Sunflower Garden News * Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dear Families,

We celebrated another student's sixth birthday on Thursday. Such celebration. We now have six six year- olds in our classroom! These six year-olds are working on their puppets for our story we'll share at the Kindergarten Ceremony of June 3. They are focused on this work and then love to fly away and play! In the coming week, the six year-olds will visit Mrs. Bowman's first grade class for a short morning lesson. This will be a "taste of first grade."

Included below, please find the nature tale I recently told called "Spring Treasure Chests." I will continue to intersperse this along with the marionette puppet show of "Queen Bee" that Ms. Nicole and I are sharing with the children.

Snow, sleet, rain and sun! Please have a light jacket and some sort of hat to protect the head, eyes and face from sun exposure. Please send in labeled hats and water bottles so we can all enjoy our outside play on these sunny days.

Summer medical appointments: Kindergarten students for next year need documentation of a recent physical, dental exam, and eye exam. The physical/well-child check up and dental appointments are important for all children in our program. I encourage you to schedule these appointments soon, as I know they get filled up quickly in the summer months.

Home visits: I would like to take up this important home/school connection with my students for next year. The home visit is not a "Waldorf Home Checklist!" but a way to better connect with you and your child, learn of the play spaces your child enjoys, and get a better sense of home in the life of your child. Thanks for considering this.

Donna Brooks

Spring Treasure Chests

One morning in early spring little Bobby got out of bed on the wrong side. He spoke crossly to his mother and wouldn't hurry putting on his clothes. When he went down to breakfast, he spilled his milk and didn't bother to help clean it up. Then he didn't finish his oatmeal. By the time he went out in the garden to play, he was feeling very naughty indeed. When his mother called out, "Don't go away from the house," he only answered, "Ugh!" As soon as his mother closed the door, Bobby ran right down the road and into the wood!

The wood was very pretty in its spring clothes; the trees were covered in little buds, and some had pale green leaves on them. The birds were singing and building their nests. On the ground the flowers grew in different colored patches, white and pink and yellow and purple. But Bobby wasn't paying attention to all these lovely things, he was looking for mischief!

Soon he saw a pair of big eyes looking at him from under a bush and he ran to grab the little brown rabbit that was sitting there. But Bunny didn't wait for him. He was off in a flash, his tiny white bunch of a tail in the air. After him ran Bobby, but fast as he ran, Bunny hopped faster. Because Bobby wasn't looking where he was going, the first thing you know..."Squish!"...he had stepped into a muddy wet ground up to his ankles! Of course, Bunny leaped lightly over the marshy ground and disappeared.

Bobby was so cross in his wet, squishy shoes that he began kicking at the queer little green and brown plants that were growing all around...they looked like funny little houses with curved roofs. Sure enough, they were houses, for suddenly small, pale faces looked out and small voices cried, "Who is spoiling our houses?" One of the little woodland sprites, in a dress like pale-blue water, came out and called, "Gnomes, Gnomes! Come and help us!"

Bobby felt pretty frightened when he heard the quick pattering of feet and saw a procession of little brown gnomes come running. They said never a word, but climbed up on Bobby and tied his two hands together. Then they pulled him after them into a dark hole in the earth. They dragged Bobby along a dark passage to a big, stony room where the King of the Gnomes sat on a high rock with a gold crown on his head. The other gnomes held lanterns to light Bobby. The King of the Gnomes looked at him and said, "Gnomes, what wrong has this Human Being done?"

"He has done three wrongs, your majesty," answered the gnomes. "First, he came into our beautiful wood with a cross look on his face and unkind feelings in his heart. Second, he chased a little rabbit who was doing him no harm. Third, he kicked at the little shoots and plants and disturbed the homes of the woodland sprites. What shall be done with him?"

Bobby was too frightened to move as he listened to the Gnome King answer.

"He shall be kept a prisoner in a hollow tree until he answers three riddles. He must tell me what three treasure chests are found in the wood in the springtime."

Then the gnomes took Bobby to a hollow tree and left him there to think. They brought him food and drink, and every day they asked for the answers to the riddles. When Bobby could not answer them, they took him for a walk through the dark passages underground. Bobby saw the little gnomes digging many colored jewels from the earth and gold and silver, but he saw no chests for all these treasures.

Then he saw the little gnomes feeding broth to the roots underground and to the little seed children who had not yet cracked open and stretched up to the world above. Suddenly Bobby knew one answer to riddle. "The Seed Children are treasure chests!" he shouted. Then the little gnomes all clapped their hands and took him to the Gnome King who spoke quite kindly to Bobby. "Human Being, you are learning some of our wisdom. You may go above the earth for your walk now."

So now Bobby walked in the wood and it seemed very beautiful to him after the dark passages underground. He looked everywhere for more treasure chests. At last one day he saw a little silver-gray chrysalis bed. Out of the end of it crept a butterfly that put on bright and lovely colors before his eyes. Bobby cried to the gnomes, "The chrysalis is a treasure chest too, for butterflies awaken from them. They are like many-colored jewels!"

Then the gnomes clapped their hands and took him to the King who said, "Human Being, you are learning fast. Soon you will be wise enough to go free."

Now Bobby enjoyed his walks in the wood for he was looking for treasures and their chests. One time as he was searching, he heard a little bird singing and singing on a branch overhead and he looked up to see why he was so happy. There, close by on the branch, Bobby saw a little brown nest, and he knew there were eggs in it. That was why the bird sang. Bobby had grown so wise that he knew the third answer to the riddle.

"I know! I know!" shouted Bobby, "the rest of the riddle. A bird's egg is a treasure chest because the baby bird is inside!"

And the gnomes took him quickly to the Gnome King who said, "Human Being, you have learned your lesson well. You are free!"

The gnomes took Bobby home, and he told his mother all his adventures. Whenever he went into the wood he found treasures because of his new wisdom, and he always went into the wood with a kind look on his face and kindness in his heart.

From: Nature Stories by Margaret Peckham, Mercury Press, 1982, pg. 18-21
Slightly adapted/edited by Donna Brooks

Zach Mitchell
Zach Mitchell
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