Friday, April 13, 2007
Spring Festival Today
April 13, 2007
Today was Spring Festival at the Marietta Johnson School. It was perfect weather for the beautiful event that has taken place since at least the 1920's at the school. I've seen it take different shapes as the players change, but it's always a time for the many families who have supported the school over the years since its founding to get together and have a wonderful time.
Folk dancing is almost always demonstrated at the Festival. This year the teacher is a young woman whose family has attended or taught at the school since the 1930's. She is the mother of a little girl in kindergarten. First Life -- the first two grades -- danced and played the chimes with tremendous earnestness and some skill. There was a dance around the maypole and many cakewalks leading to the winning of cakes by participants of all ages. Laughter was heard all around, and three new students were enrolled by the end of the day.
Next year promises to be one of growth and the restoration of balance at the school, which has had difficult times in recent years. Nevertheless, its valid premise of allowing children to have a childhood and learn through hands-on projects as well as traditional academic courses transcends the vagaries of changing times. Founded in 1907 by visionary educator Marietta Johnson, the school has a less rigid format than Montessori, yet offers the supportive environment of celebrating achievement for its own sake rather than for the objective of a letter grade. It may be the only school in the world that claims to teach children to think for themselves and states that the love of learning is its mission.
All of this and the growth of enrollment made today's Festival one to remember. Parents are flocking through the doors, and pre-enrollment for the year 2007-08 is higher than it has been in years. It was a happy day.