Don't let the weather fool you; it's time to think about summer. Or more specifically, summer camp!

In addition to four great weeks of camps for kids ages 2.5 to 12, we are also offering a session just for tweens and young teens! Check out our website to learn more about  Sensational, Secret Hideouts; Big, Messy Art; Fantastical Outdoor Creations; Barefoot (Boot) Camp; and Earthly Magic.


We'd also like to invite you to our Open House on March 26th. Keep your eyes open on Facebook and in email for more information about this fun family event and about registration for 2015-16. 


Stay tuned to your email and our Facebook group for more information and pictures.

Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett


In February, we were happy to welcome John (Andy) Anderson, his wife Jami, and their baby daughter Agnes into our school community. Andy is teaching our oldest class, The Fellowship. Corey, who has been teaching the class since October, has returned to her position as an Enrichment Teacher, focusing on Service Learning. We are all grateful to Corey for her flexibility, patience, and thoughtfulness in working with The Fellowship over the last few months, and we welcome Andy and his contributions to The Fellowship and the wider community!


In the process of introducing Andy's family to our school, I was reminded of how unique BMS is. As a small school in a small town, we are privileged to have the opportunity to truly know each other in a deeper way than is able to happen in a larger community. Because our school's foundation is based on building positive, strong relationships with our students and families, the commitment our teachers and staff have to our students is not limited to the classroom or even only to time spent at school.


Intertwined as we all are within the broader Floyd community, our teachers and staff often spend time outside of school supporting the families that are a part of our school, too, and vice versa. This is what it means to be part of the BMS community: our commitment to each other isn't just contained to Monday through Thursday from 9am to 3pm. Instead, it stretches beyond the usual limits. It is this long-term commitment that truly sets BMS apart and makes our school community as vibrant and strong as it is.

The Fellowship
Corey Avellar
Corey Avellar


I have had a wonderful time working with The Fellowship the last few months! I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know these terrific kids better, and I look forward to seeing them on Thursdays for Service Learning!

Mad Scientists
Shawna Williams & June Kelly 
Shawna Williams
June Kelly


Shawna says..

My first Special Person Tea lived up to my expectations and even exceeded them! The Mad Scientists worked hard to create decorations and to set the tables to prepare for their guests. After seating their guests, the students served their special people tea and treats.
Not all the treats were for eating, though. The Mad Scientists and their friends and family worked together to create stories using conversation heart candies.

June says...

The Mini Mad Scientists continue to work on building fluency by spending time reading, listening to recorded stories, and completing comprehension activities. We are discussing the difference between fiction and non-fiction and exploring story elements such as character, setting, and plot. The children played sorting games about the states of matter and simple machines on the magnetic board and played a matching game with digital and analog clocks. They also enjoyed making patterns with various materials and experimented with simple patterns and growing patterns. Use of Unifix cubes and place value blocks helps students grasp the concept of regrouping while adding and subtracting.

Hatching Playful Dragons
Hari Berzins & June Kelly 
Hari Berzins
June Kelly


Hari says...


Earlier this year, I shared our daily routine in the Indigo Messenger. I'm happy to say that our rhythm is still clicking along in this familiar way. When I look back on this school year, I am filled with joy because it has worked out so well for our class. Honestly, we had a bit of anxiety about having a class full of boys, but these feelings subsided after a successful start and a solid routine. These guys are thriving and have done a wonderful job welcoming our new students, Gaby and Isobel, into the class!

Why are routines so important? "Routines give children a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline," says Dr. Laura Markham. This self-discipline shows up in our classroom every day. Because the students know the structure of our activities so well, they are able to exhibit independence in their work. There have been many moments when the Dragons have done exactly what they are supposed to without even being told. For example, if I make it up to the classroom a few minutes late after recess, everyone is already in his rest spot quietly resting. And one morning recently, Wubi wrote the morning message for us when he noticed we hadn't gotten to it yet.

Because we implemented a solid routine early in the year, and we've stuck with it, the kids are able to move through the day with a deep sense of security, and this allows for the flow of ideas, the deepening of relationships, and amazing leaps in learning. 

As a parent and a teacher, I know how hard it is to stick to a routine. Sometimes, I'm tempted to throw out the routine because I feel bored with it, but I'm convinced of the importance of a structured routine at home and school. When I feel the excitement lagging in the classroom, it's not the routine that needs changing, but the activities and topics within the routine.

Recently, June and I noticed the students weren't as excited about our morning activities as they used to be, so we came up with a simple activity to add to our morning Language Arts period. The structure of our day remains the same, but we injected a shot of novelty with a daily themed art project.

Introducing Marker Mondays, Texture Tuesdays, Watercolor Wednesdays, and Thumbprint Thursdays! 

Each day we put out the art materials, and the students create a piece of art and then write an artist's statement about their piece. This engaged creative time is a great way to encourage writing, and the Dragons are making giant steps. (Special thanks to Jenni Heartway for the idea!)

