It’s a crisp fall day in October and on Friday we began our morning making cards for Color Give Smile, a non-profit organization that provides artwork to senior citizens. The cards usually accompany a meal that is being delivered. I love these events because it really gets the children asking questions about the world outside of their home, their beloved school and classrooms. I had beautiful and meaningful conversations with the children as we sat together making cards and I know that this event will continue to support the ideas that we work on every day in the classroom.
The Montessori philosophy is based on respect: of self, for others, the environment, and for the world. At Alcuin, everything we do as a school community focuses on these values. From the moment the children come through our doors we welcome them and greet them like a member of our family because they are truly part of the Alcuin family. What does that mean and why is it so special or different? It means that we accept each individual child for who they are and we work together as a team to help them grow and develop into the person they are striving to become. There are a million lovely moments along that journey and there are bumps along the road -- but that’s just it, it is the journey that is most important to us. It’s about the partnership with the families, and sharing in the joys and ah-ha moments that happen for each child. It’s about meeting and talking, problem solving and trusting in the partnership of home and school, and above all knowing that the child will not only get through the challenging moments but will come out on the other side a much stronger, peaceful and independent person.
This past year has been filled with various peace promoting exercises from peace-building activities in the classrooms to making blankets and hats for those in need, to joining a worldwide peace art project. Sophia Lyman, our art teacher, began working with the Middle School students on a special project for the Global Art Project for Peace program.
This program pairs up schools from around the world to exchange gifts of peace each year so that there are many gifts of peace being sent to various locations all around the world.
The school year is off to a wonderful start and the students are settled back into the routines of their classrooms. It is a true joy to welcome them into our building each morning and to receive a warm smile and a firm handshake from so many. With this, I realize the depth of the opportunity we have before us as parents and educators with our young students for no matter the age they are all open to learning, hungry for knowledge and willing to be exposed to new concepts, ideas and opinions.
As I embark on my fifth year leading Alcuin and we enter year two of our accreditation process with the Independent Schools of the Central States and the American Montessori Society, my goal this year is to give back to our greater community. Montessori believed that a peaceful world could be created by children, and part of that peace is brought on by the helping of others. Throughout the school year there will be opportunities for students, parents and staff to learn about different groups in need of our philanthropic efforts. In early September we kicked off our endeavor with a school-wide celebration of the International Day of Peace. We erected our new peace pole and sang a beautiful song about peace. It was a very moving way to start the school year and set the tone for things to come. The children have already had many conversations around the pole discussing what peace means them.
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