Yesterday, while walking the halls of SLA during their lunch period, it was refreshing to see kids in pretty much every space of the building…their space. Seeing kids have the free range to be themselves in every sense of the word was a reminder of how the rest of us manage to get this small piece all wrong. In my former high school, headphones on heads would have been taken up. Cell phones in the classroom would have been confiscated. Screens not in view of the teacher would have been frowned upon. Kids reading in a windowsill or sitting in an un-monitored corner would have never been approved.
As I spoke to the amazing students and parents present at SLA, I asked the question…”Why SLA?”
Every single one mentioned that SLA was a place that they felt they could be themselves.
How many of our kids feel the opposite of that? School should be the place where kids begin to explore who they are in the world and what they can contribute. How can that happen when we typically spend the majority of the time telling kids who THEY are and who they should become?
I know that SLA is its own entity and what works at SLA may not work in every space. However, we have to explore this idea of allowing kids to be themselves…to figure it out…to have choice.
We have to explore the idea of kids taking ownership of their school spaces…their learning…themselves.
One small change could make the greatest difference.