spotted dog blog

May 3, 2020

For those of you who don't know, Raintree has a lemon
tree that lives next to the Kindergarten classroom. This is a
resilient tree that has made it through many seasons.
Sometimes, there is too much water and it begins to
protest by hanging limp, leaves weighed down by water. At
times, as if in response, the water is sparse, and the tree
sends out an S...

November 9, 2019

During our conferences, last week, we spoke a lot about the social emotional growth of your children and I have a story to share to illustrate just this. There’s this thing I hear all the time: “You’re a preschool teacher, you must have a lot of patience!” To be honest, it's not just patience, it is so many other traits all wound together, but yes, I d...

October 29, 2019

Speaking candidly, not all project times go as planned. And, as a teacher, we are planners. So, when times of learning and engagement do not follow our scope or directions, we feel many feelings. We believe in the light of the child, and we believe in emergent curriculum, but it doesn't mean it's always easy, and it doesn't mean that we aren't concerne...

January 29, 2018

Forest day started like any other: fort building, leaf rubbings & story telling when, all of a sudden...  

"I heard a BOOM!"

"I think at night time the wind blew so fast and cracked it and then it fell down!"

"It's sad... The tree lost it's life. It's dead now." 

"Yeah, it's dead now. It can't grow back up. Other tree's are sad too and they'...

July 14, 2017

The forest is a refuge. Senses are sharpened, details are noticed and time slows to a pace that is more... natural.

"I've never done sewing in the forest before. I like it." A preschooler commented.

"Me too. I like it better down here." Another added.

"Why is that," I asked.

"Hmmm. Maybe because we're outside. Most things are more fun outside," his friend...

June 15, 2017

To wander through the forest in search of mystery… to tread upon unknown ground… to experience a space for the very first time on a quest for the perfect secret hide out…  These are the things that childhood is made of.

*Near the water      *Wild Flowers       *Wild Strawberries

 *Sticks     *Trees for sh...

May 19, 2017

You know that old adage you are what you eat? Well, have you ever stopped to think exactly how true that is? Put simply, healthy eating is the key to well being. We all have up to 100 trillion cells in our bodies, each one demanding a constant supply of daily nutrients in order to function optimally. Food affects all of these cells, and by extension, e...

April 24, 2017

Last Fall, a group of three year old’s took it upon themselves to protect all of the mini beasts found in the forest. They wanted a place where the mini beasts could be cozy and safe and where everything from spiders and worms to fairies and gnomes were welcome.

What is safe?

What is cozy?

Mila: We need a bed for a pillow!

Weston: First we need to make a h...

February 2, 2017

Photography comes from two words - “photo” meaning light and “graph” meaning to write, literally translating into the delightful phrase:

To write with light.

There has always been interest in being the subject of a photograph. The children love to see themselves and their work represented in such a tangible manner. However, it’s power reaches far beyond...

November 10, 2016

We live in the houses other people built.  They move in, water the plants, eat at our table.  We didn’t build this house.  No one, on their own, ever really does.  Houses like ours are dug from the earth – dark fertile ground saturated with intention and dreams. 

We live in the houses other people built: Lois Malaguzzi, Rudolf Steine...

September 1, 2016

“Make a circle. Make a circle,” so the song goes.  And so goes the rhythm of our forest days at Raintree School. It begins with breakfast in dew-damp grass – seed-filled muffins, hard-boiled eggs, fist-sized apples.  Tummies filled, we check our boots, secure our hats, and grab our water bottles. In a circle, each child inspects the adventurer to the l...

July 9, 2016

Leading children into wildlands is fraught with mystery.  The constant rhythm of forest school provides intimacy with nature, but nothing can ever be taken for granted. 

The trek is never certain.  Will the path be flooded?  Is a storm on its way? Have fresh paw prints left a trail in the snow? Has poison ivy sprung up?  Every change in weather, an...

May 13, 2016

“How do you feel when a bug is stepped on?”

Big ideas start this way. A simple question on a beautiful spring day full of the potential of moral dilemma and promises to the world. 

Should a child’s heart stir when a bug is stepped on? Is their life affected in measurable ways?  Shouldn't a school provide a space for children to express what they feel whe...

April 8, 2016

Wild lands get in your bones.  Cold morning air seeps in. Sunshine settles on your skin.  Your eyes presume beauty, magic, toothy beasts, and greenish mystery at every glance. 

Transformation. Now, anything less than a childhood chock-full of wild wonder-filled encounters is intolerable.  Unacceptable. 

Be it park at the end of the block,...

March 3, 2016

Regular days.  That slow pace of familiarity.  One day to the next, regular days fill our time.  They mark our bodies so we don’t forget.  We share sunburns and tan lines, wind-pink cheeks and dirt in our nails. These are our regular days. Take notice.

And they raise our expectation for our future days.  Those that we will live when we ar...

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a place where children are engaged in civic mindfulness; where young citizens share a sense of common good, intellectual courage and a love for all things wild.

2100 South Mason Rd.

St. Louis, MO 63131

​tel. 314.858.1033

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