Would-be Op-Ed for School [solicited for today’s Council meeting that I’m missing, and recorded here because …I’m a hopeless, helpless nerd]:
As to the cluster that is the morning arrival traffic circle, once classes are open I don’t see how it’s anyone’s privilege to even enter the circle for anything but “Live Drop-Off.”
I personally never dream of dipping my toe into that *alligator moat* because I don’t believe it makes for a peaceful, dignified, safe or pleasant transition to school.
The underlying problem is what I consider the fallacious myth that “school starts at 7:55am.”
As far as I can tell, 7:55 is the time by which you are *late.*
Classes open at 7:40am, yet I don’t see any awareness of this in our culture.
This time frame offers students a rightful 15 minutes in which to, for example: struggle out of their snow clothes -hats, gloves- hang them up, change into classroom shoes, dig out communication folders, say hi to friends in the hallway, enter the classroom, greet their teacher, read the board for the day, maybe grab out a book or have a conversation, god forbid go potty… you know, BASIC CIVIL interactions, SOME of which pose tremendous executive functioning challenges to some students and ALL of which promote one of the most essential components of development; BEING IN COMMUNITY.
In my frustrated view it is indecent and unfair to routinely drag our kids to school all harried “just under the bell.”
Of course every family has challenging mornings and blows a deadline sometimes… but it is also obviously ROUTINE for much of our community to practice arriving late –carrying our kids backpacks for them– thumbing our nose to the needs of the teachers, thrusting our frazzled kids on them LATE. (After the “movie’s already started.”) These teachers —the true Stars around whose talent our whole world revolves, many of whom routinely arrive at school deep in the pre-dawn hours well before many of us at home begin to stir– these teachers work their daily miracles within the confines of the Commonewealth’s SHORTEST school day. But we can’t be bothered to come ON TIME??
Parents have said:
– “It’s just a few minutes,”
– “Having a bowl of cereal with my son is more important,”
– “Different people have different challenges,” and more.
ALL TRUE statements. But NOT excuses for making both the teachers and the students pay for it.
If it’s just a few minutes, a bowl of cereal or a habit… then your morning can -and needs to be- restructured.
How is this not important enough to devote some effort with your family figuring out how to structure things differently?
Can you imagine how ballistic parents would get if we received that kind of regular, disrespectful conduct from the teachers?
We’re all in this together. Our students’ success is nourished by our partnership, AND deserves it.
Going to school is my kids’ job.
Getting them there is mine.
Personally I am a TOTAL night owl, AND I work late… but I continually work on learning how to get up by -horrors!- 6:30am… in order to for us to be leaving by 7am.
This enables us to arrive at Tobin by 7:30… or even 7:35… when there is still PLENTY of rock star parking on the street… and/or time to walk from around the corner if there isn’t.
NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR BREAKFAST?
No problem; try SCHOOL BREAKFAST!
Nutritious, delicious and reasonably priced!
We’ve got a new Head Chef in town and kids are raving about the improvement in the food.
Kitchen opens at 7am… your student is welcome anytime. You can even bring your coffee and join him/her as you each anticipate your day.
How awesome is that!
Final point, The Tyranny of the Backpack Sherpa:
Once upon a time there was a child who had at her disposal; a backpack, a parent and a school. For all the time the student went to school, she carried her own backpack. This made perfect sense because one of the main things she was practicing for at school was her own independence. BUT lo! Whenever the parent was around, the child -using black magic- duped the parent into carrying her backpack for her. And because of the black magic, the parent *felt* like they were helping the child, even though -sadly- it was just not true. The End.
This is a MONTESSORI SCHOOL, where our primary job is to FOSTER INDEPENDENCE in the child. To that end, for the love of all that is holy, can you stop carrying the backpack for them? Unless you’ve packed them an anvil or some bricks. Then yes, you carry it.
END RANT, BEGIN SOLUTIONS:
I think we should start a campaign promoting awareness in the community that:
1) CLASS OPENS at 7:40am even though that is a particular time in the morning about which you may have an opinion or not agree, it is still a legit fact.
2) 7:55AM is the END TIME by which your student needs to be in class, as important rituals such as announcements begin.
3) 15 MINUTES is a valid and reasonable time frame to enable your student to transition to being mentally, physically, logistically and emotionally ready for a successful day.
4) A HEALTHY TRANSITION TIME not only supports successful academics, but can be highly enriching in itself, promoting both community (interaction) and independence (self-directed choices).
5) MONTESSORI CULTURE fosters INDEPENDENCE, such as the fundamental task of carrying one’s own backpack.
6) BACKPACKS Please don’t carrying your child’s backpack. He or she can carry his or her OWN backpack.
7) THE TRAFFIC CIRCLE will be open to “Live Drop-Off” ONLY from 7:40-8:05am. Otherwise parking is available in the environs of local neighborhood streets.
8) EARLY WELCOME: You are welcome to come early and accompany your child to school breakfast or enjoy free time in the gym any time between 7:05 and 7:40am!
How can we be peaceful, kind, caring, respect self and others, strive for excellence or be our best if we’re LATE!?