Little River Outdoor School

Outdoor Elementary School

Operating as usual

Our Programs - Little River Outdoor School 09/14/2021

Our Programs - Little River Outdoor School

HOMESCHOOL SUPPORT CLASSES

We’re excited to announce that we will now be offering part time homeschool support classes in addition to our full time elementary program. During these classes, students will participate in art projects, science, math, social studies and more as well as connect socially and emotionally with other students. Little River Outdoor School can also provide any guidance and support that your family may need on your homeschooling journey.

For more info you can check our the ‘our programs’ tab on our website or email [email protected].

https://littleriverschool.com/our-programs/

Our Programs - Little River Outdoor School Little River Outdoor School offers an elementary-level education for children ages 5 through 12 years old. Younger students may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Our forest school program meets all the requirements for elementary education mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Unlike so...

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 09/01/2021

Yesterday we wrote another page in our nature name book that we are creating. Afterwards, we went to the creek and accidentally stumbled upon a salamander with her eggs. We took a peek before gently returning the rock that covered her. The eggs were far enough developed that we could see the babies wriggling around inside, and could spot their eyes and other body parts. Our student whose nature name is Northern Red Salamander was able to not only see and observe salamander eggs herself but also teach the rest of the class about them. It was so exciting, especially since she had just written about their breeding habits early that day.

08/26/2021

We had some butterflies in our forest today. Pure joy.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/26/2021

Student led boat building project. After they were built, we took them to the creek to test them out. They tried putting different things in them to see how the change in weight changed how fast they went or if it made them sink.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/26/2021

Adding on to our geography lesson from last week, we started learning about tectonic plates, layers of the earth and landforms. We made a flip book of continental drift and have discussed the different plate boundaries and what they can cause. We discussed how tectonic plates move due to convection cells and we’ve started to learn about our area here in The Blue Ridge Mountains.

We’ve noticed that our students have been needing extra time to connect with each other emotionally and socially this week. The world feels heavy right now with everything happening in the news, and sometimes us adults can forget that children can feel that heaviness too. We can sometimes get so caught up in pushing them onto the next ‘thing’ that we forget they need us to allow them the time and space to be where they are now. To honor their feelings, we spent lots of time slowing down and building fairy houses, visiting with the horses, having free play time, doing unguided artwork, hugging Juno the school dog, catching toads, reading to each other and resting in the hammocks among other things. The reality of following the needs of your students over anything else means that some days you’ll do math, and some days you’ll get peed on by a toad. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

08/24/2021

Is there anything better than sitting in the woods with a friendly dog?

Is there anything better than sitting in the woods with a friendly dog?

08/19/2021

A conversation overheard today while some students were working on a macrame project…

Student 1: whoa! Yours is so good. You worked hard on that.

Student 2: Thanks! This one is taking me awhile.

1: can I give you a hug as congratulations?

2: no thank you.

1: okay!

This interaction may not seem like much, but as an empathy-centered school we’re constantly learning and talking about situations exactly like this and how to navigate them. To see this type of consent and empathy, totally unprompted and unguided by adults, was amazing. While we of course always get excited by our students success in other areas like math and reading, nothing is more important than seeing them be kind and accepting to others.

A conversation overheard today while some students were working on a macrame project…

Student 1: whoa! Yours is so good. You worked hard on that.

Student 2: Thanks! This one is taking me awhile.

1: can I give you a hug as congratulations?

2: no thank you.

1: okay!

This interaction may not seem like much, but as an empathy-centered school we’re constantly learning and talking about situations exactly like this and how to navigate them. To see this type of consent and empathy, totally unprompted and unguided by adults, was amazing. While we of course always get excited by our students success in other areas like math and reading, nothing is more important than seeing them be kind and accepting to others.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/17/2021

Some important clay work

08/12/2021

We decided today that carving sticks is one of our favorite ways to relax

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/12/2021

Going off of our cardinal direction lesson from last week, this week we’ve been learning about geography. We’ve learned about the continents, the hemispheres, our country, our region, our state and our town. We discussed how different places have different resources and why. We also made our own maps which we traded with friends and then followed, designed our own compasses and played geography bingo. We wrote a journal entry on a places that we’ve traveled to and what was unique about it.

