Getting Outdoors

August 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

“There is no description, no image in any book capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them in a real forest.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

Back in April and May, Primary students spent Friday afternoons exploring the forest at Counterpane. For Earth Day, we read The Great Kapok Tree and talked about the importance of trees and caring for the Earth.workoutdoors

We are learning to identify poison ivy, wild muscadines, ferns and we also spotted a rare pink trillium bloom. Other discoveries have been caterpillars, various insects, a hawk, lizards and a frog.pinktrillium

I have watched the children, alive with wonder and creativity, gather sticks and branches and leaves for building. Using visual spacial awareness, willpower and a lot of collaboration, they have constructed a wall, sitting spaces and two forts.awormWe have talked about the importance of following directions and have established some rules for the outdoor groups:

  • We all must work together – no wandering off from the group.
  • What we find in nature must stay in nature – we are guests in the forest.
  • We are learning to respect living things.

What can we do with the treasures we find? Decorate forts, make a mandala, and create an outdoor loom for weaving.webuiltafort

Please check out the following articles on the importance of spending time in nature:

Beyond Recess: How to Explore the Forest as a Kindergarten Class

Green Spaces Make Kids Smarter

Kids Need Access to Nature for Mental Health



The Me That is Me

May 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

This beautiful piece of work came out of our Upper School writing class through a free-writing session (without a prompt). It’s amazing how perceptive our students are. Enjoy!

The me that was me in middle school is not the me that is me now. There was once a time when I didn’t like music. Now it’s one of my biggest passions. There was once a time when drawing was my biggest passion. Now it’s merely a hobby.

The me that was me in middle school was insecure and shy and too afraid to be herself. She had a small group of close friends, but she longed for something more.

The me that was me in 8th grade discovered Montessori, and at first she thought it was pronounced mon-TESS-or-i instead of mon-tess-OR-i. Then she toured Counterpane, and that soon changed.

The me that was me almost 2 years ago started going to Counterpane and met people such as Ninti and Adam and Nikayla. The me that was me in 9th grade joined Improv, despite vowing not to do anything that involved a stage. Later that year, she sang in EFTA, despite promising herself she wouldn’t do that either.

Now, she’s in 10th grade, but 10th grade is almost over. So far in high school, she’s discovered music, and photography and theater and politics. The me that was me evolved into the me that is me, and the me that is me is not afraid to explore new passions and express how she feels. The me that is me is no longer shy and introverted, and she wouldn’t have changed if it weren’t for meeting people who were willing to push her toward a positive change in an environment that encouraged that positive change.

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Lower School Insect Adventures

September 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

After a student was stung by an insect unknown to the class, these four students embarked on a week long investigation to find out what exactly had hurt their friend. They examined the body of the insect under our dissecting microscope, combed through every book in our library about insects, and even consulted Upper School students to attempt to classify the mystery bug, but they were unsuccessful. They were able to deduce the kingdom, phylum, class, and order (Animalia, Arthropoda, Insecta, Hymenoptera – respectively) but couldn’t decipher the family, genus, or species.


The boys took their inquiry further by choosing to contact the UGA Fayette County Extension Office to see if they had an entomologist on staff who could help them. They were invited to bring their specimen to the office so they could help identify the six-legged creature.


The boys arranged their first going out and Mr. and Mrs. Shipman took the boys to the office in downtown Fayetteville. There, the boys used their high resolution computerized microscopes to look at their specimen. They were not able to readily identify the bug so they sent digital images to UGA for further classification.IMG_2002

Stay tuned – we look forward to receiving a full report in a few days and finally solving this mystery. In the event the boys have discovered a new species (yes, they are prepared for this outcome), the boys have decided to name the bug the Brandonberry wasp.

Summer Research at Morehouse

June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment


One of our Upper School students is participating in Morehouse School of Medicine’s Summer Research Program this year. Here’s what she has to say about her experience so far…

“Recently I was accepted into the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Summer Research Program. The program aligns with my interest in bio-medical research. For eight weeks, I will have a mentor to shadow who is an actual bio-medical researcher. I will learn to conduct research in a laboratory and about how clinical trials are conducted. I am extremely excited about my new venture and I’d like to thank my Counterpane family for being so supportive. Throughout my application process, they gave me good advice but more importantly, they gave me good energy.”

Good luck this summer and we can’t wait to hear how your experience goes. What a wonderful way to get some real world experience under your belt even before setting foot into college.


