Spark Year 5. Session 3. Week 2

This week, the Sparks delved deeper into their Marine Biology study by exploring the vast array of life that exists beneath the ocean’s surface.

The learners had a chance to hone their debating skills by discussing the topic “Are sea turtles better than fish?” This provided an opportunity to understand different perspectives and practice healthy disagreements.

Later in the week, the Spark studio participated in a beloved science experiment “Freddy the Fish”. This story was read to bring attention to pollution and sparked a conversation about how we can preserve the planet’s safety and health. On Friday, a Spark learner volunteered to read Rainbow Fish to his friends, and the studio was invited to create their rainbow fish craft.


The Sparks had a series of discussions throughout the week about the upcoming canned food drive which will take place next week, from December 11 to 15. During these discussions, the learners emphasized the importance of giving back to their community and brainstormed ways in which they can support those in need. They created posters and flyers to spread the word about the food drive and took ownership of the responsibility to be leaders on their campus.

This week in Spark Play, the children were eager to participate in “milk crate training” after earning the freedom to use all of their loose parts for playtime. At the end of the week, the learners helped clean up the campus by doing a trash pickup, and celebrated their hard work with a Friday dance party.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to bring your canned foods next week!

Spark Year 5. Session 3. Week 1

To kick off the start of the session, Spark learners dove deep into the ocean to embark on their focus for this session- Marine Biology! To begin their study, learners explored the ecosystems of each layer of the ocean before flowing into lessons on new works. Sparks engaged in threading, pin punching, cutting, and measuring to strengthen their fine motor skills. New artworks were explored supporting their growing curiosity about marine life.


On Thursday, learners deepend their exploration of the ocean zones by participating in a liquid density science experiment which visually represented the the light attenuation of each zone. Learners excitedly shared their discoveries of each zone; particularly drawn to the inhabitation of various creatures, especially marine life who utilize bioluminescence to warn or evade predators, to lure or detect prey, and/or communicate between members of their species.

Following an examination of whale sharks, Sparks were invited to lay side-by-side with a visual representation of the width of a whale shark’s mouth (4 feet!) to investigate if their body would fit inside. Learners relished in predicting if they would be bigger or smaller than the “mouth”.


Coming back from a break, the Sparks jumped right back into Spark Play without missing a beat- building castles, hamster cages, bug hotels and feeding our beloved chickens. As the weather ebbed and flowed, learners braved some rainy weather with enthusiasm, remembering the importance of being prepared with all-weather gear to enjoy any conditions to the fullest!

On Friday, a few Spark learners were invited to be the first apprentice Guides in their studio. The learners engaged in a careful consideration of the ensuing responsibilities: supporting the studio through helping friends, modeling guardrails, and being leaders in their space. Their first task on hand was supporting in choosing our Guide for the Day, a newfound freedom of our learner-driven environment. The work cycle included the option to create a jellyfish for our Friday craft; strengthening fine motor skills and supporting focus and flow.

The Sparks ended the week with a campus trash clean up to support the health of their community, and of course, our Friday Dance Party!


Have a great weekend, we hope to see you at the Children’s Business Fair this Saturday from 9am-1pm!

Spark Year 5. Session 2. Week 5

As the session drew to a close, the Sparks studio concluded its focus on environmental science by immersing themselves in the gifts from the natural world. Following their harvesting of Mexican plums from the orchard, Sparks pitted the fruit during Spark Play, later donning aprons to head into the kitchen to prepare plum jam and vegan biscuits for their fall feast. They gathered together to move tables and chairs and lay down tablecloths, plates, napkins, and cups in preparation for their collective enjoyment of the fruits of their labor. They then shared reflections of gratitude noting their thankfulness for “being together”, “having an awesome fall feast” and “being Sparks”.

In anticipation of our fall feast, Sparks have been focusing on manners during our Grace and Courtesy practice this week. The Sparks have been engaging in conversations about proper greeting etiquette, table manners, and how to ensure others feel welcome. The learners divided the labor by forming groups to assist in setting up, serving others, and cleaning up; allowing the Sparks to practice kindness and gratitude.

To end the week, the Sparks gifted infused honey to both Discovery and Explore learners to show gratefulness to our fellow travelers at Ascent. The Sparks invited the whole campus to come together for an epic Friday dance party right before saying farewell before our Fall Break.


Have an amazing break, we’ll see you in Session 3!


Spark Year 5. Session 2. Week 4

As the Sparks dove deeper into their studies of environmental science, their curiosity led them outside of the studio onto a school bus to attend their first field trip of the year- Crowe’s Nest Farms! The Spark learners gained a deeper understanding of a working farm and animal sanctuary by enjoying a hay ride to the bison pasture, a cow milking demonstration, a tour of the reptile vivaria, and various animal habitats. They delighted in the sights, sounds, and smells of the farm as they safely petted their new pal Miguel (a friendly milk snake), befriended llamas, and much more.


Later in the week, the Sparks rolled up their sleeves and put on their gloves to garner the yield from their garden. Thursday brought about the opportunity to harvest and prep various herbs to infuse Mr. Tom’s honey for our Fall Feast next week. The learners voted to use lavender, mint, rosemary, and sage infusions to enjoy and share amongst our fellow travelers at Ascent. 


For their Grace and Courtesy practice, the Sparks engaged in discussions around kindness- within their spaces, towards their materials, friends, and one another. The learners continued to explore how to “sprinkle kindness” on various scenarios, brainstorming ideas together to support gaining insight and perspective. 

To end the week, the Spark studio took part in their Miguel inspired craft and as always, celebrated their journey as they swayed into their Friday dance party.



