Classroom Feature: Explorer's Classroom


Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms here in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Explorer’s Language and Culture Lesson

Exploring Italy

Each week students are taught simple Italian phrases, read stories in Italian and cook and eat Italian food. Along with exposure to language and food, we learn about the people and customs of Italy. We use our explorations to acknowledge and celebrate differences, first, in our own classroom, then in our community and our world.

Learning Objectives:

  • To provide a meaningful and memorable experience of another culture

  • To create awareness of other languages and customs

  • To teach respect for differences


Kids Niche Feature: Huckleberry Kindergarten Class


Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Huckleberry Kindergarten Class’s Cooking Projects

The Huckleberries have been putting on their chef hats and cooking up some tasty dishes using fresh, local produce. We are investigating the changes that occur to our food when we simmer, dice, mash, bake, and blend it. Our kids cut up apples and pears and watched their transformation as they were slowly simmered and cooked down into pear butter and applesauce. We also made homemade butter by shaking up heavy cream in a glass jar. The Huckleberries were thrilled to see the liquid cream turn into whipped cream and then separate into butter solids and buttermilk, and they were even more excited to taste the butter on crackers when it was done!

Our class also contributed to a Kids' Niche CSA this year, and we sauntered to the PEAS Farm to pick up our weekly share of produce. For some of the kids, it was their first time visiting the farm, and they were fascinated to see that some of the foods they eat every day can be grown right in their own neighborhood. We used the produce collected from the CSA to make dishes for weekly potlucks with the other Kids' Niche classes. Our contributions included roasted kale chips, tomato salsa, zoodles with garlic and tomato, and squash leek soup. The Huckleberries loved creating dishes and tasting new foods that they might not have tried otherwise. We are looking forward to many more cooking projects throughout the year!

Learning Objectives:

  • Collect local produce and transform it using a variety of cooking methods.

  • Use kitchen tools safely.

  • Expand palates by trying new foods.


Classroom Feature: Meadowlark Classroom


Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms here in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Meadowlark Rainbow Investigations

Early in the school year, the Meadowlarks became very interested in the seemingly magic rainbows that appeared on our classroom walls during lunch time. They were curious about where exactly the rainbows were coming from. After an extensive discussion of ideas, we narrowed our thoughts down to three items in the classroom that could produce a rainbow: the rainbow colored jars in the window, the glittery tree cookies in the window, or the crystal in the window. We then tested our guesses by moving each item and watching to see if the rainbows also moved. After conducting our experiment, we learned that the rainbows were coming from the crystal! We continued to talk about rainbows after this discovery and the different ways you might be able to make a rainbow.

Learning Objectives

  • Participates in simple teacher-initiated investigations to test observations, collect data, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations

  • Formulate answers to own questions using the scientific method

  • Explore and describe properties and characteristics of objects/materials and how they can be changed

  • Demonstrate back-and-forth conversation skills

Part 2

Because of the serious interest in exploring rainbows further, we set up a "rainbow making" station in the Jumping Spider Science Center. The Meadowlarks have been working hard to create their own rainbows using mirrors, prisms, water, flashlights, and even paint. So far, we have found 6 different ways to make a rainbow. We have been reading books about myths associated with rainbows and the science behind the rainbow recipe (water+light=rainbow).

Learning Objectives

  • Persist in meeting a challenge, despite distractions or frustrations

  • Make simple comparisons

  • Explore cause and effect

  • Participates in simple teacher-initiated investigations to test observations, collect data, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations


Fall Plant and Brew Community Event

Fall Plant and Brew is this Thursday!

Plant and Brew is always one of our most fun community events. Clark Fork School families from the Day School and Kids Niche alike come out to contribute to the playground, garden, and other outdoor spaces that our kids use and treasure everyday in their school adventures. Come be a part of what your child loves about coming to school. Come enjoy pizza and libations (lemonade for the kids) with your school community. Don't forget, you get two parent hours just for showing up and childcare is provided! We hope to see you there!

A huge thank you to Kettlehouse, Draughtworks, Lolo Peak, Great Burn, Big Sky, and Imagine Nation Breweries for donating beer to Plant & Brew!

WHEN: This Thursday, October 4th at 5PM, rain or shine (and it looks like rain- bring canopies if you have them!)

WHERE: Clark Fork School

WHO: Anyone and everyone! All families, ages, abilities welcome

Some projects we'll be working on:
Recreating our Fire Pit
Building a new 3-section Compost System
Making additions to the Mud Kitchen
Weatherizing our Sustainable Art pieces
Painting new playground signs
Moving new sand to the sand box

Some Tools to Bring:

Table saw
Rock bar
Needle nose pliers
Wire cutters

Below are some pictures of Plant and Brews of years past.

Sauntering with Dr. Brooke...

