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: 10/2/18

Dear Families,

This last week life showed itself in its full complexity, with the legal system taking the spotlight in both my personal and the public arena. On a personal note, I appreciated the opportunity to spend critical time with my own family as we navigated this largely unknown territory. In the public arena I am saddened and scared for our country as we seem to plunge deeper into dark times, the guiding light of compassion and integrity growing dim. It reminded me that it is more vital than ever that we model and uphold values for our children to see clearly the importance of human decency. 

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This last week was also a reminder of “why TMS?” It is rare for me to be exposed to the public school system up close, but I had ample opportunity to experience it in action as I watched my own granddaughter navigate 1st grade.  Acknowledging that not all schools are created equal, it was still apparent that students are been fed a diet of conformity, boredom and a lethal dose of teaching only to pass standardized testing. To watch a 6 year old suffer from anxiety and fear from not meeting some perceived norm, not playing, imagining, creating, and instead bubbling over and over on worksheet after worksheet, was soul destroying. (Needless to say we checked out the local Waldorf and we await the outcome!)  

I have always felt that in elementary school there must be some modicum of holding a sacred space for our children to grow, to be just that, little children. But I am convinced more than ever that a system where compliance is valued over curiosity and originality, is truly broken. TMS is an antidote, a healthy dose of loving, caring, nurturing for the mind, body and soul; this is the kind of shot I can get behind every child having!

As we move into another busy week here at school, I hope you can join me in a moment of gratitude that we have the resources and options not afforded to so many to do all the things we do.

Last week - overnight at Thornhill Broom.

Students had their first taste of camping this year - and they had a blast! I am sorry I missed the fun, but thankful for such an amazing staff that work so hard to make everything happen.

It is always hard for parents to send their children off and not to be part of the experience, hopefully some photos will bridge the gap!

Coming up - this week

Wednesday - tomorrow on the mesa

This week we are expecting rain! I am so excited!! But it does mean we need to be on our toes as we approach all our outside programs. As it presently stands the rain is light in the morning and so we will be on the mesa as usual. Please make sure your child has a rain jacket and good shoes tomorrow. We will be back on campus in the afternoon and able to stay dry as the rain picks up. Drop off, pick up, carpool and everything else as per last week.

Thursday - Back to School Night

Refreshment from 6:30pm. Program starts at 7:00pm

Please join us for this informative evening where you get to spend time with each teacher and find out what is happening in the classroom.

This is a parent only event, though as always, if it is difficult for you to attend because of child care, please let us know so we can help.

Friday Hike - Nike Missile Site, Reseda.

Greek gods and goddess scavenger hunt! Please make sure students have full water bottles, snack and packed lunch. Good walking shoes a must.

Drop off and pick up at school, normal times. Carpools as usual.

Sunday 7th Community Hike - Trippet Ranch to Eagle Rock

Meet at Topanga State Park, Trippet Ranch parking lot @ 8:45am. Hike at 9:00am


This is a wonderful opportunity for all our past and present families and friends to join us.

Casual and fun. Come one, come all.

These hikes will happen monthly. Stay tuned for locations and times!

Coming up - next week / October

Tuesday 9th - Study Hall starts - every Tuesday after school from 3:45pm - 5:00pm. Students may stay to get their homework done and to get help as needed.

Thursday 11th - Director’s Tea. 2pm in Room 10. Come for refreshment, community and info!

Monday 22nd - 26th - Camping Montana de Oro

Other things to share


One of my favorite books of this year. It is powerful and thought provoking and seems even more relevant as each day passes. Check it out — make sure you read all the way to the end!

Check out this video Liz shared with me - another reminder of “why TMS?”







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