Klahanie School January 2023 Newsletter

January 2023 Newsletter

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do keep moving forward.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Huge thank you to Toby for your candle teachings and all the help creating such gorgeous holiday gifts from children.  They were so proud!  Thank you to Deb, Toby and Austin for delivering gifts!

Thank you for the sweet Holiday Gifts from families to teachers, such kindness!  Make up dates are set for February 13th and 14th.  We will see you Wednesday January 3 when we return to school from break.

January 2023 Unit Topics

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and beginning exploration of Peacemakers globally (age appropriate) and daily self practices.  Families are encouraged to look up MLK’s speeches to hear him, please see below for resource links.  
  • Beginning of Self Portraits with masterful help from artists Gillian Doepke-Simmons and Teacher Toby Leibowitz, thank you so much!
  • Age Appropriate-Focused Discussion of Gender Identity and Awareness exploration through book and expertly run Gender Fluidity-Spectrum (please visit http://www.genderspectrum.org/ for expert referral) discussion from local community experts and support, DOVE education programming coordinator, Collin Veenstra and Teen Council educator will visit class January or February 3-6yr class circle to read a book and answer questions with prompt about the book’s themes on gender inclusivity and understanding.  In discussion of gender (for all living animals on the planet), naming body parts with anatomy language used.  The autonomy discussion is essential for all our sciences and this unit is treated respectfully.  This is a curriculum being catered to our 3-6yr old class from DOVE, to open awareness and practice of Gender Spectrum inclusive and remind us that we all matter.  For the upcoming weeks, we will link the concepts of our studies of Dr. King and Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan to move deeper awareness of Antibias approach of inclusivity, kindness-respect to when Collin visits.  
  • Continuation of ASL and Spanish language explorations: specifically Helen Keller-Anne Sullivan, Koko the Gorilla & incredible teams of caregivers: We will have parent and expert Katie Simpson visit class and share about gorilla life, specifically meeting Koko.  Our school has inquired with McMurray Middle School’s ASL class about some bridging opportunities.  
  • Pacific Northwest beavers biome, family and social dynamics and their vital importance in our global ecosystem 
  • Continue honoring hard working Winter birds (Anna hummingbird, wobblers, chickadees, Oregon Juncos, downy/Pileated/Northern Flicker woodpeckers
  • Pacific archipelagos, importance to our past and learnings (please visit Vashon Heritage Museum for fun, inclusive knowledge about our amazing islands linked by an isthmus, by hands!)
  • Snowflakes, clouds and Rainbows, differing forms of water exploring liquid and solid continued science explanations. 
  • Introduction to Embodiment Movement explorations and practice of partner dancing (waltz, foxtrot, salsa) and etiquette introduction, as well as yoga storytelling, large parachute and movement/theater warm-ups

Weather Update, Reminders & Thank you

  • No School Monday January 2nd or Monday January 16th, Dr. King remembrance and honoring
  • COVID-19: VISD Update and Important Testing Reminder:

We are currently monitoring the COVID-19 transmission levels for King County. Currently, there is high transmission and the rate is 596.9 per 100K as reported by Public Health Seattle King County, link here. At this time, Vashon Island School District will continue to follow all PHSKC COVID-19 Guidelines and will open school on January 3rd with our regular schedules for all schools and programs with our regular bell schedule. If there are any changes in the guidance or to your student’s educational program, we will promptly notify families. 

Important reminder: Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others. PHSKC recommends any student with 1 or more symptoms for any duration to get a COVID-19 test. Students may return to school when they have tested negative for COVID-19 and 24 hours have passed since fever resolved AND symptoms have improved.

COVID-19 Symptoms include*: 

  • Fever (100.4˚F / 38˚C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

VISD Testing: Our testing site will be available starting January 3rd. The site is open Monday through Friday, 7:30-11:30 am and 12:30-3:00 pm. The testing site is located at the StudentLink building, in front of the Park District pool off of 204th. The tests are completely FREE and are funded by the Learn to Return program.

Reminder: Emergency Weather Information, Link Here

When snowy and icy conditions exist, we run by the VISD district decisions.  If VISD is 2.5hrs late or closed, Klahanie School will be CLOSED.  

VISD has plans in place to assess and monitor weather and road conditions overnight and in the early morning hours. They monitor weather forecasts to make decisions about inclement weather conditions and when possible, they will make an early decision by 7:00 p.m. for the next morning. Decisions may be delayed until the morning due to changing conditions. Please review the operating protocols for a 2.5-hour late start and school closures.

What does a school closure mean?

  • All schools will be closed for that day only.
  • The School buildings will be closed, unless otherwise announced.  If consecutive snow day closures occur, make up days will be assessed for May 2023.

January is Peace March Month (wear rainbow colors all month!) We make signs for peace and do a lot of joyful, clear chanting around the Ellisport neighborhood.  

  • Chant: Klahanie kids are mighty, mighty kids and mighty, mighty kids they are!  They work (live, play, etc) for peace, they work for love, they work for harmony!
    • The Intention of this is to encourage children to voice their appreciation of what it means to call out what a peace maker is, and feel the power of loud noise being unified for communicating connection and empathy.  

