Oct 2020 at AWS

Oct 2020 Parent Newsletter: 

It’s almost the end of October, and it almost seems surreal that we’ve been in session for almost two months now. 

In forest school with Mr. Thor, we practiced our orienteering (which we tested at Lake Elmo Reserve), built rain and snow-proof shelters, identified berries on the property (most toxic to humans), and foraged for plantain, goldenrod, and pine needles, which we’ve enjoyed making tea out of.  In fact, our daily tea time has quickly become a favorite part of the day to congregate, laugh, and talk about what we’re grateful for.

Our student-led disciplinary council has been flexing it’s muscles.  As with any family of people, we sometimes have internal conflicts– but instead of depending on adults to solve problems or hand out ‘punishments’, the students gather and discuss the incidents.  We’ve all learned a lot about listening, seeing other perspectives, and universal ‘rules’ of kindness, love and grace with our fellow classmates.  Students who are involved in a dispute present their sides and the students who are not involved directly act as a jury.  They hear all the angles, and retreat to deliberate appropriate restitution and resolution.  I can’t say it’s a favorite activity, but I do think all the students appreciate that their voices are heard.  They try very hard to be fair and just.

We just finished up our Mammals unit in the One Room Schoolhouse.  Our field trips have been to the Science Museum (where we found examples of ungulates).  Coincidentally, we added two new felines to our school family.  Shiruko and Mochi the kittens are adding daily doses of cuteness and we are learning to be very gentle and respectful of their spaces while training them to be adorable therapy cats.  Mr. Aaron has been leading us in Math, and even introduced “Word Problem Wednesdays” to mix up our learning and challenge us all to think a little differently!

Mr. Kevin and the Kindergarten class have been working on their letters (D for dinosaur, C for camping, P for pumpkin, and K for kitten), skip counting by 2’s, exploring and observing animal tracks, singing, hiking, exploring and creating amazing works of art!  They now have their own table for lunch, but they love to join the big kids at the large table for snack time.  They really enjoy when the older kids come down to the library to read aloud to them.

Passion projects this past week are slowly taking shape.  We’ve been researching the history of Lego, building forts in the woods, looking into the real historical figures that are in our favorite Broadway musicals, stretching our creative writing brains, coming up with additions for the school (a rope tow is in the works for the sledding hill!), working through art tutorials, learning to read, and researching minerals (plus more!).

I thank you for entrusting your dear children to our teachers.  Each one is precious and a sparkling light.  We will work hard to honor their individualities and help them when they need a little boost.

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