A Wonderful Time of the Year....

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Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!

— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Winter is a wonderful time. The cold weather moves people to come together in groups for warmth and companionship. Under this forced confinement, maybe it is no accident that the season is filled with so many holidays and festivals. Might as well share a little ‘toddy’ and make merry. At Pacific Sage, the children will be exploring how winter holidays are observed around the world before winter break, but where to start? Well, with our 3rd Annual Winter Breakfast of course! With almost 90 people in attendance, the children, families, friends, and staff of Pacific Sage celebrated the start of the holiday season on Monday, December 4th. The children were in awe and Santa, our special guest, was warm and supportive of each friend (little and big) who waited as patiently as possible for their turn to speak with him. One friend kept turning around to remind her mother that was indeed Santa sitting before her. There was no doubt.

Children remind us to believe in the unbelievable and wonder in the wonderful all year round, but especially at this time of the year.  Find your inner child and join them.

Sylvia

Director, Pacific Sage Preschool

Going home for more than just the holidays...

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I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.
― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

 

I believe this is true and I believe there is more. Thanksgiving starts a tremendous social migration. Through the coming holidays, families and friends will travel physical and emotional distances to gather and reconnect. Everyone is going "home."

Carrying around a part of ‘home’ allows us to wander far and wide and live among strangers, but we need to find physical places where we feel safe enough to unpack those dragons, rearrange the shadows and dreams and add to that home in our heart.

As I tour families through the classrooms and grounds of Pacific Sage Preschool, common remarks are, “ It’s really beautiful!” (Thank you) and “It doesn’t look like a preschool." (Thank you, again!) From their questions and comments though, I get the feeling that what they are really looking for is a “home” and not a “school” for their child. A place their child can grow with and not struggle against…on their way to becoming who they are.

Our Reggio philosophy places great importance on the environment as the 3rd teacher, along with the children and the adults who work with them.  The environment should be filled with engaging, beautiful and interesting materials. It should be flexible and evolving as the children’s interests change and evolve.  It should say to a child…"You belong here."

It should feel like home.

Sylvia

Director, Pacific Sage Preschool

Learning in a teachable moment...

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You know, life fractures us all into little pieces. It harms us, but it’s how we glue those fractures back together that make us stronger.
— Carrie Jones, Entice

Two of the young friends were exploring under the beautiful ornamental pear tree in our yard. The smooth black stones underneath are sprinkled with intricately colored leaves waiting to be examined and admired. As the girls collected, they noticed that some of the leaves, dryer than others, were cracked and torn.

E: This leave is broken.

M: This one, too!

E: Who break it?

M: I don’t know. Maybe when it fall down?

E: Maybe the boys step on it. Ms. Sylvia, the tree is sad because the leaves are broken. I can fix it.

The two girls then shifted their project from collecting pretty leaves to a search and rescue mission. Collecting and taking the injured leaves to the writing table they carefully patched them and placed them into a marked bag. Where they could “rest”.

As big friends, it sometimes takes great restraint to look for the real "teachable moment." This could have been a good time to explore botany and the reason leaves fall, or that boys aren't the only ones that step on leaves, but at that moment, I learned about kindness, empathy and creative ingenuity.

Warmly,

Sylvia,

Director, Pacific Sage Preschool

Entertaining when the dead come to call...

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Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.
— George Eliot

One of the wonderful things about Pacific Sage (there are so many!) is all the life that surrounds the children daily…and as the wheel turns, there is eventual death. When we come across plants, lizards, or bugs that have passed on, it gives us a chance to explore and help the children try to understand…what is living and what is not. The children and staff acknowledge the life lost, sing “Happy Trails” and return what remains to the ‘Earth’.

As part of the cultural festivals of the season, I love sharing my family favorite ---“The Day of the Dead”.  “El Dia de los Muertos” is a public as well as a personal holiday in Latin America. It is celebrated November 2nd, but displays and ofrendas often stay up until the middle of the month. Skeletons for Halloween give us an opportunity to explore the bones in our body, so it seemed natural to build our ‘ofrenda’ (altar) to remember our family and friends (and pets) that are no longer with us in our science room. We talked about the different items that we could choose to include on our altar, read books and painted boxes to represent the different levels of the afterlife. We also made paper sugar skulls as tokens of love and gentle reminders of where all “Happy Trails” lead.

The children and families that play at Pacific Sage Preschool are very diverse culturally and it has been interesting learning about the different customs and rituals to honor and remember those that have died.

Take a peek, add a photo of a loved one if you like, or paint a sugar skull for our wall.

Warmly,
Sylvia
Director, Pacific Sage Preschool