Outdoor Classroom

Dear Friends-

With the recent warm spell, we have seen an exciting expansion of our outdoor classrooms at Randolph. Our students have made several trips to the creek, and the Creek Scouts were able to refurbish and replace the log bridge that had been swept away in recent storms. The Downstairs has been spending the entire day outside, even circling together in the playground for snacks and lunch.

The Upstairs students can be found spending their reading time sprawled out all over the playground and porch area, where the only disturbance is the chirping of birds overhead. Down by the amphitheater, groups of students inspired by the work of artist Robert Smithson have been creating still-life compositions out of natural objects and series of mirrors. The effect is magical both from a distance and close up, with elements of nature fractured and multiplied by the reflections. I watched as the young artists stepped back from their work, moving all around to find their favorite viewing angle and distance.

At the end of school the other day, everyone gathered in the field to play the Maple Syrup Evaporation Game. Each child had a role as either a water molecule, a sap sugar molecule, or as the fire beneath the evaporator. The game began, and whenever a water molecule was touched by fire it evaporated out of the pan (zoop!) and left the game. By the end, only the sap molecules remained as syrup, and the whole game started again. Walking back with my young friend Pete after the game, I asked him “where do you think those water molecules go in real life?” He looked quizzically at me and quickly replied, “In the air, Ben! Then it makes clouds, and the rain falls, and it all happens over and over. It’s called a cycle.” Oh.

This outdoor classroom thing seems to be working out just fine thank you!

I hope to see you at MapleFEST tomorrow!!! Come join us!!!

Be well,

Ben


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