For more information about routines, check out this article: Structure: Why Kids Need Routines.

Did you see the Dragons on the front page of The Floyd Press? If you missed it, you can read about our recent service-learning project here.

June says...
Between winter break and weather closings, we didn't have many school days in February, but we did have some busy days preparing for the special person tea and Mardi Gras. The Dragons made place mats for their guests and decorations for the room.

They also showed their creative flair making a variety of masks for Mardi Gras. The students' quilt squares from an earlier project, were made into a quilt/wall hanging for the silent auction.

Invisible Magic Horses
Stefi Schafer & Ashley Morales
Stefi Schafer
Ashley Morales

We spent the first part of February preparing for the Special Person Tea. We made an
invitation for our special people:

This is for the Special Person Tea. You can please come if you don't mess up the
classroom. Please come, but don't eat everything. The tea is on Thursday, February 12 at 2:15. We will have tea. You should come. Just don't throw stuff off the table, not the pretty glasses because they will break.

Since we have really been interested in story telling and puppet shows, we came up with a story and puppet show for our special day.

Our Special Person Story

Once upon a time there were a fish (Stefi), a bear (Neave), a mermaid (Vivi), and a racoon (Sully). Then a ballerina (Juniper) came along with a princess (Wren), a fish (Carter), another fish (Casey), a duck (Lemuel), a dolphin (Dorothy), a turtle (Jax), a Unicorn (Meena), and a Fairy (Louisa). They were traveling in a Volkswagen Van until it broke down so they got out and got into a school bus (Neave) to have cake (Vivie) to celebrate the mermaids birthday. Magically, outside the bus, the landscape changed into a tropical island (Sully). They ate so much cake that they got sick (Juniper), so they went to the house (Wren) to rest. They decided to eat some tacos (Carter), but they were as spicy hot as a volcano (Casey). Then they went to a tree (Lemuel), and there was fruit falling from the sky (Dorothy) that made them silly and crazy (Jax). Then a snow storm (Mena) came and made them cry (Louisa), so they went to the Blue Mountain Special Person Tea to make themselves happy again (Stefi). The End

We also thought of words that are loving, and decorated our chalk board with them:

Heart, Kisses, Family, "Valentimes," Sweetheart, Pink, Snuggles, Amore, "Happy Balentines Day," Hello, Jumping, Kindness, Hugs, Pink, Charming, Hello.

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy


I wanted to share some books that I use in yoga. I treasure children's books and still continue to collect them even as my child gets older. I love kids' books for the creative illustrations, the fun and joy they invoke, the simple lessons they share, and the quiet they offer children as we gather around and read together. When I pull out a book in my class, eyes open wider, excitement is in the air, and everyone gets closer together. I love that!  


I try to read books that cover a wider spectrum of wisdom traditions and cultures. We have read Christian, Jewish, Native American, Hindu, Buddhist, Latin American, Russian, and African stories and more. I want to widen the diversity, so if you have book to recommend please let me know.  


Here are a few of my favorites: 


The Legend of Bluebonnet Retold by Tomie DePaola ( all ages!)

A beautiful story about community and sacrifice by the Comanche tribe.


Chinese Fables: The Dragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom by Shiho S. Nunes (ages 5 and up)

Great short stories on values and wisdom from the Chinese traditions.


Forever Friends by Carin Berger (ages 3-7)  

A short picture book on friendship.


Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman (all ages!)

Cute story about interconnectedness with lots of fun animal friends.


Zen Ties, Zen Shorts, and Zen Ghosts by Jon Muth (some of our favorites!)

Just amazing, the stories and illustrations.


Old Turtle and Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood (ages 5 and up)

Amazing story and absolutely beautiful illustrations. Family favorites. 


Wabi Sabi By Mark Reibstein (all ages)

Shelly led us to this GREAT book!


The Peace Book, Its O.K To Be Different, and The Feelings Book by Todd Parr (ages 3-8)

There are so many books by this author, and they are all great.


The Sun In My Belly by Sister Susan (ages 4-8)

A sweet book about conflict resolution and interconnectedness.


Jataka Tales by: various authors (ages 9 and up)  

These are great Buddhist books on cultivating wisdom and values.

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan


With break and an extra Monday snow day, there isn't much new to report in the art room. In the last class before break, we wrapped up our drawings for the student exhibit at the Jacksonville Center. For now I will leave you with some pictures from the breezeway exhibit and encourage you to pop into the Jacksonville Center for the Arts to see your child's artwork on the walls!  The exhibit will be up through April 6th.

Contemplative Studies


The Miracle of the Mindfulness Journals


In the middle and upper elementary classes, we have been keeping a mindfulness journal all year. The goal is to notice mindful moments each day and write (sometimes draw) them in the journal. These moments can be when we are especially clear or focused and experience things in a different heightened way. Sometimes a mindful moment can be noticing not being mindful at all.


