Lindie's Blog
Items filtered by date: October 2020
Sunday, 25 October 2020 18:39

Stuff a Pillow with Milkweed

Nurseries have a new Playhouse slide game inspired by an Older Grouper who in a playful mood stopped by as they were playing early last week. He stepped up carefully at the bottom to create a tunnel for them by balancing calmly on the rims, feet on either side, long legs stretching up. No words were needed. Nurseries understood immediately the invitation to slide down and on through his tunnel.

After about five minutes of this, the OGer moved on to other things and a Nurseryer took his place. They’ve returned to this game over and over again throughout the week… two Nurseries taking turns to make the bridge perched at the bottom and all of them one-by-one shooting down the slide, and on through and into the mulch.

Along with all of this and the usual of Color Days, running chase games, trucks and trikes, indoor construction, stories and songs, etc., plus hosting a visit for a four year old and his mother, we also headed back to the tall grass maze on the Golf Course in the afternoons. One child was on a search for milk weed…  enough to stuff a pillow. He proclaimed, “It will be so so soft….”


     Kindergartners made a plan for a second visit to Agraria.  The day was one of those unseasonably warm Ohio fall days--windy and with clear skies.  The children wanted to visit the chickens, hike again in the maze (an area just past the big barn) and visit the creek.  Along the way, we discovered an area that had been cleared to make space for a persimmon tree to get more sun.  Someone had arranged log pieces like benches around the persimmon circle--the perfect place for our morning snack.  The children explored the undergrowth, mostly honeysuckle, and began clearing dead wood to make space for club houses and to hang our hammocks on a return trip.  The rest of the morning the children spent along and in the creek which was no longer dry!  Kindergartners discovered which rocks were best to step on for keeping dry feet and which parts of the creek were deep enough to go over a Kindergarten rain boot.

     In the afternoon the children were able to divide their time among several places--the garden, where there was more herb tasting; the barn, where all the tables and chairs had been put along the walls, leaving an immense space for running; and of course, the creek again, where one intrepid Kindergartner decided to remove her boots and socks, roll up her pants and go wading.  Soon many children were barefooted and wading in the creek.  "It's like swimming with clothes on!" declared one Kindergarten wader.  We made sure to walk by the chickens, who we were told are all named Prudence, to say good bye, until our next Agraria visit!

Saturday, 17 October 2020 19:22

Riding Trikes; Making a Community

This past week I found out a bit more about the Pajama Day that is being planned by several of the Nurseries. It is absolutely their own plan and has been shared with me only in passing...  and as a foregone conclusion. Evidently it’s NOT going to be on a Black Day; it’s going to be a Rainbow Day instead!

Anyway, I do love how this group is charging ahead with their own plans. Next week I will see if they want to talk together in the group and make it official.

There has been a school-wide focus this past week on triking. Trikes are now coming out daily and Afternoon Nurseries have been helping put them away again in the trike shed at the end of the day. As a matter of fact, at the end of the day on Thursday before last, two inspired Nurseries collaborated to to put almost every single vehicle back in the Trike Shed before the Older Groupers could even get to it! One Nurseryer did the pedaling and parking and the other one ran ahead excitedly cheering him on.

We have many solo trikes, two person trikes, plus trailers to hitch up as well, so there are a lot more possibilities for cross group interactions and collaborations that have opened up. Plus it makes for a lot of practice with being part of something bigger than Nursery, turn taking, navigating traffic, problem solving, and the absolute joy of it all.


Saturday, 10 October 2020 19:36

"Black!! That's Pajama Day!"

Tuesday we took a hike through the maze of paths some kind person has mowed through the tall grasses and other vegetation up on the Golf Course field… Nurseries were on a search for ripe milkweed to release into the breeze. On the way we found beautiful red clovers, lots of little white flowers, towering grasses in graceful clumps, dog poops just off the trail, honey bees, forks in the trail to follow, and a single wooly bear that we steered off the path… so it wouldn’t be eaten by a bird they decided.

