Monday, May 12, 2008

Standing on the Mountain Top

I have been to the Mountain I have seen the perfect school. You can read all about it in a book - From the Children of a Child Centered School by Don Wallis.

A school that believes in child centered education and practices that belief in the classroom. Yes -- School can be good. Imagine a classroom where the teachers are not monarch's but instead facilitators, not bureaucrats - but leaders of the child centered environment.

Here is a chapter form the book

On Trust

A group discussion of the teachers of the Antoich school.
Ann Guthrie, Nursery
Jeanie Felker, Kindergarden
Kit Crawford, Younger Group
Chris Powell. Older Group
Brian Bragan, Arts/Sceince
Facilitating the discussion is Don Wallis (Author.)


Kit:
Trust is essential to all that we do here.
Jeanie: Everything revolves around trust.
Don: Trust in the child.
Chris: And the children's trust in themselves.
Ann: And their trust in each other. The group.
Don Essentially what is it you trust?
Jeannie: In the child's ability to learn and to change and to grow. Their perpetual forward movement as human beings. I really have trust in that.
Chris: We all have trust is that. We see it and we respect it.
Don: You see it?
Jeannie: In my experience year after year, child after child, I see it. That's how I can trust it. I see it's real, over and over and over again. Differ int child after different child, different group after different group...
Ann: All those individuals within the group, all the different places where each child is. And where they all are, together.
Chris: And we trust that children are on their own time frame, their own developmental schedule. That each child had an individual clock for learning and growing.
Kit: They proceed when they are ready. That's so important!
Chris: And there might be a pause in a child's understanding of some things, or desire to understand some things; a pause in the progress of their development. But in the grade scheme of things; we know from seeing it, over and over; there will be that development. So when there's a pause, there's not a panic, like Oh this, child will never learn. We the teacher's trust that the child will and they do.
Jeannie: The pauses are important in their own right.
Chris: Some major progress, some growth may be going on there.
Ann: The children will pause. and internalize, and ruminate and digest; and come up with the next question they are going to ask. Then they go on with their learning. Each child has her own way of doing this. We know that here, and we trust in it. We allow it to happen.
Kit: The children expect each other to treat each other well. And they do. If a child does something out there that's risky, like really working hard on the unicycle, for example, the other children will manage to tell that child who is taking a risk, Good job!
Chris: I see this happen all the time.
Brian: It happened today, in the Arts/Science room. Henery was grousing about his art work, saying he was going to give up art, he didn't want to be in artist anymore. And Jade said, Henery, what are you saying? You are one of the best artists I have ever met. And Henery head that, you know. He said, Yeah I'm just having a bad day. I'm pretty sure Henery will be back painting tomorrow.
Kit: Henery thrives on that kind of support, he really does.
Brian: I think the children are inspired by each others successes, as opposed to being jealous of each other's successes. And that's a product of trust , I think. Trusting yourself , trusting that you are okay enough to appreciate some one else's triumph.
Don: So, trust is intentional here. It's part of the curriculum, so to speak. It's part of what you teach.

From the Children of a Child Centered School by Don Wallis and the children and teacher of The Antioch School From pages 19-20. 2005

Used by permission of the Author.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I am very intersted in your posts! I am very happy that I found your blog. My 9 yo daughter in third grade, was finally diagnosed with dyslexia. Unfortunately, it wasn't by the school, whose Child study team refused to evaluate her from kindergarten to the end of second grade. I KNEW that there was some sort of learning disability, and I strongly felt that she was dyslexic. Now, I feel that I am battling the school, to get her the services that she needs. I have her annual IEP coming up, and I was looking for blogs and other places to get help and reassurance!Thank you for sharing your experiences and your story!