The new year brought all sorts of interesting challenges to The Montessori Field School! Our first week back was filled with subzero temperatures. We learned that the propane tanks for our yurt fireplace don't work so well when it's THAT cold, and that even our most proactive measures won't keep the pipes from freezing in negative temps. But, can we even call ourselves a forest school if we're not adaptable? We let the propane tanks sleep in our warm homes overnight so they'd cooperate during the daytime, carted gallons of water to school each day to flush the toilet, used lots of hand sanitizer, created and revised systems for boots/gloves/gear, and put those nice snowsuits to the ultimate test. It ended up being a lovely week as we cozied up in the yurt with our favorite Montessori materials and ventured outdoors to feel the biting cold on our cheeks. We slid on former puddles turned ice-skating rinks and discovered incredible swirly ice formations on the frozen creek. The land we love and know so well transforms into a new and unfamiliar wonderland during the winter!
The next week warmed up considerably and brought the wonderful gift of SNOW! Our elementary children brought sleds and sought out the best sledding hills near Base Camp. Snowmen popped up in the fields and our "Mud Kitchen" transformed into a "Snow Kitchen" for a few days.
As quickly as it came, the snow was gone and we entered into the rainy season of January. The MUD kitchen came back in full force, complete with a "mudslide" that had all of the Primary parents doing lots of laundry... When we hiked the property we discovered that trickles had transformed into powerful streams with new waterfalls to explore. Water spilled over the lake dam with gusto, much to the delight of the children. January was certainly a prime example of "no bad weather," as we experienced and loved it all!
The weather mellowed out a bit towards the end of the month, but our explorations didn't slow down at all. We learned about migration and hibernation, made hibernation dens, and watched the sandhill cranes on their migration route overhead. Elementary tapped maple trees, collected sap, and made maple syrup! On February 1st they made waffles from scratch to accompany their syrup and served the primary children a special winter treat.
After a whirlwind of a January, February ushered in some beautiful warm weather and a bounty of new adventures. Check back in a month or so to read about the next chapter of our school year!