This week we had a lot of interest in carving and making special sticks. Some students plan to use theirs as wands, walking sticks or as dragon training sticks. They got started today and we went and picked out our sticks and started carving the bark off. Next week they plan to paint and wrap with leather or rope. Before we went to cut branches from the tree we set some agreements like..

1.) take a little from a lot, not a lot from a little
2.) only take what is necessary
3.) thank the tree for growing your stick

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/09/2021

NOW ENROLLING!

Enrollment is now open for our Elementary Program. Classes are held 100% outdoors.
Our Elementary program is held Monday through Thursday from 9:00am - 3:00pm for students ages 5 to 12, with some younger students accepted on a case by case basis.
Classes are currently in session and enrollment is on going as long as there is space available. Space is limited. Visit our website at https://littleriverschool.com/ or email us at [email protected] for more info or to schedule a tour.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/05/2021

This week we’ve been learning about wind, air pressure and cardinal directions (north, east, south and west) We found which directions are where from our fire pit circle and painted the stumps so we’ll always remember. We also went over the different degrees. We did an air pressure science experiment and today we built anemometers. Next week we’ll build wind vanes and continue to learn how to estimate our wind speed and direction.

We also played a game called ‘tell me how’. Each student partnered up with another and drew a prompt from a bag. They then had to write every single step out as directions to complete the prompt and their partner had to act out what they drew. It got so silly and we were all laughing by the end! We also realized how many steps even small tasks take. It helped us learn to really listen to and follow directions as well.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/03/2021

Today’s birthday celebration involved ponies and bubbles!

08/02/2021

Reading time

Reading time

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 08/02/2021

Don’t forget to take some food home today!

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/28/2021

Today we learned all about thunder and lightning and how they are created. We learned that lightning is the product of ice crystals rubbing against water droplets which causes static electricity. The static electricity makes the ice crystals in the cloud positively charged and makes the water droplets in the cloud negatively charged. This makes the ice crystal and water droplets attracted to each other and as soon as they connect a huge electric current flows to earth as lightning. This flow of electricity causes the air around it to rapidly heat up and expand quickly which causes a shock wave and makes the sound of thunder. They were very interested in this conversation and we ended up getting much more detailed than originally planned. They also asked tons of questions, which lead to even more conversations, like

‘Why is lightning white?’
‘Why are ice crystals lighter than water droplets?’
‘Can we ever have just lightning or just thunder and not have them together?’

We then read a poem and each student wrote their own poem. Later, they collaborated to make a cover picture so we can assemble their poems into a book.

We also had a student who got scraped when they fell on some roots. Other students got together to find fern heads and pawpaw leaves to make a medicine which was a great act of kindness and empathy - two of our most important attributes here at school. They’ve been really enjoying ‘My Side of the Mountain’ and did some pretend play today pretending to be the main character Sam Gribley.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/27/2021

Going off of our water cycle lesson from two weeks ago where we learned how clouds are formed, this week we’ve been discussing the different types of clouds, what level each cloud falls under (low, medium, high or multi-level) and how to use clouds to predict what type of weather to expect. We also discussed why clouds are shaped differently (air temperature, air pressure, wind and amount of v***r in the air all play a part in cloud shape) as well as why clouds can be different colors (white sunlight reflects off of the water droplets in the v***r that makes up a cloud and reflects back to us so we see them as white. But when clouds become more dense, sunlight isn’t able to pe*****te the cloud fully so we see it as gray/blue/black etc. As well as that, as clouds become more dense they can cast shadows onto each other causing them to change colors to us) The goal is that each student will be able to independently observe clouds while in nature and know what type of weather to expect so they can be fully aware and prepared.

We started reading ‘My Side of the Mountain’ by Jean Craighead George as a group. So far everyone loves it and we’ve been able to have some really great conversations about it.

We’ve also spent time braiding grass ropes, making bug hotels, finding mushrooms, playing games, doing math and creating art.

07/23/2021

We’re so excited to share that we’ve acquired an additional 107 acres of property. That means more creeks to splash in, trees to climb and forest to explore!

We’re so excited to share that we’ve acquired an additional 107 acres of property. That means more creeks to splash in, trees to climb and forest to explore!

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/23/2021

Over the course of the next few months they will work to research and write a book about their nature name animal. We started yesterday!

07/21/2021

More water cycle work today. We also had a discussion we’re we identified which part of the water cycle our nature name animal most benefits from and discussed how water pollution could impact our nature name animals.

