I am writing this letter today while you are living at the intersection of four different worlds:
- The world of virtual meetings with tired eyes and the alternating current of focus and distraction.
- The world of house and kids and dogs and laundry and dishes that never seem to end.
- The world outside where birds sing and flowers bloom. Warm one day, cold the next. Sunny with a chance of snow.
- The world of TV news and press conferences that we want to turn off but cannot ignore.
We made it through the first week of distancing ourselves from school. The smiles in pictures and encouraging words are evidence of our efforts. Yes, we have much to ponder and worry about, but there is more to appreciate and recognize in the coalescing of community around a common cause.
This reminds me of the novice runner who sprints off at the beginning of a race. We all know how races like these go. I do not want the same thing to happen to our families, to our children, or our staff. An experienced runner starts a race at the exact pace they know they can sustain, or even improve, over the distance. Our challenge is that we do not know the distance, and we cannot foresee the hills and obstacles we will encounter along the way.
While none of us has experienced disruption of this scale before, Bay Farm at Home has been a successful response to this crisis of isolation and waiting. It is not perfect. I recognize how much pressure and responsibility our distance learning model places on you, the parent, as you balance work, life, and now education. Teaching and learning is a messy, non-linear business. These activities and experiences all look perfect on paper. I know much of the flour and water in these activities end up in a crusty mess on the floors, walls, fingers, and in hair.
Maria Montessori believed strongly that the process is more important than the product. Every experience you and your child have from spilling the food coloring and the failed play-doh recipe to struggling to maintain focus and not yet understanding verb tenses are valuable in their own right.
So, in this is marathon, where none of us are experts, Maria Montessori would urge us to focus, even cherish every footfall. Each step, whether swift and sure or clumsy and slow lead us toward our destination. While I do not know how long we will have to isolate to change the course of this virus, I do know the Bay Farm we create daily is one vital support we can all lean on to get us to the finish line. My words of advice heading into week 2 are to pace yourself. Give yourself and those around you the grace and courtesy they deserve to finish this marathon on their feet, smiling.
Please continue to send us your pictures, comments and suggestions. We cannot wait to see you soon.