Happy May Day! Yes indeed, it is May already. The countdown until summer break has begun; we are looking at only five more weeks of RTS until summer vacation begins (sorry folks!). But not to worry, these upcoming weeks are bound to represent the full range of experiences at Rock Tree Sky. Playing, making, exploring, learning, laughing, and probably some crying are all on the agenda...we are not winding down our activity by any means.
In this letter you will find calendar items and announcements for the final weeks of this semester, as well as reflections and photos from the month of April.
Be Well and Stay Curious,
With love from the RTS Staff
Looking towards May and June:
Monday May 2- Friday May 6: RTS T-Shirt Screen Printing Week
Please send your child to Rock Tree Sky with a cotton t-shirt to be screen printed with the RTS logo any day this week. Shirts can be dropped off any day this week, screen printing will happen on Thursday and Friday. Light colored shirts are best because we use black ink. I have also been told that the ink takes better to cotton than to polyester.
Monday May 2- Friday May 6: RTS 2021/22 Yearbook Cover Art Contest Voting
Each day this week learners will have an opportunity to vote for the piece of art that they would most like to see on the cover of the 2021/22 RTS Yearbook.
Wednesday May 25- Friday May 27: RTS is Closed/ RTS Family Campout at Carpinteria State Beach
The annual RTS Family Campout at Carpinteria State Beach will commence mid-day on Wednesday May 25th and conclude midday on Friday May 27th. Families wishing to camp overnight do need to RSVP via the Google Form sent by Jim. I have been told that we are already fully booked. **If you have signed up for a night of camping and can no longer make it please let Jim know ASAP so that we can open that space to somebody else.
Families wishing to join for the daytime activities are welcome to do so without a need to pre-register.
Families are encouraged to bring a dish and join us for a potluck dinner at 6pm on the evening of Wednesday May 25.
Monday May 30: RTS is Closed in Observance of Memorial Day
Thursday June 9: Last Day of RTS
Thursday June 9: 12:30pm-2:30pm Spring Exposition
All families are welcome to join for our Spring Exposition. The afternoon will include a potluck lunch, gallery walk, musical performances, and aerial silks performance.
Summer Camp Announcements:
Please take a look at the following Summer Camps being offered by RTS and Summit School Staff members:
Reflecting on April:
April seemed to be here and gone in the blink of an eye.
Of course, our days at RTS were limited due to our Spring Break. Still, there was no limit to the amount of fun we had each day.
One highlight from the month of April was truly being able to observe and enjoy the blooming and ripening of plants on campus. After being away for two weeks, it was astonishing and exciting to see the plant growth that occurred during the early weeks of spring. What's more is that several of our favorite edible plants were ripe for harvest in April including fava beans and mulberries. Learners enjoyed harvesting and processing fava beans fresh from the stock and many got to partake in sampling the steamed beans with butter and salt.
Many learners have also been enjoying the plethora of mulberries fresh from the tree. And while we've had to put limitations on climbing the mulberry tree, kids have been finding lots of creative ways to harvest the fruit and have loved nibbling on these sweet treats on a daily basis.
One sweet treat that learners partook in baking were lion's mane mushroom lemon honey cookies. Lion's mane is a medicinal and nutritional mushroom that grows on oak trees. Chrissy found a dried one that grew from an oak tree in Santa Barbara during spring break and decided to bring it to Rock Tree Sky so that the kids could grind it into a powder and bake it into cookies. The cookies were a surprise hit and loved by all who tried them. The cookies were flavored with lemon zest from our garden lemons, and decorated with with edible flowers from around our campus.
Speaking of our gardens, throughout the month learners have also supported Farmer Kelly's efforts to plant more seeds to keep our gardens dynamic and ever blooming.
Something bittersweet that happened during the month of April is that our chicks in residence, Darth Quaker and Sam, grew to a size that was no longer manageable for the Imagination Room. Fortunately, one of our families was willing to adopt the chicks and provide the care they need to live a happy life.
Meanwhile, learners did collect more freshly laid eggs for our incubator and we anticipate some new baby chicks to hatch early in May.
Even though many of our learners were missing the chicks, the Imagination Room was visited by some other temporary *pets*: Silkworms! During the week that the silkworms were visiting in the Imagination Room, learners took care of them by cleaning their container and feeding them fresh mulberry leaves from our mulberry tree. We learned that silkworms only eat mulberry leaves; its a good thing we had plenty of leaves to feed our little friends.
Other highlights from the month included making an indigo dye vat for various dyeing projects. The process involved a lot of chemistry, patience, and persistence but the results were magical. We are looking forward to dying more t-shirts in the upcoming month.
Learners also had fun participating in an afternoon of tie dying bandanas using dye derived from avocado pits and marigold flowers.
Giant bubble making, a Rock Tree Sky classic, was another favored activity of the moth. Learners had fun seeing how big of a bubble they could make...this was also a practice in self-control for those learners who have a proclivity for popping bubbles.
Afterhours on a Saturday night, Jim hosted an astronomy night that was attended by some of our families as well as some Upper Ojai neighbors. Folks were able to observe the night sky through five different telescopes, enjoy stories around the bonfire, and of course, delight in some roasted marshmallows.
Off campus excursions were also a highlight. On several occasions Casey brought learners to the River Bottom where they enjoyed observing wildlife, searching for bugs, and wading in the water.
Spence and Vera also brought learners on a spontaneous field trip to the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts. Those who attended were able to learn about the life and work of the famed potter as well as see some unique sculptures, figurines, and even unfinished and raw pieces of work in her art studio.
A major off-campus excursion that happened at the end of the month was an overnight backpacking trip facilitated by Chrissy and Omar. The round trip was a twenty-mile hike. Those who attended felt both physically challenged and spiritually fulfilled by spending so much time in nature. All in all it was a great time for everyone and hopefully the start of many more adventures of the sort.
Looking forward to seeing what May has in store.