Thank you for your interest in Magnolia School. 
However, due to financial pressures the school will be closing permanently at the end of May 2018. 
Our gratitude goes out to those who encouraged, supported and sustained us on this journey.

As you make plans for your child’s education, may you find inspiration and encouragement on these pages: to search for beauty, to find value in simplicity, and to embrace nature’s wonderful gifts

School Events and Festival Calendar

The Magnolia School strives to create a school community for children, parents, grandparents, extended families, and others. Part of that community expression is found through the seasonal events that we celebrate throughout the year. These events – each of them significant for the children in different ways – mark the turning of the seasons, the cycles of harvest and planting, and the rhythms of the year.

Parents and families, siblings and grandparents and special friends – all are welcome to participate in these school events and celebrations.

August     Meet & Greet Open House

September     Michaelmas – A Festival of Courage

October     Harvest Festival with Local Foods

November     Lantern Walk at Dusk in Tower Grove Park

December     Winter Spiral – A Celebration of Light and Music

January     Grandparents and Special Friends Soup Lunch

February     Candlemas – Dipping Beeswax Candles


April     Fundraising Event TBD

May     MayFair – Live Music, Maypole Dancing, Flower Crowns

How is this program different…?

Have you heard of the Slow Food movement? We’re sort of like that with our early childhood program at The Magnolia School. In everything we do, we seek to promote a Slow Childhood – creating a gentle, natural environment where children have the time and space to really unfold and develop their qualities as young human beings on our beautiful planet. We feel that promoting a Slow Childhood is one way to counterbalance the hectic, accelerated, media-driven world of today. 

What makes our program unique? 

We don’t rush. Instead, our daily rhythm has us dancing, skipping, and scampering through our day, and then we sit down around a beautiful set table for a home-cooked lunch. We don’t believe in cheap plastic toys. Our classroom is filled with objects made of wood, stone, silk and wool, molded beeswax and real blossoming wildflowers. These things are much more real (and beautiful), and much more nourishing to the soul. Showing videos doesn’t fit into our lesson plans. Instead we will tell a story, create a puppet-show, assist the children in acting out fairy tales, or observe them as they create their own imaginative game. Playing the kids some recorded music is not our cup of tea, either.  We’d rather sing together or play the harp, or pipe a tune on the wooden flute. And what if it’s raining outside, or freezing cold in the wintertime? Excellent! That’s no reason to stay indoors! Whatever the weather, the natural world is our natural home. Because children at The Magnolia School are dressed for the occasion, we spend extended periods of time every day outdoors, rain or shine or snow. (With extreme weather conditions, of course we’ll stay indoors for safety reasons.)

All of this makes up a recipe for early childhood education that we’re really excited about. These are the ingredients we work with:  beauty, stillness, rhythm, melody, community, harmony, joy.

Toys Faeries

To what purpose? So that children learn to be part of their world, not observers of it. So that they learn practical life skills – weaving, baking, gardening, nature study, chopping vegetables for soup, using a hammer and sandpaper – that give them confidence and a firm sense of their own accomplishments. So that they value community, and the social bonds that knit us together. So that they embrace the natural world and come to love it: the beautiful September days as well as the drizzly February mornings, the brown toad and the chickadee, the dandelion and the magnolia blossom. 

What do the children learn? Our program, for children age 3-6, prepares them socially, emotionally and academically for the demands of a more traditional school program (Kindergarten or Grade 1). Literacy skills and mathematics are woven into the fabric of the day. Drawing, modeling, and preparing food fosters small muscle control, while gardening and other practical “work” (like sweeping, digging or dragging fallen branches around to build a fort) strengthens the limbs. Nature study and explorations in Tower Grove Park teach them about the region's flora and fauna, weather and the seasons, and local geography. Through our outdoor program we seek to develop healthy willpower, inspire self-confidence, and awaken children to the wonders all around them.

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Food is a very important part of our program. We plan our menus with care, to nourish the children both body and soul. Simple, healthy, delicious, close-to-nature food is what’s best for young children. And that’s what we serve, every day, at morning snack and also at lunch.

Food means community. Together, the children chop the vegetables - knead the dough - stir the batter - season the soup - set the table - fold the napkins - pour the water - serve one another. We eat family-style, passing the dishes and waiting our turn until all have been served. Snacktime and lunchtime is a time to savor.

Each day, the children help to cook and serve a nutritious whole-food lunch featuring natural or organic ingredients. We source our food from local producers, and strive to avoid as many additives or chemicals as possible.

Sample menu items include:

Pesto pasta     Roasted sweet potatoes     Berry muffins     Sliced apples with cheese     Brown rice with tamari     Nuts and dried fruit     Snap Beans with dip     Porridge with maple syrup     Muffins     Vegetable or chicken soup     Cheese flatbreads     Sauteed greens     Yogurt with berries and honey  

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Knife Making Salad 2122x1415 (1)

Outdoor time and greenspace…?

One of the jewels of the St. Louis park system is right across the street:  Tower Grove Park. The park, with over 400 species of flowering plants, shrubs and trees spread over 289 acres of land, is our outdoor classroom and off-site greenspace. The park features a butterfly sanctuary, groves of oak trees and cypress trees, a creek, a large lily pond, and huge meadows for flying kites or circle games. The park, sheltered from the city streets, is an oasis of green in the midst of the Tower Grove / Shaw neighborhood.

Back at school, children will garden and have extended free-play time in our fenced-in greenspace in front of the building. Here the children will grow vegetables and flowers in raised garden beds, swing on a rope swing, and jump around the stumps & sand. By keeping our playspace low-tech, we foster the children’s abilities to engage in immersive play with the environment around them. There are also many opportunities to do real work (which children love to do), such as sort twigs into bundles, shovel woodchips and haul them around, take sandpaper to smooth a branch, or use a hammer to drive stakes into the ground to form a dragon-trap. 

This space is child-centered, so the children can restructure it to suit their needs. Using their imagination and creativity, the children make their own playspace using branches and logs, poles and ropes, shovels and buckets, or whatever lies to hand. Working together without teacher interference, the children create something for their play together: It’s a kitchen … now it’s a boat … now it’s a castle tower. 

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