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September at The Montessori Field School

Fall is in the air! One of the many wonderful things about spending our days 100% outdoors is that we fully experience the change of the seasons. The children notice when the first leaves begin to change colors and fall from the trees. They feel, taste, gather, and count ripe (and unripe) persimmons. They collect and crack hickory nuts, and use the sink/float test to determine if they're "good" or "bad" nuts. They notice how some animals seem nearly frantic as they prepare for winter (we've had a particularly frisky chipmunk spending time with us at Base Camp recently!). They feel the crisp chill to the air in the mornings and learn how to stay comfortable by dressing in layers. Speaking for myself, I never realized how much I didn't notice about the change of seasons until I started spending all day, every day outside. What a gift to ourselves and our children to be so fully present in our world!

Over the past month or so, the primary children (ages 3-6) have been busy both in the classroom and in the woods. Mary and TeNnile introduced many new works, including sandpaper letters for learning letter sounds and cursive handwriting, number rods for learning quantities and their symbols (0-10), and the geometry cabinet to learn names of shapes, discern their subtle differences, and prepare the hand for writing.

Beyond the Montessori materials, nature has also been a wonderful teacher. The children found and observed a dead bluebird, which led to many questions. They experienced (some the hard way) that very colorful caterpillars can be both beautiful and painful if touched. When the mosquitos were particularly active near the pond, they learned to use plantain to sooth the itchy bites. During long Friday adventures, they practiced resilience and that sometimes it's hard work to find and enjoy beautiful places. Today they learned that good things can come to an end when their beloved swinging vine finally fell from the tree. After brief disappointment, we had the privilege of watching them join together to carry it off into the woods in a spectacular send-off.

The elementary children have also been busy this month! We enjoyed several Friday field trips, including a day of service picking up trash at Nine Penny Branch and helping out the Floyd County Animal Shelter. We also enjoyed the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, picked pumpkins at Huber's Winery, and look forward to spending tomorrow at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens and Jefferson Memorial (where we'll try our hands at catching a few fish!).

In between our Friday adventures we've been growing our bodies and minds. We heard four of the five Montessori "Great Lessons," which purposefully spark the imagination for additional lessons in history, biology, geography, language, and mathematics. We explored the movements of the Earth, the solar system, and why we have day/night and seasons. In biology, we are wrapping up our studies of the leaf and learning about mammals native to Southern Indiana. Our history lessons led us to the origins of the days of the week, the difference between pre-history and history, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and a bit of Greek mythology. On top of all of that, we continued our grammar studies and had many fruitful reading lessons. In mathematics we've been building our comfort/fluency with numbers as we practice multiples and basic operations through a variety of Montessori materials.

The elementary children are also building their entrepreneur skills! After a fruitful trip to Huber's (pun intended), they produced and sold grape jelly and applesauce. They will continue creating and selling goods throughout the year as they save for a special end-of-year trip.

In Forest Club, our homeschoolers have enjoyed many beautiful afternoons lakeside and exploring the creek. Ethan strums his guitar while we sing original songs about yellow jackets and white-tailed deer. We are midway through a series of lessons on first aid and have started learning knots. The children really enjoy playing group games together and building community--we love seeing these budding friendships form! Returning Forest Club veterans practiced building fires weekly and we are exciting to get the rest of the group caught up as the weather cools.

Finally, I can't leave out how busy our wonderful parent community has been! We had our Fall Family Gathering to welcome the autumn season with hot dogs and s'mores. The next day, they pulled off a spectacular showing at MountFest, featuring blackberry lemonade, coffee, an incredible silent auction filled with donations, and some beautifully designed custom MFS swag. We are in awe of all of the ways our families have been able to get involved and contribute to our thriving school community (thank you for cleaning the bathroom!!). Stay tuned for some exciting volunteer opportunities with our new raised garden bed and YURT!

Until next month!


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