This evening, as I sit in the glow of graduation day, eyes dry from crying, I just feel so profoundly grateful for the work we get to do. And I mean all of us: the teachers, the parents, and the kids, too. What we do here is hard, emotional work.
This Friday is Cottage’s annual tradition of filling our kids with forbidden sugar and setting them loose in the sandy wonderland of the yards in the evening, also known as the Ice Cream Social. When I was a parent of an infant and a toddler, I was filled with social anxiety…
We work day by day to enact our shared ideals about valuing and prioritizing child led play, connecting with nature, trusting children as the drivers of their learning, within the structure of a loving community. We listen to the kids, both through their words and through their behavior. We respond, support flowing into the space where it’s needed, and then giving them room when they can stand on their own two feet.
In revisiting our mission statement this week, as we move into a new era, I read something new that had never occurred to me before. In the past I had emphasized the terms, “child-directed”, “social emotional development”, and “conflict resolution”, and that has served me well in recreating the mission on the ground in our classrooms each day. But this time, as I read, there was a different part that stood out, as if in bold print, for the first time.
You know, one of our Cottage-speak catch phrases is “the Cottage way”. I used it in another post, without further explanation, because we are cultural insiders here. Families use it all the time at debrief and in our surveys, to indicate whether or not something was in line with our collective philosophy.