A Look Back at Little Schoolhouse in the Woods’ Past Year.

by Lee Hamzy

It’s gone so fast!

I find myself looking back over the past year here at Little Schoolhouse in the Woods as we come to the end of the 2022/23 fiscal school year. Our school years always seems to go by so fast. I often find myself wondering, could we have done more? We never did this or that. It is nice to reflect on all that we have accomplished and enjoyed throughout the year.

I try to keep a list of some of our productivity outside of our normal day to day with our students.

Here are some of the events and accomplishments:

~ We had our back to school potluck. We shared food and started creating a community!

~  We hosted a plant foraging walk/talk with Rob Greenfield on 9/21/22. We had approximately 24 people in attendance. It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed meeting new people.

~Mr. Tumnus our sweet Nubian goat passed away on  9/21/22. He was a big part of our day to day and is missed.

~ We spent time collecting black walnuts throughout September . We then the dyed black walnut t-shirts in late September.

~ One of our students’ amazing mother, Kristen Renzi, came to school on 10/17/22 and taught us about the celebration of Sukkot, We built a sukkah with Kristen and our students Kristen, and ate a wonderful snack inside of it.

~On October 15th we hosted an Open house, We had around 26 families attend.

~On 10/28/22 we held our school’s Jack O Lantern walk. We had approximately 75 people in attendance!

~ The next evening , 10/29/22, we held an alumni/ community Jack O Lantern Walk, with approx. 40 people in attendance.

~ We were lucky enough to host 6 amazing Miami University students. Working with their professor Dr. Jaccque Daugherty (and our Board president), they visited our school and met some of our students. After their visit they spent time applying for Adams Legacy Foundation grant in late August.  We were received an acceptance to apply for this grant. We then were awarded the grant for $20,000!

~ Katie Waits,  Mary Dudley , Jason Hamzy, and Lee Hamzy applied for Boots on the Ground grant on October 30. While we did not receive this grant we learned valuable lessons from this process.

~We applied for Westwood Works grant to host a community winter solstice celebration. We did receive this grant, but did not end up accepting it as it was past the event’s time.

~ We did Yoga every other Wednesday with Liz Virgo throughout our school year. Our students loved this so much that half way through the year Liz started offering yoga to our two day a week students every other Friday. We are so incredibly grateful to Liz for this opportunity!

~ We applied for the Cincinnati Urban Agriculture grant on 11/25/22.

~ We raised  $613.68 on t-shirts sales through Bonfire with our #kindness matters shirts for giving Tuesday Thank you, Mr. Jay for the awesome art work that he donated for these t-shirts.

~ On 12/21/22 we hosted our Winter Solstice lantern walk. Our nature trail was filled with candles and transformed into a magical experience.  Fourteen of our students and families came to this event. We had approx. 55 people in attendance. We also had a couple of alumni families join us!

~ We received the  Cincinnati Urban Agriculture award for $902. With this award we were able to buy plants to replace the grass in the front of the school with a pollinator garden. We also purchased beautiful stepping stones to walk through the garden to access the school. We could not have done this without Mr. Jay. He donated his time and rented a sod cutter and did all of the labor!

~We received a $500 grant from Ohio Department of Natural Resources. With this grant we purchased a few more stepping stones, plants for our food garden and hosted the Bug Man.

~Little Schoolhouse in the Woods hosted our first student teacher, Sarah Cowly, from the University of Cincinnati. She joined us every morning, four days a week, from January through April. We enjoyed having Sarah.

~ Kristen Renzi joined us on 4/10/23 in the morning. She gave a lesson on poetry for National poetry month. Our students loved this and talked about it for weeks.

~We held a fund raiser  Hike-a-thon. We thank Katie Waits for doing all of the organizing for this! We hiked at least 5 miles during our week at school. The week ended with a community hike with around 25 participants .

~ We hosted a May Day celebration on 4/30/23 . We had 14 students and 59 family members and guests, attend our May Day celebration. Our students danced the May Pole for their families and we enjoyed refreshments and time to socialize.

~ The Ariel Quartet came to play for our students and families during the school morning. All of our families were invited. If I am being honest on this one, I did not count how many families were in attendance, because I was in awe myself! Thank you, Ariel Quartet.

~ We hosted the BugMan, which was part of our ODNR grant. Many of our students and their families joined us. Mark was excellent and brought a lot of insects for us to experience in person.

~ We had our end of school year potluck. We hosted 14 families with around 55 people . It was a lovely time.

~We held three weeks of summer camps. These camps filled within a couple hours of being on sale in February. The were led by Lee and Jay . There were  39 students for these three camps.

~We are in the process of running summer programming for the first time ever! This is made possible through our Adams Legacy Foundation Grant.

Did I forget anything?

We hired two summer counselors to host our summer programs. These  completely free four, two week camps. These camps are provide for children in our neighborhood, Westwood, Cincinnati, Ohio!

~ Westwood Grows and the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute came and planted a “food forest” for the Westwood community by the entrance to the Little Schoolhouse in the Woods. This food forest is available to any and all walking down Montana Avenue.

~We are completely enrolled with a large  waitlist for the 2023/24 school year.

~ We already have over 40 families who are interested in attending our open house inOctober for the 2024/25 school year.

~ We hosted a get together for the class 23/24 on 6/6  for 12 students, 7 siblings, and 17 parents.

Wow! That was a lot!

This is a list of the things that I can remember that went above our everyday amazing days here at the Little Schoolhouse in the Woods. We had 16 students enrolled for the school year of 2022/23.  Our 17th student moved to Singapore half way through the year. We spend our days at Little Schoolhouse in the Woods hiking, playing on our beautiful grounds, singing dancing, storytelling, eating good food, and delighting in one another’s company.

I am grateful for this life, I am grateful to be a witness to so many amazing children. I feel so much hope for our future knowing these amazing humans will be our leaders one day.