Nature & Nurture at the Co-op


Not many people say it better than Maria Montessori. In regards to Nature, the Co-op is looking to her again to guide us. She says, “It is also necessary for his physical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature.”

An article came out this week on “All Things Considered,” by NPR, about a Forest Kindergarten in Vermont. It is a public school that has allowed the teacher to take the kindergarteners into the woods each Monday. After reading the article that applauds more free time, fewer rules, more independence, and the understanding that the “outside offers so much . . . it is sort of the deepest and widest environment for learning that we have”, I am thankful for things to come at the Co-op’s new home. Here is a small menu of what to expect from our new Outdoor Coordinator, Mr. Dan, and our new outdoor/science curriculum.

1. An all-school line time, outdoors.
2. Science works that are housed outside, to be completed outside.
3. A ‘bird backpack work’ that can be taken into the woods.
4. Gardens, gardens, and more gardens, including composting for them.

The principal at the school in Vermont says that schools are being forced to think about everything in terms of data and measurable outcomes, but he doesn’t need test scores to tell him that the forest kindergarten is working. When the kids come back from the woods, they look happy and healthy, he says. “Schools need to be focusing on that, too.” You can access the article here: Out Of The Classroom and Into The Woods.

The happiness that the kids at the Co-op feel is contagious. That is one reason to enroll your child in our summer camps for students entering first through sixth grade this fall. The Co-op still has openings for its summer camps and elementary openings for the 2015-2016 school year. Those of us who have sent kids here know what it’s about but for those who have not, here is one parent’s thoughts on Summer Camp:

For us, summer is the most cost effective, enriching experience we have found for the summer. We have sent our kids to other camps like UNO Science, the Rose, and even Hummel Park. What we love about the summer at MCS is the close family feeling, the connection to nature and the outside, and the real learning that happens. Did I mention the cost is such a good deal? Last year, our daughter helped build a full-scale teepee during the week she learned about Native Americans and was outside enjoying the beautiful yard everyday. It was amazing. Tell others because it is a well-kept secret and shouldn’t be…

With curriculum and camps dedicated to Gardening, Trees, Birds, Native American Culture, and Kitchen Chemistry, the Co-op is investing in the future. Richard Louv, author of ‘Last Child in the Woods’ writes, “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” Check out for information on our weekly camps throughout the summer. See you in the woods!