Tulip Tree Preschool https://tuliptreepreschool.com Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:38:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.5 The Perfect Hair Do https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/the-perfect-hair-do/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/the-perfect-hair-do/#respond Fri, 24 Jan 2020 00:14:34 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22819 Read More]]> By Bee

Here at Elm House, we try to honor the children’s wishes to the best of our abilities. Part of this comes down to consent. We don’t touch the children without their permission, we don’t put their name on their art without them first showing us where, and participation isn’t a requirement in any of our activities. Another part of this is that we see and the children as whole people. If I saw an adult wearing a messy shirt, I certainly wouldn’t dream of just walking over and attempting to change it without saying anything. I wouldn’t tell an adult that they had to finish their food on their plate, and I wouldn’t tell an adult that if they just listened to me, things would go more smoothly. Thus, we don’t do these things with the children. As much as possible, we treat the children the same way we treat adults that we respect and care for. I was able to watch this play out this morning in our studio.

 

Amber was sitting on the floor, hair dressing materials all around her. She was smiling softly as she observed the children, her body at ease. WS approached her holding a comb and a bow. “Bow please!?” he asked.

“You would like me to put a bow in your hair, WS?” she reflected back.

“Bow!” he confirmed, with an enthusiastic nod and a big grin.

Amber opened her arms slightly, giving nonverbal consent for WS to sit in her lap. He stepped forward, turned around thoughtfully, and then gleefully PLOPPED down. The children love having their hair done.

Amber handed WS a mirror so that he could observe what she was doing as it was happening.

She gently combed out his hair as he watched intently.

They made eye contact in the mirror and smiled.

LR approached, hand outstretched with a comb.

“I want to comb WS’s hair!”

“You want to comb WS’s hair?” Amber echoed back.

“Yeah!” LR confirmed her understanding.

“WS, LR would like your consent to comb your hair. Is that okay with you?”

“No.” he replied.

“LR, it sounds like WS doesn’t want you to comb his hair, he said no, but you could comb mine!” Amber offered.

“Nooo! I want to comb WS’s!” she exclaimed with a stomp and a brisk hand gesture.

“I hear that you want to comb WS’s hair. But he said no. You can comb my hair, your hair, or someone elses.”

LR considered this briefly, and promptly sat down. “I will comb my foot!” she compromised.

Amber went back to fixing WS’s hair. After she was finished combing it, she held out her hand,¬† a silent ask for the bow that he was holding. WS immediately turn it over to her and looked back into the mirror to watch as she put it in his hair.

“All done!” Amber exclaimed. “What do you think WS? I think it looks great!”

WS looked into the mirror, and his brow furrowed slightly.

A feeling that happens for me all too often in the salon chair washed across his face. Something was not quite right.

 

With full trust in both Amber and her intentions, WS gestured to a point further back on his head. Amber leaned over, looking directly at him, offering up her full attention.

“You don’t like that bow there. You had something different in mind. Were you wanting a pony with a bow? The way that Bee does it?”

“Bee does it.” WS nodded and echoed back.

“Okay, thanks for letting me know. Let’s fix that.”

Amber removed the clip, gathered the comb and a hair tie (pony, as we call both the ties, and the hair style themselves) and got back to work.

“Hows that?” Amber asked, after she was finished.

WS gazed into the mirror again, and his face lit up.

He pulled the mirror closer, the better to see himself with, and he beamed at his reflection. This was it! This was precisely how he wanted his hair done.

 

As WS smiled at himself, Amber looked down and smiled at him as well.

This moment seems so simple from the outside, but to me it is the perfect example of what we try to do here at Elm House. When WS saw his hair the first time, and reached up for it, Amber could have dismissed his nonverbal cue that he wasn’t satisfied. Instead she was actively searching for confirmation that what was being done with his hair was exactly what he wanted. Upon noticing his dismay, Amber could have brushed by it. “WS, if you don’t like your hair, you can take it out. There are other friends waiting.” She didn’t. She supported WS through his attempt to get what he was truly after, and in doing so she modeled to the other children that we value their opinions, their needs, and that we are here to help them, no matter how little the issue may seem from the outside. Taking her time and honoring WS’s wishes was more important than everyone getting a turn as quickly as possible. Our community values patience because it allows us to make sure that everyone’s needs are met with our full attention and presence. Often the children let us know verbally, “I can wait!” or “I’m waiting right here.” Waiting isn’t passive at Elm House. It is an active offering that we gift one another. The children observing this interaction walked away with the knowledge that Amber would care for and support them to the same degree that she did WS. To see Amber’s obvious enjoyment of WS’s happiness with his hair, was the cherry on the cake. Taking care of one another, respecting one another, and helping one another feels good. And thats what we are all about. Connection, care, and love. Here’s to hoping that your next hair do goes as well as WS’s. ūüėČ

