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. Continue reading
Since 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.
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! Continue reading
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: Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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!