Space To Give!

August 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

What can space look like in a school community? Space in the schedule, in curriculum, between deadlines, and during discussions from which the unexpected can swell up , surprise, and amaze. It is in these open, undefined spaces that we discover the child, each one unique and uncharted.

One benefit space has afforded our environment –  observation of extraordinary benevolency in children. There is not a month that goes by without some child or small group of children at Counterpane initiating a project of  kindness or giving. I am so proud of our community’s support of such benevolence. I am particularly appreciative of teachers who graciously adjust or abandon lesson plans to accommodate these spontaneous, child driven missions. Our work is about the child, not us.

One doesn’t  need to have much in order to help another. Children understand this better than adults. They give of themselves without thought, arranging to help this animal or that cause or a distant child. Nurturing these seeds of awareness in children for something outside themselves will lead to empathy, which leads most directly to tolerance, which promises peace. Young people love to initiate and they love to organize. It is empowering for a child to have his or her developing sense of giving and helping confirmed, and the return in future years is exponential. Kindness trumps most everything in the world!

Pictured are two such moments of  “I can help!”  – (above) Interact volunteers advocated for early childhood literacy at a conference. (below) Early Act students prepared food from their classroom garden to surprise teachers readying for a lengthy staff meeing. The sign is for a food drive initiated by Middle Schoolers that is now a school wide effort for a local food pantry.


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