Growing Tree-Lovers: Visitor Joins Us to “Talk About Trees”

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.“- author unknown

We hosted our first in-person small group activity of the year! Joan from Talk About Trees (Oregon Forestry’s Education Program), meets with four different groups in the grassy area adjacent to our play yard. Thanks to the stewardship of the good people at Common Grounds, the area is full of majestic trees. 

Upon arrival, children joyfully greet each other. Some run down the steep grassy slope, taking big, deliberate steps to make their way back up. Some collect needles, twigs and cones to build a “nest.” Others run circles around the giant needled tree that we are soon to gather under. Unsolicited, one’s child joy is contagious as she invites us to “hug a tree!” 

After a short stint of free play, we gather to see what is in Joan’s tree-patched pouch. Joan pulls out treasurer after treasure- laminated maple leaves of various sizes, seed pods and cones… and on.  




Joan encourages us to notice the trees close by. Some have leaves while others have needles. We use our bodies to mirror what we see happening with the surrounding trees surrounding. We spread out our fingers to mimic trees with leaves, and we use our pointer fingers to mimic trees with needles.

Now it is time to survey the area and get to know trees up close. As we walk the grounds, Joan invites us on a scavenger hunt– similar to what we’ve been doing in our virtual classes. This time, instead of finding objects from our homes to share, we get to find specific tree treasures: A fallen red leaf, a helicopter seed pod to fly, a giant ponderosa cone. 


One child sprints away from the group to a tree that had been topped. His mom relaxedly values his interest and lets him check it out.


We learn that Cedar trees are super soft and splinter-free. So we pet one!  We venture to an enormous Ponderosa Pine towering above us. 

Then Joan gathers us beneath a huge Doug fir tree. She tells us a story that will help us identify Douglas fir cones. Douglas the mouse helps his mice friends escape the clutch of a hungry coyote. Each time the coyote is close, Douglas coaches his little rodent friends to run away. After running and running, they hide inside a cone–a final hiding spot. The coyote cannot find them and heads home to have some macaroni and cheese instead. The mice are safe!

Joan encourages us to look closely at the cones beneath the Doug Fir tree. We can see the pointy mouse claws or mouse tails poking out. This lets us know the the tell-tale sign of a Douglas Fir cone versus other cones with rounded sides. 

What a joy it is to be together again! And even more so outside among the splendor of these gentle giants!

Thanks to Joan and Talk About Trees Program.

Hello and Goodbye: A Bittersweet Year-End Visit

Covid-19 has uprooted so many schools and learning communities. And while we have done our best to connect with children and families via virtual classes, texts, blog posts, zoom calls, etc, these fall gravely short of getting to see, be and play with each other.

Children, parents and teachers have been missing each other! So Kimberley and I invited families to come for a short physical distance visit and to get a glimpse of our precious play yard one last time before summer.  We offered a final Family Share–an invitation to reflect on what we love about playing together. 


Families picked up their bags of personal items (with a few surprises inside) and selected a colored poster board to make a sign for our upcoming Spread Love Car Parade on Monday, June 1st at 10 a.m.

It feels achy to say hello and goodbye all in one short visit– when we are longing for our usual relaxed, interactive, joyful play together. But these are odd times so we’ll hold the sadness to one side while welcoming seeing our precious friends once more for now…We will host a second visiting day on one of the next rain-free days– likely Wednesday, 5/27 for the rest of interested families. 

Just for fun! Hello, Goodbye Beatles video

 Thanks to Sara (Media Handler) for supplying photos and slideshow!

Summer Fun at the HFP Community Potluck

Each summer our community comes together for a potluck and evening of fun in Sewallcrest Park. The event is open to all HFP families; alumni, continuing and newly enrolling. Thanks to all who ventured out to share in the festivities, and thanks to Rachael & Hailey for setting us up with sprinkler play!

Katie Messelt, mama to Z and C and HFP President sums it up perfectly:

“What a fun evening full of delicious food, playground fun and water play! It was wonderful to see everyone that made it out and we missed those of you who couldn’t. As I reflect on last year, I am in awe of Z and C’s first year of preschool: their growth and all the experiences but most importantly, the connections they made with their teacher, their classmates and families. The most amazing part is the community – not only for them, but for me! Parenting young children can feel lonely and isolating and I have felt so supported here at HFP. I hope you all will, too! Please don’t hesitate to reach out!” 










JOIN US for any or all of our remaining summer park dates. Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. All welcome!

Aug. 14th Woodstock Park,

Aug. 21st –Mt. Tabor Park (SE Side/Nearest cross street is SE Lincoln & SE 72nd).

Aug. 28th- Sewallcrest Park

Popsicle Social

We invited families enrolled for 2019-2020 school year to meet, sing and play, launching us into summer. Many families will deepen their connections over the course of the summer, attending optional summer park dates. And HFP’s learning community continues to grow.






“Big Kids”/Returning Students


We welcome enrolled, graduating and alumni families–along with curious families or friends– to play with us at Summer Park Dates. Join us! 

  • Photos courtesy of Nichole Alhadeff, Communications Chair 

Open House/Hop To It!

We held our annual Open House in conjunction with our annual rabbit-themed event this year, Hop to It!  A special thank you to HFP alumni parent, Karin McTeague of Sinfullysoft for bringing her beautiful Angora rabbits for us to hold and pet! Thanks also to HFP alumni parent, Liz Eisman, who took time away from Embodiment, her yoga and massage practice, to assist those meeting the newborn rabbits. Just as she does in her professional work, Liz brought attentiveness, tenderness and joy to the visiting young people and furry critters.

We were pleased to offer rabbit-themed activities for the community to share. 


HFP student alum, Georgia, shared her facepainting talents along with our friend, Tess Scholl. Both volunteered their time to make this event special and memorable. If you are in need of post-partum assistance, Tess provides family support in Portland and the surrounding areas. Please visit her website for more information. 


Children created artwork and munched on rabbit-themed snacks of carrot muffins, carrots, and bunny crackers. 



Bunny tails and ears were seen hopping around every corner of our play yard..



Thanks to all who came out and braved the cold! Great fun was had by all. We’re already looking forward to next year!