On The Land aims to connect students with their environment through the practice of growing food, exploring the forest, caring for animals, and physically engaging their bodies through games derived from the Waldorf Movement curriculum. On The Land has its own full-time teacher who develops and teaches the curriculum that each class enjoys during the class, which meets once a week for 1½ hours throughout the school year.
Each grade, or combined grade-level class, follows a particular theme in their work for the year, although all of the classes include the practice of sit-spots. While the practice of sit-spots is brought to each class in a unique way, the purpose is help students gain a sense of awareness of the world around them through observation and reflection.
On The Land Themes
Grades 1 and 2, as well as combined class 2/3, focus on Cycles. This theme is examined through forest sensory exploration, garden planting, tending, harvesting and feasting, chick hatching, and cooperative games.
The theme for combined classes 3/4 and 4/5 is Interdependence. Students will spend time looking at the relationships between plants in the garden, harvest and composting, the life of trees, and maple sugaring.
Combined classes 5/6 and 6/7 focus on Diversity. This is explored through wildlife tracking, animal husbandry, soil science, and an interactive study of the native populations of Vermont.
The theme for classes 7/8, and 8 is Systems. Students learn the art of permaculture and use their experience at Orchard Valley to build a vision for future sustainability. Through community service and a look at global food and local food justice, students have the opportunity to engage with members of the broader community who dedicate their time to living and working in harmony with their environment.