Thursday, September 30, 2010

Michaelmas Dragons

"During this time of year when the world is growing dark and we travel inward to find our own inner light to offer to the world around us... (we are much like Michael)..This is the time when we gather up our strength and wield our swords of courage and upright living to slay our inner dragons of depression, egoism, untruth that try to arise. " ~ taken from the Little Acorn Learning September Afterschool Guide written by my dear friend, mentor, and now afterschool partner Marianne Frost
Our journey may be difficult, long - frightening... we may turn back and need to force ourselves to begin again. We may be afraid to look ahead, or even look behind... but we move forth, with bravery... challenging ourselves to face what it is we need to face - examining ourselves deep within, to see what is there beneath the surface. What is left undone, untouched...

Like Michael we can face our dragons with truth... with courage... defeating what is holding us back from becoming who we are meant to become. From Joy.
The children at Little Acorn Playgarden enjoyed celebrating this wonderful waldorf festival more simply... first we enjoyed a few verses from our afterschool guide for Michaelmas week (we use our afterschool guides as a supplement to our regular daily guide that we use each month):

Michaelmas Fingerplay
*repeat verse for each finger
(taken from our September Afterschool guide)

Five brave knights
With swords held high,
Rode their white stallions
Across the sky.

The dragon roared fire
From the mountain top
One horse ran away
But four did not stop!

Four brave knights... (continue verse as above)
Three brave knights...
Two brave knights...
One brave knight

With sword held high
Rode his white stallion
Across the sky.

The dragon roared fire
From the mountain top
The knight looked back
But would not stop!

The swords raised high
The stallions full speed
Five brave nights
One good deed.

Then we watercolor painted.

How strong our children are.
How creative.

How much we can learn from their wonder.
Their risk taking.
Their forgiveness of self..
Of others.

Their beauty.
Their color.
Their energy.

The way they challenge us.
Bring us to our knees.
Worry us.
Love us.

We created our dragons from our own art. Each stroke unique, varied, different... each our own process... our own journey.
Beautiful and strong.

Together... One.

Moving, floating .... forward.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Way to Fairyland

What is the way to fairyland?

Which is the road to take?

Over the hills, or over the sand

Where the river ripples break?

The girls made this sweet little fairy house the other day with their father. It was Keira's idea after she came home from school and told me that her very good friend in fourth grade *ALSO* knows that fairies are real. Apparently, Keira's friend left a note out for the fairies at her house and they left a note in return. That was all Keira needed to hear to get to work on her own plan...

After enlisting him to help build a simple house with cardboard top, she worked with her sisters to create a beautiful home inside for the fairies. Acorn caps, seeds, fabric, a small bed, a few little 'friends' and a sweet note.
Before bed the girls took their fairy house outside to set it up. The excitement was contagious.

Keira worked hard to find the perfect spot and to make sure everything was just right inside before closing the lid. Inside the house was this sweet little note for the fairies (it even rhymes):
In the middle of the night something happened! Noises, movement... flapping.... and when I went out to see what it was... I found the sweet little house all decorated with flowers! The fairies were busy making it their very own... inside all of the acorn caps had been used as little bowls for the seed... and the note was gone!
When the girls woke up the first thing they thought of was the little house... so off they ran to the backyard in their PJs to see if anything came to visit. They were SO surprised when they saw what the fairies had done - in the kitchen, all I could hear were my sweet little ones busy chattering back and forth and then running in and out of the house to let us know what an amazing thing had happened out there on this very special night!
We all agreed not to continue to expect the fairies to do such magic all of the time as they may get tired of having to work so hard... maybe we'll leave another note in a few weeks.
We'll be sure to let you know how it goes ;)

Autumn Offerings

Be sure to head over to our website to check out the amazing group of products we have put together for you to celebrate Autumn with your children. Our new October Afterschool Guide is now available - the October 5 Day and 3 Day Childcare Guide - Our Autumn Menus - An Exclusive Autumn Handwork E-Book created for us by Jennifer Tan of Syrendell and The Wonderful World of Numbers - a hard cover book just right for beginning readers.

Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another AFTERSCHOOL Giveaway!!!!

Here's another chance for you to win a copy of our September Afterschool Guide and our Autumn Afterschool Menu FREE! Head over to to enter!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Squirrels, Nuts & More!

Well this week was our first week back in the swing of using our guides for the new school year and it felt great. Our theme was Squirrels & Nuts and the children really carried it throughout the entire week in their thinking, storytelling and play.

I took a simple crochet pattern from online and made it into this cute acorn pouch for Squirrels & Nuts week. Keira loved it! Now I'm being asked to make a few more... guess I better get to work!
We sang some new fun songs at circle time and enjoyed so many activities. At the bus stop, my own girls kept a log of how many squirrels they saw and we were on the hunt for the perfect acorn all week.

We left out food for the squirrels :)

And worked on our tree bark rubbings...

I was surprised by how much the older children loved this activity. I think sometimes as our children get older, we feel like we need to give them more all of the time... when what they really crave is less... the simple... time to absorb nature and beauty without complication.

They worked on their rubbings almost the entire play time. The little ones followed the big ones...

Is this The Last Child In The Woods? I surely hope not :)

The textures and colors were beautiful...

So we came up with an idea. We found a leaf that we loved... and traced in onto our bark rubbing papers...
Cut them out and placed them on top of our watercolor paper before we started painting. we weren't sure what to expect...

But the result was beautiful!

Autumn is right around the corner and I can't wait!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome Marin & Addy!

We are so excited to have a set of beautiful, red-head twins join us at Little Acorn Playgarden!
They were so sweet and LOVED all of our playthings and making new friends.
It amazes me how some children do so well in new environments right away. The twins were full of smiles and giggles all day long.
I love having a mixed-aged group so the children can help one another and learn from each other. My Brianna was like a little mother to the girls and they really enjoyed watching the older children do circle time and activities.

Free play is the best play ;)

We took a few toys outside and Marin and Addy enjoyed playing on a blanket while the bigger children ran around. I try my best not to confine the babies I care for by placing them in pack & plays outdoors, strollers or walkers unless safety requires it. I think it is important for them to feel free and have room to explore and discover.

They are both learning how to walk and did a great job following the older children around.

I look forward to their next visit!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Autumn Acorn Vase

Today we made this pretty acorn vase for our centerpiece to go along with our Squirrels & Nuts theme this week at Little Acorn Learning.

First you gather the acorns...

Then you play with them... for a really long time...

Then you count them... over and over again... "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 100, 101??!!!" - hmmmm is that how that goes?

Then you stir them...

Then a grown up hot glues them onto a used water bottle... and you can go potty, color and play dress-up...

Then you go on a walk to find the perfect flower to put in your new vase...

And play pirates in between... and mommies and babies...

And sing songs too..

Until you find it...

Then you put it on your dinner table (we decorate for Autumn early here - its Ms. Eileen's favorite season!)
Happy Acorns!