It's difficult to believe that summer break is only a few short weeks away! The classrooms are alive with activity as we all work to finish our plans and projects before time runs out. When things get a bit too crazy, we try to remember to stop and take a few deep breaths and enjoy the moment.


Please take a look at the calendar because we have several events coming up that you won't want to miss -- not the least of which is our Project Fair on May 21. Join us to see what the kids have been up to this year!

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

Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett


In April, we celebrated two occasions in a way that brought meaning and joy to our students, staff, and school community. These occasions were Earth Day and Arbor Day, both in the same week.  


Both are important days because they inspire us to take the time to talk with our kids about their connection to the Earth and to trees: two (obviously) vital ingredients in our own survival.  


For many adults, talking about these things can often lack context and feel meaningless. Many times, adults want to feel the magic of the connection they felt to nature as children, but for some reason or another the connection has been lost and often replaced by a sense of hopelessness or a feeling of overwhelm when considering the vast environmental concerns that we have only just begun to realize. But fear not, adults! There is truly no better remedy for such a dilemma than children, and especially our barefoot BMS kids!    


I loved hearing from the students about why the Earth is important on Earth Day; the clarity of their answers was inspiring and, as always, got right to the heart of the matter. But even more satisfying was seeing many parents, staff, and students working together to make the playground safer and more fun, to plant beautiful plants, and to steward our 9-acre corner of the Earth. Arbor Day was the same: while we can all agree that trees are important, few of us have actually hugged a tree in an intentional way.  


So on Arbor Day, we took some time to imagine what it would be like to be rooted like a tree, with everything else changing around us. And then we found a tree, bowed to the tree, and hugged the tree. On returning to the circle to share what it felt like to hug a tree intentionally, I was awe-inspired to hear the number of adults and kids who felt truly connected to their trees. Many people said they felt the tree's energy in the form of wind or movement, and some said that they felt their trees hug them back! What a gift.


One more reason to be grateful for BMS: the kids help to spread infectious awe and wonder, helping us all to remember that there is something bigger than ourselves and our own concerns. Thank you to all who participated in Earth Day and Arbor Day!


The Fellowship
Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson


So far in science we have studied light and sound waves as well as the nature of waves in general. We are moving on to Earth sciences. We also had a chance to help install a weather station outside our classroom. Now we can check the weather at school no matter where we are!

In math we have covered fraction to decimal and percentage conversion. We are now working on algebraic expressions and have covered Pythagorean theorem.

In social studies we have studied the Irish potato famine and Irish immigration. Now the students are choosing a chapter from their Howard Zinn texts and will present a topic to the class.

In English, the students have been reflecting on different quotes every day, covering a broad range of philosophical outlooks.  We read Teddy, by JD Salinger. We have read selected texts from Seven Arrows, by Hyemeyohsts Storm and students wrote essays about their spirit animals. We have started To Kill A Mockingbird
Students have also been responsible for learning challenging spelling words encountered in their reading.

Mad Scientists
Shawna Williams & June Kelly 
Shawna Williams
June Kelly


The countdown is on, with only two more Mondays and three more weeks to go in this school year! However, the Mad Scientists aren't slowing down as they continue exploring, learning, playing, and working!


As you may have read in the last newsletter, the past few months have included bridge building and a shadow puppet show! We have also been exploring different parts of speech, continuing to explore figurative language and poetry, playing and exploring with simple machines, and learning how to turn a research paper into a WACKY humorous one.


Mad Scientist and Mini Mad Scientist alike continue their morning mindfulness play, spelling, and science together. A mindful reflection has been the focus. Students have been reflecting upon themselves as well as classmates intermingling this practice with figurative language as they express their reflections through different forms of poetry.  


Morning activities have also included reflecting upon the three main morning verses. Students were asked to dissect these forms of poetry, create a pictorial representation of each, and summarize in their own words what these morning verses are saying as we recite them with intention.


Simple machine exploration has been happening during our science time. Using a KWL method (What we KNOW, what we WANT to learn, and what we have LEARNED), students have been conducting experiments, drawing conclusions, and predicting and combing through important facts and information about each type of simple machine.


The entire class has also been moving forward through their spelling practice, learning specific spelling patterns and rules.

The Mad Scientists have been reading "Wacky WE-search Reports" by Barry Lane, and they have been plotting and planning how to use the knowledge they gain through their research about science in an Ancient Civilizations to create a humorous research paper!


During math time the Mad Scientists have been hard at work practicing and revisiting their prior math skills. They have also been using their creative minds and deductive thinking for solving math mysteries which include multiple problem solving and math skills. Last but not least, the Mad Scientists have been traveling through an interactive story about fractions and creating fraction art as well! This will lead us to conclude our year in decimals.

