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


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


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


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


A History of Flowers

On my way home the other day, I noticed a yellow sign next to the Circle K at the corner of 40th Street and Baseline.  I hadn’t seen it before and realized it was a marker for something that had been near and dear to my heart years ago, the Japanese flower gardens.  Long before . . . 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


Creatures of the Earth and Sky

Monday in the kindergarten class was a spontaneous preview of our summer art camp.  The class has been studying Ecuador, guided by their student teacher who is from there.  As part of their study, the Galapagos Islands became a topic of discussion.  This grabbed my attention and brought back strong memories of a student who . . . 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


There’s Always Dirt

This week Gwen’s Castle and its outlying area became an art gallery.  Inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist who works with nature to create his art, the 3rd/4th graders made their own sculptures and arrangements.  This project was part of the Seed’s Art Masterpiece program, where parent volunteers present a lesson . . . Read More


Wish I Had A River

I’ve been a Joni Mitchell fan since way before most people around the Seed were born, staff and parents included.  One of my favorites is her song, “River.”  It has always spoken to me about the parts of life that carry us off to adventure, both actual and imagined.  Daily activity in the sand circle here . . . Read More