Monday, December 24, 2012

Nothing Without Jolly!

It happened to me again: the end of December showed up, and I had no idea how it got here! We live in a warp speed time when being busy is almost a fad, and hustle and bustle is synonymous with the holidays. I cherish the time when we all get to set "it" all aside, hit the pause button and curl up with our families (and an obscene amount of cookies). The holidays are a time when every adult has made an unspoken agreement to be magical... and if you are Jennie, do strange things with your hair. No matter what we celebrate, we get to do it together. Once again TLS thanks you for sharing your celebrations, your magic, your families and your lives with us. Nothing without jolly!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Best Gratitude List Ever

With Thanksgiving comes the official start of the holidays, and there is oh so much we can all say about that. However, I can assure you that anything I have to say about thankfulness is not nearly as amazing as what our kids have to say about it. So with that, I will turn the blog over to them.  I asked the kids to lay it out for me: What are you thankful for? Like a big happy sticky wave of gratitude, I was almost physically laid out as the kids rushed to tell me all the things they are thankful for. And that almost says it all… ALMOST:

What are you thankful for? 

Sterling 4: Seeing the biggest rainbow ever.
Jack 4: I am thankful my mom got me new footie pajamas.
Jordan 2: French fries!
Asher 2: iPad.
Brady 3: I’m thankful across the whole North Carolina land.
Catherine 2: Santa Claus.
Sienna 5: My dog and my mom, because she got me that dog.
Addison 4: Co-cola with my g ma and pa pa.
Ronan 2: A football guy. #1 Camden Newton!
Emmie 2: I’m thankful for my sissy and mommy.
Rosa Lu 2: I want to tell you something. Grandma and grandpa are coming to mine house for Thanksgiving.
Ben 4: Bread all the tiiiime.
Avery 2: Nate!
Tyler 3: I dunno.
Charlotte 4: A long time ago, I came downstairs after nap, and my dad was painting a turkey with butter.
Luke 4: I’m thankful for people coming to my house.
Nicholas 2: Grandma! Grandpa!
Elsie 4: A volcano. Booom!
Carissa 4: I’m thankful for church.
Brandon 4: Ketchup, eggs, and pie…. in your face! Hahahaha! 
Sarah Grace 4: I’m just thankful for my family.
Shayna 4: I’m thankful for Lexi because she plays with me.
Quincy 4: School!
Porter 3: I’m thankful for my uncle Bill.
Gib 4: Christmas! Presents and my whole family coming.
Nico 4: I’m thankful for my sister, my dad and my mother, ‘cus I love them.
Andy 4: God and stuff.
Maddie 4: I am thankful because my mom is making gooseberry pie, and I am inviting Anna Leigh and Wyatt and Andy.
Noah 3: Getting a haircut for my grandma and my grandpa.
Wylie 4: The whole class.
Samantha 1: Wash hands. 
Bryce 3: I'm thankful for dresses. 
Willa 4: Not being sick anymore.
Evan 3: Cookies. No. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Alex 4: I can’t tell you.
Vera 1: Earrings. Kitties. Gentle flowers. 
Isabel 2: Sometimes, I love meat.  

Your kids are awesome. Absolutely awesome. On behalf of TLS, we are thankful to all of you for sharing your wonderful children with us. Through their highs and lows, tears and sparkles, they remind us everyday that we have the very best job in the world. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Case of the Missing Gerbils

There are oodles of paths to learning, and bazillions of theories on the best early education practices. Obviously, the best way to learn is to LOVE what you are doing. Easy-peasy right? However, we all love different things and learn in different ways. If you are going to get me anywhere near interested statistics, you are going to have to think WAAAY outside the box. How oh how do you make that work in a classroom with 18 different kids, with 18 different strengths and 18 different visions? I asked Laura of the Diving Dolphin's to tell us about a recent project that sparked brain magic in their kids.

"Several weeks ago, the Diving Dolphins became interested in maps, mysteries, and spy glasses. Soon we were seeing mysteries everywhere! Every lost sock and missing marker cap became an opportunity to look for clues and solve the puzzle. The class started to come up with questions, and search for the answers. Why did Mr. Sean cut down that tree? Did he need to make a wooden pumpkin out of it? We tracked down Mr. Sean and found out the truth. We made our own spyglasses and maps, and used them to navigate the playspaces and the woods.

