In answer to the question, “What do you do at The Walther School?”
We celebrate learning
We delight in discovery
We are respected and respectful
We are full of joy
We are amazingly creative
We seek justice
We empower children
We explore solutions
We earnestly applaud
We listen to children, really listen
The children in this school are found to demonstrate very high levels of communication. They are on a journey towards trusting themselves and others, self-awareness. and self-assurance, empathy for others, confidence in themselves, and ownership of their school, their world. They learn to negotiate for things that they need or want. They learn to lead and to support others in their ideas. They learn to be kind and thoughtful and considerate of others. These children could teach a thing or two to the United Nations. One example of problem solving that happened here at school is explained in the following story.
Francesca came to story time and there was no blue color left to sit on. She really wanted a blue color, and no other color would satisfy her on this particular day. She began to cry. Lillie also loved the blue color. She had cleaned up promptly and gone to the blue color and was sitting down ready for the story. Several children noticed Francesca was unhappy and started asking her what was wrong. She said that she wanted to sit on blue. They suggested a number of other choices like, “Why don’t you sit on blue tomorrow?” “You can sit on blue when you come back inside.” “Green is a pretty great color.” Nothing would substitute for the blue color and Francesca continued to be terribly unhappy. Then Lillie (three years old) said, “You can sit on my blue Francesca.” After Lillie moved and Francesca sat down I asked her if she would like to say anything to Lillie. Francesca said, “I would like to say something and do something. I would like to say thank you and kiss her.” I asked Francesca to ask Lillie if that would be all right with her and Lillie turned pink and said “Yes.” After the thanks and the kiss, I asked Lillie to come up to the front and I held her on my lap while I talked about what it meant to make a sacrifice. Giving up something you really love yourself. We, the teachers, were wet with tears because we were so moved the gift of this young child. And I guess the children were too, because after that about two thirds of the children wanted to make a sacrifice. They were standing up saying, “I want to sacrifice my yellow color , I want to sacrifice my red color.” This did not happen as a game but as a genuine feeling of giving. The depth of humanity that was demonstrated that day is only one example of what we witness on a daily basis.
I came to story time about two months later and I looked at Kelly. She literally looked as if she were about to burst with joy. I asked her what had happened. Her face broke into the most radiant smile and she whispered, “I just did my first sacrifice!” What do we do here at the Walther School? We listen, really listen. We invite children to be all they can be. Then we celebrate who they are with such great appreciation … and then we let them know how we feel about them.