Tulip Tree Preschool https://tuliptreepreschool.com Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:53:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 More Consent Work https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/more-consent-work/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/more-consent-work/#respond Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:53:43 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22134 Read More]]> By Lauren: Since I first came to Elm House, I have been thoroughly impressed with the amount and quality of consent work that is happening within this community. Teachers often say things like “Be sure to ask for consent before you hug someone!” and the children respond by taking a step back and asking “Hug?” or “Can I hug you?”

Consent is so important! Especially with toddlers who are exploring their new found autonomy, learning that they have the right to say “no” to physical touches as well as the responsibility to respect another’s “no” is extremely powerful. Consent must be freely given, and can be taken away as well. It’s not uncommon to see children engaging in what I have come to consider “consent games” where they exercise this principle. One child will ask for a hug, the other will say “yes” and they’ll hug. Then the second child will ask for a hug, the other will say “yes” and another hug will be given. This exchange is often interspersed with children saying “no” between all the yeses and, low and behold, those nos are being respect. It’s amazing to see toddlers understanding that just because a hug was accepted once, does not mean they get to hug again.

Yesterday, I witnessed one such consent game during outside time. CG, WS and CW were chasing each other around the yard and grabbing each other. With a quick reminder from me, “Don’t forget to ask for consent before you hug!” the grabs began to be preceded by outstretched arms and a questioning “Hug?”As the hugs were given, all three children laughed and then began to chase again, repeating the pattern. On occasions where “no” or a firm head shake was the answer, laughs were exchanged and the chasing resumed. Often followed by a hug the next time. Seeing children playing these consent games makes my heart swell! I am so happy that children are learning that they have a right to bodily autonomy at that their peers do as well. If you’re looking for a simple way to start the consent conversation with your child at home, I emphatically recommend the book “C is for Consent” by Eleanor Morrison and Faye Orlove. It’s a book you might be familiar with already from drop off story times in our cubby room. I love how clearly it illustrates consent for children!

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Sweet Surprises https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/sweet-surprises/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/sweet-surprises/#respond Thu, 11 Jul 2019 21:14:31 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22115 Read More]]> By Bee

Yesterday morning, as with most mornings, I walked quietly over to the hallway and opened the gate. I moved into the space and let the open walkway be my silent invitation. Immediately AB noticed and walked over to join me. HB, who has joined me every day for the past couple of weeks, loudly declared, “AND ME! I WANT TO!!!” I nodded and waved him in. Megan turned to DG, who is new to our community and not yet familiar with our routine.

“DG, I see that Bee is quietly inviting friends down to the Nest. Would you like to go down with her?”

“Yes, Nest!” was his enthusiastic reply.

WS noticed what was happening, and began walking over. He dropped his toy quickly en route, very aware that we have an agreement about materials staying in their designated rooms. I smiled at his excitement as we patiently waited for him to get to the hallway. Then, suddenly, WS pivoted, walking away from the hallway.

“Whoa! Changed your mind, buddy?” Megan laughed as he almost collided with her. “That’s different!” I exclaimed, surprised at WS’s change of heart, especially because most mornings he chooses to join me in the Nest.

I waved in CG who had been waiting to see if there was space in my group. CG walked over, and as I was watching I noticed WS again. He was back at the bunny he had flung to the floor. He picked it up, toddled as quickly as he could to the bin it belonged in, put it away, and then came running back.

WS hadn’t changed his mind about joining us in the Nest, he had changed his mind about leaving his materials on the floor. I was shocked.

It is one thing to want to do the best you can…it is another thing to realize you could have done more, AND THEN DECIDE TO GO BACK AND DO IT.

How many times in your life have you been rushing to the car, realized you had left a little chore incomplete, and said, “Eh! I’ll get to it later. It can wait.”

Personally, I think I am sitting at just over 8 million times.

I knelt down by the gate to speak with WS as he returned.

“WS!!! You walked away and I thought you were leaving, but I watched you and you went to go clean up that stuffie you were using.”


“Thank you so much, WS! It really helps everyone when we take care of our materials like that. Wow, bud! I see you smiling. I wonder if you’re feeling proud. I am. I have a hug for you if you want one.”

WS grinned up at me, his eyes giving me an emphatic, “Yes!”


