Saturday, May 22, 2010

Petra's List

My body aches. I am losing track of the vines I've pulled, the shrubs I've attacked, the flowers I've planted. By now the dirt is so embedded in my skin creases and fingernails that I have given up on trying to look ready for a night on the town. I said I have given up. It's more of a giving in, and not very reluctantly, to country life again. Accepting a less manicured body for a more manicured flower garden, relinquishing social chatter in favor of quiet observation. It didn't take much convincing - the slower and less pressured invitation to living, quiet walks with a glass of wine, early evening mist wrapping the fields and mountains, the air sweet and fragrant with honeysuckles and wildflowers. I fit with this.
Today Petra showed up at the house with a hand-written paper. She has been in public school Kindergarten this year and has enjoyed the orderliness of the classroom, structured learning and time with friends. Rosetta is letting her make up her own mind whether she would like to stay in school or join in at the commons. Petra has demonstrated the careful and thoughtful consideration with her decision that is not often associated with the "rashness" of childhood. The kind of intentionality that I deeply admire in her and reminds me why I enjoy the presence of children so much.
The paper she brought today was a carefully considered treatise of sort - a list of things which would comprise her ideal learning environment retaining the enjoyable aspects of her school classroom while examining the gaps which public school doesn't fill.
I am excited that the kind of learning space which empowers and liberates children to take a direct part of their own education and have control over what and how they learn happens so naturally and easily as long as children are given the space and encouragement to do their thing and be themselves.
Petra and I sat down on the outdoor couch and read over her list. And I do not see any reason why any of her desires would be unattainable.
This is what she wrote:
Petra numbecs (numbers)
Learning homwrc at scol
Dance aid (lemonade)
musick shekers (shakers)
firDSpinsinMg (firespinning, a special request of Rosetta)
centers prawiNg (drawing)
sweep mop
tousi (toys) JewleYy

The list will continue to grow and reflect the unshackled insight and clarity of the children who create the new space - who know what they want and are unimpeded in making it happen.

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