EARTH is the new farm and nature-based education at Hawthorne Valley. It is a full day program offering hands-on discovery learning in a small, mixed age setting. We began 3 years ago.
EARTH’s mission is to educate and inspire children through hands-on experience on the farm and in nature. We cultivate responsibility, consideration and clarity through recognizing our students’ best qualities, while helping them overcome their weaknesses. EARTH’s approach is unique: we draw our academics directly from what we do and observe.
We wish to engender enthusiasm, initiative, and practical skill, while also developing the child’s intellectual and artistic being. It is our conviction that children benefit from a school experience that is integrated with nature and farming; and that meaningful and satisfying work together is the first ingredient in emotional and social health. Our children and teachers garden, make apple cider and maple syrup, care for cows, horses, sheep and chickens, blacksmith, identify trees and study their anatomy, cut firewood and much else. When working with lumber we measure boards, calculate prices and change. Artistically we recite poetry, sing, draw, paint, write and perform. We love coming to school! We are blessed to spend time on the farm and in the forest and fields; our academic work is nurtured by this engagement. EARTH can be beneficial to any child.
Our daily and weekly schedule is simpler and more focused. Our small size, experience and whole child learning allow us to give form and guidance to children who otherwise struggle in the classroom. The EARTH curriculum follows the seasons. Areas of study include Shelter, Mapping, Bees, Wood, Gardening, Apples, Grain, Cows, Sheep, Trees, Horses, Farming, and Ecology. Each block has a sequence of hands-on tasks, followed by academic and artistic lessons drawn from the work itself. The experience of the day is a whole, where the senses and body are exercised, the mind sharpened and the soul enriched.
Nature works! Our students are thriving and growing every day and we are excited to be planning of the upcoming year.