Are you ready to party?!          

For the 10th year in a row, Floyd Mardi Gras is the best winters' night party you'll find in southwestern Virginia! Star of this year's show, Jordan Harman , will be joined by some of the region's best musicians, including George Penn , Janiah Allen , Willis Greenstreet , and Jamiel Allen , plus a host of special guests.     

Opening for Jordan is Her Majesty, which includes Blue Mountain School alum and daughter of one of the school's very first students, Lily Byler! Also on the main stage, Floyd's rock royalty, Music Road Company , and DJ Step round out the bill.  
But that's not all! The Voodoo Lounge upstairs features Jake Retting , Paul LeMay and David Hall , and Flirting with Chemicals . The Voodoo Lounge will host the Silent Auction to benefit Blue Mountain School. This is an opportunity to get your hands on some of the finest local wares and services that Floyd has to offer, as well as original artworks from regional artists.
Prior to the show, Chef Richard L. Perry returns to serve authentic cajun delights at the Krewe du Bleu Dinner , joined by some of the evening's top musicians. Tickets won't last for this exclusive event, so secure yours now. Dinner is 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. Tickets for dinner include entrance to the Ball and are $65. They can be purchased online or at the school. 

That's not all! Other features include a 50/50 Raffle ; save your Mardi Gras memories with friends at the Photographic Dreams Photo Booth; don't miss the Crowning of Floyd's Mardi Gras King & Queen ; and the Kiddy Gras Pajama Party , so your kids can party while you get your groove on. This kid's party is from 7:30 to midnight at the June Bug Center. Advance tickets for Kiddie Gras: $20, $15 for each additional child. Children can be registered online or at the school. 

Mardi Gras Costume Ball Ticket Price: Early Bird $20, Day of $25. Floyd Mardi Gras is an 18+ event. Tickets are available at Dogtown Roadhouse, Blue Mountain School, and online . Thank you to this year's sponsors, including Dogtown Roadhouse, Skyline National Bank, City Magazine, Photographic Dreams, Chef Richard Perry from Classic Caterers and Longfin Grill, Venture Out, and Ayurveda Posters.

Check out the Floyd Mardi Gras Facebook Event for up-to-date information on the evening!

Shelly Fox & Heidi Dickens
Shelly Fox
Heidi Dickens
Shelly says...

As the weather warms, our dormant dreams of improving our parking area and building spaces have begun to come alive again. We are eager to begin the next steps of both of these projects.

We knew that local contractors would be busy through the winter and into the spring of 2019, and that in our small organization a building project and parking lot project would take more time than would be true for a larger organization with someone on staff full time to oversee the process. Still, when we feel crunched for space and in need of a more organized parking lot, it can be difficult to wait for projects to be completed.

In the meantime, we have been working behind the scenes on our plans, talking with funders and donors, and making community connections to ease the process once we are able to begin the hands-on work that both the parking and building projects require.

Thank you, BMS community, for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as we take the steps we need to in the background, to further our projects and move toward our goal.

Heidi says...

"Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible."
-- Mary Oliver, Dog Songs 

We have certainly gotten a taste of Spring recently, and it has been delicious. A gentle reminder as the weather gets nicer and we all want to be outside more that we welcome your pets on campus. Please be sure your canine friends are on a leash and under their owners control at all times inside and out.  

And, we understand that sometimes you and your children do not want to leave our beautiful campus at the end of the school day and we invite you to linger. If you and your children are playing on the playground after school, out of courtesy and safety, please abide by the After-school Child Care program rules when interacting with children signed into the program. All children signed in to the After-school program must remain under the supervision of our accomplished and diligent After-school child care staff at all times. As a licensed child daycare facility, we operate under the rules and regulations of the Department of Social Services and we ask that your children follow these rules also. Please feel free to ask Ashleigh, Jeremiah, Stefi, Tammie, or Heidi for clarification on these rules. If you are curious about Virginia Standards for Child Day Centers, follow this link .

