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We’ve worked on our roof for our gers, and we are figuring out how to construct them and play with them, as they can move from place to place. We learned that real life gers can weigh up to 550 lbs., and are carted from place to place by the animals that the Mongolian nomads rely on—llamas, horses, and oxen. We have viewed photos of Mongolian cities, and the gers’ presence as the nomads set up their homes in shantytowns in cities.  We have talked about what it must be like to carry all of our belongings everywhere we go, and how we would probably have much less that we do if we had to moved it every few months!

Storytelling continues in our makeshift ger that hangs from our classroom ceiling.


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Today we began our day with finishing up our matryoshka project. We labeled each doll with their given names (from our story, the Littlest Matryoshka by Corrine Demas Bliss) and each friend helped laminate her latest creation. They will all be part of a mobile to take home next week.We also talked about the story itself and composed a summary to be part of our mobile.

After our snack, we worked on the letter “F” our Peace Traveler Alphabet (forget-me-not, fox, fiddler crab, fireworks, flags, fairy in the fall, flamingo, food). During snack, Rhiannon talk us of her upcoming birthday party, and (at the mention of pizza!)we sang and signed the Silly Pizza song (by Laurie Berkner!).

This afternoon we celebrated Rhiannon’s 5th Birthday with her Mom, Karen, and all the friends. We saw pictures of her as an infant and toddler, and heard stories of her early life from her Mom. We all celebrated with chocolate chip oatmeal cookies freshly baked by Rhiannon and her Dad this morning. Thanks!

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Today we continued our creation of Matroyshka’s for our mobiles and completed our Senegal animals for our passports.

We had our monthly visit to Ruth Craft’s home, the senior member of our community. Ruth has lived in Ashfield her whole life (as she says, “so far!”) She enjoys hearing us sing, telling stories, and joining her for lunch. We also enacted the Little Matroyshka for Ruth with the assistance of Charlotte’s Mom, Danielle.

We also celebrated Charlotte’s 5th Birthday with the story of her birth and growth as told by her Mom. We had some freshly-baked, warm Anadama bread with homemade strawberry jam. Thank you Danielle!


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We began our day by saying goodbye to the very hot (just north of the equator!) country of Senegal, and “traveling” to one of the coldest and largest countries on the planet—Russia! We began our studies with Russia’s ABC’s, an exciting book loaded with beautiful illustrations that depicts the unique architecture and artifacts of the Russian people. We began to speak about sun’s travels and time zones. They are interesting concepts to try and explain! We also spoke of Russia’s huge wilderness and some of the animals unique to this part of the world.

Today we began our day with our Peace Traveler’s Alphabet book and the letter “B” (bear, beaver, buttercups, and Black Elk).  Be sure to look for the Russian words and pictures when you see your friend’s Peace Traveler’s Alphabet book!

Books We Read:

Russia ABCs by Ann Berge

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Thank you to all for attending our winter Solstice Celebration and Potluck. May the Holidays be restful and joyous for you and yours. Best in 2010!

The Servant Candle (from a reading by Judy Bressler of the Klezmer Conservatory Band; adapted by Monique Bourgeois)

A candle alone is a small thing.

But one candle can light another

–and see how its own light increases

as it gives flame to another.

Light is the power to chase away the darkness.

Throughout history, darkness has tired to smother the light.

But always in the end it fails.

For always, somewhere in the world, the light remains,

Ready to burn its brightest where it is darkest.

And every free people in the world has remained free

By resisting those who would extinguish this light in people’s hearts

–the light of freedom, of truth, of love.

We who seek to increase this light must remember that,

Just as one candle along is a small thing,

One person alone is a small thing, on nation alone is a small thing….

We must learn to see how much we need others,

And we must learn to see how much others need us.

We cannot hope to reach our own highest capabilities

Until we help those around us reach theirs.

And when one heart kindles another,

When one person strengthens another,

When one mind illumines another,

The light increases within us as we pass it on

We light our candles now to commemorate this eternal bridge of light

Passing from one person to another

Reaching from the beginning of creation

To fill the radiant spirit of free people everywhere.

Each of us is such a light.

Each of us has the power to chase away the darkness

–in ourselves, and in others.

And we are all strongest when we help each other.


IMG_0357

Originally uploaded by mtviewcollaborative

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We planned our party and finished up all the loose ends we had begun. (Next time you are throwing some kind of event at your home, remind your Peace Traveler that they know all that goes into a celebration, and enlist their assistance!) We tidied up, put out ornaments, finished our solstice necklaces for family members and friends, and set up our learning community space to accommodate many people. Then we had a special snack up by the decorated tree, and went through the Christmas Alphabet—a special book with origami like 3D paper “pictures” for each of the letters.

Books We Read:

Christmas Magic by Michael Garland

The Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda

Try your hand at making some simple pop ups this holiday season. Here is a link to the authors site where he teaches you some simple techniques.

Here is a sample of his work- Robert Sabuda’s pop up Christmas Tree


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Today we visited our elder friend, Ruth Craft. We had lunch together, had our morning circle (in the afternoon!), and then read a couple of Christmas stories. Each of us had prepared a little something for her, and it was fun to give and then receive her warm smile and sweet words.

We have been awaiting the return of our friend Zoe who was in Sedona, Arizona at the 7th Meeting of the Indigenous  Grandmothers. She and her mom, Tony(a), were stuck in a snow storm for three days in Flagstaff, but managed to find a book store, a coffee shop, and a grocery store within walking distance.

Here is Zoe in Flagstaff

To learn more about the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers (Peace Travelers) check out their site here. There are lots of pictures of their travels around the globe as their work on actualizing their dreams…

The Grandmothers Mission Statement

WE, THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF THIRTEEN INDIGENOUS GRANDMOTHERS,represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come. We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth and the destruction of indigenous ways of life. We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future. We look to further our vision through the realization of projects that protect our diverse cultures: lands, medicines, language and ceremonial ways of prayer and through projects that educate and nurture our children.

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