8:00 a.m. Doors open for those needing early arrival: morning chores indoors or outdoors
8:30 School Bell Rings: Ringtime A circular class lesson taught through poetry, song, movement and games. Ringtime begins our school day with a clear and present greeting of one another and the world.
Good Morning Dear Earth, and good morning, dear Sun
Good Morning dear stones, and the flowers every one
Good morning dear beasts, and the birds in trees
Good morning to you and good morning to me
The Earth is firm beneath my feet
The sun shines bright above
And here stand I so straight and strong,
All things to know and love.
How strong are we?
As strong as can be.
Can we see far?
As far as the star.
How can we go?
Round like an “O.”
Round we go
Round like an “O.”
Through the eloquent and rhythmic language of poetry, rhyme, movement, dance, song, and games we explore the Earth's daily rhythms, changing seasonal cycles, the roles of the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms, and the worlds of numbers and phonics.
This rest time is quite short but important in order to calm the children down after a lot of hard work and play. It lays a foundation and an appreciation for a future meditative practice. The teachers lead the children to calm by singing soft, peaceful songs. Once the class has settled there is a time of total quiet. Then the children are slowly sent off to dress for outside time.
9:15 Snack -- Organic Meals using as much bounty from the garden as possible.
As much as possible the food we eat at both snack and lunchtime will be organic, provided for by our very own farm, and entirely prepared by the teachers and students. This way the young child is concretely introduced to the entire process of how we provide ourselves with this most fundamental requirement of life - food. The Mountain School is committed to providing its students with a true sense of our interdependence with the earth for feeding and sustaining us.
Each day before and after our meals we give thanks to the Earth and to the Sun and to all who helped provide us with our food through joyful song and/or eloquent poetry. These blessings will be non-denominational. Laying this foundation for reverent, sustainable earth/human relations is a priority of our curriculum.
9:30 - 10:30 Indoor Work & Free Play - Imaginative Creative Play/Artistic activity of the day/Work of the day
The kindergarten years are important because foundational impressions of learning are being laid. The children are never forced to participate in either the chores or the artistic activities. We do not want to create a fearful reason for learning or establish an authoritarian learning environment. Rather, we want children to choose out of love and genuine interest to explore the vibrant world of the school. As the students grow in age and in experience more responsibility is asked of them.
Weekly Rhythm -The artistic and work activities that we do at this time are organized according to a weekly rhythm. Specific projects vary according to the seasonal cycles, but these basic activities will be undertaken throughout the year on their scheduled day. Artistic activities such as: singing, dancing, and drama take place every day during ringtime. Practical activities such as gardening, animal care, food preparation, and cleaning also occur every day.
Tuesday - handwork (weaving, felting, simple knitting, sewing and woodworking)
Wednesday - baking bread and drawing
Thursday - vegetable harvesting from greenhouse and soup-making
Friday - schoolroom maintenance (cleaning, repairs), sculpture, Hiking day (fall & Spring)
Once a week (Fridays) we will have Hiking Day. We will spend the entire day walking on the beautiful trails off the school site, stopping for picnic lunches, visiting Bellevue town, collecting treasures for our nature table or for art projects, practicing wilderness arts, and generally enjoying the natural outdoors. All children attending on Friday's need to bring a well fitting back-pack containing their home-packed lunch, water bottle and extra layers/gloves/hat etc...
Joyful Work & Clean-up
Our students, with the loving guidance and joyful examples of their teachers, come together and take full responsibility for the school environment. Our Free Play & Work times are blocks of time in which the children's concentrations are allowed to settle into their chosen activities. At the end we all clean up together. We sing songs and engage the children's imaginations in playful scenarios so as to make working joyful and satisfying.
10:30 -11:30 Outside Time for Work and Play, Farm Projects and Creative Free Play When outside the children can play and run in a natural setting exploring the wonders of nature, use simple building materials and tools to support large scale creative play, or join the teachers in their work on the farm as they tend the gardens and animals.
School Cooked Meals: All of our lunches are prepared at school by the teachers and students. Warm grains, soups and fresh salads are prepared each day according to a weekly rhythm. What they eat and how they eat at this stage of life is likely to set the foundation for their future palates and dietary sense. At The Mountain School we are committed to giving our students the chance to develop the healthy habits and bodies they will need later in life
Clean up as a social exercise
The class is divided into groups that take on different chores and rotate through the chore chart through the year. Everyone participates together in cleaning up after lunch. The chores are as follows:
Clearing & wiping the table
Washing & drying the dishes
Putting the dishes away & Sweeping
Setting up the story circle
This final part of the day has us all gathered in a circle again. This time the children sit in chairs around a scene created either by the teachers or by the older children in the class. We will tell the same story by heart every day for two weeks. The first week it is simply told day after day, word for word, allowing the children to build up their concentration and inner pictures.
The second week the teacher guides the children in simple forms of drama & Puppetry for reenactments of the story. Over the course of the week the children change roles and "try on" the different personalities and see how they feel. The children can begin to move the puppets and often the older children will start to tell the story from memory to the class.
1:00 Dismissal for 4 and 5-yr-olds
All together the class completes the day through song and verse. The children are then dismissed to the Mud Room where they are met by their caregivers. We will have after-school five days a week for children who cannot be picked up at 1:00pm.