can give you a sense of how we are inspired by the schools of Reggio, in our project work and documentation.
Many of the projects at Elm House unfold over the course of several weeks or months. This is true of any project, and is especially true of any work that involves life cycles or the outdoors, such as gardening or observations of plant and bug life. Teachers may offer provocations related to these projects every day, at different times of the day, with varying groups of children. This means that, for example, on any given day, one group of children might be involved in the project work with one teacher, while another group might be involved in that project on another day. Megan might have all of the children plant seeds in our planter boxes, in small groups, either all within the same day or over the course of a few days. Joey might be involved in facilitating watering the garden with the children. And so on! Project work is a group effort, in which all of the children build relationships with a concept, to develop shared ideas as well as their own individual ideas. This can take a long time and happen through repeat experiences, and many different combinations of playmates sharing their knowledge, and so collective knowledge forms.
Your child is in the photographs of group activities because the learning of the group represents a piece of what your child as an individual is learning. When we share daily snapshots of what is happening in the school, it is so that you can see and become involved in the learning as it unfolds day to day. You, the family, are also in the photographs, because of your participation in your child’s learning. The conversations you have with your child, the relationships you build at Elm House, the events that you attend–all of it is connected to the learning of your child, and then by extension the learning of the school. Documentation is meant to be representative of what the whole school is learning. Learning, in our environment, is seen as noncompetitive. The educators at Elm House do not have a set agenda for where project work will lead, nor do we have “benchmarks” of learning, because we respect the unique perspectives of children–so project work can take many twists and turns, depending on where the children take it over time.
So, the long and short of it is: documentation at Elm House represents the school as a whole, and a photograph you receive on any given day is a snapshot into the project work as it unfolds every day.
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In Defense of Magic https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/in-defense-of-magic/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/in-defense-of-magic/#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2018 21:57:13 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20389 Read More]]> by Katee

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

A funny thing happened last week that’s got me thinking a lot about magic in childhood.  Of course, children see magic everywhere.  Putting on a big dress is magic, making eye contact with a squirrel is definitely magic, even carrying a stick is magic.  Children have the ability to be more fluid with their imaginative and mundane worlds, and so they walk the earth with glittering eyes as their truth.  We do not need to take them to Disney World (“the most magical place on Earth”, right?) to feel magic, they’ll probably be just as impressed with the pool at the hotel.  Children see magic everywhere because they are truly looking for it, and truly wanting it to be magic.

The quick definition of magic is: “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces”.   With this description in mind, it’s easy to understand that much of what the children see and experience IS magic to them.  They see a mysterious power in the wind, a mysterious force making fleeting rainbows, and can feel the supernatural power behind the stick they are wielding.

So here’s the funny story: We have some string lights that are remote-controlled hanging in the classroom.  One child was looking at them and asked the lights to turn on. Standing behind them, I hit the button on the remote. “Oh! It’s magic!” said STr, “Abra-cadabra!” And I hit the button to turn them off. “Abracadabra!”, he continued saying over and over while his eyes fixed on the lights seemingly obeying his wishes, and I stood behind holding up the remote clicking them on and off. Well it took about 10 seconds for the other children to get word that magic was being made and they all crowded around the lowest hanging light and waited in turns to try to control them. Our cubby area was filled with laughter, twinkling eyes, and “Abra-abra!”, “Abracadabra!” for many minutes.  I, all the while, standing behind them with the remote held up in the air to point to the battery pack.  I wondered when a child was going to notice me and it would all be ruined. “Kaaaatee”, they would say as they discovered the truth and rolled their eyes at me.  But that’s not what happened at all. One child broke off from the group to use the bathroom and upon her return noticed me clicking the remote as the children said their magic verse.  “Katee, you don’t even need that! You don’t even need the remote right now! We’re doing the lights with magic! Look!”-CL

The children want so badly to see the magic in the world and be a part of it, that they are willing to look past other evidence that takes that magic away.  A prime example is with puppetry.  The children of this age generally love to listen to puppets. So much so that when we have important scenarios to talk about with the children, we often use puppets, or dolls to do the talking.  But here’s the thing- you don’t need to be a ventriloquist. You don’t even need to try to hide that your mouth is actually moving and saying the words. They don’t care.  They will hand you that floppy, lifeless puppet for you to put on your hand and animate and they will watch with delight as it moves it’s head, hanging on it’s every word, and are so very captivated by its magic.  They know you have your hand in there, they can see your mouth speaking the words, but it doesn’t matter. They want it to be magic, and so it is.

Another magical happening occurred last week when one child saw that our window prisms were letting colors shine through.  Not just rainbows on the wall though.  When he moved his head this way and that, he could see each individual color sparkle from the prism.  “It’s magic! It’s really, really magic I think!”- AD.


