Instructions for Living a Life

27 May

“Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver

I love this quote.

I love that it reminds me to slow down, be present, be open to all that is possible, and to share this joy and wonder with others. The Living Wax Museum, Invention Convention, the Spring Concerts and Art Show, Field Day, Green and White Captain Elections, concluding activities with our ARC, Highlands, and Head Start friends, the upcoming 6 th Grade Play and 4 th Grade Heritage Day – so many events that allow our students to make their learning and growth visible. I will be the first to admit that at this particularly busy time of year – the sprint to the finish, as some call it – it is harder to “slow down”, yet in each moment, each event, I see the results of an Applewild education – grounded in our core values, guided by our knowledge of each child as an individual learner and being, and created through a partnership of outstanding faculty, engaged learners, and committed parents.

Applewild provides an interesting contradiction – while we take great pride in being a nurturing and safe place for students, we intentionally create situations in which they must rise to the occasion. This combination creates the space for the development of courage and resilience. It takes courage to try a new sport; to play a solo (particularly an improvised solo!); to deliver a speech as a candidate for a Green or White captaincy; to present your fourth grade Invention to assembled guests; to deliver a speech to a panel of judges and parents; to risk doing your best; to stand publicly for our core values.

The opportunity to take risks and have these experiences in a safe environment. Having the opportunity to practice such activities in a safe environment is essential for the development of confidence and self-awareness, and is a lifelong skill. We see it in our students – current and alumni, and the hallmark of an Applewild student.