garden or build

We’ve officially been in school for a whole month! We’re amazed and grateful that we’ve come this far, and so quickly. What an incredible month it’s been, too. Today Mackenzie and I took a group of kids to the Potrero Hill Community Garden (my first field trip!) while Chane and Josh took charge at the school and helped out with building projects and declaration work.

Mackenzie told a story about the Goat Lady of Potrero Hill on the snack break during the walk to the garden.

garden or build

Intrepid bug catcher.

garden or build

At the garden the kids used egg cartons marked with adjectives like “stinky,” “spiky,” “beautiful,” and “spicy” to take small samples of plants to share with the group.

garden or build

garden or build

garden or build

garden or build

garden or build

Sharing discoveries.

garden or build

garden or build

One of my favorite parts of the day: Aidan stood as still as possible amidst the swirling bees at their hive in one corner of the garden. He held a tiny blossom in his outstretched fingertips, waiting for a bee to land and collect the bounty from the flower in his hand.

garden or build

Mackenzie challenged everyone to a Sense-o-challenge where they had to smell a secret leaf or two in her hand, then find the plant in the garden where the leaves had come from.

garden or build

On the overpass going to and from the garden, the kids stopped to wave at the cars and trucks zooming under them. The drivers waved and honked back!

garden or build

The visitor of the day: Petey, Chane’s charge for the weekend and a dog with no fear of kid-handling.

garden or build

Sofia built a chair for Petey – also used for humans.

garden or build

Flopping.

garden or build

Examining the bird that the kids found on the sidewalk yesterday (yes, everyone washed hands right after holding it).

garden or build

Building a racetrack for matchbox cars.

garden or build

The tallest construction project of the day, of course, was the frame for Kid City. It’s becoming more and more clear that the spaces that each kid will get in this place are positively enormous.

garden or build

garden or build

One month in and still going strong. And so many great things to come.

water: the clean and the dirty

It was a day of mixed reviews and two very different environments. The older kids visited the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant on the west side of the city and the younger kids traveled down the Peninsula to the Pulgas Water Temple in Redwood City.

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While the older kids learned about the cycle of wastewater in San Francisco…

Wastewater Treatment Plant

…the younger kids enjoyed the sun and the green of Redwood City.

Pulgas Water Temple

They examined objects in jars…

Wastewater Treatment Plant

…and the glassy green of algae in the pond.

Pulgas Water Temple

Both groups waited patiently for exciting things to think about.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Pulgas Water Temple

And talked about the wildlife of both habitats: fish at the treatment plant…

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wastewater Treatment Plant

…and a game of vole, kite, and Cooper’s hawk.

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

There was a break and preparation for the next activity, including hair nets and helmets…

Wastewater Treatment Plant

…and a group discussion.

Pulgas Water Temple

In-the-field experts helped make things clearer.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Pulgas Water Temple

I think it’s safe to say that the smells on both trips were rather different.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

The older kids vehemently proclaimed the wastewater treatment plant as a let’s-never-do-that-again. Henry wrote in his journal, “Today’s field trip was the epitome of all greed and evil. To start the list of horrors that dared to call itself fun was the stench. It smelled like a mixture of poop and sewage….Oh boy, touring through a smelly hole labeled ‘solid waste,’ where any common person with common sense wouldn’t have opened the door…” To be fair, though, they were interested in the treatment process and the steps that wastewater must take to be cleaned and sent back to the ocean clean. Ben was stunned that the whole system is based on gravity’s pull. Zada had never appreciated clean air so much.

The younger kids determined that the vole, kite, and Cooper’s hawk game to be their favorite, and also delighted in telling each other scary stories about murderous dolls and ghosts. They also liked being able to talk to the great Tim, an expert they met by chance at the water temple because he was taking out the trash. And it all comes full circle.