Lindie's Blog
Lindie Keaton

Lindie Keaton

Sunday, 12 January 2020 17:54

Of Mountains and Mole Hills

Early in our first week back from winter break, a Kindergartner came to me with wide eyed excitement. "Lindie, come and see." At the time I was in the middle of unsticking and helping to zip a zipper. "Can you tell me?" I asked. "You have to see!" came the reply. "Is it alive?" I queried, as I finished the task at hand, and we headed toward the entrance to the tunnel that runs through our playground hill. "It's not now," the Kindergarten stated gravely. Two friends were waiting at the end of the tunnel, carefully examining something on the ground. As I came closer, I could see it was furry and immobile. It was a gray mole, now frozen on the mulch. "It's a mouse," one Kindergartner announced. "Let's look at it closely," I suggested. One child went to get some sand scoops to aid in handling the creature. When we turned it over onto its back, there were its two large front paws, much like the sand scoops and many times bigger than its tiny back feet. Its nose was pointed. I showed the children how large a mouse would be compared to this creature, and we talked about why its front feet were so large. Having had it identified as a mole, the children spent some time guessing why it had died. Many children thought it had frozen to death, and it was frozen. I shared that moles don't naturally spend time above ground. Some children supposed a predator had gotten the mole, but then been frightened away. One Kindergartner wanted the mole to have a proper burial, but with the ground frozen, we gave it a forest burial instead. The children decided to put the mole at the woods at the edge of the YG and OG outdoor classroom. The child who felt most strongly about burying the mole, carefully piled leaves over its body. "An animal might eat it," one child suggested. Yes, we all agreed that might happen. It's part of a forest burial. A few minutes later, the children announced they had found the mole's hole on top of tunnel hill. As we looked at the hole, which was not very large or deep and had none of the tell tale dirt a mole hole would have piled around it, I spotted the beginning of a mole highway of tunnels, starting just beyond the tunnel. I showed the children, and a few of them followed the tunnels to the edge of the boundaries of the playground. It was a brief interlude in our day, but one that really drew in this group, and showed me once again how being outdoors in nature is the best way for young scientists to learn.
Sunday, 05 January 2020 15:49

The Kindergarten Giving Tree--Part 2

The Kindergartners eagerly watched over the course of December as more and more food donations were placed under their little giving tree. One child remembered the Little Free Food Pantry outside the Presbyterian Church in town and suggested we take the food there. A day or so before winter break, several of the children helped bring the food back to our classroom to sort. One pair of Kindergartners used a sled to load the food onto and pull it back to our room. They children sorted food into categories that made sense to them, and then did some resorting. We bagged items that would be okay to freeze, as the Little Free Food Pantry is outdoors, and separated those items that shouldn't freeze. The children were proud of how much food there was--it filled our Kindergarten library! There was too much to fit into the Little Free Food Pantry, even though I delivered over two days. The remaining food went to the Yellow Springs Food Pantry and to families in West Dayton. Thank you to all who contributed to this year's successful giving tree food drive!
Saturday, 07 December 2019 17:02

The Kindergarten Giving Tree

       The Kindergarten Giving Tree tradition dates back further than my time at The Antioch School, but I am told that once there was a tradition of the Kindergarten getting a Christmas tree.  (The Christmas tree tradition itself was borrowed from a European pagan tradition originally.)  Eventually, this didn't seem fitting, as not all families celebrate Christmas, so a more inclusive tradition was established about 20 years ago.  The Kindergartners still get a tree, but it is a giving tree and each group decides on a cause and something school families can give to help.  Over the last decade or so Kindergartners have asked for hats, mittens, and scarves for those who don't have any; food for the local food bank; clothing for those who lost their homes in a hurricane; supplies for injured birds at The Glen's Raptor Center, and money to provide third world villages with pumps for clean drinking water.  This year the children decided to ask families to bring food for those who can't afford enough and to ask families to help stop pollution.  Their letter is  below. 

"Dear Families and Friends,

     Please bring gifts of food for the people who (don't) have enough money for food and can't buy it.  Put the food under the giving tree.  We will put the tree by the front door.
     Build less things with pollution.  Don't build so many factories. 
     Make sure you don't forget to bring the food.
     Thank you.

Sunday, 10 November 2019 23:37

The Haunted City Pet Store Goes Wrong--A Kindergarten Play

The Haunted City Pet Store Goes Wrong

By Antioch School Kindergarten 2019-20



Bald Eagle, Rose

Kitten, Zephyr


Bad Guy Ogre

Superhero Cat, Tornado

Peregrine Falcon, Turbo

Dog, Tornado

Turtle, Slash

Unicorn, Uni

Superhero Cina

Princess Eleoda


In a city in a pet store where things always go wrong, there was a ghost tree where a bad guy Ogre lived.


