Let go of your visions of most schools today, which may include anxiety about testing, days without recess, art, or music, kindergartens without playtime. Instead, be open to a picture of school as it should be, where children and their teachers are eager to step into their classrooms, where each day holds promise
When you open the first page of A Gift of Wonder, A True Story Showing School as it Should Be, you will enter a first grade classroom and travel with this class and its enthusiastic teacher through grade six.
from the book:
“Let go of thinking and explaining so you can begin a journey to a time before you lived so much in your head. Remember the world of movement, wonder, and intense sensation that you lived in when you were six years old. Take a few minutes to be that six-year-old who is still inside you. Find a memory from your own childhood, a living picture that carries you back to the sense of reality that still hides behind your adult consciousness.
A memory that comes to me is walking in the shade of a tunnel of trees to our mailbox after a summer rain, the warm, damp asphalt under my bare feet, then stepping into a sun-soaked puddle after gazing into the rainbow oil sheen glimmering on the still surface.
If you can, bring that heightened six-year-old sense of full awareness into the present. Find and live in your own childhood memories, then get up and go for a walk and really see and feel the world around you without thoughts of responsibilities, without judgment, without the past or the future. Or toss a ball with your child, or make yourself a cup of hot tea. Remember the form of attention that is rooted in sights, sounds, and smells, in your joy in movement.
Then, please join us at nine in the morning in early October of our first grade year, seven first graders and one teacher, in our tiny classroom in a historic captain’s house on Cape Cod within smelling distance of the sea. Come in by the front door and tiptoe to the top of the stairs. … Come in as quietly as you can through the second door on your left and notice six-year-old Helen looking out the window with an expression that says she is far, far away. Watch her tentatively raising her hand, her eyes still unfocused.
You are traveling back in time to 1991. Today, the children in this room are grown. They run businesses, raise children, work as a nurse, a selectman, a horse trainer. In this room, however, they are six years old and about to enter into a conversation both brief and profound.”
— “Told in an easy to read style, this book is actually a page turner.”
— “Such a wonderful book for any parent or teacher . It’s a magical read so much so you are transported to the classroom and wish you were a student there too with Kim.”
— “This turned out to be the best book I’ve read in a long time. It has the emotional impact of a book of fiction, and the educational value of a non-fiction book.”
— “As a homeschooling mother, this book inspires and encourages me. It is filled with thought provoking quotes. I will keep it close at hand and on the tough days, pick it up and find encouragement. Kim’s life dedication to children is a touching legacy. I wish I had been lucky enough to have been one of her students. In a wonderful way, I am through this book.”
— “I wanted to re-read it first and foremost because the stories are so lovely. I need some lovely things now more than ever. I need mental images of care-free children, field trips in the forest, campfires, fuzzy kitties. And yes, A Gift of Wonder has all of these (and many more).”
Note: While A Gift of Wonder is set in an independent school, it is meant to be a book to spark conversation about educational practices in all elementary schools. All children should have the opportunity to be motivated by wonder.
Sources for A Gift of Wonder
Amazon — available as paperback and on Kindle https://amzn.to/3BQukDA
Amazon offers sample pages from the introduction. This is an actual sample chapter https://childrengrowing.com/2017/11/20/how-demosthenes-reached-across-the-ages-to-speak-to-william-a-book-excerpt/
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