“The child becomes a person through work.” - Dr. Maria Montessori
In the new Sri Ayesha "community environment", it is understood that the children are undergoing the intense and important work of both self-creation and social-being as a meaningful member of the community. It is the adult’s job to set up an environment that allows the children to work on the skills they need to work on and then to get out of the way so that they can lead his or her own development. (* Adult includes both teachers and parents)
A large part of that self-creation and social interdependence take place during daily routines -- choices they made on their lessons (awareness based on the class-contract), or during the work cycle (perfecting own skills) and very importantly when they decide to serve the community through choice of job that they freely choose everyday. During the work cycle, the children are given uninterrupted time and freedom to do the work they choose -- not because it's easy, but because of their commitment to the contract, drive by their high interest in subject matter. The teacher (or, “guide”) is there to answer questions and give lessons when asked; or offer lesson based on progress made by the child. By engaging in meaningful work that is the right match for a child’s abilities (from the base-line onward) and their developmental stage, the child learns valuable lessons of perseverance, focus, and care and deepens his or her understanding of self and the community at large.
The identity shift that comes with parenthood is monumental. It seems that everything is thrown into question, nothing is spared. Our whole world is centered on taking care of this "dependent being" - the child. Fyi...That happen to be our common concern but the mission is a bit different. My mission is not to "take care" of the child because that's the mission of a Charity Organization (although we do care about the child). Our mission is "to prepare the child" so he could take care of himself in this life and after life.
For some, this can be delightful, but it can also be disorienting. By doing meaningful and engaging work as a parent -- it can be a wonderful tool for re-defining ourselves in the chaotic first few years of parenting -- just like the child. Parents should spend a good deal of quality time with their child and not simply "work" on the child's behalf...because the child becomes a person through work. The child work to acquire understanding, skills and knowledge. While we adult "work" to change the environment. Understanding this principle is key. It will lead us to do things to help improve our situation while allowing our child to "learn" through doing so he or she can improve himself or herself.
I would like to encourage parents to work closely with teachers...make time for your child's classroom's craft project, volunteering at school events (Sports Day, Graduation Day etc), taking part in a team or individual sport, or any of the many other activities available at SAIS. What’s important is that it is meaningful and engaging.
The decision to undergo the learning transformation at SAIS is very eminent, practical and fulfilling for the sake of our children. This is the way moving forward... towards achieving the end.