Dear Trillium Parents,

I can’t believe we are beginning our last two weeks of the school year.  We’ve been having fun and working hard – from lots of paper making to math challenges.  We’ve had child-led PE classes and we even snuck in a game-playing afternoon.  Many children are finishing large reports, memorizing state capitols and helping us celebrate summer birthdays by making cards.  If your child has a summer birthday and you’d like to send some pictures (usually a small timeline with a photo for each year), we can celebrate them!
We were treated to a presentation by Alex’s dad, Wayne, about his amazing work in Peru. Thank you. You’ve inspired us to write letters to the children in your care homes and imagine the ways we can make a difference in this world.  Health Bridges International serves children and improves health systems in countries in South America.  It’s awesome work.  We were thrilled to learn more and even see where the legos collected last year went!
Upcoming special events… the third-year overnight trip to the Audubon Society’s Marmot Cabin is this coming Thursday, June 6th!  We are so excited to team-up with the Camassia children and take our graduates on this annual adventure.  We’ll receive nature education programming and have time to bond together in recognition of the completion of lower elementary.  I look forward to this special trip each year.  The first and second year children will be with Matt and have a project to do in honor of the third years.  We depart Thursday morning and will return Friday after lunch.
Graduation on June 14th is a beautiful ceremony that involves all of our children walking in a bagpipe-led procession.  The graduates participate by being recognized and giving speeches on the stage.  The children all walk with us, carrying flowers, as we process down the sidewalk on the front lawn.  Details are included in the Tuesday newsletters – I hope you can participate with us that evening!
During the last couple of days of school, please, send a backpack or bag with your child to bring things home. We’ll have field day with outdoor activities on the afternoon of June 14th and dismissal for all children is at 3pm.
I cannot thank our room parents enough for managing the social and logistical activities of this year!  Thank you, Emily, Carolyn and Margo, for your service and contributions to the building of our community.  Our remaining volunteer opportunities for this year include pet care for the summer – if anyone is interested in teaming-up to share the hamster care or take the fish tank, these jobs are available.
My best to you!

From Room Parents – End of Year Gifts

Hello Trillium Families!

It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of the school year already…we knew May was going to fly by!! At the end of each school year we ask our community to thank Jennifer and Matt for the amazing support and enrichment they offer our children. I know how grateful we all are for the work they put in with our children; their thoughtfulness and kindness is present each day in the classroom.

As always, contributions of any amount are welcomed and much appreciated. Everything we collect will be carefully and anonymously compiled to be given to Jennifer and Matt. Per tradition, a portion of the donations from each classroom are combined and used to purchase gifts for the support staff as well.

Donations can be placed in the black “Donations Box” at the front desk in the file marked Trillium Room.

Also in the Trillium Room file you will find cards for Jennifer and Matt. Please take a moment to sign these cards. Even if you choose to not participate in the group gift, we still encourage you to share your words of appreciation. Please also sign the cards for the support staff!! They are located in the same box.

Appreciation Gift Donations are due by Wednesday, June 5.

Cash or checks payable to Margo Walsh are accepted as is Venmo to @Margo-Walsh

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Carolyn, Margo and Emily

From Jennifer

Thank you, Trillium Families!

Thank you for the wonderful birthday celebration on Friday and for your extra efforts at things like cookie baking on a week night.  Your children really made me feel loved!
What a fun day it was – from flower deliveries and a huge surprise card signed by all of the children and staff (camouflaged for days as a large parabola project) – to a frog dissection and surprise treats at lunch.  Thank you!
I’ve attached a few pictures of the third year girls and their birthday treats and the amazing frog experience.  As a class we got to show respect to the frog and appreciate him as a gift for our inquiry.  After Amit and Amelia dissected him, Kristen had time in the afternoon to further investigate his anatomy.  Thanks for this awesome dive into science.
I’m sorry I missed the Trillium gathering on Saturday – I trust you all had a wonderful time.  I was enjoying an indigo dying and batik class, which had been on my wish list for quite a few years.  I’ll find ways to bring this ancient art into our classroom 🙂
I’d also like to thank you for taking time to meet during conferences.  I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and collaboration.  It’s a pleasure to work with families for multiple years and celebrate your children’s growth and independence.  This year, we have a small but mighty third year group and they have come together as the leaders we rely on to maintain the culture of our class.  The next few years look exceedingly bright with our youngers taking over those reins.
Our room parents outlined the many upcoming events – hope to see you there!
Enjoy this sunshine and thank you,

From Room Parents

Hi families! What gorgeous weather we had at the picnic yesterday! Somehow I neglected to take any photos so if you have pictures you’d like to share, please send them to me. I will send Sunstone a little write up about the day with a few photos that may go into the Sunstonian.

