Each Thursday, the adolescent class of SCM called Wavecrest Adolescent Community loads up into the SCM bus and three other vehicles to head to Live Earth Farm in Corralitos. This is the way our adolescent program honors Dr. Montessori’s vision that the adolescent needs to be attached to a farm and in nature.
In her vision, the farm becomes the prepared environment where the adolescent lives out and begins to answer the questions of this stage: Who am I? And . . . How do I fit and contribute to my society?
At the farm, the students learn practical skills that prepare them for their journey into adulthood. Their experience there is not contrived; it is real. Here’s how:
Students have to prepare food for up to forty people. Each week, they establish a menu using produce from the farm and have to take into consideration food sensitivities of those they serve. They must make mathematical adjustments to quantities for the recipes chosen and develop a shopping list for items not available at the farm. This means they must shop and pay for the food. This team has a budget and must stay within the budget and keep track of expenses on a ledger.
Another group has animal chores and must see to the care of some of the farm animals which means feeding and watering and mucking out pens and coops. This care also includes making sure the environment is healthy for the animals. After that, they engage in some activity to improve the educational space at the farm. Currently, these students are working together on a service project creating a welcoming circle for the Farm Discovery Program. They also have several beehives to attend, which leads to harvesting honey and wax in the future.
The third group is engaged in a creative expression project where they work with one of the guides on a ceramic project or as they are doing now an encaustic project. This appeals to the creative nature of they adolescent. These projects also mean going out to visit art museums. Small groups also engage in yoga at the farm or dance where they meet other adults.
Lastly, the fourth group engages in what we call micro-economy. This group learns about wholesale and retail, customer service, how to keep a ledger of expenses and revenue. They write checks and make deposits. They keep accounts. They make loans to the other groups in the class or fund projects like purchasing bee suits or a rice cooker or pay stipends to guest presenters and experts. Micro-economy runs and manages the farm stand every Thursday. They also run the Wavecrest pizza business.
Reading over the previous paragraphs, it is easy to imagine that there are many more details not mentioned and implied and other practical life skills the students learn. The adult plays a critical role for this stage of development. Dr. Montessori writes that the adolescent needs to be in contact with other adults as they move closer to adulthood. At the farm, there are many adults invited and engaged: guest chefs, a professional beekeeper, farm interns, a science guide, dance and yoga instructors, the owner of the farm, farm managers, experts in construction, people skilled in sewing, and others as needed.
You must know that our adolescents love and appreciate the farm.
Written by Tom Postlewaite, Director of the Wavecrest Adolescent Program; he has been teaching at SCM since 1980. He founded the
Wavecrest program in 1991 and teaches English and history.
Please enjoy this poem written by one of our students
by Audrey Ramos-McCoy
The farm is like a swaying willow, bringing joy to us; It gives us freedom.
The farm is a place for work and peace.
It gives us a variety of bright fruits and vegetable:
Red . . .
Green . . .
Purple . . .
Orange . . .
True beauty lies beneath the tall grasses of the farm,
We witness great and possible things.
The farm is our environment . . .
To care for
And to love.
There is happiness when we bite into
A bright and juicy red strawberry.
There is no reason to complain when we are at the farm.
It is just