Goodness, a lot of fun has been packed into our winter so far!
In early December, we enjoyed a class trip to see Act II of the Nutcracker at the Long Center. It was a cold day, just right for setting the mood for the holiday performance.
We sat with Mountain Laurel, and together we occupied about two and a half rows of seats. The sight took my breath away: amidst a theater house filled with a thousand children--with all their movement, with the tremendous amounts of sound behind, near, and below us--right in the middle of this rowdy hubbub, our two rows made a v i s u a l r i v e r o f c a l m, and it was a stunning sight to me. They were happily sitting and waiting, chatting with friends with big smiles, full of decorum and delight. I sat, watching the beauty of your confident, happy, centered children, simply waiting with happiness….
During the performance, I overheard several students who had never experienced the ballet whisper, “This is so fun!!” When Mother Ginger emerged, one student’s whole face lit up, his eyes got huge, and his mouth was a little “o”! And it stayed that way for quite a while!
Before the Winter Break, two parents shared holidays that are celebrated throughout the world: Diwali and Hanukkah. Neha, Aaryan’s mom, came one morning and told the children about the Festival of Lights celebrated in Hinduism. She told us about the origins of the holiday, and she helped our children experience some of the traditions. Children dressed up in traditional clothing for boys and girls, including gold bangles; children learned about the diyas and their traditional designs; the students enjoyed one sweet and one savory treat from India to celebrate; and some students elected to have traditional henna designs drawn on their hand.
That afternoon, Nicole, Josie’s mom, joined us to share the meaning and rituals of Hanukkah. Nicole told the story of the miraculous oil, and she explained the ritual of lighting the menorah. Students then took turns lighting the candles one by one. Nicole also brought dreidels, and the children really loved learning how to play with them--they didn’t want to stop! We also shared (American!) doughnuts to represent the sufganiyot enjoyed this time of year.
We are so grateful to Neha and Nicole for sharing such beautiful, meaningful traditions that open the children’s eyes to a greater world.
We also enjoyed our annual winter party, which the kids this year dubbed “Board Game Bonanza!” We came in our PJs, played board games, and made crafts, which were really popular this year--some children made paper chains for hours with their friends! And of course we all stopped to enjoy some hot apple cider together before heading off into the holidays.
January brought a return to school and friends (and warm, sunny weather?!?!). During this time, we really enjoyed the guidance and care of Ms. Claire, who assisted while Ms. Lacey recovered at home with Baby Hazel. Claire really shined in her observations of the children, in the ways she spoke to them, and in her highly skilled handwork--skills which she generously shared with us. For example, she suggested knitting a blanket for Hazel, and the kids loved the idea. Claire led a “knitting workshop,” with several experienced students stationed around the rug to support others. Over the next few weeks, the students knit squares or crocheted borders and embellishments, which Ms. Claire knit together to complete the blanket. The community was humming for weeks with handwork and love. <3
January started strong, and after about a week’s adjustment we were back in full swing. Some students who had performed a play called “Little Late Riding Hood” for fellow classmates in the fall wanted to perform it again, this time for Primary students. They sewed costumes, made props, and then created flyers to invite the 3 younger classes to attend. It was a huge success! The students definitely ‘got bit by the acting bug,’ judging by their euphoria afterward backstage!
Recently we (FINALLY!) got to enjoy the annual Cedars Holiday Bonfire at the Clearing. It was another relaxing evening with families enjoying some starlight, a warm fire, and community. Thanks for being patient with the rescheduling and for coming out!
Lastly, we enjoyed welcoming back Ms. Lacey and sweet Hazel! We had so enjoyed having Ms. Claire, so it was also a tender day saying “thank you” to her.
We started that transition by having Hazel visit on a Friday afternoon to meet all 20 of her older brothers and sisters (!), and we learned a lot about her needs and how to support her (and her immune system!) as a member of our community. And she loves her blanket :)
The following Monday, we got to enjoy her company full-time. I was telling Lacey that she and Hazel are a marvel--they’re both such pros that I can’t believe they’re a “first” baby and a first-time mom! Their first day in Fig Tree went exceptionally well. Mom, baby, and all the students hummed right along as if we’d always been this way. It’s been deeply moving--and so fun!--to enjoy Hazel while seeing how self-regulated and loving the children are.
Reminders and Sign-Ups
Please send in a set of extra clothes for your child that are appropriate for winter weather, if you haven’t already done so. We will add them to your child’s current set. Also, please label every item with your child’s name. Thanks!
We are looking for a volunteer each Monday to drive 2 children to HEB for the week's snack. Ms. Lacey and Ms. Claire used to do this, but now there's no room for a baby carseat and our students' boosters! This SignUp Genius link has all the details. Click it to read more and to sign up if you're interested!
Last year for Valentine’s Day, we hosted a Family Tea, and it was such a hit that we’re going to do it again! Mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 14th shortly before afternoon pick-up to join us for tea, snacks, and community time.
Keep reading to your kiddo at home! You can consult the Parents’ Handbook for a list of fresh ideas to read aloud to your child.
Thank you for being so supportive this winter. It’s led to some really rich experiences these past two months, and we are grateful.
Fig Tree Cottage