If you missed yesterday, not to worry as there are more opportunities just around the corner! At the recent room parent meeting we reviewed the calendar for the rest of the school year and I wanted to share dates with you ahead of time. The end of the year is going to come up FAST!
May 16: Wine and Cheese. This is a great evening to chat with the guides and current families as well as meet new families that will be joining Trillium in the 19/20 school year. With the classroom placements coming early this year, if you have a child moving up it’s also a good opportunity to start making connections in those classrooms. Hope to see you there!
May 20: Family Dinner Night. The Old Spaghetti Factory will donate 15% of proceeds from Sunstone families.
May 30: Combined Elementary End of the Year Gathering. Stay tuned for more details on this event soon!
June 14: Graduation!!! Like I said, that’s going to come up fast!  Please check out the volunteer opportunities on that page.
Other items: Gift for Guides – Stay tuned for a separate email on this soon. This is where we will ask families to donate to provide Jennifer, Matt, the Support Staff and the Aftercare staff with a gift card.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!
Carolyn, Margo and Emily


From Jennifer – Wishes for Spring Break – 3/22

Dear Trillium Families,

As we close out this week as a community, I want to thank you for your love and unending support.  Your children have been amazing – articulate and insightful. To be honest, our class is more sheltered from the tragedy, as William was so proudly and strongly a Camassian.  Our reflections and empathy have focused on the Camassia children and William’s parents.  That being said, William was loved throughout our school community and touched your children through interactions on the playground and during joint PE games.  He would come to our room to borrow materials with friends or let us know his thoughts on recess goings on.  We have been remembering William’s sense of humor, the fun shirts he wore, and his grounded advice when social problems arose.  He could articulate perspectives and show deep empathy with a sweet shrug and wisdom that seemed well beyond his years.  He will be missed and we are forever sorry the world has lost his light.  I know he’ll be carried in the hearts of us all.
Today we are saying “see you soon!” to our friend Ben as he will be joining a new school community after spring break.  We’ll miss him, his willingness to help friends and our classroom, and his resilient spirit.  He’s forgiving, loving and always tries to do the right thing for his friends and our community.  We wish him and his parents happiness and success in their next adventure.
Finally, I wish each of you a spring break filled with time to reflect, find ease, and be with friends and family.  I hope your travels or staycations include outdoor activities!  The “teacher” in me wishes you more 3-D time than screens – I’ll be trying to stick with this as a mom, too.  And, as Michelle Obama shared this week, may we truly hear our children, so they know their voices matter, not only at our tables, but in all they will become.
With gratitude,

From Jennifer 3/20

Dear Trillium Parents,

I am aiming to stay in touch each day this week to share the mood and feeling of the class.  I am always happy to share our goings on with you and if you’d like to reach out anytime, please, feel free.
Today, it felt calming to be together and your children were again amazing at being present to their feelings and being able to be present in the moment.  We went about our work and art projects with friends, had lessons, and enjoyed the sunshine.  Some children visited the counselor’s room and did craft projects while talking about William and their feelings.  The volunteers reflected to me how articulate and compassionate your children are – which I am lucky enough to see in them each day.
Overall, we kept things consistent in our open work periods, listened to some music and used my diffuser as a calming focus point.  We shared hugs throughout the day, as is common in our class and school.  Matt and I are holding the space for your children, observing them, and just being present to their days.
Our Sunstone community feels very much like family right now and I’m grateful to be there each day.  Thank you for your loving support.
With gratitude,

From Jennifer 3/19

Dear Trillium Parents,

I hope you are finding comfort with your families as we all face news of this unimaginable tragedy.  Matt and I talked with the children today and were moved by their empathy and presence.  They showed such concern for William’s parents and for his closest friends.  They shared their reactions in the gathering and truly listened with sincerity to one another; it was moving.
They asked for details, so they could understand, and I told them what you also read in the words Cathy compiled for us.  Sometimes I just admitted that I didn’t know.  Your children articulated how sorry they were for his parents and they were saddened to think he was their only child.  One child immediately wrote a note to William’s parents, others earnestly said they could make more babies or adopt.  Obviously, Matt and I will hold space for these kinds of thoughts and actions to carry on each day in our classroom.  I let the children know they can always talk with me and Matt, with each other, and any adults in their lives.  They can also spend time with the support people tomorrow.
I’d like to share that Cathy has been amazing and is leading us through this uncharted and unwanted territory with strength and thoughtful integrity.  We are a close staff and we are here for one another and your families.
Your children know love and share it without hesitation.  Thank you for holding them, as we all hold Pat and Lauri.
With love,

From Jennifer – Unplanned Trip

Dear Trillium Families,

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! I shared a small story today about St. Valentinus from the days of the Roman Empire in Italy. We heard about his help for sick and poor members of the community and how they oftentimes converted to Christianity because of it. He wrote notes to them from jail, where he was imprisoned for this loving act, signed “your Valentinus.” I hope we can show our gratitude and empathy to others in even small ways this Valentine’s day. Your children certainly show this to each other everyday!

