We are enjoying beautiful weather at Twin Parks Montessori Schools. It is May. Beautiful weather outdoors at this time of year means it is time to pose for our whole school group pictures. Each campus community has their picture taken at a selected spot in either Central Park or Riverside Park. The whole school picture is a sign that the end of the school year is rapidly approaching. The experience of the whole school photograph is a rite of passage. Each year the classrooms of children gather at the selected spot with the oldest children in first to fill in the back and the youngest carefully placed in the front.
Our early childhood students know the routine and look forward to Patrick’s antics as he keeps us entertained until all classrooms arrive and get settled. The younger children love Patrick but are unsure of their first time in the company of all of the children and teachers. When Patrick gets up on his ladder we know it is time to listen and time for teachers to remove their sunglasses. We all put our “hands down” and say a word that makes us all smile. The camera clicks a few times and we are done! Every family gets one as a memento of the school year.
We also recognize the rite of passage for children moving onto the next age-grouping of classrooms. Whether it is infant to toddler or toddler to early childhood, going from downstairs to upstairs, it is a change. The teachers work very diligently to prepare the children for their next educational and social community. Toddlers learn to take care of themselves and their belongings including toileting while infants learn to drink from a cup, sit at a table with their friends and nap on a floor bed. Our students going into their second or third year in early childhood take on leadership roles to help their younger friends understand how the classroom works and how to be a responsible community member. They help plan socials, prepare snack and greet visitors. Their role modeling helps first year students acclimate to the classroom.
“Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” Maria Montessori
Another rite of passage comes with mixed feelings of happiness and loss as our oldest students get ready to move on to their next school. I think we see more tears from parents as they realize that they will not be coming through our doors 5 days a week and they will not see our teachers and families on a regular basis. The good news is that we welcome back our students and families whenever they can visit.
“Every positive change–every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness–involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.”
– Dan Millman, is an author of fourteen self-help books, currently published in 29 languages, the most famous of which is the semi-autobiographical novel, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”