First June Camp

From 1925 through the early 1960s, all LREI students spent the month of June in the country. This was called June Camp. LREI continues this tradition with a four-day trip for lower school students we now call the Farm Trip.

In the photo above, Elisabeth Irwin and Pal, her dog, sit with students at an early June Camp. The film below is from the 1952 June Camp:

Two hallmark overnight trips mark a rite of passage for our third and fourth graders today. For three nights and four days in the fall students and teachers travel to Manhattan Country School Farm and Hawthorne Valley Farm. There they live and work together under guidance and supervision of the farmers (who are also excellent teachers). They milk cows, bake bread, harvest vegetables, hike and play, and get up early to feed the pigs and chickens. The experience is unique each year, but a guarantee is that they return having individually discovered marvelous new talents, confidence and independence, and having formed bonds and cooperation as a group at a deep and satisfying level.

Here, Rhoda Harris, LRSH teacher, writes about June Camp in the 1940s:

As the days passed, the children became more confident and anticipated new experiments and new freedoms instead of shrinking from them. We went daily to watch the farmer milk. We followed the plow. We picked strawberries. We pumped water. We went up to the big pasture, over a stile, and watched the cows ad petter the baby calves. We measured grain for the work horses. We fed the chickens, taking turns gathering the eggs. There were baby kittens and puppies and a phoebe bird’s nest. We set bread at night and baked it in the morning. We made corn bread and jams, and shelled peas on the sunny back porch. We had picnics on a big cliff at the side of the pond. Small groups of the eight- and nine-year-olds went fishing and cooked their fish over the campfire for their supper. Music, painting, modeling, reading, writing letters and stories, were a part of the daily program, as well as the trips and cooking.