Friday, August 27, 2010

Setting up the School

Whenever, wherever I taught in my life, I started with a messy, junk-filled classroom, typically very dirty. I would spend days sorting through used-up workbooks, spilled substances and grimy lost and found items to figure out what I could clean, salvage, donate, recycle or trash.

Our new school is decidedly different. Rachel visited over the summer, clearing the yard and setting up a dramatically beautiful garden, with walkways for the children so they can approach different vignettes of space to take care of the plants, fruits, herbs, and vegetables. In front, she created a rock fence and a gravel pit for playing with trucks and buckets.

Setting up inside was a matter of dusting off furniture, moving it around and envisioning the possible uses of different spaces. We have a drama and dress-up corner with a mirror, a rest area with textiles and cushions, a music and book library area, and a wide open workspace for art projects, math structures and science experiments. The terraced outdoor space has sports equipment and a kitchen area for cooking projects. Then there's outside, the wide open green space where goats and sheep roam, and nearby the burros graze.

So much good, creative energy emanated from the new space, that I knew the students would love it. Indeed, my children who accompanied me started working the minute they entered the space, while I was trying to set it up.

Thus begins the school year for our beautiful project, Taller Colibri. Colibri means hummingbird in Spanish, and reflects the dedication we'll have to ecology and nature as well as our high-flying hopes.

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