 

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Paint Paint Paint! https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/paint-paint-paint/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/paint-paint-paint/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:21:59 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22794 Read More]]> By I

Bee and I wonder what we can do this afternoon with the children. We think perhaps a walk? Her and I look outside…No…it’s too cold! Bee says “How about painting? We haven’t done that in awhile.” “Yes!” I say. We are so excited to see the children’s thoughts and creativity on paper!

First we tape a giant piece of paper to the table.

The children wait so patiently while we gather enough water color pallets for each child.

 

Now each child has a pallet. Lets see what they paint!

“I’m making clouds.” -LR

“I’m making clouds!” -FB

“I made circle!!!” -WS

“I made a circle!” -OS

“I made circle!” -WS repeats.

Some of the children are quieter, focused on their work of art.

LR & FB share their pallets and their paintings.

OS feels like he actually needs TWO paint brushes for his work of art.

 

“Let’s do acrylic paint! What color should we do?” Bee asks the group.

“Blue!” A few of the children reply ecstatically.

We add blue acrylic paint to each child’s painting area.

“I’m rubbing it. . . I’m making home”- DG

“I’m making a circle Hadas.” -LR

“I’m making a circle Hadas. . .I’m made fire!” -WS

Some friends explore the feeling of the acrylic paint on their fingers.

“I’m making trees. . . I made fire trucks. It’s so big!” -OS

“I’m painting home” -FB

The children are starting to feel done…let’s see the finished product!

Our friends worked so hard to make this beautiful art for the Elm Room. Thank you!

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Glimpse of Our Morning https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/glimpse-of-our-morning/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/glimpse-of-our-morning/#respond Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:10:52 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22781

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Marching Bands! https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/marching-bands/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/marching-bands/#respond Thu, 05 Dec 2019 18:04:50 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22770 Read More]]> While we were out on the yard this week the children heard a loud, funky beat and got very excited when they followed the sound. The high school marching band’s percussion section was practicing just across the street! We took this opportunity to go check out the free show. The kids brought sticks and pans from the yard to follow along and even used their bodies as drums. We practiced marching and dancing with the beat. When the band was done practicing we gave them a big cheer and the high school students shouted back,”Thank you, kids!”

The children went straight back to the yard to form marching bands of their own. They lined up all their drums and cymbals and banged away. They’ve been pretending all week, even putting buckets on their heads as band costumes.

 

 

 

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Teaching Trump https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/an-invitation-to-trump/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/an-invitation-to-trump/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2019 23:35:32 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22757 Read More]]> by Katee

Today RT came in to school with a passionate storm of ideas about Donald Trump.¬† He explained that he “just doesn’t really like Trump very much” because he’s not very nice, and all he cares about is money but he doesn’t care about people or animals. I recorded about 10 minutes of video of this child’s concerns and ideas. Overall, he was taking a much more peaceful approach than many of us have fantasized I think, and had an invitation for Trump. He wanted him to come to our school so the teachers here could “train” him.

“Do you think you would make a good president, RT?”, I asked.

RT: “Hmm, well I think I’m a little too small.”

Katee: “Well I think Trump is a little too mean.”

RT: “Well someday we might teach him to be nice.”

I sighed a huge sigh of doubt and the awe for the beauty of this naivety that sounded like Trump was the Grinch and we might watch his heart grow three sizes one day in front of our eyes. “I hope so.”, was all I could say.

RT: “Well, how are we gonna get him to get here?”

Katee: “maybe we should write him a letter?”

“Yeah, I think so. Okay, I’ll say the words and you write it down, okay? Dear Trump…”

And then the most spectacular letter was born from this young colleague’s mind. I sat with baited breath for each sentence trying not to simultaneously cry and giggle at the sweetness of the whole thing.

