Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monsoon season in Atlanta; or, Why Large Montessori Classes shouldn't do "The Rain Song"

I should start this entry by saying that while it is true that Atlanta has seen some grizzly storms this week, and while I was exposed to the rain, and the thunder, and the falling trees, and the flooded roadways, I am fine. My home didn't flood--my complex didn't even flood, although the roads getting back to it were dicey.

Atlanta saw an absolutely amazing amount of rain this week--they say it was the most in 30 years. We were given a "rain day" from school--in fact, the montessori school that operates in the other part of our building saw some extensive flood damage and was closed today, as well. About a week ago, we practiced "The Rain Song", all 33 of us. Did it cause the deluge? Doubtful, but it was an amusing coincidence.

This week has begun our study of the area of Practical Life known as "Care of Self".

It contains activities like the button frame and hand washing, pictured above. These are things I do every day, right? And at some point in my life, someone taught me *how* to button. How to use a zipper. How to tie bows. Someone did it for me, clearly, step by step. They must've, otherwise I wouldn't know.

This week, our trainer gave the lesson on the Buckle Frame, and I got to be "the child". To be "the child" in our classroom means you get the best seat in the house--the one a child would sit in if they were receiving the lesson. With grace, precision, and so few words, she taught me how to buckle. I had known, certainly, how to buckle--but I can't say that i've ever thought of the process of how I unbuckle and buckle. There is the guard, which holds the strap in place AFTER one buckles, and the buckle itself, and the pin that engages the strap and keeps the belt secured. Your hand has to do specific work to make the belt come undone--to release the pin, to remove the strap from the buckle.

Maybe this seems inane (it is certainly tedious). I have a lot of respect for the process, though--and what it means to be a child that learns how to do something in a SPECIFIC way, a way that allows you to operate more independently. And I certainly feel success when I've nailed down the movement of unzipping and zipping a zipper--there is grace to it, and satisfaction when through repetition, you are able work toward mastery.

More soon, friends.

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