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.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Imagination


'I can't believe that!' said Alice.
'Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'
Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one can't believe impossible things.'
'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'

Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll, illustrations by John Tenniel

This morning we followed Tomten footprints in the snow all the way to school!  
My little guy excited pointed them out (and my heart melted).  

My big girl responded first with agreement and then caught herself and started coming up with plausible explanations (and my heart sank a little bit as I witnessed a piece of childhood wonder slip away). But with only a wink of the eye between us she was joyfully back on the Tomten trail.
The imagination of childhood is worthy of protection; for what we have once it is gone is Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief" which allows us to go back, but as tourists. We can also experience a new joy by witnessing imagination and wonder in our children - that requires no suspension of disbelief, only a belief in childhood.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Participation

There is no doubt that the sense of community around the school appeals to me.

One of the things that builds a sense of belonging for me is the opportunity to participate, to be involved. Real involvement, not selling chocolate bars or cheese or magazine subscriptions - those are a special form of torture, just for parents.  They ask very little and mean about as much. Real involvement asks something of us - time, creativity, commitment and caring.  In return we receive a sense of connection, belonging, and ownership.

Involvement means many things - choosing to teach here, sharing gifts of music and art, helping with reading in the classroom, skating with the class, baking (and baking some more!), building and repairing things, being part of committees, attending the craft circles and making things for Winter Fair, going on field trips or worrying about the finances like they were your own.  The list is endless and it really starts with caring about the school and doing what one can. Participation changes over time - from each according to their ability. Time and financial constraints are a form of ability and the school seeks to make room for all abilities.  The is no pressure if now is not the time to participate, we all ride the ebb and flow of life with children.

The school is a labour of love that starts with the teachers and ripples out to include everyone. It is not a product to be purchased, it is an enterprise. Within the word enterprise are notions of  purpose, undertaking, adventure, complication, risk, scope and significance, effort and boldness. It feels good to be part of such an enterprise and I believe it is good for my children to see me participating in something larger than us, something with optimistic and altruistic goals. Just as the children benefit from meaningful work, so too do I.


Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are,
buying and selling, and spending their lives like serfs.
Henry David Thoreau