This week, Kim Barnes, Head of Early Childhood, reflects on the first day of school.
The combustion engine requires many things to get you where you going – oil, spark, fuel, cooling agent. Each engine is slightly different from the next as a weed eater often requires much priming and a lawn mower might just need a swift pull of a cord. The owner of said machine will learn how each runs and what gets each started and how to keep it consistent. There is always a particular mixture and a formula for each.
Last week at Greenhill School there were ninety-two pre-k and kindergarten children revving their engines, ready to go and explore their new world. At 8:20 am on the first day of school all were lined up, waiting to play on their new playground for the first time. As they left the ribbon behind, the race was on and all turned on their fuel at different levels. The spark for some immediately accelerated them to the top of the Explorer Dome in less than 20 seconds. Some needed a bit of priming as teachers coached them where to place a foot or a hand. Others needed to have a bit of oil added to keep them moving forward as they stopped to rest and reflect on what they had already accomplished. After a few minutes of climbing and pulling, a respite at the water table or the river was required for a few to cool down their engines and determine their next path.
Inside the classroom, only enough direction was given by the pit crew, their teachers, to prime each for independent movement. It was time to move and those doing the fueling seemed to know exactly how to inspire those needing an extra push, and give guidance to those already running at top speed. The children used the road map from the teachers to explore, and happily each chose a path and discovered what the chosen road had to offer. The pit crew was constantly observing and checking in on engines to see if refueling at the snack station or new directions were needed.
The pit crew’s time over the summer had definitely paid off to figure out how each engine ran and determine just the right fuel mixture for success. The time at homes, the time listening to parents, the time observing children, the time planning what concept was introduced first, the time scheduling the day – allowed all to have a smooth road through the week as engines were primed, fueled, and ready for a spark. I look forward to seeing how far each of these ninety-two engines will go during the course of the school year.