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


Warm spring days made it hard for the Dragons to stay indoors. Fortunately we enjoyed many outdoor learning activities during the month of April. The class made sub-irrigating planters (SIPS) from water bottles. These planters use wicks to ensure the seedlings stay moist, even over the weekend when they would ordinarily dry out. Students learned about wicking and helped keep the earth green by reusing the plastic bottles. And of course they had a great time playing in the dirt! The HPDs also had a chance to get their hands dirty by planting some flowers on the school grounds and helping to unload sand and mulch on Earth Day.


Students practiced their reading skills by participating in an outdoor scavenger hunt. They searched for items that started with certain blends, such as st- and gr-, as well as, things that were fuzzy, smooth, or rough. Afterwards, we shared our findings with each other.

The Dragons have been working on weather journals by documenting and illustrating the day's weather. The class has also been reading books about the weather and learned about graphic organizers by completing a simple weather web in their journals.

The class was introduced to the continents through a song and a map. Then they used push pins to outline the continents and colored and labeled them.


Hari and June want you to know how wonderful it has been to work with your children this school year. The students have matured so much and learned so much. We are constantly amazed at what they are able to do. We appreciate all your feedback and support.

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

Spring has fully arrived, and with it, big changes all around us!  


Before spring break, we added a tub filled with potting soil to our sensory play. We added some creepy crawlies, as well as shovels, pots and plant tags. After a few days, we asked the class why nothing was growing in there. "You need seeds!" someone said. So we added seeds. Are we done? Should they grow now? These kids knew other things were required to nurture seeds. "You need water!" "And sun!" We added water, and put the tub in the sun. After the break, we returned to a tub of green sprouts. Sunflowers and grass were coming up everywhere!

In the classroom, we added five new "pets" to our nature table: painted lady caterpillars. Our study of butterflies began before the break, reading books like " Gotta Go Gotta Go, which is about monarchs migrating to Mexico. As a class, we decided we would like to grow some butterflies of our own, so we ordered some caterpillars to arrive when we returned from the break. The little caterpillars arrived and grew fast! Our circle discussions have centered around the change that butterflies and certain other animals go through in their life cycles. Apparently, some super heroes also undergo similar changes. The big word, metamorphosis, has now become a part of the IMH vocabulary, and by connecting something as familiar as super heroes to this scientific process, it became an easy word to remember.  

In Art class one morning, a couple friends were inspired to create the butterfly life cycle out of clay: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. Drawing on this interest, we made play doh as a class and everyone got a ball of it to make their own life cycle. Another day, the IMHs were given a piece of paper folded into four sections, and worked on drawing the butterfly life cycle and labeling each section as well.


Painting paper butterflies assisted the IMHs in exploring the concept of symmetry. We painted one wing, folded it over and pressed down so both wings would look the same. The next day, mirrors were added to the table to further this understanding of sameness on both sides. The following week, we gave them paper butterflies and geometric stickers and encouraged them to make butterflies with symmetrical wings. This was not an easy task, and took some thought and focus. Again, the mirrors helped them with this process.

At circle one morning, we observed the caterpillars munching away in their container, and noticed lots of little balls everywhere. What were the balls anyway? It took a while to nail down exactly what they were, but finally someone figured it out--caterpillar poop. It turns out there is another word for it, frass. That's one more word to add to our butterfly vocabulary along with metamorphosis, chrysalis, symmetry and proboscis.


The IMHs have been joyfully immersed in the study of butterflies and metamorphosis through observation, conversation, sculpture, paint, writing, reading and drawing. And as of this writing, we no longer have five caterpillars. We now have five chrysalides...and soon we won't have them either. As things keep changing around us, we are changing too!

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy


Keeping Yoga and Balance Alive During the Summer


Most of our kids do not need reminding to go outside and move during the summer. That is what I love about our school and culture of our school. We would rather be outside doing most anything. However, now that we have computers and all our electronic devices, we might have to check -in as parents as to how much we want our kids to use them, especially during the summer. It can get easy to 'veg out ' during the summer days and forget that most creative play and imagination comes from just being on our land, making up games, and enjoying the environment around us.

We might need to encourage and help our kids during the summer months to be in that creative and balanced space. We all want to connect with our children more, and sometimes a little routine, even during the summer months, can be a way to do it. How about setting a few specific days a week to get up with your kids and have morning mindfulness time? You could call it whatever you like. It can be 15 - 45 minutes of connecting together to feel good and move a little. The routine might start out with checking in about how the week is going, having some quiet time outside, and doing a few sun salutes or some of your favorite yoga poses. Reading together as part of the routine might be nice, too. Create a morning that has everyone's input and suggestions. This might be a time when you talk about plans for the day. If it is one of those wonderful, lazy, no place to go days, you could help suggest some creative activities so the day flows with ease!


