- The ice cream social was a big success! The event is always well-attended, and we were lucky to have warm, clear weather. Several 5th grade students led tours of the woods and school grounds; their parents reported later that they thoroughly enjoyed the responsibility. What a good opportunity for leadership! Outdoor Ed also had a "mystery box" activity by the school entrance. We put various garden items in shoeboxes with holes cut in one end so participants could feel the objects inside and try to guess what they were without looking. Some things were tricky! The objects were: apple, green tomato, dried sunflower, dried coneflower, milkweed pod, corn tassel, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber. Some first grade teachers were so taken with this activity they brought it into their rooms to use in their classes the next day.
- Many classes have spent time outside doing observations and woods walks. The warm, sunny weather has been very encouraging! Hopefully we can reprint some student sketches and writings here. It's remarkable what kids can discover when they're given the opportunity.
- Have a look at the ABOUT page to see a more detailed list of seasonal activities month by month (scroll down a bit to the "Seasonal Activities" section). We'll keep adding to this list as the year goes on. Once you see it written down in one place, you realize just how many outdoor opportunities there are at Crestwood!
- It's Take a Child Outside week! Click here to read more.
- Crestwood received an Art in the Garden grant from Community Groundworks for the 2014-2015 school year. We've finally settle on a project and once we get the official permission for installation, more details will be revealed here! It's very exciting and we'll need some help.
- October is National Farm to School month! Crestwood is fortunate to have many connections to local farms. For instance, through the healthy snack program, students are provided with snacks of fresh produce, often sourced locally, every few weeks throughout the school year. Last week, students enjoyed tomatoes and green beans donated by Zephyr Group CSA. Also, 2nd and 3rd graders have walking field trips to a nearby farmers' market in the fall and spring. And last, there are field trips to local orchards and pumpkin farms every fall for the KG and 1st graders.
- The Aldo Leopold Nature Center has a new web portal for educators! Go have a look. The website still has more content coming, but it is a wonderful resource for teachers.
- Speaking of resources for teachers, FOSS has just published "Taking FOSS Outdoors," a fantastic guide for using outdoor spaces of all kinds, planning activities and managing students in an outdoor environment. It's worth a read even if you're not a teacher!
TGIF, everyone! So much is happening outdoors at Crestwood it's kind of making my head swim, but I feel an update on some things, however brief, is overdue. So here we go:
The first big event of the year, the Ice Cream Social, will be held at Crestwood Tuesday, Sept 23, from 6:30-8pm. For the first time, Outdoor Ed is joining the event! We'll have a fun activity near the front entrance of the school and tours of the school grounds led by several fifth grade student tour guides and parent volunteer Joe House. Tours start at 6:30 near the front of the school and will go until it gets dark around 7:00. The forecast for Tuesday looks warm and clear, so we're hoping for a good turnout.
Keep checking this space for student writing and artwork. Many classes have spent time outside doing observations, taking nature walks, and harvesting produce from the gardens, and we'll be sharing their thoughts and sketches here soon!
This afternoon, the third grade classes gathered in the old gym. Mrs. Kennedy showed the kids a basil stem and dried garlic plant, then reviewed the recipe. Teachers put ingredients for one batch into the bike blender, and Ms. A pedaled it into pesto in less than 30 seconds.
Teachers reported that many students said making pesto was the highlight of their day today. Judging from how many kids picked up their plates to lick them clean, I'd say the pesto snack was a success! Hopefully we'll have student writings about it to post here soon.
Want to make your own pesto? (Good idea! Basil is usually pretty cheap at the local markets this time of year.) Here's how!
Pulverize in a blender or food processor:
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves, any variety
1-2 cloves garlic
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds OR roasted unsalted walnuts
1/4-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese*
(*If you're going to freeze the pesto for later use, leave out the cheese. It freezes better without.)
Note: Pesto will oxidize after a day and look brown. It won't change the flavor; it's just what basil does. If you don't like the brown color and aren't going to use or eat your pesto immediately, stir in a little lemon juice; it will help prevent the pesto from discoloring and tastes good, too.
So much is going on outside in the first part of the school year. Classes have taken woods walks, harvested beans, observed plants and much more. We have a CAPT meeting coming up next Tuesday where you can learn more about volunteering with OE (among other opportunities), the ice cream social in a couple weeks with student-led tours of the grounds, a new tool shed in the works, our Art in the Garden project, and...I'm sure I'm forgetting something here. It's an exciting time to be outdoors!
As the Kratt brothers say, see you on the wild side. Cheers,
Crestwood's OE committee is dedicated to outdoor learning for all students.