Why I Continue

Yesterday afternoon I returned from a week in Nebraska.  Most of that time was spent with my extremely elderly parents, who are hanging on by a thread.  Still living in their own house, they are daily supported by my brother and his wife, and one of our neighbors who is a childhood friend.  The intention . . . Read More


Echolocation

 On Thursday I was sitting under the loft in the 1st/2nd grade class with one of the first graders, finishing up the final touches of his published book about museums.  Although we were highly focused on his book, I couldn’t help but be distracted by what was going on with the rest of the class.  . . . Read More


In Celebration of Progress

We still have two months till the end of the school year, and already it feels like we’re in motion toward that ending.  Lately I’ve witnessed multiple examples of growth toward mastery of skills practiced for, in some cases, years.  Snippets of paper with invented spelling that a year ago was unreadable, now hold words . . . Read More


Among Other Humans

This week I’ve had the opportunity to observe our three youngest classes as part of our annual teacher evaluation process.  Additionally, we had another teacher presentation from our professional development series featuring classroom practices.  These experiences, as well as more time doing playground supervision, gave me plenty to write about.  When I looked for a . . . Read More


Toddlers Eating Carrots

You’ve probably seen extra vans parked in our lot these past two weeks, and plenty of ladders and equipment strewn in different parts of the school.  At last, our new fire surveillance panel has been installed, and the final details are being worked out.  It feels great to have this upgrade behind us.  We received . . . Read More


seedjustice

 We’ve been practicing social justice at the Seed since we first began in 1977.  Granted, our students were very young and there were just a few of them, but even in those early days we talked about saving the planet and being kind to each other.  Over time, as we grew larger and expanded our . . . Read More


Getting Ready

This entire week has been one of preparations.  Danielle and I have focused most of our attention on setting up schedules, staffing, and the calendar for upcoming aspects of our program.  For example, we have been talking about registration for the 2023-2024 school year, considering placement decisions and classroom configurations.  We have had conversation about . . . Read More


Solstice Light

Despite all the hustle and bustle the season, I love this week of school leading up to the winter break.  The winter solstice falls right in the middle of it, which is an added bonus.  Over the years, the winter solstice has become one of my favorite days of the year.  I like the history . . . Read More


Leaf Showers

It’s been a week.  It was Thursday before I was able to work at my desk for any length of time.  As predicted by the media, the trifecta of winter ailments (covid, influenza, and RSV) has hit our staff and their families hard.  We seem to be slowly coming out of it, but there’s the . . . Read More


Campaign for a Climber

First of all, thanks to all of you who purchased bricks to support the playground project.  We look forward to adding them to the current collection near the ramp to the playground.  Now, as we slide into December, we will begin our capital campaign for the remainder of funds needed for our playground structure.   . . . Read More


Sticks and Roughhousing

From time to time, situations arise that force us to reflect on our practices and policies.  We use these situations to refine what we do, driven by what’s best for children, what’s safe, and what works in a school setting.  Such is the case of sticks and roughhousing.   Sticks have always been a part . . . Read More


Food Kits

How can it be that we’re already entering the second half of November?  The cooler days make it seem more believable, yet it’s all going so quickly.  On the agenda for the Seed in the coming weeks is our annual gathering the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  In years past, each class cooked an item to contribute . . . Read More


Larger and More Alive

 Over the weekend I traveled to Cheney, Washington, for my friend Elaine’s  celebration of life.  I was invited to join her family at their lake home for a Saturday afternoon gathering in her honor.   Their house felt like a shrine to Elaine Surbeck, with photos of every stage of her life filling walls and . . . Read More


Precocious Pumpkins

You may have noticed the parade of silly pumpkins lined up along the hallway this week.  You might not recognize them as pumpkins, since they’re disguised as doughnuts, an ice cream cone, a very hungry caterpillar, and other fanciful characters.  We wanted to do something fun to usher in the Halloween season, especially since we . . . Read More


A Place in my Brain

In preparation for a writing lesson about pumpkin seeds with the 3rd/4th graders, I found these few lines from a poem from “Jerusalem,” a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye: “There’s a place in my brain where hate won’t grow. I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds. Something pokes us as we sleep. It’s late but . . . Read More


Gluing Seeds

Now that parent/teacher conferences are behind us, and the weather is definitely cooling down (relatively speaking), many classes are at various stages of planting their gardens.  It’s always an exciting time of year to start the process and then see what happens in the coming months.  Our garden soil is prepped each year by Bill, . . . Read More


Talent Show

These days fractals seem to  occupy my mind.  In her book, Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown describe fractals as “never-ending…infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.  They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.”  Further on in the chapter about fractals, she applies this pattern . . . Read More


Paving the Way

It’s the autumn equinox, and the rain this morning is a welcome visitor.  The creosote bush at the school’s entrance is a fragrant greeter.  Even though the days are still on the warm side, it’s clear that summer is coming to an end.  It’s giving us a bit of breathing room to look ahead to . . . Read More


Food Deserts and Beyond

For eleven years I taught first and second graders.  I believe it was some of my best work as a teacher that ultimately resulted with years of memorable teaching.  In fact, I’m still friends with many of my students and their families from that era.  Looking back, it was my most prolific time as a . . . Read More


Very Hungry Caterpillars

You might notice a large very hungry caterpillar hanging above the Toddler 1s door.  The paper was painted by our littlest toddlers, then cut and shaped by a teacher to make the caterpillar.  It’s a wonderful introduction to our annual food study, using Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Each year we devote the two . . . Read More


Taking the Heat

 It was 102 at recess today.  Although I appreciated the rain that August monsoons brought, I’m glad to be stepping into September.  The rain brought plenty of humidity, and this has been exacerbated by extra hot days this past week.  For outdoor play when the temperature is 100 to 109, our practice is to offer . . . Read More


What’s Your Name?

We’re settling in.  We’ve nearly completed our third week of school, and routines are beginning to come together.  Although some children still need extra hugs before saying goodbye, and others express missing a parent, for the most part we’re getting used to being together again.  It’s a time of new learning on many levels. Names . . . Read More


Dirt Builders

Beginning school in early August has its challenges, one being the Arizona heat.  We’ve been lucky so far that the temperatures have hovered under 100, allowing us to be outside for midday recess.  Our policy is if it’s 100 degrees we will offer an indoor/outdoor option.  When it hits 110, we keep everyone inside, except . . . Read More


Be and Be Better

I know it’s unbearably hot this time of year, as sweat becomes a natural state of being.  That said, I love the storms and cloud formations that appear during July in Phoenix.  Last night the clouds were unusually mesmerizing, and I’m glad I captured a few views before the light changed.  As I continued my . . . Read More