It’s the Last Blog Post EVER


Logan:  “Ariel?  I want you to catch me right now!”

Ariel:  “I’m too tired.”

Netta:  “Let’s go to the whole world and then everyone will get a ride!”

Miriam Angelo:  “I could give you each a ride on my back.”

Liat:  “Ok, so this is the painting studio.”

Netta:  “Ok, pretend I was the baby, ok?”

Chaya:  “So, Rena, I need to show you my owie first.”

Rena:  “One time I had an owie and it growed over.”

Chaya:  “Stop!”

Rena: “Logan, can you help me go faster?”

Logan:  “ARRR!  Chaya did not listen to my words.”

Ariel:  “Did you say any words for Chaya to listen to?”

Logan:  “No, I didn’t.”

Ariel:  “Yeah, you didn’t.  Next time you can just tell her your needs so she knows.”

Chaya:  “Logan!”

Logan:  “What do you need?”

Chaya:  “Oh, I am just in the elevator.  I am going to take a very long time, Logan.  Now, I’m going to Seattle.”

Logan:  “Me too!  Me too!”

Chaya:  “Look at us!  We’re playing so funny!”

Liat:  “What about we can both dye her hair?”

Echo:  “I’m gonna do a tiny bit of dying her hair.  Sorry, sorry, Alice. Can I paint your face now?”

Liat:  “Stay still, Alice.”

Miriam Angelo:  “You were dying her hair and I was piercing her ears a little.”

Netta:  “Right?  So we were both in the storm.”

Rena:  “Maia?  I want mama.”

Maia:  “That’s a good thing.  Don’t you think that’s a good thing? That it’s good to miss your mama?”

Rena:  “um hum.”

Maia:  “Cuz you love her.”

Rena:  “um hum.”

Maia:  “What you think Alice?”

Alice:  “ooooh!  oooh!”





It’s a FORCE!


Emery:  “How do you make this move?”

Miriam Wynne:  With another magnet, watch.”

Logan:  “Hey, Emery, watch this!  It can stick to my chair!”

We are experimenting with all the different kinds of magnets in our classroom and we have three questions:

  1. What can you pick up with a magnet?
  2. What happens when two magnets meet?
  3. Why???

We decided to collect all the magnets we could find after making a list of “FORCES” we have experienced in the world.  We had encountered a fairly simplistic physics picture book at the library and we wanted to get a little deeper into it:

  • Pulling!
  • Pushing!
  • Magnetism
  • Friction

What’s Gravity?

Miriam Wynne:  Something that helps us stick to the earth

Emery:  Like magnets!

Isaac:  A gigantic magnet!

Miriam Angelo:  It’s a force!

Audrey:  See, I jump DOWN! (not up)

Emery:  Throwing sticks! (they fall down)

We decide that since magnets are coming up a lot as we try to understand gravity, we should do some experiments.  This is what we found:


“I can’t put it here!  It’s keeping me away!”

“It’s attracting on the other side!”

“You picked it up–the other magnet!”

“These just stick together!”

“If you put it on the side, it just flips over! And these don’t really stick together, but these two stick together.”

“All of these stick together!”

“…because they are different kinds of magnetic, so they like each other.”

“They stick to metal!”

“I can make this move!”

“What! Under the table, it sticks!”

“Um. magnets move one another even from under the table.”

“I can stop it [the magnet] from rolling [with another magnet]”


The Word of the Day is CARE


Miriam W:  Care!

Miriam A:  Take care!

Maia:  Miriam used the word “care,” but what does it mean?

Alice:  Take care of you.

Maia:  What does that mean?

Miriam A:  Take care of people around you.

Alice:  It’s because if your mom and dad are out to dinner a babysitter can come over to protect you and put you to sleep while your parents are gone to a wedding out or dinner.

Maia:  Oh, so babysitters have to do with the word “care”?  What does care mean?

Alice:  It means you care about people and then you don’t be mad at them.

