Peace Valley School
Molly was winded and sweaty when I first met her in person. The sheep had gotten out. Molly was beautiful and glowing in jeans, a T-shirt, and casual cardigan thrown over, having helped wrangle the sheep back in. I wouldn’t have known she was winded and sweaty if she hadn’t told me.
This was my first in-person introduction to Molly Lord-Garrettson, Head of Peace Valley School, on five acres of beautiful land just outside Lafayette, Oregon, with sheep, chickens, a big garden, and a school dog and cat. I met the dog, Mariposa (Spanish for Butterfly; she was rescued from Baja, Mexico), before I met Molly.
Molly taught in traditional school systems, and abroad, for 15 years – focusing on subjects like Social Studies. One assignment she has right now is to fix an old globe and update it with recent countries, like South Sudan.
She is married to Nathan Garrettson and has a five-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Grace.
Molly decided to branch out and create her own school because, “Education hasn’t changed, although our culture and our children have. While public schools’ intention was originally developed to Americanize citizens, the new trend has been to prepare them for the work force. A lack of funding, plus an economic downturn, has removed even taxes from the main stream public academic curriculum.” These events leave educators like Molly perplexed. She says, “We teach humans, not robots. We need to help them operate in the world of relationships, laundry, home-cooked food, and community.” Molly adds, “The rest matters, too, but if I meet a man who can take the derivative but can’t take a pie out of the oven on time, I’m worried.”
Students create their own curriculum in this school, within parameters. I saw an Amish yarn winder that would be used for creations with local fiber. Two students playing chess. A young gal who plays the ukulele. Mari, the dog, coming and going. The kitchen, where students make their own meals – on a budget. They go grocery shopping every week with a budget of $100. If they’re able to save on the organic, healthy groceries, they get to have an adventure – like getting air zip-lining, or at the closest trampoline park in Salem, Oregon.
The school’s mission is:
At Peace Valley School we encourage all learners to make education real. To do this, we learn by working together on real-world projects to solve universal problems. By practicing healthy communication to solve a common problem through inquiry, we can garner a sense of responsibility instead of entitlement. We can become perpetual learners with the courage and life-skills that entails. We can discover who we are and help each other grow. We can be the change we want to see in the world.
While writing this blog, I’m smack dab in the middle of teaching Peace Valley School’s first music class! What an honor! Join me for a live Facebook feed at the school Friday shortly after 1:30 PM PST.
Please also join me in supporting Peace Valley School. http://peacevalleyschool.org/
I came away with a much better understanding of how to do, and effectively use, belly breathing to speak confidently, efficiently and effectively. -Caroline M.
Laura is a skilled teacher and observer of her students. -Anita E.
Supportive, fun, safe…and immediately applicable tools and skills. -Barbara M.
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Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)