big dreams and practical action

This week, members of staff have been talking at great length about our space, its troubles, and its opportunities. We even were so lucky as to have an opportunity to talk to two lovely teachers and a preschool director who practice the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach at the New School West in Southern California. The discussion included the practical (the shelves should be shorter), the short term (you can improve your welcoming space right now), the abstract (beautification of the space, community values, materials as a language of expression), and the long term.

All of this was just in time for a weekend work day. From 10am-5:30pm several parents, Gever and I were in the space.

We built new tables.

We chopped our shelves in half.

Lumber was moved to longer term storage.

Materials where re-labeled, re-sorted, re-organized, and put onto our new half sized shelving. I have a lot to say about this, but will have to save it for another day.

The kitchen was scrubbed and reset. A fridge may have been slid down a set of stairs.

The library got a new look and a new table (table not pictured here).

Kaia and Ben where instrumental in keeping our space dust free.

And we kept dreaming. We took many practical, gritty, and important steps toward laying a foundation on which we can build. Not the least important of which was taking many moments to write down our hopes for the space.

what happens when kids focus

Amazing things. That’s what happens. If we’re talking about favorite days of school, I might point to this one as one of mine. Technically the last day of Expression (though we’re extending our deadline to the end of the day on Monday), the kids had a full realization of what limited time means. Everyone worked steadily and with an immense amount of focus on their projects. They all helped each other out. They fell into a rhythm and it was more than kind of beautiful.

Coke brought in a piece of the beehive in his yard that the bees abandoned. The heady honey smell floated through the space as the kids explored the empty hive and searched for honey and pockets of pollen. Lola said as she ripped through some comb, “The bees will be mad at us when they turn into zombies.”

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Kid City sign-making continued.

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Richard the architect arrived with pieces of redwood partway through the morning to plant a tree on the cork floor.

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The kids helped hoist the logs into their full upright position.

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Beautiful.

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Kristie made rice balls, miso soup, and green tea for everyone at snack today. Wow, so good! Thanks, Kristie.

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Reading in the privacy of the Kid City room.

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New heights.

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And a hole in the floor for quick escapes.

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Interior designing.

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When Connor, Ben, Isaac, and Kaia managed to get the domed roof on top of Kid City, Ben shouted, “It’s Google SketchUp come to life!”

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Writing postcards to each other from mysterious places during quiet time.

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And of course, no Friday would be complete without a little more fun, this time in the form of a rope swing.

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It’s been six weeks of school and we’ve already done so much! I like watching for the little things: the popping eyes in the kids’ faces when Mackenzie tells a thrilling story at lunch, the concentration when drilling a screw in Kid City, the sheer guts it takes to turn a bunch of plywood into a domed roof, the way the kids ask each other for help, and the friendships they’ve already started forming. I feel so lucky to be part of a place that will help kids know so much that’s important about the world and themselves and each other.