Wednesday, December 01, 2010

what works and why...

I started this blog in October 2006, and have written steadily ever since. Even though I tend to repeat myself, there is often a fresh set of readers with new eyes on the material, and the hands are so central to the human intellect, emotional framework and creative expression, that there is no dead end to the story.

As a craftsman, I learned that no maker is a world unto himself. Without encouragement within community and family, there are likely no arts or crafts developed of any quality and significance. And so, one can say, arts, crafts, makers, artists and craftsmen arise within a broad culture having chosen to nourish and sustain human creativity.

Quality education arises in the same way. In the article inthe Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Clear Spring School, "EUREKA SPRINGS Private school fosters diverse learning styles," Phyllis Poe mentioned that Clear Spring School might not be right for everyone. Why would that be? Highly regimented classroom learning standard for public schooling is not for everyone either, is it? But are there factors within a child that make Clear Spring School not the right choice?

So what are the factors that make a child right for a Clear Spring learning environment? It is a question hard to address without examining the whole of the Clear Spring School learning culture, which is what I'll attempt to do briefly below.

Today in the school wood shop, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students were to continue to make toy cars, but each left with a toy cat pull toy instead. Some made toys to donate, and others got so engrossed in making and decorating their cats the time passed without making additional toys to give away. There is so much pressure for kids to grow up too fast, and it was interesting watching each child walk to the van pulling a toy cat on a string as though they were toddlers. Is there something wrong with that, or is there something wrong with kids being pushed to grow up too quickly and too soon. Some would say yes to one question or the other.

One of the reasons parents choose a school like Clear Spring is that we tend to offer greater shelter to childhood, that it can be cherished longer and that each child's unique nature be nurtured and protected. When it is said that Clear Spring School is not right for everyone, what is meant is that we can't fix or rectify all the world's educational problems. Children develop attitudes in public education due to a variety of factors that may make them a poor fit for Clear Spring School. Too much pressure, too many students, too little time for recess, too little appreciation of the value of diversity, too little time for conflict resolution will have their effects. Some parents bring their kids to Clear Spring School after they have met failing situations in public schooling, in the hopes that we can fix what ails them. Sometimes, with enough parental support, we can. But the students that seem to thrive within the Clear Spring School culture seem to be those who have deeply engaged parents, willing to put a lot on the line toward their children's success.
"What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy." -John Dewey
In the photo above, I've added hinge strips to the elm cabinet to shift the pivot point of the door hinges to allow them to clear the exposed finger joints on the sides.You will see how this works in the finished cabinets.

No comments:

Post a Comment