Laura’s Counterpane Testimonial

June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’m Laura, the new office manager for the school. I found the school several years ago when my daughter Violet was only a year old; we started attending the Souns Workshops held here. Violet is now in the Primary classroom, my son Henry is attending the workshops, and I’m working in the office! I am happily married to my high school sweetheart, Ian, and have another little one on the way.

I wrote this a few months back and Brenda asked me to share it with you. Enjoy!

“I often reminisce about the first day I brought my daughter to Counterpane. We attended a literacy workshop. Literacy for a one year old? The workshop was free, and I was curious.

As we walked up to the front door, I felt like we had stepped into another place and time. Down the driveway we saw a chicken coop, and we heard a sheep bleating. Beautiful, neat gardens bursting with color surrounded the small brick building. How often had I seen that meme on Facebook about schools needing gardens? Upon entering through the wooden door, the entry was cozy, warm, and inviting, quite unlike the cold doctor’s office feel of the elementary school I had attended.

It was quiet. I remember thinking, are there really 3 year olds here somewhere? We peeked into a classroom and there was a quiet buzz. The teachers weren’t immediately noticeable; they blended into the background. Children’s voices were heard but were soft, in respect of the other students. Aren’t preschoolers supposed to be loud and unruly?

A few high school age students were in the small kitchen and greeted us with eye contact and a smile or a hello as we walked slowly by. I wasn’t sure they were really teenagers. Aren’t teens supposed to be moody and awkward?

We walked into the classroom where the literacy workshop was to be held and I took everything in about the space, a classic Montessori classroom. I remember thinking, this is where I want my children to grow up.

And now they are. I picture my children’s futures, and I can only see them here. Reading and writing and math can be learned anywhere. My babies will spend a third of their day at school, and where they will spend that time matters to me. It’s in the way the children are treated and taught here that makes me catch my breath and touches my heart, and I know they’re in the right place.

The ideals and teaching methods are in line with what kind of parent I strive to be. Just learning about what Montessori is has made me a better parent, more observant, patient, and kind. I wait and give them the space to make their own choices and do things for themselves, even though they’re still just babies in my eyes.

I see the qualities in the children here that I want to have for my own as they grow into their own person. Able to be reserved and in control yet confident, friendly and outgoing, a positive energy about them. Assertive, curious, interesting, respectful, independent. Yes, all of this from the preschoolers. And yes, even the teenagers, too.

More than just literacy, this school also nurtures their heart, their passions, and encourages children to be their best selves. I am thankful we found Counterpane, the perfect fit for our family.”

Laura's daughter, Violet

Laura’s daughter, Violet

“Made my morning!”

April 24, 2014 § Leave a comment



volunteerthankyouday2“Made my morning!” – Says a Counterpane parent.
Today we celebrate Counterpane families. Being a parent is hard; being a parent at Counterpane can sometimes seem impossible. Maintaining a holistic, child-centered, learning environment demands whole family involvement (commitment). We know how much we ask of you and we appreciate your never letting us down.
We see you. We see your hard work. Your dedication to your child and this school is evident in every “covenant hour” and beyond. Donations of your time, talent, treasures, and food J (we cannot forget the food), elevates us from individual classrooms to a community of learners; from a school to a home. volunteerthanyouday3
We appreciate YOU.
We thank YOU.
YOU made our morning, too!

“When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school and the schools they go to are better.”
-A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement. (Henderson & Berla, 1994)


Our Students Are Our Legacy

April 10, 2013 § Leave a comment


Dear Tomer [teacher at Counterpane],

You are receiving this letter because your former student, Andrew Todd, achieved exemplary success at the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, earning accolades for your school and significantly contributing to Georgia’s culture of academic and creative accomplishment. I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you for all you have done to champion the arts and encourage artistic aspirations at a critical, formative stage. Your contributions have helped to advance a new generation of writers, artists, designers, innovators, and creative leaders in Georgia and beyond.

I sincerely hope that you will continue to point your students toward SCAD. In recent years, the university has grown by leaps and bounds, encompassing more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students at four distinctive campuses across three continents, and providing a sublimely unique experience in nonprofit higher education. As fellow educators, you and I recognize that our students are our legacy. May your students carry your wisdom and inspiration with them, wherever they go.

Paula S. Wallace, President


Andrew, pictured above, will be attending SCAD in the fall. Congratulations!

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