Hello Violet Glen Families,
As we just leaped into October, I have been reflecting on our first month’s programming. Of course, as a teacher, I have all these exciting ideas of projects and activities for the children. However, I quickly remember that the very beginnings of the school year is all about connection. We may have accomplished some skills and crafts but the core of our learning each time we have met has been about getting to know each other and feeling the expectations of the group and the space. Those first couple days can feel awkward as we are a bit like strangers together in an unfamiliar land. It is helpful to have returning children, but even they experience this disorientation with new friends present and old friends missing.
It seems to take about a month to begin to settle, especially as we have a new group of friends for each day and some only meet once a week. I felt those connections taking root this last week. Just as children, if given enough time, can get comfortable with, and learn a new skill, they can equally become intimately familiar with their peers or classmates. This recognition and understanding of one another becomes more possible when they can experience each other through play and engagement. Soon, they grow to truly “know” one another, and through our practice and example, lovingly accept and embrace one another, challenges and all. I find it ironic that as I have matured as a teacher I have learned to step back and do less to often get out of the way of the development of children. Of course, it is always important for me to be observing and present to know when I am needed, but ultimately our class can be in its best form when the children develop authentic bonds with one another, apart from me or the other teachers.
And they have be
en doing their good work of connecting, seeing each other as is, without judgement but with empathy and understanding. The other day a child was carrying a jug of water down the hill. Another friend ran up to her and wanted to simultaneously carry the jug, trying to take it from her. After a bit of wrestling with the jug, the teacher told the friend it was not her turn and she needed to let go. A child who was observing this then said, “Oh this is going to be a hard decision for her.” A matter of fact statement based on his understanding of his friend. As adults, we have much to learn from our young folk. They are models of unconditional love and acceptance.
Aside from all this connecting, we have been experimenting with natural dyes, harvesting seeds and nuts, flying kites, weaving, braiding, clay work, and our biggest kids even harvested the leather and fur from a raccoon. We have been singing the songs of transition from Summer to Fall and hearing and acting out stories of farmers, dragons, and knights. Our days have been filled with great joy and much curiosity.
Thank you for the energy you have all added as members of this community. We look forward to watching it deepen and grow. We hope to see some of you today as we begin to prepare ourselves for the colder months by focusing on wood, our primary source of warmth.
Warmly, Erin, Jodie, and Anna