Preparing the Ducklings

I appreciate how nature often reflects what’s going on in my everyday life.  On my morning walk this week I noticed a mother duck guiding her family of ducklings along the canal.  I could tell she was training them in the ways of the water, giving them time and opportunities to find food for themselves.  . . . Read More


Creature Immersion

It’s been a week of living creature events.  On Tuesday, an injured black cat was discovered hanging around the trash can by our front door.  It had a collar and appeared to be injured.  Though our camera system, it was revealed that it had been hit by a car.  There was a bit of blood . . . Read More


Friendly Visitor

I can’t help myself from writing about the great outdoors.  It’s full of surprises, discoveries, and inspiration.  On Wednesday morning we were surprised by a visit from a neighborhood toad.  It was about the size of a medium baked potato, and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere else.  One of the . . . Read More


Mysterious Markings

I know I write about the Seed’s outdoor space quite often.  I love being outside with the children, watching them play in all the ways they do.  It’s when many of them are at their finest, using their imaginations freely with no adults telling them how to play.  Certainly we keep track of how materials . . . Read More


Garden Renaissance

In the sweaty days of August during our teacher prep week, we were approached by two enthusiastic parents about starting a volunteer garden club. It was a busy week with a long list of tasks and, to be honest, the gardens weren’t high on my to-do list.  Nevertheless, the pair had such enthusiasm, I found . . . Read More


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


Cricket Workshop

Like most people I’ve talked with lately, my heart feels immensely heavy.  It’s the news, the level of stress we all live with, and the fact that it’s past mid-October and it continues to be over 100 at lunch recess.  We have such easy lives compared to many, and it’s still a lot.  I take . . . Read More


Repurposed

I’m loving these new days of autumn, even though we are still in the upper 80s for midday recess.  After such a long, hot summer,  it’s wonderful to feel a breeze that’s slightly cooler.  The seasonal change has invited more time outside to enjoy our playground and outdoor areas.   While supervising a small group . . . Read More


Food Rainbows

Our food study has been deliciously successful this year.  In speaking with various teachers, several themes have been present across grade levels: learning about foods by color and what they do for our bodies inviting parents/grandparents to come in and share favorite or traditional foods of their families/culture making a connection to gardening and our . . . 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


A Hole for Everyone

So many life lessons happen in the sand circle. The Seed playground continues to provide opportunities that serve as a microcosm of the way the world works.  A brief time supervising the Early 3s during their Monday recess did just that.   During the pandemic we removed many of the pots and pans from the . . . 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


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


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


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


Time for an Upgrade

For the last 23 years our climbing structure, made from recycled plastic “wood,” has served us well.  Hundreds of children have played tag, taken wild imaginative journeys, and escaped from pursuing bad guys on it.  Over time a few components had to be replaced or removed, and quite honestly, our current structure is ready to . . . 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


Snakes and Scorpions

Earlier this week I was covering a playground shift and noticed a kindergarten student exploring the outer edges of our outdoor space.  I wandered over and decided to engage him in conversation about the cool shirt he was wearing.  It was brown with a bright green snake on it.  I asked him if he liked . . . 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


Argiope Aurantia

I spent last week in the small town in Nebraska where I grew up.  Although the days were warm, autumn was in the air.  None of the trees were turning colors yet, and the greenery in front of my parents’ house was plentiful.  Near the driveway was a plant that had poofy white flowers that . . . Read More


Grow My Heart Again

Our summer program is off to a glorious beginning.  We’ve welcomed back many of our current students, as well as families we haven’t seen since March 2020.  Additionally, we have a number of students who only attend our summer program who are here for another six weeks of immersion in the Seed experience.  Many of . . . Read More


Snake Visit

 It was a wildlife day at the Seed.  The morning began with the arrival of Winston, a staff member’s rabbit, who came to visit the toddler playground. He was quite popular with both toddlers and older students as he settled into his makeshift environment. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, the grandfather of two students . . . Read More


On Solid Ground

It’s been a good year for peas.  All along the sidewalk on the south side of the building, tall vines are loaded with white blossoms and forming pea pods.  Peas are one of most popular crops in Seed gardens, and they rarely make it into the building.  As soon as each pod grows full of . . . 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