Before I came to Clark Fork I had never heard the word “sauntering” hardly at all. Now I hear it on a daily basis and I love it! For, it is such a Clark Fork word and why I am using it in the title of my monthly blog!

If you look up the definition of “saunter” or “sauntering” in the Webster’s Dictionary it is easy to see why it is such a Clark Fork word. According to Webster, “saunter” means “to walk about in an idle or leisurely manner; stroll”. Synonyms for saunter include amble, hike, perambulate, ramble, tramp, and tromp. And if you visit our school on any given day you will see our children doing just this, either on our amazing playground or leaving or returning from a “saunter” (or field trip)! In our Kidsniche After School PreK-5 Enrichment Program which serves over 100 children this school year, sauntering is just a way of life. Most days they are at a park, on a hike, or lately picking up their CSA share at the PEAS farm. Why? Because at Clark Fork we know our children thrive outside. Not all communities treasure the outside like we do and it has been beautiful to watch in this first full month of school not only the sauntering- the tramping, the tromping, but the play… and inside this play the teaching and learning that is taking place for our children.

I am so proud to be part of a community that prioritizes this play and realizes that when our children are “playing”, they are indeed “learning”. I saw a quote the other day by Dr. Karyn Purvis that read “Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain- unless it is done in play, in which case, it takes between 10 and 20 repetitions!” Just think what this means for our children. We also know that when children feel like they are in a socially and emotionally safe environment even more learning will take place and that is why I have so loved watching our teachers create relationships with our students this past month. And then, we have the indoor environments the teachers have set up that cause our students to “play” in different ways where they are given provocations that stir their curiosity and allow our children to follow their own interests and also discover new learning. The social aspect of our school has also been a special piece to watch this past month as children “make friends” and become a classroom community part of the larger school community. From a young age they are learning to love their “place” in this world here at Clark Fork and we know that what we love, we strive to take care of, and that is the foundation of place based education.

As you can see sauntering is just one reason that Clark Fork School is a special place. There are so many and it has been a month of me, as the new director, learning about these integral parts of our programming and community that makes me so happy to be here. I am hoping as I write this on the first day of October, all our new families and returning families this year, are also feeling that special vibe in the air as you enter our gates each morning and come to pick up your little ones each day. It has been one of my favorite times of day when I watch parents spot their children from across the playground with dirt caked on their face from so much play and run to one another sharing stories of the day! Yet, another reason, Clark Fork School is so special… parents play a vital role!

So, as we look back at September and the beginning of the school year and reflect on the saunter we took last month I ask you to think about what you find special about Clark Fork. Maybe it is a word, like me, that has stuck out as unique and special to this community, maybe it is an interaction or a learning you witnessed, or already growth in your child you’ve seen. September was a full month! It was full of back to school, parent orientations, getting schedules figured out, getting back to making lunches, and getting back to volunteering, so thank you for all you have given this month to your child/children and to our community.

There are some great ways to give in the coming month as we saunter through October! Our Plant and Brew is this Thursday and our Wine Raffle, a huge fundraiser for our school, is on Thursday, October 25th. I know our amazing educators are excited to see the funds raised which will go directly to helping them grow professionally. And we know from research, that when our teachers grow, our children grow!

I will also be sending out a parent survey any day to gain feedback about how you want to grow as parents as we create our new Parentsniche Parent Education Program this year at Clark Fork School. For we know even more from research that when our first and most important teachers grow (us parents), our children grow for a lifetime!

Before I go and together we “saunter” into October, I’d like to extend a special thank you to all of you for your warm welcome here at Clark Fork School. It has been a busy September for me for sure and I look forward to now walking/hiking with a little more leisure in my step. There is much to celebrate in our wonderful community here at Clark Fork School and I thank you again for all your support of me, our teachers, one another, and especially, our children.


Kids Niche Feature: Beargrass 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade


Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Beargrass 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders take a trip to the PEAS Farm!

Two years ago, the Beargrass class decided to get a share at the PEAS Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We had the share for ~5 weeks (due to the timing of school and the growing season) but it was a hit with our class. Last year we shared our share with the rest of the Kid Niche Program, and this year is our third year with a CSA share from Garden City Harvest. As a community we get to learn about the veggies we collect, visit the farm and farmers that produced them, and experiment with cooking different foods from the produce we bring back! Beargrass and the other Kids Niche programs come together on Tuesdays for a potluck of goodies made from what we got out in our share. Last week we made a cabbage/apple/carrot/onion slaw, and this week we made Japanese Pancakes with beets, purple cabbage, carrots, onion, and eggs from our chickens. Our kids got to learn about seasonal crops, what a CSA is, and got to try some vegetables in new ways. It's been a hit! 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what local agriculture looks like in the Rattlesnake

  • Explain what a CSA is and how we are supporting local farmers

  • Try new foods; explore our senses of taste and smell