Today was my last day of school. I have spent nine months with these children experiencing their growth, their wonder, their excitement, their joys and tears. I will miss them and their supportive, helpful, playful parents.
As emerging and ever-changing as our classroom is, there is one tradition that I have had in the twenty years I have said goodbye to classes. On the last day, I read The Wise Woman and Her Secret by Eve Merriam.
I strongly encourage you to add it to your classroom library. I like to read it to the children and their parents. It so succinctly captures my philosophy of teaching.
This book follows the tale of a group of people trying to discover the secret of wisdom. Of course, the young child in the book is the one to actually possess it all along as she wanders and wonders. I start the book telling my class that they already know the secret. When the old woman tells the little girl in the book that she has already found the secret….I pause and ask my class if they know what it is? This year, a boy in my class answered, “Discovering…she was discovering!”
Yes! As the old woman explains, “Because, you see, the secret of wisdom is to be curious-to take the time to look closely, to use all your senses to see and touch and taste and smell and hear. To keep on wondering and wandering.” “And if you don’t find all the answers, you will surely find more to marvel at in the curving, curling world that spins around and around amid the stars.”
We didn’t find all the answers this year. But we DID ask a lot of questions. And like Jenny in the book, we “sauntered and sang, tasted and touched, and listened and laughed and cried.”
I am confident that these children are leaving very wise indeed, as they know that the secret to wisdom is to take time to play, to discover and to wonder. If they can keep this close to their hearts, than I know my main goal of instilling a love of learning has been met.