“Of all things love is the most potent.” – Maria Montessori
The days leading up to Thanksgiving Break are always quite busy at Alcuin, but the busy hum of activity is one that reminds us that community, friendship, and love are all around us. We celebrate our classrooms, our communities (both large and small), and we celebrate our families---wonderful moments spent together before we all go home and give thanks for our many blessings.
Last week, the children at the main campus finished their week-long Thanksgiving celebration. An Elementary classroom was paired with a Primary class, and the two sister classrooms partook in shared experiences. On Monday morning, smiles and stories were exchanged as the older children eagerly read to the younger. On Tuesday, they did a craft together cutting and gluing and laughing as they worked. On Wednesday and Thursday, the classes worked on food prep for their feast, and the week ended on a delicious note as the children feasted together with their partner class. What a lovely week!
Earlier today, the Middle Schoolers visited the Infant and Toddler classrooms as they surprised the littlest members of our community with a song (“Five Little Pumpkins!”) followed by a selection of board books read to the children. The infants and toddlers sat quietly and listened wide-eyed and filled with excitement. Their morning visit was rounded out with some shared pumpkin bread made from scratch especially for the infants and toddlers. It was so sweet seeing the 7th and 8th graders gingerly interact with them and offer up their baked goods.
Finally, to round out the festivities, the Main Campus hosted its annual Extended Family Day. Extended Family Day provides aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and neighbors to spend the morning with their favorite Alcuin students. The day began by performances in Spanish by Primary and Junior Elementary who both sang songs. The Junior and Senior Elementary also recited poems in Spanish. After the maravilloso entertainment, coffee and donuts, our guests visited the classrooms and were treated to lessons, lessons, and more lessons from the children.
As everyone left, with a souvenir Alcuin coffee mug, a smile, and a tummy full of donuts, it was a wonderful reminder of the power of community. No matter the child’s age, whether they are four months or fourteen years, connections and community do, in fact, remind us that love is all around. They are supported by their family at home and at Alcuin. It's such an amazing thing we are truly thankful for.
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Dr. Maria Montessori once stated, “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” It’s a lovely sentiment, where we, as caregivers, do all we can to make sure our children have the kind of environment that will give them the world. A world they will one day become a part of as adults. It is important, however, in these times, that when we look toward the children and their future, we ask are we doing all we can for them? Are we freeing their ultimate potential?
At Alcuin Montessori, we pride ourselves on adhering to the basic Montessori tenet of following the child. What this means is taking their lead, meeting their needs, and advocating for them. As such, we recently introduced our “Alcuin Montessori School Policy Regarding Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Non-Binary Students and Staff Members” policy. While Alcuin has always been a safe space, we felt it was important to have this policy in place.
According to Trans Student Educational Resources, “80% of trans students feel unsafe at school because of their gender expression.” Our policy is meant to foster an educational environment that is safe, welcoming, and free from stigma and discrimination for all students and staff members regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Yes, the policy facilitates compliance with local, state and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, privacy, and discrimination, but it also achieves so much more. It ensures that all students (and staff members) have the opportunity to safely experience and express themselves, and live authentically. Dr. Montessori stated, “To assist a child we must provide them with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” At Alcuin, we strive to provide that environment for each and every child.
We could list the countless facts and data about the positive impact acceptance has on trans youth, but as with everything else we approach at Alcuin, ultimately it is about people, not statistics. Alcuin Montessori promotes acceptance throughout our school and provides a safe space as a support network for all. We strive to create an environment in which it is safe for people to express themselves and their individuality without consequence or judgment.
We hope to both educate and cultivate an attitude towards others marked by a generosity of spirit and acceptance, and welcome all students and families to our community. By instating this policy, we are not changing what we already do. We’re merely reinforcing our ideals that all children deserve recognition, respect, and love---and at Alcuin, they receive just that.
A blog by various Alcuin staff members. Updated monthly...