Traditions

For both children and adults, ritual gives comfort and security through predictability.  At Mountain Shadows, our year is filled with rituals both large and small. We begin in September with Opening Day, which is when we welcome everyone to the school year and celebrate our new Islander (8th grade) class.  We end in June with Closing Day, which is when each child gives a short performance to leave the community with a snapshot for the summer, and we send our Islander class, with love, on to their next adventure.  In between, we have the rituals of each day and season that give the rhythm to our year. Some of these are noted here.

Fall Mountain Climb: This is the first of our two annual climbs up Mt. Monadnock.  On the appointed day and time, we assemble at the bottom of the Marlborough Trail to begin our day.  At the summit, we perform the Mountain Shadows Monadnock Opera, a tribute to this majestic peak in our midst.  After lunch and the opera, we return to the base of the mountain and head home.

Apple Day: On a crisp October day, we suspend our usual schedule and spend the day reveling in apples.  The children learn about the life of an apple, figure how many apples they weigh, make apple prints, press cider, compete in the apple trebuchet, and take part in several other apple activities.  Each child also goes home with an apple pie that they made from scratch to share with their family.

Great Pumpkin Night: On this magical evening, children and parents gather at the school in costume and hope for a visit from the Great Pumpkin who traditionally comes with treats for all children.

Thanksgiving: Our Thanksgiving program is a combination of plays and songs to which all family and friends are invited.  There is a Thanksgiving feast following the ceremony, and school is then dismissed for the long weekend.

Holiday Revels: From the time we return from Thanksgiving until the night of the performance, the entire Mountain Shadows community is immersed in the medieval world of St. George and the Dragon, fortune telling, song, and dance.  Merry Shadows is a celebration in the dark of the year beseeching spring to come again.  This is truly a magical evening for all!

Olympic Studies Night: On a night just before April vacation, we gather  together to share with families and friends all the wonderousness the children have studied and experienced during their intensive Olympic Studies block.  Some of the studies in the past have included “Ghosts in the White House,” “The History of Fenway Park and the Red Sox,” “The Underground Railway,” “Snowboarding and Snowboard design,” and “Immigration…A Photo-journalistic Study.”  Each student has an exhibit area where they stand to greet visitors and discuss what they have learned, show their projects, and answer your questions.

May Day: May Day is our traditional spring celebration.  The children spend the preceding days building Sacred Places in the woods and practicing songs, dances, plays, and poetry to perform for family and friends around our beautiful yellow birch Maypole in the Mountain Shadows May Forest.

Monadnock Event: This is the second of our annual hikes up Mt. Mononadnock.  This is combined with an all school (parents and children) picnic dinner following the hike.  The evening ends with a campfire, s’mores, songs, and the Mountain Shadows Talent Show Extravaganza

Awards Night: Every year each child receives an award to honor his/her achievements at school, both academic and personal, and to address our hopes for the future.  This is a very special evening, not to be missed.

Closing Day: Closing Day is the final day of the school year.  We all join together as a community one final time to celebrate the achievements of the children.  It is a time to look at each of them once more before we part for the summer or, in the case of the graduates, for longer, and see who they are in that moment, and honor their accomplishments.  Each child performs a piece of his/her choice to honor this special occasion.  Diplomas are awarded to graduating students, speeches are given, songs are sung, and many tears are shed.