Tag Archive | Art Cottage


One of the reasons that I don’t feel that spending time on Facebook is a total waste of time (besides staying connected with family and friends) is how much inspiration I receive from the early childhood community who post on Facebook. Finding this quote from a longtime favorite educator and inspirational advocate for young children is one wonderful example.


After seeing this beautiful photo that features a quote from Bev Bos on Facebook early Friday morning, I had an opportunity to celebrate such a sense of belonging on that very same day.


As I spotted K and E carrying the HUGE branch across and over The Garden Classroom, I will admit I was feeling a bit apprehensive about their actions. Yet seeing the determined look on their faces, I didn’t interfere and allowed them to continue with their task.  Besides, I was curious  as to what their plans were. It was very obvious that they did indeed have plans.

Unfortunately, my pictures don’t show the results to the best advantage because of the spotty sunlight, but the girls laid the branch across the entrance and blocked the opening to the deck and Art Cottage.  Okay…I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to ask, what was going on!


K: We’re keeping the boys out. We’re letting in all the girls and half the boys.

E (asking her twin): You mean “B” don’t you? Don’t you?

K ignored her but started grabbing paper and crayons and began creating signs. E also began to create signage and both girls taped their signs on to the branch.


Soon other girls joined them on the deck writing and stamping papers and taping signs.

I approached K again and asked her, “What is so special about the Art Cottage that you want to keep some boys from going in?”

I suspect she did not have a clear answer to that question, but I have to hand to her when she responded to me very confidently and even fiercely, “That is something only girls and not teachers can know.” Yowzers! Now that is what I call ownership!

As I was watching the activity on the deck, I commented to K how hard the “crew” was working. K responded to me, “That is the girl crew working to keep the boys out!”


I invited another teacher over to help me to find out more information and she also got snubbed. All we could do was stand back and observe. With amazement.

Stand back and feel pleased that these strong and determined young girls and future leaders, teachers, astronauts or whatever, took ownership of the space and materials to claim independence and show off their confidence.

With Joy!


P.S. The “No Boys” rules was very lenient. They did not actually bar any boy from physically stepping over or crawling under the branch and onto the deck and into the Art Cottage.


It’s Raining! It’s Pouring!


One of the most frequent questions I get concerning The Garden Classroom is, “What do we do if it rains?” Rainy days are really my favorite days!
Rainy days are the best days to take advantage of the beautiful Art Cottage. I have filled it with what I love best and reflects the spirit of The Garden Classroom. As you walk through the door, objects gathered on my walks and hikes in the city (mostly Balboa Park) and mountains are set up for the children to explore.



Here and there are little treasures that the children have started to bring me from their own backyards and outings. These little items are what I love best! They represent that their appreciation of nature is growing and they will never have to suffer from what Richard Louv describes in his book, Last Child in the Woods as “nature deficient.”



Various pieces of art are displayed representing our current investigation and several explorations from the past.



Being in the Art Cottage on a rainy day means a gathering of friends, surrounded by nature engaged with art, literature and conversation. As the rain drums on the roof and deck, we sit cozily together and make new discoveries about each other and explore our theories concerning whatever topic is “on the table.”

I set up the Art Cottage with 2 or 3 activities and which accommodates 4-6 children at a time.

The light table is entices the children with its warm light. It is set up with an art project or colorful materials that glow with the light.

A rainy day is the perfect time to work on an ongoing investigation such as our current project featuring rainbows. One topic we have been exploring is “What does the color indigo look like?” A committee agreed with Hayley who said it is dark blue. She knew this information because she learned a song about rainbows at her birthday party!


Another cozy activity available in the Art Cottage on a rainy day is a favorite for anyone… reading books.



So if you are ever have a moment, join us, rain or shine in The Garden Classroom!

Creativity, Curiosity and Innovation Explodes in The Garden Classroom! (Part 2)

 Here are some more examples of the children’s creativity that I was able to document  as they worked and played in the Garden Classroom last week. Image These 5 Day boys continue to refine their ability to balance the building materials in new and interesting ways as they did last year. They are talking more to each other and showing a great deal more respect for each other’s ideas. I am so privileged to witness such growth and development! The (plastic) reptiles are enjoying a very comfortable and cozy shelter made for them by these master builders.



Image   After a child in the 3 Day classroom discovered a small piece of wood on the ground she brought it to me and declared that it was a “sea otter.” She told me she needed to paint it. After providing her with some acrylic paints, other children discovered their own pieces of wood or in some cases, some eucalyptus bark they discovered in the Art Cottage, Soon, a whole menagerie appeared, mostly identified as sea otters but one was a “sea otter monster.”  and another a “rainbow polar bear.” After painting. the creatures, the children glued and painted seed pods for eyes. The original sea otter grew a “mustache!” You can see the  sea otter with mustache in the center of the picture.  

There’s more! Watch for part 3!