One of the most significant parts of Manhattan Country School’s academic experience takes place at our Farm in the Catskill Mountains. Together with their classroom teachers, MCS students first go to the Farm in the spring of their 7-8s year. They spend three days and two nights on their first visit, with trips increasing in length and frequency as children get older. With each trip, students are able to connect what they are learning in the classroom to their studies at the Farm.
The Farm provides invaluable opportunities to witness and study natural phenomena. While collecting sap to make maple syrup, students learn why the trees produce sap and why it can only be harvested in early spring. One morning job is to predict the weather based on observation, temperature and barometric pressure. A nature class on a walk might encounter the skeleton of a deer, prompting discussion of how the deer was killed, what caused it to decompose and what might happen to its remains. Students see cycles of life as they plant and harvest vegetables or witness the birth of a baby calf and watch it grow up. They develop an understanding of where food comes from and of the interdependence of humans and nature.