I am writing to share that I have to take an unplanned trip to Michigan to be with my family as we say goodbye to a wonderful man who has loved me my whole life. He’s like a second Dad to me and his two children my “near-siblings.” I’ll be flying off to the snowy northern land tomorrow. In my absence, Matt and Kristen will care for the children. With my previous plan to go to the Refresher Course in New Orleans, we already have no school on Friday. I’ll miss your children on Wednesday, Thursday, and Tuesday, but return full of gratitude for our days together.

I look forward to seeing you at Student Presentation Day next Thursday, February 21, between 2-3pm for lower el (1-3pm for Lupine).

Thank you for your support and grace,

From Jennifer – January News

Happy last day of January –

In the Trillium today, we talked about what we did during this month and what we can still do in the final hours of January 2019 to be kind. The children made this list of ways they’ve expressed kindness throughout the month…

We hosted children’s house visitors and introduced our new hamster, Snickers.
We offered compliments to one another.
We helped take care of friends when someone was sad.
Helped each other with our jobs and research.
Helped one another when we were upset.
We are helping friends learn to read.
Read to younger children in their classrooms.
Helped friends open lunch containers.
Showed new friends how we do things in our class and how to attach pouches to their research..
Cooperated during snack.
At home we help with younger siblings.
Played friendly games on the playground and had fun.
Escorted friends to the front desk and other places in our building.
Helped a brother find his sunglasses.
Helped with the art auction project, including finding needles.
Helped my mom at my house when my dad was gone.
Helped with writing in our journals.
Helped each other score goals during soccer games at recess.
Cheered up my brother at recess.
Let other children have turns or sometimes gave up what we want to make a friend feel happy.
Worked hard to solve arguments and compromise.

… your children are KIND and helpful!

Our class has been so happy to welcome Camilla and her family to our community. Camilla is a second year and she has already crafted research with friends and done many science experiments. We heard the first Great Story of the creation of the universe together and have been exploring timelines of early animal life and humans. It’s wonderful to have our group feel so full of friendships and productive work partnerships.

In other news, we have our new hamster! After a few rounds of voting, his name has been decided upon: Snickers. He’s very loved and the children have been inviting younger friends over each day to make introductions.

Thanks to Jennifer, Henry’s mom, and Carolyn, Declan’s mom, we have an art auction project well underway! We had a lovely lesson on weaving from Jennifer and she made individual looms. Thank you for your great efforts to bring this art project to life.

I hope to see you at the Gala on March 2nd! It’s a great party and a wonderful chance to socialize and support our school.

Here’s to February – and another month of kind togetherness,

From Jennifer – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Trillium Families!

I hope you are all feeling refreshed and open to the energies of a new year.  We are excited to welcome your children back to our classroom.  We are grateful to have Calliope, who joined in December and has been a lovely addition to our group.  Her sister, Genevieve, is in Camassia and both girls have brought kindness and a love of learning to our communities.  Please, help their parents, Gina and Regina, feel our Sunstone welcome!  We are also thrilled to have Luca rejoining our class after spending the fall home with his Mom and caring for his new baby sister.  We are ready to begin 2019 with our wonderful group feeling cohesive and complete.
Many, many thanks to our room parents, Carolyn, Emily and Margo, who organized the craft projects for Winter Solstice.  The event was lively and very successful – thank you.  The next project is to prepare our art piece for the auction, which is coming up on March 2nd.  I hope you can all join us for our Under the Big Top Gala Auction – it’s a wonderful social and festive event! Purchase your tickets here
Thank you for remembering our policy on drop-off procedures, as this thoughtful system keeps neighbors happy and our children independent.  As part of our partnership with the neighbors in this community, we have agreed that, in order to ease congestion during peak arrival times, all arrivals between 8:10 and 8:25 must occur on the blacktop via the drive through drop-off lanes. Please do not park and walk your child to the front door during this window of time. It is imperative that we abide by this rule; recently we have received complaints from neighbors about this issue. Thank you for working together with us to keep us in good standing with our neighborhood agreement, and for helping us maintain a smooth, orderly drop-off procedure.
May our adjustments back to school routines be smooth and familiar.  Matt and I will be staying in touch through pictures and Friday folders.  Feel free to email me with any questions or reflections.  And, please, mark your calendars for Thursday, February 21st, as we’d love you to join us for Elementary Student Presentation Day from 1-3pm.  We’ll share more details in the coming weeks – basically, you just come and receive lessons in each elementary classroom from children in a “science-fair” like setting.  It’s an annual tradition and favorite.
My best to your families,

From Jennifer: November News

Thank you, Trillium Parents!