"This week, we came across the biggest mystery so far: our gerbils, named Cat and Snake, went missing! We followed clues and solved puzzles all over the school, magnifying glasses in hand, until at last we found our pets and returned them to our room! We were so happy to see them, and have been talking about the "long mystery" for days." - Laura Hasslam

Aside from the obvious fun and excitement two lost gerbils generates, what's going on here? What's the point? First and foremost, the kids had more FUN then a barrel full of gerbils. Moreover, their investigation into mysteries worked every nook and cranny of their spongy little minds- investigating the mystery, searching for clues, and hazarding guesses flexed their cognitive development such as problem solving, persistence, and memory. As the kids poured over maps and metaphorical knots, they stretched language and literacy development. They followed multiple stepped instructions, print concepts, and even used math and counting skills. So yes, they had fun, but with the purposeful guidance of their teachers, they also continued to build and grow into not simply learners, but THINKERS and visionaries!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Fall Fest!

I am happy to report that our fall fest was a huge success! With the help of our superstar parent ambassadors, each room planned wonderful fall-tastic event's. There were parades, art projects, special fall treats (my favorite part) and of course costumes aplenty! We had *approximately* three Buzz Lightyears, five witches, three bumblebees, four ladybugs, two airplane pilots, two strawberries, a bakers dozen of various fowls, eight firefighters, exactly nine million princesses, one Yoda, and one Slash... because truly, there can be only ONE Yoda and ONE Slash. Thanks again for a wonderful fall fest. It was great to see all the teachers, parents and kids come together and just have a great time!



Do you have even better photos of the event? Post them to our facebook page! (Just be sure that they are of YOUR children only, or you have permission from others parents!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Handmade Fabulous-ness!

Two Saturday’s ago (aka, a million years ago in kid speak), Churton Street in downtown Hillsborough was awash with a school of fish, hopping frogs, munchy crunch beavers, and a swarm of dragonflies. Kids and grown-up kids alike donned masks, costumes and paper-hand puppets to bring the Eno River to dry land. The Green building classrooms worked alongside teachers, parents and grandparents to create their vision of the Eno.

Dana’s class began their investigation by reading books about river animals. The kids all chose an animal that they wanted to embody and filled their journals with drawings and costume visions. Classroom Mom, and costume wizard Janine helped the kids bring their drawing to life! Riley said that she was going to be a pink coyote, but lured away by the notion of wings, choose to be a dragonfly…and really can you blame her? I asked other kids to tell me about their choices:

“I was a lizard because I thought it was so great!”- Reese
“I was a duck, because I like their pretty feathers” Andy
“I was an alligator, because I like their teeth”.  Quincy

For weeks, kids painted alligator tails, and butterfly wings, made crowns for their parents, and doodly-boppers for their siblings.

Amy’s class studied the ins and outs of river life: plants, animals, muck and yuck. The class made the call to become a school of fish. Each child chose a different fresh water fish, and set about transforming cardboard to dazzling rainbow trout, salmon, and what Abigail called “an America Fish”.  I asked Amy’s kids to tell me more about the parade:

“We had to walk a loooong way” said Ella Marie
“And we had to stop a lot too” Said Elise
“Yeah” continued Ella Maire, “we were so hot, but we got popsicles at the end!”

The costumes were amazing and the studies were engaging, but the real magic came as the kids marched up the street lined with smiles cheering them on. The kids waved like presidential candidates as their community called their names and celebrated their accomplishment. Warm and fuzzy doesn’t even cover how I felt watching these kids soak in the Hillsborough love.  It made me proud for my town to actively say THIS is important. ART is important. Our KIDS are important. To march these values right through the center of town made me giddy with love for Hillsborough, and beaming, shinning pride in our TLS kids!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello Stranger

Two Saturday’s back, Chef Nate whipped up an insane amount of banana pudding while we flung our doors open to all of our family and friends for a big honking picnic. We invited local legend Katherine Whalen and Her Fascinators to perform for us all. The TLS all-star kids took up all manner of shakers and tambourines to help the band keep the beat. Parents and teachers spread out blankets in the setting sun, while the kids whizzed by with their friends, a blur of giggles and sweat.

This is by far one of my favorite events of the year, and not just because banana pudding is involved. One of the core tenants of the Reggio philosophy is community, and boy oh boy, do we love our community. Born out of the wreckage of post war Italy, the towns surrounding Reggio Emilia leaned heavily on the community to pool their resources (physical and otherwise) to educate their kids. The result was a multi-facetted and supportive environment where teacher, parent and kids were all partners in the child’s education. It takes a village. 

Now this may all sound like a lofty idea for a banana pudding fueled party, but the sheer pride a child takes when he shares his school world with his home world is not to be missed. The casual conversations between parents on a picnic blanket acts as a pipeline of information where advice and anecdotes can flow freely. A little talk between a teacher and parent about the awesomeness of the band, opens the door for when there needs to be a big talk about a bite on the playground.

So thank you, thank you to all our friends, family and teachers who showed up to share the sunset with us. Your support and encouragement mean the world not just to us, not just to your (super wonderful) kids, but to this big ole village we are in. If we were in post war Italy, I’d totally have your back.