Reflection of our first week back from Holiday Break:
As we enter the week, I reflect on precious moments in class as well as the trauma experienced in Paris.
I lived in Nantes, France a memorable portion of my Junior-year while at University of Washington, frequently visiting Paris. My maternal Grandmother was Catholic, French Canadian and experienced prejudice while growing up in Ontario as a French speaker. I am rooted and in love with French cultures. Observing, living and loving large pieces of French culture my life I weep for the hurt inflicted on the French arts and freedom of speech as both are deeply rooted in the national and cultural identity as well as seeing as an educator the benefit of expression through arts. I bring this to light before celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday this last week because I needed to share that the work we do in Klahanie School is founded on opportunity to gently and lovingly introduce “stepping into someone else’s skin” to hear another’s truth. The intention of the Peace program is to practice patience education and to offer children and educators the beginning understanding of how to learn steps to ignore the human tendency to judge. Instead, the alternative of using our categorizing driven brains to sift the sciences in life and rejoice in the stories of others.
Before break we had some “bad guy, good guy” play in the garden and the word “kill” was used. Although this is very normal for children to exercise during free-imaginative play I had to ask children to not use the word “kill” at school because school is intended as a safe zone. I also asked them to please ask his/her parent what that word means (as a parent, I value my own parental choices surrounding such large words with large meaning and please let me know if you would like hearing how our family defines it). I had also observed that this play was making some children very uncomfortable. I explained that when children do not feel safe, I must step in to help remedy that. We had the most powerful circle discussion using the Peace Rock, me facilitating and repeating back (asking for keen listening: which they did!) all the children shared their needs clearly, they all wanted to feel safe. We determined that “bad guy/good guy” led to chasing and someone usually getting hurt and that we needed to change to other games for a while. We then made a group pledge to play safe. As a group, we talked about what it means to be at school: to feel safe and explore. I asked the children to use their imaginations to play bigger than the classroom yet similar in imagination when out in the garden (ideas of playing animals, house/store/ construction/ fairies, skeleton robots and so on were brain-stormed during our talk).
I cannot accurately describe the pride and love I felt and do feel for this dynamic group of children. And I told them this.
We work daily to understand the meaning and practice of respecting self and others.