natural world

Nov
16

Fear can’t survive proximity

What happens when fear drives our actions – and how can we interrupt it? This is a story about four-year old Mason. He is a passionate person, full of ideas, questions, and working theories of the world that he readily shares with his community. He has a generous heart with everyone and his perspectives of […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
19

Reworking Scary Experiences Through Play

A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what they have experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions they have acquired. – Lev Vygotsky Each week, the Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders hikes in Hoyt Arboretum. Last Tuesday, we hiked to the Upper Meadow, where the children had time to free play. They […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Oct
21

Riding the Chocolate Train

Within a social-constructivist context, shared experiences offer children a chance to build their understandings of themselves, each other, and the world. Earlier this week, the Cedar community visited the Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland. This rich environment — filled with a variety of colors, textures, flavors and scents — provided us with a memorable, multi-sensory experience. In the days […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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May
10

In This Tree Lives Hope

In the Magnolia Classroom community, the children have been focused on developing and learning to appreciate their connection to the natural world. They are practicing strategies for empathy and growing awareness of the reciprocal relationship that exists between nature and themselves. The story captured below is a window into this process. One misty February morning, the Magnolia students […]
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Mar
10

Listening to children listening to trees

As we aim to create a school founded in a strong image of the child, we need to constantly consider our image of childhood and its relationship to adulthood.  What might it mean to create curriculum based around the unique gifts of childhood?  How can we embrace children’s capacity to see beyond the limits of the […]
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By Kathryn Ann Myers | Primary
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Jan
06

Seeing By Feels

 “When I did turn to untangle my curls, I saw a silken cradle in a hazel branch. I have thinks that the wind did just tangle my curls so I would have seeing of that cradle. It was cream, with a hazel leaf halfway round it. I put it to my ear, and I did […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Dec
09

Art & Nature

Sure, it’s been raining in Portland – but we’re still getting out, because it’s good for our health.  

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Sep
15

Connection with the Natural World: Intentions as we start our year together

“If we want children to flourish, we need to give them time to connect with nature and love the Earth before we ask them to save it.”  -David Sobel      In recent decades, research has examined and emphasized the importance of play within natural settings. Richard Louv, David Sobel, Cheryl Charles, Ann Pelo among other educators and thinkers […]
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Living wide awake

Tuesday night, I went to a discussion about adolescents and screen-time.  The facilitator framed the issue as a battle between the desire to live a life of alertness and connectedness and forces designed to distract and commodify. This week, Opal 4 demonstrated its mission to live an engaged life with a walk through Hoyt Arboretum.  […]
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Sep
16

Playing in the woods, saving the world, like family

Last week, I joined the third graders on a hike into Hoyt Arboretum.  They had been asking to go to “Fishy Pond” – a name I didn’t know, but which I had a strong hunch belonged to a place I had traveled to with fourth and fifth graders last year.  Before heading out, I had […]

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