The students of Lakeside School are greeting autumn with unchecked enthusiasm. They rapidly fill baskets with apples, grapes, bell peppers, and tomatoes – harvesting their hard planting work in the spring. Green walnut balls, scattered about the play yard from our giant walnut tree, are tossed into a wagon – which is then transformed into a mango selling cart. A tribe of monkeys hoots and hollers from the tree house, while near the sand box a pack of coyotes howl.
Then as the teachers softly sing to gather the children, the play yard quiets. The toddling Sprouts walk slowly to the apple orchard for snack time, the three year old helping her one-year old friend along with gentle guidance. The elementary students head to their classroom to practice French, immersing themselves in the familiar tale of Hansel and Gretel, this time in their new language. The Kindergarten is off to the woods. Today they head to Grandfather tree, a giant pine surrounded by forts, digging areas, and workshops – a young child’s imaginary playground.
The last remnants of summer decorate our play at Lakeside. Sunflowers frame our view. The children gather flower bouquets and capture small toads. As the mornings dew dries, the children shed their rain pants and boots for shorts and running shoes. Yet these children hold no sadness for summer’s departure. They are ready to jump into piles of brilliant leaves. They are eager to race through crisp air instead of summer’s heat. At Lakeside School, autumn means adventure and these students are ready to embark.