On Wednesday, October 29th, my Mom and I went to observe at Puddletown School. It was a very interesting experience, considering I hadn’t seen the Puddletown kids in the classroom since my own graduation in 2009. Here’s a few things I noticed:
It was very hard not to interfere with the children’s work, when they were struggling. For example, one of the children was having trouble placing the slate board back into its cabinet. The child eventually left with it jammed askew, to solve later. I really wanted to do their work, but I knew that I couldn’t because they had to figure it out for themselves, in order to learn.
Some of the children gathered in groups and talked about everyone in the class being friends.
I used to like the apple cutting station and it was fun to see it again. The kids were struggling to push down the cutter through the apple, just like I used to struggle and it was tempting not to help them. After seeking help from Kimberly, she visited, and said, “When this happens, you just have to push harder.” and walked away. The child leaned in more and more and eventually the apple sliced!
When I was at Puddletown, my teacher was Emily, and this teacher was also named Emily! (editor’s note: We call her Emmy at Puddletown)
The chairs were very small and hard to sit in for an hour.
Lots of kids came up to me and waved. It was interesting because in my school, in 6th grade, no one really greets.
There were lots of dropped items from the snack table.
All in all, it was a very fun visit. I’m glad I got to come back to Lavender and see the children doing their work.
It was great to be back in the Lavender classroom again, seeing all of the Rory’s favorite works in use by a new generation of Puddletown children. I’ve always remarked on how very special the Montessori curriculum is, by allowing each child to be taught and then letting them have free access to chose work. This clearly was giving these children purpose, focus and mastery in whatever was available to them. They were free to explore, while allowing complex social interactions to happen naturally. One instance I observed where a conflict had arisen. The child sought the Peace Rose, brought it directly to the other child and clearly stated “I didn’t like it when you pushed me.” The second child then took the Peace Rose, almost like a microphone, and stated her truth. The Rose then traveled back to the first child, and on and on, until each felt heard. The whole experience unfolded easily and without adult interference, with the Rose returning to its place once its purpose was served.
Undoubtedly, Rory’s time at Puddletown formed the foundation for who he is today. On our visit, we were able to see this same magical space created for children to be themselves. What a gift we’ve been given and for your children just the same! We look forward to our next visit to Puddletown School. Bravo for all of the great work.
-Gretchan (Rory’s mom)