Miriam W:  It means hugs!  I mean it means you love someone.

Audrey:  And it’s about you get people kisses.

Maia:  People have said hugs, kisses, and love.  Are those things the same as care?

Isaac:  Take care means that when somebody goes away you say “take care of yourself.”

Maia:  Why do you say that when someone is leaving?

Alice:  If no one else is a neighbor or a babysitter around, you take care of yourself.

Maia:  I have a question.  If care and love and hugs and kisses are the same, how come we have different words for them?

Echo:  Because people have different words.  Because people are people and have different choices.

Emery:  And loves care with you!

Maia:  Say more, Emery.  What do you mean?

Emery:  Because parents love hugs.  Because humans.  And when grownups pick you up from school you run and give hugs.

Isaac:  Um.  Because parents take care of you.

Miriam W:  Love means care!

Audery:  Care means Care Bear!

Maia:  Can I ask another question?  What’s the opposite of care?

Miriam W:  Ignoring.

Alice:  Ignoring is not listening to people.  When you say over and over but you keep walking away.

Miriam W:  Um.  Hitting is also the opposite.

Isaac:  Talking over and over is chanting.

Maia:  Why are those things not caring?

Miriam W:  Because it’s not being nice to someone.

Maia:  What does nice mean?

Isaac:  It means you love somebody.

Maia:  Does love have to do with being nice and caring?


Miriam W:  One of them is when you really like getting a high-5.

Isaac:  I wish this whole school was made of fig bars!

Maia:  Anything else we know about the world care?  Does caring have to do with body boundaries?


Maia:  How?

Echo:  Everything!

Miriam W:  Because if you cross a body boundary that’s not caring and if you don’t then that is caring.

Maia:  Is caring something you do or something you feel?


Maia:  When you care about someone, how does it feel?

Miriam W:  It feels loving.

Maia:  How does it feel when someone cares about you?

Echo:  Nice!

Miriam W:  Good!

Maia:  What do you do when you care?

Miriam A:  Hugging.

Miriam W:  Having the same favorite color!

Isaac:  No.  Care is loving somebody.

** Photo choice credit goes to Alice & Isaac & Netta

Goodbye. Love, Maia & Ariel


Once upon a time there was a person named Maia and then another person was named Ariel.  They taught together.

Maia: “Also I don’t really like when stories start with once upon a time.”

Carly: “This is about you’re guys’ life.”

Ariel: “Yeah!”

They didn’t originally teach together, though.  The first time that they met, Ariel was crying in the kitchen doing dishes and Maia heard about it and gave Ariel space.  But the next time, Maia taught Ariel how to clean up a classroom at the end of the day because Ariel had never done that before ever in their life. 

Alice: “Ariel is making her bowl.”

Ariel: “I’m not a her.”

Alice:  “Their making a bowl!”

Carly:  “Cuz they’re not a girl.”

Ariel:  “And also I’m not a boy.”

So, Maia was in Parparim, but Ariel wasn’t there because Maia had it handled, but then later Ariel was in Dubanim and Parparim and then when Ariel was in Parparim, Maia wasn’t there anymore because Maia was in Eitim with a really lovely person named Eli (he just got married. Like a week ago).  And then when he leaved, Ariel came into Eitim.  And Ariel and Maia got to teach together.  And that meant some changes in our lives, mostly that Ariel had to become a morning person.  Ok, but, what was really nice was that Maia and Ariel spent so much time together that we would go out in the world and see things and then they would come excitedly back to share things with each other and Eitim!  From astronomy outings to local musicians and wildlife (of the green and BROWN kind)–teaching was the bestest of all worlds.  If, I say so myself, we did some really cool projects.  We encouraged musicians from all over to write our kids song lyrics into songs and here they are, professional artists.  Both of us and our kids had amazing opportunities because we got to teach together.  We did that Maia!  That’s what we did!  But also, it can be tiring to do all of that and I’m gonna miss doing all those things all the time even as I’m doing other things.

