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ALL-FAMILY NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 2019 EDITION

OCTOBER 9, 2019
Welcome families!

As we are settling into new routines and classrooms, we want to thank you for sharing your family with us! You should have your gear by now (concerns or questions about gear? e mail gear@tinytrees.org), and soon we will be making mud pies and enjoying the fall rain! The changing of seasons gives us ample opportunity to talk to children about growth and change. As the leaves change colors and fall, we are also moving through some of our own organizational transitions. This month we welcome Mitchell, our Roving Teacher and Administrative Assistant. Mitchell will be supporting teachers at all sites, and coordinating substitute coverage for planning and teacher absences. Please give him a warm welcome! October 11th will be Rachel’s last day as Education Director. We are wishing her all the best, and I will be supporting supervisors and teachers in the interim. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to email me at kellie@tinytrees.org.
Kellie Morrill
Executive Director

IN THIS ISSUE

Upcoming Important Dates • Luncheon Reminder • Licensing Update • Curriculum Spotlight • Decolonizing the Outdoors • Gear Corner • Policies & Procedures for Operating in Public Places • Important Links

UPCOMING IMPORTANT DATES

  • NO SCHOOL: Friday, October 11 (All-Staff Professional Development)
  • EVENT: Saturday, October 19 Family Hike in Issaquah (more details below)
  • NO SCHOOL: Friday, October 25 (Annual Luncheon)
  • EVENTS: Wednesday, October 30 Stone Soup at Danny Woo Community Garden & Math/STEM night with Renton Innovation Zone Partnerships (more details below)
  • NO SCHOOL: Monday, November 11 (Veterans Day)
  • NO SCHOOL: Tuesday, November 12 (All-Staff Professional Development)

LUNCHEON REMINDER

We are just two weeks away from our 5th Annual Luncheon! If you haven't reserved your spot yet, make sure to do so no, as the deadline to RSVP is Monday, October 21st. This is our only fundraiser, and we would love to have every classroom represented in the room! We're offering $50 tickets to enrolled families and free tickets to families receiving any sort of tuition assistance. All classes will be closed on the day of the luncheon on 10/25, make sure to register for free childcare at the luncheon here.
TinyTreesLuncheonInvite_2019

LICENSING PILOT UPDATE & TINY TREES IN THE TIMES

We are excited to be on our way to receiving our initial license from the Department of Children Youth and Families. Beginning in 2016, Tiny Trees has been active in pursuing licensing. Our vision is to create longer days of preschool at Tiny Trees to support more working families and to look at other ways to support families with subsidies and other forms of support. We need to be licensed in order to do this!

Over the next month, Tiny Trees welcomes licensors to our Jefferson Park, Carkeek East, and Camp Long North classrooms. They will be helping us to hone in on our craft and to celebrate all of the work we have done to develop policies and practices that align with high quality outdoor early childhood standards.

You can read more about the Outdoor Preschool Licensing Pilot at: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/about/government-community/advisory/opp.

And check out this article from the Seattle Times, which features one of our Camp Long classrooms!
Hannah Kinney_reading_circletime_camplongsouth

ANTI-BIAS CURRICULUM SPOTLIGHT:

How to talk to young children about houselessness and poverty

“Mom, is that person sleeping in the park?”
“Why does Kali wear the same clothes at school every day?”
As parents (and teachers), questions like these can catch us off guard. It can be a challenge to give kids honest answers to questions that don't have easy answers. It's natural to want to shield children from the struggles of grown-up life, but our tinies are astute observers who see that the world isn’t perfect in spite of our efforts to protect them. Young children also have a natural desire to help others. We can nurture this natural tendency by having open, honest, intentional conversations about the issues of poverty and homelessness/houselessness. In our anti-bias curriculum, we also encourage children to question issues of fairness and justice.

5 tips for talking about houseless and poverty with young children.
  • Start by spending some time thinking about your own views on the subject. Do your perceptions match up with your values? Do you have some unconscious biases to overcome? What do you want your children to know about poverty and homelessness? In what ways would you and your family like to help? Once you’re clear on your own feelings, it’s time to talk with your kids.
  • Provide a simple explanation for their question. These conversations don’t have to be long or overly complex. Preschool age children are quite literal, so keep your talk simple and to the point. We’ve all been asked questions by small children about our houseless neighbors (Why? How come?) It’s best to respond with an answer that a small child can understand, i.e. “Some people don’t have enough money to pay for a house.”
  • Become informed. Learn more about homelessness and poverty yourself, and work to dispel myths and stereotypes. People become homeless for all sorts of reasons that are not their fault, including health problems, the death of a child or spouse, a job loss, and domestic violence. Homeless people come from all demographics and all walks of life. Many are families with children.
  • Encourage compassion, empathy, and respect. All humans deserve our kind regard, simply because they are human. Avoid making judgmental comments or put-downs. Treat unsheltered people with dignity and respect. Look people in the eye and smile. If you feel sad that others don't have shelter, say so. When you do this, you provide an opportunity for children to understand the importance of recognizing others’ hardships while modeling empathy.
  • Spark discussion through literacy. Children are inspired when they read about experiences they can personally relate to (Mirrors) and those they may not have experienced (Windows). A few books to try are Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts or The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern.
Adapted from:
Talking to Children about Homelessness http://brightspaces.org/wp-content/uploads/Talking-with-Children-About-Homelessness-Final.pdf
And 14 ways to effectively explain homelessness and poverty to your child:
https://wellspringfs.org/blog/14-ways-effectively-explain-homelessness-and-poverty-your-child
DSC_4491