Thank you for the conversations and collaboration during conferences.  This was such meaningful time for me to connect with each of you and share our enthusiasm around each of your wonderful children.  I’ll write reflections based on our conversations to share in the coming weeks, and I always welcome your continued contact.

In the classroom…

We’ve turned “looming” into a verb – our wooden looms and large collective loom are in such high demand we’ve begun cutting a few out of cardboard.  It’s wonderful handwork and links us across time to the various ways humans have made fabric and met their needs for shelter and clothing.  We are looking into early human timelines and hoping to spark research in early civilizations.  We’ve been giving and receiving many compliments of late – maybe you could try this at home!  With a little box and fancy pens/paper, the children like to write notes to one another in recognition of positive contributions.  It’s fun and the givers love reading their compliments aloud to their classmates.

In housekeeping…

Please continue to try having your child pack a snack in a container with his/her initials or name.  We’d like to send them home to the correct families.  And, if you order food cart, it’s really helpful to have a small container for left overs.  Raincoats should also be in their cubbies for unexpected showers.  Thank you for leaving all trinkets, toys, flashy clothing and jewelry at home.
We are turning our sights toward the Winter Solstice Crafts day on December 14th.  If you’d like to volunteer, we’ll have 3 or 4 craft tables in Trillium in need of parent support – volunteer sign-ups will come soon in the Tuesday Communications.  We’ll have a collection box in the commons soon to gather materials for our chosen crafts.
Thank you for your kind words during conferences and for sharing your insights from home.  It’s big, joyful work we all are doing and I’m grateful to share my days with your children!
My best to you,

Upcoming Events

Our Fall Mixer will be from 6pm – 7:30pm on October 4th.  All classrooms will be open – feel free to visit with our parents and mingle throughout the rooms. This event could use donations of beverages and snacks.

October 6th is the Fall Festival on the front lawn with lots of games, a bouncy house and clothing exchange.  There is also a Green Team table and early release Gala tickets! 

Picture Day for us is October 18th.  Try to have your child here that morning for our class picture and individual photos. Be sure to return your photo packets with payment to the front desk if you’d like portraits. Thanks!

Conferences are November 8 and 9th.  Sign-up opportunities will be sent to you via email.  Keep reading the Tuesday Communications and Sunstonian for current events and info!

Thank you for your support and for sharing your wonderful children with us.  We are truly having fun everyday!  I’m attaching a couple of photos showing how mixed age mentorships are so very meaningful to your children.  The peer guiding that happens in our classrooms solidifies your child’s learning and confidence, and builds a culture of community that sticks with your children for years.



From Jennifer – Trillium News

Greetings Trillium Families,

Our days are so enjoyable and clipping by!  We have been settling into routines, helping one another, and sharing lessons together.  Your children are showing their best selves as they provide guidance for new children and offer compliments on successes and hard work.  We’ve shared the book The Empty Pot, about honesty and courage, and Have You Filled a Bucket Today? to help us visualize the effect of our words and actions on others.


Thank you for attending Back to School Night.  It was nice to see so many of you and have a chance to communicate the culture of our classroom in person.  We are inviting another parent to join Emily and Carolyn as a room parent – this is a fun role that includes communicating with our parent group, delegating tasks for special events, and attending occasional meetings with other room parents and our administrative staff.  Thank you for considering!

Thanks to Matt for sending pictures this week – we will continue to share these glimpses into our daily life in Trillium as often as possible.  And, thank you for your generosity in donating items from the wish list and Amazon book list!  It is so fun to receive these treats to augment our classroom library and supplies.

Nuts and bolts

Please, guide your child in all that s/he is capable of – and show her how to pack snacks in separate containers and prepare lunches.  It is really helpful for each child to have a raincoat at school and wear outdoor shoes that can handle running and weather at recess.

From Jennifer – Back to School Night

Dear Trillium Families,

What a wonderful beginning we are having here in our classroom community.  Thank you for supporting this transition time and helping your children get the sleep and care they need.  It’s exciting to see them grow into their elementary selves and take on responsibilities, such as packing their snacks and lunches, and choosing clothes for the day.  They are such a lovely group!

