All Things Fall! Week of October 6th!

Global Foundations Digest, Week of October 6, 2020

All Things Fall!

by Jennifer DeVille and Kristin Royce

We had another amazing week at GFT!


Who Doesn’t Love A Giant Leaf Pile??

Since we started the discussion surrounding the autumn equinox, the children have been abuzz with talk of building giant leaf piles in which they could all jump.  Well, Tuesday was the day!  

After tirelessly working to gather leaves with their hands, they enlisted the adults to go out in search of rakes.  Luckily, Ms Rowan had some on hand!  So not only did the speed in which the piles were built improve, but the size of the piles grew, as well.  They got their leaf pile fixes multiple times throughout the day, and the joy that brought them was so evident and so fun to experience!

Hitting the Woods!

We discussed the different sites, sounds, colors, and feelings of fall today.  As part of our nature hike, we went in search of materials that could help us create “paint”.  The children found flowers, mushrooms, leaves, and berries and went to town in their notebooks when we got back. 

Of course, no nature hike would be complete without checking on our forest buildings and adding to them.  We discovered some bricks in the forest today.  What was first a brick-layered floor later got turned into a throne for a student who just needed a little break.

Turtle Time!

The hands-down, fan favorite of the day is always the time we get to spend outside with the turtles.  Ms. Rowan brings a wealth of knowledge about the turtles each week.  The children are enthralled with watching the “hunt” as worms and beetles and other creepy-crawlies often get surprised and devoured by Tilly and Poppy.

While one group plays and watches the turtles outside, the other half of the group works inside with upkeep of the Nature Center that Holt so kindly opened up to GFT.  This volunteer opportunity encompasses a variety of methods.  Today, we helped clean the turtle tank, sprayed water into the snake tank to help regulate the humidity, and (a crowd favorite) use the shopvac to clear out the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the center.  The children are learning that many hands make light work and how we can create mutually beneficial relationships in our lives, as well.

In keeping with the “fall art” theme, Ms. Jennifer brought two books to share with the children today.  They really got into the book, “Look”, that showed various works from famous painters that showcased people.  We looked at facial expressions, body language, and the use of color to discuss why the people in the paintings may be feeling the way they do and really honed in on the specific details of the pieces to describe why that was so.

In addition to all of that fun, the children celebrated Kelsey’s 7th birthday with singing and apple cider donuts.  The children ended the day designing and coloring their own Halloween/Day-of-the-Dead masks to bring us further into the fall spirit!

Thursday was a perfect playground day at Towson Manor Park! We were so lucky to have Grady’s mom, Theresa, join us for the day!

With a brand new giant box of sidewalk chalk at the ready, the plan was to read the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson and then draw our own worlds on the sidewalk. This only held the kids’ attention briefly, however, as the sandbox & playground called out to them on this beautiful fall day. 

I took advantage of the sandbox time to read two other beautifully illustrated classics: Swimmy and Frederick by Leo Leonni. We discussed the author/illustrators’ different styles and the lessons conveyed in each story (creativity & imagination). 

Grady found a moth wing in the sandbox—we were all so excited to inspect it under our portable field microscope! We also looked at chalk lines, dust and sand under magnification. What will we find next week?

GFT Week 3!

Oh, What a Week!

Global Foundations Digest, Week of September 29, 2020

We had another amazing week at GFT!


Tuesday at Holt Park!

    We thought we’d be testing our new-found outdoor adventure this Tuesday when the forecast called for rain all, day long on Tuesday.  Luckily (or not so luckily if you asked the kids!), the weather took a turn for the better, and we had an excellent day outside at Holt!


     Through one of our hikes last week, the children discovered an amazing, forest oasis full of lean-tos and other human-made apparati.  The children quickly got to work modifying and improving what was already there.  The buzz surrounding their discussions including everything from material planning to demolition to why their bridge made a better obstacle course than bridge was amazing to observe.  

