Music Program

Little Seeds Farm School is very excited to be adding a music education program to our curriculum beginning on Wednesday, February 25th! Music is something that Teachers Brittany and Geoff are passionate about and it has been our dream since first imagining Little Seeds to incorporate a music class into our school experience.

In this post you’ll find lots of information on the program and the qualifications of our awesome teacher Liska McNally, MT-BC.

About The Program

Liska is trained in a humanistic, child-centered approach to creating music which assumes that all are creative and musical from birth. With this in mind, weekly music making at Little Seeds Farm School will include both structured pre-determined musical experiences—such as singing pre-composed songs, playing rhythms and melodies together—and improvisation and free expression and exploration of instruments, sounds, and movement.

The elements of music—rhythm, tempo, timbre, melody, and harmony—will be introduced as the building blocks for songwriting, improvisation, musical storytelling, and exploration of musical instruments from around the world. Students will have the opportunity to play drums and percussion from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the British Isles. They will also explore stringed instruments such as the Autoharp, guitar, and ukulele, and tonal percussion such as metallophone, glockenspiel, and tone chimes.

A typical music circle might consist of a ritual opening song acknowledging each member of the circle followed by a rhythmic warm up using body percussion and small instruments to prime the brain and the body. Once the body and brain are focused and prepared, novel and more challenging experiences can be introduced. These might include songwriting, exploration of new instruments and musical concepts, and musical storytelling. The music circle will typically wrap up with more gross motor body movement to music, deep breathing to promote relaxation and integration of new learning, and a ritual closing song.

Liska and Teachers Brittany and Geoff are excited to collaborate and integrate classroom themes and curriculum into the music circle. Liska views music as co-created and emergent and welcomes ideas and input about music classes by and for the parents and students at Little Seeds.

About Liska

liskaLiska McNally, board certified music therapist, serves as adjunct faculty at Marylhurst University and is owner of Meadowlark Music Therapy Services based in Portland, Oregon. Meadowlark Music Therapy serves diverse members of the adult population and specializes in therapy for older adults, especially those living with dementia.

Liska believes music is innate to our lives as human beings. Rhythm, melody, tempo and form are musical terms that can also describe biological function, developmental process and emotional experience.

Liska is excited to learn and share through music with the students at Little Seeds Farm School.

 

 

 

Thanks WW!

We’re so grateful for Willamette Week reaching out to us to feature our school as #13 in this week’s 27 Reasons To Love Portland Right Now article!

With Spring right around the corner we are incredibly excited about our plans for the next year! Our goat house plans are coming to fruition and we’ve cleared and cultivated a brand new 25 foot growing space to add to this year’s harvest. Our students are inspiring all sorts of great new ideas for projects, games and recipes as we observe how they interact with the space we have built for them.

Thank you so much to our current group of families and all of those who have expressed interest in attending. Demand is currently very high but please feel free to get in touch to discuss our current enrollment openings – we’d love to meet you!

January Newsletter

Good afternoon everyone! We are happy to announce that our January newsletter has arrived. These monthly updates allow our parents to stay connected to our themes, the progress of our community projects and the evolution of our farm space.

We’d love to hear your feedback on what features you’d enjoy seeing in our newsletters going forward!

Download our January Newsletter and feel free to grab a copy on your next visit to Little Seeds Farm School.

Tour Scheduling

Little Seeds is now opening enrollment for our first school year from January 5th -August 2015.

There are a few options to begin the enrollment process:

Email Teacher Brittany or give her a call at 971-998-7672 to schedule a time to chat and tour the school.

and/or

Come and meet us Friday the 31st from 4-8pm for our Halloween Open House. Stop by with your little ones to say trick-or-treat and enjoy a healthy and delicious treat along with a tour and more information about our program. We look forward to meeting our community and opening our doors!

Hope to hear from you soon and reserve a spot for our first class of 6 students!

Natural Material Crafts

One of our fun curriculum goals at Little Seeds is incorporating as many natural materials as possible into our crafting projects. The tradition of wildcrafting – harvesting plants from their natural habitat for food or medicinal purposes – has been practiced for millennia and we like to think of this as our own version!

Little Seeds Farm School students are very often exploring nature with their teachers and we use these opportunities to keep a look out for inspiring crafting materials. Our students are encouraged to suggest uses for the things they see and the teachers have worked hard to build a collection of projects that utilize the natural beauty of our environment.

Some of our favorite projects include creating our very own fabric dyes from plant materials, crafting herb satchets for natural air fresheners and playing with herb and flower infused sand. We collect rocks, sticks and pine cones for all sorts of projects. Seeds make amazing crafting implements with all their various shapes, sizes and colors and some of our projects can even be planted afterwards to grow!

As our students arrive and we begin creating projects, this blog will be updated weekly showing off all of this special work!