"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." ~Mary Oliver

Special Pickle Kids
Holly Haworth
Holly Haworth

For the last few weeks, we've been remembering the life and work of Mary Oliver, one of America's greatest poets, whose book American Primitive won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1983. Oliver wrote more than 25 books of poetry and a memoir. She said that walking in the woods during her rough childhood saved her life. "I did find the entire world in looking for something," she said in an interview. "I got saved by poetry. And I got saved by the beauty of the world." 
Oliver called poetry "very sacred" ... "a community ritual." Her poems spoke to our place in the whole web of life, how plants and animals are connected to our own souls. In her poems are small moments of connection that give heart. It was in nature that she found forgiveness--in skunk cabbage that she found " the secret name  of every death is life again," in wild geese that she found the world calling to us, announcing our place "in the family of things," in hummingbirds that she "visited all the shimmering, heart-stabbing questions without answers," in an owl that she knew she was "in touch with something real," in a moth that she discovered, "if you notice anything, it leads you to notice more and more."  For Oliver, attention was a religious practice. "I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement," she wrote in her poem "When Death Comes." 

Oliver's attention to the world is embodied in the mindfulness practices that we teach at Blue Mountain School. My students have talked about Oliver's life, read her poetry aloud, and then created visual art to accompany a particular Mary Oliver poem that they've chosen. Others in the school have also taken part in this activity.

We've begun to put together a Remembering Mary Oliver board on which we are sharing her poems and the art we've made to accompany them. Please take a moment to stop by the hallway in the large classroom building, read some of her words, and reflect on her life's work.
How I go to the woods
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
I don't really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.
I have been thinking
about living
like the lilies
that blow in the fields.

They rise and fall
in the edge of the wind,
and have no shelter
from the tongues of the cattle,

and have no closets or cupboards,
and have no legs.
Still I would like to be
as wonderful

as the old idea.
But if I were a lily
I think I would wait all day
for the green face

of the hummingbird
to touch me.
What I mean is,
could I forget myself

even in those feathery fields?
When Van Gogh
preached to the poor
of coarse he wanted to save someone--

most of all himself.
He wasn't a lily,
and wandering through the bright fields
only gave him more ideas

it would take his life to solve.
I think I will always be lonely
in this world, where the cattle
graze like a black and white river--

where the vanishing lilies
melt, without protest, on their tongues--
where the hummingbird, whenever there is a fuss,
just rises and floats away.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred-
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

TheˈfəNGkē Wolf Gang
Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan

As we head into the long stretch of the Winter's classroom, I feel interestingly excited about our "indoor" work. Don't get me wrong - I love being outside and look forward to Spring's warm pull towards the budding outdoors, but this feels like a great time in the school year to hunker down and "get to work." 

It seems as if the first semester was a time of foundational work - setting the scene, developing routines, getting to know the characters - and now we have a firm structure on which to build upon. Our days of late have been full of grammar studies, writing, history discussions, science experiments, times tables and fractions.....and it feels productive and fun. 

The students are ready (and were even asking) for this work, and what better time to focus on foundational academics than the cooler Winter days indoors. We are of course are still getting outside and observing the beauty that Winter has to offer, but our desks are being well used, and the students seem to be in sync with this classroom rhythm. 

Yellow Electric Wiggly Weasles
Shelly Sherman
Shelly Sherman

The Weasels have been talking about the character traits in people that they admire.  They named family and friends as those who best embody these words to them.

This conversation started when they were learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and his many admirable qualities. 

To continue this study they each did research on a person in history who made a significant difference in the world. Their quest was to find out about this person and name their admirable character traits.

As we wind up this unit, I will be asking the Weasels to reflect on the qualities they possess that are admirable and those they would like to continue to work on.

Reflecting on this unit of study, I am grateful to be working in a place where I can take the time to help my students think about, study, and discuss important ideas like this with an emphasis on self reflection and personal growth.

