The Age of Innocence

There was a particular incident from this week that reminded me of the innocence and joy inherent in young children. I was awaiting the arrival of the fourth grade on the football turf field on a beautiful and unseasonably warm late November day. The boys made their way down in the usual chaotic finally-released-from-lunch way and tumbled onto the field. Immediately one boy, struck by the warmth of the day, lay down on the grass and more followed suit. They laid on their backs soaking up the sun for a few seconds, and one decided to make a “snow angel” motion. This prompted a copy-cat response from the crowd. While this was truly adorable, within a few minutes another boy had an equally imaginative way of enjoying warm fake turf. He shouted, “Everyone into the pool!” A group of boys ran to the deep blue section of the end zone and followed his directions as they lay belly-down on the grass, “Four laps of breast stroke! Two laps of free style!” Once the novelty of these antics wore off, the boys were back to the usual soccer and touch football games. I would love to say that below is an image or video of the event, however it was a rare time that I did not have my camera phone with me. Of course I packed my phone into my pocket the next day for recess duty, yet the moment had passed, and recess was once again routine. The experience of watching our boys just enjoying life in the most innocent ways never gets old and luckily happens often around Gilman Lower School! Enjoy a few snapshots from the week’s joyful encounters.

Below is a snapshot of two of our “Greenhound” club members planting spring bulbs on the hillside in front of the school building. Ms. Eppler knew that it was an international day of planting, and Gilman joined with other schools around the world to plant daffodils that will be watched and compared with bulbs that are being “forced” indoors. The boys were so excited to participate and will be anxiously awaiting their flowers this winter and spring.

Our Prep One boys are lucky enough to celebrate their innocence on a weekly basis in the woods along side campus. Teachers purchased “storm suits” in a variety of sizes and asked parents to send in a spare set of rain boots to be used for exploratory walks and outdoor play. I captured these pictures as the boys returned from a morning walk to the woods. There was much talk about the cooperative “work” getting some large sticks moved to a new location across the creek. I am as excited as the boys are to see the wildness of the woods transformed into an outdoor interactive learning environment. Look for more about these efforts and articles about the power of outdoor learning in future blog posts.

I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” based on recent school events.

  • If you are in Kindergarten- How did you make your toy soldiers in Art class? What do you need to do to march as a toy soldier in the lower school music performance coming up soon?
  • If you are in Prep-One- What role did you play in your “Three Little Pigs” performance? How could you tell if the Kindergarten class that came enjoyed the play?
  • If you are in First Grade- What are you learning about poetry in class? How did you illustrate your holiday poems?
  • If you are in Second Grade- What was your favorite part of the second grade play? Will you miss the many practices?
  • If you are in Third Grade- What were some of the activities at Marshy Point that related to your Native American studies?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- Are you looking forward to participating in a book club with Bryn Mawr next week? What did you think of your book?
  • If you are in Fifth Grade- What did you learn from the novel, Number the Stars?


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