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352 West m in st er Ave. Ven ice 90291 (310) 314-9976 laclair ef on t ain e.or g




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C al en d ar A p r i l B i r t h d ay s M u t u al i sm B l o sso m s i n Sp r i n g Sy m b i o si s i n Sp r i n g Fl ow er o f t h e M o n t h I n v en t o r s B l o sso m i n t h e Gar d en Read er s B l o o m i n g T h e M agi c o f M u si c

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A r t i st s B l o o m D e l a M er à l a T er r e M ak i n g Su n scr een B l o sso m i n g H eal t h Gr een B u si n ess Sh ad ow s i n Sp r i n g Su m m er by t h e Sea Sp o n so r t h e W AV E Su p p o r t i n g o u r Com m u n i ty

CA L EN D A R T hu, April 6

Cel ebr ate A p r i l Bi r t h d ay s 12:30 p m ? 1:0 0 p m Cam p er Cam p u s 1:0 0 p m ? 1:30 p m A bbot K i n n ey Cam p u s

M o n - Fr i , A p r i l 10 - 14

Sp r i n g Br eak SCH O O L CL O SED

Fr i , A p r i l 21

Ear th D ay Pi cn i c A bbot K i n n ey Cam p u s 11:30 am ? 1:20 p m

Wear your pajamas all day à l'Ecole!



Please go easy on the sugar & coloring, and remember, no nuts! Cel ebr ate A p r i l B i r t h d ay s T h u , M ar ch 9th Cam p er Cam p u s 12:30 p m A bbot K i n n ey Cam p u s 1p m 4





?W here are all the flowers?? a child asks. ?I sn?t it springtime today?? Some flowers do bloom on the first day of spring, while others need a bit more rest, but the season is here, loving us all. On the Camper Campus purple blossoms drip above the garden, while at Abbot Kinney Campus, the children are awaiting the arrival of nasturtiums, which are frequently planted near squash to act as pollinators. Symbiotic relationships are enacted between the plants and bugs in our gardens, and also among the children. As the elements in the garden work together, so do the children, each with a role to play in creating harmony. [continued p.8] 7

Friendship, cooperation and respect are big issues for young children. Practicing politeness on a daily basis is part of education. Saying, ?Bonjour,? ?Au revoir,? ?Sil-te plaĂŽt,? and ?Merci? is a good place to start, whether or not they are always able to articulate those words. I n the garden the children are growing into understanding that ?sharing? is an act of mutualism, benefiting all. W hile some of the children love to say, "Sharing is caring," they are learning that it does not mean grabbing from a begrudging friend. Fraternity and equality, these are the underlying forces of the desire to share, coexist and work together. I n the garden every child is important, and it is a different situation than at home within a family dynamic. Ecole Claire Fontaine provides a crucial environment in which to learn cooperation. Children are also learning how much power they wield with their words. W hen it is particularly difficult to express a feeling without using a hurtful word, physically ?shaking it off? can be a great tool. We appreciate this quote from Yehuda Berg: ?Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.? Kind and sincere words in the garden are music to our ears.


Children who learn through playing among friends enhance memory and learning capacitybydevelopingtheir cerebral cortex


SYMBIOSISINSPRING T he question is raised, ?W hy are there ladybugs in the garden?? Also adorably known as the ladybird, ladybugs are attracted to our gardens by the scent of aphids, which they then lunch on. Symbiosis makes for a thriving garden, however the case of the ladybug and aphid is not a grand example of mutualism; one doubts that the aphid enjoys becoming the goĂťter of the venerable ladybug. To see the mutual benefit involving the spotted red bugs, watch one hitch a ride on a child?s arm while the question rings out, ?I f a ladybug lands on me, is it really good luck?? Mais, oui, mon chĂŠri! I n Bug Discovery Class with L aurence, the children observe the garden and learn that there are many tiny invisible insects, aphids, mildew and mites that eat the leaves. But, are they all ?Dirty Rotten Bugs?? By consulting with a book of the same name, the children learned in class that aphids are good members of the compost bin, and are great food for ladybugs. Speaking of eating, ?Do bugs have teeth?? By observation and consulting their book, the children discovered that some bugs do have teeth, while others suck larva from leaves. Other bugs have little pinchers, also called forcipules. T he children also noticed white powdery mildew on a small patch of dank soil. ?I s it snow?? they ask. No, les enfants, it has not yet snowed in Venice, but with Climate Change we are not ruling out a thing.





