Igniting a New Year

By Thomas, Meg | Montessori Life, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Igniting a New Year


Thomas, Meg, Montessori Life


We begin again! Anew school year awaits us! Adults and children return hopeful with renewed spirits and boundless energy!

How will we ignite that passion for continued inquiry, collaboration, and community in our students, teachers, staff, and parents throughout the year? How will we sustain our school missions, remain forward thinking, and avoid getting caught up in the small stuff?

How do we embrace our partnerships with balance, remembering that our primary focus is the success of each individual child who crosses our threshold?

No matter the size of each of our schools, do we embrace our administrative duties and challenges with rigor, relevance, and relationships in mind? Do we maintain our grace and courtesy and expect the same from our constituents?

During the 2011-2012 school year, I gave a copy of the book The Four Agreements to each staff member at my school as a gift prior to winter break. You can imagine some of the comments: "Oh, great! Holiday homework." I asked my staff to try to read at least up to page 91 if they couldn't finish the whole book (it's 138 pages long). This was my version of reverse psychology. I chose this book because I continually see that as adults we model and expect respect, grace, and courtesy for our students; however, we often fall short when it comes to our colleagues.

In February 2012, we held a Four Agreements evening to talk about the book. The gathering provided fellowship and abundant discussion. Small groups did presentations of what each agreement looked, felt, and sounded like, using the Montessori multisensory approach. The good food and drink led to much creativity and laughter. As a group, we found it intriguing to learn which individuals in our school family felt similarly about which of the agreements was the hardest or easiest to keep. Additionally, we talked about how to use these agreements with students, parents, and teachers. I won't go into the specifics of the agreements here; rather, I suggest you pick up a copy of the book for yourself. It is a worthwhile read, and my staff and I found that we continued to refer to the agreements as we ended one school year and began to plan for the year ahead.

I love giving my faculty and staff symbols tied to our school events because such items can trigger both amusing and heartfelt memories. …

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