What do trees drink?
What is brown and sticky?
What did the hat say to the scarf?
You hang around here, I'll go on a head.
Why do bees have sticky hair?
Because they love their honeycomb.
What do you call a fly without wings?
What did the tree say to the flower?
I'm rooting for you.
Why was deer, chipmunk and squirrel laughing so hard?
Because owl was a hoot!
Butter not tell you, it's a secret
Here's a cup
and here's a cup
Here's a pot of tea
Pour a cup
and pour a cup
and have a cup with me
Posted by C.J. Cintas, Cattail teacher
Feeding the birds and tending a space is one of the best ways to create ritual at home. Ritual goes hand in hand with Rhythm. The birds will teach us how to get in a daily rhythm if we watch closely.
Every morning the House finches fly down from the Elm tree and begin to pick the fresh buds off the Wysteria for their breakfast. Soon after that, the Ravens know it’s safe to leave their nest in the Pine tree and begin their search for food. It’s their daily ritual.
Young children are learning and deciding what is important in their lives based on the day to day rituals they experience. They see adults tending to and caring for their home and family and want to practice it too. Bird feeders are an offering for children to tend their world in a meaningful and magical way.
Is there still food? Has the nest been scratched through? Are there any feathers left behind? Can you see who has been eating from inside the house or from across the yard?
There are many curiosities one can follow as soon as you begin to tend the birds. The best part, the birds will only come if you are still, quiet and calm. If you tend your nest each day, soon you'll be in rhythm with the birds.
What to do when you need to clean the yard
Pro Tip#1 Give the children all the branches, pulled crab grass and leaves and have them build a giant nest to sit in. They will play baby birds and your yard waste will be in one pile for easy clean up.
Pro Tip#2 Give your children wheelbarrow rides in exchange for squeals of joy and laughter. You might ask them to give you one? kidding
What to do when you need to wash the dishes
Pro Tip#1 Prop a stool next to the kitchen sink and tell your child that the dishes have been out to play all day and have come home with dirty little faces and tummies. Come along, it's time to give the dishes a bath! While you wash, give the dishes names and talk to them just like you do when you bathe your child. Soon your children will be devoted to dish washing if it's joyful and full of stories.
If you need any specific survival tips, feel free to email us, we got your back!
As parents of young children, we often find ourselves very tired. Somehow, we are still operating on minimal sleep and rest. In this time, we might feel doubly so as we navigate our own concerns and those of others around us. With low energy we often find ourselves giving in to our children's wants with regret, or getting angry or irritated. When we are not present we loosen connection with our children and find ourselves feeling guilty and overwhelmed. Right?!
Posted by Lia Grippo
There are 3 important considerations to keep in mind that can bring greater ease to our days immediately and to our lives and those of our children long term.
1. Be flexible
2. Set and hold limits
3. Observe the same routine every day (as much as possible, i.e. see #1)
When we talk about "rhythm" for the young child we can look to our own bodies for guidance. We live with a constant rhythm of breathing in and breathing out. We take in and we exhale. Every inhale must be followed by and exhale, which in turn is followed by another inhale and on it goes, seamlessly flowing back and forth. Our breathing does not follow a schedule so much as it follows a pattern and that is what we need to cultivate.
This rhythm is something that you can bring into your home.
Breathing in refers to meals, story time, and times when we are together and acting together in a familiar and predictable pattern. When the children are in the breathing-in period, you have to make sure you are present, so the child feels a sense of "ah, here I feel my parents, they are there for me."
After you've been present for a little while, your child can have a breath out and you can do what you have to do. At this point it's ok to tell your child "please wait because I need to do this." And this will be alright because you know you have been present with the child.
Now, think through your day. Where does the rhythm already exist?
Do your children wake at the same time each morning and do you all eat a meal together? The waking is an out breath, the morning ritual of dressing, grooming, and sharing the first meal is an in breath. Is there a midmorning time where you are able to come together for a short time for some drawing, crafting, games and then a snack? This is an in breath. Then your children are free to play- out breath.
Is it possible to have a story time before your midday meal? Can this be followed by rest? And so on throughout the day, breaking the day into patterns of coming close together and gathering our focus, and then allowing bigger exhaling periods to flow.
This is simple, yes, but requires that we be present to these touchstones in our day in a way that becomes familiar and reliable.
To strengthen the rhythm, think of how you will begin a meal and end it. Will you say what each is grateful for to begin? Or sing a song, or a blessing? Will you end the meal with a rhyme, another song, the same song? Keep this very simple and as much as possible at the same time each day(likely your children will contribute to this).
