Louisville Magazine

FEB 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1074882

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Page 105 of 111

billygoatstrutrevue.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 2.19 103 risk, so a child can take a look and say, 'Oh, I don't feel comfortable walking across that, but maybe I'll crawl across it.'" Tavia Cath- cart Brown recalls a student doing just that. On the first day the girl arrived, she had an adult carry her across the log. By the next day, she was running across it. Tricia (who asked that her last name not be used) has her son at rive, she says, because he's not a "sit-at-a-desk" kind of kid. "I send him in clean, he comes out covered in mud with, like, the biggest smile on his face," she says. "He looks forward to it every day, regardless of weather." Chelsey Burkitt-Harris, whose three-and-a-half- year-old son Palmer attends rive, says she wanted him to be able to be outside and play with other kids. "I just see the value in that over a brick-and-mortar classroom," she says. "ey get to see the changes day to day and from season to season in a very real, tangible way." Brown mentions the term "nature deficit disorder," which the author Richard Louv coined in 2005 with the book Last Child in the Woods, describing the costs of nature deprivation as everything from obesity to short attention spans. Devlin says that, since the school got a lot of media coverage in December, several educators have reached out and asked if they could observe or train at rive. "North Oldham (schools are) right here," Devlin says. "ere may be an opportunity to get some of the older kids out here as well." And next year, rive plans to go to five days a week. After a calm period of the kids sitting like literal bumps on logs and munching on Smucker's Uncrustables PB&J sandwich- es (and, in some cases, seeing how many Goldfish crackers one can stuff inside the sandwich pockets) their energy levels rise almost in unison. Several of the students get instructor Kathryn Keefe to accompany them on a hike. She glances behind to note the number of joiners, and one boy says, "I count one, two, three, four, five, six." "And how many with me?" Keefe asks him. "Seven!" "e more familiar they get with the surroundings, the more they want to go out more," Keefe says to me. "We'll do this every now and then. It helps release energy, too." Keefe has been a Montessori teacher and is a naturalist, so when rive was getting started in the woods where she grew up, she says, she wanted to be a part of it. "ey're so much happier out here than they are, at least from my experience, in a classroom setting," she says. "is is so much freer and easier to maintain." After making it through the woods to a dirt path, a few boys and girls stop at a dirt mound and start throwing clumps in all directions. One boy balls up traces of snow and pelts Keefe. "Let's not throw mud at each other, friends," Keefe says in a kind voice. e group turns a corner and the kids start sprinting full speed ahead, arriving back at the classroom that quickly turns into an ice cream parlor (crushed ice from the stream), cookie bakery (with pieces of a thin log cut into discs) and house (formed by varying sizes of sticks and logs). Just as everyone is deep in play, salt-sized snowflakes begin flurrying down into the classroom, causing some kids to shriek. "It's snooooowwwing!!!!!"

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