Nothing is more gratifying than quietly working and hearing the soft voice of a teacher strolling down the hallway singing with toddlers, “I’ve got joy like a fountain in my heart.” Moments such as these literally fill our hearts. Working with young children can be delightful, frustrating, enjoyable, difficult and rewarding. After all, they are children, which means they are all of these things and more. People often ask how one can work with children every day or say they could never be a teacher. Isn’t it hard work? You bet it is, but there is no work that is more important or satisfying than working with children and watching them grow. When was the last time you had the pleasure of hearing sweet voices singing the next verse of a well loved song or asking the teacher to sing it one more time? If your job doesn’t provide this opportunity, ask a teacher what delighted her today, sit back and enjoy listening to the response. You’ll be glad you asked.
Since Wilmington Montessori School serves children as young as 12 months old, we have an opportunity to watch them grow in every way before they graduate from sixth grade and move on to middle school. The youngest children in the school are very attached to their teachers. They depend on the same faces greeting them each day, helping them with their work, and sending them off into the arms of their parents at the end of the day. However, once these children move on to the next level at age 3, they often are shy and quiet in greeting their former teachers. They may smile or say hello if prompted. They have moved on and are creating new relationships. By the time they graduate from sixth grade, they may only recall their toddler teacher because a photo or parent reminds them of that time spent in the classroom.
Teaching, like so many things in our lives, plants seeds. Teachers plant ideas, build relationships and work to further the growth of those in their care. Most often, they do not have the pleasure of seeing the results of that work. As the oldest students in our school exhibit that growth during a performance or ultimately, at graduation, the teachers who worked with them when they were younger look on proudly, amazed at their growth and the people they have become. They are happy to have had a part in that development.
As you think back on your time in school, what seeds were planted that grew over time? How did others influence you in ways that they never may have known? How will you make sure those qualities exist in your child’s school?
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Environmental and Conservation Literacy/Ecosystems Understanding
As you wander through the classrooms at WMS on these winter days, it is interesting to observe how much of the curriculum is focused outside, beyond the school walls. Though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow only a week ago, our students are keenly aware of our outdoor environment and how much it matters to all the species living within it. Birds are being fed, houses are prepared for returning birds, and gardens are being planned to provide food for us and for visiting butterflies, birds and other animals.
Through this work children are learning to care for those that live within our 25-acre campus and also those who drop by for a visit on their way to other places. WMS students are building the 21st-century skill of environmental literacy and gaining an understanding of ecosystems. They know that what we do matters to not only our immediate neighbors, but to the world at large. Continue reading