Archive for November, 2014

The Beauty of Research

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Did you know that Paddington Bear is from Peru? One morning while reading a Paddington Bear book, a few Pumpkins grew intrigued about “deepest darkest Peru” from which he came.

We have been researching together, and collaborating on what interests us about Peru. Amazingly, this journey has led us to be fascinated by the ancient Incas. There is no day that passes where we don’t speak some Quechua (native Peru language) and play games inspired by what children have learned about the Incas:
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All these experiences provoke children’s thinking on a deeper level, and knowledge gained in this way strengthens the child’s concept of him/herself as a capable researcher.

Self-Portrait Photography

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The Upper Elementary is in the midst of creating their self-portraits using the medium of photography.  Each child is finding their own unique way to portray themselves through a photograph.  The students are helping each other set up, frame and take their photographs.  Here are a few sneak peeks from the process:


  Billie takes shots of Rio meditating from different perspectives.



Logan helped Isaac take this action shot of him “blocking a goal.”


Madelyn helped Asher navigate climbing the tree (the chosen location for his photograph).

Stay tuned for the final portraits!

Peach-Pumpkins in their new Patch

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As our Peaches (infant/toddlers) approach two years old they begin to transition next door to the Pumpkins (preschool) for longer periods of time every day. In this way they get used to the routines, teachers, and children in the preschool classroom.


Daniel exploring play-dough with Mama G, Peter, and Ainsley 


Otis painting with Miles and Eve

The Peach-Pumpkins are enjoying playing with the pumpkins, and the older children are excited for them to be there. The Peach-Pumpkins are very observant of what the older children are doing and want to do the same – they’re learning to be more independent by watching the Pumpkins.

Dia de Los Muertos a KMS

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“I like Day of the Dead because I can see the altars.  An altar is a place the spirits come to visit.” – Uma (K)

“It’s important to celebrate Day of the Dead because you can remember the people that die.” – Henry (1st grader)

“I have a picture of my grandma at the Altar.” – Emily (PreK)


A highlight in November has been the installation of the Día de los Muertos altar in which the children collaborated by bringing personal drawings and photos of their departed family members and pets. Together we made the traditional marigold flowers that decorate the altar and contributed to the beautiful design.

Elementary Ground Breaking Councils

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“I just felt very powerful, like I could do anything.” – Madeleine (4th grader)

“I enjoyed facilitating the Council because of the togetherness.  I thought it was a rewarding experience and fun.” – Soren (5th grader)

“I love leading Council because it gives me a sense of importance.” – Ava (4th grader)

“It was very fun.  I feel like Soren did more of the facilitating.  I mostly ran the games.  We played wax museum and the wave.  I didn’t really want to play toss ’cause it seemed rowdy.” – Isaac (5th grader)



Upper Elementary students co-facilitated two large KMS Community Councils; developing the prompts, leading all elementary children (PreK-5) in games and dedications; articulating Council intentions; and facilitating story-sharing and active listening.

For more information click Ojai Foundation Council in Schools (CIS)


Hey, my friend!

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Zachary: “Sit down”

Itamar:   “Hmm” (smiles and sits down next to Zachary)

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Zachary: “Airplane!!” (looks up the sky and points)

Itamar:   “Airplane!!” (waves his arms)


Apple Tasting

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We love when parents come to visit! Parents are always welcome in Pumpkin Land, whether it be reading stories or sharing about something they are passionate about. Penelope’s mother, Joyce, came by one morning to share four different kinds of apples with us. Do you know your apples?

We tried:
Honey Crisp from Oregon
Wickson from California
Rome Beauty from Sonoma
Granny Smiths from Australia!

Penelope and Alex made sure everyone got a taste of the different apples.

Here is what some of the Pumpkins had to say:
Tali: The Red apple, Rome Beauty, tastes like vanilla ice cream.
Alex: I speak Quechua. I would like to know how we say apple in Quechua.

For more from the pumpkins, click here!


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Meal times are some of the most important times in our day! This special bonding time fosters one-on-one interaction and deeper connection between a student and a teacher.

Book-Sharing in Peaches

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After a teacher read them a story, our new one-year-olds Cormac and Kiran explored books on their own. With plenty of exposure to books in the past 12 months and well developed fine motor skills, they are now very comfortable handling books in the same way as adults do. This is a huge pre-literacy skill for infants and toddlers, and will set them up well for more literacy exploration in the years to come!


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The beautiful thing about this scene is that preschoolers from every age are working together. It’s the joy of a mixed-age preschool, the younger ones learn by watching their older peers, and the older preschoolers learn through teaching their younger friends!