An 18-Day Rural Experience for Adolescents
In Dr. Maria Montessori’s Erdkinder (“children of the earth”) essay, she prescribed a rural center of study and work for adolescents where they could prepare for their roles in society through practical experience living in community and participating in the essential work of production and exchange on a working farm. She believed that a transformation to a more peaceful world requires a fundamental shift in the way teenagers are educated. The Land School offers a center of study and work that Dr. Montessori envisioned in the context of today’s world. Farm Stays help Junior High students connect the work of the hand with the work of the head in meaningful ways.
The Farm Stay is an integral part of the LCS Junior High program. Students spend time working, learning, and living on our rural campus. The program is a combination of project-based work, hands-on activities, time spent outdoors, scientific exploration, community formation and self-expression.
Features of the Farm Stay
The focus of the Farm Stay is on the practical work and seasonal rhythm of the farm. Students spend 18 days learning and living at our rural campus, focusing on five primary endeavors:
Intentional community life is at the heart of the Farm Stay experience with each student having a necessary and interdependent role within it. Each day there are opportunities for individuals to show small and large acts of leadership within the community through daily chores, cook crews, mentor groups, group challenges, community meetings, and group games.
Outdoors and Rural Experience
As Dr. Montessori expressed, students need daily opportunities to truly be "children of the earth." We nurture a true sense of kinship with the farm, the outdoors, and the rural people and places of food production.
Occupations and Microeconomy
Students do meaningful work such as organic farming and maple sugaring, learn the history and purpose behind their work, and participate in the economy of the farm businesses at the Land School. In addition, they host seasonal community events, including the Harvest Festival, Craft Fair, Pancake Breakfast and Spring Planting Day. Each event forms the basis for concurrent academic inquiry and hands-on learning.
The Farm Stay has a strong science focus rooted in seasonal ecological exploration of the land. The diverse habitats of western Wisconsin provide the ideal place for hands-on scientific discovery.
The Farm Stay offers many opportunities for creative expression through language arts, physical activities, drama and music, inspired by the rural surroundings and guided by the students' interests and the adults who support them in this process.
A Typical Day
- Morning Farm chores and breakfast
- Morning lessons and work period (project-based occupations and microeconomy, science, math, meal preparation)
- Afternoon Lunch
- Indoor activities (such as book club, woodworking, crafts, yoga)
- Outdoor activities (hiking, bird-watching, farm work, and other physical activities)
- Clean-up and chores
- Dinner preparation or free time
- Evening Dinner
- Study time
- End-of-day gathering
Schedule & Cost
Farm Stays are an optional program within the Junior High experience and students may choose one 18-day Farm Stay each school year. Each Farm Stay has a seasonal focus with one student-hosted community event. An additional fee of $300 per participating student is assessed.
- Fall Harvesting: October 17 – November 3, 2016
- Winter Activities & Crafts: November 28 - December 15, 2016
- Maple Sugaring: February 21 – March 10, 2017
- Spring Planting: April 17 – May 4, 2017