Village School
at Bread & Butter Farm

We are thrilled to offer our farm and forest based program, The Village School at Bread & Butter Farm.

Village School is offered Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays for kids grades 1-5 (Ages 7-11) 


WHAT IS VILLAGE SCHOOL?

Village School is a day-long immersive program for kids to engage with our farm and forests. Our classroom is the farm and over 300 acres of forests, fields, savannas, and marshlands in Shelburne, VT. Our mentors engage kids through meaningful work, craft and game, emphasizing the relationships of humans with each other and our surrounding natural community. Together, we sink into the rhythms of farm life and the natural world.

Village School gives kids opportunities to experience life in a thriving landscape.  From the communities at the farm, to the wild of the fields and forests surrounding the farmstead, we strive to create a culture of respect, appreciation, observation, openness, and curiosity.  With these as our guiding principles, we focus our learning around Food, Art & Music, Natural History and Earth Skills as a means of connecting with our landscape and instilling a sense of place. 


GUILDS

Guilds are at the core of what we do at Village School.  These are “classes” that are led by a mentor every morning that allow us to really sink into a certain topic or activity.  They are focused around the four main subjects: Food, Art & Music, Natural History and Earth Skills.

Food
Preparing and eating healthy food, from our land, is a central theme of the Village School.  We view food as a vital component of this program and of our humanity. A simple, direct connection to the earth and specifically to our land.  A means of learning how to cook and nourish ourselves and of creating community.

Art & Music
We focus on creativity, imagination and freedom of expression. Whether its learning basic chords on a ukulele, singing songs and telling stories around the fire or watercolor painting in the pastures.  Art and music are an integral part of being human. We seek to create a space where imagination can run wild.

Natural History
We spend time observing and seeking to understand the species that we share this little corner of Vermont with.  From the fields to the forests, plants and animals, both wild and domesticated. From tracking to tree ID, from what the cows eat, to annual bird migrations. Learning who we co-habitate this land with, helps us to further understand and appreciate our sense of place in it.

Earth Skills
We use earth skills to define a broad range of skills related to traditional skills, plant uses and wilderness survival.  They are skills that provide a direct and meaningful connection to the natural world, and serve to empower and fuel creativity. At Village School we practice many different earth skills, from wild edible foraging to friction fire building, wood carving to herbal remedies, and many things in between. We focus on what can be derived from the land around us as a means of better understanding our relationship with our environment.


A DAY AT VILLAGE SCHOOL

Core Routines
Our days are guided by our core routines -listed below. We aim to follow a daily schedule., but are sensitive to the dynamics of the group and the shifting seasons.

Gratitude - Chores - Fire - Guilds - Lunch - Sit Spot - Free Choice - Story

Flow of the Day
9:00am // Arrival
9:15 // Morning Circle, check in, gratitude 
9:30   // Farm Chores
10:15 //  Hike to woodland base camp
10:30 //  Fire and Snack 
11:00 //  Guilds
12:30 //  Lunch 
1:00   // Sit Spot
1:15   // Free Choice
2:30   // Story 
3:00pm   // Pick-up 


Mentorship

Mentorship is the backbone of Village School that links together kids and adult mentors in a tight group based on trust and shared learning. 

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Alex Gemme
Alex has been a part of Bread & Butter Farm in various capacities for several years - as a gardener, Burger Night staff, and Village School Mentor. Alex has taught in various settings including in the gardens at Rock Point School, as a rock climbing instructor, an apprentice ski guide, and as a mentor with Crow’s Path. Alex's gentle style puts all of us at ease. He is steady and strong and kind.

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Bekah Gordon
Bekah has been a part of Bread & Butter Farm for the past seven years. She has gotten to try out all of the various tasks the farm has to offer, currently spending most of her time in the teaching (Village School and our teen program) and vegetable worlds. Bekah is passionate about empowering others through movement, community, and land connection. She is working to find ways to support equal and abundant access to the outdoors for all people and in addition, is working to gain more skills that will deepen her knowledge of healing whether that be physically or spiritually in her community and her students. She is an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast who loves to challenge her mind, body, and spirit. Her most recent adventure found her with her husband Eric walking the west coast of the USA on the Pacific Crest Trail (summer 2019) and together, they currently live a simple life here in Vermont with their pup Nynah.

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Corie Pierce
Corie is the owner of Bread & Butter Farm and wears all hats on the farm. When she began farming as a 14 year old in NH, she almost instantly envisioned a program like Village School. She felt like farming and learning about how nature and growing food intersect was one of the most important things we could learn as humans, and how to do it respectfully, while protecting the earth we live on, was something all kids should learn - and have fun doing it! Corie has worked to build a farm that includes people of all ages to learn, teach, and engage in how we steward this beautiful land and grow and raise delicious, healthy food. She is thrilled to have kiddos come to Village School to deepen their connection to this land and to the people who live and work here and invite them into this community! 

 

Ella Mighell
Ella began mentoring with Village School in the Fall of 2018 after being further introduced to the farm through a UVM agroecology partnership. At UVM she studied Community Development and Environmental Justice. Her past two summers have been spent on indigenous Ute land working for the Colorado Outward Bound School. While her upbringing was rooted in the redwood forests and oak valleys of northern California, she now calls the green mountains home. With Village School and beyond, her heart-fire is sustained by wonder-driven learning and the power of sense of place. She believes deeply in the paradigm-shifting capabilities of learning and growing through land connection

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Ethan Tischler
Ethan has been part of Music for Sprouts and Bread & Butter farm for the last four years, teaching classes, mentoring in the Village School program, and directing Camp Bread & Butter. A Religious Studies major at Wesleyan University, he delights in connecting young folks with themselves, each other, and the earth through music and outdoor education, and is grateful for his multi-faceted role on the farm. In addition to farm activities, Ethan plays music around Vermont in the folk/trad duo Duncan & Stokes, with Mr. Chris & Friends, Emma Cook & Questionable Co., Flynn Show Choir, and various other grand musical adventures.


Here’s a short video from student Olivia Pintar, filmed during our Fall 2018 Wednesday Class!