Primary

May
09

How do conflicts, oopsies, and the strategies we use to work through them help support a community over time?

“It is important to practice problem solving strategies so we can use them solving our problems. We get better and better the more we practice! We might not even have to think about it next time.” -Ben, age 6 I strongly believe that all children hope to bring the best person they can be to even the toughest […]
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Apr
26

I Felt Brave

I am a teacher, and it seems (and I know I am not alone in this ) that my teacher brain does not turn off when I leave the school grounds.  I am constantly thinking, wondering, and exploring as I search for connections, knowledge, and all the nuggets and gems that I can explore myself – […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Mar
20

How might cardboard foster connections?

In the start of the school year, it is my practice to offer experiences that might build relationships between children and materials in order to build relationship between children. Knowing that, I need to both be open to the inevitable surprises and the unexpected, while being intentional about what materials I offer. This year, I thought about materials that might demonstrate […]
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Mar
07

What does it mean to take a stance?

The children in the Magnolia Room are exploring and playing with the idea of being an author and the purpose and intentions that go along with that prestigious title.  Authors have many intentions as they share their voices, imaginations, lives and experiences.  In their experience as both readers and writers, the children discovered that all authors work […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Feb
15

Sometimes We Feel…

Emotions and feelings exist inside all of us as a type of energy that has potential to be expressed, utilized, and shared outside of us and into our worlds.           Our learning community puts in great effort to share and make visible our different emotions.  When we label and discuss them, we normalize […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Feb
08

Our 100 Days Plan

With January’s fickle weather, it felt like we were never going to settle back into our regular school and home routines. After the winter break, in the spattered days we attended school, I could see the children trying to reconnect to established friendships, trying to rekindle the bridges they had been growing in their new relationships – […]
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Jan
10

A Room Full of Information

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. When I talk about pictures in my mind I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges…You just lie low and let them develop. You stay […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Nov
27

Scared and Brave at the Same Time

This year, in the Primary Group, we are thinking deeper into the idea of “self.”  As stated in our Letter of Intention to parents at the beginning of the year, we are particularly curious about the children’s growing understanding of themselves.  We believe understanding of self is foundational to all relationships – relationship to one another, to the environment, […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Nov
07

The Possibilities of Loose Parts

When you enter the classrooms of Opal School you will be met with familiar materials that you might expect to see in a lot of Early Childhood and Primary classrooms.  You will most likely see blocks for building, colored pencils and markers for drawing, tempera paint and watercolors for painting, and costumes and dishes for dramatic play […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Sep
29

Seeing Ourselves in Clay

As you know from our recent blog post that included our letter of intention to families, the Primary Community is focusing on research into the “self” this year. As an artist and educator who works with materials, I know that thinking about oneself involves paying attention to ourselves, asking questions, and even deconstructing ourselves in […]
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