In the afternoon I found myself privy to another delightful scene. I was taking a group to the cubby room to get ready for outside. HA and CG were both with me, and they have been quite the dynamic duo lately. They rushed to get on their shoes, and then HA slid open her cubby.

“Look, CG, look! My big pink bunny! I love it so much! It goes in my crib.”

She gave her bunny a HUGE squeeze as she talked to CG about her adoration for this special stuffie. HA pulled the bunny away from her chest and looked at it. She looked up at CG.

“Here, CG.” She thrust out the bunny. “You hold my bunny. It’s my favorite and you’re my best friend. I love you. Yeah! Hug it!”

CG opened her arms in sheer delight, truly in awe to be offered the opportunity to hold HA’s coveted stuffie. She gave it a big hug just as HA had instructed, and together the children laughed and laughed. <3

I wonder if there has been a moment lately when your child has surprised you. Please share in the comments!

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Mirror, Mirror on the wall https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall/#respond Thu, 11 Jul 2019 18:47:31 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22117 Read More]]> If you notice, EH has lots of mirrors in the different play areas. Mirrors serve so many purposes during the toddler years. Mirrors give children the opportunity to explore symmetry, reflection, perspective, angles, their own movement, and self-awareness.

Some toddlers will laugh or smile after looking at themselves, some point to themselves (at the reflection they see), some admire themselves with curiosity…


What do your children do when they see their reflection in a mirror?!

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Tilt your head back! https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/tilt-your-head-back/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/tilt-your-head-back/#respond Fri, 05 Jul 2019 23:12:43 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22107 Read More]]> by Mage

Learning to drink from an open cup is trickier than it seems! This afternoon, JS showed me what he knows about drinking, and what his ideas are of how open cups work.

JS tilts his head down, and lifts the cup toward his mouth. I can hear slurping sounds, but I can’t see what’s happening behind his hands. I do see water dribbling out of the cup.

I say to JS, “Tilt your head back, and then bring the cup to your mouth.”

He tilts his head back. I see he opens his mouth wide, and sticks his tongue far out of his mouth. He brings the cup up to his mouth. At first, he has some difficulty tilting the cup back, but eventually does it ever-so-slowly, and laps at the water with his tongue again. He sets the cup down, and eats some snack. Then he picks up the cup again.

Rather than tilt his head back, again he tilts downward, and lifts the cup to his mouth, sticking his tongue inside. But then there seems to be a problem.

JS pulls the cup away from his face, and tilts it back a bit, looking into the cup. His brow is furrowed. He seems to be wondering, does this cup still have water in it? So it seems that when he put the cup to his mouth moments before, his tongue couldn’t reach the liquid at the bottom.

What I see here is that JS has some questions about where his tongue goes when using an open cup. When I showed Megan these photos, and explained that JS was using his tongue to lap up the water, she said, “He thinks it’s the same as a bowl, and he’s lapping the water like a dog.” He understood what I meant when I told him to tilt his head back, but maybe the action of tilting a cup back or letting water slosh into his mouth was too unfamiliar to happen with ease. He put his mouth in the cup while he performed that action, too, and although he was more successful in drinking that way, after taking a bite of food he went back to his previous method of tilting his head down. I’m curious how long it will take before JS understands that his tongue should stay in his mouth, and that he should pour water into his mouth. And I wonder what this process will look like for him, what else he will try as he approaches open cups again and again.

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Summer Time Lawn Games https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/summer-time-lawn-games/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/summer-time-lawn-games/#respond Thu, 27 Jun 2019 16:28:56 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22094 Read More]]> By Lauren: Lawn games may be one of my favorite parts of summer. There’s nothing quite like gathering outside with friends for a leisurely afternoon of game playing! Well, yesterday at Elm House, we introduced a new game to the children: cornhole! We also brought out the bat for some teacher-guided batting practice.

At first, we set a tube on the ground as a line for the children to stand behind before tossing the beanbags. Then, children started to notice that they could make it easier or harder by standing different distances away from the hole. WS discovered he could have 100% success by getting right up to the hole, while HA quickly decided it might be easier with a bucket separate from the other children. LR gathered all the beanbags for one toss into the hole and seemed very proud of the results!

For batting practice, turn taking really took center stage. Children lined up a safe distance from our makeshift tee to patiently wait their turns. Children were thrilled with the results of their batting and often lined up for second and third turns. I loved watching the variety of swing techniques! Some swung backwards, some simply poked the ball and some clearly had seen some baseball and stepped right up like a real baseball player!