Spark Year 5. Session 2. Week 3

Sparks’ exploration of environmental science, moved into everything bats and what the fall seasons bring for the largest urban bat colony in the world that calls their city of Austin home. While exploring, Sparks discovered many aspects of bats including they are also mammals (and the only ones that can fly), that they can range in size from that of a bumblebee to having a wingspan taller than they currently are, and that their migration pattern will soon prompt them to leave their city. Learners applied their knowledge using it to continue their matching and fine motor skills as they colored bats and identified their makeup by cutting and pasting the labels connecting the words to the respective parts.


Their Grace and Courtesy practice brought about continued conversations about how to bring kindness into the studio by practicing conflict resolution which begins with an invitation to join together to solve a problem and ends with their connection of choice (handshake, pinky touch, etc).

Friday brought about many experiences of connection and collaboration with the Sparks starting off their day with a self-selected whole studio gaga ball game and ending with the formation of a rock band during their weekly celebratory dance party.

Here’s to a wonderful weekend, that ROCKS!

Spark Year 5. Session 2. Week 2

As the Sparks’ curiosity grew around this session’s focus on environmental science, they shifted their attention to pumpkins! Groups of learners enjoyed working together to empty pumpkins, separating seeds from the flesh, seasoning them with cinnamon and salt, and preparing them for roasting. They engaged in a chicken pumpkin carving experiment, removing part of the rind, curiously observing the chickens pecking their way through to access the flesh of the fruit. Learners used their “5 little pumpkins” songs to support them in making their Friday craft of their little pumpkins sitting on a gate, supporting them in the development of their fine motor skills through coloring, cutting, and gluing.


For our Grace and Courtesy practice, the Sparks have been discussing leadership; exploring its characteristics and how to show them in our spaces. Spark learners spent the week working towards having their first Guide for the Day, a goal they met on Friday and hope to continue to reach throughout the year.

Heavy rains were welcomed this week, as the water nourished the Sparks’ herb garden. On Thursday, learners participated in their first indoor Spark Play of the year, ditching their rain boots and umbrellas to explore new small-part materials. When Friday rolled around, the Sparks were invited to create clay candle holders at Spark Play to use at our annual Fall Feast, which we will hold at the end of Session 2. Learners collected various pieces of nature to use in their designs, and of course, moved and grooved into their Friday dance party to celebrate their hard work this week.


Have a wonderful weekend!


Spark Year 5. Session 2. Week 1

As the Sparks dove into their study of environmental science, learners leaned into their curiosities around nature in our outdoor courtyard by planting the Spark herb garden!


During work time, the Spark learners prepared for gardening by reading books and watching videos about plant needs and their life cycles. On Thursday, learners continued to explore how plants meet their needs, participating in a science experiment of capillary action! Learners hypothesized what would happen to the flowers when placed in colored water, and were excited to see their hypothesis was correct when the flowers started changing colors when they arrived on Friday, resulting in their theory.



For our Grace and Courtesy practice, the Sparks continued to engage in conversations around our circle guardrails and why they are important; focusing on giving kind, clear messages to friends who show they may need support. 

To end the week, Spark learners dove into their curiosities by creating a Friday Craft, digging deeper into the life cycles of a plant, and of course, moved and grooved into their Friday dance party!


Have a wonderful weekend!


Spark Year 5. Session 1. Week 5

As we headed toward the end of the session, the Spark learners continued to explore their spaces and make them their own; from making flash floods at Spark Play to creating their own window-washing company during our work time. To end the week, the studio had an opportunity to create a Friday craft of handprint acorns, supporting fine motor skills like tracing, cutting, and gluing while continuing conversations about the changing seasons.


The Sparks also had their first work-with-me exhibition this week, showing their family members some of their favorite works around the studio. They bravely showcased their favorite works, modeling studio guardrails like mindful bodies and walking feet along the way.


To celebrate all of their hard work this session, learners across campus participated in the annual Friday Spark dance party- adding friends from other studios on the dance floor was eagerly welcomed by the Sparks.

Have a wonderful break, and see you in Session 2 for environmental science!

Spark Year 5. Session 1. Week 4

In the Spark studio this week, learners started getting curious about plants and gardening. The Sparks took part in their first science experiment of the year-  using seeds and wet paper towels to begin a conversation around prepping and planting an herb garden in the Spark courtyard (coming soon for Spark learners to tend!!!)


For our Grace and Courtesy practice, the learners have been having conversations about the importance of our guardrails, and how to best support each other with them. The Sparks were shown a visual of the structure of a circle (with blocks and bricks) that resembled our group circles each day, witnessed it broken down, and started a conversation about how to rebuild it together.

The Sparks danced and DJ’d their way through their weekly dance party and were supported in practicing their fine motor skills by creating Fall leaves for a Friday craft.



Have a great weekend!

Spark Year 5. Session 1. Week 3

This week in Spark, the learners said goodbye to summer and welcomed the fall equinox by celebrating nature. New works were introduced, and the studio was decorated to represent the current season. As the weather cooled down slightly, more Sparks decided to enjoy the outdoor courtyard space; engaging in bird watching, habitat building, and water play.

For their Grace and Courtesy practice this week, the learners had conversations around the importance of “Completing a cycle,” whether that be during the Work Cycle or Spark Play. The Guides support this practice by having curious, reflective conversations at each point of the day, and offering opportunities for the Sparks to share ideas on how they can collectively work towards meeting this goal.

The Spark learners ended their week with their beloved Friday Dance Party, and to further support welcoming the equinox, had their first Campus Trash Pick Up of the year to celebrate our campus by keeping it clean!