Taylor the Sailor

On Friday the Bubbles and Rainbows in preschool were treated to the “maiden voyage” of masterful documentary filmmaker and TPS parent Glenn Holsten and his latest project, which is about a 36-foot sailboat. “Taylor the sailor,” a Navy rescue swimmer from Texas, charted a course and sailed around North and South America for nine months. Glenn had the pleasure of meeting up with Taylor and his crew to film and direct a heartfelt story about overcoming the infamous tumult of the waters of Cape Horn. The film features the majestic seascape, which concluded at Penguin Island for Taylor.


The children saw a map charting Taylor’s course, as well as a drawing of the sailboat complete with GoPro attachment locations to optimize the viewing pleasure of all audiences. A drone followed the boat aerially, a scuba diver with a GoPro from below, and several more GoPros in between affixed to the sides of the boat. The cameras captured breathtaking angles of life at sea and left us feeling as if we were on our very first virtual sailing expedition!

Glenn answered our questions about the ways in which the visual equipment was placed to tell a story, as well as some information about the anatomy of the boat and the important repairs it underwent before the voyage. Ask your child about the camera equipment and footage of Taylor at sea with his boat—we were WOWED!!

Glenn’s presentation inspired the children to build boats with recycled materials and test for buoyancy in our water table. We are looking forward to showing the boats at parent teacher conferences next week!

The Garden Returns

The Garden has been coming back to life after a winter slumber thanks to lots of wonderful little helpers!  Preschool and kindergarten  Students planted seeds for spring vegetables, including carrots, peas, beets, radish, arugula, bok choy, green onions, and spinach.  The little gardeners also transplanted seedlings of kale, lettuce, broccoli, swiss chard, celery, collard greens, and flowers that they started indoors from seed back in early February. 

Teatime with Judith in Preschool

“Is it tea time yet?” asked one of our enthusiastic preschoolers before we embarked on a ‘first’ in the preschool—an organized tea party! Though Alice, Mad Hatter, and March Hare were short of luck on having a pleasant tea party—we enjoyed ours!

One of our classrooms was treated to tea with a very special guest expert – Judith Parker, former longtime teacher and tea connoisseur. Judith taught at The Philadelphia School for nearly thirty years before retiring almost four years ago.

The Philadelphia School is fortunate that Judith continues to share her love of literature and tea weekly with Middle School and Junior Unit students in an after school club. And this week preschoolers were equally lucky as Judith shared her collection of black teassingular in taste with some of us. We sampled English Breakfast, Early Grey, and Keemun teas with the children. Complete with boiling water, porcelain tea cups and saucers, and Fortnam and Mason on display, some of us enjoyed our tea plain, while others asked for 1% milk and/or honey to their liking. What a pleasure it was to see preschoolers handle such delicate porcelain ware while enjoying conversation and tea!  

A Visit from Wonderland

What does it mean to be curious? In the words of one very astute preschooler, “it’s when you don’t know something and you’re really excited to find out!” What does it mean to be bored? Well — that one was a little trickier to answer. We had so much fun wondering aloud with our preschoolers about the answers to these questions. We asked the children to tell us what they like to do when they feel bored. A few mentioned playing with siblings, listening to music, or playing with their stuffies.  

Our conversations about boredom and curiosity were carefully chosen as lead-ins to an exciting new adventure in the preschool — an exploration of Lewis Carroll’s Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. The tale begins with Alice feeling a bit bored as she sits beside a river bank.

The children were awestruck indeed when a very real “Alice” came to visit our classroom on Wednesday afternoon. Alice (former TPS preschooler and current 6th grader Isabella) arrived, to our delight, wearing a blue dress and white pinafore, much like the one in the picture book version of the story. She regaled us with her tale of feeling "bored" and then following a white rabbit down, down, down the rabbit hole! The children were completely captivated by "Alice’s" rendering of her adventures, and they asked her many amazing questions!  

Unusual Historical Artifacts in the Preschool

A beloved tradition in the preschool is the telling of "family stories." This week the children heard a particularly amazing story. 

Scott Ravitz '93 and his family shared several "historical artifacts" from Scott's own days as a student at The Philadelphia School!   We saw Scott's 8th grade yearbook, photos, academic reports, and a special "invite" - an invitation from then head of school Sandra Dean asking Scott to join TPS as a member of the Class of 1993.  

Ourselves and Our Families

As we continue our preschool study of Ourselves and Our Families, this week the Explorers and Trailblazers read the story My Head is Full Of…. by Catherine Friend. We talked about what it means to have things “on your mind,” and the children drew self-portraits with thought bubbles full of ideas. They are hanging in the front hallway – come and have a look!  

Meanwhile, the Adventurers and Wonderers enjoyed listening to The Best Part of Me, a collection of photo essays by Wendy Ewald. In addition to its beautiful photographs, the book features the writing of young children as they share their thoughts about their hair, their eyes, their skin – or whatever they consider the "best part of them."’ We interviewed children about their own "best parts" and photographed them as well. We look forward to creating our own preschool “Best Part of Me” book!