The entire last week at the Village Free School was a series of activities, partly to send the year off with a bang, and partly I think to compensate for the fact that the school, living as it is in rented space, needed to be entirely packed up for the summer by the last day and therefore became increasingly barren of materials as the week went on. On Tuesday our vehicle joined a small caravan headed to a llama farm, where we got to feed and pet llamas and watch (from a distance) a new baby llama. The baby was adorable; the other llamas were cautiously friendly; and Mica, who is fascinated at this age with the concept of other creatures, went absolutely nuts whenever we got close to a llama. Waving her arms and bouncing in her sling and laughing excitedly… It’s a good thing these were pretty laid-back llamas.
Wednesday the school had rented an inflatable obstacle course, which was set up in the parking lot outside the building. “I’d hate for other schools to feel bad about themselves,” I heard someone say as we watched the course being inflated, “but free school rocks.” The entire school was lined up when the course opened, cheering on each person who went in. Nathan and Ryan were a little hesitant about joining in during the initial mob, but after the first rush, activity slowed down and mostly centered around the younger kids, and they both got in a bunch of runs. Meanwhile I set up a suminigashi station in another area. At first business was slow, but as people got their fill of the obstacle course a few of them wandered over to try it out. Probably only half a dozen kids really got into it, but it was fun to watch them work on it.
My boys declined heading to the coast with the school on Thursday, which I thought was sort of insane, but they were adamant. Probably they’d have gone if I’d gone with them, but I wasn’t quite up for that long of a drive with Mica. But on Friday we finished out the year with one last day at the school. I offered a tie-dye activity which probably fifteen to twenty people took me up on, and which went very well despite Mica’s help. Crucially, several other adults stepped in to help with things, and I also had the chance to appreciate how willing the students were to take charge of certain aspects. With my hands often full of baby, I had good reason to demo things and then let a student or two become the local experts on that technique. I definitely counted it as a success, especially since several kids told me that want me to repeat it sometime, maybe at the back-to-school camp out in fall.
And with that, our schedule has shifted. Two days a week at VFS seemed to fill up our time disproportionately; now I have the blank slate of summer to work with, and it feels wide open and full of possibilities.