When A Classroom Feels Like Home
Tonight was parent visiting night at Sj's school. We accompanied her to the classroom and she walked us through a checklist of work in progress she wanted us to see. She attends a school where her education is self-driven, meaning she works on what she wants to and pursues studying and researching topics that interest her. The former conventional fifth grade teacher in me always wonders how that really works, but when you see it in progress, all those traditional notions I held onto easily fade away. Self driven education is a wonderful thing. You won't find 25 Abe Lincoln reports donning the bulletin board in her classroom. To me, I wouldn't have it any other way.
What stood out to me most tonight, beyond all the amazing work Sj is doing, was the classroom environment. Wooden boxes full of materials, art supplies neatly placed on readily accessible trays, glass and metal bead chains for math, plants, rugs, pillows, coral, ceramic pottery, wicker baskets. All items you could easily find in my own home, with the exception of the school materials. I think it's a special thing to walk into a classroom that feels like a home, I certainly know that feeling is not easy to capture in a concrete cinder block rectangle.
Her classroom is so calm and inviting. There aren't projects hanging off the ceiling and piles of papers and books stacked all over the place (that would be my former classroom). You won't find desks in perfect rows or even in groups, but rather soft work spaces and an occasional small table to work on. It's truly a place full of delight and wonder. Curiosity is blooming and you could feel it radiating like sunshine through the room.
I left tonight smiling, knowing she's been given an amazing gift through her education. A day I always dreamed of.