To Begin: it might be helpful to mark a piece of paper into thirds and label the sections Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. Think of things that you need/want to include in your daily rhythm and write them in the appropriate area. Order them in a way that makes sense to you and post it where you will see it every day.
Include some daily traditions that will be meaningful to your family, like special songs or verses that can be repeated each day. Or maybe the lighting and extinguishing of a candle.
At school, we hold our rhythm dear and it goes like this:
Arrival: Free play - out breath
Gather through song: Circle time/Tea time- in breath - End in song/verse
Free Play, free choice: - out breath
Gather through song: Storytime/Lunch time - in breath - End in song/verse
Departure: Pack up and go home - out breath
Wild Roots starts each day with the acknowledgement that most children have been restrained in a vehicle and will need an out breath upon arrival.
When we transition between our out and in breath, we begin with the same songs and end with the same songs, this way the children know where the beginnings and endings are. After the pattern is learned, the children know what to do and no one needs to be reminded to do things like tidy up after tea. In this way, repetition allows everyone greater ease and conservation of energy, which we all need!
Did you know that little sparrows have giant feet for their small bodies so they can scratch the ground in search of seeds to eat?
Posted by Erin Boehme, Dandelion teacher
Take up a wind wand
to frolick and dance, prance and play
Fly it through wind gusts, through starshine and day
Take up a wind wand
stories will find you and take you away
For this craft you need:
~A stick that is shorter than your child's arm(enjoy the measurement process. It will include figuring out how to break a stick)
~Colorful long ribbons or thin strips of light fabric (3-6 strands)
~Wire or twine (tape is optional)
1. Collect all the ribbon or fabric pieces together evenly on one end.
2. Tightly wrap the ends of the ribbon together with small gauge wire or twine and tie off so the bundle will not come undone.
3. Attached the end of the ribbon bundle to the end of the stick by wrapping wire or twine around bundle and stick many times until secure.
4. Twist or tie off wire or twine. (if you use wire, make sure any sharp ends are cut tightly and tucked under)
5. Use a strong tape to secure the bundle if needed.
Once completed, use wind wand outdoors in any weather.
Add live or recorded music, costumes and magic!!
*Pro tip: When not in use, wind wands can be stuck in the ground or fastened to the porch railing for observation out the window. Wind wands need to be outside where they wait for old mother wind, brother wind and the merry little breezes to play with.
Posted by Lia Grippo
The Haudenosaunee people say that when all of life was created, the Creator gave all of us original operating instructions. Among other instructions the birds were tasked with singing. It is believed that part of their mission is to affect the minds of humans. When our minds fall down around our ankles and we start tripping over them, they say, listening to birdsong will lift our minds back up where they belong.
Our young children are imitative beings. You’ve all, no doubt, seen the truth of this in your children imitating you and others around them. This means that our own actions are the strongest educational tool we have to offer our children. When it comes to nature connection, your own genuine curiosity and the actions that follow will be witnessed and imitated. Your efforts will be more effective if you do not treat this as a lesson, but rather simply do this in your children’s presence.
What was the first bird sound you heard today? You can ask yourself this question every day.
Try and imitate the sound you heard. Keep trying. You might feel silly at first, but silly is a wonderful way to feel. Do this in the presence of your children.
Share with your family which bird sound was the first you heard. Notice and imitate bird sounds throughout the day.
Pay attention. Soon enough your children will also begin to imitate bird sounds and might begin tell you which was the first they heard today!! Celebrate! This is how connection begins.
By Susan Perrow © 2020 www.susanperrow.com
This story was written for use with young children (suggested ages 3-5 years) who are required to stay home during the current C-19 pandemic, or who have had their freedom severely modified (e.g. perhaps they can attend school but can’t attend special assemblies, festivals, parties or events). The song at the end has been left open for teachers and parents to create more verses with ideas from the children. The story can be changed/edited to suit different situations – e.g. mother tree could be father tree or grandmother or grandfather tree, or you may want to omit the part about ‘gnome school’. The main character could also be changed (e.g. instead of using a gnome, the story could be about a mouse stuck in his little house, or a bird that must stay and rest in the nest).
Go to Susan Perrow's stories webpage: susanperrow.com/stories
Go to Susan Perrow's story: The Little Gnome Who Had to Stay Home
At Wild Roots we are working to support families throughout this difficult time. If you find this content helpful, and have the means, please consider making a donation to help keep our school afloat. Thank you!
Wild Roots staff authors include Erin Boehme, Lia Grippo, CJ Cintas, Anne McCarthy, Tyler Starbard, Jenn Sepulveda, Heather Young, Amalia Smith Hale, Natalia Pareja...