Stepping into the New Year

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The first week back got off to a good start with a package arriving from Australia from my sister with some super cool prezzos¬†for the kids and the best surprise of all a pair of shoes from when I was in Grade 9! These shoes are vintage, they were from my mums family – either my nan or aunt which makes them even more special. They are just beautiful and are such a work of art in shoe design, I tried them on, and they were just like a Cinderella slipper way too small and too tight for my now flatter sole feet compared to when I was a youngin! So, for now, I will keep these shoes on show in my house as a piece of art from back in the day to remind me my love of shoes began a very long time ago ūüėÄ

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Last week I also began my 2nd half of the school year at my work as a Teacher Assistant at Ventana School covering for a maternity position until the end of the school year. I will be working with two amazing teachers in the Kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms and I am so happy to be working with the kids too, they are just so sweet. I have forgotten how kids at these ages enjoy hugs and spending time with their teacher and in the classroom. In the Kinder class, one of my favourite things is the light table, and the kids were making up all sorts of wonderful stories with these little glass pebbles. I have to say a Reggio Emilia classroom is certainly a direction I would love to work in for the future.

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For the 1st grade classroom, there are rocks to explore and a glass container of mosses and lichen with lots of twigs and sticks, stones and many natural materials to use for when the children are creating stories. It is amazing what they come up with when you talk to them about what is happening in their creations.

The beautiful bead mobile on the left was created by the parents and the students with their intentions for the school year as a Back to School night activity. In the centre of the class the children created this branch, wire and bead mobile, I just cannot believe that I am working in a place with such an appreciation for nature and exploring – sometimes the serendipity of life takes you in the direction where you are meant to be!

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Going back to work full time for the next few months has also got me thinking about food planning a bit more and tonight I made a broccoli soup from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Soup book, the base for Vegan Ramen from Minimalist Baker and tonight’s dinner a rice and vegetable casserole. Plus my neighbour who is moving back to her amazing remodelled house has cleared out some jars¬†from IKEA, and they¬†are perfect for stashing a kale, mustard green and watermelon radish salad for the week and these jars fit perfectly in the fridge.

Last week I made this incredible Japanese Pizza Okonomiyaki from 101 Cookbooks as we scored a massive cabbage in our Imperfect Produce box and this is a perfect way to use up all that cabbage (I also have a small experiment of Sauerkraut happening in the dungeon).

So between organising some delicious meals for this week and¬†food prep over the weekend, I wrote my second assignment for this teaching period creating a folio of resources for children with certain behaviours in the classroom. It feels good to have written my draft, and it is due next week, so I had better get into gear and start proofing this before I lose another weekend studying away! Not long now until I start the 3rd assignment which will be a case study in support children’s behaviour – whew, take a breath or two. In another 5 weeks and this subject will be over and I have a break for a couple of weeks. I have to say I am thankful for the Nintendo Switch and Just Dance to get me out of my study room and dancing in the lounge room with my family, it is such a great relase and excellent exercise!

Serendipity and the Eclipse

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Art, Writing, and Drawing

Inside a Reggio Inspired Classroom, it is organised and arranged in such a way that the children instinctively know where to locate what they need and where to put them when they are done. Last week I helped with setting up the classroom with little things like laminating and helping out with the class library as my co-teacher is such a professional and has the experience on the look and feel of the classroom. It was exciting as she has moved to a new classroom, so it was setting up the class from scratch! To experience this magic and how much work is involved behind the scenes was so insightful.

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Natural Materials

I really love the natural materials area where there are magnifying glasses to explore nature close up, something close to my heart where even at my house I have a nature bowl where we collect pinecones, moss and other nature finds.

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Natural Materials and Living plants

The class is so full of natural light with plants in the classroom, and eventually, there will be a classroom job of watering the plants by one of the children. The furniture is beautiful and even quite comfortable to sit upon.

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Maths – now this looks fun!

The maths area is full of games and manipulatives for the kids to explore math and today as it was my first day in the classroom with children their enthusiasm with the math games was contagious. I was watching the kids play War with the playing cards, and it is all about counting the cards, and we even had a deep conversation about poker!

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Made by the students last year

Beauty and colour are in the classroom with these bead and crystal rainbow window decorations made by the students of the previous year as a gift.

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Class Library

The books are organised in a way that can be categorised easily by the kids, and the books upon the shelf are from the school library focussing on this year’s question of identity. Each year in the classroom the whole school looks at a theme, and each class explores their big question posed by the teacher.

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The reading riser to relax upon

This lovely area offers a place to relax and read a book, and the kids absolutely love it, and next door is the quiet nook where if you need some alone time you can go there behind the curtain and be in peace. Being in the classroom today with 15 excited and social kids was so enjoyable, and I left the work today feeling happy that I get to be with these kids for the rest of the week. I thought I would feel quite exhausted sometimes after I do a volunteer class shift but today I felt happy to have this opportunity to be part of another beautiful community in the Valley.

Our first day back was exciting but to top it off we enjoyed some time outside with the kids watching a total solar eclipse through pin hole cameras either made by the children and parents or our science and math specialist at our school. Even watching the eclipse through a colander was super cool as you could see many crescents on the paper where the kids had interpreted what was happening in a drawing. We are located south of Salem in Oregon was in the path of totality so we saw about 75% of the total eclipse so it did not get dark, though the light did dim a little and the air was cooler. I really enjoyed this experience and it was so good to be outside with the kids, checking out the eclipse using various pinhole cameras made from cereal boxes and the like.

I have read on astrology blogs that it is time to do what you have wanting to be doing for a while – looks like over the last couple of months my path has been slowly carved out to somewhere I am going with my future Education degree! Whether you like frou frou magik or not there’s some good stuff happening here on earth right here, right now ūüėÄ