It is nice to know that other people see the same things you are seeing. It helps you feel grounded. And it confirms that you aren’t living a fantasy, in denial or wearing blinders.
Last week, an Evergreen father stopped to tell me what he observed during an after school piñata party. Children showed an extraordinary amount of kindness, respect and thoughtfulness between vicious whacks on the cardboard candy bag, he said. The children’s ability to look out for one another, take turns, negotiate and compromise far exceeded the father’s expectations. And when at last, the candy dropped from the battered piñata, children actually organized the collecting of loot. There was no mosh pit. No flying elbows. No fight to the death over handfuls of dried out Tootsie Rolls and Dum Dums.
It is typical at Evergreen School for children to look out for one another. I believe it is the dynamics of our multi-age Montessori classrooms that teaches children to insist that everyone is treated kindly and fairly. Older children easily assume the role of teacher and protector of those younger and more vulnerable.
When you consider how well multi-age classrooms work—not only in promoting academic achievement—but in inculcating important social values, it is surprising that there aren’t more multi-age classrooms. Why don’t more educators see the same thing that that father and I do?
Everything Grows! was the theme of our 2013 Spring Festival. Just as one event can’t fully capture the spirit of the school year, one picture can’t capture the spirit of the event. But here is my best try:
At a school like ours, we rely on the parent involvement and volunteerism to make us great. Study after study demonstrates that active, involved and engaged parents make the greatest difference for children.
The Evergreen School Parents Association (ESPA) held its final school-wide meeting of the year. Reflecting on ESPA’s accomplishments, it is clear that Evergreen would not be the place it is without ESPA’s leadership and all the significant volunteers efforts of our parents. We all owe significant thanks to the ESPA Executive Committee for a wonderful year.
Just as significant, we give great thanks to all our volunteers. below is a list of ESPA and volunteer accomplishments this year:
- Coffee on the Green coordinators
- Buddy family volunteers
- Room Parent volunteers
- Field Trip Coordinators
- Pizza Lunch helpers
- Picture Day helpers
- International Day presenters
- Classroom craft and auction project coordinators
- Winter Festival Committee
- Open House tour guides and refreshment providers
- Esteemed Elders’ Day Chair and volunteers
- Breach Movie Night Speaker and helpers
- MixedBag Sale Coordinator
- Auction Committee
- Teacher Appreication Week helpers
- Annual Fund Chair
- …and ESPA Executive Committee
…as we say at Evergreen, “You make the world a beautiful place!”
The Evergreen community spent an enchanted evening “down the rabbit hole” at the Wonderland Auction on April 27. Thanks to the creative energy of our wonderful auction committee, guests were treated to phantasmagorical night like no other.
Cheers to all the volunteers and supporters who made the event possible.
Special thanks to Kim Cantor, Donna Kerr, Anke Mann, Jen Rusiecki, Joy McCarty, Cori Lathan, and Christopher Mattox for their organizational skills and pure energy.
Over $10,000 was raised to support the children and programs of Evergreen School, including $3,500 direct support for our playground and garden.
See the gallery below and more event pictures here.
Happy Earth Day!
Did you know our Rain Garden and playground were purposefully designed to allow children the chance to play in a natural environment? It is no surprise that our children are drawn to organic materials like stumps, logs, water and boulders. The garden is alive with sand and dirt, bugs and bark, mulberries and mulch. Last week we enhanced the garden with berry bushes, groundscaping and more. Within the next week, we will be sharing more plans to enhance the play space with more hands on materials to compliment the climbers, jungle gym, and monkey bars already installed.
Our garden is growing!
The squeals of laughter were the best part.
After a few weeks of diligent practice, our Elementary class performed the African trickster tale, Anansi and the Moss-covered Rock for our Toddler and Primary classes and parents. The story told the tale of how Mule Deer outwits Anansi the Spider through his wile and cunning. The hilarious performance elicited squeals and cheers from the audience.
Congratulations to our fine actors and director, Mrs. Hatziyannis and assistant, Mr Evans.
Our Elementary class drama program gives all students the opportunity to practice, perform, memorize and grow in confidence. Drama is an important element of our Elementary program. It enriches children’s understanding of the world, ability to work as a team and communicate effectively.
According to child psychiatrist Dr. Adam Blatner, drama teaches a child metacognitive skills, i.e., the process of “thinking about thinking.” When children assume the character of another person, they become aware of their internal thinking process. Children who are aware of their own thinking are better able to strategically analyze new information. In addition, our drama program supports vocabulary development, fluency and expression in all children.
Most of all, our program celebrates story telling, community and LAUGHTER.
I weighed in (or is it waded in?) with my two cents: For me, the key aspect of Montessori is the belief that children naturally want to be engaged with interesting topics, materials and challenges. They want to have choice and control in their lives. They want to use their hands and senses to explore the world around them. They want to create art and music and towers and castles. They want to be able to work alone at times and with a partner at times. All in all, we see that the needs and desires of children are a lot like yours and mine.
At our school, habits of character, a sense of self and joy in learning are even more important than the academic foundation that develops in each child. It is so important that we provide a warm, safe environment with caring teachers where children can feel secure and grow in confidence.
You can weigh in, too. The DC Urban Mom forum is here.