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Upper Elementary at Red Gate Farm

Author: Sarah Young, Director of Elementary and Middle School

Reflecting on the Upper Elementary field trip to Red Gate Farm, it is evident that the experience held a strong connection to Montessori principles and practices. The week-long, overnight trip served as a “going out” right of passage for the students, providing them with a unique opportunity to work together, problem solve, and exercise their independence in a new and different environment. By engaging in authentic work activities such as preparing meals, caring for animals, and maintaining the environment, the students were able to understand the interconnectedness of their actions and the impact they have on sustaining the farm and the surrounding nature. This hands-on experience fostered a sense of responsibility and appreciation for the work that goes into maintaining a sustainable ecosystem, aligning with Montessori values of practical life skills and environmental stewardship.

Throughout the trip, the students were immersed in a variety of activities and tasks that encouraged collaboration, communication, and self-directed learning. From participating in community meetings and team-building exercises to engaging in farm work and electives, the students were able to explore their interests, develop new skills, and build a sense of community with their peers and the farm staff. The emphasis on reflection and appreciation for one another during community meetings further reinforced valuing individual contributions and fostering a culture of respect and gratitude within the community.

The culmination of the trip showcased the growth and learning that occurred during the week at Red Gate Farm. From completing final chores and receiving special “tokens” symbolizing their contributions to the farm team, to saying goodbye to the animals and staff with appreciation, the students were able to reflect on their experiences, express gratitude, and take away meaningful keepsakes to remember their time on the farm. This reflection and closure process ties back to Montessori principles of fostering autonomy, self-reflection, and a sense of connection to the environment and community.