Welcome back to school! I’ve spoken with multiple parents who have said their children were missing The Cottage School over the summer, and our household did too! Everyone is happy to be back.
Something that I’ve chatted about with both parents and teachers a few times over the past week or so is pace. I always expect the school year to significantly alter my children’s energy levels (being overly exhausted after a school day), especially as we transition into a new school year, yet I’m always pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t.
While they certainly have ample time to run and play and get their energy out at school—rain or shine!—my children are also replenished by the school day. I believe this is because the pace of the school day supports our children’s natural development. If you ever come to an Open House, birthday celebration or happen to observe any part of the school day, you will likely notice how calm a school of 30 children can be.
Several weeks ago a book caught my eye at the library called The Importance of Being Little. The author, Erika Christakis, mentions that adults so frequently both underestimate and overestimate children; we underestimate their intelligence and attention spans, resulting in unstimulating preschool curriculums, and overestimate them pragmatically—how quickly they can and should be able to transition, and how long they should be able to sit still.
Last week I sat in at circle time on a natural sciences lesson about gravity. It’s possible that I learned about gravity in school, too, but I can tell you for sure that it wasn’t in preschool! I am so consistently impressed with both the caliber of the curriculum as well as the flexibility and creativity in the teaching methods—they are learning so much without even knowing it, and I can’t think of a better way to foster a lifelong love of learning from a young age.
If you have a chance to read the book, I think you’ll see that The Cottage School embodies its spirit so well. I’ve been hard-pressed to find a single quality that Christakis attributes to the very best preschools that our school doesn’t do. My two children who attend our school are very different, yet both of their needs are consistently met. The natural pace, nurturing environment, and high-quality relationships that our teachers take the time to build with our children make school a natural extension of our home.
I will be co-leading a book discussion with Laura Soulages on Monday, October 22 from 9:30-11am and I hope you can come!