I had certainly thought about teaching Trump a thing or two, for sure, but I had never though about writing an invitation for him to join us. This child describes our classroom goals and agreements in such a beautiful childhood way. Talking about candy for pinatas, and feeding rabbits may sound like sweet silly childish ideas, but he truly speaks about some important concepts. People all over need money, not just for big fancy golf courses, but for almost every little thing that one wants to acquire. “We need money for toys, we need money for medicine, we need money for candies for pinatas! We need money to buy everything!”, RT told me earlier.

He touches on taking care of each other and our environment as being strong lessons we uphold here. Sharing materials, standing in a line, taking care of toys- these are all about sharing our time, our space, and our items with a larger community outside of ourselves. RT talks about caring for our plants and rabbits which are some big jobs in teaching responsibility and building empathy at our school.

At the end he really emphasized to me that if you want to be nice, you just¬†can be nice and throws in a “please” to plead to Trump to consider caring about others and joining us in our lessons at Tulip Tree. “I think Trump really needs to come to Tulip Tree and be in preschool with us,” he said in the morning, “but he’s gonna have to shrink down for his training.” Well I don’t know if RT was referring to his physical size or his giant ego, but either way this kid has some beautiful ideas about what is important in life and leadership!

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Fairies, Obstacles and Airplanes https://tuliptreepreschool.com/preschool-blog/fairies-obstacles-and-airplanes/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/preschool-blog/fairies-obstacles-and-airplanes/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2019 23:29:13 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22742 All in an hour’s work!

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Birthdays! https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/birthdays/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/birthdays/#respond Tue, 26 Nov 2019 23:46:56 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22728 Read More]]> We have had so many birthdays recently and handful more around the corner. We like to celebrate with song, stories, dance, and some special classroom rituals. Children can bring their family to join us, photos, and some special from home to share. We sing to them, light candles as they walk around the sun, read aloud wishes from the children and dance to their favorite music! Here are glimpses from a few of our recent birthday celebrations:

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Wolf Ways https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/wolf-ways/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/wolf-ways/#respond Mon, 18 Nov 2019 23:38:58 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22710 Read More]]> This morning we had a special guest named Maryanne who is a WolfWays educator from Oregon Wild. She came to teach us all about wolves, a beautiful animal that   We looked at the difference between pretend wolves who dress up like grandma and try to trick children and real wolves who are very shy and afraid of humans. We learned about the family structure of the wolf pack, how wolves care for their young, who watches the baby wolves while the parents are gone, the different types of fur they have, what they like to eat, how large their paws are and more. We watched a couple short videos of real wolves playing, howling and eating. We were told the story of Journey, the famous Oregon wolf who traveled all over the state, to California and back to Oregon to find a mate.  We even got to feel real wolf fur that was shed by wolves at a wolf sanctuary! After the wolf presentation the children immediately turned into their own wolf pack and played and howled like wolves all morning. A couple children  made a den for the baby wolf pups, just like real mama wolves do.

 

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Oat Afternoon https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/oat-afternoon/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/oat-afternoon/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2019 17:35:41 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22649 Read More]]> By Bee

The children have truly been enjoying the water work we have been doing on the light table the past few months. However, I’ve noticed that as the weather continues to chill, having wet sleeves is becoming more and more uncomfortable. I found myself curious as to whether the children would enjoy pouring and scooping dry ingredients as much as they enjoy water.

I grabbed our sensory bin and headed out to the garage. At Elm House we try to recognize and acknowledge our privilege as part of our anti-bias work. An oversight several months back meant that we had let a bag of oats expire. Wasting food is something we really try to avoid, as we know that food is an incredibly precious resource on our planet, despite the abundance our particular community enjoys. Rather than toss out the oats, we saved them in a bin in the garage for an occasion such as this one. We avoid buying food simply to work with it, as that isn’t mindful of the millions of people who go hungry each day. We want the children in our care to know that food is to be eaten and not played with, that even though we have a lot, others have little, and out of respect for them and our position we make efforts not to be wasteful. I explained that the oats we had were no longer good for eating, but that we could use them for some work before we had to compost them. This may seem superfluous when it comes to one and two year olds, but if we have learned one thing over the years it is that young people have an incredible amount of depth. Not only that, but they are full of compassion for both the people they know, and those they haven’t met yet. Our trust and respect for the children demands that we invite them to the table when it comes to global issues like hunger and waste.

After we talked and discussed our agreements around the oats (the tools must stay in the bin, the oats may not be eaten, and the oats may not be thrown) we got to work.

