Next Open House: Saturday, April 30th!

OPEN HOUSE ~ Saturday, April 30 ~ 10 am to 12:30 pm

Following on the heels of our wonderful Open House in March, our next one will be April 30. Please help spread the word!

Campus tours and time to ask questions of faculty, staff, and parents.

Children are welcome, with two walks through the fields and forest at 11am and noon and ongoing guided art activities.

  • 10:30am – Grades walk-through, including a sample lesson.
  • 11:15am - Guided walk
  • 11:30am – Early Childhood classroom visits to speak with teachers and parents and learn about our programs, including Farm and Forest, Little Lambs childcare, and Montpelier Child’s Garden.
  • 12:00am - Guided walk

Contact Morgan Irons with any questions!

Grade 6 Business Math Block - An Anchor for the Future

Just before February break, Grade 6 completed their Business Math/Economics Block. The class traced the evolution of money from self-sufficiency and bartering to the currency we use today, and delved into percents, their relationship to fractions and decimals, and their role in discounts, taxes, and profits.

They then put this learning right to practical use, as each student designed a business and guessed at the costs of running it. They also learned a bit about how to promote their business by making posters, writing a classified ad, and preparing notes for a radio interview. On the accounting end, each student received a checkbook and register and learned how to use them, and received a ‘monthly salary’ to use to pay all of their bills (mortgage, phone/internet, gas for the car, groceries, etc.). With the money left in their accounts, the students made spending decisions and purchased hypothetical goods from the other businesses - i.e. skirts from the clothing store, a car from the auto dealer (after calculating the monthly payment they could afford), a meal from the café, etc.

Grade 6 Teacher Libby Case remarked that this block was another opportunity “to build a sort of anchor in the students to attach things to. For instance, when we teach Greek history the students don’t delve into all of it, but when they go to college they have something to draw from to build that new learning upon.”

The students wrapped up the block with a Snack Store the last few days before break, using their new skills in a store setting. Snacks were purchased in bulk and a markup was chosen; profits from the sale will be donated to the Orchard School of Montreal. The school visited OVWS last fall and shared that many of the students are quite poor and lack the funds to bring snacks to school, so the school solicits donations from stores to provide this for their students. “We thought that by selling snacks here we could provide them with snacks there,” said Libby Case. As a result of the students’ efforts, they earned $100 that they’ll be sending to Orchard School in Montreal.

When school resumes after break, the 6th Grade will visit VSECU in Montpelier to learn how the credit union works.

Woodworking as a Medium for Self-Discovery

Seated in a circle on the braided rug on the floor in the Maple Tree Kindergarten class, 17 children watch as Heinz works with one child on his woodworking project. The children are making buttons from moosewood (called that because moose love to rub their antlers on these trees – a fact the children love, Heinz says) and they are rapt as they watch the hand drill spinning round, waiting for their turn.

Heinz Rathmann has been teaching woodworking for 21 years now, and this is his fourth year at OVWS. He works with grades 4-8 as well as the Kindergarten. This is the second project for the Kindergarteners; with the first, the children learned how to hit nails into a beautiful round of birch, striking the nails strong and true. Then they wound colorful string around the pattern of nails for a lovely piece that resembles a web.

Heinz says the value of woodworking is similar regardless of the children’s ages. They learn how to move with the tool, something that is as important for the Kindergartener as it is for the 8th grader. When this work is positively expressed, Heinz says, it forms a healthy dance as the work and the movement flow with the tool. They also learn “patience and perseverance, and to strive for the best they can do,” he adds, something that comes forth during the physical act of creating an object.

The seventh graders are working on three-legged stools now during their woodworking guild. They are working with pine, and each stool seat is a work of art unique to the student creating it.

Heinz says that all of the students learn something in the process: Some start with creativity and learn patience; others may start with a greater level of patience and learn to express their creativity through working with the wood. And they always learn about themselves during the process.

For Heinz, that’s the wonderful part. “I love to see them grow and learn about themselves.”