As the Mason movement continues to grow back into classrooms (in charter schools, private schools, and various alternative models) across North America, we are excited to feature several organizations that are making a relational education accessible to students in these classroom settings. The following vignette features one such example, Crestwood Day School in Birmingham, and below it you’ll find a reflection on this fall semester from Cathy Barrington, a teacher at Crestwood and one of our Alveary lesson plan writers.
The CDS 2021-22 School year has gotten off to a great start. We, as a faculty, received fresh journals for capturing our thoughts with intentional reflective practice as we both learn about our students and consider our own need to nurture ourselves as persons. One way Stephanie has lead us in that is in the reading and discussion of two books: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by Comer and Know and Tell by Glass
We continue to meet face to face daily within our classrooms with masks and all. It has become the norm and yet we enjoy the ways outdoor time can be used more efficiently by gathering under a tree for a Read Aloud, dedicating time for movement and physical activity, and giving more consistent time for geography and nature study. Creativity abounds during free outdoor time as students have transformed bushes into “huts” and dirt patches are the means to create insect habitats.
Our Monthly Mother’s Book Group is focusing this year on the ideas of Habits. It has been a great encouragement for myself to sit among these young mothers as they continue learning about the ideas Charlotte Mason and as relationships are budding into friendships.
The past school year we were prevented from conducting Nature Club due to many places prohibiting large groups to gather or have field trips. So it has been a joy to have parents and families participating again in monthly Nature outings.
Yes, we have had students and families absent due to Covid or ordinary childhood sickness, but it doesn’t seem to loom with a cloud of fear like it did this time last year. We are counting it “all joy” as we treasure our school days together.