Tag Archives: Listening

Painting with Consent

By Katee

We practiced asking for consent more today at circle, role playing different scenarios and asking for volunteers to act them out. We practiced asking for a hug, asking to participate in a game, and also saying “stop!” if a hug or a game doesn’t feel comfortable any longer.

To further this idea we had a small group appointment where we painted with consent from partners.  The participants did some finger painting, but shared one large piece of paper and had to ask their partner if it was okay with them as well.5-DSC_0050

GNF: “Can I put blue dots on the paper?”
EP: “yes!”

GNF waited patiently with eye contact waiting for consent from other partner…
NCC: “hmm….okay!”

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Birthday Brunch Party

By Laura

Here at Tulip Tree we strongly believe that play is the work of childhood. Children learn about their world and how to express their ideas through play. As teachers, we carefully observe the play of the preschoolers and use these observations to offer provocations with materials, environments, and discussions that may continue or deepen this play. For many years now, a very popular play theme has been making cakes in the sandbox. Today a small group of children extended this theme–they were a family having a party, a birthday brunch party. This play was really satisfying to this particular group, it lasted at least thirty minutes and involved so many children that I wasn’t able to record all of the interactions, but here are some of the conversations and actions that occurred during this play.

What do you notice about the words and photos? What do you think the children are investigating? What learning are they demonstrating? What are they trying to figure out about this world?


CW: This is the table cloth. Hey Dad [to SS], I’m the mom, k?

MH: And I’m the other mom.

CW: Hey Other Mom, this is where the table cloth hangs.

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Even More Action Figures!

By Laura

DSC_0033Today, once again, I held a small group appointment with the unit blocks and the personal action figures. This time it included six children who had not yet played with these items: GR, CR, MR, CTG, AH and CS. There was definitely a shared sense of delighted excitement as a passed out each child’s “mini-me.” Some children chose to focus mostly on building, others on building and telling stories and still others on building and drawing their scenes.


MR built a castle for himself, Laurie and WG to live in. He had a slanted driveway that both action figures and cars could slide down. Once he drew a picture of his work he told me about his drawing, “These are spikes for the castle. This is a driveway. That’s Laurie (in the middle), that’s WG (on the right), and that’s MR (left). This is the trap. This is sort of the wall. There is one more part (pointing to a triangle), this is the water holder.”

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Circle Agreements

By Laura

This morning at circle Sarah Lu began with an apology. She said that last Wednesday at circle she had gotten frustrated during a discussion when lots of kids kept interrupting and when the same child interrupted over and over she lost her patience and used a snappy tone to ask her to stop. She apologized to this child in front of the whole group–modeling the fact that we all (even grown-ups!) make mistakes and we can make amends the next time we see the person who was affected by the mistake. Modeling this type of sincere apology yourself is significantly more powerful than simply telling a preschooler to “Say you’re sorry.” It also teaches them  about the inevitability of mistakes and the possibility of re-connection even when a mistake’s  been made.

She also told the preschoolers that she and I had a conversation about that discussion. And while talking we realized that maybe we needed to make some more explicit circle time agreements with the preschoolers to help us all remember the types of behaviors that support whole group thinking and discussion. Involving the children in this process helps them understand what is expected of each person during this time.

As teachers, we also completely understand that not every child every morning is able to meet these expectations–we give these children the option of taking space in the cubby room to rest on bean bags or look at books. They also get to decide if they want to come back to circle and try again or simply come back when we transition to explore time. Allowing for this option we encourage the development of self-awareness and self-regulation. Now we have students as young as three say, “I’m not ready to be at circle anymore.” They get up, walk to the cubby room, relax/reconnect with their bodies, and come back and join circle again in a few minutes.

These are the agreements that the group decided upon for our circle time:

1. Raise your silent candle when you want to share an idea or ask a question.


2. Sit on your bottom on the edge of the rug.


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by Sarah Lu

Recently we have been taking a closer look at our animal friends in the Commons. Along with Squiggles the Squirrel, we have also met Marilyn, who is a bunny that sometimes comes to our circle to play and talk with the kids.  The first time that Marilyn came she asked the children to help take care of our bunny friends Lucy and Ginger who live in a hutch in the Commons. Since then the children have participated in caring for, observing, and drawing the bunnies in their environment.

Marilyn shared a song that she created today at circle called “I Am a Bunny”. During the song the children were called on to share the knowledge that they have gathered about our bunnies- what they have noticed and learned through observation and conversation.

GR: One time the bunnies out in the Commons went into a little hole in the dirt. I think they sleep in there.

CS: A burrow!

Marilyn: What have you given the bunnies in their hutch?

KP: Carrots!

OR: They eat it!

CS: Water!

CS: Well I’ve noticed that the bunnies in the Commons, and the chickens too, they come into new fur.

Marilyn: That’s called molting.

MH: I have another thing to tell. Maybe an angry bunny.

Marilyn:  What should an angry bunny do?

MH: Turn on the TV to calm down!

Marilyn: We bunnies don’t have TV. Maybe we could poop instead. Sometimes when I get really upset I have to poop.

Marilyn went on to tell the children that the bunnies also like to snuggle up and play with each other.  We sang about all of these things that bunnies do in Marilyns tune:

I am a bunny…

a bunny, bunny, bunny.

I am a bunny and I go hop, hop- hop, hop.

I am a bunny and I go hop, hop. (Dig, dig.  Munch, munch. Slurp, slurp.  Itch, itch. Snore, snore. Snuggle, snuggle.  Poop, poop.)

Afterwards six children chose to play with the clay that I set out as a provocation. I made two bunny hills, and asked the children if they’d like to create burrow homes for the bunnies.

These children used spoons…



and hands…


The bunnies patiently waited…
DSC_0109as the children created nooks…



DSC_0119 DSC_0103



snuggly spaces…


and of course slides, for them to play on.



In The Goodness of Rain  Ann Pelo says:

“Time is intimacy. When we visit a landscape again and again- visit and notice consciously, what we find there; visit and talk about what we notice- when we visit a landscape again and again, we come to know its particularities… the movement of the lively things… The world narrowed to these few places… In that narrowing, the world became more subtle and nuanced, more specific. And in that specificity, the world opened into its righteous vastness…”

When we visit the creatures around us again and again, we come to know them as friends, to know their idiosyncrasies, their habits, their lives. And we see them, and their home, entwined with ours. We become intimate.