Reading the Wind

It’s that time of year when everything at school winds down.  Teachers are writing progress reports and making awards.  Ceremonies of completion and graduation are being planned.  Teachers are organizing students’ materials to take home as a record of the past ten months.  The one big difference this year is that none of the festivities . . . Read More


What’s Best for the Kids

These past several weeks Bill has showed up at school every day (except a few Sundays) to burn weeds, trim trees, tidy up the playground, paint classrooms, and organize the sand circle area.  He sorted and washed all the spoons, bowls, and pots and pans. He’s used this time to make the space ready to . . . Read More


In Celebration of Awakeners

My third grade teacher, Marie Peithman, received me for exactly who I was.  She was a breath of fresh air after a second grade tyrant who made me stand on tiptoes with my nose in a chalk-drawn circle on the board, just for talking.  Mrs. Peithman was kind, and had appropriately high expectations.  I remember . . . Read More


Tomorrow’s Yesterday

When I was a kid, May 1st was a day of connection.  We’d make little baskets and fill them with lilacs, popcorn, and candy, then deliver them to friends’ front doors.  It was a sweet way to remember close friends.  It’s not a practice we see around here.  And with social distancing in place, as . . . Read More


Live in a Good Way for Her

Earth Day has historically been one of the most important days of the year at Awakening Seed.  It’s an embodiment of the Seed’s mission statement:  “Awakening Seed is an innovative, compassionate learning community that inspires global citizens by fostering curiosity, celebrating uniqueness, and promoting social justice.”  This year, more than any other year, it was . . . Read More


We Miss

 As we enter our second month of days at home instead of the Seed,  it’s beginning to sink in that we may be at this longer than we originally anticipated.  The novelty has begun to wear off, and the list of things we are missing from our old life grows longer each day.  Granted, most . . . Read More


Caring for Our Own

A devoted mother dove sits in the nest she built on a small shelf above the hose in our back yard.  She’s been there for nearly two weeks.  There were two eggs originally, and now there is one hatchling, whose eyes are still closed.  I don’t know what happened to the other one.  This mother . . . Read More


Keeping It Whole

On Tuesday morning I was over at the Seed taking photos for our upcoming yearbook project.  Evidence of spring was everywhere.  Bill has been hard at work keeping weeds at bay, and the freshly mown grass looks incredibly healthy.  A few class gardens are bursting with produce, including kale, chard, and spinach.  Sunflowers are blooming . . . Read More


Steward of Privilege

While weeding the garden this week, I thought about my life history and what brought me to that moment.  I grew up in a small Nebraska town, the eldest daughter of a banker.  As kids, we had open space and the natural world available to us, along with endless materials for building, self-expression, and creativity.  . . . Read More


Stay Open

When I returned from my trip to Nebraska, I checked out a group of mysterious cabbage-like plants in our garden.  Looking closer, I discovered underneath the lush green leaves a whole collection of tiny Brussels sprouts.   How could this be?  I do remember planting seeds months ago, but thought our rabbit visitors had wiped . . . Read More


Always Sifting Sand

Over the past several weeks I’ve been writing about the playground.  I’ve described its activities, life lessons available, and all the reasons we place so much emphasis on our  extraordinary playground.  When I saw these three toddlers gazing out onto the big playground with a student intern the other day, with their similar bikes parked . . . Read More


Bringers and Builders

 During second recess when elementary kids are on the playground, most of the older students elect to play sports.  On Monday, due to a staffing shift that day, it ended up being a free choice recess.  Several of the 3rd and 4th grade boys headed off to Gwen’s Castle.  They decided to rebuild a fort they’d . . . Read More


Storytelling In Action

Our first and second graders are currently developing the practice of using a writer’s notebook.  Each week I present them with a different way to use their notebooks.  This week I gave them a random photo of a scene from our playground.  I invited them to look at their photo and see what it reminds . . . Read More


Playground 101

When visitors come to the Seed and we open the door to our playground, the response is nearly universal:  Wow.  One parent even asked if our school was adjacent to a city park.  Many express their awe by saying, “I wish I’d gone to a school like this when I was a kid.”  I’ve visited . . . Read More


Trusting That Stories Will Come

 I’ve intended to write this blog for awhile, since learning that Vivian Paley passed away last summer.  We met in the late 1980s at a workshop hosted by a local teacher organization.  The event was hosted at Awakening Seed, and Vivian and I made a connection right away.  In addition to our common practices of . . . Read More


Counting Carrots

Exactly a year ago today, I left for India.  It was an adventure that changed my life and is still with me.  The orange-pink sunrise, the smell of rose oil, and the flapping of prayer flags in my back yard all carry me back to India.  Lately I’ve been reflecting on the year that has . . . Read More


Too Many Toys

Now that I have a seven-month-old great-granddaughter, I have more exposure to the “must have” gadgets and gizmos designed to make caring for a baby easier.  Over the past several months, our house has filled up with all sorts of paraphernalia to keep the baby safe and cognitively stimulated.  It’s made me realize how basic . . . Read More


After the Seed

Choosing a school can be a daunting task. We see parents in this process every few weeks as they attend our introductory tours. It’s a huge decision to choose the environment where a child will spend most of his/her waking hours during the week. The early years shape a child cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally. . . . Read More


On Fire

A few days ago I read a plea for help posted on Facebook by one of our Seed alums. She’s living in Australia.  Her post included a stunning photo of a huge plume of smoke and an article describing the fire as big as Manhattan.  I thought about her post all weekend and decided we . . . Read More


Last Night We Were Brave

Although everyone is moving a bit slower this morning, we’re all feeling the glow of last night’s performance.  The amount of effort that goes into our winter solstice production is unseen by most of our audience.  The vision, patience, and practice that fill up our December weeks came forth last night as we offered an . . . Read More


On the Threshold of Winter

 In most places around the country falling leaves signal the arrival of autumn.  Not so in Phoenix.  When leaves at the Seed finally cover the ground, we know we’re well on our way to winter.  Even though the winter solstice is still a week away, the leaf-covered ground is a sign that our balmy days . . . Read More


December Strong

 The other night at sunset, the looming darkness took me back to where I was a year ago.  Just a few weeks shy of our departure for India, I felt like I was at the edge of a great chasm, preparing to step completely into the unknown.  The month of December with the shortest days . . . Read More


Steeped in Gratitude

Preparations for our celebration of gratitude started last week as each class brainstormed ideas of what they could for another classroom.  In the K-1 class they began with the question:  What is it to be thankful?  Children said, “It’s when you love people.”  “It’s when you say thank you for all that people do for . . . Read More


Soup for the Bad Guys

The rain was a blessing for our dry desert.  It also transformed our playground into a mud bog that inspired all sorts of imaginative play.  It was a heyday for small persons in brightly colored rain boots.  On Wednesday I noticed a group of young sand chefs, madly stirring and pouring muddy water into a . . . Read More