Carly:  “How’s it going on the bowl?”

Ariel:  “It’s going good, Carly, thanks.”

Carly:  “It’s looking good.”

Ariel:  “Thanks!”

Carly:  “How many minutes are we having lunch.”

Ariel:  “About two.  Wanna go wash hands to get ready?”

That’s true.  It’s a really nice love story.  What story do I want to tell? 

“Maia, you don’t know anything!” Noam had a broad, cheeky smile on her face. She knew she had said something funny, but she also knew she had noticed something important and wanted to know how I would respond.

We ask a lot of questions in Eitim. We wonder out-loud so others will too. Sometimes our wonderings are taken up and become research and sometimes they just float lightly until they settle around the classroom and make up the landscape of our time together. Questions are what makes us a learning community: Eitim are people who spend time together sharing our questions with one another. Here are some that I remember: Can I Play?, Water is Important, How Does a Well Work?, What does Native Mean?Can We Tell you a Story?, Owtunes!, Buddy Time & Wrestling Time, Noticing Wild Things, You Can Say They, Hi! It’s Teacher Maia.

I have stayed in the conversation that is early learning for over seven years because it means I get to ask what it means to be a person everyday. I get to ask that with Ariel and with Eitim and sometimes even Parparim, Dubanim, Tootim, and Dagim (if we’re lucky and succeed in stealing babies from Holly!).  I get to ask that with other teachers and with families–parents, siblings, chosen family and friends. 

Our classroom is made up of so many people who don’t spend time in our class everyday but make up Eitim lives.  It means Ariel and I get to work with every age!  We are grateful to all of you!

When we talk about how we seek to support our youngest in learning how emotions live and move in their bodies and how themes of resilience, inquiry, and wonder are the fundamentals of Kindergarten readiness, we also get to share and remember that what we are practicing and learning in our classroom is what all of us (if we are lucky), at every age, are trying to understand about ourselves and others. We are all grappling with some of the same things.

Isaac: “The kids are being tooken away from their parents at the border.”

Alice:  “Why”

Ariel:  “Where’s the border?”

Isaac:  “I don’t know.”

Maia:  “My mama and I were talking about that this morning too, Isaac.”

Now it’s time to go.  We have been very lucky.  Keep in touch, please.



Ariel & Maia

FAIR & Nice


We are revisiting our Winter conversations about play and friendship in our classroom.  This is a discussion from early in 2018 that has become one of our starting points:

In February, we added a tradition to our “You Can’t Say You Can’t Play Circles” called a “check-in.”  Ariel explained that check-ins “are when you say how you’re doing and part of that is saying what you might need help with and you can say where you’re brain is at…what you are thinking about.  You can also say ‘pass’ if you don’t want to share that right now.  And we are going to ask each other around the circle, like, ‘Miriam how are you doing?'”

Wynne:  Part of what I need right now is having more space.  [people move and shift a little] Emiliana, how are you?

Emiliana:  I want my mama and dada.  Avi, how are you doing?

Avi:  I’m good…Liat?

Liat:  Good!

We went all around and then began to read more of Vivian Paley’s book.  It was a part about how she was adding a new tradition in her class of telling ‘Magpie Stories.’  Ariel interjected: “This makes me think of Princet Ayo.  I used to tell stories at this school of Princet Ayo and Princess Fishstick.  They were silly stories, but they were also about what we were experiencing in our class.  Should we make new characters and tell new stories like a big Story Table all together?”

Ariel has since brought a version of that tradition to our lunch table of late.

Then it was time for another check-in question:  How are things going?  Are we still hearing “you can’t play” in our class? 

      Everyone yells “YES!”

                       But why?

Netta:  I don’t know.  I don’t say it anymore.  I don’t say it anymore.  I don’t say it anymore.

Wynne:  I say it sometimes.

Emiliana:  Because maybe sometimes people doesn’t remember.

Ariel:  What’s a new way to remember?

