Topanga Mountain School

knowledge naturally

A unique and innovative program that provides for a solid academic foundation in core subjects, inspires a love of learning and cultivates compassionate, well-rounded citizens.

Mountain Mail 10/16/18

Dear Parents,

This week we are prepping for our first full week of camping!

The outdoor program at TMS is at its best when we can truly take students away from the busy and connected world they live in for an extended time - away from cell phones and computers, away from the responsibilities of their schedules – and fully immerse them in nature. Sleeping under the stars, finding community around the campfire, playing and exploring different landscapes, all bring a grounding and authentic connection that heals and gives nutrients to their minds and bodies.

This upcoming trip to Montana de Oro has been a perennial favorite for many, many years. It is a beautiful place that I hope you can visit. It always brings me pleasure to see the students return with their families. I had a great text exchange this summer from last year’s graduated, Ilias, who was on the beach with his family, showing them the spot where the kids worked together to push a washed up boat up a sand dune. That collective enterprise the students engaged in last time we were there was a real reminder of why we do what we do. Collaboration, ingenuity, comradeship, and lots of laughter, make for the best experiences.

Friday’s visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Contempory Art.

Big thank you to Kristine for organizing such an awesome experience!

This year, we are exploring the intersections between public and private art, while deeply discussing the relationship between fine art, graffiti, and activism. This past Friday TMS was lucky enough catch a viewing of Barry McGee's work on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara. Barry's work feels familiar and oddly approachable. The exhibition featured collections of found artifacts, patterns and ephemera gathered throughout his travels and experiences. Barry is a collaborator and works hands on with other artists to curate his museum exhibitions.

The students spent the morning pondering his work with the assistance of the museum education interns at MCASB. During our visit we had the opportunity to interview the educational staff and experiment in the art lab. Thank you to the educators at @mcasantabarbara for their support as we explored the arts as a platform for activism, a means to connect, a place to ask questions. Kristine Lee - Art Coodinator

Coming up - this week

Friday 19th

Drop off and pick up at school as usual. Students will need a packed lunch.

Students will be on campus all day as they prep for camping.

Small “family” groups of 6 or so children come together for their camping experience. As a group they come up with a name as well as a song to sing round the campfire and a themed skit, which they will perform at the campground!

In their families they also have business to attend to. They need to prepare a menu for the week and build a shopping list, making sure it meets their budget and has all they need to make balanced meals that satisfy everyone’s palette. As a parent we know how hard that can be, but watching them make collective decisions is heartening and the personal investment in what they get to eat usually makes for successful meal times.

Each family also has a full camping set up which includes a tent and a fully equipped kitchen; before we go students must make sure their equipment is in full working order.

Finally, they will help pack up the cargo vans with all their collective items.  

Coming up – next week

Monday 22nd – Friday 26th - Camping, Montana de Oro

No carpool – all students should be dropped off at school at 7:30am.

On Monday morning students will bring all their personal gear and it will be packed in the vans at that time.

The drive to the campground takes around three hours.  We stop in San Luis Obispo where they shop at Trader Joe’s, as well as pack their food into ice coolers and containers.

Students must have snacks and a packed lunch with them. They will not be fed until dinner that evening at 6pm.  Students may not buy lunch at Trader Joe’s.

Hopefully next weeks MM will be live from Montana de Oro! Or at least the local coffee shop in Los Osos!!

Other things to know

While we are away….

Check out this evening at USC. Visions and Voices.

I actually reserved two seats…. is anyone is interested in taking them on?






Topanga Mountain School  |  5920 Shoup Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91367  |  818.346.8355