Susan Eisman

  • “Play is not a specific activity, it’s an approach to learning, an engaged, fun, curious way of discovering your world.” Dr.Tamis-LeMonda.

    At HFP, we trust children are intrinsically drawn to play. We provi […]

  • HFP’s Teacher Susan was recently interviewed for Life as an Early Childhood Educator blog.  She shares her thoughts, motivations and passions behind the awesome work she does as an early childhood educator.  Be […]

  • 1/16/18 and 1/17/18  FAMILY SHARE:

    Millions of people celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. We think Martin is a hero because he cared for and worked for what is kind, loving and fair. When people are […]

  • “In our multicultural society, Christmas, although important to many people, is still not everyone’s holiday. For children and families from other groups—be they Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, pagan, atheist, or any […]

    • I really appreciate the gift ideas that emphasize “connection over consumption” and especially the picture book list. Thanks Susan

    • Thanks for the reminder that the true meaning of this season is much simpler than it often feels, whether it is “goodwill to all,” or “connection,” or simply “love.” It might not be easy, but it is SIMPLE. It is so easy to want to make it so special for my child by filling the time with too many activities, and to make sure she’s not disappointed by buying a lot of gifts. I have definitely experienced the meltdowns when we are overbooked! When what really feel right is to slow down, connect, enjoy each other.

  • A workshop for parents who care about social justice and equity

    At HFP, we commit to learning about bias and to deepening our understanding of how bias impacts our lives. We strive to teach our children a healthy […]

  • Does this extreme weather have you feeling cooped up?  Here are three simple activities to infuse playfulness into your home:

    1. What’s Missing? Memory Game (2 or more players)

    Find things in your house t […]

  • I was proud to carry a sign, claiming half of my heritage. Muslims are becoming increasingly vilified, scapegoated, and stereotyped  in this country, emboldened by top-down rhetoric. I wanted people to see a […]

  • Can we make every day MLK Day for our children?
    I had the privilege to teach at Freedom Camp in Portland on Monday,  MLK Day.
    It is powerful to fully focus on civil rights for a day.

    What if we […]

  • “In our multicultural society, Christmas, although important to many people, is still not everyone’s holiday. For children and families from other groups—be they Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, pagan, ath […]

  • “Justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West

    At HFP, we actively teach appreciations for differences. We work to combat prejudice and stereotypes. And we stand up to injustice.

    Many in our […]

  • By Amy Dudley

    As highlighted in a recent blog post, Teacher Susan added some wonderful new books to our rotating library that focus on experiences of immigrants.  This got me thinking about how to talk with my […]

  • Excerpt from ExchangeEveryDay Supporting early childhood education professionals worldwide in their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.

    In a 2014 n […]

  • “A bold challenge to the conventional wisdom about early childhood, with a pragmatic program to encourage parents and teachers to rethink how and where young children learn best by taking the child’s eye view of t […]

  • As some of you know, Charles (HFP librarian) and I have been seeking books for our classroom that share the stories of immigrant families and of people who are homeless.

    I have begun talking with our children […]

  • ThumbnailWe ended our school year with a trip to pick strawberries, returning to Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island, the same farm where we picked pumpkins in October.  While munching on juicy strawberries and raspberries, we […]

  • ThumbnailWe are beyond lucky to have found a community as tightly woven as HFP. We are a diverse group of families coming together with a common goal, nurturing our children through what is the first school experience for […]

  • Thumbnail
    In an effort to teach about peace and justice, and in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, I’ve partnered with Katie to make PEACE a more overt focus of our curriculum. As we talk with children about […]

    Let’s dispel the ideas that people should be colorblind and that openly talking about race is problematic. People come in a variety of appearances and skin tone is simply one of those variables. It […]

  • Sasha loves Northwest wildlife.  She knows lots of facts about animals and refers to this knowledge in her dramatic play.  Sasha often caretakes these creatures (stuffed animals). Today she bottle-feeds a baby bat beneath the tree loft.   I invite Sasha (and bat) to join me at the writing center because she’s an experienced player and storyteller.  I’d like to share Sasha’s story at circle and invite her friends to act it out- thereby introducing story theater to this year’s class.

    Bat Story5 9-14

    *Photo by Mikaela Aguilar, Lewis and Clark Intern 

    Sasha begins her story with an observed fact: “Baby bat is hanging upside down.”  Sure enough the tiny bat is hanging from a branch.  Initially Sasha doesn’t have more to offer. She was fluid in her dramatic play, but  I’ve asked her to switch gears to dictating and drawing about her beloved bat.  I prompt, “Why is bat hanging upside down?”  Without hesitation Sasha reveals, “Looking for owls.”  She stops and looks over her shoulder as though she too is on the look out for owls.  I wonder out loud, “Why is baby bat looking for owls?”

    “Because owls like to eat baby bats.” Sasha continues the story, illustrating her knowledge of predator/prey- a favorite preschool theme.  A rabbit hops past us and enters Sasha’s story.  Sasha’s clear that rabbits are no threat to bats, even baby bats.  With a couple of more prompts, Sasha finishes her story, including  “fly” chase- the bat game equivalent of  people (“running”) chase.  I read Sasha’s story out loud to her:

    Baby bat is hanging upside down and looking for owls because owls like to eat baby bats. Baby bat just spotted a rabbit and that’s no harm at all. Baby bat flied down to find sister. He found sister. He played with her.  They played hopscotch and fly chase.

    She smiles and seems satisfied. I invite Sasha to draw bat.  At first, she’s hesitant.  Together we look at a photo of a hanging bat and she’s ready to take on the challenge.  The real-life photo captures Sasha’s interest and she carefully examines the bat, drawing claws tightly clutching to a branch.

    Bat Story1 9-14

    Finally, we bring Sasha’s story and drawing to circle and invite her friends to take part in it. We consider how one might hold her body to show she’s a bat or how one might hop around to show he’s a rabbit.  We contemplate the feelings a baby might have worrying it could be eaten, and the excitement it might feel swooshing through the air for “fly chase.”   And then children act out Sasha’s story, bringing it to life.