Games are so great for development. They help support turn taking and develop a sense of community. At this age, children don’t quite understand the concept of winning or losing, or of trying to compete with friends. Which is something I really appreciate about toddlers, they play the game just to play the game! I hope you enjoy the photos from our afternoon of games and stay tuned for our next game exploration: bowling!

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Connecting with new friends https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/connecting-with-new-friends/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/elm-house-blog/connecting-with-new-friends/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2019 18:16:11 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22081 Read More]]> By: I


We have new friends at Elm House, and the Elm House children who have been with us for awhile are trying to find ways to connect and become friends. The children have so many inquiries about their new friends, and sometimes need an example of a kind way to show interest in playing with a new friend.


I have seen many instances of children trying to connect to our new friend, AB, this week!


One of our star greeters, CG offers a new student a play phone through the gate at drop off. CG also puts her hand out to AB to offer to go to the sandbox.


ZC: who’s that? Pointing to AB.

This is a new friend. Her name is __.

ZC: eyes? (pointing to AB’s eyes)

Yes, AB has two eyes.

ZC: eyes. (pointing to her own eyes) ..and nose?

Yes, AB also has a nose.

ZC: ears? ..my ears. And Miss I’s ears..

Yes, me, you and AB all have two ears!

ZC: Legs…As ZC touches AB’s leg

Yes, AB has legs, but remember you need to ask for her consent before you touch her legs. You may touch my leg if you want..

ZC: Legs! As ZC touches my leg

Then AB puts her hand on my leg too. Yes, we all have two legs!

ZC notices she, AB and Miss I all have the same body parts! What a way to connect!

That afternoon, after similar inquires from that morning (who is that? etc.), ZC offers AB a funnel to play with.


WS throws a ball AB’s way in hopes she will play catch with him.


HA offers AB her toy in the sandbox.

Megan models for JL a kind way that she can connect.

She offers AB a book.



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This Week at Elm House https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/this-week-at-elm-house/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/this-week-at-elm-house/#respond Fri, 21 Jun 2019 17:30:29 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22071 Read More]]> By Lauren: It’s the week after a vacation and the energy in the house has been robust! We’ve welcomed two new friends, AB and JS, and had a few subs as Megan enjoys an extra week of (much earned) vacation and Miss I dealt with some dramas in Mexico. Here are a few moments from this week:

AB snuggles with Bee as she joins us on her first day at Elm House!

HA feels a sense of pride in her tower building skills!

AB and JL play some music together.


RT, EW and OC explore patterns and create zebras, horses and cows with tiles.

And, finally, we welcome Miss I home. These kids sure did miss her!

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Kulakoops and Monkey Babies https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/kulakoops-and-monkey-babies/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/kulakoops-and-monkey-babies/#respond Thu, 20 Jun 2019 21:31:04 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22066 Read More]]> By Bee

Right before our break I put up some artwork by Brian Froud that depicts different faeries and pixies. I wondered what the children would think of them. The following is a transcription of a conversation they provoked.


Im seeing some signs of things that aren’t real. They might be kind of scary, but might be kinda not. They are monkey babies. Monkey babies are like alligators. They get close to things and they can snap at you.

Monkey Babies

Oh! And look! Over here is a Kulakoop. Kulakoops eat fish.

A Kulakoop

I didn’t know that Kulakoops eat fish. What else do they like to do?

Kulakoops..um…see that Kulakoop right there?

Yeah! I do see that Kulakoop! Do Kulakoops go to sleep?

Yeah. They do. During the day.

They sleep during the day?!


And they are awake at nighttime? 


What do they do while they are awake?

Well, they hunt for little critters and stuff.

That sounds like hard work. Do they have families?

Yeah. They do! But…Kulakoops have monkey babies. That’s one of their families.

Oh! The Kulakoops take care of the monkey babies?! I didn’t know that!

Mmhm! They do!

How do they take care of them?

Um, I gotta go check. Well, they just help them.

They help the monkey babies? 

Yeah! A monkey baby is a monkey that is a monkey, and also a baby person at the same time. 

I think I understand. The Kulakoops take care of the baby monkeys because they are part of their family.

Yeah. They are related. But they aren’t related to these ones. See, look. These ones are regular monkeys, not baby monkeys. Only the baby monkeys are related to the Kulakoops

Regular Monkeys

Wow! You know so much about Kulakoops and their families! Thank you for teaching me!

