Community Breakfast (by Courtney, 8th grade student)

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September 21 was International Peace Day and the adolescent class had their first Community Breakfast of the year. Although we had a smaller crowd than expected, it was a good experience. Read more

Highlights from our 4H Show & Sale Weekend

The adolescent students, ten in all, raised hogs, lambs and goats, to participate in this livestock event. It is the culmination of many months of hard work. Read more

Adolescent Adventures (by Mason, 8th grade student)

 

img_5696Since there was no school on Monday because of Columbus Day, the first day of the week was on Tuesday instead. Everybody got to school and got off to a good start. All of the chores were done and everybody got to work. An exciting part of today, however, was meeting the baby goats that had been born just this past weekend. I cannot exaggerate how much our classroom loves baby goats. Who doesn’t? They’re cute, furry, and always fun to play with.

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Adolescent Odyssey

On the final leg of their Odyssey trip, the adolescent students attended a “Small Ruminant Field Day” at Virginia State University, Randolph Farm in Petersburg, VA. They were by far the youngest farmers in attendance and gained quite a few glances upon entering the Pavilion. They patiently sat through some lectures on processing regulations. They enthusiastically participated in the breakout sessions on “How to Make Quick and Delicious Goat Cheese” and “A Small Ruminant Carcass Fabrication.” After lunch the students visited the displays and demonstrations on Body Condition Scoring and Market Readiness, hoof trimming, drenching, and vaccinations, as well speaking with some of the scientists who are heading up the scientific research at the University. The professors and other attendants were very impressed with the Montessori students who were engaged, knowledgeable, polite, and wise beyond their years.

Adolescent Odyssey

Sustainable Agriculture in Action

At Mountainside, the students run a small chicken operation, and work hard to sustain its economic viability. They sell eggs to the parents and feed the chickens scraps from their lunch boxes. They do basic accounting to track their profits and, in some months, their losses.

These chickens have enriched our lives and provided many educational opportunities for our children. They also work much better than speed bumps as they free range around the parking lot! Read more

Pesto in Progress

It began with Miss Joya lovingly planting some basil plants over the summer with her children. She tended them regularly, a true testament to exactly how much time she spent in her classroom over the summer months. By the first week of school, they were just exploding.

Since our school mission includes sustainable agriculture and free play in nature, we thought it would be a great idea to involve the students in some way. Here is how it went: Read more

The Benefits of Having Chickens

These chickens have enriched our lives so much since they came to our school. To begin with, the children hatched them out in their classrooms, carefully monitoring the temperature and checking the humidity of the incubators. They candled them and got to see through the shell the living, moving embryo contained within – an embryo that is similar to a human’s for a period of time. That was an amazing lesson! They got to witness the tiny chicks’ great effort to get out of the shell, and what happens if they cannot.

The children displayed tremendous empathy when one chick struggled to survive for the first 24 hours. They organized heat lamps, shavings, water, food, and shelter as the chicks grew. They built a small fenced area for them to run around in daily. It was great. Read more

The Chicken Man Cometh

We were honored by a visit from Harvey Ussery yesterday, widely known in these parts as the “Chicken Man” for his vast knowledge of and advocacy for the birds.

He spent more than an hour answering the children’s questions. Then he taught them to clip the wings, herd the flock, and the proper maintenance and composting of the litter in their coop. They learned that the covering on a hen’s ear matches the color of her eggs, that hens molt every fall and don’t lay at the time, and that our roosters were not nearly as aggressive as the children thought.

Now our flock is appropriately confined to a large fenced area and roosts in their coop at night. This morning, the children saw the result of their care: The first egg laid in the grass. Believe it or not, it has already been cooked and eaten!