December 2022 Reflection and What is To Come

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.     ~ Helen Keller

People seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved.

Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.

Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free.              ~Anne Sullivan

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.  ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We dove into a very meaningful month of December 2022 in senses and exploration of Peace makers Helen Keller and her extraordinary teacher Anne Sullivan as guiding anchors for us all to imagine at this age trying to communicate (and educate) without sound, without sight, living together trying to make anything and everything work.  What would a person need to feel trusting to begin learning?  What kind of teaching would feel the safest and we offered stories as well as examples from both Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan’s processes.  Our circle discussions were rich with empathy and movement in our senses.   We also adored as a group learning some basic Sign-Language and practicing together.  We seek to continue this learning for the remainder of the school year and welcome families who know ASL and First Nations Sign Language to come and help us continue our learning!  Sign language exploration as a group could not come at a better time as we dive deeper into healthy communication methods, tools for understanding our emotions and stating our needs while also listening to those we share space with.  Along with revisiting our daily routine we will begin to focus our attention and circle-time lessons on patience, pause to listen and have wonderful fun exploring Similarities and Differences of each other and also different parts of the world.  

Martin Luther King Jr.  MLK is a meaningful leader of many Peacemakers we will study from around the world.  We begin the discussion of civil rights using age appropriate and relatable-fictionalized stories along with open-ended questions the children can identify with.  I also like to continue incorporating examples and role-playing of classroom community issues to assist the children in finding greater practice and understanding of human rights, empathy and compassion development through listening and sharing. 

To celebrate MLK day we will make personalized “I have a dream” clouds for all children who want to participate.  The clouds state what the child’s dreams are for the future of self, family, community, world and imagination.  These clouds will be hung in the classroom until the end of school.  We will make MLK posters and a lot of joyful noise the month of January and celebrate when inspired by the class in Peace Marches the entire month.  We chant, with improvisation:

“Martin Luther King was a mighty, mighty man and a mighty, mighty man was he.  He worked for peace, he worked for love, and he worked for harmony!”

While celebrating an Antibias classroom, we also chant for ourselves as peacemakers and begin making self-portraits January-March.  Each child will have the opportunity to observe their features in a mirror then with the assistance of an adult, create a self-portrait that will be displayed in the class until the end of the school year.  

January and February we will be introducing different musicians, authors/poets and artists that have had important roles in using his/her art as a tool for looking for answers to world injustices. 

“A simple and exhilarating truth: music and open, honest, human-to-human communication can shift ideologies and create meaningful change” (Lee Hirsch).

We will celebrate during January and February, Pete Seeger and the Staples family as well as hope people suggest more artists around the world who have been instrumental Peace movers and supporters.  These musicians actively took the messages of MLK to the next level for bringing awareness of civil peace and equality in their own communities and beyond using their gift of song.  Please come in to help us sing if you feel inspired or have a love of music and play-instrument(s) please email.

This unit study is close to our hearts for it stimulates the children to look deeply and proudly at ways they themselves are peacemakers in varying healthy ways.  We look forward to hearing your home observations of family conversations and questions asked by your child while we study Martin Luther King Jr. and extended Peacemakers.  

Fantastic Resources:


For Comprehensive Antibias Education Resources We are Guided by at Klahanie School, and look forward to consistent learning opportunities, please find more information at:

https://www.teachingforchange.org/ and https://www.teachingforchange.org/anti-bias-education



At Home Montessori Ideas: Beyond the Classroom: Montessori at Home 

Please also check out our Klahanie School YouTube Channel for added ideas to support the school curriculum during breaks and make your life more joyful and inclusive for your child in the process!  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0awvqAhpiBjCxpGRKqxbmA

Last resource note:

Neurological research has proven the importance of Imaginative Play, how important it is in the birth-six yrs brain development.  Joys and growths will flourish making daily breaks to allow your child space to inventive explore in learning: singing to themself, story creating with small figures/ dolls, puppets, kitchen play inside or outside is all just as important to Mindfulness pauses (20 minutes to rest and calm system in hydration, nature walk, books/drawing/coloring/journaling/breathing/lining up cars/yoga, shake out or tapping/ sound bowls/ small crystals or stones to hold and clean).

Have fun stretching in learning moments with your children finding the joy in the explorations through your senses and embodiment in the learning (feeling and exploring the world alongside your child).  This time is never seen again, have loads of fun at the beach, forest and know your children remember etiquette of nature explorations with the flora and fauna, thank you for learning from them, asking them to share what they know with you and modeling that support with them!  Plants feel too, so we walk around growth and do not dig in the forest floor, knowing mycelium is just below supporting the trees and canopy life.  

Head out to any island beach and explore the language of the area in land and water forms.  Match it to the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum findings, you will have endless fun.  Playing rhyming games, I SPY and other games to incorporate quantity/ memorization practice (songs) and language exploration will nurture the love of learning and in Early Education inclusively and joyfully.  

A resource that is one of my favorites for supporting teachers fabulous curricula development and branches to our learnings is exploring https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/

Have fun as a family, and we are excited to reconnect in January 2023.  

Hope, Health and Heart Kindness and Happy New Year to us all.  

Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.  ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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