Subscribe to our newsletter
Email:

BMS Blog

Unity and a Sense of Wonder

This article originally appeared in the Indigo Messenger in March 2017. Written by Yoga and PE teacher Sarah McCarthy.

Each new year is a surprise to us
We find that we have virtually forgotten the note of each bird.
And when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream,
reminding us of a previous state of existence...
The voice of nature is always encouraging.

-Henry David Thoreau

As we move into the last months of school, we as teachers are focusing on the school's third value, Reverence for Life: "We promote environmental stewardship by participating in nature-based activities and by exploring the connection between all living things, to establish a genuine sense of wonder and responsibility in our students."

I have been re-reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. What a gem of a book. This book talks about why kids benefit tremendously from being nurtured by nature. Louv talks specifically about the importance of wild, natural places in childrens' lives. While it is good to have more parks and soccer fields in our towns, it is the natural woods and wild places that kids gravitate to. It is where they learn most. In a wild ecosystem, one can really see the interactions between living things and perhaps just be in wonder and amazement. For so many of us in Floyd, we know what a treasure our wild lands are.

Here at Blue Mountain School we have such sweet land for kids to be a part of and connect to. What a tremendous thing! Not only can they explore the woods and open land as part of imaginative play, but we as teachers use this land to teach and just be. Every Tuesday when I teach, before the early learners come to class, I hear kids coming out of the woods -- rain, snow or sun. Their Outdoor Explore time is an important part of their class. Each class at BMS has their own way of being with our land and exploring.

Yoga means "union." We talk about this in a few different ways in our classes. One way is to reflect on how we are truly part of and connected to this wider earth. We depend on everything around us to survive. We practice this in yoga by bowing in the beginning and end of class every day. Bowing humbles us and helps us remember we really are grateful for all of life that sustains us. We also do Savasana; we lay down and relax our muscles and mind in quiet. It is another moment to feel our union with all of life.

Doing yoga outside has a magic of its own. As we do poses, the sun is out, the air is in on our skin, and we hear the marvelous sounds around us. Yay for spring!

We took a nature walk in all the classes a few weeks ago. It was the very beginning of spring so we did something a bit different.   Small groups did a nature treasure hunt and found different signs and parts of nature. I also asked each person to find something they have never seen before in nature. This trains our senses to go beyond. We found mycorizia, hairy predator scat, buds on trees, an interesting beetle, and other neat things.

The more time I spend at BMS, the more I treasure our relationship with the land around us and how that infuses into what we teach. I see how our staff connects with the natural world in their own ways and how they each have special ways of sharing that with students.

In this day with so much technology around us, we are growing farther away from the natural and gentle rhythms of life as a society. Sometimes I think the greatest thing we can give our kids is a reconnection with the natural world around us. We are doing that at BMS.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Give Big on April 26!

Join us on April 26 to Give Big NRV!

This article originally appeared on the GiveBigNRV Website sponsored by the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.

At Blue Mountain School, we are cultivating capable community members who possess the courage and wisdom to lead fulfilling lives! Studies are now showing what many of us already knew intuitively: One aspect of a fulfilling life involves experiencing awe, and fostering a connection with the natural world is one way to inspire awe in children.

At BMS, we are grateful for our 9 acres of woods and play space, and we make use of the woods, trails, stream, and field each day. These wild places invoke the magic and wonder of childhood, and they are where our children learn to steward the earth and explore the connection between all living things.

Give Big today and help us share the power of Outdoor Education with our community!

(Ask us about how you can get 65% of your donation back at tax time!)

How Will Your Donation Help the New River Valley?
 
At Blue Mountain School, both our outdoor learning spaces and our amazing staff play a fundamental role in providing nature-rich experiences for children throughout the New River Valley. Each year we offer programs that open our doors and our woods to over 200 children!

Your donation on Give Big NRV Day will allow us to improve our outdoor spaces, provide continuing development opportunities for our staff, and grow our programs so that more children can experience the awe of the great outdoors.



What Nature Programs Does BMS Offer?

In addition to our regular school classes, all of which are interwoven with outdoor experiences, we offer several opportunities for children to explore nature at Blue Mountain School.

The Forest Family Program began in September 2016 with our first session of Forest Kindergarten. Forest K is based on the German model of Waldkindergartens and provides children aged 4 to 8 with the opportunity to explore and engage with the outdoors and with others.

In Fall 2017, we hope to grow the Forest Family to include two new programs: Forest Friends (ages 1.5 to 3) and Forest Explorers (ages 7 to 12). The addition of these groups will provide a full childhood of outdoor education for NRV kids!