Yeah! No problem.


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Documentation Party https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/documentation-party/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/documentation-party/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2019 21:21:31 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22048 Read More]]> By Bee

Last week was our culminating documentation party, and what an experience it was! They backyard was absolutely bustling.

There was documentation on the house, on the fences, and also hanging from the trees. Adults were milling about conversing with one another and observing their children on the stools/beams.

The children were talking about the photographs, munching away on snacks, and showing their families some of their hard earned skills.


Older siblings seemed excited to join our balance work as well.


I was curious to see what was on the childrens’ minds, so I made some rounds and inquiries.

Bee: “What do you see in that photograph, OC?”

OC: “I see me! And also SR! See! She’s right there!”

LS: “I like this pulley! I wish it could go all the way up to the sky!”

With the high sun and the change in routine, some children didn’t feel like talking and promptly ran away from me when I asked for feedback. I react similarly at parties myself, and didn’t mind at all that some children chose to keep their thoughts to themselves.

When I asked the children what they thought of the party they shared their thoughts about food, a good reminder that most of these children eat dinner right after school, and they need edible support for these occasions!:

RT: “Pretty good! I just ate some cheese crackers!”

HB: “Good! My favorite is the snacks.”


After that feedback I dialed in my question and asked the children and parents what they thought about the photographs specifically.

RT: “The pictures were pretty good and the snacks were pretty good. Pretty good and pretty good!!!”

Sean: “This is great!”

ZC: “Whoa!!!”

Laura: “This was so beautiful! I enjoyed the pictures.”

MC: “I think we should keep them up there” (referring to the documentation hanging from the fences and the garage)

LR: “My Mom got to look at the pictures. I feel happy.”

As I walked through the party, I noted my observations and the responses to my questions on a document called an Observation Tool.

ZC and JL both observed me documenting and promptly offered their services.





















The children thoughtfully noted what they observed, and let me know as soon as they needed the paper to be flipped over or re-oriented.

As per our consent work, I let the children dictate if/where their name was placed on the paper. Here are their observations!


What did you notice at the Documentation Party? If you have a moment, please share your thoughts with us! The documentation party is the culmination of so much time, thought, and effort, from both teachers and children, and we would absolutely love to know what intrigued you, what you loved, and what you were missing! Let us know in the space below!

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Routines and Self-Care https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/routines-and-self-care/ https://tuliptreepreschool.com/tuliptree/routines-and-self-care/#comments Fri, 31 May 2019 16:10:34 +0000 https://tuliptreepreschool.com/?p=22040 Read More]]> By Lauren: Lunch is coming to an end at Elm House. Children are sitting and chatting companionably; laughing at each others jokes and talking about what will be happening after lunch. RT looks to me, “Umm, I think I’m done.” “Okay”, I respond, “Don’t forget to clear your plate!” He laughs, “Oh yeah!” and begins to take his plate to our compost bin, dumping the remnants of his lunch and placing it on our lunch tray. Other children begin to finish their food. Sometimes with prompting, sometimes without, each child makes their way to the compost bin, cleaning up after themselves before selecting a book to read until the bathroom is available.















This is a routine that the children are very familiar with. And, as we all know, routines are the foundation of positive experiences in early childhood. Children feel most secure when their lives are predictable. With well known routines in place, children feel safe to explore the world.

Aside from providing a sense of security found through routine, cleaning up their own plate after a meal is a very important lesson in self-care. Self-care is an important task in toddler-hood. As children become aware of themselves as individuals, they are constantly looking for ways to assert their independence. By giving them a way to care for themselves, we provide the opportunity for independence and a chance to build self-confidence. Simple, achievable tasks, such as clearing your own plate, pave the way for an understanding that doing things for yourself feels good. And, let’s be honest, we all benefit from having children take a little responsibility for themselves.

It’s my belief that giving children these tasks from an early age can pave the way for more competence and confidence in adulthood. Providing them with these opportunities to show that they are capable creates a sense of pride in self. This early sense of pride is also a major tenant in anti-bias curriculum. In an anti-bias classroom, our first task is to foster a sense of pride in the child’s own identity. What ways does your child seek independence at home? How can you foster their sense of pride and accomplishment by providing them with reasonable responsibilities?

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