Happy Fall Y'all!
We have so much to share since our last newsletter.
The Mountain SOL School has been a great success! There is something so satisfying and fulfilling about taking youth outside to experience their natural surroundings. As soon as we step outside of the building and onto the grass the children switch their role from student to explorer-adventurer extraordinaire. Curiosity unfolds and excitement about new trees, animal tracks, insects, and flowers becomes contagious.
I like to refer to this quote from Richard Louv, an author well known for creating the term "nature-deficit disorder" as well as his books on the importance of connecting children with the outdoors. In his book Last Child in the Woods, he discusses scientific research linking nature play with increased physical, emotional, and mental health.
"Numerous studies document the benefits to students from school grounds that are ecologically diverse and include free play areas, habitats for wildlife, walking trails, and gardens."
The Mountain SOL School is thankful to be working in partnership with Morgantown Learning Academy (MLA). MLA has an outdoor classroom, two streams running through the property, a school garden, and a beautiful area of woods behind the school that is filled with trails. Our after-school programs go outside and explore the woods each week. The Mountain Jaguares and Mountain Mallards develop new, secret hideouts and trails, practice what to do if a bear approaches, track animals, and play games to practice being stealthy all while learning important skills in mapping and navigation. We also take all MLA students outside once each week to incorporate outdoor education into the subjects they are currently learning. So far we have had a unit in team building skills in physical education and we are currently providing lessons in wildlife habitat. We can't thank MLA staff enough for their enthusiasm, participation, and support.
We would like to thank all of our supporters for your encouragement and help through these first few months. Through donations from our supporters we were able to provide a scholarship to a Mountain SOL student. We couldn't have done it without you! We look forward to many years of fun, laughter, and adventures with the Mountain SOL School.
See you in the woods!
President, Aurora Lights