Friday, September 27, 2013

Connections Derived from Beauty

This school year finds me taking a sabbatical from the classroom. I do have the privilege of joining the Kindergarten one day a week to support the teachers. This continues to anchor me in the moments of a classroom. 

One of the most important parts of working at Sabot is taking time to reflect on our work. It is  my hope to find the time to read expert text, explore the blogs of other teachers and consider my observations and documentation from my seven years of teaching at Sabot. My discovery during the last month however is that the time to pause and reflect never exists on its own. This time is born from a firm intention and concerted effort to hold space for it in our lives that are always too busy.

Picture me with muscles bulging holding back the demands of life to just sit with some big ideas each week.


We traveled this summer to Mexico. At every turn I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land and the people. What I found most inspiring was the way in which the outdoors was brought inside homes. As my eyes absorbed the simplicity, texture and color I would feel my shoulders relax and my mind freed of clutter. 

Environments impact all of us. We are awakened, overwhelmed, distracted and influenced by the places we exist each day or visit for hours.

Vea Vecchi, a consultant to "Reggio Children" and a revered atelierista at the Diana School in Reggio Emilia for over thirty years writes, "The aesthetic vibration can become activators of learning; how they are able to support and nourish kinds of knowledge not based uniquely on information; and how by avoiding simply definable categories, they can lead to the sensitive empathy and relation with things which creates connections."

If you are thinking that this perspective is entitled and does not have a place in parts of the world  ravaged by war, poverty and hunger, Vea counters with these words.
"It is neither comfortable nor simple to speak of beauty and aesthetics in a world afflicted by injustice, poverty, repression and cruelty. Beauty and aesthetics may seem ideas so ephemeral and far removed from our everyday lives that we feel almost ashamed to speak of them. At the same time we can sense how they counter apparent fragility with an extraordinary strength and resilience that  derives from this intrinsic fragility itself.".