The 12-Acre Classroom

Animal Care and Behavior

All Cedar River Montessori students, from early childhood through middle school, learn about animal care and behavior.

Through a student-centered (and animal-centered!) approach, and careful observation and knowledge of human and animal behavior, our animal behaviorist creates a positive learning environment for both the students and our animals.

With our pasture animals, the students go beyond the basic feeding and watering to practice animal husbandry techniques like hoof care and administration of baking soda/water to calm stomachs. Animal behavior and handling is a key part of all levels of students working with the animals, including creating animal enrichment activities (the students learn that the goats often like to play with toys just like they do!). The 12 Acre Classroom experiences complement the fundamental human needs lessons, revealing to the students the commonalities between all living things – plants, animals, and humans, alike.
Beyond learning about our domestic animals, students learn about the wildlife who make our 12-acre classroom their home. Lessons are based in place and season, exploring evidence and behaviors of our native animals. As a part of our campus Forest Stewardship Plan, we maintain species lists of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that we observe on our campus.

Farm Conservation Plan

Completed in January of 2016, the King Conservation District Farm Conservation Plan included an evaluation of the soils and habitat conditions at Cedar River Montessori School, and recommendations for seven habitat enhancement practices to bring our pasture up to best management practices:
  • Animal trails and walkways to improve year-round hoof health
  • Riparian buffer fencing to protect and restore vegetation next to the pasture
  • Cross fencing to create sustainable seasonal pasture rotations for animal forage
  • Composting facility to convert animal waste and bedding into organic compost
  • Heavy use area to create dry, year round outdoor space for our herd
  • Roof run-off structure to collect rainwater from the barn to water our animals
  • Hedgerow planting of native plants to provide a buffer between the pasture and forest
Thank you to our community donors and to King Conservation District for providing funding for this project!