Storytime

Oral storytelling is an important tradition that has allowed our communities to bond, pass along ancestral knowledge and entertain one another for thousands of years. At Little Seeds Farm School, we continue this time-honored practice by creating unique stories and mythologies with our students and engaging their minds with dramatic play.

As teacher Doriet Berkowitz writes in her article about oral storytelling for the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

“Oral storytelling encourages a heightened and more sophisticated level of engagement among preschoolers through its invitation for role-playing and performance.”

We come together with our students every day as a community for a story time where we use these performance techniques to more thoroughly communicate with the children than is possible through reading alone. Props, voices, costumes and more help us bring our tales to life in a memorable way. When they imagine the details and scenery of our stories rather than seeing them in a book, our student’s are exercising the very same faculties that aid them in problem solving. Nurturing imagination in our students is of the utmost importance to our school’s philosophy!

Little Seeds Farm School is also handcrafting a miniature fairy garden which will serve as the backdrop for an ongoing folklore story that we will create with our students. This garden features a miniature farm with a house crafted from sticks and natural materials, tiny rows of soil for seed starting and many other features created from objects found in the wild.

Our teachers will weave tales about the family of fairies who lives in this little corner of the urban farm and use this original mythology to explore the seasons, themes of family and growth, moral lessons and to leave behind trinkets and messages that will make our children’s time at school a special experience.

Photo above provided courtesy of our friend Olympia, WA-based artist and children’s author Nikki McClure!

Autumn Farm Update

lastpeppersAs the air turns crisp and the days shorten, our urban farm enters an important stage of building the foundations for our next year’s harvest. Here’s an update on all fun projects going on at the farm this Autumn!

Our temperate climate in the Pacific Northwest makes growing food in all four seasons possible. By September and October we have planted kale, cabbage, brocolli, rapini and other cold hardy vegetables that will flourish all throughout the Winter months. We also sneak in a harvest of heirloom lettuces each Autumn after the height of summer but before the cold set in.

We plant many cloves of garlic in early Autumn to grow all Winter and Spring and be harvested in the early Summer.

Beyond laying the foundation for our Fall and Winter garden, this time of year also finds us practicing biodynamic techniques to return some of the nutrients and minerals that we removed from our land with our harvests. We keep our soil healthy byammend adding compost made on the farm and a mix of natural mineral ammendments from our friends at the amazing Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply.

We also practice the time-honored tradition of growing a cover crop each Winter that will be cut down and mulched into the soil to compost in the Spring. Little Seeds Farm School likes to grow mixtures of field peas, clover, vetch, oats and rye for this purpose. Cover crops are amongst the oldest methods for returning fertility to the land and we love to teach our students about the value of such heritage traditions as well as the science behind them.

The Autumn is amongst our favorite times of year at the school and there’s so much to learn from the changing rhythm of the land during this beautiful season!

New Nature Playground!

Tonight I went for a walk around my favorite neighborhood park and got to see all of the amazing work being put into Westmoreland’s Natural Playground!

This exciting new space is part of Portland Park and Recreation’s Nature-Based Play Initiative pilot program whose goal is to “create settings in developed parks that encourage creative play and interaction with natural features.”

Sand, rocks, logs, and water are amongst the many elements going into this play area located just one block from our school. We couldn’t be happier to have a safe place to explore and create with our students. Nature walks and fairy gardens here we come!

Visit the Westmoreland Park Nature Play website for more info on the progress of this awesome new playground.

Summer Farm Update

As our pre-registration date at Little Seeds Farm School grows closer, I thought I’d take the chance to provide our very first Seasonal Farm Update for Summer 2014!

Summer is a time when the farm is in full bloom and many exciting fruiting plants are beginning to ripen their delicious bounty.

At Little Seeds Farm School our newly dug pumpkin patch is producing a plethora of small-medium pumpkins that we think will be perfect our students when we grow them again next year.green_tomato

Our heirloom tomatoes – always a favorite for fresh eating and sauce & salsa canning – are setting out loads of green fruit that will ripen to shades of beautiful red, orange and yellow in the following weeks.

Peppers are one of our favorite things to grow and this year we’ve planted a wide variety – Sweet Banana Peppers, King of the North and Orange Bells, Red Pimentos and – best of all for little eaters – Mini Bell Peppers!

Our raspberry patch has given the last of it’s delicious fruit for the season but we are in full production of cucumbers, pumpkins, golden and red beets, sunflowers, greens and a bevy of different herbs.

We’ve recently planted additional beds of kale, chard and heirloom lettuces that we grow and cut young for tender and nutritious salad mixes.

There’s a lot of seed-starting going on at this time of year to supply our Fall and Winter gardens with carefully tended young plants that thrive in the cooler weather. We can’t wait to send home tons of these little seedlings with our students who will be starting with us next year so that they can continue their gardening adventures and use what they’ve learned at Little Seeds Farm School at home!