Archive for April, 2015

Cool Camp Wrap-up

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Last night we wrapped up Cool Camp with a campfire and some much-anticipated s’mores. We all shared compliments with each other, and our youngest first-time camper Henry (Age 6) had some beautiful things to say. As he told me this morning, “At the last campfire when we do compliments, I complimented everybody for being so nice and kind at cool camp. Everyone was just being so good, and it looked like really fun stuff was going on, and everyone looked really happy, especially at night because everyone likes sleeping.”

To encourage reflection and sharing the Cool Camp experience, the students each wrote a letter to someone about their experiences at Camp. As one child put it, “We’ll share what is in our heart about Cool Camp.” Some chose to write to their parents, some to their siblings, and some to “a future Cool Camper.” A lot of thought and work went into these letters. Maddie found some time before breakfast away from the group to work on her letter:


Maya’s (age 6) letter to her mom is below. To see a few more examples click here. 


When we got back to KMS this afternoon the Campers were excited to share their letters with their friends and families, and were effusive in talking about their experiences at Camp. They’re already thinking ahead to returning next time! As I said at our campfire last night, I feel so lucky to have found a school that values these kinds of irreplaceable outdoors experiences. Long Live Cool Camp!


Cool Camp: Fifth Grader Edition

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Today was another amazing Cool Camp day. At this point in the trip you notice the team really coming together and sharing their “Cool Camp Spirit.” We’re also nearing the end, and for our fifth graders that comes with some sadness and nostalgia. Some of them have been here nine or ten times, growing from being the youngest to the oldest, mirroring their time in the mixed-age Elementary program.

The fifth graders offered to cook dinner for everyone on their last night.

It’s so special to see the bonds shared within the group, both between ages and especially amongst the oldest kids who have known each other for years. Compared to summer camps where kids only come together for a week or two at a time, the bonds that are forged in the wilderness and are able to be carried back to civilization are deep and visible. We closed the night with a campfire, and the fifth graders had some time to themselves at the end of the night to reflect on their experiences here.


Soren, Logan, Nina, and Isaac – KMS Graduating Fifth Graders at Cool Camp

As Soren said, “A message I’d send to future campers is that Cool Camp is awesome. Make sure to enjoy it while you’re here because it won’t last for long.”

Cool Camp: Day Two

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The Reggio ideal of documentation involves observing, deep noticing, and active listening during our experiences, followed by reflection afterwards. With this mindset I came to Cool Camp armed with a camera, a pencil, and wide open eyes and ears. It has been incredible to capture moments of discovery, and use the documentation to discuss with the children afterwards. This real-world learning is so beautiful, and the conversations will be continued even after we return to KMS. What follows are three short interviews from both brand new and experienced Cool Campers.

Maddie, Age 8 (first time camper)

“I was excited because everyone said there was going to be no water but then there was water. I learned that when you get a leaf and put it in water and put it on something, you can see through it. I thought it was cool that we got to see animals like frogs, turtles, and horses. I also thought it was cool that during the night I heard coyotes and a horse coming through near where we were sleeping.”


“This is me at the river, jumping from rock to rock, playing with Maya and Lola.”

 Lola, Age 7 (third time camper)

“When I first came here this porch had stairs that I remember because I came when I was a baby for my vacation. There was a lot of water so I played with my dad in the water. Now when I came it’s all dry, we went to the waterfall and we played in this little pond.”


 “I was having fun and being sweaty, playing around.”

Aedan, Age 8 (fifth time camper)

I love jumping from rock to rock, and discovering new things. Today I found out that you can make chalk from a certain type of rock. Cool camp is awesome!


“I was seeing through a leaf that was pretty awesome. It was clear, and I’ve never seen a leaf like that.”


I’m excited to share more of the voices and stories from this rich experience with the whole KMS community!



Cool Camp: Day One

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As a former camp counselor but a first-time Cool Camp teacher, I’m struck most immediately by the legacy being passed from experienced campers who have been here 4, 7, or even 9 times (!) to the brand new campers experiencing it for the first time. As we closed our opening meeting, Maya, a first-time camper, gave us a welcome speech perched upon a large rock:

IMG_4823“On my first day of Cool Camp I want to say I know that we’ll have fun even with the horse poop. Because that’s life. My hope for Cool Camp is for everyone to have fun.”


As we wrapped up at the end of the day, some of the more experienced campers shared wishes and guidance for the newer ones. Nina shared this wisdom, “Sometimes when you’re trekking along the river and you notice small things, you’re noticing the things that pop out but aren’t actually important. If you just stop, and look around, you’ll see those small things and then you’ll start to notice bigger things that are more hidden, and more interesting.”

I can’t wait to notice these hidden interesting things with Cool Campers new and old. Long Live Cool Camp!




“I’ll Write Your Name!”

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“I’ll write your name! Tell me the letters and I’ll write it for you.” –Penelope


For more from the week in Pumpkins click here! 

Happy Earth Day!

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Here at KMS we treat every day like it’s Earth Day by caring for our environment, eating healthy organic foods, and taking care of our beautiful garden. Last weekend we had a very fun and productive Garden Day where families from Peaches to Upper Elementary came together and worked in our outdoor areas to clobber clutter, fight weeds, build new planter boxes, and resurface Dirt Mountain. Uma, a second year Kindergartener, had the vision of creating some kind of garden art to go in our newly landscaped front garden. Her idea began with the idea of building a cob house, this changed to many other ideas, and it finally materialized into a mosaic tortoise sculpture!


First Grader Lola helps layer cement on our mosaic tortoise sculpture, with help from a KMS Parent.

Click here to see more photos from Garden Day! 

Fight The Forces of Entropy!

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Randall Johnson: Fighting the Forces of Entropy (at KMS) since 1985!

I was looking forward to seeing my fellow scientists at this weekend’s KMS Summer Camp get together from 10 am-noon. Unfortunately, I will be battling entropy at an emergency dental appointment.  Here is a series of photos from our acid/base experiments-a favorite experiment that we do at every summer session.

Special Guest Scientist on Saturday: My Esteemed Colleague, Felix!


Hope To See You There! 

Join us for our Summer Camp Meet & Greet!!

Saturday, April 18th, 10 am – 12 pm

2 hours of FREE summer fun.  Bring your friends, neighbors, and yourselves to meet fellow campers and counselors, explore KMS and sample camp activities.

Sign-up so we know you’re stopping by.


We have a few slots available click here to register for Summer Camp.


How Do We See?

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“You can’t see the object, you just see light…  

You see the light that is bouncing off the object.” -Amitai


The Upper Elementary Students have been studying the science of color. Click here to read more.



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For photos from the week in Peach Palace, click here! 

 Asako: “Where is Giuliana? Where did she go??”  Giuliana giggled under the yellow helmet.

Giuliana: “Eeeeeeee, Ahhh!!!!” Giuliana lifts the helmet off her head.

Asako: “There she is!”

Giuliana: Laughing, hands Asako the helmet to put it back on her head and continue the game.

Gardening with Sand (+More!)

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Danielle: We need one more flower for this garden!
Phoenix: I got a blue one!

For more photos from the week in preschool, click here!