YARN - From the (shorter) Oxford English Dictionary:

Spun fibre of cotton, silk, wool, or flax.... fibre prepared for use in weaving, knitting...a fisherman's net...any of the strands of which a rope is composed...a (usually long or rambling) story or tale, especially an implausible, fanciful, or incredible one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The First Day of School

Last year I wrote about Ritual and Reverence and included the first day of school as both a ritual and an act of reverence:
As my daughter entered grade 1 this year I was moved to be standing in the circle of the school community with other parents, children and teachers all of whom had gathered to welcome the children to the grade school in word and song.  Each child was given a flower by a student in the graduating class with whom they had been paired, a gift that will be returned at the end of the year when those same students prepare to leave for high school.  On that first day my daughter and her classmates crossed the threshold into their formal education by passing under an arch of boughs held by their teachers from Kindergarten and in turn they each leaped joyfully into their education.

I was moved by this simple ceremony again this year.  Joining us were new children and new families. Missing from the circle were families that had moved away.  As I looked around the circle I saw all of standing there together and I thought of all that had happened within this community of people in the last year, the multiple ways in which we come to know each other by sharing the experience of being a school community.  Some had suffered losses that touched us all.  We had also acknowledged and celebrated the successes and joys, big and small. These events happened in the context of the school community and connected us further - as friends. 

The school year began with parents and children joining with teachers and staff to mark the beginning of the year, to welcome new students and teachers, to hear what the work of each class will be over the year and to celebrate the teachers who will create the magic that is learning. We also gathered to shine a special light on the children entering into the grade school.  Under an arch of sunflowers, the students and teachers passed from the communal space of the yard, into their classroom homes. New students were welcomed with a potted plant to care for. My daughter returning to a new grade but to  her classroom with her teacher - the same as last year. She was carrying the plant she had been given to care for at the beginning of last year; returning to her desk where her coloured pencils and crayons waiting for her, her knitting project was also waiting in the classroom.  

Ready for the new but eased and comforted by the familiar, there had been very little anxiety or nervousness associated with the beginning of the school year, my daughter knew what to expect. We parents, left in the yard, paused for a few moments to let the emotion runs its course, and to share with each other how surprisingly moving it all is every year.

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