True. Aaron brought raw chicken for lunch.

Inspired by her blog. 
Love her new birds. 
We own 7 of her ceramic pieces. 


Center Montessori School students (9 – 12 year olds) put their books and work away and head outside. We are a nature-loving and noticing group of learners, so if it's not raining or too cold, we eat outdoors.

One day I show how to build small campfires.
Small groups of 2 or 3 work together. They spread out, though are close enough that we’re all in the front yard area, and clear about a square foot-sized area and search for materials.

One person collects a fist-size wad of dry tinder. Pine tree needles and dry grasses are available behind the school. It takes longer to find three or four one-inch thick sticks of fuel wood to put on top of the kindling. Vance is especially skilled at finding and building a small log cabin on top of the found tinder.

They light their fires with long box matches.

Mesmerized, we sit watching the flames cackle and settle. I say, “Author Ernest Hemingway liked to watch fire. Sometimes he'd watch for a long time. He’d flick orange peel into the flames and watch it zest blue. It helped him relax before he began writing.” I’ll bring an orange tomorrow so we can see for ourselves.

Some have food to roast. 

Aaron says to Larry, "I brought chicken." I watch as he skewers raw chicken and beef kebabs.

Others poke red pepper, zucchini, or tomato pieces onto thin sticks. Apples and bananas are roasted. There’s not enough time for Jennifer’s potato piece to get soft and she says, "This tastes disgusting." Shrimp pinks quickly.

Once in a while we roast marshmallows and make S’mores.

The children make ground campfires most days. Until a fire truck pulls up with siren blaring. The firefighter, wearing boots, helmet, and ready to use full gear, says sternly, “Make fires in a fire pit or on the grill.” 

I promise. The children add their promises. Later we look up city ordinances and fire safety.

I walk with the firefighter as he heads back to the truck. Out of hearing range from the kids, he says, “I’d like to go to this school.”

I read aloud after lunch. I read books like The Old Man and the Sea, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and Raold Dahl's books. However, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys Camp Fire Stories would be a good selection when we build campfires.

(About 1986. Center Montessori School, Bradenton, Florida)