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday for Back to School Night.  We’ll begin in the Commons at 6:00pm and then come to Trillium to talk about the ins and outs of our classroom.  This is a great opportunity to get to know other parents and ask questions.  We’ll also have sign-ups for volunteer and wish list items available.

Of note right away, these are the nuts our classroom needs to avoid:  pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts and peanuts.  Almond and sunflower butters are fine!

Here are a few pictures from this morning.  We’ll share the first Great Lesson on Wednesday!  This first story is about the creation of the universe and our earth, and it inspires the geography and history work to come.

With thanks,


From the Room Parents – Welcome Back!

Dear Trillium Room Community,

Welcome to all new and returning families!  We wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves as the Room Parents in the Trillium Room – Carolyn McDonald,  (Declan 2nd year), and Emily Neuhaus, (Liam 2nd year).  Our responsibilities as Room Parents are varied and we would like to take the opportunity to let you know what we do and how we might be able to help with questions, support and ideas that you might have.

  1. Volunteer Opportunities – We help communicate volunteer opportunities within the classroom.  If families are needed to sign up for flowers/laundry, classroom wish list items or to volunteer at Solstice, you may hear from us.  Some are able to give their time, others would rather offer donations.  We encourage you to volunteer in a way that is right for your family.  You can check out a list of volunteer opportunities on the parents page of the website.  Please let us know if you have questions about any of the opportunities.
  2. Gifts and Staff Appreciation – We coordinate gift giving efforts for Jennifer, Matt and the support staff during the holiday season and at year-end.  We also coordinate a staff appreciation meal once a year. For staff appreciation each classroom chooses one month during the year to provide a meal to honor the whole school staff and show our appreciation for all that they do for our children.  Meal ideas include breakfast goodies, brunch, or serving homemade soups and baked goods for lunch.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, we welcome your input!  We will let you know when our selected month is and send out more information at that time.
  3. Winter Solstice Activities and Class Auction Art Projects – We help plan and procure supplies for the Winter Solstice craft activities as well as the Trillium Room art auction project, so if you have any special talents or can volunteer your time, please let us know. You will also see donation sign ups in the Tuesday Communications as these events near.
  4. Trillium Community Events – We organize special events for the Trillium community.  In addition to the back-to-school picnic held in August, we will be planning other classroom gatherings for some of the in-service days so watch for those details.  There is also an end of year picnic which is typically planned in conjunction with the Camassia Room.  Date to be determined as well.

Class communication

Throughout the year we will use this listserv to communicate to you information regarding all of the above items.

We highly encourage you to check out the Trillium link under “From the Classrooms” in the Tuesday Communications each week.

School Directories

School directories can be found on the parents page of the website under Directories – Password: Sunstone. The classroom rosters will be published there shortly.

Thank you to all the families who were able to make it to our Back to School picnic. It was nice to connect with some of the new families as well as catch up with some old friends.

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Back To School Night on September 13 @ 6:00pm.

Fall Mixer on October 4 @ 6:00pm. Stay tuned for more on this and volunteer opportunities!

Room Parent Opportunity! We are looking for a third parent to join Carolyn and me as room parents this year. If you are interested please let me, Carolyn or Jennifer know.

We look forward to sharing a new school year with all of you!


Emily Neuhaus  –

Carolyn McDonald –

From Jennifer – Welcome Back & Items to Bring

Dear Trillium Families,

We are so happy to be back!  Our second and third year children are getting ready to welcome new friends on Thursday.

Snack, Lunch & Indoor Shoes

Please, remember to send your child with indoor shoes, a healthy lunch and snack, and a small mug.  Children bring their snacks into the classroom when they arrive in the morning and keep them in our snack basket.  It is really helpful if they have packed their snack in a separate container – labeled with their initials or name.

Thank you!  We are really happy to be starting our year out together.

Our best to you,

Jennifer and Matt

From Jennifer – Welcome Back Gathering

Dear Trillium Families,

Welcome to your new school year!  Matt and I are so excited to see you in the coming weeks and begin our school days in the Trillium classroom.  If you can come to the orientation and campus clean-up morning, we’ll be greeting children between 9:30 and 11:30 next Thursday, August 30th.  Your child may bring a small mug, indoor shoes, and a raincoat to keep at school.  It’s also a nice time for them to choose a journal from the office and put it in their drawer.

Plan to stay for a while after – we are having a casual beginning of the year picnic on the front lawn.  Please, bring your own picnic and utensils (the school is not formally hosting and cannot provide supplies).  We’ll gather on the front lawn to get to know one another and let the children play.  We’ll be picnicking from 11 – 12pm.  We hope to be joined by Lupine families as well!

With gratitude,

Jennifer and Matt