Dear MPS Families,
We are into our last five weeks of the school year. As you all know, I will be retiring at the end of the next school year – about 14 months away. And while yes, I am excited to be contemplating the changes that will bring to my life, I am also overwhelmed with such deep feelings and memories from the last 19 years. I find myself reflecting a lot on all the children and families who have touched my life over these years and how much my capacity to love has grown. You see, each child and family that entered my life through the front doors of MPS owns a sizable chunk of the real estate of my heart and it will belong to them forever.
This last week has been especially poignant for me as I have watched the children playing so joyfully outdoors. We worked so hard to create an outdoor space that was open to the possibilities within the imagination of a child and materials to support their creation of new worlds and stories. We also sought to provide space for their gross motor needs to run and climb, dig and haul. I was remembering how the outdoor area was when I first came to MPS and how much we did to create a child and nature centered space. And when I look at it now, I see it as a testament to the power of a community who turned their minds and hearts to building something not only for their own children but for all the children who will come to MPS long after they have left. It touches my heart on such a deep level that it is hard to explain.
Teaching at MPS changed my life in so many wonderful ways. A learning community is a dynamic place in which there are no one way roads. For every time I felt that I was able to support a child as they pursued their interests or worked on new developmental skills or worked through perhaps some complex challenges, I was swamped by an equal or greater set of lessons and learning that changed how I look at children in general, at educational systems and how I see families working to build healthy and functional lives together.
I feel stronger now than I have at any other point in my career that working to defend the rights of children to be children, to be safe, to have their basic needs met, to be surrounded by love and opportunities to explore the world is truly the most important burden on the shoulders of our adult world. And working to provide equal access to these rights of ALL children, regardless of where they live, what they look like, how economically secure or insecure they are is the work that I will continue to do for the rest of my life. Creating a world of justice, hope and possibilities for all children has been and always will be my passion.
As we move into the final month of school, I am beginning my process of “lasts”. Next year will be an emotional year all around for me I as bring closure to my time as your leader and hand that role off to a new and wonderful person who will be ready to be a steward of our school and all that it stands for. It will be the beginning of a change for all of us.
Looking at change can bring on anxiety, resistance, worry and lots of questions. But change is also a time of possibilities. We will soon be able to introduce you to our new Director/Head Teacher. Our final four candidates are all wonderful teachers who have some amazing strengths and so many creative ideas. Regardless of who gets the nod at the end of our hiring process, you can take my word that these individuals all know MPS and are committed to caring for and growing the seed that was planted by our founders, Maggie Weber and Francis Meyers, 71 years ago.
Will things stay the same as they have always been? No. But we also wouldn’t want them to. I have so many more thoughts and dreams and ideas for the school that I have never been able to bring to life. Our new leader will come in and work with us through their first year, respecting our current model but also looking for ways to bring their unique experience and approach to further grow and enhance the experience of each child and family. Our job next year will be to welcome that person into our MPS family and support them so that they can grow to be the very best leader this school has ever had. We will work through this process together mindfully and with openness and enthusiasm. I am so proud of the community that we have grown over the years. Our community and connection with each other is what truly distinguishes our school and makes it unique environment in which are all welcomed and loved.
The weather has definitely been cooperating and we have been spending LOTS of time outside. It is just a crime to keep the children in when it is so lovely out. We will continue this practice as long as the weather cooperates. Be sure to apply sunscreen before you drop them off so that they can safely play without worry of sunburns. Keep in mind we treat sunscreen the same as we do any medicine – if you wish us to apply sunscreen to your child, you must provide us with the sunscreen and with a written, signed and dated note that states the brand of sunscreen and directions for use.
Some fun stuff coming up this month.
BIKE DAY! I mentioned this last month to get it in your brain, but now I have a date. Bike day is scheduled for Thursday May 9th for the 3s and Pre-k classes and on Friday May 10th for the 4s class.
Bring your child to school at their regular time with a bike/trike/scooter, etc. AND a HELMET! Label the bikes and helmets – masking tape and sharpies are available in the classroom if you need them. When you get to school, drop bikes in the upper parking lot in the area designated ‘Bike Parking”. Then bring your child into the classroom exactly the way you normally would.
Once we have everyone settled, we will go as a class to the upper parking lot and spend our day riding. I make a one way road that circles the main section of the upper lot. Inside the track, we will have a canopy with one of our classroom tables which is where we will serve snack. There will be books to read, chalk for drawing, bubbles for blowing, instruments for playing, a bike decoration station and a bike wash.
We can always use some extra adults to help out on bike day so let me know if you will be able to stay. If you think your child will have struggles with the change to our routine or following the boundaries we set out for safety, let me know and we will work together to help make it a success for everyone.
FISH PRINTS! May 13th through the 17th, we will be making Fish Print t-shirts in all three classes. You should send your child to school with a plain t-shirt that has been pre-washed. I will have fabric paints and fish – some real fish from Uwajimaya and some rubber. You may have seen some samples from last year that the kids still wear. They are pretty awesome. We will be working on them all week since they are time intensive to do. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t get theirs made on the first day or if you forget a t-shirt. Note: Light colored t-shirts work best for printing – white, light blue, yellow, green, pink, etc. Intense and deep colors do not show the prints as well.
CHICKS!! We got our incubator out today and will be loading a dozen fertile eggs in on Wednesday! It takes chicken eggs 21 day to mature and hatch so we are looking at Pipping Day being around May 22nd, plus or minus a day or two.
We are explaining the process to the children and using some materials to help them conceptualize what will be happening inside those eggs while we wait. We also make sure that the children understand that there is a ‘possibility’ of a chick growing inside the egg but we have to wait and see if they hatch since we cannot promise it will work. What I CAN promise is that we will have some chicks in the class at the end of May. If our hatch doesn’t work, I will go out and get us a few from one of the farm stores.
Please let me know if you, a friend or a family member is interested in having any of our chicks once they hatch. I have no way of knowing exactly how many we may have available. Two years ago we had 100% hatch which is almost unheard of. Usually we have anywhere from 4 to 8.
BUTTERFLIES! So we received our painted lady caterpillars right after we returned from spring break and they have grown tremendously in the past 3.5/4 weeks. We expect them to create their chrysalids soon and then we will have our fingers crossed that they will hatch before school’s out. You will see us reading more about chicks and butterflies and do related art and craft projects.
PLEASE NOTE: I will be out of the classroom May 23rd and May 24th. Amanthus will be in subbing for me. I will be home sewing madly trying to finish the pre-k memory quilts in time for their graduation party!
That’s about it for now. I hope that you are able to be out in the sunshine with your children and enjoy all the flowers and insects that are waking up. Spring is such a special time in the northwest.
Thank you all. As always, let me know if you have any questions or need to chat. As a reminder, if you have not had a parent teacher conference and you would still like one, be sure to get ahold of me right away so we can try to get something in the calendar.