Sweet messiness of learning.
A grand iteration.
After ten years, the middle years program at Wildflower School will undergo a dramatic, iterative facelift: a doubling of students; one-third new families to the school itself; two new teachers; new learning environments. All essential ingredients that will contribute to the evolution of a co-constructed shared learning experience. One that will bring joy, frustration, wonder, chaos, and dynamic transformation.
Admittedly, I had reservations about cracking the shell of the robust sapling that our predecessor had fostered over her ten-plus years from its conception to present manifestation. Starting with four folding tables, a few mismatched chairs, a couple of chalk boards, borrowed teacher resources, and a shoestring budget, she transformed a tiny idea of shared learning experiences into one of the most envied and respected program to both teach and learn in our entire school district.
As a Wildflower parent of current (and past) students (our eldest was a former middle schooler, too), I even had reservations about the change. I mean, if it ain’t broke…? Having witnessed the limitless opportunities for deep learning through an inquiry-based model, I wondered how could I possibly maintain this effective pedagogy?
And the fundamental element that my predecessor credits for the unexpected longevity and success of the program? Parents. Naturally, my mind gravitated towards one of the program’s cornerstones. What would the parents expect? Would they even be receptive? How much leeway would we be given to leverage our skills, experience, and passion working with middle schoolers?
Our recent middle school community meeting allayed my worries. Fact: Our incredibly invested parents are on-board. With the changes. With the direction. With support. Their only request of my colleague and I? A very simple one: When (and if) we need help, we have to ask.
SO, I’m taking much of my inspiration for this upcoming year from a quote by women empowerment author, blogger, and speaker, Cynthia Occelli.
I expect there to be times of chaos next year. Messiness will be a part of the natural fabric as we, along with the students and their families, co-create a new middle school experience.
We’re up to cracking this thing wide open. It’s scary. And it’s damned exciting.
We’re growing something.
Growing the future.