Palo Alto Tender Tracks Day 32, Jan.24, 2012

New Moon
Pichetti Open Space Preserve

Kashi was off today visiting a potential kindergarten school.  Yesterday was Paul’s birthday. He turned four and we will celebrate this coming Thursday!
The day began with discovery, running around, and joy.  When they sat down for circle there were things in the center that aren’t usually there, Lucy’s Otter backpack, Anjalies hat and somebody elses something, but, WHERE WERE OUR POUCHES FOR THE DIRECTIONS?!!!!  Well, they were in our woods with clues.  The children carefully went into the woods with keen eyes and slow moving walk to see what they could discover.  The pouches and rattles were found yet, they had CLUES on them, pieces of paper with pictures.  The childrens curiosities were peaked and they needed to wait until the story was told in order to understand the clues more.
The time of the year for testing, making personal choices to participate, not participate, test the boundaries that have already been set or not has arisen and so, gentle clarity and support is being provided.  Hence, Alexi was having a hard time being in circle and so, as I always do, he got to chose to either be in the forest or participate in the circle.  He chose the woods but alas, he missed his job that he really likes.
For your information: I use many styles that I have learned from many different diciplines that aid children in impulse control, self love and respect for others.  The very simple and effective style I have been using related to above  comes from a discipline called Love and Logic.  It is simple: give two choices.  What is amazing about this is how miraculously it works.  In the case above, Alexi was able to take responsibility and handle his disappointment of missing his Job by hearing the choices he made and, of course, knowing that he will always be able to make different choices next time.  When he came back to circle he was able to do someone else’s job, Kashi’s, who was gone and therefore help the group out.  Anjalie wound up being able to do Alex’s job + her own and she very much enjoyed that.

By finding the pouches and rattles they all just took to their Directions and we had a fine time singing in the day.  The story was about our new friends, Trilly Truly and Trippy Troupy’s adventures in the woods.  They adventured, lost some clothing, heard some sounds and singing, Jump along Jim along Jim a long Josie…… crunch, crunch, followed tracks, found their clothing in odd places and tracked all manner of things and then wound up finding their way home.  This spurred on, along with their cards, GREAT tracking for the rest of the day.  Right after circle they all went immediately to try and find what they saw on their cards: foot prints, animal  tracks, pictures of bugs, picture of the sun, clouds…..and off they went.  Alexi was the most excited about this all day and was searching EVERYWHERE for signs and clues.  They are RIPE for this and are soaking it up like a brand new sponge!

After much tracking in the park we packed up and made our way to Pichetti.   As we drove in we got very quiet in order to hear if the Peacocks would greet us.  We were not greeted with sound but we did see the Peacock sitting regally looking in our direction when we parked.  When we got out they did their best to touch the Peacock but alas, that Peacock is just too smart and quick witted for them.   And off we went to see if the rains had filled the pond or if frogs were there like we are used to.

There was great tracking all the way there. We looked at every kind of track and then noticed what kind of soil would take up our own print and whose prints were whose.  We made some stick drag prints too to find on our way back but then Jasper thought, why? there is only one trail, we don’t really need it.   When we got there we got to choose which trail to take: the one on the Moon side/left or the one on the sun side/right.  This comes from a verse we recite now and again: Moon on the one hand, Sun on the other. Moon on the left, Sun on the right. Moon is my sister, Sun is my brother, Brother good morning, Sister good night.   We used this a lot today to figure out which direction to take.

When we got to the lake alas, there was no water but off went Lucy, Alexi, Gracey,and  Anjalie to relieve some of the experiences they had before: Finding Frogs!!! But, no frogs were found. However, about 30 to 40 minutes later Alexi shouted across the pond,”Come, come we found the largest SALAMANDERS!!” What they stumbled upon were LOT’S of California Newts, in mating season.  The children got their hands very dirty and muddy so as not to hurt our friends and then held and built houses for these treasures. After a time it seemed a good idea to leave them be and/or put water on their hands.  Paul was quite sweet. He really wanted to hold on and Anjalie had two so she gave one to him.  His hands were muddy and ready and he took one.  As I looked at him it seemed best for the Newt if he sat down so I suggested he do so. As he tried to sit down his face got scrunched up kind of like being in disgust and he said he didn’t want to hold it anymore.  He was still so careful but REALLY wanted to get that Newt out of his hands!!  The whole group was over on the side of the pond where the Newt’s were gathered and either exploring with Newt’s or building houses.  12:30 came around and some had either not eaten at all or just a little.  I felt a need for the Newt’s to be left in peace so we all went to the other side of the pond where most of the packs were and there we ate.

Lucy and I went on a solo walk and discovered what some Woodpeckers sound like. We followed the sound and saw the Woodpecker. Then, we came across some mushrooms that we saw on my carry along fold out field guide of mushrooms last week: PUFFER MUSHROOMS!!!!  These are some of my favorites, particularly this one, an Earth Star.  They look just like stars with a big ball like look in the middle. And, in the middle of that, if you kick it, lightly step on it or bump it, all the baby mushrooms/spores, fly out like dust.  Lucy and I gathered several to bring over and share. We compared it to the picture on the guide page and then came up with some of our own names: Puffer, Star puffer and something else that I am not remembering.  I suggested that they take these treasures back to where they found them, find some more and then allow the babies/spores to be let loose in the place that they found them. So off they ran.   Giulio had not been following where they went as he was climbing on the log and then he said “Where’s Lucy?”  I said they were up the hill and off he went to be with them.  They all ran back quite content with their mushroom explorations and found even some other varieties.

Unfortunatley we had to go and pack up and, we spent time making sure we had everything.  They all scouted out the area and checked to see if they had all of their belongings.  It appeared we did and then off we went but first, which way do we go?  To the Sun side or the Moon side.  “Which is that again?” some asked.  Moon on my left, Sun on my right….. and then to the left we went. But, Audrey, Bodie and Gracey ran to the right to see if they could get to the crossroads before us. Their journey was longer then ours.  Alas, they came close but not quite.  Alexi had run ahead and beat them to it.  After that, we all made it to the bus, safe and sound!

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