Friday, November 9, 2012

First Grade Flow

May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I thought I saw a familiar face at the store today. Finally a name matched the countenance. "Are you Rhonda Cratty?" 

The woman smiled, a glimmer of recognition suspended above her groceries. "Yes."
I told her my daughter had been a student in her first grade class. That was over a decade ago but Mrs. Cratty remembered her enthusiastically and we caught up for a few minutes.

Leaving the store I felt a wash of gratitude for our experience with Mrs. Cratty. A lot of water has passed under the educational bridge for our family and sometimes the current only flowed due to frequent dredging. Second grade was a trial and we chose to homeschool for years after that. But first grade, with Mrs. Cratty, was a genuinely good school year. 

My daughter found school engaging in first grade. There was joy in the work and a lot of energy in classroom--neither random busy-ness nor outwardly driven production, rather a purposeful, natural energy. She especially remembers the science; they did lots of hands-on experiments. My recollection of the overall classroom was that it was organic: each part related to the whole.

Next May the little first grader who loved science will be graduating from college, majoring in physics; she hopes to continue her studies in complex systems and ecology. That year of discovery in the classroom, with a great teacher acting as an encouraging guide for a novice explorer, was a good foundation. Thank you, Mrs. Cratty!

And Rhonda Cratty now writes about ways to include educational lessons in daily life. Relevant and organic! You can see from her online posts how every day offers a opportunity to find a little more depth and flow as we connect with young people.

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