November Slice of Apple

04 Nov

“Bye, bye, butterfly!” A chorus of kindergartners, first, second, and third graders called out as a monarch butterfly lazily flew out of its rearing cage and sailed high into the bright blue October sky. Every fall in second grade science class, we raise insects as part of our study of this fascinating group of animals, and this year we were lucky enough to have one mourning cloak butterfly and one monarch butterfly emerge from their chrysalids in great form. On this particular morning recess time, all 48 students gathered in a large circle around the rearing cage to watch this beautiful creature soar. After they waved to it as it took its first flight, our students all flew away to whatever captured their attention at this recess.

Recess is very important at Applewild.  It is a time to socialize, of course, and to practice the fine arts of negotiation and compromise. It also offers what is an increasingly rare opportunity: the chance to have free time outdoors to do whatever you can think of (within Applewild rules, of course). For those of us lucky enough to be outside watching over the kids at recess, we see fairy houses being built, swings being swung, the overhead bars and the slide being used, the largest leaf pile in the world being constructed, the rock shop in full swing, basketball and soccer being played, chalk drawings being made, conversations being had, and random running and laughing happening everywhere. The older students generally play differently, but just as intensely. Soccer and football are central, conversations are key, laughter abounds everywhere, and a new activity this fall has been leaping over the tall cones in the driveway. Unstructured time outdoors with friends and potential friends is one of the great gifts in an Applewild day!

And speaking of gifts, the highlights of the month ahead of us are wonderful ones! We celebrated the Halloween week and this time of harvest with a Marshall Fund for the Arts residency bringing us music from around the world with musician Randy Armstrong. We have spent part of this last week of October immersed in the history of some of the thirty instruments Mr. Armstrong brought to campus and all of the students in kindergarten through fifth grade were able to try out many of them. The sounds have been joyous and loud, and sometimes quiet, and often varying in beat; our students have worked with pleasure to learn about these different instruments.