      They tearing down was as exciting as the building up, and everyone enjoyed lending a helping hand.  This also served as an excellent opportunity to discuss what type of clothing and shoes are appropriate to wear in the forest and why.  A certain director also realized she needs to practice what she preaches after gaining some gnarly cuts from some sticker bushes in the building process.  😉


     We all benefited from Ms. Jennifer’s home harvest when she brought in some beautiful and HUGE sunflower heads for the children to observe and explore today.  We estimated how many seeds were in each of the heads and got answers between 50-200.  Then we actually learned that there are actually 1,000-1,400 in each head!  The children had a blast extracting the seeds for future planting or roasting and then tossing the leftover pieces into the woods for the creatures to enjoy.

Turtles at 2(ish)!

      While we completely lucked out with the dry weather, our shelled friends needed some sunlight before being brought outside.  We learned that Poppy, the terrapin, needs to get into the natural sunlight so her shell does not rot.  While the naturalists have a UV lamp in her tank, they have found that the best way to combat the rot is to get her out in the sunlight 3-4 times per week for at least 20-30 minutes… and we’re happy to oblige! 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Get to Know Towson Manor Park!

      With our Thursday partnership at The Children’s Chorus of Maryland, we’re so fortunate to have the beautiful Towson Manor Park so close by.  Because of its location, we have a number of ways we can make the short walk to CCM to use the restrooms and wash hands.

      One of the routes brings us through a neighborhood where all things fall are happening!  The children felt and smelled a variety of lavender plants, as well as stumbled upon this curious, second-floor door to nowhere that got them all buzzing about its possibilities.  

     They also took turns running the excavation project at the large sandbox.  We discussed which places would be better to check out first based upon the height of the sand mounds as well as whether or not the sand looked disturbed or not (of course, later leaders got tricky and smoothed out sections to evade the excavators).

      Grady brought in the book, “ The Monster at the End of This Book (starring lovable, furry old Grover)”, and the students ATE IT UP!  There were lots of giggles and following along, as well as taking a look at Grover’s facial expressions and fonts and colors on various pages and discussing how we know he is feeling a certain way before even reading the words.  Lots of fun was had by all as we ushered in a new month!

We have really hit our stride, and thank you for coming along for the ride! If you’re interested in hearing more about our program, volunteer opportunities to offset tuition, or are interested in our welcoming and inclusive umbrella, please drop us a line here. We’ll connect with you soon!

Falling Back Into Fall!

Falling Back into Fall!

by Jennifer DeVille and Kristin Royce

We had another amazing week at GFT!

Turtles at 10!

Ms. Rowan brought the kids even deeper into the turtle vibe this week by allowing them to not only “play” with them outside, but they were allowed to help with the general turtle maintenance.  We looked at the salinity meter for the terrapin tank and helped stir in the salt and change out the water for a fresher experience for Poppy.  The children were amazed at how the little maintenance truly enhanced and cleaned the whole environment.


One of the questions we had when transitioning to the great outdoors was how we would transition some of what we loved about the one-room schoolhouse outside.  One beloved curriculum we used for spelling/reading/writing is Spell to Write and Read.  This cursive and phonics-based program uses the 70 phonograms in the English language as the basis of the program.  While there are LOADS of resources online if you’re interested, we have seen the work speak for itself with the kids.  If a child knows the different sounds that a letter makes, he is in the right seat to set him up for reading success for the rest of his life.  We started today with the phonograms and intend on building on the program as we move through the weeks.

The Fall Equinox!

We were so fortunate to be meeting on the first day of fall, otherwise known as the fall equinox.  Kelsey surprised us all in sharing that the fall equinox means that the number of daylight hours equals the number of night hours and that this happens only twice a year: the first day of fall and the first day of spring.  We took a hike and the students each chose symbols in their surroundings that reminded them of fall.  

We also took the opportunity to decorate mini pumpkins to welcome in the new season! 

Layers of the Rainforest

After experiencing the forest in our neck of the woods, we transitioned to taking a look at the rainforest.  The students enjoyed piecing together the layers of the rainforest as well as the different animals that inhabit the different layers.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Get to Know Towson Manor Park!

      It’s no secret that getting GFT up-and-running this year was no small feat.  It truly took a village, and we are so thankful for our partners in education: Holt Park and Nature Center and The Children’s Chorus of Maryland!