More water cycle work today. We also had a discussion we’re we identified which part of the water cycle our nature name animal most benefits from and discussed how water pollution could impact our nature name animals.

07/20/2021

Getting accurate results meaning following directions and they did a great job.

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/20/2021

This week we’ve been learning about the water cycle. We went over the different steps of the water cycle, the 3 different phases of water and read ‘A Drop Around The World’ by Barbara Shaw McKinney.
Going off of our ‘Earth steward and water protector’ pledge and discussion from last week, today we started talking about water pollution and how it could impact the water cycle. We tested the water for pollution at the pond, the creek and at the creek after we’ve walked through the water and stirred up sediment. We made hypotheses along the way on what we believed our results would be. We recorded our answers in our nature journals, recorded our answers as a group on the board and then discussed what each result meant. We were happy to see first hand that our water is as clean as we believed it would be!

07/16/2021

Earth Steward and Water Protector pledge

Earth Steward and Water Protector pledge

07/14/2021

They built a new fort/nest today

They built a new fort/nest today

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/12/2021

Out today!

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/08/2021

We were so busy today that not many pictures were taken. We started our day by playing a math scavenger game that got them running through the forest solving equations and searching for the correct answer and working as teams. My favorite moment was when one student, aged 7 with no previous division or multiplication experience, brought some division problems to me to help her solve. She told me she ‘couldn’t do math like this.’ We went over how to solve it once, and by the end of the game she was solving all of the division equations for her team. I love seeing confidence build and how receptive to new math concepts they are.

We also learned about the different invertebrate classes within the Animal Kingdom and designed our own animals. They chose different characteristics from each class that we’ve gone over this week, developed their creature and chose a scientific name. One creature that was made had fur like a mammal, wings like an insect, no backbone or exoskeleton like a worm and was cold blooded like an amphibian among other cool things. It’s scientific name is Aziowe.

We also got to see the horses, bunnies, chickens and ducks!

07/05/2021

Connecting with nature mid math lesson 😊

Connecting with nature mid math lesson 😊

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 07/05/2021

Going off of our ‘6 kingdoms of living things’ lesson from last week, today we discussed the qualities something must have for it to fit into the Animal Kingdom and discussed the 8 ranks within the animal kingdom. We then identified which class each of our nature names fell under and drew diagrams of our creature and it’s classes qualities. Some students pointed out that even though their classes all had different criteria, there was also a lot of similarities between them. For example, our Carolina Wren friend was warm blooded like our White Tailed Deer friend but she laid eggs like our Red Backed Salamander friend.

Our word of the day was ‘determined’ and we also introduced a new song!

06/30/2021

The tiger swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 06/30/2021

We had a busy day today! We’ve been so interested in moths and butterflies that I knew we needed to push this lesson up to now. We started by discussing their similarities and introduced words like exoskeleton and invertebrates. We also got an introduction to the animal kingdom and different classes within the animal kingdom. Then we made hypotheses about how moths and butterflies are different and then discussed the ways they are. We talked about nocturnal and diurnal creatures, the differences between cocoons and chrysalises, and made Venn diagrams.

The best part of the day though was when we found a tiger swallowtail caterpillar! They were able to identify that it was a butterfly caterpillar because of the information we learned earlier in the day.

We also found a budding ghost pipe and snail eggs!

Photos from Little River Outdoor School's post 06/29/2021

Today we continued to learn more about Indapendence day and The American Revolution. We learned about Betsy Ross and the difference between Rights, Laws and Responsibilities. We also read a book about our rights and the history of American rights. We chose nature names and wrote a journal entry about what we already know about our creature and what we are most interested in learning and we discussed what a hypothesis is. Our word of the day was ‘integrity’ and we read the following poem….

Hurt No Living Thing
Christina Rosetti 1830-1894

Hurt no living thing
Ladybug, nor butterfly
Nor moth with dusty wing
Nor cricket chirping cheerily
Nor grasshopper so light of leap
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat
Nor harmless worms that creep

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3368 Bethlehem Church Rd
Floyd, VA

Opening Hours

Monday 9:30am - 3pm
Tuesday 9:30am - 3pm
Wednesday 9:30am - 3pm
Thursday 9:30am - 3pm
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