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This week many of our students are participating in Key Experiences.  These experiences are designed to challenge students, take them out of their comfort zone, and to build community amongst students and faculty. 

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Students at Great River report a deep connection to the community at the school. We intentionally engage in key experiential learning trips that take students out of their normal learning environment and out into new experiences in the world. We call these expeditions “Key Experiences”. The novel environment and shared sense of discovery among the group creates a key experience of shared vulnerability. This shared vulnerability of self, combined with responsibility for one another and the group, bonds the cohort of students together through overcoming shared challenges. 

Elementary trips include travel to farms and local sites for 1st-3rd grade, and overnight camping for 4th-6th grades. Junior high experiences include extended travel across the country, overnight trips, shared projects of producing a theater production, and essential work of running a real business (bike shop or cafe), as well as biking 100 miles together over the course of 4-5 days. The high school experiences travel overnight and focus on real agricultural work, visits to colleges and postsecondary options, and expeditionary trips focused on leadership. These experiences create a shared sense of responsibility for the group and the community and help to establish a strong foundation of interpersonal connection.

Beyond the classroom, however, our key experience trips provide a model for experiential learning where students are engaged in field trips, real-world experiences, community service, internships with professional settings, expert mentor visits in a discipline of interest, and civic engagement while at the same time working to master state standards through their works. Rather than spending time addressing social-emotional growth and separate time mastering state academic standards, Great River School structures learning to accomplish both at the same time. These settings are an integrated part and anchor for curriculum. 

When a student is both in a real world setting and completing standard-aligned academic content, efficiency and multiple benefits are gained. Our overnight trips, camping, and intensives which formally occupy two dedicated weeks per year, are landmarks of the real word experiences that we seek to integrate into our everyday learning.

We can't wait to share pictures from the fall 2017 Key Experiences! 

Posted
AuthorRachel Damiani

"I think nearly all new families to Great River School are here, this is fantastic!” - D.Martinez, PEG Chair

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Close to 100 individuals (parents, grandparents, guardians, and siblings of incoming Great River students) attended the annual Welcome Night at Horton Park this past August 10th. Everyone who attended had a color-coded name tag based on their grade level, which made it easier to identify potential classmates. While parents and guardians interacted with each other, students could be seen climbing trees or playing a variety of games provided by the Parent Engagement Group (PEG). Pickle Ball was a crowd favorite, with the final game ending just after 8:15pm.

Midway through the event, David Martinez, PEG Chair, and Sam O’Brien, Head of School, welcomed everyone and encouraged attendees to get to know each other…..which they did! Overall, the event was a tremendous success and the entire PEG team was pleased to see so many new families in attendance. The rain showers just prior to the event had a few event organizers worried, but the sun made it’s way out just minutes prior to the start of Welcome Night.

Welcome Night is PEG’s kickoff event, so everyone was very excited to have such great momentum to kickoff the school year. The Parent Engagement Group consists entirely of parent volunteers and there is always a need for additional support. If you are interested in serving in a leadership role, in a volunteer capacity, or as a general member of Great River School’s Parent Engagement Group, please send an email to peg@greatriverschool.org. For additional information regarding PEG, please visit: http://www.greatriverschool.org/peg/ or contact your grade/level ambassador below:

Lower Elementary:

Upper Elementary:

Adolescents:

-David Martinez, PEG Chair

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AuthorGreat River School Newsletters

A1 Families had the opportunity to get acquainted over dessert on August 15th at PEG's first A1 Social of the school year! 

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There was a good turnout of students and parents at Newell Park in Saint Paul - and finally, no rain!  PEG A1 Ambassadors Heather Thomas & Etta Dreher presented information, fielded questions and showed examples of A1 student gear. Specifically, they showed parents the 3" zippered binder and a mess kit, two necessary pieces of equipment for trips.

The students played games and did a few ice breakers on their own.  The next A1 Social will be during the Odyssey on September 12th, 7-9pm at Half Time Rec in Saint Paul.

-Etta Dreher, PEG A1 Ambassador

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AuthorGreat River School Newsletters
CategoriesA1, PEG

See our Signup Genius page to view all opportunities!

About Harvest Fest

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Harvest Fest is our annual family fall festival. This year it takes place on Saturday, October 7th from 2-5pm. We serve "Stone Soup" where the broth is made by students, and you bring the ingredients! We need face painters, soup servers, bread bringers, and help with setup and takedown. Thanks in advance for helping to make Harvest Fest a success! 

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AuthorGreat River School Newsletters
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The elementary community gathered together the morning of September 9th to transform the remodeled rooms into rich and layered Montessori environments. Over 60 Parent volunteers and more than 20 student volunteers contributed to a hugely successful day moving in all the Montessori materials and furniture. In just 60 hours, our first phase of remodel was transformed into 8 Montessori environments ready for Elementary back to school night! The Montessori environment is the primary tool for our educational program, and we cannot thank enough each person who came to lighten the burden on September 9th!

This year is one of carefully planned growth for the elementary. In addition to welcoming new first and fourth year students to our community, the  elementary program has added 7 experienced guides to the great river family, and 10 brilliant additional new staff to our program this year. We are so full of gratitude for the amazing attention, hard work, collaboration, and resourceful wisdom of our teachers, staff and supportive families and volunteers. This community truly is one that is built and grown renewed each year, as the seasons bring opportunities to build relationships with old friends, acquaintances and new people! 

Below are some resources regarding Montessori philosophy and practice for you to go deeper into understanding what lies just beneath the shelves of inviting sensory materials. 

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How Montessori differs in its aims

https://amiusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ami-usa-montessori-vs.-mainstream2.pdf

Montessori from a parent perspective

https://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori

Separating/Letting Go

Stories highlighting the gift of letting go of our children at different stages

https://amiusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/amiusa-the-greatest-love.pdf

Role of Parent

Useful resource for setting limits while giving choice at home

http://www.mariamontessori.com/2013/12/18/a-parents-role-how-it-differs-from-that-of-a-guide/

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AuthorGreat River School Newsletters