Wednesday afternoon one Nurseryer organized going over to Cycle Circle Side to play. We also went into the garden to see Easter our old laying hen who is the last of her flock. She was quite talkative and loved eating the sorrel the children offered her. Thursday morning while we were at Art/Science, she laid one of her multicolored eggs which one of the Older Groupers brought into the refrigerator.

Then, another morning early, after checking out the Color Day chart one more time, a Nurseryer celebrated when she came to Black on the chart saying “Black!! That’s Pajama Day!”

I said, “It’s Pajama Day?”

She looked at me surprised, and tilted her head and raised her eyebrows.

So intrigued and confused, I said, “Why do you say Black is Pajama Day?”

She chortled and clued me in my saying, “Because ......... told me!!”

“Oh,” I said, “I didn’t know. Maybe we could see if other people wanted to do that too!”

And that is where she left it for now, but it does seems like a Pajama Day is in the works! If it does fall around our Black Days, what a lovely antidote for some of the excess of anticipation that always seems to gather around at Halloween time.

It does look like Nurseries are headed off into gathering their own steam for ideas and planning!



Sunday, 04 October 2020 19:54

Kindergarten visits Agraria!

     Last Friday Kindergarten had our first visit to Agraria, Ohio's first center for regenerative agriculture. Agraria, a project of the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions, feels like a sister to Antioch School, also founded by Arthur Morgan. From their website: "Agraria is an educational and research center that explores and demonstrates the benefits of regenerative practices at multiple levels—from the environmental, economic, psychological and social, to their impact on human health and well-being. . ."

Plans for our visit there began, after our hike to the creek in Glen Helen, where the children found shells. Some of them wanted to keep the shells, but because the Glen is a nature preserve, we don't collect items there. Agraria has natural areas that the children can explore and (within reason) collect items to bring with them. We hiked through fields, gardens, meadows, and woods. The children spent a long time in the morning and the afternoon exploring a mostly dry creek bed. They collected interesting rocks, flowers, and hedge apples. They smelled and tasted herbs from the garden--basil, dill, and oregano. They are already looking forward to a return trip!


Sunday, 04 October 2020 00:36

More Tools to Grease the Social Wheels


It appears that Nurseries love pushing the merry-go-round as much as they do riding it. I saw a YGer (Younger Grouper) come and join them to sit in the very center while reading a book. It was already moving at that point and having a passenger seemed to inspire Nurseries to speed it up…  a lot! I waited for her to reconsider as they ran it around even faster… but she stayed on, immersed in her book and seemingly totally unbothered. Several OGers hopped on to enjoy the ride. After about 5 or so minutes the Nurseries moved onto other things. OGers left and the YGer stayed planted and reading her book. Then a few minutes later, she got up and wandered off too. Still or moving, it was what she wanted! It’s really lovely seeing the groups flowing through the play yards and interacting so naturally.

These Nurseries are quite good at greasing the social wheels to keep their play going. Extra tools are always useful though, and they are beginning to venture into talking to one another if there is a problem to solve, getting the courage to say the the other person’s name and then directly state what the problem is and then work together to find a solution. We talk about how they can solve it and I usually end with, “Is everything okay?” If not, we begin again!

To begin a meeting, often the go-to phrase to start with is, “I wasn’t comfortable when you…”. Sometimes it’s just, “[Name], stop! I don’t want to play that anymore.”

Of course, practice always helps. We will be getting trikes out later in the week and that will give everyone lots of opportunities and practice with the special case of setting times for trikes… we have so many trikes, but often people develop their own favorites. Anyway, it’s a very concrete and valuable exercise in give and take, talking and listening and working toward agreement… with their agreed upon timer as the final arbiter!

We’ve also had group meetings for their chase games so they can each set their own signals to let the others know when they need to pause to catch their breath or stop to move onto something else.

I let them know that I am always there to help. Even so, all of this requires a certain courage and comfort with one’s surroundings and the people you’re with in order to be ready to take this on. The fact that they are beginning to want to do this work with one another is a sign they’re feeling pretty comfortable!

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