I joined in at Gardner on last Friday’s clean up day / install new gym floor day.
I snuck onto the campus, hiding from D, who was just about to retire to his cozy tent inside for a nap. Thanks to my conspirator parents it worked!
Led by a teacher, all the kids broke into their Olympics groups (“Greece”, “Great Britain,” “USA, “Japan” and “China”) and did specific tasks, like shovel bark dust into flower beds, pick up trash, etc. Adults got jobs like “clean the farmhouse refrigerator” (me) and “wash the windows”. The sunny afternoon was bookended by lovely ceremonies to commemorate 2 parent deaths: a tree planting and a shrub planting, with plaque placements. I was very impressed by how respectfully the children listened and participated in the ceremonies.
This was really the first time I had spent any chunk of time on campus during a school day, and I was again reminded of why we chose this special school for D. I was struck by how little time the teachers and staff spent on discipline (almost none) and how content the children were doing hands-on work outside. I heard one girl say, “Work days are the best!” I was also impressed with how well children were able to stand up in front of the group and speak. This is one of the Gardner tenants and I was happy to see it is truly part of the curriculum. In the morning, the kids had made art out of trash they’d found on campus, and in the afternoon, they were presenting the work to the group.
After I cleaned the refrigerator, I took the job “clean blinds in Wy’East” (classroom name). This was a tedious but necessary task (having windows open in a rural setting = thick layer of dust on everything), but as I worked I could watch the children outside hosing down chairs and the gym mats.
While in this classroom (3rd and 4th grade) I could also take time to read the Wy’East kid’s haikus about Spring, which were quite good:
Heavy and light brown
perfectly lined up in a row
the rocks are so pretty.
Inspired by these, and the children’s miniature zen gardens in the classroom, I composed my own.
Wiping down blinds, slat by slat
Patient and focused
Just like Wy’East’s zen gardens