Okay, I admit it. I want parents help to keep cultivating what we have been practicing this year in all our classes at BMS: asanas, breathing, mindfulness, movement, connection, tuning into how others are feeling, tuning into how we are feeling, listening, etc. I have been seeing the awesome effects that our contemplative focus has on our kids, and the more we can practice the better. So, why not keep it up during the summer?


And let's not forget to play ourselves. We can get so serious with our gardening, chores, and work that we sometimes forget to play with our kids. And don't we feel fabulous after we get into it and let go for a while! Let our kids be the teachers that they are!

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan


As the school year heads towards completion, we've wrapped up our clay projects and we now look forward to our last three art classes together!  Somewhere in there we will glaze our clay projects and have them fired again before the end of the year. I want to extend a special thanks to our yoga and P.E. teacher,, Sarah McCarthy for fitting us into her busy ceramics schedule, making our clay projects possible. The kids really enjoyed working with clay, and there are some incredible and adorable projects about to come out of the kiln!


All classes worked with clay except for The Fellowship who have embarked on the ambitious project of painting a mural on the classroom trailer.  We have already transformed the space by painting mountains, trees and fields, and now that we have our background in place we can get into the details! 

Last week we had a special guest from Ferrum College come to teach us the art of spray paint and help us create the mural castle, which the students and I are very excited about. This has been a fun and exciting project so far, and I look forward to continuing our work and watching the mural unfold.

This has been such a wonderful year, and I am continually grateful for the time I spend with your children here at BMS! 

Contemplative Studies


Summer Mindfulness

During the current school year the main point I have encouraged our students to consider is to develop mindfulness as a practice. Any of the skills we have learned in class could be used as a practice at home, during sports or even at play. A powerful and basic practice is mindful breathing. Simply repeating to oneself ' breathing in, I stay with my breathing in, Breathing out, I stay with my breathing out.'


There are 3 main points:

  1. Calm mind - focus only on the calm words, breathing in...
  2. Relaxed body - release tensions with good posture
  3. Staying alert - no distractions, being present

If done regularly this could become a good habit that later could be used during stressful moments. You may consider practicing as a family, even 5 - 10 minutes to start.


We have also practiced mindful listening during our weekly check-ins, story time, and mindful movement during Chi Kung, as well as in Sarah's yoga class. The one activity I have deeply enjoyed is watching children demonstrate something they love to do mindfully. Whatever it may be ( oin collecting, knitting, fishing, etc.) you will usually see a calm mind, relaxed body with good posture, and a heightened alertness. Any practice of being in the present moment is beneficial to all!

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
May 13: Field Day
May 13: Board Meeting
May 15: Make Up Day and Pet Day
May 16: Citizens Yard Sale
May 21: Project Fair (6:30)
May 25: Memorial Day
May 28: Half Day (9-1) and End-of-Year Celebration (11:30) 

Before heading out for the summer, be sure to submit your registration application and fee for Fall 2015.

If you are planning to apply for a scholarship, remember applications are due June 1.

Forms are available in the office and online
Board of Trustees

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Wednesday, May 13, at 5:30 in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend.  


In Gratitude We Thank

Patricia Stroud, Devona Sherwood, Kari Kovick, Justin Miller, Shelly Fox-Emmett, Susan Heath, Corinne Ovadia, Karl Berzins, Warren Lapine, Hari Berzins, Brad Green, Jayn Avery, Linda Riley, Lora Leigh Giessler, Soraya Johnson, Jean Smith, Nancy Parrish, Sue Avellar, Rick Parrish, Luke Staengle, Bob Grubel, Jason Anderson, Cassie Wilson, Lindsay Newsome, Brecc Avellar, Paul Sullivan, Charles Fox, Kristan Morrison, Barry Morrison, Linda Fox, Chris Newitt, Katie Cesario, Andrew Volker, Tom and Jody Franko, Bob Sisk, Georgia Crews, Martha Taylor, Terrie Wood, Carol Volker, Andrea Goodrum, Jayne Crouse, Ann Hammond, Perrin Heartway, Amolee Tally, Jenni Heartway, Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, and Robert and Loraine Coker
for donating during the Give Big NRV event.

Everyone who helped with Earth Day and Arbor Day!

Mike Bishop and Floyd Tire
for donating tires for our playground projects.

Hope Sharp, Beth Spillman, and Wes Wenger for working on the grounds.

Wills Ridge Supply
for donating paint for the mural.

Hope and Eric Sharp for donating plants for Earth Day and a new chair for Shelly and for making a donation to the Fellowship's field trip fund.

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