A cat named Zephyr jumps out and tries to make the Ogre nice, but he wouldn't listen.


The superhero cat, Tornado, breaks out of his cage. When he tries to shoot his double power saw it bounces back, hits his shield and bounces onto the ground, sawing a tunnel into the ground.


Most of the animals, except Tornado cat, jump into the hole to hide. One of the animals didn't go into the hole and hided somewhere else. That was Uni. The bald eagle, Rose, stayed out of the hole, too, because she was brave.


And then the peregrine falcon, Turbo, zoomed out of the hole and zoomed into the sky.


Tornado dog dug the hole deeper and made a cavern for the animals to live in.


The turtle, Slash, slippery slipped out.


The Superhero Cina and Princess Eleoda come and get the ghost tree and the bad guy Ogre to be nice.


The pet store and the city transform into two houses.


The End


Sunday, 20 October 2019 23:56

With Good Humor

     This year's Kindergarten group loves word play and a good joke.  Here are some of the ones that I've heard lately (shared with permission).

  • The books The Hungry Thing and The Hungry Thing Returns have been a favorite of some of the children, because of the non-sense rhymes the Hungry Thing always says instead of the word that is meant.  One recent morning in the Kindergarten a child said, with a twinkle in their eye, "Lindie, my plan is to go to the. . .mathboom."
  • A pair of Kindergartners found a way to combine a high five game with Green Eggs and Ham in an improvisational word play during snack one afternoon.

          First child:  Up high

          Second child: No

          First child:  Down low

          Second child:  No

          First child:  To the side

          Second child:  No

          First child:  Would you, could you with a fox?

          All the children:  Laughter

  • On our walk back from the Wellness Center last week, the children were running ahead to a stopping point (a game we call directions).  I was walking behind.  They were stopped at a fence post by the end of Herman Street, when they all began pointing up the street and literally fell down laughing.  When I caught up they exclaimed, "Lindie, . . . (they could barely get the words out, they were still laughing so), Lindie. . . the chickens crossed the road!"  They fell down again laughing uproariously, and when I looked up the street there was indeed a small group of chickens who had recently crossed the street there--the physical embodiment of so many jokes.
  • Inspired by the chickens, a Kindergartner told this joke:  Why did the chickens cross the road?   To get to the duck's birthday party!

     It's going to be a very fun year!

Sunday, 15 September 2019 17:09

First Forest Kindergarten Morning

     The Kindergarten met in our forest classroom for our first Forest Kindergarten morning last Monday.  It was a lovely, sunny morning, and everyone found their way down from school or was dropped off along Allen Street, where you can see the entrance of our forest classroom from the street.  Children explored the forest classroom in small groups or chatted with MJ at the fire circle, while we waited for more of our group to arrive.  We started with news around the fire circle (no fire, as it was such a warm day, but some of the children are already looking forward to one).  After each of us had a chance to share about something, the children made a plan for our first hike.  An experienced Kindergartner explained some of the usual Kindergarten hikes--shorter hikes are the rocks and the cave, longer ones are meatball rocks and the Yellow Springs, with the creek hikes being somewhere in the middle.  The children decided to hike to the rocks first and hope to hike to the cave next.  The group made easy work of their hike to the rocks.  Although a few children expressed concern with how far apart the group stretched along the trail, I thought they stayed very compact for a Kindergarten group on their first hike.  When we arrived back in our forest classroom we had one of our traditional Forest Kindergarten snacks--granola bars and string cheese.  Then children spent the remainder of the time playing and exploring in the forest classroom.  Some children are discussing wanting to build some kind of house there.  It seems some summer visitors may have used a lot of the former stick houses that children had built as fire wood.  I am looking forward to seeing how the children will manage to rebuild.

Sunday, 01 September 2019 18:39

We've got plans!

     The Kindergarten has just had a taste of what our group will be like, and they are eager to jump in after Labor Day with our regular schedule.  Each small group made several plans for this week during their morning together last week.  We'll be working with the giant spirograph gears and the paper crimpers, making nut butter playdough, and using the stomp rockets on the golf course field.  In addition, we'll be doing our traditional beginning of the year activities, including self-portraits to complete our birthday chart, marking heights on the wall, and deciding about shape day plans.  The children are so excited to be together, and I can't wait to see what other plans will unfold!

Tuesday, 19 February 2019 16:11

Tracks in the snow

     A recent Forest Kindergarten morning occurred after a light, overnight snow.  The children decided to hike to the cave--a plan they had deferred previously on a particularly icy morning.  As we entered the Glen, we could immediately see that we were not the first creatures to use the trail that morning.  Several sets of tracks ran ahead of us on the trail.  Additionally, a number of distinct tracks crossed the trail at various points. 

