Thursday, May 31, 2018

The final days of school

Thank all of you for entrusting your beautiful children into our care for another year!  WOW!  Truly, I have the greatest job on the planet! I get to spend my days with the funniest, smartest, kindest and coolest people in Denver!  Here are a few photos of our last days here.  Have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you soon!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

After the show...

 What's going on in the studio after our big art show?
LOTS!  The children are still cooking, but now they are doing so entirely on their own.  I have brought in the toaster oven and set up a pizza making work as well as a quesadilla/burrito activity.  We have live basil and cilantro in pots nearby with which to season their creations.
 The children are eagerly eating the results of their efforts.
 Some children are using their sewing skills and creating functional items to take home...
like this purse.
 While others are taking block making to new levels...literally.  This impressive train was created today by several children working collaboratively.
 After some time playing, they decided to create train tickets for the passengers.
As passengers loaded onto the train, their tickets were appropriately punched with a hole.  When asked where the children learned this they unanimously told me, "From riding trains!"
Periodically they came together as a group to discuss their ideas and decide how best to move forward incorporating group ideas.
Watching young children work together in this way fills me with hope for our human family and our shared future.  Perhaps one day we will all embrace different ideas with as much grace as these children often do.
Keep checking the blog as we approach the last days of our school year to see how the year wraps up.   

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Nowruz: A Celebration of Spring

Thank's to the Noori's we were able to celebrate the Persian New Year, called Nowruz (which literally means “new day”) again this year.  Albeit a little later than prescribed.  It is generally celebrated on the first day of spring (this year it was on March 20 at 10:15 am in what is currently the Persian year of 1397) but we decided to delay until last weeks all-school, spring celebration.
Above is a picture of the Haft-sin table prepared for the day.  A Haft-sin table is generally prepared at home.  This is an arrangement of 7 symbolic items whose names start with the letter sin in the Persian alphabet. Some examples of the items that people usually lay out on their haft-sin table are:
  • Somagh (sumac) : symbolizes the color of sunrise
  • Serkeh (vinegar): symbolizes age and patience
  • Sabzeh (sprouts): symbolizes rebirth
  • Sib (apple): symbolizes beauty
  • Seer (garlic): symbolizes good health
  • Sonbol (hyacinth): represents spring
  • Sekkeh (coin): symbolizes wealth and prosperity
  • Mahi (fish): symbolizes life
  • Tokhmeh Morgh (egg): symbolizes fertility
  • Ayneh and sham (Mirror and candles)- reflecting into the new year

Nowruz is celebrated for 13 days and at the end of the 13 days people then take down their tables.  On that last day of celebrating, called Sizdah Bedar (13th day outdoors), Persians have a picnic with their friends and family and take the sabzeh and often throw it in a stream, a river, or anywhere there is flowing water.  This represents throwing away all sickness from the household.  
In honor of Nowruz and in Celbration of Spring the children painted wooden eggs with liquid watercolors.
And enjoyed two delicious, traditional dishes made by Afsaneh.  They were a huge success!  And in keeping with our interest in cooking, the Noori's have share the recipes with us, so that you can enjoy them together at home.

 Rice with Lentils (we call it Adas Polo)

- 3 cups of rice
- 1.25 cups of lentil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Table salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil (Canola oil)

1.  Mix rice and lentil and rinse the mixture well 

2.  Put the mixture in the rice cooker and add add 6.5 cups of water.

3- add the salt, oil, turmeric and mix all ingredients 

4- turn the rice cooker on and cook the above mix until the food is ready and the cooler stops

"Nan-e-Berenji”- Persian Rice cookies

1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄4 cup rose water
1⁄2 teaspoon lime juice
4 egg yolks, at room temperature syrup (made in step1)
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons cardamom powder 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups rice flour
1. Prepare the syrup by combining sugar and water in saucepan. Stir well until the sugar dissolved completely. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes (be careful not to overboil), remove from heat, add rose water and lime juice and set aside to cool. It should be at room temperature and not too thick.
2. In a warm mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until creamy. Add the cooled syrup from step 1 and whisk for 1 minute. Set aside.
3. In another mixing bowl, wish together the oil, Cardamom, salt and rice flour until you have a creamy batter.
4. Add egg yolk mixture to the rice flour mixture. Use a spatula to fold in until you have a soft, snow-white dough. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
5. Place the oven rack in the center and preheat over to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with baking mats.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop up a walnut sizeamount of dough. Place it on the baking mat. Flatten slightly using and offset spatula. Repeat, leaving 2 1⁄2 inches between each cookie. With a fork or the open end of a thimble, draw geometric patters on the cookies.
7. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes. Keep in mind that the cookies should be white when they are done.
8. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool. These cookies crumble very easily; Remove them carefully from the baking mat using an offset spatula. If you are not using them immediately store in a airtight glass container.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

donations welcome...for the love of elephants

Ele the Elephant, who is proudly representing the children’s artistry from the storefront window of the Artisan Center, has fueled a great deal of elephant interest, conversation and art.  Leading us to ask how our love of elephants might contribute to their care and protection in nature? SOOOOO we chose to put our love of elephants to good use.

After some research (and a great lead by our Toddler teacher Kelly) I contacted The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  Their organization was exactly what we were hoping for!  When I informed them of our intentions to raise funds on behalf of their organizational efforts in Kenya, they donated 40 beautiful children’s tops (all size 4-5), designed by J Crew (8 glitter printed, grey sweatshirts and 32 lightweight navy blue embroidered sweaters) to our efforts.  WOW!!!!!
These tops are available to the first 40 people who donate 25$ or more to our fundraising efforts.
There is a glass jar across from Catherine’s desk for anyone who would like to participate. 

All donations are welcome and no amount is too small!