“Community cannot for long feed itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.” – Howard Thurman
The storytelling group is getting jazzed about their artwork being displayed at Petsi Pies next month and now we have some work to be done to get ready. Today we took a trip to Boomerangs, a local thrift shop. All of their proceeds goes to support AIDS Action’s work to prevent new infections, support those affected, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS. Our goal was to look for picture frames for their artwork.
But like most things we do, there is an underlying theme. Going out into our community has been an important part of our teaching intention this year. It seems like at least once a week we are out and about going to a store, park, over the bridge, around the Charles River or to the library.
“Children should, whenever possible, be outside of the classroom.” – Loris Malaguzzi
All of those areas though are in, what most would argue, are the “nicer” areas of our community. So much so in fact that we have had to sit down and discuss whether or not we can go to where we went today. What does this convey to our children? Why avoid certain areas that may be busier, dirtier, and perhaps overall a different demographic than we normally are privileged enough to avoid?
“Expand your knowledge by always expanding your community.” – Khaled Hosseini
Not only is it important for our children to be immersed in the varying parts of our community, it is vital that we make our presence known in the larger community. Our approach to education is not the norm. It is fair to say it is the opposite of the norm. Viewing children as being capable, competent, whole human beings who should be active protagonists of their learning is unique and an important message to spread. It is not just our children we want and need to support – it is all children. Every child deserves to lead their own learning, to have their voice heard and listened to, to feel like they are citizens in this world. What better way to begin accomplishing that goal than to be present, visible examples of all children are capable of?
“The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.” – William James
We arrived at Boomerangs a few minutes before it opened and our children starting talking to a woman waiting to go in with us. She asked them what they were up to which led to a long conversation about their art work, how they made it, what their art was of, why they chose to illustrate those particular memories, and that their art was going to be displayed in a local coffee shop. At the end of the conversation she turned to me to ask if I was their teacher, then said she used to teach art and never would have thought children this young could accomplish so much.
“Don’t ever forget that you are a citizen of the world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do everyday.” – Aaron Sorkin
There were hellos, how are you doings, stay in schools, waves from bus drivers, and so many quick and happy conversations. I overheard conversations of passerby’s and fellow bus passengers discussing our children and talking about how happy, capable, and easy going they were and how incredible it is that we do this with them.
Our goal is to not just flourish as individuals, but also to flourish as a community.