In addition, each summer BMS welcomes nearly 150 campers from the New River Valley and beyond. While all our camps have a focus on outdoor experiences, we offer two that immerse children in the woods for a large part of the day. Forest Kindergarten Camp is new this year, and our Forest Forts Camp has been attracting kids back again and again for a number of years now.

Learn More

If you'd like to read more about outdoor learning spaces and the value of children spending time in nature, check out these links:

How to Protect Kids from Nature Deficit Disorder
This is Your Brain on Nature
Connecting with Nature Boosts Creativity and Health
What Happens When We Reconnect with Nature
American Forest Kindergarten Assocation
Virginia's No Child Left Inside Coalition

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Week 4: The Messier The Better

(The Littles and Middles Groups, ages 3-9, are FULL! Email to get on the waiting list. Space still available in the Elders Group, ages 10-12.)

What better way to wrap up the summer than with another camp classic: Big, Messy Art Camp!

New this year, our oldest group of campers will work with BMS Art Teacher, Lore Deighan, on some special projects that will explore more advanced art concepts and methods.

As we like to say here at BMS: "It's gonna be big, and it's gonna be messy! It's like no other art camp around!"

Big, Messy Art led by Lore Deighan with Lora Leigh Geissler & Tammie Sarver - July 17 to 21

Have you ever had the urge to make as big of a mess as you possibly can? At this summer camp, making a mess is not only allowed, but expected! We will play with paper mache, mud, paint...anything that makes a mess, and each group, Littles, Middles, and Elders, will engage in activities designed for their interests and abilities. Dress for messiness because we guarantee that no one will leave this camp clean! (Ages 3 to 12)

Blue Mountain School Summer Camps are $155 per week for the first child in a family and $140 for each additional child in a family. To register, email us or drop by the office during school hours (Monday-Thursday 9:00 to 4:00).

If you've never been to Big, Messy Art Camp before, check out the video below to see campers in action!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Week 3: Forest Kindergarten (3-7 yo)

New This Year! (This camp is FULL!)

Based on our school-year Forest Kindergarten program, this week-long camp gives our younger friends plenty of time to explore the nooks and crannies in the woods surrounding Blue Mountain School. Even if your child joined us for Forest Forts Camp earlier this summer, they will find a whole new world in the BMS woods during the Forest K camp!

 

Forest Kindergarten led by Jenni Heartway - July 10 - 14

Campers will be outside all day searching for creatures, exploring the creek, working on trails, and learning about the trees and other plants. Topics of ecology and stewardship will be introduced through developmentally-appropriate activities, and campers will end the week with stronger relationships with nature and their fellow kids. Dress for adventure because we plan on being outdoors rain or shine! (Ages 3 to 7)

Blue Mountain School Summer Camps are $155 per week for the first child in a family and $140 for each additional child in a family. To register, email us or drop by the office during school hours (Monday-Thursday 9:00 to 4:00).

If you have older children who are looking for a camp this week, check out the Floyd Center for the Arts, who is holding their camp for kids ages 8 and up this same week.

If you've never been to a BMS Camp before, check out the video below to see campers in action!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Week 2: Trash Bash

New This Year! (The Middles and Elders Group, ages 6-12, is FULL! Email to get on the waiting list. Space still available in the Littles Group, ages 3-5.)

Thomas Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” We've got the pile of junk in our Maker's Lab, so all you need to do is bring your imagination. Together we will build a sculpture garden, whip up whirly-gigs, create a Rube Goldberg machine, collaborate on a group mosaic, and more!

 

Tinkering to Treasure Camp led by Tammie Sarver & Shelly Sherman - June 26 to 30

In the tradition of Tinkerers and Makers around the world, our campers will be flexing their creativity and developing their environmental savvy by exploring the potential in other peoples' junk. Every day, there will be a new challenge to ponder, collaborate on, and create for, and each group, Littles, Middles, and Elders, will engage in activities designed for their interests and abilities. We will explore and experience various aspects of design and form, problem solving, critical thinking and greater scientific process through trial and error, and we will also learn the safe use of common tools.

Throughout the week, we will grow our gallery of creations and end with a real Trash Bash! On Friday afternoon, families will be invited to view our gallery exhibition and to collaborate on a sculpture-making project.  (Ages 3 to 12)

Blue Mountain School Summer Camps are $155 per week for the first child in a family and $140 for each additional child in a family. To register, email us or drop by the office during school hours (Monday-Thursday 9:00 to 4:00).

If you've never been to a Blue Mountain School Camp before, check out the video below to see campers in action!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Shopping on Amazon?

Use our link below and a portion of your sale will go towards the school!

Shop Amazon Now

Shopping at Kroger?

If you shop at Kroger, you can help BMS earn money for its scholarship fund. Our Community Rewards number is 84005.

Link your Kroger Card