September: the romance and adventure of the world
"Above all things, the progressive schools believe that childhood is a part of life and not just a preface to something more important, and that at every age children should have a chance to respond to the romance and adventure of the world around them." Elisabeth Irwin (Fitting the School to the Child, 1924)
The middle school feels even more full than ever of our usual (beloved) hubbub. We, the adults who enjoy and prefer middle school’s energy, are relieved to have it back. The power of a focused classroom - uproarious or quietly and deeply immersed - is a sign of a return to normal. But we are also noticing that the metaphorical volume is turned up. In the parlance of middle schoolers, they are “extra.”
I am far from the first to notice this and it’s not just here. All over the country, children and adults alike are experiencing an amplified version of regular life, with bigger feelings and a more tender heart. While this doesn’t always make for smooth passage through our days, it is undeniably real. The quote above from Elisabeth Irwin is a reminder that it isn’t our charge to protect children from life, or brace themselves for it, but to experience it with them.
While school must first and always be a safe place, it will not always be comfortable, as life is not always comfortable. The “romance and adventure of the world” is not easily or tidily contained, nor managed. We are all looking forward to sharing some of our first conversations, adventures and creations with you on Curriculum Night (Tuesday). See you soon.