Wynne:  People could remind each other.

We talk a little about what reminding each other in a way that feels good could look like.  Ariel returns to the idea of storytelling to remind the whole class instead of just particular people in the heat of the moment.  We talk about how Magpie works in Vivian’s classroom.  Then we ask something more fundamental:  Why are we doing this experiment?  Why would we want to try to find ways to play with one another even when it’s hard?

Carly:  that will be good so that we have more fun.

Emiliana:  To say you can play is good, but to say you can’t play is not happy for people.

Maia:  Do we all agree?

Miriam:  No.  Because it’s not fair to me.

Emiliana:  It’s Gooder to let people play to learn to be nice.

Ariel:  What’s not fair, Miriam?

Miriam:  You don’t get to choose [who you play with] and that’s not fair to me.

Emiliana:  If you don’t learn to be nice…

Maia:  How do we learn?

Emiliana:  If you learn to be nice as a little kid and you do mistakes…a mistake is like if do something that another person doesn’t want to do, like also if you say the wrong thing and then you, like, get really mad.  But then you figure out that was not actually the thing.

Maia:  This is what’s hard for me too.  I agree with both Miriam and Emiliana.  I think people should be able to choose who they are friends with and who they want to play with and what sorts of games they want to play.  But I also think we all need to find ways of playing all together and finding new ways to be with people that can change our games for the better:  I do think it is a way of learning how to be kind and how to be a community–a class together.

Wynne:  I have a solution so people stop saying “yes, no, yes, no.”

Maia:  What solution?

Emiliana:  Talk it all over again and let everybody hear?

Miriam:  Like: it was just Emi and Miriam until Frankie came and there were only two persons allowed in my bedroom and then we decided…

Emiliana: …and then we decided to let Frankie in cuz he…your dad told us to let Frankie in.

Maia:  Oh.  You shared a story.  What does that story have to do with choosing and also letting people play?

Carly:  Um.  Because also because people kinda forget this but it’s kinda important to be nice.

Wynne:  I think we should vote.

Maia:  Oh.  Why?  What are we voting on?

Wynne:  And whoever thinks the same thing the most…the most people who think the same thing that’s what we choose in this class.  We’re choosing if it is a “yes” or a “no.”

Carly:  If you can’t play…

Ariel:  What are we saying “yes” to?

Carly:  “Yes” that we agree on that…yes play or no play.

Maia:  How will voting help?

Ariel:  Or what are we learning by voting?

Wynne:  How many people can play in a game.

Maia:  Hey, Winfred? Is it ok if I change our discussion away from the voting question?

Wynne:  Yeah.

Maia:  Here is what I am hearing.  We are talking about two words, I think: FAIR and NICE.  What do we mean by nice, what does nice mean?

Carly:  Being nice to ‘nother people.

Ariel:  What does that look like?

Carly:  People get happier by the second!  Saying “no” does not learn us to be nice.

Emiliana:  Yes it does.  If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t know anything when you’re big. Everybody makes mistakes so that means they DO learn to be nice.

Ariel:  Just making mistakes is what you need to be nice?

Emiliana:  Not all.  Other things like saying “sorry.”

Netta:  Share.

Ariel:  Question! Is sharing similar–does it look a lot like–saying “you can play with me?”


Ariel:  What if we want to share with some people but not every people?

Wynne:  We put it in a place that only some people can reach it, like Miriam, and other people can…

Miriam:  I don’t understand.

Maia:  How do you feel when someone puts something where only Miriam Angelo can reach it?

Wynne:  Sometimes I am sad-mad.  Mad at some person because of what they did to my feelings.

Maia:  Oh.  Here is my question about these two words, FAIR and NICE:  How can playing be fair AND nice?  Do we get to choose our friends but also share our games?  What do we do if we don’t get turns?  If we’re not giving turns?

