Archive for October, 2015

Environmental Awareness In Peach Palace

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Pallavi (13 mo.) and William (14 mo.) exploring rocks in the KMS Garden

In the garden, Peaches (Infants and Toddlers) have been learning about natural materials using all of their senses.  One way they have been interacting with natural materials is to explore the rocks that Elementary students collected to decorate the garden area (see previous post).  This activity reflects one of our KMS values, Environmental Awareness.  Our children feel and find out more about the world around them, about themselves, and make connections between both.

For more photos from Peaches’ explorations of natural materials, click here. 

Ephemeral Designs: Compositions in the Garden

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Ephemeral Designs: Compositions in the Garden

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy


As a KMS value, environmental awareness means building an understanding and compassion for the world around us.  Working in a natural setting, like the garden, nurtures the child’s empathy and builds a deep understanding of their role as caring members of the world. 


Since the start of the year, the Elementary children have been immersed in cultivating to the KMS garden.  A proposal was made that we should decorate the grey tiles that cover the ground in the garden.  When discussing how we could decorate the tiles, I shared a book about the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy.  We talked about how his designs in nature are temporary, or ephemeral.  The students were struck by his compositions with leaves and rocks, as well as his idea of “rain shadows”(laying in the rain to see the imprint you leave behind).  Children began to work in the garden, building designs with rocks and leaves, creating “rain shadows” of their handprints with water,  and painting stones with watercolors. 

Every new day we enter the garden, children notice how their work has changed, either through natural elements or human impact.  In this way, they are embracing the idea of change, and the beauty in transience.  This is an ongoing process; as we continue to explore and decorate the garden tiles, we will be leaving our mark, visible or not.       

“What is going to live inside there?”

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The Pumpkins are reading parent suggestions from Back to School Night about what animal or insect should live in our tank. 

Click HERE to read more about how the preschool is researching to prepare for a new classroom pet.

Hiking on Bernal Hill

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Yesterday, the Upper Elementary students enjoyed a day of hiking, photography, and exploration throughout Bernal Heights, ending up on Bernal Hill. Students are interested in the architecture of San Francisco (particularly from the Victorian era), the systems that make up a city, and finding materials to build “fairy houses” back at KMS. Stay tuned for more on these horizontal themes as they expand throughout the next few months.

I’m a Construction Worker!

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For more photos from Peach (Infant/Toddler) outside time, click here!


Kiran:  “I fixing!” – “I construction worker!” – “I working!” – “I hammering, like that!”

Somos las Hiervas!

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Cyrus and Arlo (4) in the KMS Garden

Kim and Maria have been collaborating together in the garden to encourage students to explore the garden not only in English but also by using new vocabulary words in Spanish. During one morning while we did a study of the herbs the children created a song based on their experience.

Click here to enjoy their song, quotes, and photos!

Happy National Kale Day!

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In honor of National Kale Day yesterday, Elementary students enjoyed a cooking class that highlighted the Green King of Superfoods.  Students practiced and learned such culinary lingo as chiffonade and emulsify.  Ask your child if they can show you these techniques in the kitchen at home when you try making this yummy Ginger Kale Salad.  The recipe was borrowed from Wellness In the Schools (WITS) in NYC.  Check it out for some more healthy, family friendly recipes.


Tearing leaves off the stem



Cisco (8) massaging the kale, listening for the “crunch”

Ginger Kale Salad Recipe:


2 bunches dinosaur kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped thin

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

juice from 1/2 orange

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp honey

1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup olive oil


Combine vinegar, juice, soy sauce, honey and ginger in a large bowl and whisk.  Add oil slowly while whisking to emulsify.  Combine dressing with kale and use your hands to massage the kale with the dressing until the kale becomes a softer consistency.  Eat and enjoy!


“It tastes crunchy and spicy from the ginger.” -Madeleine (10)

When I was a baby…

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Ada: This is my mom.  I was inside her belly and I was kicking.

Click here to read more about the baby study in preschool.

Community Data

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Charlotte (6), Billie (7) and Caroline (6) measuring their pea plants.

As we explore our school environment, our attention has been focused on getting to know our community members and taking care of the KMS Garden. Elementary students of all ages are planting peas in order to  measure and chart their growth, as well as observe patterns and evaluate trends.

Upper Elementary (First – Fifth Grade) Students have been collecting and representing data about our community by conducting surveys of community members, measuring heights and performing data experiments that we can then use to create graphs, charts and line plots.


Congratulations Nina! (KMS ’15 Graduate)

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Nina standing in front of her (and sister Lola’s) wall of ‘notes home’

Nina Atristain ’15 was recognized as North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS)’s Student of the Week!

At the first all school assembly Nina was honored for her excellent scholarship and commitment to community.

From Nina: “It feels like it was only yesterday when I graduated from KMS.  I miss everybody.”

From Mom and Dad: “Thank you KMS!  Cheers to Nina’s fellow students, teachers and directors for helping her prepare for this educational journey.”