Golden Crystal Turquoise Dragons
Tammie Sarver
Tammie Sarver

The Golden Crystal Turquoise Dragons have had a peaceful start to our 2019!
We're delighted to have our new friend Phoenix join our classroom community. It's been a joy to witness my friends welcoming our new friend into our cohort!

Our classroom has spent time holding space for many peaceful and mindful concepts in the last few months. The Sip for Peace continued to inspire this learning path as we prepared for and experienced the Sip In. On Mindful Monday before the Sip In, Jagadisha left us with four words to inspire us: harmony, purity, respect, and tranquility.

We looked the words up in the dictionary, and we journaled about what harmony, purity, respect, and tranquility mean to each of us. As we learned about Dr. King, we learned about Sit Ins and about Peaceful Activism, and we created Prayer flags with our peaceful wishes for the world.    
We Sipped In with Jagadisha and Sarah and some of our families. When we returned to our classroom after the Sip In, we thought about Jagadisha's four words, and we reflected on ways we felt the four words during the Sip In. Then we listened to "Peace Train," and painted about our experiences.
The Sip for Peace was during Phoenix's first week at Blue Mountain School. While we were painting she shared her observation, "Painting with other kids and listening to music allows you to kind of get over yourself--and it's inspirational too."
The day inspired us so much, we continued our Peaceful explorations and representations into the next week. We were inspired to write acrostic poems and painted a new banner for our Peace Place.
P urity
E xcellent
A ltogether
C are
E lephants


L ovely
O hanna
V alentines
E ssential


J olly
O ath
Y ay!

The Golden Crystal Turquoise Dragons look forward to continuing to peacefully celebrate love and friendship during February.

Secret Magic Amberwings
Jenni Heartway
Jenni Heartway
Reasonable Risks

We all naturally want to keep our children as safe as possible. It is human nature. We want our offspring to safely thrive. But without reasonable risks we aren't allowing our children to work through challenges and develop perseverance.   

In the classroom, reasonable risk can take many forms: saying goodbye to a family member at drop off, writing words for the first time, asking a friend to play, feeling brave enough to read aloud in front of someone, or sharing a favorite book or science experiment with the class.

As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to help youngsters feel safe enough to take risks. We want them to trust that we will only leave them with people who care for them. We want them to believe us when we say they are writers, readers, scientists, and presenters because we so fervently believe in their ability.

I have been thinking about how project work is the perfect opportunity for reasonable risks. Our current project, creating a model of a town, allows for risks. Every building we create begins with a risk: Can I turn this box into a temple/candy shop/Air Force Base? We have also worked with glue guns, drills, and sharp scissors to create homes, business, and transportation.

It's been interesting to watch students approach these tools with a healthy respect. The risks abound, and the Amberwings are meeting the challenges head on!

We look forward to inviting others to see our town in the next month! Feel free to stop by and take a peek at the town in progress.

Blue Mountain Flying Unicorns
Stefi Schafer & Angie Barrett
Stefi Schafer
Angie Barrett

Playdough Power!

In the Early Childhood classroom, play is what we do, and what's more fun to play with than playdough! Recently we whipped up a fresh batch of homemade dough in several different colors and put it out as a morning choice for our friends.
Rolling, kneading, and stretching the dough are great excercise for our friends' finger and hand muscles. This work improves fine motor skills to help us get ready for writing.
One morning, we introduced several tools to the playdough table. Cutting, rolling, slicing, pounding, and squishing are great opportunities to learn how to use different objects and refine those fine motor skills!
This is also a fun way to explore different textures, shapes, and sizes and discover how to put them together in new ways. Some of our friends sculpted bird nests with eggs, pies, and even snow people!
To wrap up our playdough exploration, we brought out our Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys. Please meet one of our new classmates, Alien Potato Head Guy!