Ariel:  I think playing is basically the same as taking turns with friends.  Same-same.  I think a lot of people in our class talk about fair being about taking turns.  Sharing and taking turns is what makes playing possible and fun.  And playing with people is what makes us feel we have friends and friends who know how to be nice to us.





The Word of the Day is PROUD



lower case r!



lower case d!


Miriam Wynne sounds it out.  We all repeat it after her and taste it a little.

Maia:  “What does it mean?  What is proud?”

Emiliana: “Like, I’m proud of myself!”

Wynne:  “But that doesn’t tell us what proud means.”

Emiliana:  “Or it could mean I’m proud of my friends.”

Maia:  “What does proud mean to you, Miriam?”

Wynne:  “It means happy.”

Maia:  “Is it the same as happy?”

Wynne:  “Actually, it means more than happy–like, happier than happy.”

Isaac:  “like your family is crowded around you.”

Maia:  “Wow.  What’s that like?”

Isaac:  “It means that you’re in the middle of your family.”

Carly:  “It means your family is super duper happy with you.”

Wynne:  “If you do something that makes people happier than happy then that’s proud.  When I don’t plug my ears at my friends, I’m proud of myself.”

Isaac:  “My mom is proud of me for getting stickers on my sticker-chart for good dinners.”

What Are Our Bodies D o i n g ?


What is Surgery?

WHAT is a vein?

How do infections get inside us?


We have questions!

Ariel (me!) (I) (myself!) had surgery.  And when I came back I was telling everyone why I was gone and what I was doing while I was gone (sleeping mostly).  I was struck by a series of questions, not the least of which being how do I say this in a not scary way?

Surgery wasn’t scary for me, it was like getting my nails clipped as a kid.  I didn’t know every single step well enough to do it without any guidance, but I always knew what was happening and was confident in my surgeon knowing what he was doing.

The word “cut” has been a little scary to hear about bodies by our kids, though, so how do I describe this meaningful and straight-forward procedure in a way that lets them know I was safe?

But then, suddenly I was asking:  Was I safe?  Like the whole time?  Was I just within a certain threshold of danger that the kids are telling me might not be a threshold they would be comfortable with? Grownups just have to accept that I have autonomy over myself and don’t get to ask why I chose to put myself in a certain amount of danger, not answering the “why?” for our kids on the other hand felt like it would be deprivation.  So, I must learn a way to tell them answers.

A theme in our class recently has been research So when I don’t know an answer I am confident we can research together and find answers that satisfy us all.  That is how our explorations of anatomy and bodies began. 

Infection was a place folks wanted to start because I had had infections after the surgery.  We talked about what we already knew first:

Isaac:  It was maybe when I was three years old.  It was a ear infection.

Netta:  I once had an infection.  It made me throw up a lot.  I also throwed up a couple days ago.  In bed.  In the middle of the night.

Then we started tracing bodies and mapping new systems we were learning about on them:  Blood!  Circulatory system!  Bones!  Skeletons!  EARS! Eye-balls! Digestion! Come check our our classroom and bulletin board for more.

Then:  BABIES!  What do we know about babies, though?


“In the belly…egg! Uterus!”

“come out of a belly!  When the mom thinks they’re ready to come out they go to the doctors office and the doctor takes it out.”

“sometimes instead of the doctor taking out, it just SLIDES (like on a slide).”

“They like to do things a lot”

“Babies are smaller than a bug.”

“Babies are as big as a cat”

“When they first get born, they have a little thing in their belly buttons.  To keep the little thing safe there is a tube that just falls off when it’s done healing.”

“always the thing that made our belly button is called an umbilical chord.”

“they like to eat: food, babysauce, milk, water, squeezies, bananas, oranges.”

Through research we were able to figure out what it meant to talk about my experience in a non-scary way.  We found pictures and words to describe our bodies so we knew what was happening inside us and what was happening inside me.  My surgery is where the questions started, but after less than five days together we realized that our real questions were about the human body–what really sustained our focus was how our own bodies helped us understand other people and their bodies.