A school as an institution has its own path of development. Just like the child and the teacher, a school too has developmental stages.
From the very onset, we were mindful that the many choices we made in our initial years, would create the story of our school; Being the foundation from which our school grew it would impact the path of the school in the many years yet to come.
Reflecting back over the academic year just passed, I have come to realise that we at The Earth School are entering a new phase of development! Pondering further on this, I couldn’t help but liken schools development to the stages of development of children.
Indulge me, dear readers, if you have the time and inclination, to explore this thought further.
Today, we are gradually leaving our years of ‘creation’ – of infancy and toddlerhood and entering a phase of consolidation – the childhood years. We are much like the 6-year-old child, straddling two planes of development.
The first years of The Earth School was a heady mixture of unrestrained enthusiasm and optimism – even through the miscalculations and setbacks that are inevitable during the initial years of an institution. With the Montessori pedagogy as our guide, we were creating something that simply did not exist before. We were pure ’potential’. Each experience carried with it ‘new’ learning and there was much exploration. Slowly, we formed a base for our understanding of the various aspects of a school.
These initial years were prone to many ups and downs. There was some instability due to the fact that everything was so nascent. Through these years help always poured in from family and friends in a myriad of forms. They understood our passion and had witnessed us work toward the dream of The Earth School.
For the first time last academic year, we found that the ‘umbilical cord’ cut. We felt it the most when two of our dear friends and colleagues left us to pursue other dreams. It was a time of some insecurity for us.
In retrospect, these changes came at the right time. We had grown enough to sustain ourselves – we now had the resilience for the many ‘reality checks’ that the year was to bring. It gave us the preparation to step into the next stage of growth.
Over the last year, without us realising it, we have changed ever so subtly. Our understanding of people and human nature has grown. Our understanding of the child has strengthened. We are able to ‘see’ the developmental continuum of the child more clearly. We have come to be more accepting of ourselves and of each other.
We have grown in confidence and born out of this we have started looking more outward, just like the elementary aged child. We have started actively building a more involved larger community. Having had the confidence to open ourselves up, we have been blessed with a supportive and insightful parent body, who have taken our hand to walk along with us. Now each active member is colouring and shaping the path of our school.
Though the bigger picture of our work has always been in the forefront, I find us asking larger questions more frequently. We have started asking more questions regarding our role in a larger community as well. Today, even our small, seemingly inconsequential actions, sets us thinking about the ‘bigger’ picture. The similarity with the elementary child is hard to miss here!
We have barely begun our journey. I do not know what tests await us in the future, what learning’s are in store for us. There is much to do and more to build and a long, long path to walk on.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
(Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening : Robert Frost)