Sip for Peace
Sarah McCarthy & Jagadisha
Sarah McCarthy
For the second year, we celebrated Sip for Peace at Blue Mountain School. What a beautiful day sipping for peace with our kids and our community!
We started the morning with our youngest friends in the Early Childhood class. These friends, who range in age from 2.5 to 5, were completely engaged in the event. We began with some mindful breathing.

After tea and cookies were given to each friend, we practiced one minute of quiet sitting. Then we all enjoyed the wonderful food and drink together.

The rest of the classes visited throughout the day, and we crafted each experience for the different groups. The eldest group sat quietly for ten minutes!
We were very excited to have so many family members join us for these Sip Ins. It was a wonderfual way for us to share with them what we do in our enrichment classes.

In each group, we asked those gathered to share their wish or dream for the world. Some of these wishes were reflected on the prayer flags decorating the room.

For the last gathering of the day, we invited community members to join our students and their families. Our hearts were as filled as the room! Thank you for joining us dear Floyd community. A simple cup of tea to create more peace in our world. One sip at a time.

Forest Programs
Jenni Heartway & Tammie Sarver

Jenni Heartway
Tammie Sarver
Our Forest School program for homeschoolers is starting back up in March, and we have several spaces available. This program is for kids ages 7-11 and meets on Tuesdays from 9:00 to 12:00.

The program provides children with the opportunity to explore and engage with the outdoors and with others. Following the rhythm and routine of our Forest Kindergarten program, we allow older children to dig deeper into the outdoors using nature journaling, quiet reflection, and games. Stud ents will spend the entire morning outdoors in all types of weather.
There are two sessions remaining: Session 3: March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2; Session 4: April 9, 16, 30 and May 7, 14. The cost for the program is $125 for one session or $230 for both sessions.

Our Forest Kindergarten (ages 3-6) is currently full, but we are accepting names for the waiting list.

To register, please email or call 540-745-4234.

We hope you enjoyed reading the Indigo Messenger.

Be sure to  it to anyone you think may be interested.

Thank you,

The folks at

In This Issue

Feb 8: Snow Make-Up Day 
Feb 14: Special Person Tea
Feb 23: Mardi Gras
Feb 25-28: Mid-Winter Break  
March 4: Summer Camp Registration Begins
March 5: Forest School Session 3 Begins
March 8: Snow Make-Up Day and Forest Kindergarten Session 3 Begins
March 20: Spring Celebration and Open House -- Registration for 2019-2020 Begins 
March 29: Spring Conferences 
If you are arriving at school after 9:00 or picking up your child before 3:15, be sure to stop by the office to let us know.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meets regularly in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend. If you would like to learn more about the Board, please contact the office.   


In Gratitude We Thank

The Community Foundation of the New River Valley and The Spark Mill for inviting us to participate in their Non-Profit Accelerator Program.

The Osborne Family for filling in the potholes in our driveway.

Swallowtail Tea for donating tea for Sip for Peace.

Blue Ridge Florist for donating silk flowers for crafts and decorations.

Upon the Earth Services for keeping our parking areas safe for our families.

Zion Lutheran Church for allowing us to use their space for Sip for Peace.

A Little Monkey Business for allowing us to hang on their porch the peace flags we created on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

Citizens Telephone Cooperative for working tirelessly to help us update our networks.

Blue Ridge Accounting & Tax for keeping our books.  
Citizens Telephone Cooperative for donating internet services.
Clark Gas & Oil
for keeping us and our water toasty warm. 



Shopping on Amazon?

We encourage everyone to support local businesses whenever you can. However, if you find yourself shopping on Amazon, be sure to link your Amazon Smile setting to Blue Mountain School.

Also, if you use the link below each time you open Amazon, even more of your purchase will come back to BMS for our scholarship fund!
Going Krogering?

With all the wonderful and farm fresh food in Floyd, it's hard to imagine spending much time in Kroger, but if you find yourself there, please help the school earn a little extra for the scholarship fund.

Link your Kroger Card to BMS with the Community Rewards Program. Our Organization Number is QK830.

Blue Mountain School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091