GOODBYE SWEETPEA T h e f l ow er o f t h e m o n t h o f A p r i l i s f o r o u r sw eet est o f f r i en d s, sy m b o l i zi n g b l i ssf u l p l easu r e, gr at ef u l n ess an d go o d by e. T h e Sw eet Pea gr ow s i n t w o - t o n e an d so f t co l o r s. I n t h e V i ct o r i an er a, t h ese f l ow er s f o r m ed a p ar t o f t h e b o u q u et t h at w as sen t t o a f r i en d t o co n v ey gr at ef u l n ess. 13




SCIENCECLASS T he children cluster around a table in the garden with the sun shining through the trees. Some sit while others climb in for a closer look as their creations come to life in Science Class with Emily. A cup with robotic feet sports a glue bottle cap as a nose; a hat is made from a sports cap water bottle, while a straw pops up top as an antenna. T he feet take a hop walk and the robot falls. ?Oh! Try again!? T hat little guy takes a seat on the sidelines, waiting for readjustments. T he next robot is up? A little scrubbing brush becomes feet when attached to the bottom half of a paper cup. T he other half of the cup is cut and connected upside down making a body in a dress with arms attached by cut straw shoulders. T wirled fuzzy wire cleaners make fine hair, while the eyes are courtesy of a child?s party goody bag. Does it work; will it go? T he tiny robot circles the table, scrubbing all along. ?Yay! Let?s make more!? With imaginations soaring, the children practice design, invention, recycling and engineering. L ater, after another ?best day of school ever,? with friends gathering to enjoy a dinner together, an unwinding lifelong learner announces that they will be creating a cleaning robot for everyone at the table. See Robert Malone's "Recycled Robots"



?Please, just one more story? ? T his moment is a privilege for parents, teachers and children. Sharing the warmth of connection through this time together encourages deep bonds, while students stay close at ECF with a book in hand, exploring undiscovered worlds. Children who are read to daily are a year ahead of their peers who are read to less frequently, according to a study from the Melbourne I nstitute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Reading to a 4-5 year old child just three to five times a week puts them six months ahead of others in terms of reading acumen. T he magic of reading with your child does not stop there. T he children?s book publisher, Scholastic, refers to reading as ?a gift for time-challenged parents? ? as it creates bonds through the story and the unhurried moments of cuddling that go along with it. T here is magic in the stories themselves, in addition to that which is exchanged through the act of reading. 16

READERSBLOOMING BOOKS,LESLIVRES EVERYWHERE Funny faces, gestures and voices add to the illusion of the story. I t is this weaving of effects that brings a new level to shared experience through humor and drama. Studies also show that children gain confidence with the knowledge they hold when well read. T he desire to seek out complex ideas and pleasure in books can stay with children through adulthood. I t also hones ones ability to think before speaking, ameliorating the angry outbursts that come with emotional immaturity. T he Journal of Pediatrics reported on MRI testing showing the more reading the better for young children, as it is ?? positively associated with activation of brain areas supporting mental imagery and narrative comprehension.? T he brain is awake when being read to. Daily speech is often delivered quickly, with truncated sentences and colloquialisms. T he vocabulary in books can spark a new sophistication in ones use of language. Our children love to read and so do we. W hen they see us read, they want to join in. Noticing a young person glued to their reading chair, or prone next to a bookshelf, is evocative of one of the most delicious parts of early literacy when the words on the page matter far less than the pictures and ideas that come with them. W hether in the garden, under a tree, or at the beach, at ECF we love exploring new words and worlds through books. W here do you and your child like to read? 17



We asked students what they are reading at school this spring.... Weslandia

Mon Petit Animalier

Atlas de Botanique

The Tree

Bees: A Honeyed History

Summer Birds

Little People, Big Dreams

Nature Search

Frida Kahlo

The Hungry Caterpillar

Amerlia Earhart

Le Voyage d'Ulysse


PIANO LESSONS "I love my lessons! Children are able to take piano lessons with pianist Moana Avvenenti during their regular school day. "I do exercises!" Schedule permitting, sign-ups are available year round. Be sure to communicate any changes in your child's schedule with the piano teacher. Young musicians are thrilled to learn this lifelong art, that incorporates skill and passion, while promoting confidence with mastery. "I can play two songs!!!" 20