     The children recognized the cloven deer tracks right away.  The deer tracks generally crossed the trail, as the deer headed more directly down toward the creek. A raccoon also crossed the trail appearing to head toward the creek.

     Two different sized, yet similar tracks, ran along the trail in the same direction we were traveling.  "Dog tracks!" the children declared.  Sure enough the tracks with their rounded pads and claw marks did appear to belong to members of the dog family.  However, there were no human tracks on the trail save our own.  Perhaps they were lost dogs someone ventured.  Someone else guessed that one was a wolf.  The tracks did not appear to be animals traveling together, as the large ones veered off the trail and went their own way, while the smaller ones followed the trail for a considerable distance.  Finally, someone decided the smaller set could be fox tracks.  I confirmed that fox had been seen in this area, which is why we sometimes refer to the bog, as Fox's Swamp.  The children had to consult our field guide to find out that the largest wild dog family member in our area is a coyote, which perhaps had made the set of larger tracks.

     The smallest set of tracks, squirrel-like in appearance, ran on the trail for the longest, decidedly not squirrel-like in behavior.  The children consulted our field guide once again and made many guesses--skunk, weasel, badger, bear--but the imprints weren't clear enough for us to make a definitive determination.  We are hoping for another snowy Forest Kindergarten, though, when perhaps we can identify the mystery tracks.   

Sunday, 13 January 2019 18:23

The roles we play

     Play is foundational at The Antioch School.  Play allows children to try out new roles, solutions, and behaviors in an informal, low risk setting.  A good example of this is detailed in the children's story, Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, which is the recollections of the author's mother about a wild space where the neighborhood children played.  Part of the story goes, "Everybody had a car.  All you needed was something round for a steering wheel. . . if you broke the speed limit you had to go to jail.  The jail had cactus on the floor to make it uncomfortable. . .Anna May, quiet little Anna May was always speeding.  You'd think she liked to go to jail."  Play can be a way for children to explore being the rule breaker or the hero--or both.  

     Play is so integral to the children's days at school that they generally ignore adult presence while engaged in it.  This allows me to have a window into their world.  One such window occurred last week on the day there was a covering of snow on the ground.  The children had donned their winter gear, and we went out to the playground.  One Kindergartner in her snow pants and puffy, winter coat held her arms out perpendicular to her body and tottered around on stiff legs. 

     "I can't move.  I'm like the little brother on the "You'll-shoot-your-eye-out" movie," she explained to no one in particular, as she continued to move stiffly across the snowy playground.  Then she threw herself onto the ground, thrashing about.  "Help!  Help!" she called. 

     A child nearby, who is often on the receiving end of friends' offers to help, looked over in a puzzled way.

     "Help!  Help!" the first child called again, continuing to thrash in the snow.  The nearby child scanned the area.  All the other children were engaged in their own play and seemed oblivious to the drama playing out.  At that point, the second child gathered herself decisively and strode over to her fallen friend.  She reached down and "lifted" the fallen child from the ground. 

     "There you go," she declared.  They then replayed this scene multiple times with several helpers eventually joining in, until the snowy balance beam caught their eyes, and they moved onto exploring slippery surface balance together. 


Sunday, 02 December 2018 21:36

The Kindergarten Giving Tree

     The Kindergarten Giving Tree tradition dates back further than my time at The Antioch School, but I am told that once there was a tradition of the Kindergarten getting a Christmas tree.  Eventually, this didn't seem fitting, as not all families celebrate Christmas, so a more inclusive tradition was established about 20 years ago.  The Kindergartners still get a tree, but it is a giving tree and each group decides on a cause and something school families can give to help.  Over the last decade or so Kindergartners have asked for hats, mittens, and scarves for those who don't have any; food for the local food bank; clothing for those who lost their homes in a hurricane; and supplies for injured birds at The Glen's Raptor Center.  This year the children have chosen something different, after learning that in some places children aren't able to attend school, because they must spend so much time carrying water for their families.  Please have your donations to school by Friday, December 14.  This is their request:

     Dear School Families,

     We are going to get a giving tree.  Could you please give money, so the people who need water can get water pumps?  Antioch School Kindergarten will give the money to Heifer International.  A water pump costs $150.  We'll put a box out for you to put the money in near the tree by the front door.



Postscript--Right before winter break, we counted the money together and the children knew we had raised enough for three plus pumps, when they left school for break.  Thanks to two late donations, though, we were able to give Heifer International $600 to purchase four pumps!  Thanks, everyone!

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