Happy Spring! And welcome back to Rock Tree Sky!
The final eight weeks of this year at RTS are upon us and during this time we are going to fit in as much fun as possible before summer vacation. The spring has always been my favorite time of year as we all seem to be bursting with fresh energy, new creative ideas, and a sense of wonderment for all that is flourishing on this earth.
In this newsletter you will find calendar updates for April, reflections from the month of March, and a parent education piece about...
We're looking forward to continuing to grow with you this spring.
Until then, Be Well and Stay Curious,
With love from the RTS Staff
Looking Towards April:
Saturday April 16: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Parent Dialogue and Potluck
Join Vera for a parent discussion group at RTS on the subject of counsel, the importance of storytelling in social-emotional learning spaces and rites of passage. Potluck snacks are encouraged for sharing after the dialogue. Childcare will be provided.
Monday April 25: 12pm Dismissal, Staff In-Service
Reflecting on March:
March at Rock Tree Sky seemed to fly by, with all that happened including our two week long Spring Break we have landed in April and the early days of March feel quite distant.
At the beginning of the month, Farmer Kelly and Vera, along with the support of some RTS learners got busy putting paint on the back wall facing the garden to continue the work of the mural that will serve as a bright and beautiful backdrop for the Rock Tree Sky 'back garden'. Unlike the multi-colored sun that Kelly painted this fall and is featured as the centerpiece of this mural, the illustrations that are now being painted on the wall are all referenced from drawings made by Rock Tree Sky learners. It is exciting to see these drawings at scale and feels good to know that so many hands and imaginations have been and will continue to participate in the making of this mural.
On March 11th the mask mandate was lifted for schools including Rock Tree Sky. Since that day rooms that had previously been limited in occupancy re-opened to the delight of the learners. This primarily includes the Imagination Room and Design Room. While most learners and staff still do prefer conducting activity outdoors, there are some unique possibilities that being indoors has to offer such as a quiet space for story time lunch for our young learners and access to the 3D printers that many enjoy watching in action.
In the middle of the month, Chrissy brought a group of teens on a field trip to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. The exhibit that most interested the teens was a retrospective of the work of Japanese animated film maker Hayao Miyazaki. The teens and Chrissy then enjoyed a fun vegan lunch before heading back to Ojai. The RTS mentors intend to facilitate another such field trip for interested learners in the upcoming months.
On Saint Patrick's day the learners of RTS had a surprise visit from Summit teacher, Andrea Mendoza's, father, a retired fireman and a player of the bagpipes. His bagpipe performance inspired curiosity and joy for many in our community and we all not only enjoyed the music but learned a bit about the fascinating history of the instrument.
And then, on one of the last cold and cloudy days of the winter season, the learners from Chrissy and Ella's band worked together to bake a loaf of Sun Bread to welcome in the Springtime sunshine. This golden bread was definitely a warm and welcome treat at the end of such a chilly day and chilly winter.
In honor of the first week of spring, learners in the roots band participated in different seed planting activities each day including plating sunflower seeds along the edge of the herb garden and plating different types of beans in glass jars. With each seed planted learners were invited to plant a personal intention or wish.
Perhaps the most exciting event to occur during the month of March was the hatching of baby chicks that had been incubating in the Imagination room since the end of February.
The first of two chicks hatched on Friday March 18th, on the auspicious day of the Full Moon. The second chick hatched on the the night of Sunday March 20th, on the Vernal Equinox.
Learners of all ages enjoyed holding, watching, and petting these chicks during the final days before Spring Break. It was so heartwarming to witness the gentleness and sense of responsibility and care that many of our learners exhibited when holding the chicks.
There was also so much interest in naming the chicks that an election took place so that they could be named in a way that felt fair and inclusive of all RTS learners and staff. The winning names, believe it or not, were Darth Quaker and Sam.
Special thank you to all the families that have generously volunteered to care for Darth Quaker and Sam as Spring Break and weekend chick-sitters for the remainder of the year.
Other activities that learners enjoyed during the month of March included big games of chaos tag in the green grass of the lower field, creek walks, goat visits, sage bundle tying, hosting a lemonade stand in the garden, ice cream making, playing cooperative board games, gymnastics, and playing music.
We are looking forward to staying active in the coming months.
Parent Education: Cultural Storyteller Learning
Please follow this link to this episode of Faire of the Free Child.
If you plan to attend the parent dialogue on April 16th listening to this episode is not required but may support you in dropping into the conversation with questions and thoughtful perspective. If you do not plan to attend the dialogue you are invited to listen anyway and share with a friend.
The episode description as provided on Apple Podcasts is as follows:
Kali Ferguson is a storyteller, culture keeper, and movement-inspired educator based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She believes in movement and storytelling and tools for decolonizing learning and creating space for personalized understanding. Through her in-person and upcoming web-based work, Kali taps into dance and storytelling as a means of self and cultural inquiry as well as a catalyst for social change. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/akilah)