Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Amazing Girls

Amazing girls
How sweet their sound
That inspired a teacher like me
I once had doubt, but now I've found
That Waldorf girls work together amazingly...

So without revealing too many secrets, I have to relate how the 9 girls in my 6th grade regularly think, speak, and act with heart-felt thinking. Being 11 and 12 year olds, the girls occasionally get angry with each other. Sometimes one or two feel left out; mean words may be exchanged; feelings get hurt. This is all fairly typical adolescent, especially girl, behavior. But the girls' consciousness and strategies to set things right is not typical of average adolescent behavior. More often, bad feelings linger longer and may even be exacerbated before they are resolved. I would argue that the immediate and urgent attention, and genuine compassion, that the girls feel for each other is in part because of their education. Waldorf education is after all a social education. Although the Waldorf classroom is often referred to as a microcosm of the larger society's macrocosm, I 'd argue that my classroom is creating new social forms of friendship and caring. Rather than continue an argument or stand by when someone feels left out, the 6th grade girls will rally to put things right. A few months ago a girl was feeling left out. I mentioned this to 1 girl; she spoke with others, and within minutes the forlorn girl had a swarm of girls around her, hugging her, asking her what was up. More recently a girl felt left out and the response was incredibly heartwarming. In groups of 2s and 3s the girls spoke to the upset girl and tried to help her feel better. Later, they came to me excited, concerned, and full of caring. One girl said she was going to buy her classmate a diary so that she could write her thoughts out. Two more girls told me that at every recess they would make sure their classmate felt included and that even if she didn't want to play that she should be nearby. Finally, the girls asked if they could get together once a week to simply talk. "Don't be offended, Ms. Kran, but we want to talk without you present, just us girls," they pleaded. Offended!! I was impressed and overjoyed with the level of love and caring and heart-felt thinking. They embrace and care about each other deeply. They will carry this level of sophistication into their relationships when they leave Waldorf. I am truly blessed to watch these relationships blossom. The world is truly blessed to welcome these girls into the larger adult society.

1 comment:

Kinga said...

Hi Lori,

I would like to be student in your classroom! Do you have any suggestions for activities that could be part of a girls gathering in celebration of adolescence? We as Moms in our fifth grade classroom at the Detroit Waldorf are planning some kind of special get together for the girls to open up about what's ahead and promote support among the girls. I would appreciate any ideas or resources.
Thank you,
Kinga