Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rainy Monday

Yesterday was our first rainy day here at the House. Which goes to show how much we needed the rain. Which also means for the first four weeks of the program, the children have been outside almost every moment of every day. That is a brilliant kind of success.
Not having a big rainy day plan, we make-shifted a few activities while the kids, free from the obligatory parental, "Don't get your clothes wet," spent most of their day "washing their hair" under the roof run-off, playing and dancing in the downpour, ("Dancing in the rain is my favorite thing!" - Wren), and playing in the large puddles forming in the driveway, (supervised, of course).
Instead of just lighting incense at the beginning of the day, when we open up the space and wake up and bless the house, we kept it burning all day. We lit candles in the kitchen, kept the coffeee pot on, baked sweet cornbread and biscuits and talked and dreamed about where we're going. We need to keep doing that regularly.
The kids and I played memory and logic games sitting in a big circle and walking around the living room with papers stuck to our foreheads. We read books, built with blocks, worked on geometry puzzles.
We set up the art table to make miniature books, but no-one was really into it. There were a few new children here and everyone was mostly excited to play in the rain and with newly made friends.
A big group of kids found a monster puddle in the driveway. Literally. They came running on the porch at one point to announce that there was, in fact, a monster in the puddle. Petra, who had been brave enough to wade into the middle, had seen two eyes and felt something grab her leg.
It didn't seem to keep them away too long. They systematically threw boots, rocks, paper and anything else they could find into the puddle to find out what floats and what sinks.
We spent the last minutes of the day tidying up and doling out the dry and clean clothes between the children - like the fish and loaves, there seemed to be more than enough go around with a few to spare. (It helps that our apartment is upstairs).

Sometimes I feel a bit inadequate that I don't have anything to send home with the kids at the end of the day. No special craft project or stack of papers.
I was telling a friend about it this evening, wondering if I had done enough. Did I have enough activities? Should I have planned something more concrete?

She said, the day you just described sounds like a dream day from my childhood. If you had been my teacher, I would have LOVED you.

She also reminded me that being here with the children each day, being present, intuiting the flow of the day and responding accordingly- improv in its' best sense- is a huge creative endeavor. It is a very specific and special kind of work - holding positive and imaginative space open for 12-18 children each day.

We do plan a lot of projects for the kids. There are always ongoing ideas and creative ventures happening. Last week, our bathroom was filled up and covered in vines, soaking in the bathtub. This week, just a perfect circlular "sun" spiral of last week's progress on the basket we are weaving from those vines.

Education, like friendship, like community, like any kind of meaningful and lasting growth, should also be a slow process. And it needs both sunshine and rain, busy days and quiet days.

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