“We promise your child will learn to cherish the arts, the wonders of the physical world and the mystery of life.”
We probably should have stated this as: “We promise not to squelch your child’s wonderment about beauty, art, the physical world and the mystery of life.”
Children are born with a burning curiosity about the world around them. It is part of their genius. We don’t claim to give that to them but we do promise to join them in their wonderment. We promise to encourage them to keep asking questions and dig in the dirt and stare out the windows.
For what about that walking stick insect soaking in the sun on our classroom door? How can we just walk by it without being amazed? Have you looked closely at one recently?
Or the rain coming down out of nowhere, shouldn’t we go get our faces wet?
What about beauty? What is it? Does my definition match yours?
Why does this poem make me cry?
Lucky are the children who are surrounded by people equally curious to themselves. Too many adults are tired of the questions and have even stopped asking them. We promise to surround your children when they are at Wonder with adults who embrace mystery, too.
“The wonder and mystery of the universe can be seen in an anthill,” my mother used to quote as we lay on our bellies in the grass and watched the universe unfold before our eyes. I think of that every time I see our Wonder learners lifting up endless numbers of rocks to analyze the intricate life of a roly poly. We believe this is a valuable way to spend time.
We are energized rather than exhausted by the wonderful questions of our learners, because as guides, we don’t feel the need to deliver all the answers. Doing so would be a sure road to a diminished sense of wonderment. Our students are set free to think deeply on their own and seek out answers which they can then own.
The great revolutionary, Jesus, shocked the high-brow intellectual religious leaders when he said that to enter heaven one must be as a child. In my humble interpretation, I think this describes the simple demeanor of one who can accept mystery and is awed by beauty. This state of being is one that brings laughter and joy, not fear, judgment and worry.
It is with such lofty visions that we promise to spend time outside each day in freedom; that we will integrate the arts always; and we will honor the questions that move us closer to truth and meaning.
[Blogs or portion of blogs may be adapted from the blog of our partner school founder and advisor, Laura Sandefer.]