Metamorphosis Elementary School Of Monticello Inc

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sign Our Online Petition

This is a link to our online petition for Keep the Sheep. Hope you will sign and then share with everyone you know on this planet!

Thank you so much for your help. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Just a quick update. Our local news channel did a nice story about our school. Yay! Publicity for Montessori - we will take any time!

One council member has asked me why we need these animals all the time, as opposed to something like "two weeks." He said like public schools do, go to a farm, short units. I did my best to explain. Would love everyone's thoughts on this subject.

Here's the video of the TV report. Watch in entirety to hear closing comments!


A friend sent this wonderful link--check it out!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


When the police car pulled along the curb in front of my house, and the officer lumbered out, heading for my house, I was not worried. I think I actually chuckled softly, as I reached into my file cabinet and pulled out my copy of the local animal ordinances. I met the officer at my door in a friendly way, shaking his hand and introducing myself. The officer: "We've had a complaint that you have...". "MAAAAA!!," came the abrasive call from the back yard. "Sheep," said the officer, "and that's just been confirmed." "Sheep are not allowed in Monticello," he said. "Oh come around and meet them," I urged, nudging him to the backyard. On the way I explained that we are an educational institution, so we have an "exemption" in order to use animals for educational purposes. He actually seemed relieved, and was attentive when I told him about how we had taught all of our older children to knit, using a sheep poem. "And then we got the idea to get these Babydoll Southdown sheep, have the children care for them on a daily basis, then we would shear, wash, card, spin and dye the wool for our projects." He seemed to like the idea, wrote something down, and left to report to those in charge that we were claiming to have an exemption. I should have been worried. In less than ten minutes he was back.

When someone first suggested sheep, I wasn't even sure I would like them. We've had three different goats at our school over the last 30 years, and plenty of chickens. Love the chickens. But sheep? They just seemed boring to me. But because of the beautiful cycle that the children could experience with them, I still thought it was a good idea, so we gave it a try. It took me about three hours to fall completely in love with these animals. I don't think I can put into words the serenity I feel when I am caring for these two, Sunflower the little girl, and Thistle, the wether. Their intelligence is obvious. In fact, I was surprised to read that their level of intelligence is just below pigs - pretty smart. For some reason, maybe because we usually see them in flocks, I didn't realize how distinct their personalities would be. Sunny, at 40 pounds, runs the show. She lost her mama at birth, was bottle-fed, so of course she thinks we humans are around to do her bidding. Thistle, the ram, at ninety pounds, is as docile, and affectionate as an old retriever. He follows me absolutely everywhere, observing my work, and nibbling at the odd blade of whatever...or at my skirt...or the velcro on my shoe. He is also very free with kisses--his muzzle is just like a boiled wool slipper!

Our children are crazy about them, feeding and watering and brushing them with care. Bath days are a hoot. The sheep, much like dogs, wait until they are completely soaked and lathered, then give tremendous full body shakes, splashing the children with water and plopping suds all over the shrieking little ones. I swear they grin when they do this.

I have always felt, no always known, that these authentic experiences to do real work that teaches empathy and responsibility, are the kinds of opportunities that all children need. I am a dyed in the wool Montessorian! Why, oh why, do the powers that be seem to do everything wrong for children, for families, for neighborhoods and communities? My explanations and pleas were met with obtuse responses like, "Sounds like a great idea, but it's against the rules."

The city says our sheep must go. It seems their ordinance was poorly written, and the exemption that we thought we had, is indeed written into the ordinance. But it is an exemption for dangerous animals. In other words, we could have a boa, or tiger, but not two lambs. We are in process of petitioning the city council to alter the ordinance and let us KEEP THE SHEEP. My early June was so peaceful, something unusual for me. School is out due to low enrollment, and I was using the days to take care of the animals, write, make jewelry, and take long walks. Since this situation arose, I have had that old, unsettling feeling of unease. I find myself spending too much time thinking about it, and wondering why someone complained. And then I get onto WHO complained? I feel a bit paranoid, glancing about...was it him? I look at neighbors differently, although all of them insist that the sheep do not bother them. And I think to myself that it is these petty issues, little things, that cause people to distrust each other, and then dislike each other, and perhaps begin to play "tit for tat" with each other. And peace is replaced with insidious hatred.

Mary had a little made the children laugh and play to see a lamb at school. I want to see children laughing and playing and loving at schools again. Why is that against the rules? Let's change the damned rules.

Our knitting poem: Under the fence,
                               Catch the sheep,
                               Back we come,
                               Off we leap!

If you are interested in our cause, and its outcome, please visit our Facebook page KEEP THE SHEEP.

Read the beautiful letters that have been written to our mayor, some of which are written by former students who are now adults, immersed in their own careers - but still they take time to write in behalf of our little Metamorphosis Montessori School. I love them all.

You can participate. Write your thoughts, or a letter. Addresses are on the page. We'll keep you posted.