Work, Work, Work
One of the things I love about Montessori (and non-traditional schools like DGS) is the fact that it turns our conventional societal views about “school” upside down. The idea that school is tedious and boring and in general somewhere children don’t want to be is completely steeped into our culture. As a child, I enjoyed school sometimes, but most of the time I’d have preferred to be doing almost anything else, and the older I got, the worse it got. I was so thankful to discover that there are other ways to conceive of education. My own children grew up in Montessori schools and did not understand their neighborhood friend’s complaints about hating school, or commercials, movies, and music that all centralize the theme of “hating” school. In fact, my kids wanted to go to school on Saturdays and holidays! Until, of course, they ventured into the world of conventional education, at which point they realized exactly what the rest of the world was talking about!
This miraculous phenomenon is what Dr. Montessori discovered over 100 years ago. Children, when given choice, freedom within limits, and ability to follow their own interests, overwhelmingly choose “work”, seemingly tirelessly! All it takes is one glimpse into our classrooms at DGS to see why children love school and learning!
On Thursday, we talked about Veterans Day, its history, and what it means to be a Veteran. We discussed the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and the different branches of the Armed Services. Many of the children shared that they have relatives that are Veterans, Ms. Paula and I shared about the Veterans in our families, and the children wrote their Thursday Thank-You cards to a Veteran.
On Friday, we had a dramatically shortened work cycle due to a special event. When the children realized this fact, we had a spontaneous protest! The children began chanting “Work! Work! Work! Work!” accompanied, of course, with the ASL sign for “work”. Even though the reason for less work was “fun”, the children still lamented their lost “work” time. This was a magical “Montessori Moment” and one I will always remember!
Friday marked the beginning of a new DGS tradition called “Fallstival”. The Middle schoolers created several stations where the younger students could go and experience various Harvest themed celebrations from all over the world. The children made their own goodie bags to take with them to each station, and everyone was invited to wear their costumes again, should the choose. The weather combined with stunning fall color made for the perfect backdrop for this wonderful celebration. In the end, I think the children decided it was (mostly) worth giving up their treasured work time for. In addition, we were able to gather (thanks to all of your generosity) a wonderful cache of donations for the Ada Jenkins center!