Our Current Classroom

about our space

Our physical indoor classroom is very carefully and consciously designed to promote a calm, nurturing and comforting environment.   We have warm and cozy sheepskins on seats, lots of open shelving with 'invitations' to explore and learn, and natural elements everywhere. 

While we do not have 'assigned' seating, students naturally gravitate towards the place they feel most comfortable every day.  Our desks and benches are moveable, and can be rearranged when it makes sense.

We have an attached playroom for indoor imaginative play during breaks.  Younger students can use this when they finish a lesson and the older students are working more in-depth on a concept.

I have chosen to use mainly chalkboards instead of whiteboards because of the artistic qualities of the chalk medium.  Instead of Art being a subject in school, it is woven into each and every moment of learning.  We paint, draw, model and create every single day-- in every single subject.

I consider our securely fenced backyard a second 'classroom'.  Here we garden, play, interact with Kolachi (the Therapy Dogs International certified school dog), play, build, exercise and play some more.

Our other classrooms are found in nature.  We spend a lot of time at Carpenter Nature Center (the photo from the website header was taken there), observing the changing seasons firsthand.  We have discovered special little natural nooks and crannies in the neighborhoods surrounding the house, and visit them often.  Each morning starts with a nature walk (or bike or scooter) that undoubtedly leads to imaginative play linked to our surroundings. 

Classroom Elements

Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of essential oil.  Inhaled oils have long been studied for their ability to enhance feelings of relaxation, encouragement, excitement, focus, and well-being. Additionally, diffused oils may support a healthier indoor environment

A classroom diffuser spreads wonderful scents through the air.  We select the day's oils based on current temperaments, outside weather, and lesson plans.

Each student is also given a diffuser necklace to be kept in the classroom.  They are encouraged to choose a personal scent that will help their focus or enhance their mood from a selection of essential oils.

Natural Materials

Natural materials, such as sheepskin, tree branches and bare wood, bring in the feeling of peace we find outside.

We use these natural materials to stimulate and develop sensory processing in all of our students.  Sitting on a sheepskin rug stimulates a tactile response.  Sitting UNDER a sheepskin rug simulates a weighted blanket-- it 
lowers the heart rate, blood pressure and creates a sense of calm.

 Natural loose parts in the classroom (for use as manipulatives) and the playroom (for use in play) afford an array of open-ended learning opportunities, such as building, sorting, counting, and dramatic play. 

Crystals and Minerals

Healing gemstones and crystals play an important role in physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. They are a beautiful aspect of our natural world.

Children have a profound and innate connection to the healing attributes and energies of stones and crystals.  We have a large variety of crystals strewn about the classroom for discovery and use.

 Each type of stone has its own unique talent and area of focus. Shapes, colors, and textures all carry a special meaning. If a student is drawn to a specific crystal, they are invited to keep it on or near their desk.

Our animal friends-

Kolachi- German Shepherd
Kolachi, Canine Good Citizen, Therapy Dog International, is my teaching assistant.  She oversees all nature walks, as well as all main floor and outside activity.
Sven- Florida White Rabbit
Sven the bunny joined our school in February of 2018.  He enjoys joining the students for math when they settle down on the large rug.  He only nibbles on their homework occasionally.  
Freyja- New Zealand White Rabbit
Freyja the bunny joined our school in December of 2018.  She became instant friends with her roomate, Sven.  She loves eating spelling homework and solving complicated math problems involving hay and carrots.
Carl-  Dk Grey Tabby Cat
Carl loves to be around during art.   He once left tiny green paint footprints all the way down the stairs to the classroom.  We think he wanted to create an installation piece about the important role of ship's cats during the War of 1812.
Ingeborg- Brown Tabby Cat
Ingeborg can usually be convinced that snuggling in a fuzzy blanket is a good idea.  Her favorite food is popcorn. She specializes in morning snack.  
Bjorn- Grey Tabby Cat
Bjorn is the most malleable and snuggly of all our school cats.  He loves curling up on a sheepskin pillow next to our students when they work. He is interested in studying the cats of the Viking era, and is working on growing his whiskers long enough to braid.
Tag- Grey Tabby Cat
Tag is an independent soul who enjoys encouraging the students by sitting on their feet when they give oral presentations.  He also loves stealing pencils and small toys, as well as playing 'chase the rabbit' during math lessons.
Gilligan- Betta
Gilligan watches all from his watery throne.  He enjoys swimming up to the top of the tank for a chat from time to time.