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Looking for a Primary School by Annie Musselman

Maggie outside gathering and collecting.

When we began looking for Maggie’s primary school, I was overwhelmed by the choices, but also found it hard to find a place I felt would nurture her soul and allow her to grow peacefully, without loading academics on her at such a young age. More than anything, I wanted her exposed to all kinds of learning.

My husband’s aunt Pat introduced us to Camille, who we met at a family party in Port Townsend a couple years ago.  I loved her relaxed way and the kindness she exuded, and even remember wanting to be her best friend that evening! But beyond the besties day dream, I imagined her being an amazing teacher. And I was right.

When we visited Lake and Park in the spring for a tour, I couldn’t hold back my tears. Children were learning while classical music played softly in their classes; some were reading quietly on the stairs, while others were working together to make the most amazing block fort ever created. The whole school felt very special, as if it had been curated with all the finest possible tools for learning. To me it all glittered and sparkled (though, I suppose I was wiping away the tears.)

Maggie and classmates exploring a tree stump.

In our home, we try hard to expose Maggie and her little brother Jude to nature in as many forms as possible. We have allowed countless hours and space for nature in our lives, this has allowed Maggie to create that space in her life for nature. If I could count how many flowers, herbs, and objects of nature my daughter has given me as gifts over the years, our house would be overflowing with dried flora and fauna. I've had pockets full of beautiful things. In my life, I'm a conservation photographer, I focus on endangered species living in sanctuaries, particularly species which if saved would save countless other species as well. Maggie has always been right there with me, a true lover of the earth, the dirt, the flower and the beauty surrounding us. I very much hoped her school could continue to nurture this idea, and I believe Lake and Park does.

Maggie mastering the monkey bars.

 There was barely any transition for Maggie at Lake and Park, she has been smiling nearly every day at pick up since she started, I couldn’t be happier.

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