Thursday, April 25, 2013

Earth Day/ Celebrate Spring
One of our family traditions is to head down to the beach for our own family earth day clean up. Each of our kids are given a bag to fill.  There has been some baulking at this tradition in Chicago when Earth Day can be 20 degrees!  Nevertheless, everyday should be earth day.  Teaching our kids to be stewards of our earth is a powerful lesson.  Pick something they can do to clean up some part of the earth this spring.  
In our Tiny Treks class this week, I gave each child a bag and they had to find the number of pieces of garbage to match their age.  My two and three year olds needed some help, but really tried to get that garbage in their bag.  One of our five year olds took the task very seriously and with work gloves on he quadrupled his age and filled a whole bag with winter garbage on the beach.  Another added twist is to blast one of my all time favorite children's singers, Tom Chapin's song Happy Earth Day.  My older kids may give me an eye roll at first, however within moments we are all loudly singing along.
Happy Earth Day 
by John Forster & Tom Chapin
© 1992 Limousine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)

One day she spun out of the sun.
Did she know at the hour of her birth?
That she'd cool and she'd bloom and one day become
The garden we know as the Earth.
Happy happy Earth Day,
Happy happy Earth Day.
From the schools of leaping dolphins and the herds of kangaroo
Happy Earth Day to you.

We celebrate your waterfalls, your glaciers and typhoons,
The sweet smell of your meadows on rainbow afternoons.
The northern lights on starry nights and when the night is gone
The fiery magic of your dawn.
Happy happy Earth Day,
Happy happy Earth Day.
From the fields of chirping crickets and the frogs of Blue Bayou
Happy Earth Day to you.

From the highest Himalaya to the mountains under sea,
From the frozen tip of Greenland to the sands of Galilee.
We're gathering together to raise our voice in song
And pledge to keep you green and strong.
Happy happy Earth Day,
Happy happy Earth Day.
Every time I smell a flower or feel the morning dew,
Every time I see a baby learning something new,
I'm amazed again how blessed we are and it's all thanks to you.
Happy Earth Day to you.
Happy Earth Day to you.

This song appears on both Tom Chapin's Billy The Squid and This Pretty Planet CD's.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Herbert and Santa Alert!

Welcome back to TOP!  Both Teacher Jen and I noticed that the kids had grown over break.  Oh my!  How quickly they change!  We had to spend a bit of time going over some of the safety rules again.  Many of the kids were really excited to be back at preschool so we kept on the move!

We began the day with bubbles and blocks.  Circle time was cut short because of the park crew's noisy machinery-so we soon were headed over to get out Herbert for a cuddle.  Everyone got to pet him and see how fast a rabbit grows!  We had some interesting discussions about why rabbits don't need their mom's and dad's around.  Because they grow up much faster than we do!
Michelle and Noah were very gentle with Herbert.
We had a lot more to do so we were soon out in the big field for snack. We read a neat book about a salamander called The Salamander Room. This wonderful book teaches all about what a salamander would need if you brought it inside.  In the end the child's room has become a complex forest ecosystem-all done from a child's point of view.

This Western Red Cedar is a favorite to climb through.
 We are thankful to Angus's Mom for donating her Forest Gnome "Santa" to the park.  We went on a hunt through the trails for "Santa."  When we found him we took him on a hike and hid him again.  I hope we can continue to search and hide him for the rest of the school year.
"Santa" the Gnome was hiding near the Elephant Tree!
Lunch was a free for all-with the choice to sit on the picnic table or on the ground.  Some kids were too excited to eat and others were really hungry after our big hike.

The end of the day was greeted by 2 fire trucks and 2 fire vans.  Luckily the smoldering bits were quickly put out and everyone was safe. I hope you weren't too worried when you saw the fire truck at Farrel-McWhirter!

We are really excited about the next weeks as spring continues to bring more birds and baby farm animals to the park.  If anyone loves to garden-we would love to have you come and help plant a small preschool-sized garden next to the old farm house.  Let me know if that is something you are passionate about sharing with the kids.

PS As the new weather brings new clothes-please remember to put your child's name on the tag inside the jacket or fleece so we know who it belongs to!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kindness brings light.
What does hatred bring?

My first 3-Day breast cancer walk was in 2002 in California.  It was a moving, inspirational and powerful experience for me.  One of the momentums I kept from that walk was a simple grey t-shirt with three words on the front that moved me to tears. 
Be Both
Three simple words.  What happened to “kind” on Monday at the Boston Marathon?  What brings people to a place where hatred is foremost in every action.  Where a young father can say goodbye to his own 3 year old child and walk out the door to kill another child, to destroy families?  When did religion and politics become a place where being right is more important than human beings,  how can evil win over humanity?

History shows it has always been this way, how can we change it?  How can we respect other view points? How can we take the time to learn about other beliefs?
Martin Luther King Junior tried through peaceful marches and peaceful actions.  In a famous speech he said, ““Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Where was the love on Monday?

As I wrote this final sentence ready to send, it occurred to me that there was and has been an incredible amount of love on Monday and every moment since.  Every human who witnessed the horrors and helped immediately without question.  Every person in their home glued to the Television asking what can I do?  How can I make sure to raise my children with kindness, acceptance and love?  There was a lot of love on Monday, I only wish these two young men felt loved enough to not let hate overtake them.

Pamela Worth inspired by photography from 16 year old Talia Worth