The two Seedlings preschool groups met this past Saturday for a morning full of conversation, exploration, and collaboration. By the end of our week together over the summer, it was clear that what participants most wanted from a reunion was an opportunity to reconnect with one another, and to do so in an environment that would reenergize us and inspire rich dialogue. Seventeen participants and their colleagues were willing, able, and even eager to spend three hours on a rainy and cold Saturday in October doing just that. We were nourished in mind and soul, and of course, given SEC’s intense commitment to our appetites, in body as well.
Winnie graciously welcomed us into her kindergarten classroom at Calvin Hill, where we were asked to experience the room as the children would, exploring materials and connecting with our peers. As we often hear in our classrooms, there were several squeals as friends reunited, and audible “Ooo’s” as we took in the vibrancy of the environment. We admired the contrast of the muted sea glass colors against the shine of the mylar underneath. Some of us tinkered together at the nature patterns table and built up, constructing a fort or a fairy house or an animal’s den. Others mixed paints in blue, black, and white to create shades of blue. We were astonished at just how immense 25 feet is when put in the context of a pterodactyl’s wing span and displayed on a classroom wall. Above all, we spent time wondering together.
“We’re wondering together,” is one of the phrases that comes from Winnie’s heart as she thinks together with her children; and the bulk of our morning was spent doing this important work ourselves. Wondering about our classrooms, our children, our circumstances, and how to address our challenges and opportunities. In the end, we wondered how we had managed to go 15 minutes past our anticipated end time without having any sense that three hours had already rushed us by. The collective wisdom in the room from teachers new and old, representing 8 different early childhood sites, not only filled the morning, but left us with plenty to think about and talk about for weeks to come. We left (with a copy for each of us of The Salamander Room!) reminded that we are not alone, and, more than that, that we are part of a Seedlings community dedicated to supporting the important and hard work you do in your classrooms long past our summer week has ended.