Tradition and the story we share

So here we are again. Apple pie baking time. In October 2002, about one month after we opened our doors for the first time, I baked pies with our founding 16 children. I did that because I enjoy baking pies, the children had done a large unit on apples, and they had visited a local orchard. That night we had our first Back to School Night for parents, and we served the pies.

Somehow that became unchangeable tradition. I bake pies with the children every year now, and we serve them at our Back to School Night. I spend two mornings doing it, one morning with one lower elementary class, the other morning with the second lower elementary class. I enjoy spending the time with them, and they enjoy the work.

This year,  more so than in the past, I noticed a regular comment/conversation. It wasn’t about the flour, or the rolling pin, or the cinnamon. The comment I heard from the majority of the students was about the contraption we used to peel, core, and slice the apples.

Over and over children wondered aloud who would have invented such a thing. They touched it, and moved whatever part would move so they could get a better sense of how it worked.

Inventions. New Ideas. Contributions. That is what the child wants to focus on. Who invented it? How did they figure it out? What caused them to want to invent it?

History is a story of new ideas, new thinking, creative inventions, of contributions to culture. The Montessori classroom is founded on the story of culture; the environment is designed to consider how we are in community with each other. We participate in the conversation begun with the creation of the universe, a conversation that has continued throughout all history, a conversation that was handed to us to continue. We are grateful for the person who invented the lightbulb, the one who invented the plow, the one who figured out how to weave , and even the anonymous person who first domesticated the dog. Each of these “inventions” contributed to culture, contributed to the story, to the conversation in which we are engaged.

A conversation that happens even in a food preparation area of a kitchen in a Montessori school in South Bend, Indiana. Who invented that machine? It sure makes our work easier, it is really cool to watch it work, and it is a lot of fun. Everyone wants a turn.

So we continue baking apple pies with the head of school, because it is now in the realm of Unchanging Tradition. We talk about lots of things when we bake; some children do this work for the very first time, others are seasoned professionals. We spend time in community to create something wonderful for parents, something we can all be happy about. The pies are in no way perfect, but we even talk about that. And this year, we talk about the awesome invention you see below. And we are grateful to that person, whoever he or she is, who invented it and contributed to our story.

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Explore posts in the same categories: community, elementary education, Montessori, Montessori Method

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