Friday, September 18, 2009

Joyful Learners

It is a school tradition for me to greet students on the first day of school at the front steps accompanied by the bubble machine welcoming families back to the school community. As I watched children excitedly arriving to school and happily chasing bubbles as they blew in the wind, I was reminded of why the word joyful is so important to us at Wilmington Montessori.

Wilmington Montessori School is a collaborative learning community rooted in Montessori principles, inspiring the joyful discovery of self....Taken from the Wilmington Montessori School Mission statement

We recently had an independent school consultant come to work with our staff for a professional development day. Over discussion of our mission statement, the consultant pointed out that no other school includes the word joyful as part of their mission. "We typically don't see schools that openly state they desire students to be joyful" he observed out loud. Independent - yes, thoughtful - yes, athletic - yes, leaders - yes, but for some reason, not filled with joy about their learning experience.

But why not, I wonder? Childhood should be a time of wonderment, excitement and awe inspiring. Children should find their school environments welcoming and inviting, comfortable and secure, and yes, joyful. As a school that has students as young as 6 months old and as old as 13 years, we celebrate with children the learning and growth that each one takes each day in the classroom. Our environment invites children to enjoy their learning experience leading them to life-long learning.