Back in the 1970s when I attended the Antioch School, the building itself seemed to be alive and breathing. (Here’s a piece about the school and the building by alum Tucker Viemiester.) In the Red Room (now Art & Science) we dipped candles, sewed clothing, fired glass, made pottery, and fixed our own lunch. My love of making things with fiber and words thrived. One year, teacher Bev Price made each student a stuffed toy monster, each creation somehow fitting the child’s personality. The Antioch School is a community nourished by the teachers. The teachers respected and celebrated our humanity. Being a child who was taken seriously by adults has resonated through my life. I try to give this back by really listening to children.
Last autumn, my daughter began in Nursery. Through the kaleidoscope of time and memory, I see the school anew, see what rare magic happens there. I see what education should be. In the midst of what looks like chaos, the teachers’ work seems nearly invisible, but with patient intention, they create a school where children are trusted to follow intuition, indulge natural curiosity, and take real risks. The teachers provide safety and offer gentle, effective leadership, asking children questions rather than giving them answers. They know children can–and should–find their own solutions. It is a place that allows children to grow into creators, innovators, problem-solvers, and sometimes, teachers–a place that allows children to grow into themselves.
I look forward to connecting with alumni at the Alumni Reunion in July. (For more information about the reunion, go here.)