TSH Observations - 2019 Dec. 6th
Week Ending Dec. 6th: From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney
Dear TSH Families:
“Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” — Plato
As many of you know this is the time when parents begin looking for schools for the 2020/21 school year and at TSH we’ve had an abundance of tours. I love doing them because mostly I get to show off your children. They’re not doing anything out of the ordinary; they are just being themselves, going about their work, sometimes discussing big topics. On Thursday it was ten minutes on ivy leaves after a child brought them in to share. I’ll admit I know more now about ivy than I ever did and from an 8 year old no less. In another classroom, some were deep into essays, others on their rugs working out math problems, still more enjoying a snack while having a conversation about how it felt to get up on stage and perform for the concert (awesome! scary! so good!). But from an adult’s perspective it’s like a magic trick.
One dad stood there wide-eyed... um… where’s all the horsing around? The loud voices? He almost felt as if his child wouldn’t fit in. I assured him that September is a lot different than November when we have found our rhythm and that once the recess doors open it is in fact the Wild West out there. Ms. Carissa’s class likes to look up at our visitors (other classes usually pay no mind) all at once and examine them as if they are a new species; some come and introduce themselves with executive functioning skills that have never been formally taught here but that abound based on the example of our team. Recently, Eva - the youngest member of our TSH family - took a little girl by the hand, showed her to the polishing tray and sat down to instruct her on this fine motor activity. At 2.5 years old she had more grace than most grown ups I know! In Ms. Christine’s class they offered another visiting little one a seat at the snack table for tea. In Ms. Jade’s class, the upper elementary girls usually receive our little visitors with such enthusiasm and warmth (they all have the most beautiful smiles) that one almost wants to hire them immediately as mother’s helpers.
In 1907 Dr. Montessori - the creator of one of the pedagogies that make up our American Emergent Curriculum - opened her first school. The school was located in a working class tenement and it was here that she developed her famous Method. One of the aspects of the school about which she writes most prolifically is how the children transformed in such a short period of time once they were given respect, dignity, freedom within structure and trust. For many years, I believed as most do that this was a result of the time period - children were different then. But it isn’t. It’s a result of the environment. The careful work of kind repetition. The expectations we have for each child. And the understanding that each Learner is unique.
Early next year, I’ll be working on a program to augment school care so that when you visit us you can spend a few moments in the classroom. It doesn’t work in your own child’s classroom, by the way. Being mom to two boys, I know that when I walk in their concentration is instantly broken. But even to see another classroom, to witness your child’s peers, I believe would be a worthwhile peek into TSH. We certainly aren’t perfect - there are things we work to improve upon every day and new programs I’m excited to develop into next year - but the magic is palatable and for that I am too grateful to put into words.
I’d like to share with you my observations in pictures this week. From snow and sledding to making cards for our Armed Services to palm paint on an upper elementary Learner (go Jordana!)…. from Kitchen work to work in their environment to rehearsals for their first big concert… and baking, building and dancing. Each week brings more life, learning and love to our little school in East Northport.
Find Out More: December Parenting Tips & December Family Engagement