Musician Sandra Sandia continues to teach the children expression through Musical and T heatrical L anguage Arts with drumming, singing, dancing and guitar during classes and at ECF celebrations. Even the youngest children love to use their voices and bodies. Music improves concentration, coordination and wellbeing; it is full of play and wonder. Class at the Camper Campus begins with, ?I t?s time to say, ?hello,?it?s time to say, ?hola,? it?s time to say, ?bonjour,?and how do you do.? Sandra explains, "T hey warm up not just by singing. Music involves your hands, your feet and your hips." ?I 'm in the mood for singing...How about you...? L iving in music is a beautiful way to spend the day with friends while existing in the space between the physical body and flying dreams. 22

Nuage Nuage, nuage, tu caches le soleil. Nuage, nuage, ne reste pas ici! Nuage, nuage, tu annonces la pluie. Nuage, nuage, ne reste pas ici! 23

ARTISTCOMMENTARY "My favorite things to paint have dark colors like the deep blue sea. And I like to mix the colors to make fuchsia." Close in hue to magenta, fuchsia is on the purple side of pink. T he color is named for the pink-purple flower of the fuchsia plant. I t is also sometimes described as hot pink or reddish-purple. W hich colors are needed to mix fuchsia? A hint of blue, a little red and lots of pink!


PAINTINGWITHFRIENDS T hrough the magical act of creating with paint, markers and glue, young children learn words and concepts such as colors and shapes. Creative invention sparks imaginations skyrocketing with the understanding that there is no right answer. Cognitive development improves with the discovery of cause and effect from color choice and mixing, to how much glue to use. W hen the children sit to do beading with full-time ECF teachers Solange and Pierrette, they are honing their fine motor skills. Even the terribly dull scissors used to cut clay in Sculpting Class develop the dexterity needed for writing, as does holding a paintbrush or marker. Art for children enhances problem solving and critical thinking. Artists are in bloom!




WeCreate: Textiles

By practicing needlework and weaving children develop dexterity, concentration and visual-spatial skills. Choosing colors and creating patterns, planning and implementing a project, enhance confidence in ones ability to be a creative force in the world. Sewing and embroidery teacher Georgina Reskala allows students in class to use "real needles!" to create their own designs, a highlight for many children. 28


Artist inResidence


EMMANEWPHOTO& E M ARTICLE Ar tist in Residence, Emma Shulman, teaches the childr en r emar kable techniques str aight out of the museum classes she has led in Fr ance. ?For this pr oject [ above] students use a stick to dr aw a line, but they must look away while they do it. We make another cut out and add a new shape? ? Among other s, Emma taught this par ticular style at the MusĂŠe de L odeve outside of Montpellier until October when she joined Ecole Clair e Fontaine. H er wor k consulting on technique, in addition to exper ience teaching ar t to both childr en and adults, adds to the vibr ancy of our school. On the windows of the container ar t studio hang a fr esh display of childr en?s ar twor k; this par ticular batch wor ks with r ich color s evoking the fur thest depths of the sea.

Beloved full-time ECF teacher , Mar ina, says of Emma?s pr esence on the Abbot K inney Campus, ?We ar e teacher s who can do ar t, but she is a tr ue ar tist and to have her her e cr eating with the childr en - and seeing the way she wor ks with them - is r emar kable.? A student says, "I love Emma because she is an ar tist, like me." Another young ar tist tr ying to tie their shoe r emar ked, "Emma taught me how to make a bow." Par ents can view pr ojects on campus and look for war d to seeing what gor geous cr eations the childr en pr esent in their Ar t Books after gr aduation this year . 31

DelaMer รกlaTerre L ife is blooming all around us. Before Oceanography Class got started early this month, the children witnessed a rite of spring. Princess and Prince termites took flight from the wood they were chomping on. Upon landing the Princesses become Queens, laying their eggs and hatching the next colony of termites. Unlike ants, termite Princes become Kings and stay with their family for life. But these termites are eating our wood! For whom are they good food? "Not me!" called out a student. How about for woodpeckers, lizards, frogs and snakes? "Yes!" Termites could possibly be found in most any type of wood, as they cannot differentiate between your lovely home or a log in the forest. At ECF we live in many beautiful moments, and while Oceanography remains one of our most popular classes, life is forever unfolding. "We are dancing the princess dance!" called out ballerinas moving with the season. Oceanography is offered on the Abbot Kinney Campus during the Wednesday morning session.




