This time of year we often find ourselves in moments of reflection. Lists of the year’s momentous events are published through news outlets, new calendars are purchased, and even in our own personal lives we reflect on our accomplishments and challenges over the past 12 months. This year at The New School Montessori, some of our families brought new lives into the world, while others lost someone close to them. Each year provides us with a multitude of reasons to be grateful, as well as moments to grieve. Wherever you are on this journey, we wish you joy and peace over the winter break.
The children at The New School Montessori continue to inspire the staff as they walk their own journey. We watch them in the (3-6) as they use scissors for the first time to cut out the shape of a snowflake. Or later, in the (6-9), we observe when they are introduced to the changing states of matter as the solid snow falls, melts on their tongue, and evaporates into their breath. In the (9-12) we witness their awareness deepen as they study the periodic table of elements and realize that as the flurries fall on the other side of the window, those tiny white flakes are delicate hexagonal prisms made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.
The child’s journey of deepening knowledge and awareness is a privilege to watch and be a part of. We honor it here at TNSM because we do not see it as something “outside” of us, but rather a communal journey. I was reminded of this when recently I found an illustrated children’s book of Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” laying on the floor of a preprimary classroom after school. I picked it up, opened it, sat down on a tiny chair, and began to read.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
I also took a pause, like the subject in the poem, to appreciate this quiet moment in a beautiful space. The children’s space. I sat there several minutes, finishing the poem, imagining the child who thankfully forgot to put away this gift. Both of us learning from it.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I put away the book with a renewed gratitude for pauses, promises, and the wonderful miles that lie ahead.