Happy Summer! I am writing this letter from Mexico City where I have been enjoying the beginning of my Summer Vacation. And now that we have enjoyed over two weeks of vacation nearly a full week of the summer season I figured it was time to write a letter with the intent of sharing some reflections and photos from May and June at Rock Tree Sky.
I hope that all of your Summer Vacations have been pleasant thus far and that your kids have been finding creative ways to direct their energy in the absence of days spent at RTS.
I'd like to remind you all of our family directory located here on our website (password included in email) with the hopes that this will be a useful resource for setting up playdates throughout the course of the summer.
I'm also including a link to our further reading tab which included a number of books, articles, and podcasts that discuss educational and parenting philosophies that underlie Rock Tree Sky's mission and that you might enjoy as some educational summer reading as parents.
Finally, I would like to take this last opportunity to shamelessly plug the summer camp that Ella Gamm and I will be facilitating from August 8th through 12th.
Rainbow Camp is intended for all children between the ages of 5 and 7 (kids do not need to be enrolled at RTS to attend). At camp children will make rainbow themed crafts and experiments, learn to sing and perform a rainbow song, enjoy some water play in the garden, and of course have the choice to enjoy free play in the spirit of Rock Tree Sky.
We do have a couple of spots available so if you or anyone you know is interested please register now by sending an email of intent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please do not hesitate to reach out with inquires about carpooling as there will not be a busing option for camp.
Continue reading below for reflections and photos from May and June at RTS.
And as always,
Be Well and Stay Curious,
With love from the RTS Staff
Reflecting on May and June:
As per usual, May and June flew by at Rock Tree Sky. The final weeks leading us to summer vacation always seem to go to quickly...which is a shame because these weeks always seem the sweetest.
The second half of the spring season is so alive with an energy of abundance and anticipation. There is so much to do, so many projects to complete, and so much fun to be had.
I'll do my best now to share some highlights from those weeks.
Early in the month of May, in the Imagination Room we witnessed the hatching of a single baby chick whose cuddly cuteness we enjoyed on campus for a week before the chick was adopted into a family of chickens at the home of Famer Kelly.
We also experienced a rare rain day during the month of May that really brought out the silly in kids and made for a fun day of exploring the possibilities of indoor play and projects such as building marble tracks, 3D printing, drawing and painting.
Back outside Vera and Chrissy facilitated a number of natural tie-dye days during which learners got to dye fabrics in dyes made of marigold, avocado pits, and indigo. It was exciting to see the variety of patterns and colors that emerged through the collaborative process and neat to know just how many hands went into creating each unique piece.
The gardens on campus were bursting with abundance during the second half of spring. Garlic was harvested and braided for optimal drying and saving for use throughout the year. Other vegetables like lettuces, potatoes, kale, and onions were harvested for use by the cooking class as well as a roast in Jim's solar oven. Herbs were harvested and dried. Sage bundles were collected and tied. Several of our teens even took on farm work as a job to support with all of the garden upkeep and to expand upon the vegetable production on campus.
And also did I mention, SO MANY MULBERRIES.
And while all this was happening at Rock Tree Sky, the greatest highlight for those who attended was the family campout at Carpinteria State Beach. Always a favorite, families came together to enjoy one or two days of beach time. We explored tidepools, went swimming, played beach volleyball, played board games, roasted marshmallows, told stories in tents, wend for walks in the sand, shared meals, and even played parachute games.
Through all the fun activites the best part was simply being together, having conversations, joking and laughing, and getting to know families on another level. That, and witnessing the pure exuberance of the kids at play with one another. It is experiences like these that really stick in the memory of children, I have no doubt that these are the moments that will be cherished by them for a lifetime.
Then we had those last two weeks of June to wrap up the RTS year together. During those weeks learners scrambled to complete projects to display at the Spring Exposition in addition to simply maximising the fun potential of being together at play.
And finally, we ended the Rock Tree Sky year with the Spring Exposition. What an event. With aerial silks performances on one stage, musical and spoken word performance on another, a campus wide gallery walk, artisans and craft vendors, food, bubbles...It honestly felt like I was back at Lucidity.
I can't quite explain the warm hearted feeling of witnessing the community come together to celebrate the evolution of our learners throughout the year. I always love the Spring Exposition because it represents such a blend of product and process. We get to witness performances that we rehearsed for months as well as see art and creativity as it emerges in the moment. We get to see projects that were made methodically, and art that was created spontaneously. We get to see our learners at play, celebrating their friendships and supporting each other's work.
Oh! And I cannot forget to mention the graduation celebration that was hosted in honor of Caleb Reeve, Lelia Velasquez, and Rock Tree Sky OG Connor Dury (Connor has been with RTS since its inception in 2016). The graduation was such a sweet ceremony that really did celebrate these young people for who they are and who they are becoming.
Writing these reflections is truly causing me to miss being at Rock Tree Sky. It really is such a special community we have co-created. Thank you for being a part of creating these sweet memories. We'll see you in September!
Photos from May and June: (please use the little back arrows on the left and right of each photo to scroll through for more)