DECOLONIZING THE OUTDOORS

Exciting things are happening this Autumn! Not only is Tiny Trees jumping boot-first into another muddy, wet, and wonderful new year of preschool programming, we are also expanding our own approach in supporting families learn in the outdoors! Through King County's Best Starts for Kids grant funding program, Tiny Trees is working with a variety of community organizations to host outdoor activities which are open to all and free of charge. Tiny Trees is striving to expand in this way in recognition that access (or perceived access) to the outdoors is inequitably experienced. Many families of color, or families who are recent immigrants, or families with limited resources often do not see themselves fully represented in the outdoors. Different barriers exist for different families, so not only is Tiny Trees excited to build capacity to host events, we are also intentionally reaching out to community groups, families, and organizations to see what kind of outdoor learning best fits folks' needs. This dynamic approach to working with families to get more time outside learning, playing, and building a love of the outdoors is based on the graduate thesis work of Khavin Debbs, Tiny Trees' Partnership's Manager. Hear about Khavin's work at the Hilltop's Educator Institute on Saturday, December 7 at Woodland Park Zoo (tickets required).

Many more events are in the planning stages and will be announced soon! We will keep families updated via monthly family newsletters and postings on our social media pages and website. If your family or network has an idea for an event, we'd love to hear about it! Please contact dto@tinytrees.org; we are excited to co-create programming that supports equity in the outdoors!
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Saturday, Oct 19
Fall Family Hike at High School Trail in Issaquah

Tiny Trees and Trailhead Direct are partnering together to host a Fall Family Hike in Issaquah. Transportation from the Mount Baker Link Station is FREE! Snack and programming provided. All ages encouraged!

Free Shuttle service from Mount Baker Link Station leaving at 8:45 AM and 9:15 AM. Hike at Highschool Trail begins at approximately 10:00 AM and all programming will wrap up at about 11:30 AM. Shuttle service will be provided back to the Mount Baker Station.
Wednesday, Oct 30
Stone Soup at Danny Woo Community Garden

Come join us at Danny Woo Community Garden for a reading of Stone Soup. Celebrate with us by harvesting vegetables in the garden, prepping & cooking, and supping together!

A harvest/scavenger hunt in the garden begins at 3:30 PM and programming continues until approximately 5:30 PM. Full-length attendance highly encouraged; great for all the entire family!
Wednesday, Oct 30
Math/STEM Night with Renton Innovation Zone Partnership

Join Tiny Trees and Renton Innovation Zone Partnership (RIZP) for a FREE evening of fun! Discover Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through hands-on activities! Spanish, Vietnamese, and Somali interpreters will be available.

Tiny Trees staff is creating early-education programming to accompany RIZP's Kindergarten and up programming. Parents must attend with their children, but families can attend any time between 6:00 and 8:00 PM at Byrn Mawr United Methodist Church (8016 S 116th St, Seattle).

GEAR CORNER

What to Wear.pptx

OPERATING IN PUBLIC SPACES:

Tiny Trees Process & Procedures
Risk Management
Our Risk Management Procedures are under review and revision in partnership with the Department of Children, Youth and Family Services for our Outdoor Preschool Licensing Pilot. They will be posted in the parent portal by October 18th, and each month we will spotlight some of our health and safety policies or procedures. This month, we want to share our policies regarding sharing public spaces, and our parks stranger procedure.

Sharing Public Spaces
As partners with the Public Parks in Seattle, Burien, and King County, Tiny Trees Preschool acknowledges that its classrooms are public space. Tiny Trees Preschool staff will not establish any permanent structures or changes without permission from the relevant park.

Staff must inspect the classroom and sites to be used throughout the day prior to children arriving and must address hazards (such as, but not limited to, loose branches, hazardous materials left in public spaces, or wildlife droppings).

In agreement with the Parks, Tiny Trees Preschool reserves the right to ask members of the public to leave the designated classroom space during designated class times (8:00-5:00). See Parks Stranger Procedure for details about interactions with the public.

Parks Stranger Procedure
Tiny Trees teachers will be prepared to interact with all sorts of visitors, most of whom are just curious about our program. Some members of the public may pose a threat to the classroom that can be managed with a polite conversation and reminders of the rules of public parks.

Teachers are encouraged to maintain the boundaries of the classroom and safety of children which may include conversations with “strangers” regarding:
  • Smoking nearby the classroom or children
  • Littering
  • Swearing
  • Dogs off leash, dogs defecating in the classroom (see also Animal Control policy)
  • Excessive music or noise nearby the classroom
Sites must have at least 5 of the Executive Director and/or Partnership Manager’s business cards on them at all times in case of concerned or curious members of the public. Teachers should distribute business cards as needed.

Other members of the public may endanger children. Teachers will call 911 if:
  • They see a suspicious car parked or circling the class
  • People are watching the children on a regular basis, for an uncomfortable amount of time
  • People are intoxicated, belligerent, exposing themselves, etc.
  • They are at all uncomfortable.
Teachers may evacuate the classroom for a hike if there is an uncomfortable or unsafe situation. Parents will be notified of any evacuation or alternate pickup location through email or the Remind app.
Tiny Trees Preschool at Five Mile Lake Park

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