November 28, 2012
My daughter was referred to the Orchard School at age 3 for preschool as part of her IEP. Along with receiving speech and OT services as part of her day, she also had the opportunity to interact with her peers and become more comfortable being away from home. Two years later her brother joined the preschool program, and continued through kindergarten. Their preschool and kindergarten years were filled with play, art, creativity, learning, stories, pretend, friends, and plenty of time outdoors in all seasons. Both of my children then graduated on to our nearby town public school for the elementary grades. Finishing the day programs at the Orchard School did not end our connection to them, however, They continued on with the summer camp programs that they had started attending in preschool. Over the years, they have grown up through the levels of the summer camp, from preschool Stars, to young elementary Suns, to themed weekly camps, and now to counselors in training! Over the years they have learned songs, crafts, drumming, comics, photography, rocket launching, swimming, woods and farm exploration, cooperating and sharing with others, cooking from the farm, and so much more. My daughter, who is now 14, had her first counselor in training experience last summer with the elementary age drumming and mask making camp. The lead counselor told me at the end of camp that my daughter really found her voice during that week. She said, "At the beginning of the week she seemed shy and not sure what to do. By the end of the week she could look around, see what needed to happen, and took it upon herself to do what needed to be done." It was a tremendously proud moment for me! For the past several years, my two children (my son is now 13) have also participated in the after school Farmers and Foragers program. They have learned so much about farming, animal care, building, cooking, being in the forest, sustainability, care for the environment, and working to understand the greater earth systems that connect everything together. I have learned so much from them on our rides home on Monday afternoons when they share their adventures from the day. I cannot thank the Orchard School and the greater Orchard Hill community for the care, support and opportunities for learning and growing that they shared with our family. We are so lucky to be so close to this incredible organization.
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MY ROLE:Client Served