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October 2021

Hello Families,

As our second month together comes to an end we wonder, how did the time fly so it really November already?

I guess we must have been having a lot of fun.

Historically, October has been a particularly fun month at Rock Tree Sky. By this time learners are more familiar with the space and with each other, friendships are blossoming, excitement around Halloween is mounting and the weather is generally favorable.

This October was no exception. To find out more about all the fun we got into this month please read on for photos and reflections on the month of October. In this messenger you will also find calendar updates for November and a Parent Education Piece about the Sudbury Valley School.

As always, Be Well and Stay Curious!

With love from the RTS Staff

Looking Towards November

Saturday November 13th: 12:00-3pm Parent Discussion Group/ Potluck

From 12:00-1 pm folks are welcome to gather at RTS for a potluck social.

At 1pm parent discussion group will commence with special guests Liz Rose and Sara MacCracken who will each be sharing experiences of raising self-directed kids.

Monday November 15th- Friday November 19th: 12 pm Dismissal each day, family conferences from 12:30-5pm.

Monday November 22nd- Friday November 26th: RTS will be closed for Fall Break

Reflections from October

As I mentioned above, October has been a fun filled month here at RTS.

As per usual, most of the fun has been entirely emergent, child-lead, and spontaneous in nature.

One example of an area that has been a favorite for many learners is the sandpit. On any given day children would spend hours digging and building in the sandpit constructing whole nations of sand complete with intricate waterways.

I've often felt that observing the children at play in the sandpit truly illuminates the importance of spaces where children are free to direct their own experience. During just a morning of sandpit play kids move through experiences ranging from negotiating decision making with different ideas, navigating water and raw material allotment, managing tool distribution, and problem solving during flood or drought states.

Another way that kids have been creating their own fun with lots of real life problem solving, is at the sewing station. During October kids utilized the sewing station to make Halloween costumes in addition to the regular gambit of garments and accessories. Working independently, learners discover that sewing is a process with lots of trial and error. Thank goodness we have several seam rippers and supportive mentors who can step in when help is needed.

During October, several learners had fun engaging with offerings centered around conscious body movement. Ariel silks, yoga class, dance classes are all being offered on various days of the week now and while many learners love the guidance, instruction, and care that our talented specialists provide, most kids also have a blast practicing their tumbling skills in playful and sporadic ways. Throughout the day one can usually find a small handful of kids turning cartwheels and practicing handstands on the gymnastics mats in Hartman hall, supporting each other to increase their skills.

This month RTS learners have also had the opportunity to enhance their musical prowess when Rock Tree Sky welcomed a well loved community member, Ella Anderson Hubley, as a music specialist. Each day that Ella is on campus, she can be found jamming in the music room with a wide array of learners across all age groups and musical backgrounds. We so love and appreciate all that Ella brings, especially now that we have a fully kitted music studio (thanks to all who contributed to making that happen!).

We ended the month of October with our first field trip of the year. Both Chrissy and Ella, and Jim brought learners to the the beloved Ojai Storytelling Festival. Since the festival fell on the Friday before Halloween many learners had the added pleasure of dressing in costume on this trip to downtown Ojai.

We are so looking forward to what November has to offer.

For now, please enjoy this photos from October:

Parent Education: Parent Discussion Group 11/13

This month's "Parent Education" portion comes in the form of a parent discussion group/ panel that will be hosted at Rock Tree Sky on Saturday November 13th from 12-3pm.

On Saturday, November 13th, the RTS Parent Discussion group will be joined by two beloved RTS board members Liz Rose and Sara MacCracken. Liz will also be accompanied by her adult children. What Sara, Liz, and her adult children have to share are stories and perspectives from their lived experiences as parents of self-directed kids and the grown self-directed learners themselves.

When they were growing up, Liz's children attended Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts. Sudbury Valley is a Democratic Free School that was founded in 1968. Sudbury Valley is still operating today, and its legacy has been an inspiration for many other free schools including our learning community here at RTS.

Sara MacCracken is parent to both Keenan and Finnean Porter. Finn has been attending RTS for five years and is totally awesome if I do say so myself. Keenan attended RTS for his high school years and graduated from Rock Tree Sky in 2020.

All of these community members are eager to share their experiences with you and will be available for answering questions you may have as you embrace whatever educational journey your children are embarking on by being a part of Rock Tree Sky.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday November 13th at RTS!

12-1pm Informal potluck luncheon

1-3pm Discussion group dialogue



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