Can you remember the world of movement, wonder, and intense sensation that you lived in when you were six years old? Does education mean filling a bucket or does it mean lighting a fire?
In today’s predominant educational environment, where high-stakes testing and anxiety reign, it’s clear that the goal, though implicit, is to fill buckets. Kim Allsup would like us to start lighting fires—to stop treating children like empty buckets. She sees that the vital essence of education has been sucked out of most schools today; that we must strive, above all, to it bring it back; and that the situation is indeed urgent. Yet this book contains no arguments—it is not a change-of-policy proposal, nor is it a polemical treatise.
Kim Allsup is a teacher and a teller of stories, and so this book, to look only at the surface, tells the story of the six years a teacher spent with her class. However, it does much more than that. Funny, poignant, moving, relatable, and finally, life-affirming, and hopeful, this memoir gently shows the way to an educational approach that is worthy of childhood—one rooted in wonder.
Wonder is a challenging word. It has been overused and commercialized and its true definition is perhaps endangered, but it is nevertheless a uniquely human experience, and to stifle or remove it from the lives of our children is to court a barren and dismal future—yet wonder remains alive! We may need only to be reminded of it.
This story is a living reminder of the simple beauty of childhood wonder and our responsibility to the future never to give it up.
∞ ∞ ∞
Working with Wonder
20. Turning Point
25. Main Lessons
27. School as It Should Be
Kim Allsup has a B.A. from Brown University and a M.Ed. and Waldorf Certification from Antioch New England Graduate School. She has been teaching at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod for more than twenty years.
Patrice Maynard, M.Ed., is Director of Publications and Development for the Research Institute for Waldorf Education (RIWE). She currently teaches teachers at several Waldorf teacher training institutes in North America as an adjunct faculty member. She was leader for Outreach and Development for the Association of Waldorf Schools (AWSNA) for nine years and taught for thirteen years prior to these positions as a class teacher and as a music teacher at the Hawthorne Valley School in Harlemville, New York, where she lives with her husband. She was on the founding board of the Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport, Maine, and is the proud parent of three Waldorf graduates. Patrice is a published poet, a gardener, and a quilter.