“I didn’t feel anything else,” was how a six-year old student of Thickets, a Montpelier place-based education program, described the experience of cliff-climbing. Teacher Mia Rubow sees her students build focus, confidence, strength, and “grounding connections” as they explore outdoors – finding their way to the state house and discovering the best creek for clay.

Spring leads Thickets students to the water. Weeks are spent directing the flow of water entering the pond, experimenting with damming, creating boats, catching frogs, forming and defending islands (which later connected with researching battling island states). This continuous exploration, “didn’t require anything from me,” says Mia, “just questions.” 

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