This week I took one whole morning to visit every single class. I asked the teachers how things were going in general and what they needed in terms of equipment and support. The needs covered everything from replacing soap dispensers to ordering extra shelves. Across the board, everyone seemed pleased with the challenging process of helping children and their parents settle in to the new school year.
I noticed that many of the littlest ones who initially cried were happily engaged in exploring their new environment. Classes that required practice with walking down the hall in an orderly manner were starting to get the hang of it. Teachers were diligently setting up systems for taking turns, negotiating differences, signing in, and exploring a wider variety of materials. Older students were already immersed in math challenges and refining their handwriting skills. Our first week of school was already showing signs of a learning community in the making. One particular experience demonstrated this progress.
In one of the preschool classes, a new student was playing with small magnetic train cars. He had all the cars hooked together, and some served as freight cars for Lego pieces. He was happily playing with his train until another child came up and grabbed two cars. A bit of yelling happened, which caught the teacher’s attention. The teacher skillfully swooped in, got down to the children’s level, and helped facilitate a conversation. As it turned out, a few other children wanted a turn with some of the train cars. After the child who grabbed the cars asked, “Can I have a turn with some cars?” the child who originally had them all gladly agreed to share the two cars. Within a few minutes, the child independently began distributing other cars to friends. The teacher noticed, and asked, “How does it feel to share?” The child looked up with a big smile on his face and said, “HAPPY!”
It was one of those small moments that might go unnoticed. I did see it, however, and it was a perfect example of the kind of work we spend significant time on at the Seed. We help children be kind, generous, compassionate beings. We were only a week into our new school year on the day I witnessed this interaction. Already this work is underway and, like the intentions I wrote about last week, our first five days have been a strong foundation from which we will build the rest of our school year, filled with learning, living, and discovering ways to love each other.