      One of the unique aspects of the site at Towson Manor Park is the climber-friendly, “big kid” playground.  This is an excellent space for the children to not only work on their balance; it’s the perfect problem-solving arena to work out how they will travel from platform to platform… and also make it back down to the ground as safely as possible!

     We also enjoyed poetry on the swings today, as well as math games in one of the canopies of the playground.  

     We look forward to rounding out the month, and thank you for coming along for the ride! If you’re interested in hearing more about our program, volunteer opportunities to offset tuition, or are interested in our welcoming and inclusive umbrella, please drop us a line here. We’ll connect with you soon!

Welcome Back to GFT!

Global Foundations Digest, Week of September 15, 2020

What a great first week back!

by Jennifer DeVille on September 15

I am so thankful that we were able to welcome students back to GFT this fall! We had a couple of great days exploring our new locations at Holt Park in Overlea and Towson Manor Park…here are some highlights from our week:


Morning Song

Our gathering included temperature checks, a good morning song, introductions, and poetry. It wasn’t long before students discovered Holt’s beautiful pond and started running laps around it as they played tag.

Turtles at 10!

Ms. Rowan showed us into the Nature Center where Holt’s animals live. We brought out Tilly (a box turtle) and Poppy (a terrapin). We learned that they need vitamin D from the sun to prevent their shells from rotting, so we’ll help them sunbathe each Tuesday. The kids were thrilled to turn over some rocks for Tilly to hunt bugs and nibble greens.

Rows and Columns

This RightStart Math game involves reviewing addition and subtraction facts. Lay out basic number cards in a 4×4 grid. Students look for pairs of cards that add up to or subtract to equal 5. As students progress, we start adding up/subtracting to 10, and then any multiple of 5. 

During one of a number of nature hikes, the children gathered twigs and sticks to make their own compass rose.  We discussed how the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and how people of long ago had that to use as their directional guide.  They got creative with the making of the letters and how they needed to be more squared-off… much like their ovens and clocks at home.

We loved the shelter and feel of the forest beneath our feet as we set off down the trails at Holt Nature Center.  Nolan pointed out a variety of mushroom species which led into a lively discussion of what we should and should not eat from the forest.  The students and adults alike were amazed at the tranquil, hidden oasis nestled among the busy city streets.  

Wind-Down Journaling

After a very exciting first day, the children had a chance to wind down and internalize all the learned and experienced during the day.  Some children chose to explore a bit more and draw a still life from what they saw on the move.  Others chose to draw and write from memory.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Poetry Corner is Back!

Another GFT tradition we looked forward to continuing as we transitioned to the great outdoors was Poetry Corner and Show-and-Tell.  The children were excited to choose their own poems to share with the group. Some of our emerging readers tackled the read alouds on their own while others preferred to choose and have the adults read for them.  The individual carpet squares served as great landing spaces for the children after an active morning getting acquainted with the challenging and oh-so fun playground at Towson Manor Park!

Math Games are Also Back!

Can you imagine how different your educational story might read if your mathematical foundation was built upon games?  Our GFT students have been diving back into the math games they lovingly remember from last year.  Today, the 1st graders played “Magic Squares”.  In a 3 x 3 grid, the “Magic Number” is 3 times the middle number.  All rows, columns, and diagonals add up to the “Magic Number”! There were facts flying all over the place as the students shared and brainstormed their ways through the squares.

Stone Soup!

     We had a rousing reading and play of the French folktale, Stone Soup.  In addition to reading and the 2020 theatrical debut of the GFT students, we had a rousing character study at the conclusion.  When asked, “What do we know about the soldiers?”, the students described how they were clever in convincing the villagers to share their food, and they didn’t steal the food, either.  When asked, “What were the villagers like?”, the students described them as worried, afraid, and greedy because they didn’t want to run out of food.  In the end, soldiers and villagers alike could all enjoy a feast with dancing.  

     We are so thrilled to be together again, and the learning and growing that are evident in this first week are an exciting taste of what’s still to come!  We thank you for your support and look forward to a wonderful year!

If you’re interested in hearing more about our program, volunteer opportunities to offset tuition, or are interested in our welcoming and inclusive umbrella, please drop us a line here. We’ll connect with you soon!