Here are some entries from our students:


I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and I couldn't sleep so I tried to find the gap between breathes. It only worked a few times but when it did work it felt nice.


So there you have it. Wow, so it's there and so are we. We just have to "be" there. If we just focus like focusing on a certain goal then it will most likely happen if you try. If you really think about it (the present moment) it's very helpful, and always there.


At school I meditated for 10 minutes but it felt like 30 seconds. When I finished I was very excited about getting in that space between my breathes.


This morning I was reading through my old mindful moments and I didn't realize how nice it would be. When I read them I found myself back in the moment feeling the calm, warm sun fall through the trees and the warm lights as I decorated my tree. It was such a nice experience that I was not expecting when I began to read.


I saw light from the setting sun on the trees and clouds in the east. They turned orange and they were more beautiful than words can express.


I was mindful at my friend's house because we went sledding. I was walking and we got to the sledding hill. You first saw it (the sledding hill) between two trees, so when I saw it all of a sudden "Ahha". I was struck by mindfulness.


( drawing of grey and red shading) I do not know!

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
Mar 2: Summer camp registration begins
Mar 13:
First day of Science Fridays
Mar 18:
Make up day
Mar 19: No school
Mar 20: Conferences 
Mar 23: Spring Celebration (2:00-3:00) and Registration for 2015-16 begins
Mar 26: Open House (5:30-7:00)

It seems like the weather is different every day! Please make sure students have the proper gear for whatever the weather is serving up that day.    
Board of Trustees

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Wednesday, March 11, at 5:30 in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend.  


In Gratitude We Thank
101.5 the Valley's Music Place, Abigail Bowen, Across the Way, Agatha Grimsely, Alan Kaplan, Amanda Mellowspring, Amber Skies, Amy Avery, Andrea Goodrum, Appalacian Seeds, Asa Pickford, Ashleigh Ward, Ashley Morales, Barb Gillespie, Beth Spillman, Blue Heron Pottery, Blue Mountain School Students, Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine, Bruce Bryan, Camry Harris, Carol Volker, Cassie Wilson, Chris Luster, Colleen Redman, Colt Coates, Corey Avellar, Dana Beegle, David Grimsley, Daytime Blue Ridge, Deb Tome, Elaine Martinez, Elisha Reygle, Emily Williamson, Fantasy Lighting and Staging, Floyd Farmers Market, Floyd Fitness, Floyd Yoga Jam, Gibby Waitzkin, Gyroscopic, Hari Berzins, Hoppie Vaughan, Indian Creek Cabins, Inge Terrill,
Jagadisha, Jason Anderson, Jayn Avery, Joelle Shenk, John Deighan, June Kelly, Justin Grimes, Justin Miller, Katie Cesario, Kim Kessler, Kristan Morrison, Kristy Collins, Laura Polant, Lore Deighan, Mary and John Peluso, Medina, Mickey G's Bistro and Pizzeria, Mike Jones, Monkey Business, New Mountain Mercantile, Parkway Brewing Company, Penny Lane, Perrin Heartway, Phoenix Hardwoods, Pine Tavern Lodge, Ralph Brown, Rebecca Jackson, Red Rooster and Blackwater Loft, Reed Embrey and the Pine Tavern, Republic of Floyd, Sarah McCarthy, Scott and Cassie Pierce and Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, Scott Perry, Shamama, Shawna Williams, Shayne Dwyer and WDBJ7, Shelly Fox Emmett, Southern Print and Copy, Spoon Fight, Squid, Starroot, Stefi Schafer, Stephen Wallace, Tad Dickens, Thai This Food Truck, The Breeze, The Fat Catz, The Local Zone, Time is Art, Toni Lamberti, Tree Gigante,, Under the Sun Tattoo, Wenona Scott, Winter Sun, and all the revelers
who braved the arctic temperatures to come out and party at Mardi Gras!

Bob Sisk
and Kristan Morrison for helping pay the school's mortgage.

Madeline Emmett for designing an ad for the newspaper.

Dependable Plumbing for helping get the water back on in the preschool building.

Linda and Chick Fox and Thrivent Financial for donating to the scholarship fund.

Andy and Carol Volker for donating a tablet.

Ashley Morales for baking goodies for the Special Person Tea.

Slaughters' Supermarket for helping the Hatching Playful Dragons buy food for Plenty!

Plenty! for welcoming the Hatching Playful Dragons and giving them a great tour of the facility.

Perrin Heartway and Jamie Reygle for volunteering to drive the Hatching Playful Dragons on their field trip.

Rebekah Hicks, Linda Johnson, and Martha Taylor
for helping in the classroom.



Shopping on Amazon?

We encourage everyone to support local businesses whenever you can. However, if you find yourself shopping on Amazon, please use the link below, and a portion of your purchase will go into 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 84005.

Blue Mountain School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091