Adults can be very dismissive of this magic.  We understand light refraction in different terms, we adults hold a stick and see a stick in our hand.  We adults tell the children “It’s just your imagination”,  as if our imaginations are not valid.  But everything that we understand was once imagined! Gravity was once imagined, parallel universes are in our imagination, this school was once just Sarah Lu’s imagination.  Playing with these things is what drives our curiosity and understanding.  We could tell them how the prism works, and if they really wanted that information they might ask, but instead we let them play.  By letting them play, we are holding space for their imagination.  By giving them the freedom to imagine, we are defending their magical truth.

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Harvesting Seeds https://tuliptreepreschool.com/preschool-blog/harvesting-seeds/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/preschool-blog/harvesting-seeds/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2018 20:48:07 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20392 Read More]]> By Amber

We have been feeling in the spooky mood here at TT. (Or “smoooooky” as CL says)

On Friday I pulled down some of our spookiest Halloween stories to tell the children. We huddled together in the dark with only a night light and I read them some cute and spooky tales.

Fear is a very powerful emotion and there is something SO fun about taking control of it and choosing to feel a little bit scared.

Some children lean into the fear and want to amp it up which results in shrieking giggles! During one story STa said in a whisper “I think there is a spooky monster in that closet right now!” Everyone looked over their shoulders giggling and snuggling closer together around the night light.

Others are a little more eager to stay with one foot in reality and do a lot of reasoning and rationalizing. STr looked at a page with a large mouthed goblin and said “That’s just for pretend, right Teacher Amber?”

We all agreed that it was just make believe and there were not actually spooky goblins but sometimes its fun to pretend!

But fall is not just about spooky stories and make believe. It’s also about harvesting food, remembering loved ones and being thankful.

Yesterday afternoon the children and I sat to look at a sunflower head that MH and I had harvested a couple weeks earlier. He noticed the bright yellow petals had fallen off and the flower’s drooping head had dried up. We looked at all the seeds nestled together and pulled a couple out. We ate a few but they were a little bit wet and didn’t taste like much.

At circle we talked about the life cycle of a sunflower and how the flower grows from a seed, to a sprout, to a flower that makes more seeds! We spent the afternoon harvesting the seeds from the dry sunflower heads. We decided to save some to plant in our garden next year and save the rest to eat!

We can learn a lot from plants. Talking about the natural cycle of life is an important part of growing up. We can think of these little seeds as the flower’s legacy. We planted each one of those and watched them grow into towering flowers. We watched the honey bees wiggle and dance through their pollen dusted faces and we watched them dry, droop and die.

Even though the flowers have completed their life cycle in the garden, we have harvested the seeds and can start a new generation of flowers for next year’s children. We can nourish our bodies with the seeds and remember how tall the flowers grew and the beauty they brought to our school.

I wonder what memories and mementos we will leave behind. I hope we can all leave such a legacy as the tall sunflower.

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Our Skeletal Study https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/our-skeletal-study/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/our-skeletal-study/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2018 17:14:40 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=20296 Read More]]> By Kerry

The classroom is filled with ideas about self right now, with all of the children working on their self portraits. They have been working on noticing the similarities and differences in each others faces whether it be eye color, nose shape or hair style. The reflection hasn’t stopped at their external selves though. We have been thinking and learning about what is going on inside our bodies as well. For that past few weeks we have been reading, drawing and discussing our bones and lately the children have been showing a greater interest in the proper names and purpose of specific bones. STr proclaimed at circle “The femur is my favorite bone!” Many friends agreed, stating that it’s strength and size were determining factors in their decision.

When the children were offered some plastic bones to explore while we got ready to go outside, they were excited to guess which bone matched with each part of their body. We decided to take them outside to see what we could do with them. FC, STr and EB wanted to make a skeleton of themselves. After a conversation about sharing and the limited supply of bones, they had a plan.

First they traced each other’s bodies so that they would have a guide for their bones and so they would know that the skeleton was them.









Then they pulled a bone, one at a time, out of a bag and tried to figure out where it might go.









Once all of the bones were used, they realized there were still lots of bones missing from their skeleton and began gathering natural materials from the yard to represent to bones they lacked. 









EB used the wide, flat, shapes of the chestnut tree leaves to represent the pelvis, STr collected long, thick, sticks to take the place of the stabilizing femur, and FC used a small ball to represent the infamously spherical cranium (which was later replaced with a stop sign). STa helped by offering some dried wisteria vines he had found and cut them to make the curved bones for the rib cages.









Inside the classroom, ZP and AD have enjoyed the scientific take on a song many of the kids recognize, “Dem Bones”The children follow along with the song all the way up their bodies while they search with their fingers for the hard edges of their bones.

“The tibia and fibula are connected to the patella bone;

The patella bone’s connected to the femur bone;

The femur bone’s connected to the pelvic bone;

And that’s how our skeleton works!”








This week, the addition of a body puzzle has offered children the ability to explore the anatomy of the skeleton independently. Testing out different configurations and linking our bones with the other vital parts of our bodies, the muscles and organs.

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