Dinosaur EggDiscovery L ongtime ECF teacher, L aurence slices an egg that the students are convinced has come from a dinosaur. Nearby adults think it is a dried ostrich egg. However, upon discovering what they are certain is a dinosaur skull in the garden, the children whisper reverently, "Some teachers can't see the dinosaur skull, but some, you know, they can." Magic blossoms in the imagination. 34

ARECIPETO MAKINGSUNSCREENTRYATHOME W ith the return of the sun, the children are making sunscreen

I ngr edients & Supplies (makes 1 cup) 2 ounces beeswax 2 ounces cocoa butter 2 ounces coconut oil 2 ounces liquid oil ? can combine jojaba, carrot seed, argan oils 2 ounces uncoated zinc Kitchen scale Double boiler (or a metal bowl over a small pot of boiling water) Refillable, squeezable, silicon tubes Finely grate the beeswax and weigh the grated bits to 2 ounces I n a double boiler, melt the beeswax, cocoa butter and coconut oil until liquid. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in the zinc, stirring until all lumps are gone. W hen this mixture is slightly cooled, stir in the liquid oil until well combined. Use a butter knife to scoop the sunscreen into the squeeze bottles or store in a glass jar with a lid. Store in a cool, dark place.


w ith fru it & GrowingBodiesBlossom vegetables Awaking young taste buds to the pleasure of fresh, organic produce is a major part of the day at Ecole Claire Fontaine. Discovering seasonal fruits and vegetables, the children can be found sampling fresh avocado, radishes or papaya. During Gardening Class they love to nibble on fresh parsley, mint and lettuce. At lunchtime, each student begins their meal with a medley of vegetables, hand picked weekly by Madame Dumas at the Farmer's Market. Even when baking with the children, teachers include fresh juice as a natural sweetener for deep flavor. Naturally occurring vitamins boost health as much as sleep does. We encourage the children to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high-quality protein sources to maintain physical, mental and emotional health. We have found that children flourish when they play, eat well and go to bed early - even when the sun is out later with Daylight Saving T ime. Another good habit that some of us are trying to stick with is to mediate at least 12 minutes per day! I n Qigong Class at ECF, the children practice Chinese meditation for relaxation and focus. "Push the mountain," a student instructs while stretching their arms straight in front, palms facing the future. 36




turningoff equipment

As a Certified Green Business, ECF received several more tips for reducing our footprint in an office setting. We are happy to share a few that are news to us: Don?t power your computer system up until you really need it ? a personal computer uses about three minutes of running-time energy when starting up. I t is far more cost effective to turn it off when not in use. A monitor left on overnight wastes enough energy to laser-print 800 pages! Switch off your PC system over lunch and whenever you plan to be away from your desk for an extended period of time. Computers have a longer life and use up to 67% less energy if turned off overnight. T urn off your screen when you?re not using it. Screens are the biggest consumers of energy using 10% of the total energy consumed by the computer even when on stand-by. We've been pretty good with this: switching off printers and photocopiers at the end of our work day. How do you stay green? Share tips at




Regi str ati on f or ECF's I n ter n ati on al A r t & L an gu age Su m m er Cam p B egi n s N ow !

Pleasesharewithyour family&friends. July10- August 18


WAVE AWARDS Teachers have the power to change the world. T hey teach us to be intelligent thinkers, kind leaders and creative forces in our communities and beyond. Now is your chance to add your name as a Sponsor of the the 2017 WAV E Awards to ensure that exceptional teachers in our community of schools are honored. DONAT E & BUY T I CKET S:


Teachers from our local schools and art institutions are among the honorees who re-envision and invigorate our local schools to cement the community that continues to grow with our children. Past honorees include ECF's L aurence and Marina.

T he sparkle of our greatest teachers is invaluable; thank you for keeping the flame alive. 43

SU PPO RT I N G SpringBaseball at OakwoodPark

(WhereECFPlaysSoccer) $75 beginsApril 22,GamesonSaturdays, Practicestba oakwood.rc@

(310) 452-7479

VCCWorkshop: VideoMarketing HostedbytheVeniceLibrary Register here Friday,April 14 10:00- 11:00am


O U R CO M M U N I T Y Channing's family is looking for a local 4-bedroom rental fromapproximately May 15, 2017toFebruary 15, 2018 -- any leads please email Mike at mslh83@ ECFalumnaSoledad'smother will takecandid photosof your family- ADayintheLife

Connect withour GrandparentsClub! email bonjour@ clairefontainela.orgor followthislink

W.EGarden 10amApril 22nd Westminster ElementarySchool


jel ly f i sh i n th e r ai n ... En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil!


ECF News April 2017  

Art and Language French school for 2-7 year olds in the heart of Venice, California

ECF News April 2017  

Art and Language French school for 2-7 year olds in the heart of Venice, California