After much planning, time, and dedication Roots Community School is off to a great start! The thematic-based lessons have proven to be a hit with all the children as they are coming home happy and satisfied with their school day. 13 vibrant little humans, their parents, and a group of passionate community members have come together to make this vision a reality and I think all of us agree- things are off to a wonderful start. Each child is met at their current working level and encouraged to be inspired by learning. They get much time working in small groups and individual attention to keep them on track and feeling supported in different learning styles.
“Roots is amazing! I am learning so much more than ever before, but it doesn’t even feel like school because Miss Rachel makes everything so fun!” ~Ellarae Uttech
This year they are getting deep into the meaning of their school name, “Roots,” where they study many different subjects around this main theme – allowing them to experience learning as an integrated “whole” and seeing each subject as connected to each other. Woven into their thoughtfully planned days by the highly regarded Rachel Robison, is plenty of time to move their bodies and play outdoors creating games and letting imaginations run wild. The kids return from a 45-minute lunch and recess recharged and ready to move into a different kind of learning.
In the first weeks of school they are focusing on building this new community. The students did a silent group art project with classical music in the background, setting the tone for creative expression. In 30-second rotations walking around the table set outdoors, a collaborative painted mural was born!
Small groups worked together to create skits where they were asked to all give equal input and practice self awareness by continuing to ask themselves, “Have I given input?” Have I done most of the talking?” This was a great hit with the kids, lots of laughs and creativity shared!
Each Thursday at Roots is a field trip day where a thematic-based learning approach again takes affect. The first field trip of the year was kickstarted at our local community garden here in Chelan where they not only learned about veggies, but also completed different math lessons. The kids had a store, and they measured and weighed fruits and veggies. It was a beautiful day, and learning outside rocks!
They attended the Salmon Festival in Leavenworth for a full day of learning and fun. All month the kids have been learning about Salmon. A 6ft salmon was created which used to be native to our valley – the kids were able to measure and compare their heights to that of the gigantic salmon! They also worked on salmon word problems for math which turned out to be beautiful expressions of creativity mixed with math and writing. As they work to establish routines for reader and writer workshop, kids are creating interesting and beautiful sentences with adjectives and adverbs while putting together their salmon alphabet books.
Each Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings the kids start their day with yoga and mindfulness practice. There are many studies done on the effects of a mindfulness practice in children and adults and the effects are plentiful. Teaching these little people to tap into the innate wisdom of their breath to connect to a calm and centered space is invaluable in today’s society. Mindfulness practices can improve mental, emotional, social, and physical health and well being as well as reducing stress, anxiety, reactivity, and poor behavior. It brings about self awareness and empathy and improves focus, memory, and can improve problem solving and reasoning skills. We incorporate Brain Gym exercises which by using the physical body we balance the analytical left brain with the imaginative right brain sending them off into their school day with greater self awareness, confidence and balance.
It has been a great joy to watch as this new school plants it’s “roots” to inspire and educate our next generation. You are always welcome to send an email or call Rachel with any questions, or if you would like to stop by and visit the school!