Wheel Week! Rolling, Riding and Rejoicing!

What a blast! For wheel week, children’s brought their favorite riding toy and helmet. We closed the parking lot to cars and rolled around on bikes, trikes, scooters, wheel barrows and wagons!

We offered wheeled picture lacing cards, cars and ramps, wheeled coloring pages,  and an array of books about bikes, trucks, buses, wheelchairs and more!


We offered a basket of stuffies who wanted rides around our loop.


We played a game in which we awarded a golden ticket to everyone who completed a loop on wheels. Each child put their ticket into a common container so we could work together to fill it to the tippy top! Upon our group accomplishment, we could chant, “Team work! ” or “We did it!” emphasizing collective gain over personal accomplishment– team work over competition. 



We invited guests to our online circle to teach about wheelchairs and bike safety. We learned wheelchairs promote mobility and enhance quality of life for people who have difficulties in walking; and it’s important to make space for people using wheelchairs to get by.  We learned that traffic signs are relevant to cars, pedestrians and bicycles. And we rocked out to Kimya Dawson’s playful song “I Like My Bike

*Thanks to Katherine & Nicholas  from United Cerebral Palsy for sharing about Nic’s wheelchair use.

*Thanks to Liz from Clever Cycles for sharing about bike safety.


Recent Play Yard Explorations

Our play yard class offerings rotate each week. Just like they are with our indoor classroom, each area is provisioned with supplies, materials and provocations for children to explore. Children make choices of who they want to partner with, what area they might try out, and how they will use the open-ended materials provided. Children are constantly learning from one another, sharing ideas, narratives and wonderings.  Adults are nearby to offer assistance in myriad ways. Here’s a glimpse into a few recent interactions.

Children use magnifying glasses to get a close look at  the song bird nest with abandoned eggs. When one child accidentally breaks an egg, children discuss the importance of “looking without touching” while the child with the yokey hands heads to the handwashing station.  Adjacent to the nest we shared two wonderful picture books “Bird Builds A Nest : A First Science Storybook” by Martin Jenkins and “The Dead Bird” by Margaret Wise Brown. 


We added an array of recyclables and open-ended materials to collage, build and create together. Some children shared their experience of how to attach things to one another (using glue, tape and stickers).  One child assists another with how to spell “mom.” And a parent dictates how to spell “protect” for a child’s sign, “Protect the ants.”


Substitute Teacher Sandy comes with over 25 years teaching experience. She jumped into a game of rescue rope, offering the physical resistance children need to engage and calm their bodies. After children rescued me from the ocean, a child suggested Sandy might fall into a waterfall and need to be pulled to safety. Sandy excitedly narrates her walk along the waterfall’s edge before she fell down awaiting the  cooperative rescue.

The teeter totter is an ideal play offering to build skills. When a child decides they would like to try it, they need to find a willing partner. Sometimes a child runs over to the empty teeter totter awaiting a playmate. They might just sit there and hope someone joins them. This presents an opportunity to offer some gentle coaching about how to get their needs met. I might observe out loud, “Do you want to try the teeter totter?  I wonder who you will invite to join you.”  Sometimes a child jumps on one seat and then hollers across the yard, inviting a friend to join them but get no response. This is the perfect opportunity to suggest they walk over close to that friend’s ears and then ask them. 

Once two children are balancing up and down together, they may get some coaching and support of how to safely work together (“Push your feet hard off the ground so your friend goes up) and how to safely let their friend know when they’re done so nobody unexpectedly plummets to the ground. If a child is taken off guard and is surprised or hurt by their partner’s unanncounced dismantling, adults can offer support for children to check in with each other. 


Children get lots of practice taking turns and trying out challenging ways to make their way up and down the slide. When a number of children gather, it becomes apparent more challenges are needed. I invite children to help build a course challenge, extending it off the slide. We add a trampoline and children team up to carry planks over.

Following our tap dancing lessons via our online circle, we donned tap shoes, dancing to the accompaniment of eager musicians. We move around and listen to the sounds are feet make on the platform.

Our manipulatives table is getting lots of action. Children gather in a quiet area of our play yard to explore the week’s offerings. Colorful magnatiles and window blocks became houses, buildings and sculptures. As two children want the final square pieces, they get some support to determine how they will solve that problem.

Dehumanizing Language Is a Tool of White Supremacy

by Brene Brown

The dehumanization of women.
The dehumanization of Asians.
The dehumanization of sex workers.
The dehumanization around class.
The dehumanization of immigrants.

Dehumanizing language is a radicalizing tool of white supremacy and white evangelical extremism (which are inextricably connected).

Combine a long history of discrimination and bias with leaders who talk about the “Kung Flu” and “grabbing them by the pussy” and you can see the very short distance between our language, our thoughts, and our actions including everything from violence and diminishing that violence with “just having a bad day” to “Well, look what kind of work they did.” 

This is why shame, humiliation, and dehumanizing make the world a more dangerous place for all of us.

We shouldn’t tolerate anyone being shamed, humiliated or dehumanized – even the people who bring out our rage. It’s easier than accountability, it’s a quick way to discharge our anger, and it can even get some “likes” and fist bumps. But, there is no question that dehumanizing makes the world a more dangerous and vicious place for all of us.

“Stand Up” Children’s Song About Speaking Up & Acting for Justice

“Racism against the AAPI community has been going on for a long, long time. But the rise of hate crimes since the start of the pandemic has been so significant, and I worry what kids might be hearing. Note: I don’t mention any specific incidents. The first 2 mins is me talking, and the last 3 is playing my song ‘Stand Up’.”- Miss Katie


“Eyes that Kiss in the Corners”–Affirming Asian Identity

At HFP, we stand with the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, both in Portland and around the country. We share the grief and outrage at the racist and misogynistic murders in Atlanta, Georgia, and the recent and ongoing violence against Asian people in the United States. Violence, harassment, and xenophobia have no place in our communities. Let us speak and act against hate and teach our young ones to do the same.  (Adapted from Literary Arts’ statement of support).

Here’s one of my favorite Asian-affirming picture books to share with young ones. Mai’s read aloud version includes prompts and pauses that invite children to reflect on their own ideas and experiences. Mai includes a craft idea that relates to the book!

Portland Association of Teachers’ Statement on Anti-Asian Violence 

Check out these websites for resources and ways to support the AAPI community. 

Stop AAPI Hate 

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)