for all the wry treasons…

21 11 2010

I meant to make banana bread today. I had planned to bake a couple of dozen chocolate chip/cranberry cookies. I wanted to prepare both a lasagna and a vegetable Quiche to freeze. However, as often happens, my best laid plans went awry. Instead, Zuzu and I attended a colour workshop at the local Steiner Waldorf school.

At three years old, Zuzu was a student at this beautiful little school, settled into the nook of a farm where the chickens run free, the geese perch on fences watching the children play and the pigs are fed lunch scraps. When we moved to the island, I was already impressed with the Waldorf principles of child learning – impressed by the focus on the significance of  the childhood journey, that is,  not Steiner the man – who was an Austrian gentleman of his era (1861-1925),  with a wealth of unique ideas and dubious opinions.

I had enrolled us in the Waldorf  “Mummy and Me” classes when we lived in California and I enjoyed the gentle and mindful focus on the ‘whole’ child and her experiences. I loved the imaginative and fantasy worlds that the children were encouraged  to create with natural and beautiful objects and the fact that gardening, playing in mud puddles and making huge messes, were part of the curriculum at the school.

Zuzu and I were a part of the Waldorf community until she was of legal school age in New Zealand and then I co-created a homeschooling group with a group of like-minded parents, who felt that there really was something to the idea of a nurturing school environment that supported learning rather than institutionalizing it.  As we traveled a lot, at that time, homeschooling gave me the freedom to continue her education anywhere in the world. It was a wonderful experience.

When I heard that an International Baccalaureate Primary/Middle School was destined for our small island, I was overjoyed. The IB curriculum has always been a stand out for me for its focus on inquiry and child centered learning. Basically, the IB structure teaches children to teach themselves by offering a process for understanding and presenting subject matter. It is not for everyone and it takes some getting used to but I am a fan.  Zuzu was enrolled as a foundation student and has had an amazing experience as a pupil of the school. She is winding down her time there, now and in less than a month she will be a former student.

Returning, today,  to her old alma mater, as it were – her little ‘kindy’ class – was moving. It was lovely to see her fit back into the pale pastel rooms decorated with felt angels, fairies, woodcutters and kings and fresh flowers; to be with her as we remembered long-ago colouring techniques involving wet paper and just one brush; to see her snuggle into the little cave that sits in the corner of the room – built purposefully to be safe and cosy and filled with soft cloths and cushions; to watch her listen to the lesson of how colour interacts with our lives and how we relate to different hues and tones.

At intermission, we enjoyed some tea and home baking – I wryly spied the cookies and fruit bread that were so beautifully laid out for us and decided emphatically that my day was well spent eating the treats provided and reminding myself of the magic and opportunities this colourful world has presented to us.

Zuzu will begin a new school, next year – one that she has chosen, interviewed for and been accepted to. It is a new adventure and an exciting time and I am thrilled to see her world opening up before her eyes. I love knowing, however, that every now and again we can pause, toss aside our best laid plans and celebrate the journey.




2 responses

23 11 2010

Thank you for this lovely recount of the day. It saves me from typing. 🙂

16 01 2011

I love this!!! So beautiful. And I can feel how you are both coming full circle.

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