Looking Out for Each Other

Taking Care of Each Other Evergreen School

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?

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