The children were instantly engaged. Hands were shoved deep into the oats and wiggled around. Big handfuls were grasped and released. The children seemed to move from grander gestures to more minute ones. First fistfulls of oats, and then an attempt to grab a singular one.

Space was shared very readily. The children were more interested in the oats than they were in having personal space.

A few oats were indeed sampled. When this happened we stopped, checked in about our agreements and why we have them, and then got back to work.

 

“Scooping, scooping.” the children chanted.

Tool were exchanged often. There seemed to be a lot of interest in pouring the oats into and out of each available receptacle.

Some children sat and watched others pour.  The learning that was happening surrounding volume, gravity, and mass happened to be available whether or not your hands were actually in the bin.

So many questions and conundrums arose organically through their play. How will I get my oats from the bin into my cup? Can I use the strainer to transfer them? Will the strainer fit in my cup? How do I pour them into my cup if the strainer doesn’t fit inside? Is there another angle I can try?

Speed was something else we experimented with. What happens when I pour the oats quickly? What if I take my time? How does that affect where they go? How does that affect the sound they make?

The children were incredibly focused while using the oats, which is an indicator to us as teachers that the oats still have many lessons to share with us. The next day we added eucalyptus oil to give the oats an olfactory impact. We have talked about adding glitter or pieces of tinsel as well. If it was up to you, how would you extend or alter this provocation? Let us know in the comments below!

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Our Sensory Room Experience https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/our-sensory-room-experience/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/our-sensory-room-experience/#respond Fri, 15 Nov 2019 23:35:16 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22678 Read More]]> by Katee

We have recently said goodbye to our sensory room installation that has been up since the beginning of this school year, and are transforming it into a more general atelier for different project work right now.  While it felt like it was time to move on with this space, I was also sad to see this particular installation go. Everything moves and changes here as our interests wax and wane, and we needed more space to get messy and get our hands in clay, etc. But not to worry- this sensory room lives on in many materials and provocations in our classroom as exploring sensory input is important work at this age.

Each year teachers spend many hours in continuing education- taking classes, attending workshops, and networking with other educators.¬† Last year I took a course about Autism and sensory processing.¬† All children, and especially those with sensory processing challenges, need to explore the world around them with every sense. Generally speaking, “tactile” exploration is through touch, “vestibular” exploration is through sight and sound, and “proprioceptive” is through movement. Some sensations make us feel calm and soothed, some sensations are abrasive. For children with sensory processing challenges, the need or lack of certain inputs is much higher. They might need to feel their way through their environment more than others- maybe bumping, rubbing, bouncing, and rolling along as they move through the world.¬† Or children can be very sensitive to sensory input and tend to avoid touching, etc.¬† While sensory processing challenges can come with a lot of frustrations for a child, curated sensory spaces can help children cope with sensory stimuli. Children’s brains can better regulate processing external stimuli when they are given the tools and space to cope with some of these things.

A sensory room often looks like a funky nightclub at a children’s museum.¬† Lights are dim and often fiber optic, and there are interesting things to interact with to receive different sensory input. Some children might seek out stimulating experiences, others might need a more relaxing environment.¬† So when designing our space, I tried to incorporate a little bit of everything I could find to pull together a room that every child might like to explore.¬† I found interesting lights and even scored some rope lights, we turned our wrestling mat into a cozy couch with pillows of different tactile experiences (some soft, some sequined, some beaded), I brought in an electric blanket, put together a ball pit, and even built an elastic cube. We used our video projector to bring soothing and fun sights and sounds to the room, and moved to a more interactive light projector when the room didn’t seem as frequented any longer.

The children explored the room for the past couple months, and while it often turned into ball pit tossing, it was also a place of calm for many children at times.¬† But while the sensory offerings we provide at school have changed now that this installation has changed, we still have materials and space for all of this work at school. We always have a cozy “calm cave” in our classroom where children are welcome to take breaks on a mattress full of soft pillows and blankets when they need it, and within this space there is a “calm cubby”.¬† The calm cubby has weighted lap blankets and stuffed animals, bottles filled with bubbles and glitter to shake and watch settle, a variety of fidgets, lavender pillows, and books and charts to support emotional regulation. We provide a variety of tactile provocations and projects, bring lots of music and movement to our days, and try to keep our lighting soft and warm. So maybe this installation will return to our school again in full force, but we are always thinking about the children’s sensory needs in the work and environment here.

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