The Sewer Where Ninja Turtles Live

This past summer when we installed our new climbing structure, a mountain of sand was displaced by wood chips that would become the material for the fall zone.  It was 20 inches of sand that had to be moved to a new location.  Some of it went to the other side of the building, and . . . 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


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


Bricks in the Oven

 Life on the playground is a constant dance of balancing creativity, exploration, and imagination with plain old safety measures.  We look at it as a fluid process of measuring affordable risks.  We let children (except toddlers) play with sticks and bricks.  Yes, we encourage them to walk when they have sticks in their hands, and . . . Read More


Listening to Nature

During recess I noticed a child sitting by herself in the grass under a shady tree.  She seemed perfectly happy engaged in her own little world.  I approached her to check in, and was amazed at her willingness to talk.  Keep in mind, this is a child I’ve known for several years, with whom I’ve . . . 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


90 on the 26th

On June 26th, my mom turned 90.  She lives far away and I won’t see her until later this summer.  When we asked her how she wanted to celebrate this major milestone, she said she didn’t want a big party.  Instead she said, “I want to celebrate all summer long.”  As a family, we’ve granted . . . Read More


Climbing Trees

I was a child who inhabited trees. The property around our neighborhood was full of mature trees that provided multiple sites for treehouses. Some were built by professionals who knew what they were doing. Others were kid-built and, thinking back, I’m surprised my parents allowed us to hang out so high off the ground in . . . Read More


Ancestral Archives

It’s snowing this morning in rural Nebraska as I think of my friends, family, and colleagues in Arizona warming up to 90 degree temperatures.  I’m here checking in on my parents for a few days.  Each time I return to the town where I grew up it’s a dip into my ancestral archives.  Sometimes it . . . Read More


Eagerly Present

During lice checks Thursday morning one of the teachers noticed a large praying mantis resting on the edge of the trash can. She pointed it out to a few of her students and they eventually scooped it into an observation container for the day. Later when I stopped by the K-1, the praying mantis was . . . Read More